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City Pulse: Cooking up childhood memories

By Bianca Montes
Feb. 5, 2014 at 3:01 p.m.
Updated Feb. 4, 2014 at 8:05 p.m.

Chef Dorothy Huang with The Cooking Depot in Cuero shows off a fresh plate of shrimp fried rice. The dish was one of many Huang taught students how to teach at her cooking class Jan. 29.  Huang has been cooking for more than 30 years and has taught at the depot for about 10.

February cooking classes

• Plated desserts with sauces and fun decorations 6:30 p.m. Thursday with Chef Rebecca Rather. A savory salad also will be served, and the class costs $50.

• Sweet and savory pies 11:30 a.m. Friday with Chef Rebecca Rather for $25.

•  A taste of France 6:30 p.m. Tuesday with Chef Mike Morphew. The menu includes a classic mussel dish, stuffed salmon with lemon butter sauce and creme brulee tartlets to finish. The class costs $45.

• Spiced up steak 5 p.m. Feb. 16 with Chef Darian Hewitt. The menu includes a salad with tequila raspberry dressing, steak two ways, an easy hollandaise sauce and a creme brulee with raspberry sauce. The class costs $45.

For more classes, visit The Cooking Depot online.

All cooking classes are held at The Cooking Depot in Cuero at 202 S. Esplanade St. Further information can be found online at or by calling 361-275-2725.

Cooking with Chef Dorothy

Chef Dorothy Huang will return to The Cooking Depot March 20 and will be teaching the class how to make her favorite Chinese dishes, which includes steamed dumplings, egg drop soup, shrimp with lobster sauce and turkey and vegetable stir-fry.


Follow this article online to find recipes on how to make the crispy duck rolls.

Filling ingredients

4 cups cooked duck meat (from a whole roast duck)

1 large onion

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup shredded carrot

2 cups cilantro, chopped coarsely

Seasoning sauce ingredients

1 teaspoon cornstarch

4 tablespoons chicken stock

3 tablespoons Hoisin sauce

Seasoning sauce ingredients

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce

2 tablespoons ketchup

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce

Other ingredients needed

1 package spring roll wrappers

4 eggs, beaten

3 cups Panko bread crumbs

4 cups oil for deep-frying


Cut duck meat into strips and slice onion thinly.

Heat two tablespoons oil in a wok over high heat. Add garlic, onion and salt. Stir-fry for two minutes and then add duck meat, carrot and seasoning sauce. Stir until thickens. Remove from heat and add cilantro. Mix well. Transfer to a plate.

Combine dipping sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

To assemble

Put 1/4 cup of filling on the wrapper, a little below the center, with one corner pointing towards you. The filling should spread about 3 inches across the wrapper.

Fold the bottom flap over the filling. Tuck the point under the filling and roll once firmly. It should look like a triangle.

Brush egg on both sides of triangle. Fold the right and left corners towards center. Roll firmly all the way, making sure the edges seal well. Coat duck roll with egg and bread crumbs.

To fry

Heat four cups oil in a wok to 375 degrees. Slide five rolls into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown.

Drain on paper towels. Fry the rest of the duck rolls the same way. Serve with dipping sauce.

When I was a little girl, I told my mother I wanted an Easy-Bake Oven. My best friend, Katherine, had one, and after making a small chocolate cake in it, I was ready to steal that magic little contraption and become a pastry chef - hey, a girl can dream right?

My hardcore Italian - not to mention Montessori school teaching - mother laughed about the possibility of buying some little plastic oven, and instead, she marched me into the kitchen, grabbed two metal pans from the cupboard and told me to start mixing.

At first, I was devastated, but as we dusted chopped nuts onto a two-layer carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, I knew nothing that beautiful would ever come out of a toy oven.

I fell in love with cooking that day.

I felt that same joy when I attended my first cooking class at The Cooking Depot in Cuero. The classes, which have been around almost 14 years, are hands-on, laid-back fun in the kitchen.

Walking into the depot, the smell of fresh ginger sizzling inside a wok greeted me, and immediately, I knew that, if anything, I was going to have a good meal that night. Chef Dorothy Huang, who has been teaching with the depot for 10 years and cooking for more than 30, was laying the groundwork for a night full of dishes to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Our meal began by rolling shredded roasted duck mixed with carrots and onions into a spring roll wrapper. Chef Dorothy worked side-by-side with us, giving tips on how to fold the wrapper and how much filling to put inside. Afterward, we dipped the rolls into an egg wash and coated them with panko bread crumbs before frying them.

It was amazing.

Also on the menu, we cooked Good Luck shrimp, fried rice, Chinese-style filet mignon, sesame seed balls and Good Fortune fish - my personal favorite, a steamed piece of salmon atop a thick slice of peppered ham and a bright red bell pepper and then neatly presented with a green onion tied around.

While the cooking definitely has inspired a road trip to Houston to stock up on Chinese ingredients such as sweet bean paste, what I really enjoyed about the class was my classmates.

Sitting at a table with six strangers with a couple bottles of beer and some wine - the classes are BYOB - was a perfect way to get out of the noisy bars and into something a little more interesting.



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