20.3.08

Cooking lessons for the holidays


It´s a holiday in Spain. A very long weekend to spend frying torrijas and squinting at processions through clouds of incense. Or flopped on the beach. Or being lazy in Madrid and enjoying the empty city.

We´re having a tad more activity than that, however. My sister María has decided to learn to cook, and so we´re having a Karate Kid Holy Week, with myself in the role of Mr. Miyagi and she as Daniel San.

I´m a very stern pedagogue and have insisted from the first that she learn to hold a big knife properly, keep it sharp, and chop all the onions. So far we´ve done tomato sauce, both normal and Thermomix-cheat; chicken curry; sauteéd greens; beef stew; and a salmon escabeche for tomorrow.
Today we´re onto the rice for the curry, more vegetable stuff and roti. We´ll also cover buttermilk biscuits and possibly some form of cookie or cake as the week progresses, if my pupil´s patience holds.

How does that sound? I think it´s all stuff that isn´t hard to do, or complicated, and the skills involved are pretty similar, so confidence grows.
It´s not the usual Spanish canon, and I bet I will get many a raised eyebrow for not starting out with bechamel sauce for croquetas, with albóndigas (meatballs) or with cocido. I love all these dishes, but I find them too fiddly to be sprung on a novice.
Tomato sauce will always be the true test of a beginner, not the proverbial fried egg. From tomato sauce you can jump to curry, or to baby squid in ink, to pisto or to a quick cheat´s potaje. Fried eggs will only lead you to cholesterol, and besides, I don´t know how to do them, so there.

I´ll be back next week, all rested from not having touched the computer in days. Have fun.

And if anyone has a suggestion for something that´s an absolute must for a beginner, please let me know; I´m all ears.

9 comentarios:

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) dijo...

Sounds like a wonderful weekend of cooking lessons -- wish I were there, too! Of course I would add a paella, but that's just because I'd love to eat it at the end....

xps dijo...

Nada que objetar. gracias maja.

Nicole dijo...

Mmmm.. Can I come and learn too? I feel like a novice when I read what you do.

I don't know how you are in Spain but here in the US, I cannot tell you how many people cannot even to together a simple salad dressing. They only know how to use the bottled store bought kind. I have friends who think I am so gourmet for drizzling olive oil and balsamic on a salad. The thought of whisking oil and an acid with some herbs is just beyond them. But maybe it is too simple already and your sister knows how to do this.

Anónimo dijo...

Os imagino en plan "dar cera, pulir cera" cocineril, pero seguro que María acaba la semana cogiendo la mosca con los palillos. Luego que asome la patita y que diga qué tal le ha ido.

Divertios mucho!

Helena

Laura Lutz dijo...

I can't imagine starting a beginner on bechamel - way too fussy.

Tomato sauce is a great start. On that note, make sure she understands the meaning of al dente. So many people don't...

Perhaps this is a bit too pedestrian, but a well-crafted omelette is a cook's best weapon for those last-minute guests. And they're harder to make perfectly than one would think.

ChichaJo dijo...

Hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend! Sounds like a lot of fun :)

I want to sign up for that tomato sauce lesson...

EB of SpiceDish dijo...

What a fantastic way to spend a holiday!!

michelle @ TNS dijo...

those cooking lessons sound great. i could probably use them too!

if you can master tomato sauce, you're on your way. to what, i'm not sure (wasting time at work foodblogging, maybe), but you're moving!

robin (caviar and codfish) dijo...

What a fun way to spend some time with your sister! Starting with simple is the best thing in the world for her!

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