Up until this year, the past 4th of July weekends have involved me and Big Guy doing a lot of cooking. And I loved it. Sure, I would stress out at times but one of my favorite things to do is feed others. I get pure joy from seeing someone enjoy something that I’ve had a hand at preparing.
When our plans fell through and I found myself in Savannah I figured that I would just have to let others do all the cooking for me. Which, in all honestly, I have to admit it was really nice to simply go out to eat each night and eat amazing food. But Big Guy is a smart man. And he found a way for me to cook on the 4th of July.
Whether considered a Chef or a cooking novice, the engaging cooking classes at Mansion on Forsyth Park’s 700 Kitchen Cooking School are a culinary experience perfect for individuals and groups of up to fifteen to enjoy. While crafting and eating delectable creations in entertaining, hands-on classes, each person lends a helping hand in preparing the meal—from peeling shrimp and cooking grits to making praline sauce and homemade biscuits. The culinary director oversees a variety of interactive programs in a state-of-the-art, full size kitchen with in-depth discussion and explanation of culinary technique and simple tricks that make cooking a very approachable form of art.
Big Guy and I, along with three other couples, spent three hours in the kitchen: prepping, cooking and just having a great time. Not to mention the Chef was a fantastic teacher and a fun guy to be around. Oh, and when he told us to open up wine at 10:30am, I think we realized just how much fun was about to be had by all.
I found it appropriate that our menu was a “Summer Cookout” since that’s what most people do on July 4th.
Summer is the season for picnics, concerts in the park and beachside getaways. We’ll share recipes that can be served on the back patio or packed up and taken on the road.
Parmesan Fried Oysters with Horseradish Aioli
Black-Eyed Pea Salad
Molasses Marinated Pork Tenderloin
Toasted Coconut with Flambéed Pineapple
The class was a mixture of expertise in the kitchen. To be honest, Big Guy and I were the most comfortable of the bunch but that’s to be expected seeing that cooking and food is a hobby of ours. And I swear to you that one man was centimeters away from butchering his hand while cutting peaches. But Chef Peter never looked anything other than cool and calm.
Big Guy was in charge of the oysters, which ended up being a table favorite. The Chef even dug into those bad boys. They were so light and perfectly cooked.
And it was fun for me to learn how to make an aioli with an immersion blender. Simply eggs, oil and vinegar for the base and from there the possibilities are endless.
I was in charge of grilling the veggies. I was a little bummed at first since I prepare veggies for the grill all the time but then I realized that I had never been the one in charge of grilling and I got a little jazzed.
Emily, a grill master?!?!
I also learned that I don’t cut bell peppers correctly. Though the Chef never came out and said that, he did take the time to show me a better and more efficient way.
There’s always something to be learned.
Other couples were in charge of the black-eyed pea salad (awesome!), the pork and two other salads that weren’t on the menu (a peach salad and a tomato salad with fresh heirlooms).
(I emailed the Chef once we returned home and he sent me all the recipes. If you’re ever served fried oysters at my house, you can be certain that I’m trying to impress you.)
grilled pork tenderloin alongside asparagus and a tomato salad full of herbs
grilled peach salad
the most gorgeous grilled veggies (wink wink)
black-eyed pea salad
After chowing down as a “family” around the beautiful table full of delicious food, Chef Peter let us relax while he prepared dessert.
Flambé : cover (food) with liquor and set it alight briefly
that ice cream was drool-worthy
While it was beyond my wildest imagination that I would spend the 4th of July in Savannah, I can assure you that it was no where on my radar that I would be attending a cooking class. Truly an amazing experience. If I’m ever in Savannah again, I will be sure to visit the 700 Kitchen Cooking School again.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Savannah recap over the past three days, I promise to be back with regular programming next week!
And I leave you with a favorite of mine, a window lined with champagne bottles that I was simply obsessed with.