August 25, 2010
It’s date night: time to make dinner
by Stephen WallachIssue of August 28, 2010/ 18 Elul, 5770
When you think about going out on a date, some type of food and some sort of activity are involved. A picnic can be romantic, but preparing the meal is rarely the event itself. But that's what six couples experienced on "Culinary Date Night" recently at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts in Flatbush. My wife and I went with another couple and I wasn't sure what to expect out of the program. Then again, my first date with Miriam ended with my tie being rung out in an elevator by partners of the law firm where I worked at the time, when I walked in drenched from head-to-toe from our walk in the rain. Life with her tends to be full of surprises.
We filed through a doorway and up a set of stairs to a room filled with a commercial oven, kitchen supplies, and two long metal tables with folding bar stools set in front of cutting boards. Each person got their own butcher knife and the evening was shaping up to be a cross between a slasher movie and a good game of Clue. While Professor Plum and Miss Scarlet were not there, we had our own cast of characters. There was the "pretty" couple, the newlyweds, the pregnant couple, and the couple that was so out of their element. When that wife said she had never tasted lox before in her life, the "pretty" husband asked her if she was really Ashkenaz.
Chef Mark D'Alessandro and his team of sous chefs and assistants helped make this a memorable night. He demonstrated the different dishes in the four-course kosher meal that he had designed. The first course was blini with smoked salmon, where he emphasized the need to make small pancakes, fried just so. Next, for the soup course, an easy but tasty white gazpacho, followed by a demonstration of the deboning of a chicken leg that was then stuffed, seared and cooked. Dessert was a poached pear accompanied by French toast strips, soaked in a coconut cream, alongside caramel sauce and sorbet.