Hi everyone! Hope your week has been going well. Mine has been busy with cleaning and working… and eating, but I’m sure you could figure that. On Monday night Will and I ventured into a cold New York City only to warm up at Citrus. Just a few blocks from the incredible Fairway Market, this dimly-lit spot has just enough spunk to entice your taste buds simply by walking through the door.
We headed to the bar for a drink, a Rosita Margarita for me and a spiced margarita for him, and before we knew it it was time to go downstairs for the cooking class. My mom gave us this class as a joint Hanukkah present, and it was the perfect occasion to return to NYC after months in the District.
The private dining room was set up studio-style with tables facing a stage at the front, which featured two flat screen TVs, a mirror and a camera pointing down at the counter. Will and I were happily seated amongst glasses of Cava, and just as our appetite began to peak, Executive Chef and Owner Louis Lanza appeared. The class was called “Easy Entertaining,” so all of the dishes he made in front of us were designed to be simple and can be made in a home kitchen. The class wasn’t exactly a cooking class because we weren’t doing the cooking, but it was nice to sit back and enjoy the show:
I say show because Louis Lanza was extremely entertaining and he made the class interactive by passing around ingredients and taking questions throughout. Each new glass of wine signaled a new dish, and we would receive the dish mid-way through the on-stage preparation. The first course was an antipasto platter featuring prosciutto, fresh mozzarella and sweet South African cherry peppers, to name a few:
Next up was a glass of fruity, high-acid Albariño paired with goat’s feta and pear salad. These ingredients, in addition to avocados, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds and endives, were tossed with a homemade vinaigrette and baby arugula. The sweet chopped pears and cranberries were a perfect compliment to the bitter arugula and creamy dressing. I will definitely be making this dish in the future:
Chicken scarpariello with whole wheat penne followed and was made before our eyes in a matter of minutes. Louis preps his chicken for this dish by first tenderizing it and then dredging it in flour and spices before cooking it in the pan. This dish is delicious based on concept alone, but those small and hearty pieces of penne added great texture to the tender chicken. He used the cherry peppers from the antipasto in this dish and they worked really well; so sweet, perfect with the sausage:
Now it was time for the good stuff; red wine! Will and I are big fans of bold reds so we were very excited by the introduction of Rioja to the table. This wine was paired with a Holiday Paella, which was made with arborio, or short grain rice, as opposed to the long grain rice usually used. The result? Creamy paella that can be made fairly quickly (though it does need to be watched carefully while cooking). He served the dish with shrimp, littleneck clams, chorizo sausage and chicken:
My sweet tooth is bigger than my head so I was simultaneously excited and devastated when I saw this beautiful sliver of lemon ice cream cake. I was only devastated because I could have easily eaten about four more plates of this refreshing, graham cracker-based, meringue-topped dessert. I take that back, I could have eaten the entire cake. This was definitely the highlight of my night:
Other than spending it with this guy:
I would very highly recommend taking a cooking class at Citrus. This was the last class until March because Louis will be spending the winter making bourbon and ginger-infused maple syrup on his maple farm. I kid you not. As a bonus, he said that he teaches vegetarian classes. That lemon ice cream cake is fair game for egg-eating herbivores. I’m dreaming of eating it again already.