But that was the name of the class we attended at ICE: The Institute of Culinary Education way back in October.
Actually, the full name was “Couples: Gourmet Breakfast in Bed” and we had been meaning to go for almost two years. It was a Christmas gift, you see, and a good one at that. My wife gave it to me for Christmas 2007, back when we were in Philadelphia. Two location changes later and we were running out of time, so here we were.
Our instructors were the husband-and-wife team of James Briscione (a professional chef who some may recognize from his appearances on Chopped) and Brooke Parkhurst (an author). Overall, the class was loose, fun and informative.
Our group consisted of the instructors and five other couples, whose experience ran the gamut from novice to fairly good. We split into three groups to tackle the six dishes on the menu.
The wife and I (and our partners) were responsible for two of the more basic dishes: blueberry pancakes and breakfast burritos. After James taught us some knife skills (including a killer move for chopping sweet peppers), we were basically left alone to go at it. Some interesting things I learned along the way:
- Breakfast burritos are a favorite meal of many chefs. James was not the first who’s told me that it’s his go-to comfort food.
- You don’t have to cover rice to cook it. You can make it “pasta style” by adding the rice to salted water and draining the results.
- If you want the blueberries to stay in the middle of a pancake, do not mix them into the batter. Instead, add a handful into each pancake right before you flip it.
In addition to the above two dishes, each person was given the chance to make a perfect lump crabmeat omelet. If you do it right (like James), it takes only a few minutes to cook. He taught us the French folding technique, which makes these omelets look more like crepes than what you see in a typical diner. Mine turned out pretty well, although it was slightly overcooked on the bottom. (Though compared to some of my fellow classmates’ attempts, my omelet was a masterpiece.)
After assembling the burritos and making a ton of pancakes, we were ready to assemble all of the dishes for a breakfast feast. Of course, it was a Friday night, which is kind of weird time to have a breakfast feast.
1. Sherry Shrimp and Grits
2. Blueberry Pancakes
3. Buttermilk Raspberry Muffins
4. Baked Apples with Creme Fraiche
5. Savory Sweet Potato Tart with Garlic Custard
6. Lump Crabmeat Omelet
7. Breakfast Burritos
For the most part, everything turned out nicely. Some of the muffins were a bit undercooked, but the tart was amazing! Not only was the experience worth the time and money, but we got to take home the recipes. Writing this may be the inspiration I need to finally whip up some burritos.
To the kitchen, mi amigos!