Viking Cooking School

As I mentioned earlier, Saturday night of the bachelorette weekend was reserved for a cooking class at the Viking Cooking School.  A lot of my friends are already good cooks, but I told myself I needed to pay close attention to what the teacher taught us.  Doc had already told me he would want to see what I learned. The pressure was on! We started with appetizers that were already prepared and went through introductions. We also had a few minutes to look over the night's menu.

The favor for the weekend was an apron for each girl. Jenny's was different since she was the bride. We rocked those aprons during the whole class, and looked pretty good in them, too, if I do say so myself.

The island in the ginormous kitchen was already set up with all of our supplies. At each place was a cutting board, a towel, and a big-girl knife.

The class had 12 students and we divided up into 3 cooking teams. My team, Team 3, rocked! But I might be biased.

Our biggest competition were our other friends over on Team 2. They also had Nadia on their team. She was with the film crew, of course, and her job (with the film) is to make sure all the dialect and accents are correct. I guess we'll see how good she is at her job when the movie comes out. Either way, she was fun in the kitchen!

And on the other side of the cooking area was Team 1, made up of two couples from the same town in MS but that met for the first time that night. And we found out that Penny, in blue, is one of our sorority sisters!

We got a little competitive and cheered our teams on. We may have been their loudest group yet.

First up was an avocado salsa to go with the crabcakes. We learned the proper way to hold the knife to chop things (not the way I do it) and how to seed tomatoes.

We followed the directions to see what was next: crabcakes.

In this class, it's A-ok if you take a wine break. In fact, it's encouraged.

While we mixed the ingredients for the crabcakes, our beef just set there and...bled.

This is our instructor, Mary Helen. She stopped us before we screwed anything up, and showed us how to do things when we needed help.

Darbie was my team's seasoner. She went to town with the salt and pepper and flavored our meat right up.

To cook the meat, we seared it in a pan for two minutes on each side, and then let it finish cooking in the oven. Allison was in charge of cooking ours, and she did a great job!

While we were carefully timing our sides, I looked over and saw Team 2 doing a little dancing.

They may have lacked the kind of focus and dedication our team had. In fact, by the time they finished their dance, Allison already had our meat ready to go in the oven.

The menu called for Champagne Aioli to be served with the shrimp, and I got to be the assistant that made that for everyone.

Mary Helen had to show me how to use the garlic press, but after that I was doing great and feeling pretty proud of myself!

And then she handed me a bowl of olive oil and told me to pour in about 6 tablespoons.  Uh, what? Can I get a measuring spoon?

My teammates chopped up some ingredients for my aioli.

It wasn't long before that part was done. And I think the Champagne Aioli was one of my favorite parts of the meal. Seriously. Not just because I made it.

While I divided it up, the teams started working on the salad dressing. Sarah's a good whisker.

After the salad dressing, it was time to cook the crabcakes. Jenny and I happily turned this job over to Allison and Darbie on our team. We're really good at watching.

They used this round thingy to shape the cakes. (Obviously I didn't pay close enough attention like I was supposed to because I'm pretty sure "round thingy" is not the technical term I'm looking for here.)

Next up, we got to throw our battered butterfly shrimp in the fryer. (We battered these assembly-line style. You better believe there was some rootin' and cheerin' going on then. Team 3 finished first. Oh yea!)

And finally, FINALLY, it was time to start plating all of our food. We started with the salads - spinach leaves, walnuts, blue cheese, prosciutto, and cherries.

Random side note: see the counter tops in the picture above? It's the same as the counter tops in our kitchen! The Viking Cooking School has good taste.

And then we plated everything else: fried shrimp with the aioli sauce, crabcakes and avocado salsa, and the beef tenderloin.

It was so good that I forgot to take a picture of my plate before digging in. I just couldn't resist!  We all sat around the table and enjoyed our homemade meal with our new friends.

We didn't make our own desserts - creme brulee - but we did get to torch them. (And isn't that the fun part of having creme brulee, anyway?)

After finishing dinner, we forced our head chef to take a picture with us.

It was so, so much fun! I definitely want to go back, the only questions is, who's going to go with me?

And I think it's always a good sign on bachelorette weekends when the bride-to-be is the first to konk out.

And that wraps up a great weekend!