There are cooking classes and demonstrations every night of the week somewhere in St. Louis. “And that’s a good thing,” as Martha Stewart would say. I’ve been to several, the most recent on Friday 13th. It turned out to be my lucky day. Thanks to an invitation from my friend, Mary Gillespi, I went to Dierberg’s Des Peres grocery for a cooking demonstration offered in conjunction with Sauce Magazine.
We arrived shortly before the class began, parked in the spacious, well-lighted garage, and took the elevator to the balcony overlooking the grocery. The kitchen area was designed and lighted for cooking demos with seating for 30-some people. A large television screen allowed everyone to monitor what was occurring on the counter stage.
Mary told me there were a number of regular attendees there, but she detected some new faces as well. I could immediately see why the classes had so many fans. Chef Moore, along with Glenn Bardgett, wine Director at Annie Gunn’s, are both well-versed in their skills, down to earth, and artful in their presentation. Adding further expertise and good humor were Jennifer Hughes and Meera Nagarajan of Sauce Magazine.
During the session that ran from 6:30 to 9 p.m., we watched the group prepare a steak tenderloin over mashed potatoes, shaved zucchini salad, fruit cup, and an up-dated-version of an old favorite: banana pudding. Several wine selections further enhanced the evening of camaraderie and good food.
The recipe that amazed me for it’s ease and simplicity was the one for making the ricotta cheese used in the salad. Now I’ve never given any thought to cheese making. I knew it had to be complicated. But watching Marianne make ricotta changed all that. The recipe has 4 ingredients and 3 short sentences of instructions! You’ve gotta try this at home.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 Tbs. white wine vinegar
Combine milk, cream, and salt in heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat; stir in vinegar and let stand for 1 minute. Strain through cheese cloth and enjoy. It’s really that simple.
I have written before about the cooking classes I’ve taken with friends and family, including my son, grandson, his girl friend and her parents: Seafood Cooking Class, Cooking with Class, Cooking Cuban, Ottelenghi’s Jerusalem Dishes. All the classes have been entertaining and informative. I’ve found that people who enjoy cooking, eating and sipping are the most pleasant of companions.