Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Why I Own a Cooking School

Three words: Creme Anglaise Shooter.

Had a really fantastic, fun private class tonight arranged by Gary from The Frederick Wine House on 7th St. across from the hospital ( Gary and his friend Steve asked if we could pull together a sauce class for them. Ok -- no problem.

So tonight, we had a sold out sauce class. Woo hoo! The menu:
  • Mixed Green Salad with Goat Cheese & Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette (teaching the principles of vinaigrette, and yes, there are principles to vinaigrette)
  • Beef Tenderloin Medallions with Port Wine Mushroom Sauce (pan sauces)
  • Asparagus with Hollandaise (an emulsified butter sauce; one of the "mother" sauces, and not because it's a mother to make)
  • Penne alla Vodka (special request, but a little saucing/pasta technique)
  • Molten Chocolate Cakes with Creme Anglaise (tempered custard sauce)

The class was so energetic and enthusiastic; a real pleasure to teach and have a little fun with. Plus, they kicked tush on the menu and had everything completed in less than 2 hours.

One of the perks of owning (and working at) a cooking school is that at the end of the night, the staff and volunteers share the leftovers to take home. It's a way to say thanks to the kitchen assistants and to also get the opportunity to give the meal a try (I sneak bites through class to be sure everything is working the way it should and so that there are no surprises when everyone sits down to eat).

Caroline (one of the fab instructors) always divides everything surprisingly evenly. Tonight, since the chocolate cakes were all spoken for, I arrive home (LATE!) and check out what I've got. Lo and behold, in addition to the pasta, salad, and a little leftover mushroom sauce, there it is: a little plastic ramekin with just a little creme anglaise. Please know this -- creme anglaise is one of the most delicious sauces you could taste. When I graduated culinary school, my dad threatened to lick the dessert plate because he loved the creme anglaise so much (hmmmm, I should make him some...). I looked at the container and debated finding something, anything, to drizzle the sauce over. Then I realized -- I'm standing in my kitchen at home, I'm tired from a long day at work, and there's nothing standing between me and my little mise cup full of sauce. It's a no-brainer. I down the sauce in one shot and settle in to catch-up on Top Chef. Good times. Good times.

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