Aviary Cafe & Creperie Cooking Class

Chef John Allen from Aviary Cafe & Creperie shows you how to prepare a gorgeous four-course meal.

The 417 Magazine Cooking Class series highlights the best local chefs and their creations. This is a four-course dinner that Chef John Allen of Aviary Café and Creperie will prepare June 19 at metro Appliances & More's demonstration kitchen

Where: Metro Appliances & More, 3252 N. Glenstone Ave., just north of I-44 in Springfield
When: 6 p.m., June 19
Tickets: $60 per person. Contact Megan Johnson at 417-883-7417 for details. Tickets are limited to 24 people on a first-come, first-served basis. Ticket sales begin June 1 at 8 a.m.


Spinach Artichoke Pesto Dip
Serves 2
Paired with Handcraft chardonnay

For the dip:
1 8-ounce can artichoke hearts
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup toasted pine nuts
1 cup loose pack parsley with
no stems
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
5 cups spinach, wilted with 1
tablespoon crushed garlic
3 ounces provel cheese

To prepare the dip:
Place all ingredients except spinach and provel cheese into a food processor, and mix well. Add spinach and provel, and pulse six times. Place 3 ounces of mixture into an oven-safe ramekin. Broil on high 10 inches down for 3 to 5 minutes. Top will be brown when done. Serve with grilled sourdough toast, pita chips or crepe chips (as served in the café).


Classic Vichyssoise
with Aviary house croutons and parsley pesto
Serves 2
Paired with Estancia pinot noir

For the parsley pesto:
1 cup parsley with no stems,
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For the vichyssoise:
½ onion, minced
2 leeks (white part only), chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
16 ounces chicken stock
10 ounces potatoes, peeled and     
6 ounces heavy cream
8 ounces milk
Salt and white pepper to taste
4 tablespoons chives, snipped
10 Aviary house croutons
Small drizzle of truffle oil

To prepare parsley pesto:
Place all ingredients in a food processor, and run on high for 1 to 2 minutes, just until it all comes together.

To prepare vichyssoise:
Sweat onion and leeks in oil until translucent (do not brown). Pour in chicken stock, add potatoes, and simmer until soft. Pour into a blender, and puree until smooth. Add a small amount of soup at a time to the cream and milk to temper. Add tempered dairy to blender, and pulse to combine. Season to taste. Pour soup into a metal
bowl, and place over an ice bath to chill. Taste, and adjust seasoning if needed. To
serve, pour soup into chilled bowls, and garnish with parsley pesto, chives and croutons. Drizzle with truffle oil.

For the croutons:
1 standard baguette, cut into
   ½-inch cubes
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh
1 stick melted butter

To prepare croutons:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss bread cubes with seasoning and melted butter. Lay flat on a sheet pan, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring every five minutes.


Seared Beef Medallions
with sauce marchand du vin
and watercress and radish salad
Serves 2
Paired with Dreaming Tree cabernet

For watercress and radish salad:
3 cups watercress
½ cup radish, thinly sliced
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare the watercress and radish salad:
Toss all ingredients together.

For the steak and sauce:
1 ounce vegetable oil
6 3-ounce beef medallions
1 ounce diced shallot
2 cups red wine
2 cups beef stock
2 parsley stems
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
1 ounce butter
Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare the steak and sauce:
Place a large sauté pan over medium high heat. When pan is very hot, add oil and slowly add steak. If your pan does not sizzle very loudly, then it is not hot enough. Sear steak on both sides until desired doneness. Remove steak from pan, and let rest. Add shallots to pan, and sweat until light brown. Deglaze pan with red wine, scraping all the bits from the bottom. Cook until you can no longer smell the alcohol. Add the beef stock, parsley stems, thyme and bay leaf. Reduce by ²/3 or until the sauce coats the back of the spoon. Pour sauce through a fine mesh strainer into another sauté pan. Add butter, and swirl the pan until the butter is melted into the sauce without breaking. Slice steak against the grain, and serve with sauce and watercress salad.


Sweet Crepes
filled with sweet goat cheese mousse and topped with fig compote and basil chiffonade
Serves 2
Paired with Mionetto il Moscato

For goat cheese mousse:
3 ounces creamy goat cheese
¼ cup powdered sugar
½ cup heavy whipping cream

For the crepes:
¾ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon melted butter, plus
   more for cooking crepes
3 or 4 basil leaves, thinly sliced

To prepare goat cheese mousse:
Combine the goat cheese and powdered sugar in food processor, and blend until smooth and light. Beat heavy cream until firm peaks are formed. Gently fold whipped cream, a little at a time, into cheese mixture. Do not over fold or the mousse will be very dense.

To prepare crepes:
Combine flour and salt. Whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Whisk in the butter, and reserve in the refrigerator. Heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Melt a pad of butter in pan, and coat. Place a 4-ounce ladle of batter in the center of the preheated pan, and swirl until it coats the entire bottom of the pan. Cook for about one minute, and flip. Cook for an additional 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat until you have the desired number of crepes you need. Spread ¼ cup of goat cheese mousse over each crepe, and fold into a triangle. Top with fig compote, sweet basil chiffonade (thinly sliced leaves), and powdered sugar.

For fig compote:
4 cups dried figs (stems removed)
½ cup brandy
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup water

To prepare fig compote:
In a small saucepan, bring all ingredients to a simmer, and shut off. Allow to soak one hour. Drain off half of the liquid, then place in a food processor, and pulse until the mixture comes together like a chunky preserve.

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