DailyAfirmation (dailyafirmation) wrote,

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"Cooking with Titina"—meeting people, learning recipes, cooking a little, and eating!

~Friday~ Tonight I had a real treat—figuratively and literally—enjoying Cooking with Titina, a Christmas present from my friend Jen.

Cooking lessons with Titina is a combination of meeting new people, learning new recipes, doing a little cooking, and then eating the hell out of everything at the end.

Jen and I were the first ones to arrive, and after shopping around in the fabulous little Italian store in which the lessons are held, Titina invited us to come into the kitchen and dining area. Although I'm not a wine drinker at all, I was caught up in the moment and complemented our meal with a bottle of red, which turned into two bottles of red, before the night was over.

Well into my first glass of wine, other people taking the class started trickling in and we met Sarah, Barbara, Ron, Terry, and Megan. Interestingly, although I suppose not so surprisingly with it still being fairly close to the holidays, four of us were there as a result of gifts—mine from Jen, Sarah's from her parents, Barbara's from her husband, and Megan's from Terry, her mother, who was there with her.

This was our menu for the evening, with the English version of it on the second line, and we started off with bruschetta that was out of this world, although it's not listed as part of the menu:

Malloreddu con Salsiccia
Malloreddu pasta with sausages

Cozze al Gratin
Mussels Gratin

Asparagi con Prosciutto
Asparagus with Prosciutto

Cheese Fritters with Honey

The first thing we did was to don some aprons, which turned out to be both a blessing and a curse—well a blessing to everyone, and then a bit of a curse only to me, later.

Jen and I in our aprons

You'd never know by looking that I don't drink wine at all.

Me holding the bottle of wine in one hand and a glass of it  in the other

Here are the other people who joined us for the class, in order of closest to me to furthest away from me: Sarah (a blur), Barbara, Ron, Terry, and Megan.

Sarah, Barbara, Ron, Terry, and Megan

And here's the cooking area, around which we were seated.

Stove and counter space where we helped prepare the food

We started off with the most incredibly delicious bruschetta, especially considering that it didn't have any cheese on it at all—I always put mozzarella on mine. On the side, we had some salami and, although you can't see it because I wrapped the salami around it, two kinds of hard white cheese with it.

Bruschetta with a slice of salami on the side

We took turns helping Titina cook the various courses, and although I'm not sure if she had picked up on my proclivity for "San Francisco sausage," Titina called on me to help with one of the main ingredients—of both a mild and spicy variety—in tonight's entree.

Pan of uncooked sausages, a lighter (mile) and darker (spicy) variety

Here she is—just a little too comfortable with a pair of scissors around some sausage, in my humble opinion.

Titina showing me how to skin the sausage

And here I am performing a bris independently, while saying to Jen the whole time, "It's taking everything in me not to say what I'm thinking," and her responding, "Good."

Skinning the sausage

Other people helped with the other dishes of the meal, too, of course, and here's a few pictures of them doing their parts:

Titina and Barbara

Terry and Megan

It doesn't look like I got a picture of Ron doing whatever he did to help out. He might have done his part when I left the room for a bit, to use the restroom and to buy our second bottle of wine.

In the restroom, I was "distracted" by this urinal art:

Naked man's butt showing as he jumps off a cliff, presumably somewhere in Italy

so much so that I totally forgot I had an apron hanging in front of my... when I started peeing. TMI, really.

As she should have been, Jen was horrified to find out that the wet part of my apron was not due to accidentally splashing water on it while washing my hands, although I did do that as well. No, I don't drink wine at all. Why do you ask?

Wet apron

My next assignment was to drain the pasta, which I'd also had the responsibility of stirring, but had "outsourced" most of that part of the job to Bonnie, who was: 1) Titina's (presumably paid) assistant (in the background), 2) already on that side of the counter while it was cooking, and 3) wasn't drinking.

Pouring the pasta into a strainer

Here's Jen finishing up the last little bit of cooking before sitting down to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Jen at the helm of the frying pan

We took our seats out on the beautiful veranda—actually that's a wall mural, as in reality, it was cold, dark, rainy, and Raleigh, not Italy, outside.

The table set for 14

And here are the finished dishes:

Sausage and pasta, mussels gratin, and prosciutto-wrapped asparagus

Cheese fritters

All in all, everything was absolutely delicious, the company was great, and it was just a lovely, lovely evening. I highly recommend it to anyone, and I know for a fact, that it makes a great, great gift.

Thanks, again, Jen, so so much!
Tags: cooking, favorite, friends, gifts, titina

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