Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cooking class at Sante



I went to an Herbs and Spices cooking class at Sante restaurant on Monday night. I know a fair amount about herbs and spices, but I've been impressed by all of Chef Jeremy Hansen's fresh flavors and creative sauces and looked forward to learning some new tricks.

Chef Hansen had about 30 spices for us to look at, smell and talk about. Smelling some of them was like seeing an old friend - it reminded me of why I like them so much. The aroma of green and black cardamom reminds me of Swedish Christmas rolls and the little shards of fenugreek bring back images of pungent curries in Rhajastan. Seeing the sheer number of spices together reminded of why I like to cook. Spices to a cook are like paint to an artist. They're a palate of flavors (and colors)used to create something vibrant - maybe spicy and exciting, maybe sweet and mellow.

I was particulary interested in a little dish with a hot pink powder. Chef Jeremy explained that it was beet powder, made from beets that were dehydrated and ground into a powder. He uses the powder to add color and flavor to soups and risottos. I can't wait to try it. Similarly, he had a golden beet powder and carrot powder - all with an intensified flavor profile of the fresh version

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