Ever wonder what’s cooking at ICE? Five-Course Friday gives you a snapshot of what we are whipping up weekly. Whether you pop in to a recreational class, catch a professional demo or watch the transformation from student to chef, there is something scrumptious happening daily. This week’s photos are from a lesson on southern Italy along with a treat from our Pastry and Baking classes.

Antipasti: Mozzarella in Carrozza

Primi: Macceroni con Salsa di Pomodorini

Primi: Pasta con Cavolfiore

Pesce: Pesce all’ACqua Pazza

Results from everyone’s favorite class at ICE: Cookie day!

Have a delicious weekend!

We made our way down the hall of an empty schoolhouse, shouts of Italian, then laughter followed by more shouting echoed through the hall. The men on the other side of the wall were either about to rip each other’s throats out or in middle of the funniest story ever told. My Italian is no good so it could have been either.

Inside the room were three long tables in the shape of a ‘U’ each table dressed with a different cloth — red, white and green — like the Italian flag. After a brief introduction from our host, “something, something, something ‘Americanos’ something, something” we were greeted with a rousing ‘Ay’ and plastic cups filled with wine hoisted in the air. The average age in the room was 50+ and it turns out all the shouting was over who among them was the worst soccer player.

On our final night in Italy, where we received training in the culinary art of sous vide, we had been invited to be a part of this group’s long-standing tradition. Once a week, they get together after work. If the weather is good they might play a game of soccer, but the evening is really about the meal together. They meet at the same school they all attended as children, prepare the food in the school’s kitchen and set their patriotic tables in the adjacent classroom. More…

Ever have one of those weeks at work where you felt like you constantly under pressure and you couldn’t get away from it — like you were working in a vacuum?

I just had one of the weeks; but no one around here seems to feel very sorry for me. Chef Chris Geualdi and I recently got an assignment from our boss and we knew the pressure was on us, heck it was all around us. We were shipped off to Venice, Italy for a week of training in sous vide technology.

We visited Orved, an amazing company in Musile, a small town on the Piave River just 30 km north of Venice. It was a phenomenal time to eat and learn. I’ll tell you more about the food later; first, lets get down to the really fun stuff — sous vide. Since sous vide is likely to become a regular subject on this blog, let’s start with the basics.

What is sous vide?
The term sous vide literally translated means ‘under vacuum’ in French. It refers to food that is sealed in a vacuum packed in food safe bags. The method of vacuum sealing meats was originally developed to help extend their shelf life, but is now commonly used for to cook meats also. The term sous vide is often incorrectly used to refer to all types of low temperature cooking. More…

What is it about a charred crust on a margherita pizza, a steaming, judiciously-sauced bowl of linguine Bolognese or a fragrant and bright salsa verde atop fish that always keep us coming back for more? Italian cuisine boils down to deceptively simple comfort food. The “boot’s” essential reverence for quality ingredients, used time and again with gusto, highlights the foods’ best flavors and characteristics and makes eating the familiar dishes of Italy a welcome experience in taste memory.

Italy’s excellent wines are just as easy and agreeable to commit to memory. Course three in Richard Vayda’s Wine Essentials series dove red sauce–deep into the native wines of Italy. Traveling from Piemonte, to diverse regions such as Umbria and Alba, Vayda introduced us to how excellently matched Italian wines are to the foods from the regions which we know and love. In my Culinary Arts classes, we’ve made many of these famed dishes. Now, tasting the wines in class I’m getting a better idea of what wine aficionados mean when they say an excellent wine and food pairing of wine can take each component to a whole new level — the sum is more than the parts. More…