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Cooking Lesson at Home – A Night in Spain

We love taking cooking classes together! It makes for a fun date night and we always learn something new.

In addition to getting married this past year, we both sold our condos and bought a house. The realtors who made it all happen gave us a gift of a home cooking class to celebrate. While we’ve gone to many cooking classes, we’d never had a cooking class come to us.

We worked with Jennifer from Pink Sparrow to choose a menu. Since we’d never cooked much Spanish food, we selected that as a theme. We’d start with ham and manchego croquettes, move on to an entrée of chicken and chorizo paella, and finish with a custardy flan – all items new to our cooking repertoire. Yes, it promised to be a rich evening of food!

Even though we have a fairly well-equipped kitchen, Jennifer came with all of the groceries and supplied necessary for our night in Spain. All she asked for was a clean kitchen. We threw in a little music for ambience and popped the cork on a well-rounded 2013 Ontañón Tempranillo. We found this bottle at Vino Volo.

The flan came first because it needed the most cooking time. We made a golden caramel, lined a loaf pan with it, and filled it full of custardy goodness. Then we popped it into the oven for the next hour. On reason we’ve shied away from caramel and other candy making is the sticky mess it creates. But Jennifer showed us an easy clean just by heating everything back up with a little water, dissolving the sugar, and rinsing it all away.

We love ham. We love cheese. And, of course, anything is better fried, right? Well, the ham and manchego croquettes turned out even better than one could imagine…and they were so easy. We thought we wouldn’t eat them all. Jennifer said we would. And we did. It’s been hard to not make those again, but summer is coming and we’re trying to be good.

Lastly, was the paella, an easy one-pot meal that can be changed up with a variety of ingredients. Most people associate paella with having some sort of seafood in it – some clams and prawns perhaps. We may have mentioned that neither of us cares for seafood. So, we used chicken and chorizo instead – still part of the Spanish repertoire. We cooked up the meat, sautéed the vegetables and spices in the same pan, added the rice and some stock and let cook for about 15-20 minutes. A sprinkling of parsley and it was ready to eat.

Taking a cooking class in our own kitchen taught us a lot of great tips that we could immediately incorporate into our cooking lives. And, unlike a cooking class somewhere else, we only had a short walk to the couch to unwind after stuffing ourselves. The cooking class lived on as we continued to enjoy the flan for the next few days, dreamed about making more croquettes, and even recreated the paella for Jessica’s parents who loved our newfound mastery of this Spanish classic!

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