Jordan and I have always been amateur chefs at heart, and when we have the energy we create delicious dinners (like last month’s Italian braciola!). For Valentine’s Day we ramped up our skill level a notch and ventured out into a blizzard to take a cooking class at Schoolhaus Culinary Kitchen. This is an adorable little set-up underneath Tangerine, one of my favorite lunch spots. Chef Aimee Schulhauser runs both Schoolhaus and Tangerine, as well as a catering company called Evolution.
Twelve home cooks, twelve glasses of champagne, and a cozy kitchen! Our culinary lesson included a composed beet and carrot salad with grapefruit vinaigrette and goat cheese. Jordan discovered he does like goat cheese as long as it’s mild! In teams of six, we prepped and made the next four dishes at the same time. First we prepped the desserts by caramelizing bananas and melting the ganache. We also made a lemon, wine, and shallot reduction for beurre blanc, and chopped up potatoes and celeriac root for a puree. Then we pounded out chicken breasts, stuffed them with arugula and fontina cheese, and rolled them in egg and penko to bake in the oven. Once our chickens were in the oven, we made up phyllo spring rolls with the caramelized bananas and popped those in the oven too. While everything baked, Jordan and I were in charge of making the pancetta and asparagus garnish. Another couple finished the buerre blanc, and the last couple finished the puree. Finally, after all our hard work, Aimee showed us how to plate with finesse (Jordan was way better at this than I was) and we all sat down to eat our amazing dinners!
Everything was incredible. The chicken was so flavorful, the asparagus was just right, the potato puree was a perfect accompaniment. But you guys. You guys, buerre blanc. I have never eaten something so good. We are going to be putting beurre blanc on everything. I could eat it with a spoon!!! And of course, our banana spring rolls with chocolate ganache were the perfect conclusion to an amazing dinner. What a great experience.
Emboldened by our culinary successes, we had Trevor over last night to help us make sushi. Dad made us sushi a couple times growing up so I knew it was quite a process but could be just as tasty as restaurant sushi! We made special sushi rice with rice wine vinegar. Jordan julienned the carrots, Trevor prepped the cucumber, and I sliced up the tuna and salmon we bought from Pacific Fresh Fish. We also had imitation crab and smoked salmon.
After watching dozens of tutorials, we made a salmon roll, a smoked salmon roll, a tuna roll, a spicy tuna inside-out roll, and a California inside-out roll. WAY TOO MUCH! But it was so good!! My favorites were the spicy tuna and the salmon rolls. Somehow I’ve only accumulated one pair of chopsticks in my life, so Trevor and I expertly improvised with wooden skewers.
Inspired by Aimee and our sushi experience, Jordan and I have decided to quit graduate school posthaste to follow our cooking dreams. Stay tuned to find out when ‘Chez Marilyn’ is opening its doors! Please do get in touch if you are interested in providing all of the funding for this endeavor! :)