2.12.2007

Here's What's Cooking

For Christmas, my mother gave me a cooking class. It turned out to be a 3-course Valentine's Date Night meal for couples at the local chef store. You know, the place with the monster gas stoves and every utensil you never knew you needed.

The class was a few hours on Saturday afternoon, so we got a sitter for Helen, and I got all dolled up to go cook something other than macaroni & cheese.

The kitchen was full with six couples and two chefs. Each couple was paired up with another couple, so once we had our instructions, the four of us stood around looking at each other, like "who's gonna separate the yolks?"

All different skill levels were represented. I felt kind of sorry for the couple we cooked with. Chopping fresh veggies presented a major problem for both of them. Either they eat out A LOT, or they must be pretty good at heating stuff in the microwave.

Another group just let one girl do everything. She chopped green onions like one of those fancy cooking shows where everything flashes by so fast, it's a little scary. I was jealous of her, wishing I could use a knife like that.

Brian & I made a vinaigrette for a DELICIOUS spinach salad with dried cherries, toasted walnuts & blue cheese. We also made lump crab cakes with a yummy avocado salsa, and butterfly shrimp (breaded & fried) with a tangy aeoli sauce. There was also a beef tenderloin not really worth mentioning, but the dessert was creme brulee.

We were supposed to use their kitchen torches to make our own caramelized sugar, but the torches weren't working. None of them would stay lit long enough. The chefs said they never use those little kitchen torches in restaurants, and they don't really recommend them for home use, either. One of them worked in a restaurant with 3 different flavors of creme brulee every night (!), and they used a real blowtorch. At that point, several of the guys in the class offered to head down to the hardware store to pick one up.

After watching them struggle to get the sugar browned for us, and then enjoying that delicious dessert, I realized maybe a blowtorch for Christmas wasn't such a bad idea after all.

In all, the class took just over 3 hours, including the dining portion where we all made yummy noises. Obviously we don't have that kind of time at home to cook with Helen around (when we get home from daycare, she throws off her jacket and says "Eat!"), but it was good to see how easy it is to make some of these things.

We'll definitely have those crab cakes again soon.

3 comments:

Mom/Nana/Neena said...

Watch out--you have a birthday coming up. What's in this package? Ooh, it's a blowtorch! Just what every girl needs...
I'm glad you enjoyed your cooking class. Sounds like you and Brian had lots of fun. I will be trying it soon.

Dad said...

We are standing ready to let you show us your newly learned skills. I always wanted a blowtorch anyway.

shaas said...

See, I told you that blowtorches were handy for creme brulee! I have a great salad that is spinach, blueberries, blue cheese and toasted pecans. I'll have to send you the recipe.