It Goes With (Almost) Everything!
My lessons usually start off by going over the menu and order of things we’ll prepare. Then once we get going, some technique is covered… primarily with garlic preparation being #1. Yes, garlic is an integral taste component in many dishes and sure, it gives a depth of flavor but it is completely coincidental that it ends up in every dish I make. Fine, I’ll admit it. My name is Shayne Weinstock and I’m a garlic-aholic.
Now I’m not saying I would put it in a batch of cookies or anything, although I have been known to make a mean bacon-toffee cookie, but if loving garlic is wrong, than I don’t want to be right! To be honest, I think every savory dish can benefit from a little onion/garlic combo. Oh and don’t even get me started on roasted garlic…the mellow, creamy, sweet goodness…okay okay I’m getting off track. Back to technique training.
It’s funny but I always assume that things I show people are common knowledge and they are going to look at me and say, “Hello, I learned that from the Barefoot Contessa last week.” But what’d ya know, turns out culinary school was a necessity to be in the position to teach others. I just assumed (and yes, I know about assuming) that with all this Food TV going on, all the secrets tips of the trade are out there already for the taking but good thing for me, they’re not. Here I was thinking that they would already know everything I was showing them just because they’ve seen it on The Food Network. But hey, I watch Project Runway, that doesn’t mean I can sew a dress. Although that would be awesome!
The first lesson I had started off by marinating some flank steak and, as you’ve probably guessed, garlic was the first ingredient to end up on the cutting board. (On the hand-made cutting board she made in architecture school, I might add.) I showed her my guidelines to peeling, chopping and mashing garlic and she was amazed. She actually said she just learned so much and already got her money’s worth. That totally shocked me but I was so pleasantly surprised. I definitely found my comfort zone in this teaching thing. It’s definitely the simple things that impress people the most with cooking. You don’t have to be a fancy schmancy chef with loads of equipment; all you need is a little knowledge and the ability to connect with people. Oh and of course, some garlic!