Monday, September 15, 2008

Guest Post - Southern Cookin' Makes Ya Good Lookin'!

Our friend Sara C. recently attended a cooking class at The Viking Cooking School and shares her experience below...

I'm a chef, y'all!

Okay, so I'm not a real chef, but I am an avid Atlanta Dish reader and southern food eater extraordinaire. Now, after attending the finger lickin' Southern cooking class at Viking Cooking School in honor of my birthday, I'm also a master chicken fryer and collard cooker.

To celebrate entrance into my 24th year, my beau and I considered many options. I asked for a puppy, yacht or European vacation, but he had something more practical in mind. Knowing his love for fried chicken and my love for everything Southern food related, he used the Viking Store's easy online registration and ordered two tickets to the hands on Southern cooking class with Chef Chip. I put on my cooking shoes (closed toes only for the state-of-the-art Viking kitchen) and got ready for a southern fried experience. The evening began by gathering around the table to drink some fresh sweet tea and snack on delish cheese straws, then we started the class by preparing the southern style banana pudding, giving it time to chill while we cooked the rest of the meal. The addition of banana liquor and rum made the pudding mixture decadent and several layers of Whole Foods fresh bananas and organic vanilla wafers were the perfect topping.

Although I could live on dessert alone, we still needed to prepare our main course. The men of the class enjoyed making mashed potatoes using a large construction-like implement called a potato ricer. Although the ricer was manly, it helped make the potatoes some of the creamiest and most delicate I've ever tasted. The addition of fresh sawmill gravy and cracked black pepper make the Viking taters a crowd pleaser. Next, we heated canola oil and got to chicken frying. The art of keeping the oil at the perfect 350 degree temperature is difficult, but well worth the hard work. Our chicken, brined in buttermilk and breaded with organic flour, cayenne pepper and garlic was crispy, yet juicy.

The best dish of the evening was the collard greens. Wilted in bacon grease and cooked in balsamic vinegar and chicken stock with a ham hock made these greens better than any I've tasted. Chef Chip personalized the recipe with fresh pressed garlic and crushed red pepper to add an extra kick. Even my grandmother agreed her time-tested greens recipe may change after hearing about this gourmet version.

After making the meal, we enjoyed our fare with a glass of white wine and a toast to a job well done. My grade for the Viking Cooking School: A+. This food is so good, it'll make ya wanna slap yo' mama!

No comments: