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Friday, February 24, 2017

The Cookery Dallas - Interactive Dining Experience!

This past weekend I was a part of something awesome. I finally got to check out The Cookery Dallas! I met Kelly, the owner (and instructor), at The Cookery, back in December. She was talking about her upcoming business concept and I was immediately interested. So when I found out this month's location for @BlogAndBrunchDFW was at The Cookery, I all but invited myself. :P

The Cookery Dallas
1130 Dragon St. #180
Dallas, TX 75207
(469) 400-8514
Price: $95~ per person/class

Along with my fellow food bloggers, we arrived at The Cookery this past Sunday around noon. We had brought our own champagne and orange juice to make mimosas, but usually these classes include a few cocktails. This place is super cute, y'all! Big open space, and there was a nicely set long table at the front. That's where we'll be feasting! And I love all the wall decor. Kitchen goals for sure!

Kelly greeted us as we arrived. We also met Fiona, who is another instructor there. We're all frantically snapping away with our phones and cameras. Everything was very casual. They got the mimosa bar set up and Kelly had prepped some Veggie Crudites (with Green Goddess Dressing). You can also make coffee, tea, or have some orange infused water. That Green Goddess Dressing is no joke... so delicious. I think I overheard Kelly saying it's her secret recipe though.

Once everyone arrived, we got started. We all washed our hands in their very cute sink station and got our aprons on. Then we stood around the main counter and introduced ourselves. Even though we already knew most everyone in the group, it's a good way to get things started. This was their first ever "Best of Brunch" class. There were 3 courses we were making. And this isn't like the type of cooking class where everyone gets a station and does the same thing. It's an open kitchen. Everything is very casual and absolutely no pressure. You can participate as much or as little as you want. Kelly and Fiona would start something for us and pass it off to someone. Then they would move on to another component and pass it off there. So there's constant interaction with the food prep and the people. We had a blast! I'm sure at some point everyone got to get their hands in something. I got to use the blow torch btw. Since I don't drink and the others have all had a few mimosas, they left the fire wielding to me. Muahahahaha. It was awesome. And of course there was just nonstop picture and video taking. It's quite interesting when you get a group of food bloggers together. We make quite a scene. hehe.

First Course:
Grapefruit Brûlée & Cardamom Ricotta (with toasted pistachios). We made everything from scratch, so we got to make ricotta from scratch. It's surprisingly easy. It's basically boiled milk, lemon juice, and then strained. I'm gonna be making ricotta like a mofo once I get some cheesecloth!! :P 
We seasoned the ricotta with cardamom... it's so fragrant! And we also sweetened part of it with powdered sugar. For the grapefruit part, we took these juicy segments, tossed them with turbinado sugar, spread them out on a sheet pan and took the blow torch to them. You can immediately see the grapefruit start to blister and char... essentially bruleeing and caramelize the sugars. 
Then we crushed up some toasted pistachios. Now, I would've never imagined putting these 3 ingredients together. For one, I've never been a fan of grapefruit. But these were super juicy and the sugar sweetened them. But the sweet/tart grapefruit, layered with the creamy ricotta, then topped with the crunch and nuttiness of the pistachio was just the perfect combination of flavors and texture. It was light and refreshing, and just wonderful. I got to try something new and loved it. I ended up eating two cups of it. There was an extra! I wasn't about to let it go to waste! :P Plus I was starving. haha.

While we prepped the first course, we were also prepping for the other courses... scooping out the cantaloupe for the 3rd course, picking the herbs for the compound butter, etc.

Second Course:
Irish Soda Bread (with herb compound butter). I've had Irish Soda Bread before, but this was on a whole other level. It turned out amazing and it was also very easy. The outside was crusty and buttery, while the inside was pillowy and more buttery! 
The compound butter is basically herbs, we used parsley, tarragon, and I think one more herb? and you just put it in a food processor with some butter. Blend it up. Roll it in some plastic wrap and put in the fridge to harden. The two paired beautifully together. This was my favorite. IF I had to choose.

Oven Poached Ham & Sweet Potato Hash Egg Nests. This was the easiest thing ever. You get thin slices of ham and put on the bottom of the muffin pan, to create the "nest". Then you put a scoop of the sweet potato hash, which is basically sauteed onions, bell peppers, and parboiled sweet potatoes. Then top with a raw egg. You bake it in the oven for ~13 minutes until the whites of the egg is firm and, voila, it's done. Topped with chopped chives for some color.

Spicy Lemon Hollandaise. This is hard work, y'all. HollanDAZED for sure! :P haha. Jk. Don't be scared. It just needs a bit of muscle to whisk it all together. But if you don't want to do that, I think you can put into a food processor too. Fiona was a beast! She whisked it all by hand. Added some cayenne and tabasco for that spicy kick!

Apple Fennel Slaw (with citrus gastrique). The citrus gastrique was made using the juice from the grapefruit, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar. You cook it till it's all bubbly and then you test the consistency. They shaved fennel and diced apples into thin slices, and tossed it with the gastrique and some fennel fronds. It's kind of licorish-y if you've never had fennel. It was very refreshing and crunchy.

Just look at this spread!!!!

Third Course:
Cantaloupe Granita (mint). We had to start prepping this course from the beginning. We scooped out the flesh of the cantaloupe, sweetened it with a splash of simple syrup and pureed it in a food processor. 
Simple syrup is basically 1 part water mixed with 1 part sugar. Then you pour it onto a flat sheet pan and put it in the freezer. Every 20 minutes or so, you take it out and "fluff" it with a fork to make it light and airy. By the time we were ready to plate it, it looks like this: You can do this with most fruits I think, as long as there's enough liquid. It was super refreshing and light. I was so full after our feasting that I was glad that we didn't have some heavy dessert as the third course. This was perfect. And it's so pretty!

We brought our own booze and juice. But here is what The Cookery's website has listed in the Best of Brunch class. These drinks are included with the class: Champagne Cocktail, and Cucumber Infused Vodka Bloody Marys. Oooooo!

The next "Best of Brunch" classes are on the schedule:

Saturday, March 4, 2017 @ 12PM
Sunday, March 26, 2017 @ 1PM

Book your class today! Or check out some of their other classes. I'm really interested in the "Pasta Perfecto!" class where you get to learn to make your own pastas!!!! One might think the price is a little expensive... but think of it this way. If you go to any fairly nice restaurants in Dallas and get a 3 course meals with cocktails, it'll run you at least $70-100 a person. This means the fun part of the class and cooking is essentially free! :) Plus it's something different, great for your next girls' night out, or date night, or even work team outing!

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