In what has become an annual Holiday tradition for us, D.O.D. and I took an overnight trip to Naples, FL for an evening at the Sur La Table cooking school. I was very uninspired and less than thrilled the first time D.O.D. suggested a cooking class, but I soon learned they are great fun and very educational. Plus… you get to eat your creations!
Our class was a ‘Meatless Meals’ class with Chef Deniece Vella. The kitchen is amazing with top notch equipment all around. One of the best parts of any cooking class is the fact that you never have to worry about clean up. This class was no exception – Chef Deniece’s assistants were incredibly efficient.
The evening started with a short introduction and then we got right to work preparing the vegetables for the Winter Vegetable Tagine with Chickpeas. This dish had to cook the longest so we started with it first.
D.O.D. wondered how the bitter Kale would taste in this dish, but since we used such a small amount, the Kale added just a bit of flavor and did not overpower. The Roasted Red Pepper added a nice touch of sweetness.
The second course was a simple but delicious Beet, Lentil and Goat Cheese Salad. The beets had been cooked ahead of time, but we sauteed the fennel, carrots, garlic and lentils then assembled the salad on a nice bed of fresh Bibb lettuce.
This was my favorite dish of the evening because I love goat cheese!
We created the Pesto from scratch and learned about the proper ratio of oil so as not to make the pesto too runny. We also learned the trick for perfect potatoes – never drop them in boiling water. Put the potatoes in the water THEN bring it to a boil.
Finally after a short break, we returned to the kitchen and were served the Winter Vegetable Tagine with Chickpeas. This dish had been cooking for well over an hour and the flavors blended nicely. This hearty dish was perfect for the weather – a windy and cool evening in South Florida.
We enjoy bringing a bottle of wine to class and sipping as we cook and sample. Conveniently there is a huge Whole Foods right next door to this location. Another thing we enjoy is the 10% off coupon each student receives that is good for anything at Sur La Table.
For the second year in a row, we had a wonderful Holiday trip to Naples, FL and the Sur La Table cooking school.