She’s Got Skills

Well…more like she’s “getting” skills. Cooking skills, that is. As I’ve mentioned before on the blog, I’ve taken a few cooking classes over the last few months. These cooking classes, sponsored and hosted by the wonderful chefs of Amelie’s French Bakery, have been amazing.

Chefs Maggie Boehlert and Lucia Renzi have led us through classes ranging from Farmer’s Market, Low Country Boil, Pies and the latest and greatest, Soups & Stews. These classes are super informative and the relaxing atmosphere, coupled with the small class size and the amazing talent showing us the ropes, has made each experience truly wonderful. (not to mention the free flowing libations, those are pretty nice too!)

Last night’s class featured homemade chicken noodle soup, buttermilk biscuits and snickerdoodles. At first, the chicken noodle soup idea threw me off because really, how hard can it be, but this was unlike any chicken soup I’ve ever made and it was SO easy. If you’re picturing the Campbell’s Soup lame-o version, go ahead and put it OUT OF YOUR MIND and OUT OF YOUR PANTRY (no joke, throw that garbage where it belongs).

We started with a mirepoix {definition: a flavoring made from diced vegetables, seasonings, herbs, placed in a pan to cook with meat or fish} which consisted of celery, onions, carrots, garlic and thyme. We then chopped some mushrooms, green beans and whole leaf spinach to add to our soup a little later.

 

pardon the iPhone quality

And here is how we REALLY started the class…Chef Lucia giving directions and me…doing a little “pre-gaming” :).

Photo Cred: Stefanie Haviv, Amelie’s French Bakery

One reason I wanted to start taking cooking classes was to learn the best and proper way to prepare & cook food. My mother always comments on my cutting (or lack-there-of) skills and I want to watch and learn the proper way to cut, dice, chop, etc. Here I am cutting an onion…BEFORE I started crying (couldn’t help it…onions get me every time!).

Photo Cred: Stefanie Haviv, Amelie’s French Bakery

So we started by sautéing our mirepoix in a little oil oil in a saucepan until the onions were translucent. I LOVE the smell of onions and veggies sautéing in a pan…it truly is delightful. From there we added our mushrooms, green beans, chicken broth and water. We let that simmer for a bit.

 

Photo Cred: Stefanie Haviv, Amelie's French Bakery

Photo Cred: Stefanie Haviv, Amelie's French Bakery

Then came the noodles. We used egg noodles and added those in already cooked (al dente).

 

Photo Cred: Stefanie Haviv, Amelie's French Bakery

While our soup was simmering, we started the buttermilk biscuits. A couple key tidbits to making GOOD homemade biscuits…you need butter, shortening and buttermilk. You also don’t want to overwork the dough – you want to make sure the butter and shortening are covered and crumbled within your flour using just your finger tips (the butter will melt quickly so the less you touch it, the better).

 

Photo Cred: Stefanie Haviv, Amelie's French Bakery

{side note: my wine glass magically stayed full:) Thanks, Stef!}

You want to mold the flour into a volcano, then pour the butter milk into the middle. Lightly pull the flour from the edges to cover the “milk hole” and trapping the buttermilk. Start lightly integrating the milk within the flour.

It is MESSY.

 

Photo Cred: Stefanie Haviv, Amelie's French Bakery

I mean…REALLY MESSY.

 

Photo Cred: Stefanie Haviv, Amelie's French Bakery

We added some sharp cheddar cheese to our flour mixture, then rolled and cut our biscuits. We got eight HUGE biscuits out of the dough ball like the one in front of me {behind the full glass of wine}.

 

again...iPhone quality:)

From the biscuits {and while the soup is simmering} we moved on to the dessert of the evening…snickerdoodles!

These were SUPER easy and for anyone who loves cinnamon {me! me!} these are a HUGE HIT. Also for those of you with kiddos, this would be a really fun and easy baking project to do with them.

 

courtesy of my phone.

Photo Cred: Stefanie Haviv, Amelie's French Bakery

After the meal prep is over, the soup is simmering, the biscuits are rising and the cookies are becoming UBER delicious, we all moved to the dining area where we continued snacking on drinks and fresh baguettes & spreads from Amelie’s.

Once our food is finished, we EAT…laugh and conversate.

 

my finished product! and crappy iPhone pic

We finished the evening by partaking of our yummy snickerdoodles and enjoying a smooth, delicious cup of coffee from Magnolia Coffee. Magnolia Coffee Company is Charlotte, NC’s only boutique, artisan roaster that provides truly customized specialty coffees with the additional focus of forming local partnerships to make a difference in the community. I heart Magnolia Coffee in a BIG way.

So that was my latest cooking class experience. One of my life goals is to host a dinner party with 4-5 people where we prepare and cook the meal together over drinks and conversation. I hope that goal happens soon but in the meantime, I am so thankful I get to take part in these wonderful classes hosted by Amelie’s. You guys really are the GREATEST!

 

4 thoughts on “She’s Got Skills

  1. Lexi St. Laurent

    I’m so glad you enjoyed our cooking class! Our chefs are simply the best and Stefanie does an awesome job hosting and taking awesome photos to boot. Magnolia coffee is the best coffee I’ve ever tasted. We’re so lucky to have them roasting all of our coffee at the bakery.

    If you don’t mind I’d love to feature this on our Facebook page as well as our website/blog.

    Thanks!
    Lexi St. Laurent
    Marketing & PR, Amelie’s French Bakery

    Like

    Reply
    1. Jessica Masanotti Post author

      Sure thing!!! Yes I LOVE Stef, Lucia and Maggie – they are awesome and I am a HUGE fan of Amelie’s so yes, you definitely have my permission:) I would be honored!

      Like

      Reply

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