Last Christmas, Tony gave me a gift certificate to the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts so that I could take any of their cooking classes. I enrolled in their "City of Light" class which features French dishes. There were 18 people enrolled in the class and we had 2 teaching chefs, so it was quite a crowded kitchen!
We made nine dishes total: Mussels in Cream Sauce; French Onion Soup; Chicken Fricassee with Cognac; Individual Beef Wellingtons (with a Mushroom Duxelles stuffing); Asparagus with Tarragon Butter Sauce; Pommes Dauphinoise; Salad de Bleu D'Auvergne; Fraises au Poivre et au Rouge (fresh strawberries with peppercorns and red wine); and Cream Puff Croquembouche.
Some seriously good food, ya'll.
Each of us wore an apron and had our own little station. We went around the room and the two chefs, Peter and Scott, asked if anyone had particular dishes that they wanted to work on. I picked the pastry cream for the puff pastries and got to work with a nice man named Phil who had arrived just as early as I did. He made the choux paste which was then piped out to form the cute little cream puffs.
Before we got started, Peter explained that we should read through the entire recipe to prepare for the various steps by gathering equipment and ingredients. Of course, I didn't realize until my arm wanted to fall off how much whisking I would have to do for the pastry cream! Man! I think my right bicep is much thicker than my left one after last night.
Although it was pretty hectic with that many people, it was fun to be able to watch others prepare the various dishes while I was waiting for the cream to chill in the fridge. Everyone was really friendly and helpful so people would ask if you needed help if they were done with their dish. A couple of people came alone like me, and there was a cute father and daughter team, plus two or three couples so it was a nice mix of people.
Of course, I ended up not being able to eat all of the dishes because they would have one or two ingredients that I'm allergic to. So I kind of planned ahead anticipating this problem and brought some tupperware containers to take my portions home in. Yes, I got a few strange looks, but after I explained my situation everyone understood and some even told me that it was a good idea because we ended up having a ton of food and a bunch leftover. Anyway, I brought them home and let Tony enjoy them. He said they were really delicious! I plan to make a couple of the dishes for us in the future and will just alter the recipes to exclude the things I'm allergic to.
I had a really fun time last night meeting new people and working with them in the kitchen. I'm enrolled in another French class called "Voila!" in May and my friend Stephanie will be with me that night, too. They do a lot of "Couples Cooking" classes on Friday nights, so I want to see if I can get us into a Sushi making one.