Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Road Trip & Recipe: Cooking Classes at Midwest Culinary Institute (+ Frittata recipe)

There's no shortage of cooking classes in Cincinnati - I really enjoy them and love checking them all out and learning more and more tips & tricks. 

This time I'm checking out the Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State - did you know they have a full service restaurant AND as well as cooking classes for the general public? Well ya do now! The Summit is a really great restaurant and the MCI classes are among the best in the city.

I signed up with my good friend Lauren to take a class on Weeknight Meals from Chef Brian Whisman from Kroger.

It's pretty easy to find - you just park in the big garage on the corner and take the elevator to the top floor. The culinary building is right across from the lot - so once you walk out of the garage - you're there! Head inside and up the staircase and take a right down the hall.

The classroom is set up in a table setting but we didn't spend much time at them. It was mainly just for set up and explanation of the class. Then we paired up and got to cooking. Don't worry if you don't come with a partner - they'll pair you up with someone!

They have all of the recipes provided for you and all of the ingredients for each recipe on a separate tray. There are 2 chefs and a couple of assistants that rotate around the class helping you as you navigate through the recipes. I would say if you don't know how to cook at all - you might want to come with someone who does. They come around - but a base knowledge of how to follow a recipe and a little initiative is needed.

Chef Brian was very helpful and stopped by and taught Lauren how to break an egg with one hand. She was a little skeptical at first but got the hang of it and was poppin' eggs all over the place!
  
With the eggs we made a really tasty frittata - and let me just say - that is the most fun word in cooking. This had spinach, artichoke, mushrooms and feta - delish!

We also made chicken & dumplings - from scratch! We made a LOT of food in class and both knew there was no way we'd be able to finish this. We packaged it up at the end of class. It was pretty simple overall but the dumplings were a little tricky.

We each tasted a little bite of the broth with the chicken and it seemed like it needed salt - Chef Brian brought out this magic container. I really hadn't heard of this - we asked if it was like bouillon but he said it's much better than that. He added just a teaspoon full into the container in the photo above and it added so much flavor - it was amazing. This is some good stuff to have around - and you'll have bland chicken no more! 

We also made this seared salmon and salad. The salad amazed me - the only dressing we used was a white balsamic vinegar and it was amazing! As we were cooking all of these recipes - Lauren and I both agreed that we were eating this one right then.

We also made flat iron steak fajitas! I was cooking up some tequila, onions and tomatillos.  This dish was really great - we made a rub with chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, ancho powder, kosher salt and white pepper for a flat iron steak. The sauce for the onions had lime juice, tequila, olive oil, tomatillos, garlic and cilantro.

Put it all together and we had a PILE of fajita fixings. The steak was probably my favorite item of the night. Chef Brian taught us how to make the perfect medium rare steak. First - you leave it alone!! No flip-flip-flip-flip - just let it go - flip once. The trick is to open your hand and push on the inside of your thumb - that's how a steak feels when it's medium rare. So then when you're cooking - just push on the steak a bit with your tongs and when it's about as squishy/firm as the inside of your thumb - it's ready. Remove from the heat - leave it set for a few minutes for the juice to re-absorb throughout the meat - and you're good to go!

MMMMMMMM - fajitas! They were delicious. We each had one and then we split the rest to take home.

The class was fun and we really got to spend a lot of time together - which was the point - I wanted to hang out with my friend. Each pair gets to make all of the recipes and there's enough food for four people in each pair of food. (They are very generous with their portions.) The ladies next to us were pretty funny - they packaged up pretty much everything! We joked that they had meals for a week and they laughed and said, "No - a month!"

MCI has a lot of classes coming up that are delicious and taught by qualified instructors. Chef Brian has a grilling class coming up May 14 (we also took home a $10 Kroger card!), Marilyn Harris has a class coming up on Laid Back Summer Entertaining May 16 and even Sean Kagy - the executive chef at Summit teaches!

Classes range between $40-$85/class and all of the descriptions are online. If you've got a child that likes to cook - check out their kids camps!

I really enjoyed my night in class and came home with a lot of food! Since I enjoyed it so much - I want to share one of the recipes with you!

Sundried Tomato and Artichoke Heart Frittata

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 oz diced onion
2 oz sliced Shitake mushroom
2 oz fine diced, drained sundried tomatoes (marinated)
2 oz diced, drained artichoke hearts (marinated)
2 oz baby spinach
8 large eggs
2 oz whole milk
4 oz Feta cheese

Directions: 

In a large cast iron skillet (this is key) or oven proof pan, add butter and saute onions for about 1 minute over medium heat, then add mushrooms and saute for another minute.

Then add tomatoes, artichoke and spinach and cook for another minute. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and milk together and add to the saute pan and stir gently for about 1-2 minutes. Eggs will start setting up (leave them alone). Then add cheese and place under broiler until cheese starts to melt, about 1-2 minutes.

Remove from pan and slice into 4-6 pieces.

Enjoy! 

Disclosure: MCI provided this cooking class in exchange for the blog post but all opinions are my own. 


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