Tuesday night, designer Nicole Miller hosted a cooking lesson/dinner at her art-filled Tribeca penthouse. While most New Yorkers use their ovens for stiletto storage (guilty!), Miller is quite the foodie. "I was a judge on Iron Chef," she said. "Brad Farmerie and Cat Cora competed on the episode where the secret ingredient was maple syrup. There's no way you can be prepared for that. I’ve been on a bunch of cooking shows, like Rocco Dispirito’s show, ['Rocco's Dinner Party'] where he has men cooking dinner for him. And then, have you seen the show called “The Chopping Block?” They have a chef and front-of-house person in teams, they were all competing against each other to start a restaurant."
While Miller might be a good cook in her own right, she still asked Chef Anna Boiardi, author of "Delicious Memories" and the granddaughter of Mario Boiardi who founded Chef Boyardee, to come give us a hand. To start, Boiardi instructed us on making a quick appetizer: phyllo pastry filled with apricot jam and baked brie. In less than 10 minutes, we had a tray of restaurant-worthy offerings. "I am going to make mine more brie-heavy," Miller said, filling her phyllo shells to the brim with the cheese, leaving room for only a dollop of jam.
Next, Boiardi instructed us on making a simple roasted tomato and onion topping for penne and gnocci with sage butter... all from scratch! The secret to making the delicacy, apparently, is using a ricer to mash up exactly 2 and a half pounds of slowly boiled potatoes. "It is an inexpensive tool that you can use for a lot of purposes, people always want to use a processor but it ruins the consistency of the potatoes." Who knew? After a few glasses of chardonnay and devouring the fruits of our labor, Miller admitted, "Italian food is one of my favorites... I may have to try this recipe on my own. You know, if you’re a professional chef, you just know how to do all this stuff. But I think they just formulate their menu and they tell their staff this, this and this and they just get it done. It's great to have some tips."
Take a peek in our gallery below to see photos from the dinner and cooking lesson:
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