So as we journey down this road to owning our own business and being successful at it, we have had to tackle things as they come. One giant and very integral part of our business are our cooking classes and, we had our very first one last weekend. To say that we are blessed is putting it lightly, lets just say our friend and photographer, Zachary, HOOKED US UP!!! We showed up at his parents house where they host many large gatherings and dinner parties through out the year and he basically said, have at it! I got to rummage through the china cabinets and many drawers full of fun dining accouterments before making my decision to keep the decor light so that everyone would be focused on the food.
Let’s just say an amuse bouche is a teaser for the tongue and a precursor for the rest of the evening. I got a hold of some mind blowing fruit infused white vinegar from one of the local shops in McMinnville called Third Street Oil and Vinegar. I passed out tasting spoons and everyone tried the products first before we added them to our dishes. The fun thing about really good vinegar is if you add water or club soda it will become it's very own drink that is refreshing and delicious. The white vinegar I chose to start the evening off was infused with cranberry and pear. And don't get me started on the aged Balsamic oh my goodness! I have never seen that many people get excited about 'depth of flavor' before.
Justin and I are passionate about using hyper local seasonal ingredients when we can and also supporting the local economy. With that said, our first course consisted of sliced gluten free baguettes from our local Angie's Gluten Free Kitchen. We toasted those in the oven after brushing them with the amazing Galega olive oil from Third Street oil and vinegar. For the topping, we spread a chimichurri comprised of the Galega oil, fresh garlic, and carrot tops from our own garden. It was finished with a beet and dill relish, once again fresh from Justin's well-tended garden. Keeping it simple, beets were tossed in salt, pepper, oil, balsamic vinegar, and dill flowers. The layered combination was magical with peppery tones from the oil and rich deep flavors from the balsamic vinegar and beets. The slight bitterness from the carrot tops was evened out by the sweetness from the beets. All in all a very good first course.
Chimichurri recipe: 2 cups worth of greens, we used organic carrot tops
1/2 cup of delicious olive oil
1 clove of garlic
put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend till it is a rough chop or a smooth sauce, salt and pepper to your liking.
Chicken is so ridiculously versatile, seriously, it will take what ever you give it and highlight all those flavors to the max. The flavors Justin wanted to emphasized were the fresh herbs and the delicious Chardonnay we got from Eola Hills Winery. How he did this was simply to make a sauce that was packed with the essence of it all. Justin simmered the wine, herbs, and garlic till it reduced to 'ausec'. That way all that goodness was concentrated in the remaining liquid. While the sauce was gently simmering we seared the bone-in chicken thighs in butter and finished them off in the oven. Side note: it is difficult to over cook dark meat. The vegetables were sauted in more butter and the mashed potatoes had the drippings from the chicken added to them.
The wonderful thing about food is that if you have a fresh, organic, product you don't need to mask it with a ton of seasonings, you just enjoy it for what it is, good food. Now back to that amazing sauce, once the wine had reduced over low heat for a while Justin added heavy creme to it and let that reduce by half. The result was a mixture of salty from the gravy, sweet from the vegetables and savory from the chicken, everything you would want out of a good meal.
Wine creme sauce: Any kind of your favorite dry wine
2 sprigs of thyme and one sprig of sage and rosemary
Heavy whipping creme
3 garlic cloves (smashed), 1 shallot (sliced)
Place herbs, garlic, shallots and pepper corns in medium sauce pan and pour in wine until they are covered. Reduce wine by simmering till ausec. Add 1 pint of heavy creme and reduce by half then strain out all your solids with a strainer. Put back into pan let simmer till it is a creamy consistency. If it thickens too much it is ok just add some more creme and salt. Salt to taste.
By this time we had been in the kitchen for a while about three hours and I was happy to have pre-made short cakes from Angies Gluten Free Kitchen. The only task Justin had was to heat up the short cakes in the oven, cut up strawberries and make the fresh whipping cream using local honey and heavy whipping creme. The drizzle was honey and added the perfect amount of delicate sweetness to the short cakes, which are, thankfully, not cloyingly sweet. The perfect end to our first cooking class.
Can you believe that we went over our allotted time by... wait for it, yes... an HOUR?! The nice thing was this was a tester class and so we are learning all we can from the experience. I hope everyone enjoys the photos and our story so much that you will sign up for one of our upcoming classes or book your own private party!