Amuse-bouche and an Italian Compote

I love cooking classes.   If you have never been, I highly recommend that you sign up yourself and your significant other or best friend.    I have learned so much from each and every class we have attended.    Here are some things to expect.

Our experience with cooking classes has not been at CIA satellites or formal culinary schools.   They have been at wineries, restaurants, and cooking supply stores.   Seek out these places and sign up!

Don’t think you will get your hands dirty.  Most classes that we have attended have not been hands on.   But, that is fine.   We have gotten to see some very fine chefs work their culinary magic.   (Most are entertaining as well!)

Be prepared for some obnoxiousness.   There is always one—always one guest who has traveled to Italy or Spain or France (or whatever region is being highlighted), has the exact same immersion circulator at home that the chef is using, or is an expert on every wine pairing.    (More about an obnoxious trio from this  adventure later.)

Do expect some fantastic food with LOTS of good advice, information, and tips.

(This is the second post in a series chronicling our cooking class with Chef Marcus Vause of Tavolo.)

Our evening started with an amuse-bouche of a crosotini with chicken liver mousse and cherry mostarda.

Crostini with chicken liver mousse and cherry mostarda

Crostini with chicken liver mousse and cherry mostarda

I am pretty scared of liver (which harkens back to the days of mom cooking HUGE beef livers with onions.)    But, this class was all about adventurous eating (remember, octopus was on the menu), so I grabbed this little bit of chicken liver mousse and popped it in my mouth.   I wish I would have savored the moment more.   It was divine!

According to Chef Marcus, mostarda is a fruity condiment made of fruit, reduced vinegar, red wine, and mustard.    He actually used mustard seeds in his dish.       Apparently making it is a multi-day process.

Unfortunately, Chef Marcus did not share this recipe with us, but I was so intrigued with his mostarda that I decided to seek out a recipe.    I found one at Food & Wine for a dried cherry-apricot version, but I wanted mine to be more rich and berryful.  🙂   Of course, I tweaked and adapted it and used what I had on hand.


My version is not as pretty and as Chef Marcus’.

Triple Berry Mostarda
Adapted from Grace Parisi’s Dried Apricot and Cherry Mostarda

1 c. frozen raspberries, thawed
1/4 c. dried cranberries
1/4 c. dried blueberries
1 t. dried shallots
1/2 c.  red wine
3 T.  red wine vinegar
2 T.  honey
1 t. brown mustard seeds, crushed
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 T. unsalted butter

In a small saucepan, combine the raspberries, cranberries, and blueberries, shallots, wine, vinegar, and honey and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.   Stir in  mustard seeds, Dijon mustard,  and butter.   Simmer until the mostarda is jammy, 30-40  minutes longer.  Serve the mostarda warm or at room temperature.

I am ready to pair this with a cheese plate, pork loin,  roasted chicken or on a goat cheese crostini.   (If I get really crazy, maybe I will make chicken liver mousse.)

Thanks to Chef Marcus for the inspiration to try making a mostarda.

Stay tuned for the next recipe:   Charred Octopus.   (No, really.)

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