As I write this my wife, Annette and I are exactly 1 month away from celebrating our 27th Anniversary. The very first meal that I ever cooked for her was Chicken Marsala. Last night I went to a cooking class held by Paula Jones from bell'alimento. The menu consisted of bruschetta, make sure you pronounce it brus-ket-a or Paula will threaten you with bodily harm, Caprese Salad, Chicken Marsala, Polenta Cakes, Creamy Polenta with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Cauliflower au Gratin and Chocolate Cake. I have linked to each of the recipes she has published if you want to check them out, they are all excellent. You might ask why would I attend a cooking class for a recipe that I have been cooking for 27 years, for lots of reasons. The first reason is that I have been drooling over Paula's recipes for the last six months or so and this gave me an opportunity to try one. The second the recipe that I make is called Chicken Marsala but it calls for a dry white wine not Marsala. In fact it probably took me 20 years before I realized Marsala was a wine. Obviously my recipe, handed down from my dad, is not authentic but it is good. I had to taste the real thing. Last night I did get a taste of the real thing and I will not make my version again. OMG that chicken was good.
Paula puts a lot of energy into blogging, unlike myself who does it as a hobby. Her blog is currently in the running for Saveur's Best Blog Award. So go out there and cast a vote for her she deserves it. She is also a featured contributor to Paula Deen.com. The difference between Paula Jones and Paula Deen is that Jones uses olive oil and Deen uses butter.
The class consisted of 4 of Paula's friends and my wife and I. That means 6 women and I were all in one kitchen cooking. I think I am going to have to recruit a couple of men the next time I go to Paula's for a class. I think it is safe to say we all had a good time. The class was a good size as we all got to do a few hands on jobs in preparing the meal, but nobody was so busy you couldn't stop what you were doing and watch somebody else if something was being demonstrated or to taste something as it was being passed around. Here is a photo of Paula and I, Paula is working on the cauliflower and I was working on the chicken. Notice how neither of us are looking at the camera, a trait that a lot of bloggers seem to have. Look at our food not us.
The first thing that I have to tell you is us city folk need a GPS to find her house. The second thing is that for some reason GPS is off by about 3 tenths of a mile because I can guarantee you Paula does not live in the middle of a field. Just use the country directions subdivision is right after the 2 horse farms you can't miss it, unless you are using a GPS.
The platter was piled with bruschetta, maybe I should spell it brus-ket-a so she doesn't hunt me down and the wine was open. After the introductions we started on the cake as it took the longest to cook, so we had to get it in the oven. The cake turned out so moist, chocolatey and delicious and it was easy. Of course you had to have and espresso with that cake.
Then we moved onto the side dishes. Paula had the cauliflower assembled when we got there, as it was not listed as part of the class. We made the polenta for the polenta cakes or so we thought. Since the polenta has to be cooled Paula already had a batch made for the polenta cakes our polenta was served as creamy polenta with sun dried tomatoes, another bonus that was not on the menu. That gave a couple of people who had never had polenta the opportunity to try it 2 ways. Both polentas were good but I liked the cakes the best.
The last item on the agenda was the main course, Chicken Marsala. As I mentioned earlier this chicken was fantastic far more flavor than the version I make or should I say used to make. The recipe was again very easy slice the chicken, pound it thin and fry it. Then make a sauce from wine and mushrooms. I was just thinking since the bad version of Chicken Marsala won me my wife, I wonder if I can get a new kitchen with this version, hmmm. Well a guy can dream can't he. Happy anniversary a little early honey and thanks for coming to the cooking class with me. I'll end with a picture of my wife and I in Venice on our 25th Anniversary, because my wife is either taking these pictures or has her back to us in all of the other pictures.