My mom has always wanted to take a cooking class, finally one weekend I was at home, she was at home and my unwilling brother were at home so we made a reservation to learn to cook at the San Clamente Cooking School at the Villa Cucina.
We signed up for "From Farm to Fork" taught by Executive Chef David from the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort and Spa. (A whopping $125 a person! Do not fear not every class is this expensive). The premise of this cooking class is you go to the local Farmer's Market, pick out fresh produce , learn what's good and fresh and learn what's bad. You take back what you bought (well they bought) and you put together a fabulous dinner.
Unfortunately, it decided to rain that day, actually correction, rain would suggest some water falling down, the weather that day was flash flood level torrential on pours. (as evidenced in this picture)
Luckily the Farmer's market was open rain or shine. Out of all of the rich trophy wives that were in the class with us, my mother and I were the only ones who dared to venture into the rain and pick out the food. (where's my brother? being lazy most likely).
So as we plopped through what seemed to be Noah's second flood we found all kinds of great stuff. The thing that got me really excited (and has kept me excited everytime I seem them now) are Heirloom Tomatoes.
Don't those things look amazing? Wowsers! I ended up buying half a dozen for myself cause they just looked so good.
What are Heirloom tomatoes?
You know when you go to the supermarket every single tomato you see is essentially the same size and shape? Well alot of them are genetically altered to form the perfect super tomato, Heirloom's on the other hand are never touched by your friendly neighborhood geneticist. They are called Heirloom's because the seed that each type comes from is "handed down from generation to generation" . If you'd like to read more about it, please direct yourself to Wikipedia
Take a look at the deliciousness of the tomato
Its almost like eating a large cherry tomato. I could (and I have) take a bite right out of the tomato and go to town.
(more tomatoes! I was gonna say pretty but.. they are pretty ugly looking. If I was judging purely on aesthetics I'd probably shy away).
We also bought tons of fresh greens and Arugula
Zuchinni, peppers, onions
and the main ingredient of the day, Scallops
Look at the size of those puppies. Two/three in each of your hands for a good comparison (uh.. hands that are my size).
Now you're probably curious what we have planned for this!
Allow me to give you the menu at Chateau La Fu
- First is a light refresher, a Gazpacho with a slight kick.
- As an appetizer a light Arugula salad with a light vinaigrette dressing.
- For the main course we have seared scallops with a south of the border sauce and a grilled assortment of vegetables.
Viking furnished kitchen
- searer (?)
Hopefully one day the House of Fu will also be able to afford such kitchen treats so I can entertain multiple guests with glasses of wine, funny stories, and great food. (hehe)
So for the Gazpacho we chopped up a multitude of Heirloom tomatoes, red onions, some jalapeños, some basil and added in a bit of salt and pepper and threw it all into the food processor. (Oddly easy to make yes). After blending it all together, we added some more red onion and yellow tomatoes to add in some color, and walla!
Placed in the fridge for half a hour and you got yourself some chilled tomato soup.
While preparing the salad, we thinly sliced some peppers and zucchinis. We put them in a bowl together with salt, pepper, and nice California olive oil.
Here is the famed Executive Chef Fu showing his Sous Chef how it is PROPERLY DONE! YOU MUST COOK WITH HEART AND SOUL! (Hung xoxo).
Apparently the key to cooking peppers (which you will inevitably slice) is to essentially char the side with skin. After you char it and its nice and black you toss it into a bowl and put some plastic wrap over it.
You let it steam for a bit and the charred part of the skin will be able to get peeled off pretty easily.
Then we cut up some bread and spread on triple creme and toss it in the oven for a few minutes
After the bread bakes and the salad is mixed you end up with...
This! Pretty simple stuff, the dressing balances out the standard bitterness that comes with Arugula. Personally I'm not a fan of Arugula but hey, you work with what you got!
And finally the main dish, the seared scallops. First you start off with some sea salt, some pepper, some mixed herb shreddings and you just toss it onto a pan or whatever else you believe can do the job.
Let it sit on each side for about 10 minutes and you'll get the nice "flacky" scallop.
For a sauce we chopped the rest of the tomatoes, some onions, and avocados, almost like a salsa.
We then sliced up the grilled peppers and set up the dish.
WALLA! the main course, Seared Scallops!
A tasty and fun experience all in all, I'm a huge fan of walking through the Farmer's market and finding fresh produce. Hope you all enjoyed the start of my cooking career, next time you see me I'll be cooking with Thomas Keller and swapping war stories.
Sorry this wasn't an amazingly descriptive post, but I thought the pictures were just so awesome, the freshness of the vegetables and nice large scallops!