Cooking Class: Sicilian Dinner Party

One Saturday morning last month I conducted a cooking class for the winners of an auction at the Stars for Hope event back in January of this year. The auction item they bid for and won was a basket of MHK products combined with an in-home cooking class that I would eventually teach in their home. I’ve also taught this same class to a group of women in Cleveland- that was so much fun!

A few of the goods I brought to teach the class

In this class I teach people how to create a Sicilian dinner party, complete with Chicken Cutlets (which can easily be turned into a Chicken Parmesan dish), Quick Tomato Sauce, Sicilian Roasted Pepper Salad and for dessert, a completely halal Tiramisu.

A few of the cooking tools used to create the recipes

I love these small and colorful peppers that we have at our grocery stores right now for $1.99 for the whole bag. If you can’t get these, you should be able to find regular size multi-colored peppers which are inexpensive this time of year since they are seasonal.

We started out  the class by roasting the peppers so they would have ample time to sweat before having to do the dirty job of peeling the skins off so you can get down to the best tasting ever pepper. Ever.

You can put the peppers in a plastic bag, though I prefer a brown bag just because I don’t like the idea of plastic up so closely against my food. In this case, I just didn’t have a paper bag. If I did, however, I would put the paper bag into a plastic bag to catch any of the juices that inevitably come through the bag.

That’s what I love about cooking. Improvising where needed.

We moved on to bread the chicken with rustic bread crumbs flavored with dried Italian herbs. See the shredded fresh Parmesan on top? It should have been included in the bread crumb mixture but we were so busy gabbing we forgot to put them there. They were just fine sprinkled on top.

Frying the Chicken

I like to use grape seed oil for frying because it’s light and has a netural flavor. I don’t fry anything on super high heat so, but grape seed oil has a good tolerance or heat so it’s a nice alternative to using olive oil, which I like to save for uncooked foods as much as possible.

Doesn’t it look good and golden? Don’t think about calories. It’s real food. Moderation is everything….

Next, we peeled the peppers- actually, my assistant Stephanie did most of that work. She’s a trooper. Hopefully you guys will meet her soon.

We added some extra virgin olive oil, fresh minced garlic, capers and Kalamata olives and sea salt to create a Sicilian Roasted Pepper Salad— not from a jar.

Moving on to dessert- the best part….

Making Espresso for Tiramisu

I made a big old pot of espresso with this vintage espresso maker my mom gave to her friend who gave it to her mother who didn’t know what to do with it so gave it back to my mom. It ended up in my kitchen. I make enough coffee to fill it up every day.

With all that extra coffee, you can soak Italian cookies (called Savoiardi, or lady fingers in English) in cooled coffee.

A perfect blend of mascarpone cheese, sugar and a few other good things, you have the cream to spread on every layer of soaked cookies.

The top is dusted with cocoa powder, a bit of coffee grinds and nuts, if you like. I had a whole lot of walnuts I wanted to use up, so I added them to the top.

Keep in the fridge for a couple of hours to set and serve to guest who will be happy and energized. Tiramisu literally means, ‘pick me up’.

Slices so nicely and firmly, doesn’t it?

I’ll fill you in on the full recipe in another post so you can have it for an Iftar or ‘Eid party, insha’allah.


Cooking Halal Cooking Classes by Yvonne

If you’d like me to come to your home, school, business or organization for a cooking class in any ethnic cuisine or subject, check out this page for more details and/or send me an email to: contact@myhalalkitchen.com to arrange a phone call about your individual needs.

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