Texas has its Barbecue. Louisiana has its Jambalaya. Kansas has its Beef. Utah has its Jello. What is Southern California’s regional cuisine?
I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere provided me with compensation for this post about Macy’s Regional Cooking Demonstration. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.
I found out what Southern California’s cuisine was when I attended Macy’s Regional Cooking Demo at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California. Presented by Chef Joanna Talbott, this one hour presentation shared recipes, techniques, and tools to enhance California’s food choices for Spring: Fresh, Earthy, Vegetables. We are blessed to have access to so many fresh fruit and vegetable choices in our area. The key is to know how to prepare and use them in order to get the optimal benefit.
Why do I like going to cooking demonstrations? Because I learn about foods that I wouldn’t normally make at home. Joanna prepared Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto. I am not a fan of asparagus, but I have to admit, eating it fresh made a huge difference. The season for asparagus is relatively short: March to June. so you have to make the most of it. Joanna showed that if you peel asparagus down, it will be more tender. She cut the stems into one inch pieces, leaving the pieces with the tips a little longer for a prettier presentation. Taste and presentation are what makes a good dish great.
I also like to attend cooking demonstrations to learn new techniques. Remember, The Mid Life Guru is all about doing old things in a new way. the older I get, the more I appreciate seeing and hearing from a true professional in their field of expertise. Here are some tips that Joanna shared during her class:
1. Juicing Lemons- Roll a lemon back and forth a few times on your counter to soften it. The softer the lemon, the more juice you will get out of it. Another way to soften a lemon is to put it in the microwave for 20 – 30 seconds on high. Not only will you get more juice from this method, the lemon will also be more fragrant.
2. Lemon Zest- Lemon zest is the peel of a lemon, used to enhance the flavoring in a recipe. The best way to get the zest? Use a micro plane. I am a big fan of this tool; it makes it so easy to get the amount you need. Joanna shared that you can actually freeze zest for months. It might turn a little brown, but that is OK.
3. Keeping Fresh Herbs Fresh- Put the stems of the herbs in water. Place a plastic bag over the leaves and put the container in the refrigerator. This works especially well for mint.
4. Roasting Vegetables- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place veggies on a tray, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper, some garlic, a little lemon juice and some fresh Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, shaking the pan a couple of times as it bakes.
5. Knife Skills- Prevent from having your hand tire when chopping by pinching the knife’s blade and rocking through your cutting instead of chopping up and down. It takes a little longer but the results are worth it.
6. Avoiding Bitter Garlic and Onions-Remove the green centers before chopping!!!
Every region has its own food tastes and dishes. Macy’s makes it easy to discover and enjoy by offering their regional cooking demonstrations.
Have you taken a cooking class lately?