Wednesday, December 15, 2010

apt pupils

i think women should know how to cook.
there. i said it.
i think men should know how to cook too, so don't get all "that's so sexist" on me.
it just so happens that i have two very clever and amazing girlfriends who have little interest in cooking and fall well below standard kitchen competence levels for their age group.
if you ask me, they would do really well if they only applied themselves.
a little remedial cooking sesh at my house will have hopefully unearthed a new passion for these ladies, or at least taught them how to make 3 things.

1. fruit & nut baked brie in a puff pastry shell. 
it's a rich looking appetizer (or dessert, if you're that way inclined), and it really only requires assembling already made grocery store items. easiest.
under my watchful eyes, friend one and friend two rolled out a square of puff pastry and chopped up some pecans and apricots, placed a wheel of brie in the centre of the pastry, and covered in pecans, apricots, currants, brown sugar, and a dash of cayenne pepper. they then wrapped it up by folding the pastry over top and brushed all around with egg-wash. in the oven at 350o C for 25-ish minutes. i'm giving them an A. but how can you really go wrong with those ingredients? 

oh, nothing to see here...

2 & 3. for the main course we made gnocchi (that fun to pronounce potato dumpling pasta thing) and a creamy shrimp and asparagus sauce.
gnocchi from scratch is a bit of a process, but fun to do when there are a few other sets of hands around. we made ours with a combo of sweet potato and regular baking potatoes and with whole wheat flour. the potatoes need to be boiled or baked before, then skinned and mashed. add the flour, egg, salt and pepper and you have a very sticky situation on your hands.
with floured hands we rolled tablespoon-sized pieces of the dough into individual little football shaped dumplings and then scored them with a fork for authenticity. we then boiled them in salted water for about 3-4 minutes.
group mark: A-. there were complaints about sticky hands, and inconsistencies in dumpling size, but great effort nonetheless!

the cream sauce was easy as. fresh garlic, thyme, rosemary, chili flakes and ground nutmeg in a hot pan with olive oil. then chopped asparagus and shelled shrimp. finally, whipping cream (my favourite-and fattiest ingredient) and sim simmer, who's got the sauce for my dinner?
ladies scored an A+ for jumping right in to pull the shrimpy legs and tails off!

for an overall grade of A, these gals passed with flying flavours!

whole wheat gnocchi from scratch.
believe in yourself, and you can achieve anything!

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