Last night Amanda and I attended a hands-on cooking class at Kitchen Conservatory called "Crabalicious." The class was taught by Jon Lowe, executive chef at Oceano Bistro in Clayton. The class was centered around all things crab, and featured a few items off their brunch menu.
- Crab Cake BLTs with Spicy Honey Mustard Dressing
- Crab Frittata with Fondue Sauce and Breakfast Potatoes
- Crab, Leek & Spinach Quiche
- Eggs Benedict "Oscar" style with Hollandaise Sauce
We started the class off by getting an explanation of the different species of crab (and when they are in season), the types of crab meat and where (on the crab) each type of meat comes from. We learned the differences between claw meat and lump meat, special and backfin, dungeness crab and snow crab, and why soft-shelled crabs have soft shells (they just molted). All interesting stuff.
After our explanation, the chef distributed the recipes out to the class and told us to go at it. And this is where the chaos all began. I've been to a few classes at Kitchen Conservatory and I've never seen a class done quite this way. I guess each class is run differently, but in the previous classes I've attended, the chef walks the class through the recipes, giving people participating roles and tasks, but showing everyone how to do things, answering questions for all to hear, etc. Everyone ends up working on their own recipe, but everyone also gets an explanation of each dish and to see how every dish is made (as long as they're paying attention). However, this class was each man for himself and each recipe on it's own. While you were making your dish, everyone else was making their dish and no one got to see how any of the other dishes were made or hear the questions that were asked. I had no idea what was going on in the rest of the kitchen! Needless to say, this drove me crazy! I wanted to see (and taste and make) it all! Maybe I'm just greedy (read: control freak) like that? :-)
Amanda and I got to make the Hollandaise sauce for the Eggs Benedict. I love Hollandaise Sauce and I've never made it from scratch, so it was really neat to see how it was done. But I also wanted to see how they made the crab cakes...and the frittata...and the fondue sauce...and the quiche. You get the point. Anyway, (God bless her) Amanda was patient with me and calmed me down and let me make my rounds and check out all the other foods. Then
we Amanda proceeded to make the most kick-ass Hollandaise Sauce known to man. And we got quite a work out doing it (lots of whisking!).
Doesn't that look amazing!!
And just because we weren't assigned to the other recipes doesn't mean we didn't snoop and prod and ask questions and figure out just how they were all made anyway.
Crab Cakes (above) and Bacon for the BLTs (below)
Making BLTs and Breakfast Potatoes (above) and Crab Frittata (below)
At the end of the class, after all our hard hard work, we got to eat our dishes.
Eggs Benedict (above) and Crab Frittata with fondue sauce and Breakfast Potatoes (below)
We didn't get a chance to try the quiche because it took a bit longer to make than expected. However, it looked and smelled amazing when we left and I have no doubt it was delicious. So despite my frustration with the class chaos, we had a great time and had some great food. I'll definitely be making a few of these recipes again!
Thank you Amanda for cooking with me! It's been a pleasure having you stay with us this week and I'm going to miss you. Safe travels home to Texas!