1.22.2011

The Chopping Block

For Christmas, Wife gave me one of the best gifts I've ever gotten: a place in a cooking class at the local school called The Chopping Block. The class was called Simple French Food, which was perfect for me because as she has already explained to you, I love butter.

We started out the morning (yes, it was a morning class) with some truffle popcorn and our mugs of coffee as we trekked up to the humungous kitchen on the second floor of the shop. The kitchen was outfitted with appliances, knives, and utensils that only exist in your kitchen dreams. Chef Nick was our fearless leader for the morning, and he officially has the most kick-ass garlic mincing technique in the world (perhaps I'll post a video, but don't count on it).

We got cooking right away with another couple our age who were also taking their first class at The Chopping Block. Our menu consisted of a frisee salad with hazelnuts, goat cheese, and a dijon vinaigrette; cobia en papillote with leeks and an herbed compound butter; endive and fennel gratin; fig and thyme bread pudding. We had lots of fun putting together this awesome menu while learning a little bit more about our favorite hobby.

Take a look at the pictures below and you'll see what a delicious time we had!

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They had plenty of steel to go around and some of the coolest knives we've ever seen.

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The gratin being prepared by our partners, about to go in the oven.

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The term "en papillote", or "in parchment", is a French technique that utilizes parchment paper to steam the ingredients inside to avoid losing the nutrients in the oven. This is me prepping my pouch with butter before putting the fish inside.

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The cobia and the rest of the ingredients are assembled and ready to be sealed in the pouch (check out that compound butter on the top)!

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Bad picture, but that's the finished product. I was too excited to eat this to care about the picture. Sorry...

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The frisee salad

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Fig and thyme bread pudding! This was not at all soggy and had just the right amount of sweetness. I think I've converted Wife to another dish!

We'll put up recipes as soon as we can. Until then, feast on these images.

5 comments:

BoersMama said...

Wow! I feel like you should have a donations button on your blog, because I feel selfish for being your friend and reaping the benefits from all your hard labor, and time/money spent on cooking lessons. :) Can't wait to hear more about your French cooking classes...and to try out your favorites at our next get together. :)

KEL said...

Nice class and photos. Really glad you like to cook together.

sarahkoon said...

wowzers. I hate fish and that looked amazing while it was raw! I love butter. especially with herbsssssssssssss. and figs. mmm. good job on the Christmas gift!...it's always best to give a gift that benefits both the giver and the receiver ;)

Laura said...

My mouth and eyes are watering!

Cassandra Plummer Cleveland Children's Photographer said...

That looks awesome! What a great gift Caitlin! Bonapetite

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