Some Spring Inspiration at ICE (the Institute of Culinary Education)
8 April 2011 § 5 Comments
What a great evening I had at ICE, when I eventually got there. I thought I’d allowed plenty of time to get there, but it took nearly two hours to drive 14 miles. That’s what happens when the President is in town.
I missed the beginning but when I arrived Chef John Ash was talking about how we would tackle the eight dishes. We were divided into four groups of four, and each group assigned two dishes. Our dishes were the Celery Root and Apple salad with Smoked Salmon and the Chard, Lentil and Potato soup with Spiced Oil Drizzle. It was great to be cooking in a professional kitchen again, it took me back to my French Culinary days. It also brought home what a sloppy cook I have become, something to do with having small children around. I did not get all my ingredients out first so ended making tours around the kitchen hunting down various herbs and utensils. Despite having the messiest work station, and a mishap with the quantity of chicken stock, our food turned out alright. The celery root salad had that delicious French mustardy/mayonnaisey taste. I’ll admit now I was uninspired by the sound of the soup’s ingredients, however it was a delicious surprise. The fennel seed, lemon juice, cumin and mint gave it a really, fresh and zingy Middle Eastern flavor.
Chef John was very personable, and patient with us enthusiastic amateurs. I learned a few good tips from him. He showed us to cut celery root I love it but am put off buying as I hate cutting it. He also showed us how to tackle artichoke, a lovely vegetable that I rarely buy as I find them a bit intimidating. I discovered the joy of fried capers….so easy and so good! The main revelation was the leg of lamb, as it was butterflied it cooked in just 20 minutes and was marinated in anchovies and herbs. There were a few anchovy-haters (aren’t there always) but even they were converted.
The kitchen at ICE (the Institute of Culinary Education) was very well equipped, they ingredients were top quality and the assisting chefs were really helpful. Leftover cold food is donated to City Harvest every day, however the cooked stuff was ours to take home, so I got a great lunch out of it too.
Everyone plated their offerings and we then feasted and washed it all down with some wine. A very pleasant way to spend a rainy Wednesday evening, I am now inspired to cook something delicious for Easter, I have no excuses now. I can’t wait to attend another course at ICE, I just love playing chef.
And here is the full menu:
- Celery Root and Apple Salad with Smoked Salmon
- Chard, Lentil, and Potato Soup with Spiced Oil Drizzle
- Wild Mushroom Pate
- Fried Artichokes and Sweet Onions in a Chickpea Crust with Romesco Sauce
- Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Olive Oil, Pecorino and Proscuitto
- Fregola with Artichokes, Olives and Lemon
- Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Salsa Verde
- Fregola with Artichokes, Olives, and Lemon
- Meyer Lemon Curd Crepes with Blueberry Sauce