We’ve added these cooking classes to our selection of food preservation classes for two reasons:

  • First, in response to what we’ve heard from our students and interns.   “When I preserve food, I don’t know what to do with it.   I’m used to cooking with a recipe.  Really, I’m used to cooking with a lot of partially prepared and packaged food so the scratch cooking thing  isn’t something I fall into easily.  I love my home preserved food, but if it isn’t noted on the recipe ingredient list, I find I don’t use them.  How do I cook with all this good food?  I think I’m ready for the next step.” and
  • second, as a welcome to anyone who would like to introduce more whole foods into their meals, but isn’t sure where to start.  This is great place to begin—for the knowledge and for the spirit of the community of learners.

From that question we have developed a series of classes that you can take as the entire series or look them over to find the methods and skills that would most benefit you.  The series is founded on the belief that MEALS are the important goal; they are the celebration that comes from the combined work of all of the members of the family—honest, energizing work.   The shared preparation is as much a part of the “sustenance” of food as is the eating of the meal.  Thus we assume that food preparation is shared work that is an important part of the meal.   It changes the preparation from  “toil and drudgery” in one overworked person’s schedule (a perception that has been drilled into us since convenience food manufacturers started advertising)  to a shared activity that gives life.  Real, home cooked food from scratch is affordable, better tasting, more nutritious and healthful and doesn’t take nearly the time you would think from the advertising campaigns sponsored by the packaged food folks.  This is not special event cooking, it is cooking that makes our daily meals celebrative. (If you don’t FEEL like celebrating at the moment, then simply enjoy the great flavor and healthful goodness.) The first class in the series starts at the very beginning and the others build on that basic knowledge.

If you sign up for all three classes in the cooking series, just add “series” at checkout for a $20.00 discount.

#1 “A Chicken In Every Pot”

This is not a demonstration class, this is a "do-it" class for a max of six peeps.

  • learn how to select and roast a whole chicken,
  • how to make stock, and from that stock,
  • how to start making your own sauces. You’ll make a roux (it's easy; what was all that kerfuffle about?) which will lead the way to gravy, Curry sauce, and cheese sauce(makes a Mac &Cheese fit for company). In addition we’ll make a peanut sauce, and a tomatillo sauce which will expand the menu options even more. These will jump start a lot of meal possibilities.
  • We’ll also go over basic knife skills in case you need a confidence boost.
  • We will be introducing the concept of the “Kaizen Calendar”; small steps to successfully transition your meals to scratch cooking by choosing to cook 5 meals a week that build upon one another instead of starting each meal from a blank slate.
  • We'll be highlighting numerous home preserved foods like chutney, pressure canned chicken stock, tomato salsa and pickled goodies that will brighten your palate.  Each of theses will  expand  and embellish meal possibilities.
  • We'll send you home with a syllabus that will include the recipes from the class and a sample week long calendar that will help you strategize the five scratch cooked meals.

All this with no spice packets! This is a lot to cover in three hours.

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#2 Foundation Soups

You’ve got the chicken stock you made in the first class, so…with that as a base,  let's make SOUP.  Soup wastes nothing; it is the incarnation of thrift. Homemade soups made with nourishing stock are a meal in themselves. Add a nice crusty roll or loaf of fresh bread (covered in class #3) and you’ll have a meal fit for the gods. Ever tried making soup that ended up the epitome of bland? We can help with that.

  • We’ll begin by roasting beef bones and starting some beef stock (we’ll tell you in class #3 how to turn this beef stock into a miraculous demiglace.)We’ll send you home with Debbie’s Amazing French Onion Soup recipe.
  • We’ll quickly move on to making soups from the chicken stock. We’re going to start with a clear chicken stock base that will open up lots of recipe possibilities, working with Mexican seasonings in one version and Italian seasonings in another.
  • There will be plenty of vegetables on which to practice your knife skills.
  • We’ll make a potato based cream soup from the chicken stock . Again, lot’s of variants.
  • If there’s time, we’ll make a lentil or bean soup. If not, we’ll send you home with the skills and a good recipe.
  • As we make some of the various recipes, we’ll showcase a number home preserved foods in which we have invested energy earlier in the year that will yield time savings for the soup maker, like home canned tomatoes, dehydrated zuchinni, carrots, onions, celery and parsley leaves, green and red peppers to name a few. We can use pressure canned black and garbanzo beans as well as pressure canned meat (that 30 lb roast that we bought on a great sale and put up as fast food earlier in the year)
  • We will continue using the “Kaizen Calendar”; small steps to successfully transition your meals to scratch cooking by choosing to cook 5 meals a week that build upon one another instead of starting each meal from a blank slate.  Recipes included.

Tamar Adler says, "The amount of food you have left from a meal is always the perfect amount for something."

The skills and methods in these classes make a statement that there is no such thing as a "leftover" and emphasize that food is precious.  In Tamar's words, An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace

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#3 Braise & Bread

 

We’ll braise a huge basket of greens

giving you an opportunity to hone your knife skills and  increase your culinary confidence.  We will learn to make the most of the amazing variety and prodigious quantity of greens grown in the Northwest.

If you have not experienced cooking grass fed beef

we’ll learn the methods and particularities in doing so.  It is cooked differently than the fatty corn fed meat you may be accustomed to.  It is better for your body, kinder to the cow and engenders more sustainable farming practices.  We’ll show you the advantages of a low temperature braise when cooking grass fed beef.  We’ll learn to maximize its deliciously surprising, dense, moist meaty flavors while using them to add depth of flavor to the larger portion of the meal.

Of course we’ll need some good bread for sop.

"Bucket Bread" makes fresh bread possible everyday without the mess and clean up.  Start the week with rolls and end with flat breads. Hot crusty bread can be a quick addition to a daily menu and not the fearsome time consuming affair that often lives in our imaginations.  Long live fermentation!

We’ll finish the class with lunch over continued conversation celebrating and embodying the food we’ve prepared.

We like to keep the time intimate and attentive so class size is limited.

 

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