Monday, August 10, 2009

Fun with Food and Beer

By: Kim Bryden, Associate Director of Marketing

I decided on a whim to take a class at L’Academie de Cuisine, a top ten culinary school in the US and Canada. Located in Bethesda in a quaint building, L’Academie offers a wide array of demonstration or participation classes.

I’m certainly a creative cuisine kind of gal so I jumped at the chance to take a participation class to see how different beers such as Porters, Pilsners, and Stouts are used in flavoring different dishes.

We started off marinating scallops in a honey and porter mixture for about a half hour at room temperature and then continued to wrap the scallops in phyllo dough. I could not believe the tenderness and immense flavor that those scallops had.

A tip: if there is one thing I learned about marinating food in beer or brining chicken with beer (which we did later on) it is that beer makes food more moist and succulent. Try it out!

There were three sauces that we concocted: a lemon garlic sauce, creamy mustard sauce and Pilsner butter. All three were fabulous in their own way. I was particularly fond of the lemon garlic sauce that went with the scallops. Even adding a bit of beer to a sauce can give it that little zing of taste you need.

Lastly, and what I had the biggest hand in making, was the Caramel Coffee Stout Mouse and Cocoa Cookies. The mousse was the longest, most tedious process but well worth it! I learned how to make caramel which folded into whipped cream and cream cheese which was then combined with a bit of Coffee Stout. Oh my goodness, it was heavenly – especially when added with cocoa cookies!

My cooking and dining experience at L’Academie de Cuisine was well worth the time and effort. I can’t wait to go back again to learn more tricks to add zest to my meals.

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