With the amount of time I spend in a classroom, it can be a touch difficult for me to want to step inside another one after the 3:45 school bell rings. You can, however, coerce me if the classroom is also known as a kitchen and the one doing the instructing isn’t me! I love what I do, don’t get me wrong, but when I get to be the one on the opposite side of the classroom walls, I’m all in for a break.
I was recently lucky enough to attend a kitchen/classroom event and had the pleasure of being the learner for the night. Red Knot, the oh-so-welcoming restaurant at Union County’s Galloping Hill Golf Course just hosted a series of culinary classes. Besides the pizza session, which I will get to in a second, they also held cupcake and specialty beverage classes for the public.
Pizza Time was held under the instruction of Executive Chef Ralph Romano, and we learned the process of making our own pies in their wood-fired oven. Pastry Chef Cassandra Carlstrom was also on hand to educate us on the dos and don’ts of creating your own pizza dough at home.
The two-hour class was held inside Red Knot’s full-service kitchen. The class was small and the space was hot: this made for a great learning environment but also one in which you had to be able to take the heat!
Each one of us was able to shape our dough, top it with quality meats, cheeses, and various veggies and watch it cook and blister in less than five minutes in their 600°F oven! It was pretty cool. The results were excellent and had us wishing we had that type of heating device in our own homes. While dreaming of our own professional kitchens, we were treated to our own pizza creations. Whether we wanted to eat it in the kitchen while bouncing some questions off the chefs, take it to a table outside in the dining room or simply just take it home, one thing was guaranteed: we weren’t leaving Chef Romano’s kitchen hungry!
While the food alone was good enough to recommend this class, the tips we learned will pay off long into the future. Here are the pizza-making takeaways that I found most helpful:
– Get your oven to heat as high as it can go.
– Preheat, preheat, preheat!
– Cornmeal sprinkled on your pizza stone is a great way to prevent sticking and serves as a tastier alternative to flour.
– When making pizza dough at home, the flour is key – 00 flour is essential.
– Don’t go heavy on the sauce, it can make for a soggy situation!
– Put the oven rack as low as it can go.
Also worth noting was the pricing of the class. For a mere $25, you got a night out, a kitchen demo, a recipe booklet, a hand-crafted pizza, house wine, and a goody bag to go! Now that is quite a deal if I do say so myself!
Upcoming events are posted on Red Knot’s site.
Red Knot Restaurant at Galloping Hill Golf Course
3 Golf Drive
Gina attended this class compliments of Red Knot.
Gina Glazier is a born and raised Jersey Girl. She recently earned her Master’s degree in Reading & Literacy and is currently a teacher. Gina lives with her husband, Matt, who is her number one fan and shares in her passion for the culinary arts, minus the cooking part! Her “culinary life” became a reality a few years back when she was chosen to be a guest of The Star Ledger’s Munchmobile. This ignited Gina’s desire to be around food and all its counterparts all the time, meaning restaurants, cookbooks, TV shows, cooking, etc. Gina says her “biggest and most monumental experience” was being a part of The Star Ledger’s Pizza Patrol two years ago where she traveled the entire state, eating at 3, 4, sometimes 5 pizzerias a night for just about 6 months! You can check out her Hungry Teacher adventures, on her blog www.ahungryteacher.blogspot.com.