Thursday, March 22, 2012

Girls Night Out | Tapas Party

There’s a group of us girls at work who have birthdays in March.  Every March we plan a girls outing to celebrate all of our birthdays together.  A few years ago, we had dinner at the Pope Table at Bucca Di Beppo.  Also a few years ago, we went to a drag show and watched men who were prettier and skinnier than us lipsynch and dance. 

Seriously, these were men. 

Where a pretty “girl” hostess called us on stage for our birthdays.

And where we ate cake with our hands.

Fast forward.  This year was a little bit more tame.  We took a girls-only cooking class together at Sur La Table called “Girls Night Out:  Tapas Party”. 

I left work around 5:20 on Friday (3/16) and drove to Sur La Table in Carlsbad.  It took me 55 minutes to get there with all the Friday afternoon traffic!  How terrible is that?!  I wanted to go to Paper Source beforehand, but by the time I got to the Carlsbad Forum shopping center, it was 6:24 and the cooking class started at 6:30.  So I went straight to Sur La Table for our Girls Night Out:  Tapas Party cooking class.  Barb was there already, and the other girls arrived shortly thereafter. 

We put on our aprons and our name tags. A group photo before the cooking chaos ensued!  :p

Our instructor was Chef Robert Wood.  He’s originally from Savannah, GA, but has cooked at 4-star restaurants, most recently in Maryland. 

Chef Robbie explained to us the origin of Spanish tapas.  In our class we were to make 4 tapas dishes.  By this time I’m hungry so I was eager to get started!  :D  Each table got a pan with some ingredients on them.

Our first tapas dish is Marcona Almond and Blue Cheese-Stuffed Dates.  Each of us stuffed some dates with almonds and blue cheese.  Chef Robbie’s assistants helped to put all the stuffed dates onto a cookie sheet and we baked them in the oven. 

They come out looking like this.  We ate them pretty fast and started making our second dish.

Our workstation of four.  We each got an Epicurean cutting board (that’s what we have at home!) and a knife. 

Our next dish to prepare was White Wine-Steamed Mussels with Chorizo and Fennel.  Barb doesn’t eat mussels, so our also included some sea scallops.  First we browned the spanish chorizo in a pan until the fat rendered.  Then we removed the chorizo.

Then we cooked and sweated the fennel, shallots, and leek in the chorizo fat.  We added some salt to sweat the veggies.  Then we added the garlic and wine, bringing it to a boil. 

Then we added the mussels and scallops.  We covered the pot and cooked over medium heat until the mussels opened.

Yum!  I’ve made scallops before but never mussels.  These look so good!

We plated the dish and started eating them with our french baquettes before I had time to take a proper photo.  Oh well.  Here’s some half-eaten mussels & scallops.  :p

Patsy and Barb having fun.

Meanwhile, at the other workstation, my friends Kim, Erecca, and Joanne.

Chef Robbie keeping a watchful eye.  Is this a case of too many cooks in the kitchen??

Joanne’s birthday was a big one, so she got special photo with Chef Robbie.

Chef Robbie taught a lesson on how to chop onions so that they stayed line up.  I took the photo too late and it was already chopped.

We worked on the 3rd dish and the 4th dish at the same time.  It involved a lot of potatoes so we all got to work chopping potatoes, including Barb.

Louise grated some Manchego cheese.

More potato-chopping by me.

Louise and Patsy pouring the eggs into the mixing bowl to make the Manchego and Piquillo Pepper Tortilla. 

Mixing our ingredients into the egg mix.

Adding the potatoes (cooked separately beforehand) into the pan and mixing everything together.  The pan then went into the oven to bake for 7-8 minutes.

The baked dish came out of the oven and looked golden and delicious!  We ate it in a hurry.  So yummy!

In the meantime, Chef Robbie cooked these potatoes and fried them up, Belgian-style. 

This dish was called Spicy Potato Bites (or Patatas Bravas).  We dipped the fried potatoes in this spicy tomato sauce and it was divine.

Well, what would be a Girls Night Out without a little bit of mischief?  One of our traditions are these lips.  Joanne brings them every year, LOL.

Chef Robbie with the Lips Girls.  Chef Robbie was very patient.  Sometimes I got the feeling that he was pretty exasperated on the inside, trying to teach cooking to a bunch of giggling and chatty women who goofed off, ha ha!

I loved the food we cooked, most of them seemed easy enough that I could do at home.  Although I’d be the only one eating them at home, because the only dish we made that Todd would eat are the fried potatoes, LOL.  He won’t eat cheese, eggs, or mussels and scallops.  

Our annual Girls Night Out was another success!

1 comment:

  1. What a GREAT idea and it looks like you all had fun & better still, learnt a few more recipes too! I ♥ the flavour of chorizo so I imagine those mussels tasted DELICIOUS ... they certainly looked it!


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