Thursday, October 17, 2013

CulinAerie's Autumn in Normandy Cooking Class

Top left:  Mussels in Garlic Cream Sauce                    Top right: Chicken Normandy in Cider with Leeks
Bottom left:  Potatoes with Bacon Lardons                                                 Bottom Right:  Banana Tart Tatin  



Oh la la, what better date night is there than going to a couples cooking class!!!! Lucky for us, our blogger daughter, Kelsey and her foodie sister, Taryn gave their dad and myself a gift certificate for the Culin Aerie cooking school for Christmas! Since we are moving on to a new city, we decided we had to pick a class and go before leaving the DC area. The date night and couples classes are quite popular and we had only one choice, Couples Cooking: Autumn in Normandy with Chef Instructor Wendi James. The menu of Mussels with Garlic Cream Sauce, Normandy Chicken with Cider and Leeks, Potatoes with Bacon Lardons, and Banana Tart Tatin looked like a fine choice and we were so excited to finally set a date for the class.

We were most impressed by the school and how efficiently everything was run. We noticed that all the seats were stocked with your own burner and the necessary ingredients were prepped and ready. But first we had to make the difficult decision of white or red wine. Chef Wendi demonstrated all the dishes then had each couple cook their entire menu: course by course so that you could enjoy each dish while the next was cooking. I must say it was a most enjoyable night. The fun part was watching my husband get so into it. He said it was the best thing we had done in the city over the year we were there. Each of the dishes were fabulous; the mussels and garlic cream sauce begged to be sopped up with a warm baguette, the apples, cider, leeks and chicken were a heavenly combination, the potatoes and bacon always a great combo, and the Banana Tart Tatin was a good twist on Apple Tart Tatin and a truly easy dessert to finish the delicious meal. Overall we would give it a 10 out of 10! The experience was fabulous, the food delightful and the staff were friendly, helpful, and attentive.

A special thank you goes out to our two amazing daughters!  Dad and I loved our date night and it was the prefect gift idea!

Mussels in Garlic Cream Sauce

Ingredients
1# mussels, cleaned & debearded
1 tablespoon butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup ale
1/4  cup chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped parsley


Method
1. Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add shallot and garlic and saute over
medium to high heat until translucent and fragrant.
2. Add mussels and cook on high heat for 1 minute.
3. Add ale and chicken stock and cook until reduced and mussels begin to open.
4. Add heavy cream and cook until slightly thickened.
5. Remove from heat and top with chopped parsley.
6. Serve immediately with toasted baguette.

Chicken Normandy in Cider with Leeks

Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
1 apple, peeled, cored, sliced
flour for dredging
salt and pepper
2 chicken breasts and/or thighs, bone-in, skin-on
1 small or  1/2 of large leek, julienned
1/4 -1/2 onion, finely sliced
1/4 cup Calvados or Apple Brandy
l/2 -1 cup cider
l/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup heavy cream

Method
1. Salt chicken and set aside.
2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saute pan over medium to high heat.
Add apples and saute until light golden brown. Remove from pan.
3. Dredge chicken in flour to coat. Tap off excess flour. Add remaining butter to
the saute pan and place chicken in skin side down. Cook over medium to
high heat until skin is crispy and golden brown.
4. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Add onions and leeks and saute
about 5 minutes until beginning to brown. Use a wooden spoon to help
loosen the caramelization on the bottom of the pan.
5. Off heat add the Calvados. Return to the heat and reduce by half.
6. Add the cider and bring to a boil. Add the thyme and salt and pepper.
7. Arrange the chicken breasts in the pan skin side up. Make sure the skin is not
submerged in the cider.
8. Cover and simmer for 10-20 minutes.
9. Remove lid and add cream. Bring to a boil and reduce until slightly thickened.

Potatoes with Bacon Lardons

Ingredients:
12 oz Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled (optional), cut in wedges lengthwise
1.5 oz slab bacon, cut into lardons
1 tsp chopped thyme
1 garlic clove, minced
salt & pepper
1 tablespoon butter

Method:
1. Blanch potatoes in boiling salted water approximately 5 minutes.
2. Cook bacon lardons over low heat until rendered.
3. Off heat toss the potatoes with the bacon. Add the garlic, thyme, and butter.
Place in a 350F oven approximately 20-30 minutes.
4. Remove from oven and season with salt and pepper.

Banana Tart Tatin

Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 banana, cut into W slices
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
6" round puff pastry

Method

1. Melt the butter in a 6" saucepan. Add the sugar and stir gently just to
combine. Cook over medium to high heat approximately 5 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and very carefully arrange banana slices to cover bottom
of pan.
3. Sprinkle with cinnamon and cover with puff pastry circle. Gently tuck in
edges and prick top with a fork several times.
4. Bake at 350F approximately 15-20 minutes.
5. Allow to cool 2 minutes and then invert onto a serving dish.
6. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.






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