First Cooking Class with First Class Cooking

I’ve never really thought of doing this, but SW recently mentioned it would be fun to take a cooking class together…(uh hem…is that a hint?).  He doesn’t recall coming up with the idea, but he did!  Anyways I thought it was a great idea (kudos to SW for it!) and it would be something both new and fun for us to do together. I started looking into local cooking classes and found this one very close by, so we decided to check it out.

Emily Dellas’ First Class Cooking:
http://www.emilydellas.com/

I’m not sure why I was so weary about it before going…I have weird anxieties I guess.  Other people worry about the future, or how to save the earth..I’m worrying about a cooking class :T
In my head, I’m thinking:
Will we just be standing there watching the instructor cook/chop/etc?…BORING!
What if the food is weird with weird flavors?…Grape leaves?? sounds sorta Meditteranean..ehhh..(I’m still in the midst of trying to branch out, okay?)
Will it just be a basic beginners level class teaching us how to boil water?!!??

Okay, so I was definitely over thinking it!  I had to just tell myself it’s something different to do on a Wednesday night, and after it all, we’ll have a nice meal that we helped prepare.  Nothing to lose.  It will all taste good!
Phew..okay.

So last night, we attended out first cooking class at Emily Dellas. Her ‘classroom’ was her home loft with a custom gourmet kitchen.  It wasn’t too shabby I must say…okay–it was *pretty nice*. 2 sinks, 2 full sized refrigerators, huge island, ginormous spice drawer.  She had so many different kinds of salts–finishing salt (large flat pieces), Himalayan pink salt, Mexican salt. I’m sure there were even more salts that we just didn’t see.  What happened to good old Morton’s Iodized Salt in the blue round container?.. Okay, even I’ve moved up from that, but all I have is just some measly Kosher salt.

She had a fully stocked kitchen and all of the necessary equipment….except a VitaMix (I am slightly obsessed with this thing, even though I know I don’t really need one…but shouldn’t EVERY home cook/chef have one anyways?? ) But on the other hand, she also had a SodaStream Machine, which is totally cool!  I don’t know many people that actually have one.  I’ve thought about getting one, and I think now I will!  Yay, carbonated beverages all the time (I’m sort of a carbonated drink junkie), and less plastic bottles (maybe I am trying to help save the earth!).

From the moment we walked in, it was a continuous stream of knowledge that she shared with us. I really enjoyed it and tried to listen as attentively as possible. At times it was a little difficult to especially if you wanted to take part in the preparations.  I must either not be that good at multi-tasking or eavesdropping 😛

Even though I’ll cook 2 or 3 times a week, almost everything was something new or unfamiliar to me, which I really appreciated.  You could say some of the methods used were pretty basic ways to cook, but for me, they were new.  Maybe now so I can stop pan frying everything like I tend to.  It was completely opposite of everything I was weary of before attending the class.

We began with learning how to make a lavender lemonade vodka spritzer using simple syrup infused with lavender, fresh squeezed lemons, and sparkling water made with the SodaStream.  It was great way to start the class with a refreshing and delicious drink!  I will definitely be making this again.  Perfect for the spring/summer or a baby shower…minus the vodka maybe!

After a yummy drink, we made the salted caramel brittle for our salted caramel ice cream.  For some reason, this doesn’t sound that appealing to me–super sweet and salty?..I change my mind.  It was pretty tasty.  I’m also starting to realize that I like crunch a lot, and this brittle was crunchy!  Next came the ice cream, which SW patiently and diligently stirred in a ‘figure 8’ motion over the stove for probably 10 minutes (maybe more) so that the caramel, milk, & cream would become a nice consistent mixture.

All the while, we were preparing a veggie dish of beans which including fava beans, English peas, sugar snap peas, and green beans to be blanched (another simple method I’ve never used, only boiling, but I guess that is sort of the same).  And then later to be mixed with dill, mint, and olive oil.

Our starter was a fennel, grapefruit, avocado, and mixed green salad.  Even though it was a salad, there was still some a little bit of complexity in preparing it, and we also made the accompanying grapefruit juice dressing.  This was the first time I’ve ever used fennel and we learned how to properly slice it, as well as the ‘supreme’ method for slicing our grapefruits.
Supreme: “to remove the skin, pith, membranes, and seeds of a citrus fruit and separate its wedges”
Fancy term huh?

borrowed this photo from online

The entree was a mahi mahi prepared two ways:  some were wrapped in grape leaves and steamed over the stove in a bamboo steamer, and the others wrapped in parchment paper and baked.  Both had the same seasonings, which included sliced up olives, Meyer lemons, and more mint to top our fish while cooking.  Emily also showed us how to carefully make a saffron aioli as an extra topping for the fish:  olive oil must be whisked quickly to the egg yolk, otherwise it won’t emulsify and take on the correct aioli texture and you’ll have to start over!

When everything was done, we all sat down to enjoy the food that we made..

before adding the saffron aioli to the mahi

and then to be followed by the delicious salted caramel ice cream.  After tasting it, one lady said she wanted to ‘rub the ice cream all over her body’!!  Eeehhhhhh?????  LOL…maybe too much vodka in her spritzer!

All in all, it was really fun class and we both learned a lot.  I was really happy to be introduced to new flavors and techniques.  There were several ingredients, such as dill, lavender, and all of those salts, that I have never used but now I may actually try to.  As well as baking fish in parchment paper or steaming it.  Maybe I can finally try recreating the Origami Sea Bass from Straits Cafe 🙂

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