by Janetha on July 2, 2011

in how to,love and marriage

last night, marshall and i went to a cooking class at sur la table.


the class was all about grilling—both indoor and outdoor—focusing on steak.


i had been to a cooking class once before (it was a thai class) but this was marshall’s first time. yep, i took his cooking class virginity.

we started out by breaking into four groups of four and then manned our stations. the first thing on the menu was bruschetta using grilled tomatoes.



we used the indoor grill pan for the tomatoes. one thing i learned is that if you are using an indoor grill, you should put the oil directly on the grill, not the item you are grilling.. and vice versa for an outdoor grill.  also, if you are using an indoor grill pan, it’s best to use vegetable or canola oil since it tolerates higher temps.

once the tomatoes were grilled, we used an immersion blender to mix the tomatoes with minced garlic, salt and pepper. that’s all it took to make the topping—pretty simple. the tomatoes were then layered atop crostinis along with some fresh mozzarella, chopped basil and a splash of balsamic vinegar.


after the appetizer, we got to work on the smashed potatoes.


we diced some yukon gold potatoes into quarters and tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper and a sprig of rosemary—kept whole.  we laid them out onto a sheet pan and popped them into a 425 degree oven. we also tossed a head of garlic in the oven to roast alongside the potatoes.

the potatoes were to be dressed in a garlic parmesan vinaigrette, so we got to work on that.


for the vinaigrette, we combined two parts olive oil to one part white balsamic vinegar along with a tablespoon of minced shallots.  once that was whisked well, we grated a nice hunk of parmesan into the vinaigrette and seasoned with a touch of salt and pepper.


the potatoes also called for a bit of pancetta, so marshall worked on that. he diced it and cooked it in a pan.


the prep work for the potatoes was done, so we moved onto the gorgonzola walnut compound butter that would be served with the steaks.


the compound butter was a mixture of unsalted butter, gorgonzola, chopped toasted walnuts, minced shallots, salt and pepper.  this was a great way to take regular old butter up a notch. the possibilities are really endless when it comes to compound butter—you could add various soft cheeses (hello, goat cheese), dried or fresh fruit bits, herbs, various nuts.. you name it.


the butter went into the fridge and then it was time to prep the dessert.

first we processed premade shortbread cookies in the food processor and combined the crumbs with a bit of sugar and butter—basically like a graham cracker crust with shortbread instead. we pressed the mixture into small baking pans and popped them into a 350 degree oven.

next up, we prepped the strawberry sauce.  i was the instructor’s handy helper.


the strawberry sauce contained strawberries, sugar, orange juice and lemon juice—all combined in the food processor. more on the dessert later!

we went outside to learn more about grilling and, of course, to grill the ribeye steaks.


we let the men prep the steaks. olive oil and a little salt and pepper was all it took.


and then onto the grill they went! first direct heat, then indirect.


while the steaks grilled, our instructor gave us a ton of grilling tips for all different kinds of meat and  vegetables. he was really informative! did you know that you shouldn’t use the grill lid when grilling over direct heat? marshall and i always use the lid.. well, not anymore! he also gave us great tips on how to grill fish—we have always used aluminum foil for grilling fish. never again.


after grilling 101, we checked the steaks to see how they were.  sur la table sells these cute “steak buttons” that tell you how done your meat is.. yes, it’s just a glorified meat thermometer, but i am a sucker for cute things.


most everyone in the class preferred their steaks to be medium. after only a few moments over the indirect heat, we tested the steaks and they were good to go.


we took the steaks back inside and finished preparing the meal.

we smashed the roasted potatoes with the pancetta, roasted garlic and parmesan vinaigrette.


while one group was smashing the potatoes, the other group combined some pre-made strawberry ice cream with the baked shortbread crumble we had made earlier during the prep work.


our instructor sliced the steak..


and then it was time to eat!


this whole meal was delicious. i typically don’t eat a pad of butter on top of my steak, but the gorgonzola and walnuts we had  mixed into the butter really took it up a notch.  the cold compound butter melted over the hot steak to create a nice, savory sauce.

no dinner is complete without dessert.  we took the strawberry sauce that we’d made earlier out of the fridge and topped it onto the shortbread infused strawberry ice cream. a small strawberry segment for garnish, and dessert was served.


i was really amazed at how the strawberry ice cream was really transformed just with the simple addition of shortbread crumble. the texture and flavor were fabulous–I need to start mixing things into my ice cream more often. the strawberry sauce was a nice touch.  the citrus juices we added to the fresh strawberries made for a perfect balance and the sauce really complemented the shortbread infused strawberry ice cream.

it was a lot of fun to cook the whole meal with marshall and then enjoy our creations at the end of the night.


all in all, i would say this class was awesome. we learned a lot and already can’t wait to put our new knowledge to work.. i think we will be having steak again for dinner tomorrow! i am sure we will go back to sur la table for another class sometime in the future.. although probably not soon since the classes are a bit pricey.


1. have you ever taken a cooking class? tell me about it.

2, if you were to take a cooking class, what type class would you want to take? what would you like to see on the menu?

xo. janetha g.

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Annette@EnjoyYourHealthyLife July 2, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Okay that is SO cool. I have never done a cooking class, but I would opt to do a Mexican cooking class, as that is my husband’s favorite type of food. I like making it for him because he LOVES it (oh, and I do too! score.)

That dessert sounds amazing btw, and I am SO going to use those grilling tips <—thanks, girl:)

Lori July 2, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Those pictures are fantastic! Now I want steak.

I took a cooking class in New Orleans and it was a blast! The instructor was hilarious and we made some yummy classic New Orleans dishes like jambalaya, gumbo, pralines, and bread pudding!

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga July 2, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Wow, this is an awesome post!! Thanks for all the pics and sharing your experience.

This is a great tip
“one thing i learned is that if you are using an indoor grill, you should put the oil directly on the grill, not the item you are grilling.. and vice versa for an outdoor grill.”

I had no idea. Nor do I have an indoor grill but would like one. Wonder if it would make my house smell like grill/grilled food for days? That would suck. lol

I have never taken a cooking class but have given one. A raw vegan cooking demo.

And also have taken food styling/food photography classes.

Jackie Smith July 3, 2011 at 1:39 am

Funny, I was going to say I’d like to take a raw vegan cooking class!

lynn @ the actor's diet July 2, 2011 at 8:20 pm

fun! i once took a cooking class with my whole family. we made dim sum!

maria @ Chasing the Now July 2, 2011 at 8:20 pm

This looks so fun! I have taken a cooking class with jeremy where we learned to make soup. It was pretty fun and I would love to do it again!

Krista (kristastes) July 2, 2011 at 8:33 pm

How fun!! Butter on steak is deeeeliciously sinful. Believe it or not, I’ve never taken a cooking class, unless you count 7th grade cooking… I would love to as an adult though!

Holly @ The Runny Egg July 2, 2011 at 8:42 pm

Ok seeing this makes me want to take a cooking class like this — it looks like lots of fun!

And those smashed potatoes look really delicious.

Missy July 2, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Wow! Thanks for the awesome recap of the class and those great tips!
I’ve never taken a cooking class but we have a Viking cooking school near us and I have always wanted to go. I would like a grill type of class or a general baking class that shows you neat tips and tricks. But they have some called “All Things Chocolate”, “Macaroons and Whoopie Pies” and “French Outdoor Cafe” that sounds pretty good!
Maybe you can go again soon!

Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn July 2, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Um, if there was ONE cooking method I had to choose for the rest of my life, it would be grilling. EVERYTHING tastes better grilled <3

Heather (Heather's Dish) July 2, 2011 at 9:25 pm

seriously, what a fun night! we are getting a sur la table in boulder soon…and i know we’d love the steak one!

Erica July 2, 2011 at 9:33 pm

So fun! The smashed potatoes look amazing. An awesome thing to do as a couple. I have taken two cooking classes, both were Italian themed. The first focused on gnocchi and risotto and I took it with a friend. The second was all risotto and I took it with my mama!

elise July 2, 2011 at 10:09 pm

SO COOL!!! i wanna take classes. i dont even care if they are about grilling steak, i bet i could apply some of it to veg/fu. now im gonna look up sur la table classes in santa monica. thanks for the idea!!

Jen July 2, 2011 at 10:14 pm

awesome! i would love to take a cooking class one day, and my dream class would be all things mexican cuisine.
i don’t know what it is, but it seems that everything tastes better if it’s grilled!

fittingbackin July 2, 2011 at 10:43 pm

So fun! I haven’t done one but I’d love to attend a cooking class!

Interesting about oil for indoor vs. outdoor grill – I’ve never used either personally (I know!) – that’s on my list to do as well!

Eden July 3, 2011 at 12:29 am

I had 14 months of cooking class. Five hours a day, six (yes, six) days a week! (ie, culinary school).

And this is why I love top ramen.

cathy July 3, 2011 at 4:09 am

what an awesome date night for you and marshall, j! great idea to take the grilling class – something both of you enjoyed and can learn from!
i took a cake decorating series of classes (4 in total) in february and it was fun…but i have not decorated a cake since, and i was not a natural! i’m glad i went, though!
i would like to take just a basic knife course – as in how to chop veggies, what knives to use etc. that would be very helpful!!
have a super weekend!

katie July 3, 2011 at 5:34 am

Awwwww Im glad the cooking class went great! My friend and her boyfriend did one in CHicago and loved it! I want to do that one day!!

Happy July 4th Weekend to you and the family! love you!!! Cant believe July 17th will be 1 year you are married! Time flies!!


MelissaNibbles July 3, 2011 at 5:57 am

I took an Italian cooking class about ten years ago. I want to go back and take another basic cooking class. There are a lot of basic things that I don’t know about cooking, meat preparation, etc… so I think it would be fun to learn all that instead of just one certain cuisine. It’s a four week course too so it would get me out of the house. I’m glad you had such a fun time!

Clare @ Fitting It All In July 3, 2011 at 6:33 am

How fun that Marshall went with you!
My old boyfriend (I don’t like calling him ex because it sounds like we’re mad at each other) got me a vegan cooking class at a place here called Kitchen Conservatory for Christmas. It was SO FUN and I went and made him one of the pasta recipes for Valentine’s Day! I’d love to do another but you’re right – pricey!

PBJenny July 3, 2011 at 7:18 am

I actually took a cooking class in high school. Needless to say the homemade pretzels and cookie dough that we made couldn’t hold a candle to your full course meal. I would love to take some more classes. Just yesterday I learned the proper technique to cut an avocado..from my brother, of all people.

jassy July 3, 2011 at 7:33 am

hi there…it’s good that you eat steak :) you look like hilary duff :)

Savannah(Sweet and Savvy) July 3, 2011 at 7:35 am

I’d absolutley loveeeeeee to take a cooking class! I never had. I’d like to take one that had a variety of options,[ but nothing too fancy. ( I don’t have a very sophisticated palate(; ]

Looks like you had a great time!

Krystina (Organically Me) July 3, 2011 at 7:47 am

I would LOVE to take a cooking class with a significant other. Heck, I’d just love a significant other…

Biz July 3, 2011 at 8:34 am

What a fun time! I’ve done a couple cooking classes before, but you are right, they are on the $$ side – but great grilling tips! :D

Have a safe and happy 4th!

Jayme @ Runner-n-Spice July 3, 2011 at 8:35 am

Ive never taken a cooking class – but what you’ve whipped up looks incredible!

Jess@atasteofconfidence July 3, 2011 at 8:42 am

How fun! I would like to do something like grilling, too, because it’s something I don’t usually do. I can do italian and that type of thing, but grilling isnt exactly my forte!

Carey @ Positively Blonde July 3, 2011 at 9:40 am

Looks like you all had a great time! For one Mother’s Day, I bought my Mom a cooking class. We learned how to make bread, english muffins, bagels and some other things. We had a great time, but eating all the goodies we made was the best part! :)

Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather July 3, 2011 at 9:53 am

Wow that looks like a blast! I need to find a cooking class for Jacob and I to go to together.

Amy July 3, 2011 at 10:56 am

how fun! I took a couple cooking classes in Chicago with my husband. It was a lot of fun! Definitely a good date!

Amanda July 3, 2011 at 11:04 am

This really had me wanting to try a cooking class with Andy. How fun! When we get a house (hopefully in a year) we need a grill also. I’m jealous.

Holley @ Lunges and Lashes July 3, 2011 at 11:18 am

that looks so fun! i need to learn how to cook good steaks, that is one thing i feel like i am clueless on. love all the pictures!

The Teenage Taste July 3, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I’ve never taken a cooking class before, but now I want to. They look like a bunch of fun and the food looks delicious!

BroccoliHut July 3, 2011 at 2:06 pm

I attended a cooking “class” a few weeks ago, although it was more of a demonstration. We didn’t actually get to cook like I thought we would :( It was still a lot of fun though–I learned how to make some killer crabcakes!

Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food July 3, 2011 at 7:02 pm

ohh what fun!

I actually went to culinary school so I suppose I’ve been to many cooking classes! :P

Kristina @ spabettie July 3, 2011 at 8:19 pm

I want to take THIS cooking class! :) everything looks awesome, I love an ice cream with pieces of baked good in it… and compound butter – yes, I’m not really a butter on your steak girl either, but compound butter always sounds awesome.

I haven’t taken any recently, but I used to take cooking classes a lot – a sushi rolling class (where I had wasabi ROOT for the first time, no powder, the real thing!) and several others that focused on a particular thing, like this one. FUN!

Marissa July 4, 2011 at 9:34 am

I took a cooking class once in Girl Scouts… we made disgusting ravioli that none of us could eat because the instructor didn’t tell us that we were supposed to strip the leaves off of the thyme before chopping it up and putting it into the filling… so all our ravioli were full of twigs. Yuckkk.

Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli July 13, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Wow! This looks like so much fun! I would LOVE to go to a cooking class someday! They have the ones at Whole Foods, but since it takes me almost an hour to drive to the closest one, and they typically don’t start until 7-ish, I’ve yet to give it a go! :(

It would be awesome to try a grilling class. I have a great gas grill, but I’m scared to use it by myself! :-/

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