Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Faraday's Italian Cooking Class

If you are a foodie like me, then the following pictures will make you swoon. These were taken at Faraday's Kitchen Store in Austin, TX - located near Lakeway. Talk about feeding your passion for cooking...this store has everything a cook should want and stuff you didn't even know you needed.

This linen and apron display is so pretty.

I think my heart just skipped a beat. I don't have any of these, but would LOVE some!

I can't even tell you what all of these tools are used for - yet I want them!
The reason I was at Faraday's was for an Italian cooking class led by one of the chef's from Siena Ristorante Toscana. What I loved about the class was how small it was. The kitchen is in the back of the store, and there is a lovely half moon granite counter surrounding the stove and all the class participants pulled up a chair right there at the counter to watch, observe, and EAT!

Here is Chef Dean Chambers showing us his version of Insalata Caprese.

His recipe for four calls for 4 medium vine ripened tomatoes, 4 ovalines (mozzarella balls) or logs of fresh mozzarella, 16 basil leaves, 4 marinated artichoke hearts, salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Great tip: when cooking with fresh mozzarella, you can tell how fresh it is by the texture when you cut into it. If it is smooth, then it is fresh. If it starts falling apart, it is probably past its prime...still good to eat, just not FRESH mozzarella.

I find this to be a beautiful and simple starter course. He purchased the cheap(er) artichoke hearts in a can with water instead of purchasing them in marinade - and he marinaded them himself! Drain the can, then put the artichoke hearts in a bowl with olive oil, garlic and red chile flakes. Place this in the fridge for as long as you have...20 minutes to 3 hours. Purchasing cans of artichokes is much more cost effective than the jar of marinated artichokes!

Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella into 1/4 inch slices. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Layer the tomato and cheese, putting one basil leaf between each layer. Stack 3-4 layers deep, top with sliced artichoke and remaining basil. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Serve at room temperature.
We talked about making these ahead of time and sitting them in the fridge for a dinner party, then simply dressing them with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar before serving.

Next, we watched (and I took very good notes) on how to make Veal Marsala.

To serve four, start with four large veal scallops. Season them with salt and pepper and let them sit for a few minutes.

These are pounded very thin. In the background you can see he is heating one cup of olive oil in a pan.

Next, he coats each veal in flour.

Coating both sides.

Then saute in the hot olive oil for 2-3 minutes on each side until browned.

When veal is browned, remove and let rest on a clean plate. Next, he adds 2 lbs of mushrooms to the pan.

Here he preps butter for the sauce.

Add 1 teaspoon fresh thyme and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley to the mushrooms.

Saute for two minutes.

Now deglaze the pan by adding 1 cup Marsala wine.

Let this reduce until the alcohol evaporates. Add the veal back to the pan along with 1/2 cup veal or chicken stock and cook until the sauce tightens up. Remove the veal to a plate. Add 4 tablespoons of butter to sauce to smooth it, and serve veal with mushroom sauce on top.

Holy cow, hold on for this. Chef Chambers made us HOMEMADE Fettuccini Alfredo. I'd like to someday conquer homemade pasta. It was so heavenly!!! Not heavy, but light and fluffy. Dear Faraday's: Please invite Chef Chambers back to teach us the art of homemade pasta!! Sincerely, Yours Truly.

For Fettuccini Alfredo, Chef boiled a big pot of water and added a pound of his homemade fettuccini noodles. Cook for 6-8 minutes until al dente. In a saucepan, heat 1 cup of heavy cream and reduce by half. Whisk in 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and season with salt. Add cream sauce to pasta and serve.

If I wasn't in a public place I certainly would have picked up my empty plate and licked it completely clean.

Bonus Recipe!
Although I don't have pictures, I do want to share what Chef made for dessert.
Blood Orange Mint Sorbet.

3 cups water
3 cups sugar
6 cups blood orange juice
1 cup mint leaves
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 T Grand Marnier Liqueur

Boil water and sugar until thickened Add all remaining ingredients, and simme for 10 minutes. Strain into a bowl and place in refrigerator to cool.When cooled completely, freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.
Happy Birthday Jim! I love you!


  1. How fun! Adding this to my must see list next time we're in Austin! :)

  2. That looks fun. I will have to do this one day!

  3. I love Lakeway! That's where my hubby and I had our honeymoon. I love kitchen supply stores. I always find things that I didn't know I couldn't live without until I saw them there. ;)


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