Here was the run down for the day:
Carponato alla Siciliana (aka Sicilian Eggplant), Pesto Trapanese (a take on Pesto), hand-made fettuccine, Fregula alla Sarda (aka Italian Couscous-quarter inch balls), in a nice mushroom sauce, and finally Involtini de Pesce Spada (Swordfish rolled with a filling). Involtini is anything rolled. We made a second eggplant dish, which was like an eggplant pancake (similar to our squash pancakes), a simple salad and finally another take on chicken. I tasted one from another team and it was great.
So I made the Pesto, which is basic pesto but instead of using pine nuts you use almonds and add sun-dried tomatoes. I also tackled the Sicilian Eggplant. The Couscous was good and I just wanted to eat it by itself, one spoon at a time. The eggplant cakes, were really good. I was not sure I would enjoy the eggplant but it was good enough to dig in at lunch time. It had good flavor and being breaded, it had a nice little crust.
After lunch we launched into India. We learned about some essentials: Ghee, Masala, Curry, Tempering, cardamom (I run into this every time I go to Indian Restaurants. It is so strong and when you crunch into one–your face becomes twisted and you want to cross your eyes. Yeah you know that feeling.)
We made some Garam Masala–by the way, Masala is the blend of spices. Curry or “a curry” is made of a meat, a liquid, vegetables, and spices. I made Basmati rice with crispy brown fried onions. My team-mate made the onions. It took two tries but the second time was the charm. Then we mixed them together–I was late with that dish, but it had a good taste. I took about a cup home.
We also made Traditional Thai Green Curry Paste and finally Sea Bass Curry. Both were great and though I am not a fish fan, the fish was so flavored. Something about these curries- a few of them, it was very powdery. I think they did not add enough liquid. Actually, I guess that is why they say paste-it accurately describes the consistence.
Man I was beat at the end of the day. The smells in the kitchen were strong but not the kind you smell when on the train and you run into some serious Indians. It was different, not really a home-grown smell. I guess we had too much going on and were well ventilated.
So go out and try some different curries. Restaurants like Saigon Grill and Ruby Foos may give you some good curry. Try a Thai place and you will fall in love with curries.
Enjoy life, take in some new smells and live well.