What's Cooking in Carolina?

Mainly creative menus and recipes (usually healthy) and always from scratch with tips for party planning, theme parties, weddings and decorating tips so you can give swank parties or dinners to delight your guests from a part time caterer, owner/operator of a coming soon Entree Vous, but mainly a cook and eater who grows much of her own food and loves to laugh.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Joanne Weir in NC

I signed up for three cooking lessons at A Southern Season earlier in the year after having taken only one there before, as a gift. The three I signed up for was not so much for the lesson, but for exposure to three chef's whose cookbooks I love: Diana Kennedy, Patricia Wells and Joanne Weir. I just finished the last of the three with Joanne Weir. It was great. She is beautiful,
speaks often and speaks well, is vivacious and funny. She is committed to fresh, local ingredients, probably stemming from her Chez Panise background, having worked every job over 5 years.

Our menu:
Fennel Sausage Crostini
Pork Tenderloin Wellington (or Pork Cooked the Tuscan Way)
Grilled Vegetables
Grilled Polenta Cake with fresh fruit

EVERYTHING was wonderful. I was having guests through the next night and had already purchased pork tenderloin so all I had to purchase after that evening was the sausage for the crostini. I made everything but the polenta cake. I am not a big sweets eater and this cake was right up my alley but didn't see the need for it. I got pictures from the dinner here not from the class. This is how it turned out.

Hints on the recipes:

The crostini was spicy Italian sausage with cheese and fennel added, spread on the bread, then baked until brown. It makes me hungry just writing about it.

The pork tenderloin was to die for. She got the recipe from one of the best known butchers in Italy. The meat was seared off, then rolled in herbs (rosemary, sage, fennel, and garlic), placed in a gutted out, half baguette, tied and baked! Yum, yum, yum. The bread turns out crispy and the meat stays juicy. How can you beat that? Well, to be honest, I left out the secret ingredient: it wasn't fennel it was fennel pollen. Of coarse they sold it there. It is so strong that you can smell it through the plastic zip lock bag. With a vineyard and a husband that breeds grapes (working on a seedless muscadine and we could have just planted it/them), we have come to know the intense smell of grape pollen. I wonder now, if you could cook with it, because fennel pollen is incredibly intense and you don't need much of it to flavor a dish. It's available on Amazon or at Zingermans's. I think you should try it!

From the gourmetsleuth.com:

Fennel pollen

Fennel Pollen is collected from wild fennel. Flowers are picked at full bloom, and then dried and screened to assure the sweetest and best flavor possible. Often referred to as the Spice of Angels (I like that), Fennel Pollen makes any ordinary dish extraordinary.

We served it with risotto with fava beans, peas and asparagus.

I am submitting this for this weekend herb blogging hosted this week by Paulchens Foodblog. Please hop over there and read the recap on Monday. You'll be sure to find something interesting to eat, view, try or cook from foodies all around the world. If you're looking for more recipes, go to my website.


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  • At 10:21 AM, Blogger Kalyn said…

    Sounds just wonderful. I love watching her on TV.

  • At 3:22 PM, Blogger katiez said…

    What an interesting idea for the pork - I have to try that. Pork tenderloin and baguettes are easy to get here ;-)

  • At 10:49 AM, Blogger Astrid, Kashim & Othello said…

    sounds very delicious.
    thanks for joining!

  • At 5:26 PM, Anonymous Nicole said…

    I am so jealous of your cooking classes! Thanks for the interesting post :-)

  • At 1:14 AM, Anonymous John said…

    Like the idea of the bread, sure beats the time of making puff pastry. Never new about fennel pollen. Bye the way good luck with your restaurant

  • At 11:12 PM, Blogger Deborah said…

    HMMMMM! The Pork Wellington looks wonderfully delicious!

    I got to meet Patricia Wells. Her sister lives here in Raleigh.

    Thank you! You can reach me at Cashgirl_56@yahoo.com

    Keep in touch!


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