Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Scallops and schooling

After a brief layoff due to moving and the trip to Copenhagen, my grilling column is back on D.C. Foodies. It's the first one I shot in the backyard of my new house. Although I've upgraded my grills, I had to use my tiny grill for this one, but the new equipment will make an appearance soon enough. I also got a chance to try out Abita's latest beers, both were good, one was great.
So I ran my first beer class at CulinAerie last night. I've been volunteering at the D.C. cooking school for the past few months, mostly helping the chef instructors set up, break down and run the class. But thanks to a scheduling conflict with a guy from Dogfish Head, one of the owners, Susan, needed a beer guy to fill in. I'm a beer guy.
For the class, a private event for members of the National Potato Council, Susan taught the attendees how to grill salmon, bison and lamb sliders, and make homemade potato chips (they are the Potato Council after all), and I got to talk about beer. More importantly, I had an audience that seemingly enwrapped by what I had to say about beer. Well they were enwrapped or stuck because they'd paid for the course.
It wasn't such a bad night for the potato folks, though. I brought props and good beer, and Susan gave them the tools to cook some pretty solid burgers. I opened the class talking about the basics of beer, and passed around some fresh Silver Leaf hops and malted barley to give them a better idea of what goes into beer. Then there was the beer. We did a tasting of three beers: Oscar Blues' Mama's Little Yella Pils, Dogfish Head's Indian Brown Ale and Stone's IPA. Not everyone liked all three beers, but everyone liked at least one and most liked a couple. The Dogfish Head just wasn't working for them. However, we blew through Oscar Blues' pilsner.
The lecture portion of the class didn't last too long, maybe about 20 minutes. Then Susan took over with the cooking instruction and I spent the rest of the evening going around the room filling glasses and chatting about beer. Man, if only I could get paid for a gig like that.
Fortunately, Susan was happy with my performance, so I'll get to prattle on about beer again. Can't wait.

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