A monthly reflection on all things food from The Candid Cooks.
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We’re starting a new series of posts, Monthly Morsels, to talk all things food! Each month we’ll share stories from our kitchen, recommend products we love, and update you on what’s happening behind the scenes.
It’s been an exciting year so far as we’re diving deeper into the world of cooking. We started The Candid Cooks in 2021 and after a full year of food blogging, there’s no shortage of recipe ideas around here. On top of that, our desire to keep learning about cooking techniques and new cuisines has only grown!
Over the past few months, there have been a few notable developments in our cooking journey:
- Alex gifted me the Mastering Pizza cookbook by Marc Vetri for Christmas, so we could learn how to master pizza together.
- We began our 2022 food series, Pizza Of The Month, to try some crazy pizza creations with the techniques we’re learning from the cookbook.
- We subscribed to MasterClass and have already completed two full cooking courses and started a third!
Making pizza dough from scratch can be challenging. The first time we ever tried it, we followed a recipe that required a stand mixer – before we owned a stand mixer. The dough turned out to be an oily mess and didn’t rise properly, so we ended up using store-bought dough instead. Needless to say, this experience turned us off of making homemade pizza dough for a while.
Then we invested in a Cuisinart stand mixer, thinking we would absolutely need one if we were to try making homemade pizza dough again (we lovingly named it Luigi for this reason). It has indeed helped us a ton when it comes to making pizza dough – there are plenty of recipes out there that require a stand mixer for good reason! But one of the most surprising things we learned from the very first Mastering Pizza recipe we tried, Roman-Style Al Taglio Dough, was that you actually don’t need a stand mixer to make incredible pizza dough.
Yes, that picture is the very first pizza we made with a dough recipe from Vetri’s cookbook. This was only the second time we made pizza dough from scratch, after a complete failure on our first attempt! And it was AMAZING. The crust was perfectly crispy on the outside, yet soft and fluffy on the inside. It had just the right amount of chewiness you hope for in a classic Italian pizza.
This first pizza gave us incredible faith in the Mastering Pizza cookbook, and it hasn’t let us down once since then. We were totally impressed with Vetri’s ability to successfully teach us how to make pizza dough at home through written instructions and a few pictures. His recipes are thorough and easy to follow, and he’s certainly an expert in all things pizza. He covers a thousand different ways to make pizza dough, and all the different ways to cook a pizza in different types of ovens at various temperatures, to give you the formula for crafting the perfect at-home pizza.
We’re well on our way to mastering pizza after just a few months with this cookbook. So if you want to master pizza too, we highly recommend purchasing a copy for yourself!
Only three and a half months in, MasterClass is already one of the best investments we’ve made in ourselves as we develop our cooking skills. Each course is packed with a ton of practical lessons and tips, and comes with a class guide for applying what you’ve learned. When it comes to the cooking classes in particular, the class guides are like mini cookbooks you can download and keep forever. With even more recipes than what’s covered in the videos, these class guides alone are enough for us to already want to renew our subscription for next year!
So far, we’ve completed two cooking courses and have started a third:
- Alice Waters Teaches Home Cooking: Alice Waters is known as the pioneer of the farm-to-table movement. So it’s no surprise we learned the value of sourcing fresh, local ingredients and how to cook more sustainably in this course. She offers up some great tips for shopping at farmer’s markets and making the most out of fresh ingredients, with recipes like the Rosemary Roasted Almonds pictured above (we made these and they’re delicious). The most impactful lesson we learned from her? Don’t be afraid to use your hands!
- Roy Choi Teaches Intuitive Cooking: In contrast to Alice’s peaceful demeanor and thoughtful approach to cooking, Roy Choi’s class was upbeat, fun, and a little crazy. He shares creations from his famous food truck while teaching you how to use your senses for cooking, rather than hard and fast recipes. Most importantly, this course taught us to trust our intuition in the kitchen.
- Thomas Keller Teaches Cooking Techniques: We’re only partway through this class but we’ve already learned so much about the cookware and utensils every chef needs, plus some basic techniques for preparing vegetables. Thomas Keller is a classically trained chef, so he teaches the foundational techniques that some self-taught cooks might be lacking. We know there’s a ton we can learn from him, so we can’t wait to keep watching!
We definitely recommend MasterClass to anyone who enjoys learning. Whether you’re just starting out or want to level up your cooking skills, these cooking classes are some of the best resources we’ve found online. You can browse their classes here to see if anything sparks your interest, and sign up for their annual membership here!
P.S. – MasterClass isn’t just for cooking! There are classes for literally anything you could imagine on here. So if you’ve always wanted to learn about producing electronic dance music or performing world-class magic tricks (or any other niche skill), you’ll probably find something interesting in addition to the cooking classes.