Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cooking Class At The Liberty

Hi all!  It's been a busy little weekend here, and I'm hoping to have a bunch of down time today and relish in it :)

I have done some fun things this weekend!  First off, yesterday I took a cooking class with my friend Sarah at The Liberty

This was the third class like this (Upstream in Charlotte and Michael Anthony's in Hilton Head)  I've taken and I really enjoy learning the techiniques and of course eating the delicious food the restuarant chefs prepare!

The class was held in the bar area at the Liberty.  The seat configuration was slightly awkward, but they made it work.

Our class theme was French Country Cooking, a Taste of Provence.  French cooking class?  Yes please!

The first course prepared was a wild salmon salad with beets, avocado, potatoes, egg, and mustard dressing.
The chef was knowledgeable and personable.

Working the huge slab of salmon...

I've mentioned before that cooking fish at home intimidates me, but the chef made this dish seem pretty easy and accessible.  I feel like I could successfully make this.  The chef grilled the salmon with the skin on, but when he flipped it, the skin peeled right off.  Neat!

The finished product...

The tangy mustard/dill dressing was so good. 
The recipe for the dressing:

1 small garlic clove
1 TB Dijon mustard
2 TB olive oil
1 TB fresh dill
2 TB lemon juice
1 TB capers
1/4 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper

I also learned a good beet roasting techinique I want to try: roasting the beets, skin on, with herbs and olive oil on 375 for an hour and 10 minutes.  I'm really into beets right now, especially the golden ones.

Sarah and I really liked this dish.

Next up, was the Bouef a' la Nicoise, or country beef stew with red wine, tomatoes, olives, and buttered noodles.

I'll admit, and you've probably noticed, I'm a little lazy as a cook.  I don't like horribly labor-intensive recipes (that means yours Martha Stewart!), and this one was kind of complex, so I'm not sure there's much chance I'll ever make this at home, but it was FANTASTIC, so maybe I should!  You're supposed to cook the meat in this dish three different ways- braise it, slow cook it, then carmelize it.  That's probably just too much work for me...hehe.  Also, the tomatoes in this dish were fantastic, but they were also slow roasted in an oven for like 3 hours. 

Anyway, it was off-the-chain good.

The meat was so tender and flavorful, and it was served over pappardelle noodles (I love those!).  So, so good.

The dessert course was a Country French Blackberry Galette.  This was kind of like a lazy man's pie.
As we know, I do make a mean pie, but this was actually an easier version of pie, yet still beautiful and tasty.  My mom makes a similar version of this with apples and pre-made pie crust when she's in a hurry.

The most interesting thing I learned on this dish, was that you can use your hands to blend the butter and flour mixture into dough instead of a food processor or pastry cutter, like I usually do.  It actually seemed to work pretty well for the chef, so I may give that a try sometime.

Anyway, it was delcious and very filling!  This easily could have fed two or three (or four) people.  I got about 2/3 of the way through mine and was stuffed!

Following our awesome class, Sarah and I wandered over to nearby Atherton Mills, for their Saturday Farmer's Market.

I really wanted some greens, and also some beets after being inspired to try roasting them by cooking class.

I got both from this stand, which is local to Charlotte.

I also picked up a grass-fed filet mignon for my dad as a father's day present, and we explored the other booths, before heading out.

It was a wonderful Saturday morning and early afternoon in Charlotte.  Hope yours was just as fun!


Katie H said...

That looks like so much fun! I always wanted to take a cooking class. Glad that you had a nice Saturday!

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