Setting Valentine’s Day On Fire
I feel the need to preface this post with a warning: “Do Not Try This At Home,” … or at least check the terms of your fire insurance before you do!
When our good friends and cooking class aficionados, Matt and Laura, approached us about spending Valentine’s Day at The Cedars Davidson, I was certainly excited. And when they explained what they actually meant, I was ecstatic! Before I give any additional details away, let me introduce our guest blogger, Laura Henry, so she can share how she set Valentine’s Day 2016 ablaze!
Hey y’all, I’m Laura. As Sue mentioned, my boyfriend, Matt, and I have take a few cooking courses with Chef Sue … at last count, I think we have about 15 classes under our belts. We love cooking. We love being creative. And we like to push the limits every now and then. The happy collision of these three things? Flambéing food! The perfect way to add a little spark to Valentine’s Day (and our anniversary!), if you ask me.
Luckily, we know a pretty awesome chef who shares these qualities. When we asked Sue what she thought about doing an entire cooking class involving flambéing food, she was all in. She got to work developing the menu, and we showed up excited and cautiously optimistic we would still have our eyebrows when the night was over.
Sue is the perfect combination of chef and teacher — of utmost importance when you decide you want to light things on fire in the kitchen… on purpose. Flambéing works on the principle that alcohol ignites well … even the fumes from alcohol will ignite. If are inspired to research some recipes, you will notice the directions are pretty explicit about removing the pan from heat and then adding the alcohol. Otherwise there is a good chance that flame will travel outside said pan!
We began as we always do at one of Sue’s classes — with mise en place. This is a French culinary term that means putting in place. We prepped all the ingredients for each recipe before taking anything to the heat. Our menu for the delicious evening included:
Fire Roasted Beet Borscht
Duck Breast Salad with Apricot Sauce
Steak aux Poivres with Sautéed Zucchini and Potatoes
Flaming Glazed Bananas
We were joined by another The Cedars Davidson Staycationer couple, Matt and Sarah. The two arrived and jumped right into the fire. (Pun intended!) We tackled each of the recipes in stride, facing any fear we have ever had in the kitchen! To flambé (after you hire a teacher, of course!), you gently heat the spirits to a warm temperature and pour them into a shallow flambé pan. Then you dip the pan toward the flame (in our case a very long lighter) and the liquid will ignite! It burns quickly and the flames die down as the alcohol burns off, leaving you with the flavor of whatever spirits you used. The heat intensifies the flavor and makes it richer. Oh, and the color of the flame is dictated by the spirit! For example, Kirsch elicits a beautiful purple flame.
Let me be very clear when I say EVERYTHING we made was scrumptious. If I had to choose, I think the steak was my favorite, but every dish was amazing. This was by far the most daredevil thing we have done in the kitchen. It is why we adore Sue — she teaches you what is possible. We are already contemplating what our next cooking adventure will be… we’d love you to join us!
My final thought … on the off chance your Valentine’s Day wasn’t as hot as ours, call The Cedars Davidson today! Enjoy a weekend getaway. Meander the town of Davidson. Sign up for a cooking class or just enjoy the yummy made-to-order breakfasts when you wake. You won’t be disappointed.
Until next time… we invite you to come as guests and leave as friends.