Yes, I think even the Queen of Butter herself, Paula Deen, would've been a little jealous of me today because every single dish I cooked in my "Fast French" cooking class involved her all-time favorite ingredient.
One of the many, many things I loved about Paris was how liberally they used butter in their everyday cooking. From those flaky chocolate croissants I ate every morning to the sole meuniere that was so delectable that I almost forgot that I hated fish, it was pure and utter bliss.
Since I probably won't be making my way back to Paris again for a while, well, unless one of my clients begged me to travel there on assignment (wouldn't that be grand?), you can only imagine how excited I was when my sister signed me up for the next best thing for my birthday present—a French cooking class at Dallas's Sur La Table.
Yes, along with 14 other butter-lovin' Texans, I happily donned an apron and whipped up some truly scrumptious French bistro fare. For the first course, we made these delightful little phyllo cups filled with caramelized onions, thyme and gruyére cheese—something I could totally imagine serving at a fancy dinner party if I were the fancy dinner party givin' type.
Afer that, we went to work on the main course, chicken with tarragon cream sauce and capers. While the chicken itself was tender and delicious, I think I could've probably enjoyed that sauce with just about anything—spooned over pasta or veggies, even straight from the pan. All in all, it's probably a good thing the tasting portions were so petite. Otherwise, the ol' New Year's resolutions regarding good health and nutrition would've gone right out the window.
Yeah, it was that good...
Perhaps, hoping to balance the richness of the aforementioned chicken, we also made a salad. And while the salad greens themselves were practically calorie-free, I'm guessing the warm bacon viniagrette we made for drizzling was not. Ditto for the egg we poached for the top.
By the way, who knew that poaching an egg was so tricky? I always thought it was one of those basic kitchen skills that anyone could do with ease. But alas, mine wasn't nearly as cute as the one our instructor made. Thankfully, I don't really like eggs that aren't in omelet form anyway, so I didn't even give the finished product much of a chance. Maybe it tasted a whole lot better than it looked...one could only hope, anyway.
And French bistro fare wouldn't be complete without a light and airy crepe to end the meal, right? Naturally, I've always enjoyed eating crepes, but as far as making them goes, they always seemed like a far more tempermental pancake. But if one has the right equipment, which is apparently a small non-stick skillet called a Scanpan, it's a whole, whole lot easier.
For these particular crepes, we made an orange-infused sauce and garnished them with a small scoop of Blue Bell vanilla and orange segements on top, a killer combination for what was quite a meal to remember—butter-scented hair and all.
Incidentally, on my actual birthday, I got another enticing slice of Paris when Will took me to Toulouse for the most delicious brunch I've ever had in DFW. Not only does the restaurant have all the details of French decor mastered (it's a dead ringer for this charming little place called Lou Lou that we dined at in Paris), but the food was insanely delicious to boot.
After all, who wouldn't love a place with New Orleans-style beignets with cappuccino sauce? It was basically like having the most mouthwatering mini-donut and morning coffee in the same bite. If that wasn't enough to tickle our tastebuds, the spinach, onion and gruyére omelet with roasted potatoes and a side of bacon pretty much did the trick.
In fact, if it weren't for the lack of French-speaking waitstaff and fellow diners, I would've thought Will and I were back in grand ol' Paris because the food totally brought us back to that vacation of our dreams—without the nasty jetlag, of course—bonus!