Report from a workshop. Adding some flavor to Connecticut.

14 Apr

Following the previous workshops on Saturday on the safe ground of NYC, was a workshop in the totally alien state of Connecticut. Not only the location was different – so was the age group I was going to hold the workshop for. As  you all might know, I hold workshops for young people, but this day the group was one of older ladies. One of them said “We all know how to cook – we have had to cook our entire lives – and have received the complains”… And I had to compose the menu in line with this. I decided to go for the “norwasian” them I am really in to right now – I wanted to add some new flavors and techniques, but not too new,  to what I imagined as very American homes. As a result, I chose Norwasian. Classic Scandinavian, recognizable techniques and recipes with an Asian touch.

Before it started, I got a private little tour around Fairfield and the surrounding cities. We went to farmer’s markets and fish markets and I was surprised by how pretty “the most boring state in the U.S” was… But, it could definitely need some flavors, some new exotic influences.

Five people attended this workshop and it was a perfect amount; I could devote a lot of teaching time to each participant and have good control of how the recipes evolved. Everything started with the creamy coconut ginger/green curry/ carrot potato soup, followed by the saffron/orange Punjabi vegetable curry with sesame-seared shrimps and sesame-seared sea bass, served with the wonderful mango/avocado red cabbage slaw with citrus-soy dressing (this one just gets better and better for each workshop) and the Indian yellow rice (Brown basmati rice, following yesterday’s successful example). Ending this wonderful meal was the mango/mint infused fruit salad with the on-the minute raspberry ice cream.

Food-wise, this was one of the best workshops in a while. The salad was better than ever. Partly because we used more sesame seeds than before and partly because we decided to add some grated green apple to it. It is hard to describe how good it was… How the crispy, tender cabbage and onion is the first thing you taste, followed by the tangy mango and smooth avocado… Then the incredible taste combination of first cilantro, then citrus-soy dressing, green apple. And last, but not least, the incredible sesame seeds. Actually I had forgot to buy the sesame seeds for this workshop… So we had to have someone go and get them for us. they make the dish. they make the menu.

Also, I loved the soup. It was more acidic than before and featured a vast array of flavors. you could taste the slightly burned green curry paste together with the cumin, the Connecticut farm carrots and potatoes and the lime.

This was a great workshop with great participants. I loved to hear their stories about food and their experience (they had a lot to share!) Looking forward to doing it again.

When I took my first bite, I started to think. I looked through the window. Fairly grey, monotone environment. But as the flavors pleased my taste buds, the surroundings changed. In my mouth was a fragrant dish with a exquisite plethora of flavors, cuisines and stories. The outside felt much livelier now. Something had happened. I had added some flavor to Connecticut. We had added some flavor to Connecticut.

I looked at my watch. We had been cooking for four hours.



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