Monday, October 17, 2016

Seafood Cooking Class

I took my fifth cooking class this weekend. Today, we made three dishes. The first dish was a lobster roll. The second dish was coleslaw with remoulade dressing. The third dish was crab cakes with Old Bay aioli. The fourth dish was strawberry shortcake. All the dishes were super yummy. Let's start at the beginning.
We started by making lobster rolls. This is my first time to cook lobster; I've eaten lobster several times in restaurants. Since I'm from Louisiana, I've eaten a lot of crawfish but not a lot of lobster. So, I just thought of lobster as a jumbo-sized crawfish. We began by bringing a pot of water to boil with a steaming basket. For 1 pound of lobster, you steam for 10 minutes covered pot. When the shell is bright red and the flesh is opaque, your lobster is cooked. Then, you shock the cooked lobster in an ice bath to stop the cooking.

Then, prep all the vegetables for the lobster salad while the lobster was cooling. Chop some celery, green onions, parsley and combine that with mayonnaise, lemon juice, Tabasco, salt and pepper. 

Crack the lobster tail and cut with scissors to open the shell. Chop lobster tail into bite-sized pieces. Add lobster to the salad. Taste for seasoning. 

Butter and toast buns.

Add the lobster salad and enjoy. 

The second dish was coleslaw with remoulade dressing. To make the coleslaw, start by prepping the vegetables. This is called mis en place. It is a French culinary term that basically means measuring and prepping you ingredients before you start cooking.

Using a food processor to make your prep work easier. Shred cabbage and carrots using the food processor with a shredding disk. Empty the vegetables into a large bowl. Then, use the food processor to make the remoulade sauce! I love remoulade sauce; it's close to my Louisiana heart! Combine lemon juice, onion, green onion, celery, garlic, horseradish, mustard, ketchup, parsley, cayenne pepper, and sea salt. Combine the remoulade with the cabbage and carrots. Let the ingredients combine for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors combine.

The third dish was crab cakes with Old Bay aioli. This recipe calls for lump crab meat. Did you know that a black light will illuminate crab shells? This can be a helpful trick when separating crab meat and crab shells. Does anyone still have black lights? If you do, then use it when you make crab cakes.

To make the crab into crab cakes, crumble saltine crackers and combine with egg, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay seasoning, flat-leaf parsley, sea salt, and black pepper. 

Sautee both sides of the crab cake until golden brown and cooked through.

To make the aioli, we combine pasteurize egg, lemon juice, garlic, sea salt, black pepper, and Old Bay seasoning in a food processor. Slowly pour canola and olive oil in the food processor while it's on. This combines the oil with the flavoring components and eggs to emulsify the sauce. We learned that 1 egg can "hold" or incorporate about 1 cup of oil. This aioli should keep in the fridge for approximately one week. Note: food safety is imperative. Always use pasteurized eggs. I would not recommend aioli for infants, children, elderly adults, or those with weakened immune systems. Always use caution with raw or undercooked eggs and meat due to the increased risk of food-borne illness.

I enjoy that this crab cake is truly a CRAB cake. It is mostly crab and has very little filler. Try it!
The fourth dish was strawberry shortcake. Start by washing and quartering strawberries. Combine strawberries with sugar to macerate berries. Set aside while you make the shortcake dough.
To make the shortcake dough, combine all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, unsalted butter, and heavy whipping cream in a food processor. Pulse until just combined and the mixture forms into a ball. 

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and pat into a rectangle.

Cut the dough into 8 squares. I love this method which makes rectangular shortcakes. It's especially useful if you don't have a biscuit cutter or cookie dough cutter to make round shortcakes. Place the shortcakes onto a sheet pan lined with parchment.  
Scramble an egg and use as an egg wash for the shortcakes.
Top with a sprinkling of course, sanding sugar.

Bake until golden brown. Let the cakes cool. 

While your shortcakes cool, let's make whipped cream! Combine heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Whip the mixture until soft peaks form. See the little peak on the cream? That's a soft peak.

I used vanilla bean paste to make the whipped cream. I love this because the paste adds very little liquid and add tiny vanilla beans to your homemade whipped cream. So good! 

Let's assemble. To serve, split in half. fill with macerated strawberries and whipped cream. Enjoy!
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