Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Hawthornes And Glowria Attend Cooking Class At The North Carolina Aquarium.

 It's that time of year again.
The cooking classes
at the North Carolina Aquarium
have begun again.
Oh happy day!

So, Mr. Hawthorne, Glowria, and Rosie
are happily driving down to Manteo for our class Tuesday morning.
Rosie is in the front seat messing with her
hell phone which doesn't work,
so she's not paying attention.
Glow is in the back seat chattering away
and really can't see where we're going.
Mr. Hawthorne is driving,
so he's not paying attention.
We get through Manteo
and the damn Manns Harbor bridge is looming in front of us.
We realize we'd missed the turnoff to the aquarium.
So we do a u-ey and head back
 to find the airplane sign marking the turn-off.
I'm not liking this sitchayshun
since I like to be EARLY for any appointment
and this turn of events is making me ON TIME.
We finally get to the aquarium and briskly walk in.
We tell the volunteers at the front desk
we're here for the cooking classes.
"Do you know where to go," they ask us?
"Well hell to the yeah,
 we've only been coming here for a gazillion years!"
 And off our party runs.
Our usual route from the lobby is to take a right,
go through the Coastal Freshwater exhibit,
then go through the Wetlands on the Edge exhibit,
where I shoot pics of the otters, the alligators, and the turtles,
 then we come out at the classroom.
Well, we went through the Coastal Freshwater exhibit
and the entry to the Wetlands on the Edge is CLOSED.
Rosie is in a panic.  She may be LATE!
So Glowria and I high-tail it back to the lobby,
where the ladies are shaking their heads at us and tsk-tsking,
and we head through the maze of dark bowels of the aquarium,
finally making it to the classroom.
And to humiliation.
"Oh good.  You made it!
We'd sent someone out to look for you!!"

 Chef Nate Bean of the Black Pelican restaurant is presenting.

Black Pelican was one of the Outer Banks restaurants 
featured on Guy Fee-yeh-dee's Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives
last summer when they filmed down here,
but please don't let that deter you from visiting the Black Pelican.

Here's Chef Jason Smith's Citrus Chicken Recipe
as featured on Triple D.

Greg, one of the newer workers at the aquarium,
regaled us with information about our star fish today - grouper.
I liked his enthusiasm.
It's infectious.
In a good way!

Back to Chef Bean.

Our first course was a mixed greens salad with cherry tomatoes,
goat cheese, toasted walnuts, pickled red onions, and apple slices,
all tossed with a champagne vinaigrette
with seared grouper filet atop.
The grouper filet was seared in oil over medium-high heat,
then butter was added and the fish was finished in a 450° oven. 
The salad was dressed with with a champagne vinaigrette.

Champagne Vinaigrette
1 garlic clove
1 shallot
1 tsp thyme
1 TB Dijon mustard
4 oz. champagne
2 oz. champagne vinegar
8 oz. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
honey to taste
Add garlic, shallot, thyme, champagne, and vinegar to blender.
Blend until smooth.
Add Dijon.
While blending, slowly add oil.
Add honey, salt, and pepper to taste.

Now, our next course was sublime.
Dare I say FREAKIN' sublime?

It was a seafood risotto and grouper filet
with a glorious champagne citrus beurre blanc
that simply rocked my world.

Season grouper.
Heat pan.
Add olive oil.
Add fish to hot oil.
Add dollop of butter.
Cook on each side a few minutes until just done.

Seafood Risotto
arborio rice
white onion, diced
white stock
olive oil
salt and pepper
white stock
purple basil microgreens

In shallow pot, heat oil and add white onion.
Add rice and slowly add stock until rice is cooked al dente.
In shallow pot, sauté shrimp and lobster meat.
Add corn, tomato, garlic, and par-cooked rice.
Add stock and cook on medium low for 5-10 minutes.
Add scallion, butter, cream, and finish with the Parm.
Top with purple basil microgreens.

Champagne Citrus Beurre Blanc
1 shallot
2 lemons
1 lime
zest of one lemon
2 cups champagne
1 cup white wine
2 cups heavy cream
1 TB peppercorns
bay leaf
1 lb butter

Combine shallot, lime and lemon juice, zest of one lemon,
peppercorns, bay leaf, champagne, and wine.
Reduce on high.
When mixture coats spoon,
add cream and reduce.
When thick, turn off heat.
Add butter slowly while whisking.
Season with salt.

And YES.
That is LOBSTER!
That champagne beurre blanc is da bombe!

I love the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island.

What a lovely way to spend the afternoon.
Next class is Café Lachine on Wednesday, April 8 at noon.
After that is Black Pelican, again, Tuesday, April 21 at noon.
Call the Roanoke Island Aquarium at 475-2300 to sign up.


Kathy said...

Appropriate that Hell calls it a "hell phone" :-)

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Hell hath the cell from hell.