By Kerry Hamilton Smith

If you’ve ever experienced the tantalizing tastes of Evans Street Station, you may have left wondering how they create such wonderful flavors that tease the palate with a host of different sensations. If that’s the case, then you may want to take advantage of Chef Alan Merhar’s cooking classes.

The classes are offered generally two Sundays per month, unless it’s during the busy holidays. Participants will enjoy a beverage of their choice throughout the class, the full dinner that’s featured, complete recipes for each course, and on-camera demonstrations of preparation and cooking. As Merhar prepares the courses, servers bring generous portions for you to enjoy.

At a recent cooking class, the featured menu was French onion soup with Jarlsberg and croutons, organic quinoa and roasted cauliflower salad with a sherry dressing, chicken fettuccine with parmesan cream, and pineapple upside down cake. Merhar sprinkles the classes with bits of little-known information, flavors them with professional kitchen tips, and spices them with humor.

Featured Recipe

By Evans Street Station

Yield: 12 Cakes

Pineapple Mixture:

1 ½ Pineapples (cleaned & diced small)
¼ lb Butter
½ lb Light Brown Sugar
1 oz Triple Sec
1 oz Rum
1 oz Ginger Juice
1 Vanilla Beans
as needed Cornstarch & Water (slurry)

Melt butter in medium saucepan, add brown sugar. Bring to a slow boil, add rum & triple sec. Add pineapple, ginger juice & vanilla beans. Cook until pineapple is done, approximately 20 minutes. Thicken with slurry if needed. Remove from heat & pour into hotel pan to cool. Set aside.

Cake Mixture:

2 cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 ½ cups Sugar
3 oz Butter (melted)
¾ cup Heavy Cream
½ cup Water
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 ea Eggs
1 ea Egg Yolks
1 tbsp Lemon Zest
1 tbsp Orange Zest

Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt together in medium mixing bowl. Set aside. Combine remaining ingredients in separate mixing bowl. Whisk to mix well. Add dry ingredients. Mix well.

To build and bake:

Grease baking dishes. Place approximately 2 oz pineapple mixture in baking dish, then add approximately 3 oz batter on top. Place on sheet trays. Bake @ 325° with a low fan, for approximately 25 minutes. (Rotate after 12 minutes.) Use toothpick test: insert pick in center of cake; if it comes out wet, bake for 5 minutes more. Repeat until done. Remove from oven & allow to cool.

Chef’s Tips: When you’re zesting a citrus fruit, scrape the outer layer only; don’t get to the white of the rind. That way, you get the flavor of the citrus without the harshness and the bitterness.

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