Nestled in the Dewitt-Seitz building in Canal Park is the Blue Heron Trading Co. Blue Heron is a locally owned shop well known for its unique selection of housewares, gourmet kitchen tools, and cooking flavors & spices. Another superb feature of Blue Heron is their fall and spring cooking classes offered right in their store! To improve our cooking skills, we attended one of their classes to bring you the full scoop.
On a lovely fall evening in October, we attended the Blue Heron’s Fresh Fish cooking class with guest chef, Patrick Moore. During the course of our 2-hour program we laughed, we learned, and we sampled some really tasty food!
Upon arrival at the Blue Heron, we were pleasantly greeted by staff and offered water, tea, or coffee. Sitting at each spot around the kitchen demo space were recipe cards for the evening, plus a napkin -spoiler alert > hello forthcoming food!
For our first lesson of the evening, we watched Chef Patrick prepare a fried panfish with pesto dipping sauce. He prepared the pesto sauce first, to allow the flavors to combine. During this process we learned that salts, acids, and vinegar actually excite the taste buds, allowing us to taste better -thus the reason why many recipes will call for ingredients such as lemon juice. If you’d like to make your pesto sauce healthier, feel free to sub all or part of the mayo for greek yogurt. The same goes if you’d like to make it a little richer; sub sour cream instead.
When it’s time to bread you fish, set up an assembly line of flour, eggs, and bread crumbs in separate bowls. This process is easier to clean up if you wear gloves and keep one hand dry and one hand wet –only use one of your hands for the egg wash stage. This will keep you from breading your own hands as you go. To prevent clumping, only add dry herbs to your bread crumbs. The key to frying good fish is a hot pan and oil. Placing fish in oil that isn’t hot enough will cause it to stick to the pan and become mushy.
We had a 10-minute intermission after our panfish and pesto dipping sauce were prepared. Upon returning to the kitchen we were greeted with sample plates to taste test. The fish was moist and the pesto sauce was fresh, cool, and pleasantly tangy. As we enjoyed our sample, Chef Patrick began our second demonstration of the evening; spicy grilled fish sandwich with dill cream and pineapple slaw.
He first prepared the marinade to give the fish time to soak in the flavors. While the fish marinaded he prepared the dill cream sauce and pineapple coleslaw. The slaw is a dish you don’t want to make more than 2-3 hours ahead of time, as it’ll start breaking down and become runny.
When placing your fish in the pan to fry or sear it, always remember to set it lightly and away from you in the pan to prevent oil from splashing back at yourself. I think the spicy grilled fish sandwich was my favorite dish of the evening. It had a bold flavor without being overpowering. The pineapple slaw had a great blend of flavors including both crunchy and chewy textures.
Chef Patrick Moore currently works as the Food Service Director for the Ashland school district. He also serves as the Getaway Gourmet chef at the Lake Home & Cabin Show. Chef Patrick has a real passion for cooking; which was quite evident during our cooking class. During his college days, Patrick would cook food for his fraternity. He found it very rewarding when all his frat brothers enjoyed his cooking and provided positive feedback. This led him to take up cooking as a career. He attended culinary school in Portland, Oregon and has been cooking for the past 17-18 years since.
Interested in attending a cooking class at the Blue Heron yourself? Cooking classes are only $30 per person. You can register in-store or over the phone (218-722-8799)s. On the day of the class you will receive a coupon good for a 10% discount. Upcoming and past cooking classes have covered soups, bread, comfort food, side dishes, international cuisine, and more.
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