Ahh…the late summer harvest. Everything in the garden seems to be ripening at once, and every meal has the potential to become a gourmet feast. This was definitely the case last Tuesday night when the chefs at Local Source hosted our Summer Harvest cooking class. The menu was designed to showcase the flavour of our premium local food without masking it with a lot of complicated flavours.
Each of us got a turn with Jason to learn how to massage a whole raw chicken with butter and thyme. Once the birds were nicely rubbed over, a halved lemon was stuck in the cavity with some thyme sprigs and sprinkled with a bit of salt and pepper. All of the birds (which were about 4 lbs each) were eventually placed side by side on a large cookie sheet and roasted.
Once the veggies were chopped, it was time to move on to preparing the creme brulee. We carefully scraped the contents of a vanilla pod into a pot with some whipping cream, and warmed it on the stove. Once the flavours had infused a bit, it was time to whisk the hot cream into an egg yolk and sugar mixture. This was a bit tricky – if the cream gets added too quickly, you run the risk of scrambling your eggs with the heat of the cream!
Once the chickens and the dessert were in the oven, it was time to prepare the ratatouille. The zucchini, eggplant, and peppers were all sauteed separately with a little canola oil, and then placed on the stove in a large pot with some tomato sauce to simmer. Finally, Jason showed us a simple but delicious salad dressing with sherry vinegar, canola oil and a bit of dijon mustard. He whisked the oil very gradually into the vinegar to make a gorgeous emulsified dressing to top our cucumber and tomato salad.
After eating dinner it was time to prepare the ‘brulee’ part of the creme brulee which was pretty darn exciting – you just know it’s going to be a great dessert when a blowtorch is required! We each got to dust our own custards with sugar, and lightly apply the flame to the sugar until it was brown and melted.
After a minute or two to cool, the sugar shell was hard enough to crack – the sign of a superb creme brulee! I can not overstate how fantastic this dessert tasted.
We hope to have more collaborations with the chefs at Local Source in the future, so stay tuned!