Monday, August 27, 2007

Badda Bing - Squid Vicious!!!

So two Fridays ago I went to the Badda Bing class at Hip Cooks. As usual, it was totally fun and I had a great time making conversation with my classmates and perfecting my knife skills. The menu was not my favorite, though. The first course, watermelon, feta, cilantro and olive salad, was fabulous. It's super easy too. Just cut watermelon into chunks, sprinkle on the feta (or just put chunks of it on top), add fresh cilantro, fresh mint and a few pitted olives on there in an artful fashion, and then put a bit of salt and a dash of olive oil and/or balsamic reduction which you can buy at TJ's. It was really delicious and very pretty.

The squid stuffed with squid ink risotto in roasted pepper marinara sauce was not as great, largely because it was a case of "too many cooks spoil the broth". Risotto takes a lot of patience, and by the time we started on it we all had a glass of wine and were chatting and making conversation, and three people took turns stirring the risotto over each pass of adding liquid, and I think the focus risotto requires just wasn't there. So it wasn't very creamy or dreamy like the risotto I had at Farfalla last week. The squid ink was interesting though and I am now not afraid to make squid. It's really easy if you buy it pre-cleaned and poach it in any sauce you like, and you can easily stuff it with rice or whatever, too. The reason I went to this class was to learn how to cook squid since I'm such a fan of it, so that mission was accomplished. And the main course was not unedible by any means-- it was tasty, I just think the texture of the risotto could have been better.

The dessert was also not my cup of tea- a chocolate polenta cake. I am not a big polenta person and the grittiness of the polenta was unappetizing to me.

For wine, we drank Pinot Grigio as I had predicted. It was nice and went well with all the food.

All in all, another great time at Hip Cooks and a great learning experience. I now feel empowered that I can easily go buy some squid at Fish King or Whole Foods, whip up a delicious marinara sauce, poach the heck out of those squids, and serve a delicious and impressive dish-- all without looking at a recipe. I love that feeling-- empowered to just use ingredients and make good food in a no-stress fashion. One of these days though I'll have to suck it up and buy a good knife. Sigh!

By the way, I heard that Hip Cooks is opening a new site on the Westside, so all of you West L.A. folks will be able to gain easier access to my favorite cooking school.

Really excited to hit up Thrill of the Grill 2 with Emilia in a couple of weeks!


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