A World of Spice: HOT!! (At the Astor Center)

A few months ago I took a cooking class at the Astor Center. The topic was A World of Spice: HOT!! It was the first edition of a three part series, highlighting seasonings that share a flavor profile. The first on hot, the second on sweet, and the third on savory.

We started the day off with a tutorial from Michael Krondl. We learned that heat comes in many forms, some spices give off a searing sensation like hot Hungarian paprika, some offer a fast kick of heat like the Sichuan pepper, and others provide a dull burn like  green peppercorns. We smelled and sampled different varieties of dried capsicums (Spanish pimentón, Aleppo pepper, chili powder, cayenne and others) as well as peppercorns (black, white, green, red, Sichuan and Melegueta)

Once we had a good understanding of each ingredient we broke into teams and created one huge and deliciously spicy meal! 

Michael Krondl

The fist appetizer we made was...

Goat Cheese with Piment d'Espelette and Herbs 

The second was...

Romesco Dip


The romesco dip & goat cheese with french bread & raw fennel

For a salad course we made...

Daikon Salad with Sichuan Peppercorns and Chilies

 Dressing for our salad - vinegars, peanut oil, sugar, salt, dried Thai chilies, fresh red chilies, Sichuan peppercorns, and fresh ginger! SPICY!!!!

We also cooked two entrees! The first was...

Pan-Roasted Duck Breast with Melegueta Pepper and Spicy Plums

The second entree was...

 Le Bifteck Aphrodisiaque





Last but certainly not least was dessert! 

Balsamic-Roasted Pears with Pepper, Honey, & Roquefort 


yummy wine pairings...

I had so much fun at this class! Michael was a great teacher, we learned a lot about spicy spices and had a great time cooking and eating together!

The only bad news is that the Astor Center has stopped doing hands on cooking classes :( 

They do offer cooking demos with wine pairings so maybe I’ll check one of those out sometime, but I’m sure I’ll miss doing the cooking myself. 

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