For beginners and experienced cooks
- Inspire your cooking.
- Master essential culinary concepts.
- Conserve your time, energy and resources.
- Share the joy of living and eating well.
Posted on October 26, 2010 | Permalink
To Eat Well at Home with Ease—
We could all use some help. More time, energy and resources. New ways to feel healthy, happy and satisfied at the end of each day. But sometimes the old tried and true ways, or at least what’s behind them, remain the best. And since our ancestors first hunted to gather and eat around the open fire, and later settled down to plant their gardens, orchards, fields and vineyards, we have always had to find ways to make and save things for more challenging times. To put up the harvest for winter, because our survival depended on it. When we couldn’t just run to the store or opt to eat out.
Perhaps our survival still depends on it, in this fast-forward age of distraction, stress and over commitment. To be able to come home to cooking and eating in good company. It’s primal stuff. The best. And what if we only had to think about putting things up for the week instead of the entire winter? To develop the practice of creating a progression of fresh and ready possibilities that could really make a difference in our everyday lives. Learning how to feed our real needs, while also saving our precious time, money and energy. That’s what this year’s seasonal menu and pantry stock classes are all about.
The next set of classes, starting on June 26, will help you set yourself up for summer. We’ll take full advantage of all the tomatoes, beans, squash, peppers and eggplant that flood our gardens and farmers’ markets in this growing season. Blanching, roasting, braising and sautéing them into a frittata appetizer, classic Italian soup, and selection of composed salads. Some for now and some for later. To dish up with wild salmon bellies, simply grilled hot and fast, and make way for shortcakes oozing with berries, peaches and cream. Of course, this is more than you would typically make on your own in one session at home, but these classes are designed to show you many different ways to get started and keep carrying on. All with the added comradery and assurance in many helping hands. So we’ll take our sweet time, pause for refueling breaks, and then feast on the finishing line. Playing together on a cooking holiday you get to take home inside and replay countless times over.
Don’t get me wrong. I love to go out. For a refreshing change, lunch with a friend, or romantic dinner with my husband. To pull myself away from the isolation of computer work, and feel recharged by spontaneous exchanges with other fellow villagers out for a cafe break. But most days when hunger suddenly strikes as we go about our business, I am so grateful to have a pot of soup already made. Vinaigrette, fresh bread and fruit, prepped vegetables and cooked meaty bits to simply provide or inspire the next meal. To take care of us right then and there. Why would I want to go out when I can so easily stay in? And put my feet up. To relax and expand like squash and ripe melons.
No matter how much you may or may not already love to cook, I hope you’ll come join us in class. To learn how good cooking with a flexible game plan can feed you even on the days when you don't have the time and/or energy to do it. So you can have all the tasty, nutritious, and economical benefits of cooking from scratch without always having to start from scratch. So you can learn how to make it easy, and then be able to take it easy all summer long.
Bon Appetit! Kay
For dates, times and sign-up details:
Please see our 2013 Seasonal Class Schedule.
But There's No Cause for Alarm—
With only a few days left before our son’s wedding, this May Day it only makes sense for me to send you flowers instead of words. Hopefully these photos will feel like the childhood May baskets we delighted in running around with to hang on our neighbor’s doorknobs with ribbon. Then ring the doorbell and run shrieking with laughter.
For Memories in the Making—
If right now you hit the pause button to even quickly skim back over your life so far, what are the moments you imagine would rise to the top? I often find myself compelled to ask that question at the beginning of each class, because considering what matters most in any given situation is always so illuminating. And the answers students share around my kitchen table keep confirming the fact that for most of us, it’s the simple, timeless things that continue to offer true happiness and contentment. Things more fundamental than flashy. And I can’t help loving how often these cherished life highlights involve cooking and eating together, both of which remain at the heart of le joie de vivre.
To Eat Hot, Cold or Take on a Spring Picnic—
Artichokes are most often simply steamed or boiled whole, which conveniently reserves most of the work (and prolonged anticipation) for when we sit down to eat. Then there's that gradual process of peeling off each leaf to dip into something saucy before biting down to slide it back out between your teeth. To scrape off the tenderness and cast aside the growing pile of tough remains. It's like a gustatory dance of the seven veils before we finally get to the heart of the matter, where our prize waits still guarded by a crown of prickly thistle. More bowing and scraping still required before those final glorious bites are revealed. It's certainly good practice for learning how to slow down and savor each bite. But if you'd rather be able to dive right in for a constant stream of friendly forkfuls, then braising already trimmed wedges is the best way to go about it. Particularly this time of year, when the first flush of baby artichokes floods the marketplace.
To Enrich Both Sweet and Savory Spring Dishes—
Why not put a little culture in your cream? Especially now that we’ve officially entered the season of strawberry fields forever. Ripe juicy berries lavished with thick fresh cream capture the very essence of spring, but you don’t have to stop there. Keep spreading the love around with dollops of crème fraiche in and on more than a few of your favorite things. To soften your salad dressings, smooth out the soup, embellish new potatoes, elevate baby leeks, garnish shelled peas, or transform pan juices into a creamy sauce. Such simple indulgence knows no bounds. Nor should it.
When Class Starts in Two Weeks—
What do you crave when your tummy starts rumbling? Is it something salted and crunchy or sweet and creamy? Is it that first bite of salad so carefully well dressed? Tender vegetable hot broth soothing down? Or a slab of fresh bread all slathered in butter? Each one with plenty more to come. Or maybe it's a mound of potatoes, bowl full of pasta, or pile of roasted meaty things for nibbling to the bone. A plate of chilled asparagus with homemade mayonnaise or the energizing freshness in perfectly ripe fruit. I know what I'd say. Bring it all on!
“After talking with you, I walked into the kitchen and pulled it off like I'd been doing it for years.” V.P. More feedback...
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