South of France Cooking class

@ Ecole de Cuisine Cooking School....
Pizzaladiere ~

Basque style chicken ~
Ratatouille Nicoise ~
The instructor, Chef Zadi did not hand out recipes because he said that it is all about the "touch" and feel. Notes were scribbled and here is a brief description of how each dish was made. :)
The first dish was Pizzaladiere-  a light pizza without tomato sauce.
To make the dough, add 250g flour, 20g sugar, 5g salt into a bowl. Next, add the wet ingredients- 3 eggs, 2 T olive oil, and yeast mixture ( 10g yeast and 1/4 cup H20) to the dry ingredients. Knead the dough until it does not stick to the bowl. Add olive oil into a bowl before placing the well-kneaded dough. Wrap and leave it to proof, approximately 1 hr.
Sprinkle oil into wax paper. Roll out dough onto a quarter sheet pan. Add whatever toppings you like but this was what we used...caramelize onions, anchovies, rosemary, thyme, garlic, heirloom tomatoes, olives. Grate Parmesan cheese on top of mixture. Bake at 400F. Before serving, sprinkle olive oil on top of pizza. :) I love this pizza crust! :)

Time to have some fun with cutting and cleaning chicken... :( Another reason for being a vegetarian.... :P Here are several pictures on the cutting process, after removing all the items inside the chicken...
 Make a slit to see the cartilage. Remove it.
 Use scissors to cut the fat, and middle of the chicken
 Cut it into half and remove more fat at the ends
 Cut the drumsticks side cartilage ends. ( for presentation purpose)
Season with salt, pepper, chopped herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary), lemon ( cut small wedges of half a lemon, and juice the other half lemon), olive oil, saffron, preserved lemon ( place lemon and salt in container and let it age for a month), 1 Tbsp of Tapenado olive paste.

Place the marinated chicken in a roasting pan. Add chicken stock ( To make: boil chicken bones, water, 50% onion, 25%carrots, 25% celery. Allow it to SIMMER for 24 hours. ) Top with chunks of butter. Bake at 350F for 1 hour. Remove from oven several times and pour liquid over chicken constantly. This is to keep it moist and tender.

The chicken tasted yum! The burst of lemon gives it a tangy feel with flavorful herby aroma. :)
Now on to Ratatouillr Nicoise.... To make tomato composte: Slit the ends of the tomatoes with an "X". Once the water boils, place it in for 30 seconds. After removing it from the hot water, dip it in cold water immediately. Remove the outer skin from the tomato and slice in to quarters. Remove the seeds and use the outer layer. Slice into strips.
Cut the eggplant into round circles, followed by strips. When cooking, be careful not to place too many pieces into the pan as it will "steam" the eggplant. "Brown" eggplant is what we want. Feel free to drizzle olive oil. Add salt and pepper.
Saute onion until it is caramelized. Add salt and pepper. Remove from pan.
Saute green/red bell peppers next. Add salt and pepper. Remove from pan.
Saute squash. Add salt and pepper. Remove from pan.
Saute garlic next.
( Trick- while chopping garlic, sprinkle some salt. This will keep the oils of the garlic. )
Bread Crumbs: Bake day-old bread in oven until crisp. Place in food processor until finely grounded.
To assemble:
1. Drizzle the bottom of the pan with olive oil
2. Add peppers
3. Followed by Onion and garlic
4. Next is the eggplant mixture
5. Add onions and garlic again
6. Add the sliced raw tomatoes
7. Sprinkle fresh thyme
8. Add squash
9. Top with breadcrumbs
10. Drizzle with olive oil
11. Add pieces of butter on the top layer
Bake at 325 for 35 minutes.
Remove from oven occasionally to drizzle olive oil on top.  
Every chef has his/her way  of cooking. I have been to many cooking class and felt that this was one of the classes that could be more organized and have better sanitary practices. I have to say that the chef knows his stuff and seemed to have great french cooking techniques. Overall, the food we cooked at this class tasted YUM! and I would like to try to make them on my own one of these days. :) I am so glad that J and I were able to go to this class together! :)

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Disclaimer: All the recipes posted are for my personal references and/or adapted from mentioned instructors or books. They/I reserve the rights to it. Please remember to cite your sources! Thank you.