Tuesday, January 18, 2011
The Snap of Citrus in Desserts, with David Lebovitz
Last night was my cooking class at Central Market, during their citrus fest event. The class was called “The Snap of Citrus in Dessert” and was taught by none other than David Lebovitz (who I just found out like Schwartz’s in Montreal – look at the 5th comment in today’s post on his blog).
This cooking class was much more enjoyable than the last one I took. This is in part because of David Lebovitz himself, of course; I’m a fan of his, but even without that, he’s likeable, great in front of a class, and knows how to make things interesting by filling any lull with funny anecdotes from his personal life. He clearly enjoys what he’s doing, and you can tell by his face when he tastes something really good. He explains what he’s doing as he’s cooking and gives tips, but not to the point that he’s talking down to you, because he knows that the people there know how to cook too (even if they have less experience than him and no professional training). I also knew that this class was a demonstration only, but we did get the pleasure of eating a serving of each dish that was presented. There was lactose in just about everything, but it was all so delectable that the Lactaid was worth it.
The dishes he made were Meyer lemon-buttermilk ice cream sandwiches with nonfat gingersnaps, spiced hot chocolate cakes with caramelized white chocolate and dark chocolate shards (with some candied tangerine peel thrown on there for good measure, since the theme was citrus), tangerine floating islands with blood orange caramel, and goat cheese soufflés with mixed citrus compote in sparkling champagne and yuzu jelly with candied tangerine peel. And of course, I now have the recipes. We also got to see and smell various citrus fruits that are harder to come by: apart from the yuzu, for example, there was a variegated green-yellow lemon with pink flesh and a cara cara orange..
Of course, I got my copy of Ready for Dessert signed, and had a picture taken with David Lebovitz (I wasn’t going to pass up that opportunity).
I followed up the class with a quick bout of grocery shopping. This was the perfect opportunity to get a few of the rarer citrus I needed for some of my recipes. I didn’t buy blood oranges (which, unlike the last ones I bought in Montreal, were really Dexter-red), but I did get Meyer lemons and, even though I hadn’t planned on it, a Buddha’s hand citron. I have a recipe that calls for it, and I didn’t know when I’d ever find it in stores again, so I pounced on it. I also got some maroon carrots for another recipe. And that’s why I didn’t get blood oranges, because I don’t want to waste any produce – but I hope to come back next week. Central Market is really great for elusive produce and spices like that. I also took some pictures of the hot pepper section, as per the special request I got from Rob. Enjoy!