Back to “Square One” in learning basic cooking methods

Monday night TM and I went to a cooking demonstration at Square One Kitchens, called “Cooking Boot Camp: Cooking Methods.” The class is designed to introduce you to several cooking methods, including Sauté, Braise, Steam, Roast, Smoke, Stir Fry, Pan Fry and Simmer and is taught by Chef Tim Rosendahl, who has worked in many restaurants and also was an executive chef at Walt Disney World.

We had both hoped the class would be “hands on” but it was still very fun to listen to this chef and see his demonstrations in action. Of course tasting all the great items he prepared was a bonus. We plan to take a few more of his classes in the future.

I snapped a few pictures of the food before I ate them. First, here’s a stir fried shrimp and vegetable dish that included celery mushrooms, snow peas and fresh ginger. Since this blog is all about “real food” full disclosure says I should tell you the dish also contained 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, but that’s spread out across four servings, so not too much of a processed ingredient. He garnished this dish with two kinds of toasted sesame seeds that reminded me that I want to go back to the local Asian market again.

Next he made a couple seafood dishes including a maple glazed salmon cooked on a cedar plan and served with crispy salmon skin and some classic French steamed mussels. Both were outstanding. In the past, I’ve been skeptical about putting a sweet item like maple syrup on salmon but it was a great lightly sweet flavored and I’ll try this again at home.

I’ve never tried to cook mussels but these were delicious in a buttery wine broth. We learned that frozen mussels are easy to find in Fargo. And this dish was all “real food.”

The chef showed us how to make a lemon garlic chicken that was breaded by first dipping it in garlic infused olive oil then in a mixture of parmesan cheese and homemade bread crumbs. I didn’t realize that bread crumbs were not dried but instead made just by tossing any bread into a food processor. I’m not sure why I’ve been buying bread crumbs? It was disappointing that Chef Rosendahl got going on the next dish and the chicken ended up a bit overdone and we didn’t get to taste it.

To demonstrate simmering pan frying and sautéing, Chef Rosendahl made two dishes. First, he made a simmered cod with thyme that he served in a broth made of white wine. Then he pan fried some mushrooms in olive oil until they were absolutely crispy. I’ve had mushrooms like these in a local restaurant and NO IDEA that with some patience (they took a while to get crispy) that I could make them myself so easily. Finally he made a sauté of squash and roasted peppers. This dish included roasting peppers over an open flame and then removing the charred skin from them, and sautéing them with onion, yellow squash, and zucchini.

The meal ended with an amazing broiled flank steak in a salsa verde. First he made the salsa verde that was flavored with tomatillos (that I guess you can find in local supermarkets all the time) jalapeno pepper fresh cilantro, onion and lime juice. I could have drank it out of the blender it was so good. He marinated the flank steak in lime juice, orange juice, olive oil and a variety spices, then broiled it before topping it with the salsa verde. This was by far both my favorite dish and one we will make again.

One thought on “Back to “Square One” in learning basic cooking methods”

  1. People often add too much salt in their recipes without realizing it until it’s too late, but do not worry. There is a way to fix this! Add two peeled and chopped raw potatoes to the dish, and then allow it to simmer for around 15 minutes. The potatoes help absorb the extra salt. For a dish that is tomato-based, just put a few more tomatoes in and let them cook until they’re tender. These will dilute the extra salt.,^

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