Lesson 64: Bring your momma to school day

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I woke up this morning and peeked out my window to see huge snowflakes coming down and coating my backyard. I thought that school would definitely be closed, but as the morning went on and the snow kept falling, school was still running on schedule. My dad offered to drive me to the train station so that I wouldn't have to dig out my car when I get back from the city. Then, my mom surprised me by asking if it would be a good day for her to come to class with me to observe! I have been dying to have my mom see me in action in the kitchen, so I was very excited. Today was the perfect day for her to come since we were making homemade mozzarella and recipes from the Campagnia region of Italy (where my mom's father is from). My mom inspired me to start cooking and has taught me the basics of cooking and baking, so it was a special treat for me to have her with me today.

I am so excited that I made homemade mozzerella today! It was such a fun, easy process.. my mom and I are going to try and get cheese curd so we can make it at home. There is nothing better than making your own cheese and eating it right away while its warm, gooey, and so fresh.

Each group started out by crumbling about 6 pounds of cheese curd (this was a lot of curd):

Then, we poured hot water (180 degrees) over the cheese curd and let it sit for a few minutes:

We each put on 3 layers of gloves so that the hot water wouldn't burn our hands as we stretched out the curds to form the cheese:

We let it sit for a while longer and formed small balls of cheese. After this, it was ready to eat!

We snacked on some with fresh basil and then made "Mozzarella in Carrozza", a fried mozzarella cheese sandwhich:

My mom helped me with these plating designs!

I also made a fantastic potato dish, "Gatto di Patate". I mixed together cooked potatoes, parmesan, soppressata, egg, half & half, mascarpone, and smoked mozzarella. I layered it in small aluminum cups with some of our fresh mozzerella. I topped each "potato cup" with some more fresh mozz and breadcrumbs. They baked in the oven until they were nice and brown. Unfortunately, mine didn't unmold too nicely for some reason. This is a picture of the other group's plate that was more worthy of a picture than my own:

Other dishes of the day included Agnello Cacio e Uova: Lamb stew with eggs and pecorino:

Perciatelli con Salsa di Pomodoro e Ricotta: A hollow spaghetti with San Marzano tomatoes, fresh basil, pepperoncino, and ricotta. This pasta was so fresh and so creamy from the ricotta. Delicioso!

Pesce all'Acqua Pazza: Sea Bass poached in white wine, garlic, tomatoes, parsley and pepperoncino:

Rigatoni con Cavoifiore: pasta with cauliflower, pancetta, breadcrumbs, and pecorino. This was my favorite dish of the day. I loved the salty flavor of the pancetta, the crunch of the breadcrumbs, and the nuttiness of the pecorino.
The extra potato skins from our potato molds got put to good use. Nora made these tasty stuffed potato skins out of some of the extra ingredients we had on hand. She's so good at utilizing all of the food we have available to us!
I had a lovely day with my mom and was so happy she was able to see what I do every day! Like I said, she has inspired me so much and she is the main reason why I am here today. She supports everything that I do and is the most caring and loving person. I strive to be the amazing woman that she is. Thanks, mom for making today special.


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