Thursday, January 3, 2019

Heirloom Cookshop: An Evening to Relax and Braise

The neighborhood that I moved into is new construction and with the boom of the tech industry in Seattle, it has attracted families from all over the country and the world. I am really enjoying my new neighbors and I'm grateful that they are planning many fun ways to connect. In November, some of us enrolled in a one-night cooking class called "Braising" at Heirloom Cookshop in Snoqualmie, Washington. You should read my first post about this cool food-focused business.
The 4-hour class started with a glass of wine and a beautiful board of prosciutto, cheese, dried apricots, candied nuts and Marcona almonds to snack on. We introduced ourselves and discussed how familiar we were with cooking & braising in our own kitchen. Chef Schu explained that braising revolves around searing and caramelizing the exterior of food and then cooking it in liquid at a lower temperature to develop flavor and ensure tenderness. Since one of the recipes required a long braise, we would be preparing the first few steps of the recipe and then switching to one that she had cooked the night before, so that we would be able to taste the finished product - so smart. We would be making Ancho Chile-Braised Short Ribs, Yogurt-Braised Chicken with Sumac, Ginger and Cilantro, Braised Cabbage with Fennel and Pancetta and Caramelized Braised Pears with Cinnamon Whipped Cream.
The students sat at stools around a beautiful wood bar top table. Chef Schu teaches from one side, near the stove and it really works. We could see her explaining knife skills and follow her instructions for cutting up vegetables or preparing the pears. Of course, we needed to approach the stock pot to see how the chicken was searing etc., and we were able to come over and look to gauge the process. I know how to cook, but I thought it was a really fun and relaxed class full of good information. Our group and the other students asked a lot of questions and it led to some great side conversations with Chef Schu about cooking, sourcing and loving food. 
We took notes throughout the class on the recipe packet provided, and now we can recreate these hearty braised dishes at home. While the pillar of a cooking class is the instruction, you need to know that the meal we created was delicious too.  

The ancho chile beef short ribs were rich, tender and satisfying. The yogurt-braised chicken was really nice. The sumac gave it a feeling of sweetness, but that was balanced out with lemon and salt. I enjoyed it and I would certainly make it on my own. The cabbage was a pleasant surprise. I can't say that I'm likely to make it, but I certainly won't pass on cabbage anymore when it is a choice. The pears with cinnamon whipped cream was as wonderful as it sounds and we ate ourselves silly on this dessert.

The entire evening was fun and I'd take another class in a second. In fact, I'm eyeing her Valentine's Candy-making class. If you enjoy food and cooking, I encourage you to visit the Heirloom Cookshop in historic Snoqualmie.

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