Going gourmet

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

I know I've bragged talked about getting free college tuition before, but last night I took advantage of another job perk that I am so excited to share with you!

Like most colleges, we offer credit courses for specific degrees as well as non-credit, one-time classes for personal enrichment or professional development. In fact, we encourage our employees to take part in any kind of course they can in hopes of creating a strong, well-rounded group of faculty and staff. It's free for employees and it benefits the college. It's a classic win-win!

And then there are people like me who are like, "I just want some free food."

So last night I ventured out in the snow and sleet to participate in my first (and certainly not last) cooking class through our local cooking school.

Representin' in my Atlanta Braves shirt. BASEBALL SEASON!
The menu? Cardamom Biscuits with Scallop and Mushroom Gravy.

I know the name sounds fancy-schmancy, but it's really just gourmet-speak for "FREAKIN' DELICIOUS BISCUITS AND GRAVY."

And for some reason the word "cardamom" reminds me of a dragon. Does that make any sense? It shouldn't. Cardamom is a spice and spices make me think of the Spice Girls. So I end up thinking about fire-breathing Spice Girls and the next thing you know, I've wasted 10 minutes of my life.

Anyway, Scallop Mushroom Gravy is a blonde gravy that is mixed with fresh scallops that have been simmered in butter and white wine (YAY!) with sautéed mushrooms, red peppers and green onions. The gravy is served over fresh-from-the-oven cardamom biscuits (and they could seriously give KFC a run for their money).

While preparing our scallops during the demonstration, Chef O'Neill instructed us to add our cups of wine to the skillet. Several minutes later he added, "But only use about half of your wine. It doesn't take much."

There was a collective "Ooops" from my side of the kitchen as myself and two other people had happily dumped our entire cups of Chardonnay into the food. (Might I add: We were also the only 3 people who carried our drinking glasses of wine from the dining area into the kitchen, as evidenced by my incredible shrinking glass of red wine in the below photos.) But too much Chardonnay didn't hurt the dish at all. If anything, it enhanced the flavor of the gravy. Just as 2 glasses of red wine very much enhanced the awesomeness of Courtney.

Chef O'Neill demonstrating the roux for our gravy.

My scallops simmering with the veggies in the wine and butter.

The best part of the whole thing? I made it myself! 

After finishing our gravy with a few touches of spice that included curry powder, mustard seed and grated nutmeg, we filled our plates and went back into the dining hall to enjoy.

Our meal was served with goat cheese salad and soda bread that was baked with currants (our chef was very Irish and very, very charming). I was afraid of the whole "dining alone" thing and worried I'd sit in silence, trying to pretend like eating with strangers wasn't uncomfortable. However, I knew 5 of the 8 other people from work! So it was perrrrrrrfect.


It was our very good fortune that the weather was crummy and half of the registered participants didn't show up because that meant there was LOTS of extra food to take home. Clayton is a huge fan of traditional biscuits and gravy, so I saved some of my meal (which was almost impossible because it was SO GOOD) and brought a bunch of goodies home for him. My classmates kept commenting on how sweet I was to include my husband in the experience while I mumbled "Yeah, yeah" and begrudgingly spooned the remainder of my precious gravy into a takeout container.

When class was over and we all had bulging tummies, I rushed out in the snow to chase down Clayton's car (I didn't want to drive in the snow and asked him to take my to class). I breathless jumped into the car and barely said "hello" before I shoved a hunk of the soda bread into his mouth. "Eat!" I commanded.

I can't even begin to tell you how fabulous the food was. I like to think I'm a decent cook and can fashion a yummy meal for my family, but I've never made anything like this. I've eaten gourmet food on several occasions (I gained 2 pounds on my honeymoon), but never have I ever cooked it myself.

Now not only can I cross it off my bucket list, I can add several little check marks next to it in the very near future because I'm already signed up for another cooking class in April. :)

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4 comments

  1. Okay I am sorry but I am confused on this recipe. You say white wine and Chardonnay, but the photos are of red wine????

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    1. Ah, you know what, I just realized that adding the pictures deleted a paragraph my post and I totally didn't catch it until you pointed this out. I talked about the red wine we had because it was a type of noir I had never heard of and I actually had to Google what it was. Yes, I drank red wine while cooking, but the wine we added to the food was white and not pictured.

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    2. Ah okay. So you get to cook and drink? Sign me up!

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  2. That looks delicious! And I am not a "biscuits and gravy" person.

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