Grilling Class at Sur La Table

May 12, 2011

So  I received some money for Christmas and I hate spending on myself so I put it away in a safe place while I decided what to do with it. We then had the back yard done and I had a brand new grill that I didn’t feel I could use to its full potential. I had also had my eye on trying some classes at Sur La Table at Kierland Commons and discovered that they were putting on a 3 day class that had been designed by Bobby Flay called Grill It.  I booked this a good couple of months in advance so attended the first class here in Scottsdale, but it is being run through the Summer so please, I urge you, go ahead and sign up.  I had a wonderful time, hence the reason I am writing about it.  I am going to borrow the overview from Sur La Table explaining the class but I took a couple of pictures last night which have been on twitter so apologies if you have already seen them.  I also apologise for the quality of the picture as they were taken on my phone.

What You Will Learn:

He discovered his passion for food at the ripe age of  17, after taking a job as cook at the famous New York eatery Joe Allen’s. Since then, the versatile Flay attended The French Culinary Institute, has written nine critically-acclaimed cookbooks, opened several successful restaurants, and has become an in-demand celebrity chef on the likes of “Throwdown!, Iron Chef America, Boy Meets Grill” and more.

Now Flay has teamed up with Sur La Table to challenge the way we think about grilling. Although grilling remains a popular pastime, the secrets to getting professional-quality results remain a mystery for some, while more confident grillers just want new and exciting ideas for meals on the grill.

In this intensive grilling workshop you’ll:

  • Transform your favorite fresh, seasonal ingredients into delicious and inventive meals hot off the grill
  • Expand your grilling repertoire beyond burgers to include meats, fish, shellfish, vegetables—even dessert
  • Learn essential grilling techniques like knowing when your grill reaches the right temperature, cooking with direct and indirect heat, and judging when your grilled foods are perfectly cooked
  • Enhance the flavor of fresh ingredients with unique marinades, sauces, vinaigrettes, and rubs
  • Learn to perfectly cook classic grilling favorites, like cheeseburgers, filet mignon, shrimp, scallops, and farm-fresh corn
  • Discover new grilling techniques and essential tools to let you enjoy great grilled flavors year-round
  • Uncover the secrets to getting professional-quality results on the grill every time
  • And more!

Select locations will even offer this series outdoors, weather permitting.

Bonus: Each student receives a free autographed copy of Grill It! by Bobby Flay.

Class is only available as the three part series. Classes taught by Sur la Table Chefs; Bobby Flay will not be in attendance.

Session One: Grilling Meat
In the first session we’ll cover everything you need to know to grill an assortment of delicious meats to tender and juicy perfection every time.

  • Learn chef-tested techniques for grilling meat to perfection
  • Maximize flavor using a variety of inventive rubs, marinades, and sauces
  • Discover new and exciting flavor combinations featuring summer’s bounty

Session Two: Grilling Seafood
For session two we’ll move on to the sometimes-intimidating prospect of grilling seafood, and quickly put all your fears to rest.

  • Unlock the pro’s secrets for perfectly grilled fish and shellfish
  • Explore inventive grilling techniques and tools for maximum flavor
  • Enhance the flavors of fish and shellfish with succulent sauces and glazes
  • Create delicious and easy grilled fruit desserts

Session Three: Basics on the Grill
In our final session we’ll share insider tips and techniques the professionals use to ensure your place as a grilling guru for years to come.

  • Create amazing four-course meals right on the grill
  • Bring out the freshness and flavor of the season’s best ingredients
  • Learn delicious and unique twists on your favorite summer dishes”

Session One: Grilling Meat

Grilled Filet Mignon with Fig-Cabernet Vinegar Glaze – Basil-Rubbed Pork Chops with Nectarine-Blue Cheese Salad and Toasted Pine Nuts – Grilled Chicken Thighs with Green Olives and Sherry Vinegar-Orange Sauce – Perfectly Grilled Corn

Session Two: Grilling Seafood

Perfectly Grilled Shrimp with Smoked Chile Cocktail Sauce – Grilled Salmon with Miso-Orange Glaze – Grilled Scallops with Citrus Ginger Sauce and Rice Noodles – Grilled Bananas with Cinnamon Orange Sauce and Dulce de Leche Ice Cream

Session Three: Basics on the Grill

Grilled New Potato Salad with Bacon and Buttermilk Dressing – Green Chile Cheeseburgers – Grilled Zucchini with Fresh Dill Vinaigrette – Grilled Peaches with Crème Fraiche”

I had never done a class before so really didn’t know what to expect but I told John that I was glad I started with a 3 day class as, although I’m not a shy person, I felt more confident as the 3 days progressed.  The Chef who ran the class was absolutely wonderful and he also had 3 assistants so there is always someone there to talk to.  There are 16 people that take the class at a time and you work in groups of 4 making almost everything on the menu.  I also received a 10% off coupon to use in store for the next week at Sur La Table so treated myself to a few items.  The one I’m looking forward to using the most is my new Staub Grill Pan.  I’ll let you know when I try out some of these recipes.  Trust me, I’ll definitely be trying out a good half of them.  I have now told John that I would like to find at least 1 class a month to do to have a little more time for me and learn some new kitchen skills…I mean who in this household is going to benefit the most from me doing the classes…John of course so it’s just as well he’s up for me trying them.  My plan is to do the knife skills class next!

Spiral Staircase

April 22, 2011

I think the only part of the back garden remodelling I haven’t shared pictures of with you is the spiral staircase that we added so that you can access the  balcony from outside.  We have a wonderful west facing balcony that is barely used and this was because we had to go all the way through the house to the bonus room upstairs to access it.  Now, all we need to do is go up the new staircase.  We have added a gate to the bottom and the top.  I know that Kirsten is totally capable of opening the gates but at least it is not an “open” invitation so to speak for her to go up and down as she wishes.  The staircase was made by a local Company, Affordable Spiral Staircases.  They painted the staircase in the colour of our choice.  Of course installing into our garden was a first for them as we have the artificial grass.  They pulled back the grass and poured in a concrete base before adding some soil back over the top and putting the grass back in place.  Of course a little trimming of the grass was required round the new base of the staircase,  but I think they did an excellent job.  This is just their base model of staircase called the “Sedona” model but it is more than suitable for what we need it for.  We have 3 separate custom awnings on the back of the house made by Arizona Awnings.  Our concern was that the awning on the south side where the staircase was installed would have to be taken down but the staircase company added an extention to the landing so that it could remain exactly where it was.

We have also added some fairy lights.  Currently they are on a dawn to dusk sensor, but John has ordered some sort of wireless remote to try out.  For those of you who know my husband…he loves his gadgets!


April 6, 2011

So  I have been promising  you for weeks that I would show you the different mosaics included in the pool.  I think I already mentioned in a previous post that in total we have added 15 mosaics between the pool and spa.  In the spa  there is a crab as you step in and then 3 starfish around the spa seat.  As you step into the pool there is a reasonably large reef scene and then a starfish on each of the steps as you head down.  Across the bottom of the pool is a family of turtles.  On the step under the waterfall is another 2 starfish and then on the last 2 steps each one has a Clownfish (or as my daughter refers to it “nemo”) facing in towards the pool itself.

We now finally have both the new canopies on over the kitchen windows outside and the spiral staircase has been added.  There are a few touch ups here and there and a little additional planting has been done to the back garden, but otherwise I can say we are there.

My brother and his wife are currently visiting from England and they both went for a swim in the pool yesterday.  It was 71 degrees so still a little cool for me although I might risk taking a dip in the next few days, but then again maybe not as the temperature is due to drop again.  We have also used the new BBQ a number of times too.  Love the results that it gives.

Back Yard Finished…Almost!

March 16, 2011

  So it took 4 weeks give or take a few days to be completed.  We still have some patio furniture to be returned that we were having the fabric replaced on  together with some canopy blinds still to be added to the kitchen windows outside and last but not least the spiral staircase.  During the course of yesterday and right now we are having some additional landscaping rock added as what was there had significantly thinned out in both the front and back yard since the house had been built almost 12 years ago.

We don’t use a landscaper very often but he swings by once every other month just to trim back a few bushes.  He is due to come round this Saturday morning and add a few date palms to the back wall behind the spa.  We had 4 there before the work  began but due to the harsh winter they really suffered so I just had them removed.  I should be getting 3 x 2 trunk date palms.

What you can’t see from these pictures so I’ll have to take more and create a different post is the 15 mosaics we decided to add into the pool.

We tested out the BBQ and the fire pit on Saturday and had a couple of friends over for dinner.  We had a lovely evening and finished it off by roasting marshmallows over the firepit.  Kirsten couldn’t eat them fast enough!

Paving In Progress

February 24, 2011

Since I last posted the guys have been hard at work with all the paving. There is so much detail to be done that almost every piece is having to be custom cut.  This means we have excessive dust everywhere but as I watch the work progress it is definitely all going to be worth while in the end.  The stone we are using is called Shell Lock and has crushed shell in it.  We are using a pinwheel pattern except in certain places it has to go out of pattern, but I don’t think it is noticeable at all.  Kimball came yesterday and started to add the stonework detailing to the side of the fire pit  (sorry no picture as yet) but the paving is now just to be added round the side where we removed the BBQ island and round the back of the new BBQ Island.  Today they are removing a lot of their rubbish and levelling the ground ready to work on this area.

Pool Remodel – Week 1

February 19, 2011

We are  just over a week into the work.  Cameo Pools came in and drained the pool down on Wednesday 9 February and on Thursday 6 guys arrived bright and early to start to demolish the pool so to speak.  This means that they were removing all the pebbletec from the pool and spa including the rolled edges.  Mid afternoon Kimball, our masonry guy, arrived to start to demolish our current BBQ island.  He then asked the guys removing pebbletec if they could help him to remove the cool decking that had been beneath the BBQ Island too which they did.  It was a very noisey day with 5 pneumatic drills going all day and vast quantities of dust.  It was like having an Arizona dust storm just all day.

Over the course of the next couple of days we saw plumbers come in from the pool Company together with electricians to replace some of the pump equipment and electrical equipment as we are upgrading the pool/spa heater and replacing one of the 2 pumps for a variable speed.  This is hopefully going to save us money in the long run. This week we  have had the tilers in to add the new waterline tile. If you remember from my previous post our pool used to have pebbletec both beneath and above the water line.  Kimball then sent his gas/electric guys in to redirect the natural gas in our backyard as it had to be brought back towards the back door for the new BBQ Island and round the back of the spa for the new fire pit going in.  I think on Tuesday at one point there were 8 or 9 men working in the back garden:  2 on the water line tile; 2 on the BBQ island; 2 on the gas/electric for the BBQ and fire pit; and 2 for the plumbing/electrics for the pool.  I had to do some grocery shopping so I picked up a couple of crates of bottled water and 2 super-sized pizzas which I came home and baked for them.  Kimball’s guys are impressive as they have been here by 7.20am every morning and worked until 5pm.  They’ve taken about 45 minutes to an hour for lunch but stayed on site.  They even had a camp stove with them to cook their own food.  I can’t ask for more than that although Kimball told me I’d been spoiling them by providing them with pizza.  John and I made some last minute changes to the BBQ Island by deciding we would add a fridge after all.  We thought we could ultimately regret it if we didn’t.

 The BBQ Island is at the point where the concrete is setting and then they can add the equipment and stonework finish.  The same pretty much goes for the firepit.  The latter part of this week has been Kimball’s men working really hard on the paving.  It is looking amazing and so intricate.  The dust is everywhere though both inside and outside.  We’ve been promised rain this weekend and normally I would say no thank you but this weekend I’m saying I would love some just to clean down the dust.  I know there’s be more dust next week but this will give me a little respite at least.

Pool – Before We Start

February 15, 2011

 John and I have lived in our home since October 2002 and one of the few areas we’ve not touched, or done very little too, is the back yard.    We took out the grass April 2008 just before Kirsten’s first birthday and replaced with artificial but other than that the pool and barbeque island have been left untouched.  The pool was built back in 1999 at the same time of the home and it has a pebbletec coating with cool decking all round the pool.  The pebbletec is outside of the water line and there are a lot of rolled beams.  We have since discovered this is not the best as the pebbletec is starting to crack and fall away where it meets the cool decking.  We started to look at remodelling back in late 2008 but ended up not following through.  About a month ago we went to look at what we thought was our “dream home”.  I’d been drooling over it since it was built about 8 years ago.  Having looked round it it didn’t live up to my/our estimation.  This was a good thing and gave us the push to go ahead with our plans for the back yard.

We have a relatively large pool, about 20,000 us gallons.  Around the back of the pool we have numerous date palms.  Unfortunately they were hit hard by the recent unusually cold temperatures here in Phoenix.  The picture on the right shows that we have 2 pots with some lovely artistic cactii made out of metal.  We bought them from a local artist about 18 months ago   at the Fountain Hills Arts & Crafts Festival.  The pots themselves were being thrown away by a neighbour and had been left on the side of the road for the bulk pick-up so I decided to “recycle” them and added river rock in.  Once the back yard/pool remodel is completed I am going to have some decorating/replanting to do.  You can also see that we have a small barbeque island.  Unfortunately there is no protection from the sun as the umbrella hole has the gas line   running just a few inches beneath it.  It is a 2-burner fire magic but has no warming rack.  I don’t use the barbeque as much as I would like due to the fact that running between saucepans/frying pans on the stove in the kitchen and watching the food on the barbeque itself just doesn’t work.

The plan, or rather it has already started to happen, is that the current barbeque island is being demolished and rebuilt closer to the house.  It will have a larger grill with a warming rack and a rotisserie.  There will also be a double burner to the side of it and a fridge underneath allowing me to do far more cooking and not having to run to the far side of the garden either.  Simultaneously we are adding in a small fire pit to the side of the spa so there is a lot of work to re-run electrical and gas lines.

The work started last Wednesday with the pool being drained.  I will try and write a few more posts in the next few days to bring you completely up-to-date with where we are.