Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sur La Table cooking class

I have always wanted to do this and finally got my schedule with their schedule to make it happen.  I do all the cooking around here but Jim was game for joining me on this, we had such a good time we are planning to go back.  Sur La Table is a store I have visited whenever we would be traveling to a city that had one, finally about a year ago Sur La Table came to the King of Prussia Mall.  Hurrah!  Love the store, and so glad this one included the cooking class area (some do not).  Our menu was cooking with Bourbon which neither of us care to drink as a drink, but the menu looked good with Bourbon used in each recipe.  Chef David Kinsey coached us through along with 10 other guests.  There ended up being a lot of couples and I have to say this makes a really fun date night.  It lasted about 2 hours and we ate our meal at the end of the class, although they don't rush you so if class runs long (which ours did) they are fine with it.  They give you a 10% coupon and leave the store open so if you want to purchase something you can.  While you are cooking there is water, coffee, and a few munchies which were greatly appreciated as the wonderful smells of the cooking food starts to fill the place.  Shoppers kept peering in to see what smelled so amazing.

Better with Bourbon Menu

Bibb Lettuce with Shaved Red Onion & Pecan Bourbon Vinaigrette

Chicken with Tangy Tomato and Bourbon Glaze

Bourbon-Braised Onions with Fresh Thyme

Individual Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pies

Braising onions, you can see we used a bit of Jim Beam!

Time to eat!  Salad vinaigrette was quite intense the only
part of the meal where the Bourbon wasn't cooked.

Chicken dish was my favorite!

although anything chocolate is always a winner.....

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Perfect dessert for your Valentine's Day meal.  This is simple to make and most of these ingredients will be on hand (unless you live in a house where people sneak the baking chocolate so when you reach in to get it there is an empty package there).  Obviously I speak from experience so the plan is to always have a package hidden, it works until they find your hiding spot and then you must find a new one.

This should be made in a springform pan which I did not do, so it puffed up over the sides of my cake pan--springform or higher side pan next time.  You need the higher sides it will puff up and then deflates when it cools.
This comes form Martha Stewart and its a keeper.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

6 T unsalted butter, plus some for preparing pan
8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 large eggs, separated and at room temp
1/2 c sugar

confectioners sugar for dusting
dollop of whip cream to serve

Preheat oven to 275° with the rack in the center.  Butter the sides and bottom of 9" springform pan, I also placed parchment on the bottom.

Place butter and chocolate in double boiler stir till melted, let cool slightly then stir in egg yolks.

In large bowl beat egg whites till soft peaks form.  Gradually add in sugar and continue beating till glossy stiff peaks form.  Whisk about 1/4 of egg whites into chocolate mixture then gently fold in the rest of the egg whites.

Pour batter into prepared pan bake for 45-50- min till sides start to pull away and center is set.  Cool completely before removing from pan.  Dust with confectioner sugar and serve with whip cream.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Croque Monsieur

After arriving in France Croque Monsieur is the first thing I ordered because I knew what it was, I was starved, I don't think you can get a bad one anywhere in France, and it is so good.   A classic French version of a ham & cheese sandwich.  Every time I have ordered it you get greens tossed in a vinaigrette on the side.  Austin spent a semester in Paris and according to his "house mom" they serve the greens with most meals for better digestion, it is a good combo though.  I used Arugula & onion tossed with a Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette.  The Gruyere cheese is a must, you could use a Swiss cheese but it won't be as good.  My other favorite basic food in France is an omelet, anywhere I ordered this it was a good choice.  The favorite had to be this one at Mont St. Michel.

Croque Monsieur


3 T butter
3 T flour
2 C hot milk (I used skim)
salt & pepper to taste
pinch nutmeg
12 oz gruyere cheese-shredded
sliced bread (white is traditional)
sliced baked ham
Dijon mustard


Preheat oven to 400°

Toast bread on cookie sheet in oven for 5 min flip slices over and toast 2 more minutes or till toasted.

Meanwhile melt butter in saucepan stir in flour to make rue.  Add hot milk slowly whisking as you do.  Once thickened remove from heat, stir in 1/2 of cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg set aside.

Lightly brush toast with Dijon, layer ham, then some of the grated cheese top with other slice.  Spread sauce over top allowing to run down sides, add grated cheese on top of sauce.  Bake for 5 min, then broil for 2-5 min till tops are golden.  Serve hot.  I lined the cookie sheet with Aluminum foil for easier clean up.

Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette

1/4 C lemon juice
3/4 C olive oil
1 T Dijon mustard
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp Thyme

Shake to blend then toss with greens.