LaVerl Daily's Sample Menus
There is an ancient Japanese proverb that "food must feast the eyes as well as the stomach," and indeed the Japanese meal is internationally known for its elegant and beautiful simplicity. The foods are prepared in a decidedly Japanese fashion.
It is impossible to discuss the cuisine of Japan without reference to nature. Like art and religion, the cuisine developed under the influence of nature. It reflects a keen appreciation of the natural flavors of the products of mountain and sea--flavors the Japanese are loath to mask by seasoning. Surrounded by the sea, the Japanese have eaten fish since ancient times. That they have eaten it raw is something which could have occurred nowhere but in Japan, where men and the sea interpenetrate, so to speak. The Japanese are sensitive to changes of season, which is evident in their culinary preferences. They prefer fish or vegetables that are not only in season, but are the first products of their respective seasons, and at their peak.
Spices used in Japanese dishes are conspicuously different from their Western counterparts in that most are prepared raw; very few are processed and stored. Examples include: wasabi, ginger, parsley, spring onions, daikon, yuzu and shisho. Recipes for this class use ingredients ordinarily available in supermarkets or an Asian grocery store.
Menu #1--Shiso Marinated Salmon with Cucumber Salad, Hijiki and Saffron Rice Salad, Pork Tenderloin with Spiced Tomato Sauce, Seared Scallops with Asian Cream Sauce, Wasabi Marinated Strip Steaks, Fresh Seasonal Fruit, Green Tea.
Menu#2 (Sushi)--The perfect party food or dinner party appetizer, rolled sushi is probably the most recognizable sushi. It consists of rice and fish, vegetables, or omelette rolled into a cylinder with nori seaweed around it and may also be called maki maki. There are many different types of rolled sushi: thin rolls contain a single ingredient such as tuna or cucumber; thick rolls have several different fillings and combine a variety of flavors, colors and textures; inside-out rolls have rice on the outside and nori on the inside; hand-rolled sushi are cone shaped.
In this class, learn the way to make sushi with many different ingredients, and the proper way to eat sushi. Green tea will be served, with a tasting of sakes.
Moroccan cuisine is barely known outside North Africa, but unforgettable for those who have had the pleasure of sharing a Moroccan diffe (banquet) properly prepared. The Moroccan markets or souks, are filled with fragrant spices; bright, colorful vegetables and fruits; fresh, shimmering seafood; and the savory scents of grilled meats and poultry. Learn the mysteries of the Moroccan kitchen, making it possible to cook exotic recipes like bisteeya (like phyllo), made savory with either squab or chicken, or sweet with milk and almonds . The only special equipment you might need is a couscousiere, but in a pinch a colander will do.
Menu: Couscous of Lamb; Harisa Sauce; Preserved Lemons; Marinated Olives; Carrot Salad with Cinnamon, Lemon and Honey; Radish Salad with Orange Flower Water; Minted Cucumber and Tomato Salad; Eggplant Puree; Bisteeya with Milk and Almonds; Rice Pudding with Rose Water and Pistachios; Mint Tea.
It is difficult or possibly impossible to learn to cook from a book, even one that promotes itself as an essential tutorial in the basics. No matter how hard it tries, a book will not be able to capture the chemistry of bay leaves and thyme working together or describe precisely the infinitude of textures that come from a pan. Experience in cooking among people who know what they are doing, in a class or a home, is a far better teacher. Many recipe books don't try to teach at all, barking their orders in laconic steps.
To become free of recipes and to feel the satisfaction that comes from being able to walk into a kitchen and just cook, creatively and well, comes from a solid base of cooking techniques. Study a roast duck recipe and you know one dish. Learn techniques of roasting and you can apply them to anything from fish to vegetables. When you wish to become more adept at cooking, this is the best way to do it.
To achieve freedom in the kitchen, we suggest a series of three basic technique classes. The goal is to learn about the equipment (knives, pots and pans); measurements; stocks and sauces; to steam, braise, roast, saute and bake; and all about desserts (chocolate, eggs, meringues, gelatin and pastries).
If you don't see one of your favorite dishes, just ask!
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