I finally get to share with you a fun experience I had a few Sundays ago at 1789 Restaurant with Chef Dan and 4 other lucky girls. Here's what happened: Dan held a Twitter contest and gave away free cooking classes: lo and behold, I won!!! I've already taken one class from Dan and Travis (the pastry chef at 1789) and was looking forward to another day in the kitchen of 1789. But wait, it gets better! This was going to be a small hands on class with a trip to Dupont Farmer's Market to pick up produce which we would later cook.
The other lucky girls were Annika, Dan's girlfriend, and 3 Twitter winners: http://twitter.com/LaurenDC123, http://twitter.com/bonappetitfoodi, and http://twitter.com/kasdc.
We met on a hot Sunday morning at 1789, and then Dan drove us to the Dupont Farmer's market. At the market we strolled through different vendors and Dan picked up whatever looked good (a hard choice!).
Back in the kitchen we started cooking:
Below are cubed nectarines, peaches and melon that got drizzled with Late Harvest wine. These were then chilled and topped with a mint granita at the end. How do you make a mint granita? First, puree mint, then strain it, then freeze the liquid in a shallow dish. Finally, using a fork, make granita. You can obviously do the same with fruit juices.
Lauren worked on a vegetable side: sliced zucchini and tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper were layered in a dish (several layers deep), then fresh basil was added between some of the layers (not pictured). After baking, the dish was topped with a mixture of fresh crumbs, herbs and garlic and put back in the oven till the topping was golden brown.
For the protein, we cooked with puffer fish: this was a new one to me. I stayed far away while the other girls removed the fins and the bones, and instead helped out by chopping parsley and garlic. The fish was then grilled by Dan.
Time to eat and drink and sit around the table and chat for hours about restaurants, food, blogging, etc, etc.
Here's the final vegetable dish: LOVED it. Simple ingredients, simple preparation and fresh summer flavors:
We also made a simple salad from steamed beets, arugula and ricotta salata:
Here's the grilled fish: the texture was meaty and substantial: definitely a great option, although you'll have a hard time finding it at your local supermarket.
Dan also sauteed green beans and radishes:
Here's my plate:
And finally dessert time:
Dan was making espresso and I asked if it'd be possible to get a small cup of it and top it off with vanilla ice cream. My grandparents used to treat Anna and me with this concoction when we were little. Dan was happy to oblige:
And let's not forget the wine that was a perfect accompaniment to our meal: cold, refreshing and bright.