January Cooking Class at Rumbleway Farm
I recently made my annual cooking class pilgrimage up to the rolling hills of Cecil County, Maryland, to Rumbleway Farm, an old-fashioned, idyllic 62-acre family run operation. Robin Way and her husband, Mark, transformed the farm’s old milking parlor into a certified restaurant kitchen and dining room.
I’ve been teaching a class there each year for quite some time and it is one of my favorite cooking events. Robin, an unbelievable chef, conducts a winter Farmhouse Dinner series where she transforms products from Rumbleway Farm and her neighboring farms into complete feasts for 12 to 15 attendees.
Notice that I didn’t call them guests? These people have to work for their food when they head out to the farm. The dinner series is actually a hands-on cooking class, where the folks get a chance to learn a trick or two from the guest instructor, and to team up with their fellow chefs-in-training to create the various courses. The people that sign up for Robin’s event generally seem to know their stuff and are no strangers to the kitchen. Each year I’ve been impressed with how well the attendees work together and their comfort with handling the food.
For this year’s class, we were cooking a roasted vegetable gazpacho topped with shrimp and crab, Gloucester lobster salad with tarragon mayonnaise, chicken pot pie with sweet potato pastry and apple fritters.
Here’s a little video that shows just how much fun we had.
Gloucester Lobster Salad with Tarragon Mayonnaise (serves 8)
(from Coastal Cooking)
2 1/2# Lobster, cooked and chilled
1 Cups finely chopped celery
2 1/2 tsp fresh tarragon leaves
1 1/2 Cups tarragon mayonnaise
2 egg yolks
4 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tsp. salt
1 Tsp. dry mustard
2 cups olive oil
2 Tsp. finely chopped tarragon leaves
To make the mayonnaise, in a large bowl whisk the egg yolks, vinegar, salt and dry mustard until light and well blended. Whisk in the olive oil slowly until the mixture starts to thicken. Continue adding oil slowly, whisking constantly, until all the oil is incorporated.
Cut the lobster meat into little bite sized pieces and place in a bowl. Stir in celery and tarragon leaves. Add mayonnaise and chill before serving.
CHICKEN POT PIE WITH SWEET POTATO PASTRY (serves 8)
(from Chesapeake Bay Cooking)
1 large chickens, roasted
1 medium onion, sliced
1 whole clove
15 pearl onions
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup corn
1 cup peas
1 stick of butter
1 cups flour
1/2 cup whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Roast chickens and allow them to cool then pick off all the meat and chop into bit sized chunks.
Combine the onions, carrots, peas, celery and corn in a saucepan then add liquid to cover and cook until tender. Drain and reserve cooking liquid.
Combine the vegetables and the cooked chicken and place in buttered ramekins. Make the sauce by melting the butter and whisking in the flour. Cook, stirring continually for 2 minutes. Gradually add the reserved cooking liquid (3 cups) and cream. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 3 minutes then season wih salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables in the ramekins. Top with pastry and bake till the top is brown and the filling is bubbly.
SWEET POTATO PASTRY
2 sweet potatoes or 1 1/2 cups cooked
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs, beaten
Bake sweet potatoes util soft, 40-60 minutes. When cool, scoop out the flesh and mash. Chill. Sift together the flower, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the chilled sweet potatoes, shortening and eggs and work into a dough. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll out, making circles slighter bigger then the ramekins.
Make sure to take a look at the Rumbleway Farm website to see what’s growing on the farm this season and what might be coming up in next season’s cooking classes. Do sign up early, because these classes go quickly!
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