Good Stock Dinner with a Spanish Flair

Meet Sandy. You may remember him and his wife Angie from a previous post. But did I mention then that they have started holding recreational cooking classes at their modern farmhouse in Hatfield, MA? Well, they have. And recently I treated myself in the best way I knew how and attended a "demo dinner."

There are three important elements to make clear about these dinners:
1.) You will eat food that is ludicrously delicious.

2.) You will learn new things. So many new things! About food, about cooking, and about people.

3.) You will leave dinner with a smile and a new set of friends.

Lemme just get right into the menu... 'Cause let's be honest. You want to know, and I want to tell you. As we all settled around the oversized butcher block island in the D'Amato's kitchen, we were handed a packet of recipes and pens to take notes. Oh, and wine. Delicious and copious wine.

These crispy bread sticks... don't even get me started ::drool::
The first course was a gazpacho, which Sandy made in front of us. He pointed out tips and tricks as he moved along, and (a great highlight for me) he included the group in decisions about seasoning. He discussed the ins and outs of balance in your food, particularly of salt and acid... Invaluable insight to anyone who hasn't had the luxury of attending culinary school or working under a chef.

Green Tomato and Grape Gazpacho (which I would have gladly bathed in)

And then we moved to the dining room and sat down to an absolutely gorgeous meal: Mussel Timbale with Green Olives and Romesco Sauce; Pan-Roasted Monkfish with Paella Rice, Chorizo, and Clam Broth; and Chocolate Flan with Raisins and Orange Compote... It was no joke! Sandy and Angie ate with us, and, though I know it sounds cliche, we all shared stories and laughed as if we'd known each other for years. It was remarkable. 

Pan-Roasted Monkfish with Paella Rice, Chorizo, and Clam Broth

Trust me when I say that this kind of luxurious treat is a good decision. You eat like a king, you learn so many things, and you have an amazing time. Also, the D'Amatos' house is g.o.r.g.e.o.u.s. and they promise to teach you how to play P├ętanque if you visit in the warmer months. I mean, what more could a girl ask for? Check out their winter schedule of classes!