Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gordon Gets Cooking

Yesterday I had the good fortune to attend a cooking class at Gordon's on Blueberry Hill in Freeland.  I had read in the paper a few weeks ago that there was to be a class and when I called to reserve a spot, they were full and I had to get on the waiting list.  Friday I got a call asking if I was still interested – YES!  So at a few minutes before 11, I walked in the door looking forward to some good food served up with a helping of fun.

I've attended many cooking classes in my lifetime, so I had a preconceived notion of how this would work – and was way off.  This was more like a long lunch while you watched the chef cook.  Tables were set up as normal in the restaurant except that the center was cleared out and a long table for the cooking demo was along one side.  The restaurant is small enough that every table had a good view of Gordon's cooking station.

We started off with Ginger Chili Marinated Prawns (which also included Deer Creek oysters).  While the food we would be served was being prepared and plated in the kitchen (there seemed to be about 40 of us), Gordon demonstrated making a small portion.  He is quite the showman and very entertaining, with a great sense of humor.  Oh, he is also a fabulous cook.  His restaurant is one of my favorite restaurants in the world and I'm lucky enough to live 15 minutes away!

We learned how to shuck oysters and also not to wash or rinse them as the flavor of the brine is what oysters are all about.

The presentation for this first dish was stunning – a cantaloupe cut in half, scooped out, filled with a sauce, the oysters arranged on the cut edges of the cantaloupe and the prawns around the outside, garnished with cilantro, lemon and lime wedges, and a pepper flower.  I had taken a camera with me, but alas, the batteries were dead.  Gordon's presentations are outstanding.

Gordon had teamed up with a wine salesman for this class and so we got some wine education along with the cooking demos.  This first course was paired with Whidbey Island Winery Siegerrebe, a spicy white wine that was 'crisp and cleansing, not bone dry, with a whiff of sweetness," and an excellent pairing with oysters. 

Our next course was comprised of Peppercorn Encrusted Sirloin and Parsnip Potato Mash – yummy!  The steak featured a blueberry sauce that was to die for; the veggie included roasted garlic and was drizzled with maple syrup.  Unlike most cooking classes/demos, we did not get small portions to taste – each person was served full-size portions that included large steaks.  And it was delicious.

The wine paired with this course, which was also used in the sauce, was a 2007 Doña Paula Malbec from Argentina – a big wine with a smooth finish that does not linger in the mouth which would interfere with the flavor of the steak.

Finally, our dessert, while titled Drunken Apple Sorbet with Cinnamon Crisp, is more accurately described as an apple sorbet served in a hollowed-out apple on a plate napped with pecan brandy caramel sauce (so tempting to lick the plate) with a cinnamon and sugar puff pastry alongside.  The sorbet, which can be made from any fruit, also included Muscat wine, which was the wine served with this final course.  I am not a fan at all of sweet dessert wines, but I loved this one – Marchesi Di Gresy La Serra Muscato D'Asti from Italy.  It's just the kind of wine you want to linger over at the table, (while you wait until no one is looking so you can lick the plate).

All in all, a very fun way to spend three hours on a Saturday, and I can't wait until Gordon's next class.

Ginger Chili Marinated Prawns
18 large prawns peeled and deveined
1 cup Mapeloy chili sauce
lime juice from 2 limes
1/4 cup pickled ginger, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
2 T minded garlic
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup rice wine vinegar or mirin
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup orange juice
Sesame seeds for garnish

Put all the ingredient except for the prawns in a bowl.  Set aside 1/2 cup of the marinade for dipping when you serve.

Add the peeled and deveined prawns to the rest of the mixture and marinate the prawns overnight in this.

The next day, heat a large empty saucepot to high heat.  Add the marinade and prawns, bring it to a boil, and cook until the prawns have turned pink, approximately 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and mix in 2 quarts of ice.  Cool in the fridge until ready to serve.  This is a great do-ahead recipe.  Serves 6.  See above description for presentation in the cantelope.

Peppercorn Encrusted Sirloin
6 six oz sirloin steaks
3/4 oz olive oil
generous amount of cracked black pepper
truffle salt or steak seasoning
2 sprigs rosemary
1/4 cup of huckleberry jam or blueberry jam
1 sliced red onion
1 T minced garlic
1/2 cup malbec or port wine
1/4 cup strong beef bouillon or beef stock
3 T room temp butter to finish
Mix the pepper and seasonings and press them lightly onto the steaks.  Don't press so much that it's going to overwhelm the wine.

Heat oil in a pan and add the sirloin.  Sear for two to three minutes on each side.  Remove the steaks.

Lower the heat to medium.  Add more oil if needed.  Add sliced onion and garlic to the pan and saute until the onions are slightly carmelized.

Deglaze the pan with the wine.  Add jam, rosemary and bouillon and reduce by half.  Remove the rosemary sprigs, add a few whole berries if you wish, and finish with the butter.  Drizzle over the steaks and serve the remainder alongside the steaks.

Parsnip Potato Mash
5 - 6 peeled russet potatoes, cut up
6 medium peeled parsnips, cut up
5 T roasted garlic puree
1 cup heavy cream
6 - 8 T butter
salt and pepper to taste
maple syrup

Boil the potatoes and parsnips until tender.

In a separate pan, add the garlic, cream and butter and bring to a boil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Drain the potatoes and parsnips and put them back into the pot.  Add the cream  mixture and whip it with a wire whisk until you reach your desired consistency.

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