Azul kicked off its cooking class series over the weekend, led by its chef de cuisine William Crandall. Being big fans of cooking classes ourselves, we couldn’t miss an opportunity to learn from one of the city’s best chefs.
This month’s theme was “The Holiday Table.” We started early, around 9:30 am to cook our three-course holiday lunch. First up was Crandall’s Smoked Ham Soup with Dumplings. Using his grandmother’s recipe, he created a quick dumpling batter and then told us to let it sit for a few. He then made the soup, using plenty of ingredients like pork bones, applewood smoked bacon, local carrots from Paradise Farms and lots of bay leaves — Crandall noted that one won’t do the trick and that we would need four or five in there to give it flavor. Once the soup was boiling he added in the dumpling batter and when the dumplings floated to the top they were done.
The main course was a Rosemary Scented Roast Beef. First, Crandall rubbed garlic and rosemary all over the roast beef, using grape seed oil to help it stick since the oil has no flavor to it. He then let it sit for a few to help bring the meat to room temperature and help infuse the roast beef with the rosemary and garlic. After searing the meat over medium heat, he let it cook in the oven while cooking up mushrooms and onions in duck fat to go with the roast beef.
Last, but certainly not least, was Crandall’s Blood Orange Tart. Making the tart filling was similar to the technique used to create hollandaise sauce. In a bowl he mixed sugar, egg yolks and two whole eggs over a double boiler using a zig zag technique and then mixed in tempered butter. Then he added in a blood orange reduction and poured it over a graham cracker crust. He added we should let it sit overnight in the fridge before baking.
After a morning in the kitchen we sat down to eat our lunch with our fellow “chefs” while enjoying wine pairings to our meal by Azul’s sommelier Todd Philips.
Want to check out Azul’s Cooking Class? They’re happening every other month through Novemeber 2015 for $175 a person plus tax. Classes are capped at only 15 people so reservations are a necessity and can be made by calling 305-913-8358.