Thursday, June 7, 2012

Charleston Cooks!

This was my favorite part of the weekend; Laura and I had been looking forward to our cooking class downtown since we found out they existed back in January! The weather report was still threatening rain and storms, but we woke up to another fine day, and set off for "Charleston Cooks!" at 8:30. AM! Our philosophy: It's never too early for crab cakes! Or wine! Actually, we were a bit early, so we strolled around the nearly empty streets nearby for some more photo ops (nope, I never can take enough), only to discover I HAD NO SD CARD IN MY CAMERA!!! No worries, I still had my phone : )

A.W. Shucks, by City Market, is a popular seafood & adult beverage restaurant, that was recently closed due to fire. I learned the day before to call it AWWW Shucks, not A.W. Shucks, so as to sound more like a local.

The Pineapple Fountain in Waterfront Park, facing north. To the south, however, it was turning ugly, so it was time to head toward the cooking store. We just made it before the rain came!  

We're here!!! Emily & Liz were the lovely chefs who would teach us old dogs some new tricks!

Ummmm, Laura is feeling cheeky, isn't she? This picture makes me laugh because we were both still pretty sleepy, since it was only 10 am. Let's get chopping!
Emily began by demonstrating how to prepare each of the dishes we were going to cook (and eat!), then we paired up to choose a dish and begin cooking. We had our eye on the fried chicken so we could practice the filleting technique she showed us, but another duo beat us to it (c'mon, we need to wake up!). We chose...

the salad greens with grilled peach vinaigrette! My job was grilling the peaches, while Foozer started the veggie prep. We had to learn how to properly chop: fingertips of the non-chopping hand tucked neatly down, no finger on the spine, smooth, rocking, forward motions....aarrgghhh! Who knew chopping was so complicated?! Hadn't we done it for years?! Yes, we had, but apparently not the right way! 

Emily assisted everyone in class, particularly this cute young couple on the right. The fellow was making the basil chiffonade, and doing a very good job!

These nice folks were from Orlando. They thought we were there for the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, like they were....uhhhh, no. I had seen the signs all over town, but didn't know what it was all about. Well, it's a 17 day cultural festival, featuring dance, music, art, theater, etc. Huh, who knew?! Next time we'll be prepared! Anyway, here, she was showing us how to portion the crab cake mixture by patting it out and scoring it into portions with her hand. Why didn't I think of that?

Yeah. I posed for this. Look how professional I look! I was in all my glory, lemme tell ya.

After we prepared our dishes, we began assembling the plates for the tasting. So excited!

Finally, lunch! It was almost noon when we sat down to eat, so we were good and hungry by then. Let's eat!: Fried Chicken Fingers & Greens Salad with Grilled Peach Vinaigrette, Purple Potato & Sugar Snap Pea Salad, Crab Cakes with Tartar Sauce, Buttermilk Biscuits & Tomato Sandwich with Basil Aioli, all made from scratch. Yummmmm!

Easy Strawberry Upside Down Cake with whipped topping! HEAVEN!!!
And wine, don't forget the wine! I chose a fruity Chardonnay, and it was perfect.

I have all the recipes if you're interested! I even made the potato salad for dinner the other night. Since I'm a chef now, there'll be no living with me! ; )

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