We helped out at Gretchens Cooking School last night for the first time this season. This one was a food and wine pairing, with Jim Kowalski of Farm to Market Bakery doing the food and Renee Stark of Noble Wines providing the drink. Jim has a really nice feel for flavors – if you haven’t checked out his place in Edison I sincerely urge you to do so.
The menu for the class included green salads with tomato-goat cheese crostini, handmade fettucine alfredo with fresh Dungeness crab, and pear-ginger tarts. The salads were drizzled with a maple syrup and balsamic vinegar dressing which was surprisingly delicious, and Renee’s choice of a light French rose was a good match with the goat cheese toasts. I’m not generally a huge fan of green salad, especially when the dressing isn’t tossed with the greens, but this was very good.
I wasn’t keeping track of Jim’s alfredo recipe, as I was kept busy cranking out more fettucine, but I know it had a lot of cream.
The sauce was served over a pile of fresh pasta and a handful of crab meat, then topped with a pinch of heirloom tomato, shredded basil, and toasted pine nuts. It was just as tasty (and rich) as it looks. A Sauvignon Blanc was a very good match for this, its grapefruit flavors cutting through the cream.
Finally, slices of pear-ginger pie went out. Jim won’t divulge his proprietary pie crust recipe, but you can buy his pies at the bakery and try to suss it out. Renee brought a tawny port for this, which seemed to go over well.
If you’re interested in taking classes at Gretchens, they have just started up for the season and should have plenty of openings left. I want to make a special plug for the wine tastings – they’re affordable, educational and have great food, and if they don’t get enough reservations our favorites will be cancelled, which would make me sad.
Also, Gretchens is trying to get their Facebook page off and running. Check it out!