Me and “Top Chef” Ryan Scott and a Sur la Table vegetarian cooking class

Okay, so I was the only person in the Sur la Table Vegetarian Cooking class who had never seen Top Chef. Sue me.

How did I know I was the only person?

Chef Ryan Scott asked everyone their name and why there where there. Everyone else there said they were there because of the show. Me, I was taking it to learn about vegetarian cooking. They got signed 8 ½" x 11" glossies. Me, I got recipes.

“Top Chef” Ryan Scott vegetarian recipes, no less. And I plan to share.

Sur la Table Vegetarian Cooking
I learned less in this class than in any other Sur la Table class. But I had way more fun.

More fun because the chef infused the class with energy. But learned less because the students were broken into groups. Now, in all fairness, he did encourage you to jump from station to station, which I would have preferred. But the other women in my station (and, from what I can tell, Sur la Table classes tend to be at least three-quarters female), just assumed we would stay together from start to finish, making those zucchini blossoms.

Peer pressure. It’ll get you every time.

On the bright side, I did become a zucchini blossom expert. On the downside, somehow we got dubbed the zucchini blossom girls.

Most unfortunate.

Everything you’ve always wanted to know about zucchini blossoms
I can sum up everything we did with zucchini blossoms in one, short, paragraph. Twist the inner bit out of the blossoms. Discard. Make a mixture of two-thirds goat cheese, one-third ricotta, a pinch of salt, and a dash of cream. Stuff the blossoms with this mixture. Refrigerate the stuffed blossoms for a half hour or so. Take them out of the fridge and coat them with a layer of salt and pepper seasoned flour, then egg, then cornmeal. Fry. Enjoy.

But, good as that was, the best two dishes were the pickled tomatoes and the corn soup. So good, in fact, that I begged the Chef for permission to post the recipes here. Permission he graciously gave.

And as for the Sur la Table class . . .
Sure, it was great fun and I learned all sorts of things, especially how to flip food in the saute pan (push forward, jerk backward, and watch the food fly into the air, turn over, and if you are me, completely miss the pan on the way down), but an unexpected bonus was an amusing classmate in a similar industry. We exchanged contact information.

Let's put it this way, the class was so much fun, I plan to take (and write about) as many classes as I can squeeze into my schedule.

And as for Chef Ryan Scott . . .
He is executive chef of Mission Beach Café in San Francisco. It’s a sweet-looking place. With a sweet-looking menu. How sweet? Well, here are two recipes from his restaurant. Recipes we made in class. Recipes as easy as they are delicious.

You might want to try the recipes. Me? If I can find the time, I want to try the restaurant. Sure, it is fun to cook for yourself. But it is even more fun when an expert cooks for you!

“Top Chef” Ryan Scott vegetarian recipe for Sweet White Corn Soup
1/4 pound butter
1cup leeks, white part only, minced
2 cups onions, finely minced
2 Qt corn milk
1 Qt shucked corn
2 1/2 Qt's vegetable stock
1-cup heavy cream
Dash of Tabasco
3 T salt

Sweat in a large saucepan the butter, onions, and leeks or until translucent (5-10 min). Add the corn milk, corn, stock and simmer for 1/2 hour. Then add cream, salt, Tabasco, and bring to a boil. Puree in blender and strain through a fine mesh strainer (depending on the desired consistency of the soup)

“Top Chef” Ryan Scott vegetarian recipe for Pickled Cherry Tomatoes
2 lbs Cherry tomatoes, cut in half and washed
2Tbs slivered garlic (as thin as a dime)
2 Tbs slivered ginger (as thin as a dime)
2 Tbs minced parsley
1 1/2 Tbs salt
1 Tbs Espelete pepper
1/2 Tbs tumeric
1 1/2 Tsp cracked black pepper
1 cup champagne vinegar
1 1/4 cup corn oil
1 cup sugar

Boil salt, sugar, and vinegar till dissolved.

Heat the oil just warm enough to lightly cook the garlic, ginger, and spices. Cook till garlic is tender not brown.

Add vinegar slowly to the oil mixture and then add parsley. Pour liquid mixture over the halved tomatoes, let cool at room temperature, and then refrigerate. This mixture will hold up for weeks as long as its chilled. When serving it does taste better at room temperature.

Top Chef: The Cookbook
Now, if you want a little Top Chef of your own, your best bet is the terribly delightful Top Chef cookbook. Alas, our own Top Chef, Ryan Scott, is not in the cookbook (it only covers seasons one through three and he was in season four), but it is still well worth a browse.

For fans, it has everything from episode guides to chef biographies. For the rest of us, there are tons of recipes to enjoy, from Strawberry Apple Crisp with Hazelnut Whipped Cream to Portobello and Button Mushroom Creme with Walnuts. And scattered hither and yon, there is an abundance of color photographs.

It's not the same thing as attending a Sur la Table class. But if you can't make it and you want some Top Chef inspiration, it is the next best thing.