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December 31, 2011 / beatricebunny

Fancy Cooking

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My husband and I attended a cooking class at the The Viking Cooking School (as in the fancy appliances, not as in the warlike peoples) in Franklin TN.  The class was themed around a decadent New Years Eve dinner party meal.  Dishes included: lobster mac n brie gratin, steak diane flambe, roasted asparagus, and cheddar rosemary biscuits.   I love these classes, and I always try and take away some good tips in addition to the recipes we make that night.  Tonight it was tip as to why chefs sprinkle salt and pepper from so high up rather than right down next to the food.  It is so that the seasoning becomes more fully dispersed and so that the impact makes the pepper stick to the food a little better – or so the instructor told us.  I also like the little lessons on how to cook a meal so that the parts get done at the same time.  This is a challenge for me.  The gratin was the most time consuming, so we made it first, but baked it last.

This was by far the best group of people that we have taken classes with, though I still wish that I could get a group of my friends together and do a class.

To me, the hit of the night was the gratin.  It was amazing – cheesy and rich with just the right mix of flavors.  Lobster mac n cheese has become a trendy “thing” in restaurants over the last few years, and I can tell you that I haven’t had any as good as the one we made in the this class.

Plus, there is something really special about making “fancy” food with your own hands.  For me, anyway, there is a moment when you take your first bite of something and you forget just for as second that you made it and just experience the taste.  And it tastes JUST RIGHT.  And then, the realization that you made this comes rushing back.  It’s a lovely feeling.

In realty, I would not make all of these foods together.  They are all rich, heavy, and decadent.  I thought each piece was amazing, but I’d serve them with lighter contrasting foods – steak diane with its cream sauce with a delicious salad, the gratin with a light meat or no meat, and the biscuits with the steak, but not with the gratin.  I like having all these recipes and techniques in my bag of tricks though.

Also, flambe is a lot of fun in someone else’s kitchen. 🙂

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