Olé Traditional Spanish Cooking Class – An Ode to My Time in Spain

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Knowing my love of good food, good company, and anything Spanish, I was invited to attend the Olé Traditional Spanish Cooking Class earlier this month. Housed in a tucked away mall just outside of Fort Lauderdale, I was pleasantly surprised at the beautifully equipped kitchen and dining area that sets the stage for Chef Jorge’s culinary classes called Homemade Chefs. Designed around a theme, each class focuses on a specific cuisine of a region or culture, its culinary delights, and libations. Classes on Greek, Mexican, Passover, and other cuisines have already been covered; thus, I certainly was lucky to attend a class that reminded me of my years in Spain.

With the guidance of Chef Jorge and Sous Chef/sister Vanessa, the intimate group of ten aspiring cooks and foodies gathered around the prep table with whisks, knives, measuring cups, peelers, and more to start assembling a menu consisting of:

Tostada Catalana with Serrano Ham

Classic Tortilla Española

Torrijas with Jerez

Paella Valenciana

Sangria

On the menu, I immediately noticed a couple of my favorites; one in particular, I cook to this day.  While in Spain, like many travelers or expats, I gathered many recuerdos including pictures, artesania, jewelry, and more, but what has come in most handy have been recipes. I returned from my travels with numerous handwritten recipes from my friends’ grandmothers and family cooks. The one that I perfected was the Tortilla Española. In fact, it has become a staple at my dinner parties. However, the other recipes on the class’ menu, I needed to polish OR completely learn from scratch.

Always eager for a never done before recipe, I stood in front of the prep table for Torrijas with Jerez. Basically, this is a very light dessert similar to the breakfast favorite French Toast. Day-old or stale bread is soaked in an egg, milk, cinnamon, and sherry. Then, the slices of bread are fried and covered with a reduction of orange juice, sugar, maple syrup, more sherry, and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. As this was one of the last dishes to be put together and requires the least amount of cooking or prep time, I had plenty of time to assist in the flipping of the Tortilla Española, enjoy sangria, and dance a little flamenco (music is always played to create a more festive ambiance).

Included here and throughout the post are links with recipes for your enjoyment.

Buen provecho!!

Here’s to more GOOD TIMES AND GOOD STORIES!

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