|Deb Paquette teaching at "Salud!" Cooking School|
For those of you who are not local to Nashville, Deb owned and operated my very favorite local restaurant, Zola, until a couple of years ago, when she and her husband made a decision to do something different. I thought she had left Nashville, but it turns out they never did completely leave. She's been involved with menu planning and helping a few new restaurants get themselves up and running (among them, Local Taco, and the soon to be opened Urban Grub).
But one day, about a couple of months ago, due to a terrible case of the trots (that I blame indirectly on Deb, because I ended up having an AWFUL meal at a restaurant that was NOT Zola, since Zola no longer exists) while I was anxiously making my rumble-tummied way to the bathroom at Whole Foods, I happened on the catalog that informed me that Whole Foods had a cooking school. And IN that cooking school, in a few short weeks, none other than DEB PAQUETTE would be teaching me to think "Outside the Box", culinarily speaking.
Well, pass the toilet paper, and SIGN ME UP!!!!!!!!!
I had the time of my life. (cue music).
I had a front row seat, and Deb chatted away with her rapt audience, as she made 3 soups:
Roasted Cantaloupe Soup
Roasted Beet, Carrot and Red Bell Pepper Soup
Smoked Onion Soup (she SMOKED CREAM to make this soup! Yes, I'm serious! Think about THAT!!!)
|Beet, Carrot, and Red Bell Pepper Soup: look at that glorious color!!!|
|Roasted Cantaloupe Soup: garnished with Bacon, Balsamic Vinegar and Frozen Buttermilk|
Pork Tenderloin done 3 ways, with a Trifecta of Rubs:
|Pork with a Trifecta of Rubs: Turkish Rub with Hummus, Feta and Mint/Onion Relish, Moroccan Roasted Pork with Mango Relish, and French Pork with Olive Aioli|
. And her very own super special chocolate chip cookies.
I took a few pictures. (They're not the best. Sorry. But you'll get the idea.)
I took copious notes, as pearls of culinary wisdom dropped from her lips.
I tasted. I sighed with delight.
I sparked. I fizzed. For the lady who knows what time it is.
(Sadder But Wiser Girl/The Music Man reference. :-D )
Gosh, it was great. It fed my mind, my body, and my spirit.
I'm not going to give you any of her recipes until I have done a trial run myself at home, but I have no doubt I can replicate them. A few will take some special spice mixtures I'll need to concoct myself.
Ras el hanout is one of those. It's a Moroccan blend of spices. Deb pronounced it "razzle" as in dazzle. The name means "top of the shop" in Arabic, and refers to a mixture of the best spices a seller has to offer. Typically it might contain the "5 c's": cardamom, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, as well as turmeric and nutmeg.
The Moroccan pork Deb topped with a mango lime pineapple ginger walnut relish. Aiyee!!! The flavors!!! My tongue went off on the road to Morocco! (cue Crosby and Hope)
The Turkish rub had a blackened spice called kimizi berbere in it (toasted cayenne and paprika that Deb toasts outside due to the potent fumes put off by the cayenne. as well as 2 teaspoons of fenugreek, a kind of yellow grainy stuff used in curries. She topped her Turkish pork with hummus, feta, and a mint/onion relish.
My very favorite was the French Pork with Olive Oil Aioli. Sacré Bleu!!! My tastebuds were in heaven, I assure you! The rub itself contained fennel seed, coriander seed, redpepper flakes, fresh rosemary, dried tarragon, granulated garlic and lemon zest. Cue Pepé Le Pew: Come weeth me to the Casbah, and we will make beeyouteeful music togezair. And the aioli on top? Oooooooh la la!! C'était magnifique!!!
I am making that one FOR SURE!!! And I'll report back when I do.
|No, that's not blood on her apron from fending me off. It's beet juice.|
My heartfelt thanks to Deb, for giving me my very own Big Night. It was a night I will never forget, as long as I live!!!