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 Post subject: Learning to Cook
PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:57 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 16, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 1495
Location: Halifax, NS Canada
Last night a friend and I attended a cooking class at the local super-grocery store. All I can say is - What a Great Experience!!! :D

Most big grocery stores offer this service and I would whole-heartedly recommend it for several reasons.

The class cost $8 - seriously, what is $8 for a night out?

There were 12 people in the class - it was quite obvious from the get-go that most of them were regulars and they welcomed me with open arms. We spent the evening laughing, eating and getting to know each other. The class ran a little short of two hours but I didn't even notice the time.

We were given copies of the recipes and (thankfully) we didn't have to cook but there was a chef (and I mean "a Chef") who prepared the meal while we watched, asked questions, and learned a lot about food selection and preparation.

We started the evening with a Morrocan Carrot Salad. Chef Burchell showed us the method and suggested alternatives to some of the ingredients. It was delicious!

Next we moved on to Caribbean Coconut Chicken - again he made the dish for us, suggesting alternatives to taste (nothing like adding a little hot sauce to bring out flavour). He varied the recipe as he had made it for another class earlier in the week and had smoothed out all the bumps on the best way to prepare and flavour the dish.

For desert we had a Lemon Curd & Cream Cheese Pastry Slice. He was great at answering questions about substitutions (i.e. orange or lime instead of lemon). It was amazing and I can honestly say all plates were clean when we were done! :)

He did all three dishes at the same time - I find it difficult to boil water and add rice at the same time most days and it was amazing to watch someone so efficient in the kitchen. Eveything was made from scratch - no lemon filling packages, we learned how to make it the old fashion way and the taste of the fresh lemon made me realize how much I miss actual flavour when I buy packaged goods! There is a real sense of accomplishment learning and making something from scratch.

The best part of the meal was we got to taste everything....good portions and let me tell you, it was fresh and simply delicious!!! I asked at one point if I paid another $8 if I could have seconds :) but seriously, I was full and couldn't have done it even if I wanted.

At the end of the class Chef noted that he was holding another class towards the end of the month and the menu hadn't been selected. He asked for suggestions and we all agreed fish had to be on the menu. I guess that means we're all coming to that class.

I would highly recommend this to ANYONE who eats!!!! :)
I've already signed up for more classes and can't wait.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 11:25 am 
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Joined: Wed May 15, 2002 6:01 am
Posts: 1445
Location: Jeddore
Someone...a special someone captured my heart replicating a meal she learned at one of the Superstore classes. The clincher was blueberry grunt! For those who never experienced this desert; Word of warning! :wink:
Mary you are right on the money recommending the service the Superstore provides.


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 2:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 10:42 pm
Posts: 625
Location: Virginia
I just perked hubby reading this aloud to him...date night?
thanks ,Mary!

Live True, Laugh often

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 3:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 16, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 1495
Location: Halifax, NS Canada
Speaking of that:

Blueberry Grunt
4 cups fresh blueberries (from four 1/2-pint containers)
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3/4 cup whole milk

Whipped cream, chilled whipping cream, or vanilla ice cream

Preparation For filling:
Mix all ingredients in 12-inch-diameter skillet. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until berries soften and mixture thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare dumplings:
Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles fine meal. Add milk; stir just until blended and sticky dough forms.

Drop batter by tablespoonfuls onto simmering berry mixture, placing close together. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover skillet and simmer until dumplings are firm and tester inserted into dumplings comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Scoop warm dessert into bowls.

Top with whipped cream, whipping cream, or ice cream.

... and speaking of that - Shana what a great idea for date night!!!

I'll post the recipes from next week's class which unforunately I'm going to be missing :(

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 3:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 16, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 1495
Location: Halifax, NS Canada
Chipotle Chicken Tostadas
Makes about 16
Prep time: 35 minutes


4 x 7-inch flour or corn tortillas
Olive or corn oil
1 avocado, halved and pitted
¼ cup sour cream
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (plus more for garnish)
salt to taste
¼ cup seeded and chopped tomato
¾ cup ketchup
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp chopped chipotles, in adobo sauce
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken breast
sour cream & cilantro for garnish


Pre-heat oven to 425° F. Brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Stack and cut each into 4 wedges. Push into muffin cups. Bake until golden, 2-4 minutes.

Mash avocado, ¼ cup sour cream, lime juice, garlic, 2 Tbsp cilantro, and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.

Simmer ketchup, sugar, chipotles, soy sauce, and vinegar in a saucepan over medium-low heat until the sauce has thickened, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in chicken.

Top each tostada with avocado mixture, then chicken mixture.

Garnish each tostada with sour cream & cilantro.

Source: The Chef Group – Chef Kevin Wagner

Adapted from “Cuisine at Home Soups, Stews & Chilies” 2008

Florentine Pork Bread Bowls

Makes 8 servings Prep time: 1 hour


Italian Dressing:
2 tbsp cider or red wine vinegar
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced onion
1 tbsp grated Parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil 2 pork tenderloins, about 12 ounces each
1/3 cup Italian dressing (recipe below)
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
1- 10 o z bag of fresh spinach, washed, trimmed
1-2 tbsp rice flour
3 Kaiser rolls, cut in half
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


In a small bowl; whisk together vinegar, Italian seasoning, paprika, garlic, onion & Parmesan. Whisk in oil.

Cut pork into strips 1/4 inch thick. Place in a bowl, add dressing to coat and marinate for 15 minutes.

Remove pork from marinade. Brown pork in oil in a skillet. Add tomatoes and spinach. Cover tightly and cook over medium-high heat until spinach is wilted. Sprinkle with a little rice flour and stir in. Cook a minute to thicken juices.

Meanwhile remove soft centers from Kaisers to form the bowls and place on a baking sheet. Turn on an oven broiler. Spoon pork mixture equally into each bowl. Sprinkle each with Parmesan. Broil for a minute or two until browned.

Source: The Chef Group – Chef Kevin Wagner

Adapted from www.grouprecipes.com

Pecan Fudge Tarts

Makes 12 x 3-inch tarts
Prep time: 1 hour

1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar; firmly packed
3 eggs
12 oz dark chocolate, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups), melted and slightly cooled
2 tsp instant coffee powder
1 tsp rum flavoring (or a splash of 151 rum)
1/4 cup flour (wheat or rice flour)
1 cup pecans, chopped
12 x 3-inch tart shells
Whipped cream & shaved chocolate for serving


Pre-heat oven to 375° F. Melt the chocolate gently in a bowl over simmering water or in a microwave. Cool slightly.

Cream the butter and brown sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the cooled chocolate, coffee powder, and rum flavoring, blending well. Stir in the flour and the chopped pecans. Divide filling between tart shells.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until “just” set. Do not over-bake!

Cool before serving. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and shaved chocolate.

Source: The Chef Group – Chef Kevin Wagner

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