this post has been a long time coming. i took a french cooking class at central market back in march but through the long work hours, the studying for classes and just life in general, this post got put on the back burner.
so let me get down to the nitty gritty… i have a love affair with french culture. legit. from the fashion, music and (of course!) the food, i’m absolutely smitten with france. when central market offered a “french steakhouse” course, i felt my inner julia child jumping for joy. the course offered a menu of frisee salad with lardons, pommes anna, steak au poivre and chocolate pot de creme. they were all things i couldn’t pronounce and didn’t know what the heck they were but hey, they were french and that’s all i needed to know.
so on march 24th, i marched into my cooking class not knowing anyone else except the instructors. we were a small class of seven – which i love because it’s a lot of hands-on learning. with small classes, i feel like we get a lot of attention and really understand the recipes. when i feel like i’m cooking something wrong, the knowledgeable instructors are available and eager to step in to make sure we’re cooking it correctly so when we go home and try to recreate the dishes, we’re not totally bombing it on our own.
the disadvantage of waiting so long to post this is the fact that i lost a lot of my fun facts the instructors gave us. damn, my memory is getting worse. so much for having a memory like an elephant. however, one thing i did learn was…. always create dessert first. usually, dessert will require heating, baking and cooling. they take the most time out of all the dishes (unless you’re setting out some store bought cookies). first up, chocolate pot de creme.
okay if i’m honest, it looks like chocolate pudding in a mug but trust me, this is soooo much better than chocolate pudding. at first, i saw the size of the mugs and was thinking, “oh no, boo boo. i’m gonna need a bigger mug” but trust me, these CM instructors (shoutout to judith!) know what they’re doing because the chocolate pot de creme was so rich and decadent, a small portion is perfect. the chocolate was so creamy and smooth. it’s a great finish to an even greater dinner…
i’ll be honest. i didn’t know what the heck a pommes anna was. i didn’t know what to expect but after this class, i learned pommes anna, or anna potatoes, is a classic french dish of sliced, layered potatoes cooked in a very large amount of melted butter. yes people, butter. what could be more glorious? the recipe calls for firm-fleshed potatoes and butter only. potatoes are peeled and sliced very thin. in the words of ina garten, “how easy is that?” no really. this was the easiest dish ever. our instructor, cait, sliced the potatoes using a mandarin slicer on a very thin setting. we slabbed on some butter into our cast iron skillet and started placing the sliced potatoes in a flower design starting from the outside working towards the center of the pan. inbetween each layer, sprinkle some salt and pepper for seasoning. then, top on another floral layer of potatoes until all potatoes are gone. after a short trip into the oven, flip them over and they have this beautiful floral design. pretty nifty!
steak au poivre
even though i’m a texan, i don’t know crap about grilling and all that texan, meaty good stuff. blame it on my californian childhood but i can’t grill. thanks to manuel at CM, i actually created an awesome, juicy, flavorful steak au poivre. steak au poivre or pepper steak is a french dish that consists of a steak, traditionally a filet mignon, coated with loosely cracked peppercorns and then cooked. i left with so much knowledge about meat and internal temperature that i was ready to throw a few slabs of meat on the grill at home. trust me, there is nothing better than a medium, juicy, tender piece of bacon wrapped filet mignon. if you have any questions about meat, ask for manuel at CM. he’s a culinary wikipedia of meat.
frisee salad with lardons
i learned how to properly poach an egg, y’all! legit. thanks to cait, i’ve been successfully poaching eggs since march 24. possible milestone? maybe. brunch for the better? definitely.
the last dish we created was a frisee salad with lardons. this salad had so much flavor! from the homemade croutons to the homemade bacon bits, homemade salad dressing, topped with our own poached egg… it was heavenly. this is my go-to salad from now on. maybe i’ll make a recipe post with a step-by-step guide soon because it really is that good and i want to share. sharing is caring, kids.
all-in-all, my cooking class experience was amazing. i came home and talked about it for so long, sharing all the tidbits that i learned along the way. it truly was a proud moment to see all my dishes that i prepared in front of me, looking all pretty delicious and shizz. i was happy. and proud and didn’t think i could prepare things like this. i highly recommend the cooking classes at central market. all the instructors are so nice, knowledgeable and eager to help and share. you leave with so much more than when you came in with. you meet some great people who share a love of learning to cook and the tools you need to recreate the dishes at home. so go register for a class and impress your friends with your new skills.