I adore teaching cooking classes and most of my classes are taught at life+style in our little town. Most of the classes are "open" classes where anyone who wants to pay the fee can come, eat and learn.
But Monday last, I taught a special class -- for the Laurels of Nevada. And on one of my favorite subjects --
Cooking With Herbs.
I always come early so that I can set up and compose . . . so that when the classes start I am calm and organized.
Like a dinner party before the guests come, the cooking class before the student's come, is always that perfect time when everything is in it's place and there is an air of expectancy. For there will be more to come!
A big bouquet of herbs from my garden . . . to add flavors to the dishes that I'll demonstrate to the class and that the students will taste!
My notes, all laid out. Even though I'm knowledgable and passionate about herbs, I still like notes . . . in case I would forget something!
The food that evening . . .
A salad plate with chicken salad -- three ways (plain, with dill, with sage), a pasta salad with tomatoes, cucumber and green onion and a basil vinaigrette and a fruit salad with a cinnamon basil syrup. And my famous herbed rolls.
A whole tray . . . for there could be seconds.
And there is no "Cooking With Herb Class" without dessert. I adore herbal desserts. That night, I served . . .
Chocolate lavender cake with a chocolate ganache and a sprinkle of fresh lavender.
There was enough left that we, Jim and Cynthia, Rosemary and I, could have a piece -- it was our supper!
CHOCOLATE LAVENDER CAKE
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa
1/2 t. fleur de sel
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. kosher salt
2 T. lavender buds
1/2 c. whole milk
1/2 c. sour cream or plain yogurt
8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. sugar
4 large eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 c. good quality semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. heavy cream
Additional lavender buds for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 324. Butter and flour bundt pan. Put milk in sauce pan and scald. Turn off heat and add lavender buds. Let cool. When cool, strain lavender buds from milk, add additional milk, if necessary to make 1/2 cup. Whisk milk and sour cream (or yogurt) together. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla. Reduce mixer to low and add flour and milk mixture alternatively until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Spread in prepared pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes and then invert on cooling rack.
For the ganache, bring cream to a simmer, remove immediately and pour over chocolate chips. Whisk until combined. Let cool a couple of minute before topping cake. Sprinkle with additional lavender buds if desired.
NOTE: This is a good chocolatey cake and the lavender adds an additional depth of flavor. You can make it without the lavender -- for it is a really good cake!
It's Friday and I'm joining Michael at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday.