Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A'Table Gourmet Cooking - Private Chef Classes & Dinner Parties

My girlfriend, Kasandra, got an amazing gift for her birthday this year: a private in-home gourmet cooking class and meal. I was fortunate enough to be invited to share in the food and fun. The class was conducted by private chef, Aline Steiner of a' table Hawaii, on Oahu.

Not to be confused with a caterer, Aline comes to your home with uncooked ingredients and all the necessary cooking gear, to prepare a pre-selected meal for 1-25 people to be served in your own home. Using your kitchen, she can prepare the entire meal, without assistance from the host/hostess, for a dinner party or other special evening. Or, as done for us, she prepares an entire meal as a cooking class, for up to about 6 people, depending upon how many people the kitchen will comfortably accomodate.

The a'table process started with a pre-event meeting between Kasandra and Aline. Kasandra chose the specific dishes that we prepared from a few suggested menus Aline had provided. The evening of the party, we showed up with nothing but our appetitites and Aline had done all the shopping.
The Menu:
Sauteed Mushrooms with Aoli on Crostini

Scallops Tequila Ceviche in Cucumber Cups

Roasted Tomatoes w/ Saffron & Thyme

Seared Lamb Chops with Rosemary Balsamic Reduction Sauce

Ricotta Gnocchi

Chocolate Truffles &
Rustic Almond Apple

We started with the Truffles, made from chocolate ganache and dipped in walnuts, coconut or seseame seeds and finished with the Lamb. In between, we sampled the appetizers and made all of the other delicious dishes, including homemade gnocchi, without using any potato! This was my favorite - total comfort food. Recipe is below.

In the end, we enjoyed a delicious feast and I also learned a few things I didn't know. I would highly recommend Aline to anyone who would like to learn to prepare some new dishes, in a fun group setting, or for a dinner party, where you would like to really be able to relax and enjoy your guests.

a'table Hawaii 808-221-3784

Aline's Recipe for Ricotta Gnocchi
1 lb Whole Milk Ricotta
2 egg Yolks (M-L)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1 cup All-purpose Flour, plus extra for dusting the dough/board

Make sure your work surface and hands are very clean. Drain the ricotta over a colander to rid of any excess liquid. Have a large baking sheet, lined with parchment paper ready.

Into a large bowl, add the ricotta cheese, egg yolks, salt and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Mix well. Now add the flour and stir in briefly, just until combined - the dough will be quite sticky. Form a loaf and cut into 4 pieces and wrap 3 of them with plastic wrap.

Generously dust your work surface and hands with flour. Take the unwrapped piece of dough and roll it back and forth on the work surface, while applying gentle downward pressure. Form a long narrow cylinder of dough, about 18-20 inches in length, and about as thick as your index finger. Lightly dust with flour. Cut the cylinder into about 1 inch pieces and arrange in single layer on the baking sheet. Cover baking sheet with plastic wrap and set aside. Repeat these steps with the remaining 3 pieces of dough, placing the cut pieces on the same baking sheet, but making sure that all pieces are in a single layer and that none are touching, so that they won't stick to each other. You can freeze the gnocchi like this, so that you can bag them and store in the freezer.

To cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a generous pinch of salt, and reduce heat untilt he water bubbles lightly. Add the gnocchi and stir once, so they don't stick to the bottom of the pot - and then let cook until they start floating to the top. Depending upon the size of the gnocchi, this may take 2-4 minutes. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander. Spread out in single layer on a baking sheet. You can reheat the gnocchi gently in a sauce and serve, or pan fry in a little olive oil and/or butter to lightly brown them before tossing with cheese or adding to a sauce. Enjoy!


  1. Hey Yvonne! How did I not know your blog was up and running? You must have told me about it, but my short-term memory is not what it used to be... ;)

    This chef event sounds like it was a lot of fun. Looking forward to reading more about your Hawaii food adventures. xoxo, Dawn

  2. @Dawn - Hey baby - I didn't know you left a comment. So we are even!! I don't have this all figured out yet. It was so much fun to do the cooking chef event! I had no idea there was anthing here in Hawaii like this. Miss you!