A guest Post by Noel Sandberg – A student in Monday night’s French Comfort Food Class.
Monday night’s French Comfort Food class could have had an alternative title: Cooking with Butter! The French are well known for their heavy foods, and the four recipes shared and demonstrated by Carl Rubadue were no exception.
A hands-on class, we started out by practicing our basic knife skills. Carl showed us the best way to hold a knife, chop an onion, and protect your fingers in the process. The onions, garlic, and the butter! went into the pot to slowly caramelize for the French onion soup. While they cooked (and filled the room with the most comforting smell), Carl had us help prepare the ingredients for the Cassoulet all while providing tips, tricks, and anecdotes of a seasoned chef. We then switched gears to dessert (yay!). We sliced up pears, sautéed them in (you guessed it) butter!, sugar, and some vanilla. Carl then added in dried cranberries, poured the sweet smelling concoction into the pre-made tart crusts (which he later demonstrated how to make), and popped them into the oven to brown.
At this point the kitchen was smelling like a dream and I was hungry! But we had yet another dish to make! The appetizer was a scallop and mushroom dish. As it turns out, I have been cooking scallops incorrectly this whole time. He showed us how to prepare the scallop correctly and showed us how to sear it just right so that it wasn’t dry or tough. After a few more steps and ingredients (butter!), the appetizers were assembled, the cassoulet was baking, the tarts were perfectly browned and the French onion soup was heading to the broiler. I was actually amazed that Carl was able to do so much in the 3 hours of the class, and that we were able to enjoy a 4 course meal of the most delicious French food at the end of it all!