Saturday, April 16, 2011

Highfield Hall: Cooking in Twos, Part III

Making Your Own Chinese Take-Out, was the title of our last class in the Cooking for Twos series up at Highfield Hall.  Preparing Chinese food, using fresh ingredients, is not as difficult as you might think and it tastes pretty good, too. It's a great menu for getting everyone involved, so grab your knife and let the slicing and dicing begin...

View our previous classes here:

The Menu:
Oven Roasted Oyster Sauce Chicken Wings
Crab Rangoon
Ginger and Sweet Potato Black Rice
Scallion Pancakes with Dipping Sauce
Five Spice Roast Duck
Chicken and Asparagus with Black Bean Sauce
Shrimp with Snap Peas and Tomato Soy Sauce
Beef and Broccoli

Cooking Chinese food, as Gail explained, requires a considerable amount of prep work followed by quick, high temperature cooking. This makes for a lot of activity in the kitchen in a short span of time, so the pre-planning was essential to turning out a successful meal. Gail had it all worked out, even down to who used the stove and when.

I did a quick demonstration of the chicken wings which we had marinated overnight, then baked off in a hot oven for about 20 minutes. The soy and oyster sauce marinade glazed up nicely. An easy preparation and always a hit.

Gail prepared a roast duck in advance, and then showed the class this easy preparation that was cooked over a can. The marinade of soy sauce, ginger, five spice powder, and a little bit of sugar was rubbed on the duck and under the skin. It added great flavor and it turned out a crispy and tender browned bird.

We had our largest group yet of 11 participants who enthusiastically manned the stations to prepare their assigned dish. Our Crab Rangoon team prepared the crab and cheese filling and stuffed the wontons. They baked them with a brush of oil, instead of deep frying, which made for a lighter and more healthy variation of this traditional favorite.

We prepared plain white rice using Gail's never fail recipe along with an interesting dish using Chinese black rice. Sweet potatoes, ginger and scallions were cooked in a wok until tender, then combined with the cooked black rice. Garnished with a drizzle of sesame oil and chopped scallions.

Using a thin sliced sirloin and broccolini, we prepared beef with broccoli in a brown sauce. This was a perfect paring with the black rice. Just these two dishes would make for a wonderful meal.

Our next stir fry was chicken, asparagus, and fermented black beans. The beans add an authentic Chinese flavor. They are also used in popular dishes such as shrimp with lobster sauce. Getting hungry yet?

Now on to the shrimp stir fry. Prepared with a tomato flavored soy sauce, the shrimp and snap peas are cooked for just a few minutes over high heat. This slightly thickened sauce, with a hint of garlic, was a nice complement to the meat dishes.

I did one final demonstration of the scallion pancakes. These are quite simple to make, and served with a soy and lemon dipping sauce they make a great appetizer.

As we gathered together to enjoy our "take-out" it was clear to me that "cooking-in" might just be a better idea. Everything tasted as good as it looked!

The Cooking in Twos series was a great experience, and one we will surely do again. The roster of classes and demonstrations up at Highfield Hall continues to grow, so take a look as I'm sure you'll find something of interest. If you'd like any of the recipes from the series email me at I'll be happy to send them along.

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