Cooking with my Honey: Valentine’s Day Cooking Class!

By Katie, 5:10 am

Before I say anything else, let me say this:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!!!

My mom’s pretty much the coolest person ever. 8-)

She’s so cool, in fact, that for Christmas she gave Dave and me tickets to a Valentine’s Day cooking class. Good idea, right?

Right. :-)

We learned many things, including but not limited to:

  • the difference between a pepper and a chili (do you know?)
  • the smell of a raw Maitake mushroom (also known as “Hen-of-the-Woods”) is very distinct (it smells like dirty feet, honestly!)
  • food mills are pretty neat kitchen gadgets (have you ever used one?)
  • the proper way to cut a chunk of chocolate (with a serrated knife, so you’re basically shaving it)

Of course, we also cooked and ate some seriously delicious food.

Pizette with Wild Mushrooms, Garlic, Goat Cheese & Truffle Oil

Honey Caper Grilled Shrimp

Risotto with Lobster, Dried Cherries & Mascarpone (best dish of the night!)

Pan Seared Duck Breast with Ginger, Chili & Honey, served over Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Sweet ‘n’ Sour Walnuts

The sweet potatoes were awesome (Dave and I cooked them!) but I didn’t even finish the duck. Everyone else seemed to like it, so maybe I’m just not a duck person.

Roasted Beet, Cashew & Jicama Salad

Dessert was Chocolate Fondue (with Cognac!)

With strawberries, pretzels, almond macaroons, and candied orange peel for dipping.

Working in the class kitchen was great – it was totally upgraded with fancy equipment, and I got to cook with Dave while chatting with some really fun new people. Oh, and someone else was doing the dishes – not bad! We hope to do it again sometime soon. This particular teacher’s next session is called Bakin’ with Bacon…sounds yummy!

Have you ever gone to a cooking class?

What kind of cooking or baking class would you like to take?

35 Responses to “Cooking with my Honey: Valentine’s Day Cooking Class!”

  1. Karen says:

    Those dishes look amazing! I have never taken any kind of cooking class before. I would love to take a knife skills class to learn how to properly use the all the different knives in my block.

    • Katie says:

      I’d take that class in a heart beat too!

    • lauramich says:

      I’ve taken a knife skills class. While it was a valuable experience, that one four-hour class didn’t really “take” with me. I still struggle to keep good form while I’m using my knife (e.g., curling my fingers under to keep them safe). I’m still clumsy, slow, and inefficient, especially with vegetables—the backbone of healthy eating!

      • Katie says:

        How big was the class size? Do you think small classes are better for skills like that?

  2. Happy happy Birthday to Katie’s mom!! :)

  3. Happy Birthday to your Mom, Katie! What a lovely photo of the two of you :-)

    I have never gone to a cooking class and to be honest, I am not sure I have the desire…but if someone were to give me one, I’d go for sure!

  4. Gorgeous pictures!! What a fun gift from your mom. I love “experience” gifts like that.

  5. happy birthday to your mom! looks like a fun time:)

  6. lauramich says:

    Totally drooling over those lovely pics, and your descriptions of each dish…

    I think the two main things I’d like to learn from a cooking class would be (a) making my own sushi and (b) baking with yeast. Teh Husband and I took a stab at sushi once, and we couldn’t even get the rice right—it was, I kid you know, gummy and crunchy at the same time. How is that possible? :D

    As for yeast baking, I do have a bread machine, but I feel like I’m cheating when I use it. I’d like to be able to make real bread from scratch, as well as pizza dough and cinnamon rolls.

    • lauramich says:

      “I kid you not.” Gah!

      • Katie says:

        I’ve never attempted sushi because I’ve always been totally intimidated by it! I would love to take that class!

    • MK says:

      Sushi-making: Watch this video
      http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2339485853386165626#

      Yes, it’s vegan sushi. But it’s fantastic. The fish part you can learn by talking to any good fish monger, so the techniques here are great. Also? Use a rice cooker. The cheap ones are fine unless you are concerned about aluminum (my Chinese cooking instructor said the cheap ones were perfect.)

      • Katie says:

        I actually already own a cheap rice cooker, so that would work perfectly! Thanks for sharing! :)

  7. The honey-caper shrimp look awesome, I love shrimp and scallops in any form.

    The only cooking class I have ever taken was a Thai cooking class in actual Thailand last October taught by a Thai chef. It was private for just my boyfriend and I and it was fun. Thai food is probably my favorite ethnic food, along with Japanese, so now I know how to cook a lot of things. Still haven’t done any at home yet but I am planning on it soon!

    • Katie says:

      A private Thai cooking class? In Thailand? Taught by a Thai chef? Sounds incredible! :)

  8. Happy B-Day to your mom! I love the photo of the two of you. The hats are great! :)

    And the photos of the food are making me hungry! I’ve never taken a cooking class but I really want to. I just recently mentioned to Brian that we should do a couples cooking class. I think it’d be so much fun – and teach me how to cook yummy stuff, which I’m sure Brian would appreciate!

  9. bubu says:

    Wow, those dishes all look amazing! Do you feel you could recreate them at home now? Looks like they had some “plating” techniques too, the presentation is gorgeous. What a great gift idea.
    P.s. weird to say to someone i’ve never met but you are so pretty in all your pictures, what a beautiful smile and complexion

    • Katie says:

      Thank you! That is so sweet of you to say! My complexion is actually not great at all, though it looks much better in pictures.

      And I do think I could re-create the dishes at home, primarily because the focus was on learning the general technique. I’ll have to give it a try to be sure, though! :)

  10. OK, don’t leave me hanging here. What’s the difference between a pepper and a chili???

    • Katie says:

      According to the chef at the class, it’s just that chilis are dried and peppers aren’t. :)

  11. marzipan says:

    OMG – your hat! hat! hat! You are just amazing. That is all :)

  12. I want to make taht pizza. I am such a sucker for goats cheese and adding it to pizza just makes its that much better!

  13. Linda M. says:

    Thanks for the birthday wish! So glad you and Dave enjoyed the cooking class. I think Matthew and Rosa should go to the next one with you – what better class for Matthew than Bakin’ with Bacon!

  14. I am a sucker for risotto, and that one looks amazing! Yum, yum.

  15. Anna says:

    I love going to cooking classes. The ones at my local co-op come in three versions – tastings, demos, and hands-on. I’d say that both the tastings and the hands-on are great for very different reasons. The tastings usually focus on learning the different qualities of items in one category. It’s a great sensory exercise. The hands-on usually come with take-home menus, a chance to get your hands working, and a dinner for all at the end. It in some ways has a sense of “dinner party” to it – where everyone enjoys talking about food & recipes.

  16. Cara says:

    This menu sounds fabulous! I totally would have finished your duck (and the lobster risotto, and the beet salad, if you left any ;) ) What a great way to spend Valentine’s Day!

  17. Simply Life says:

    what a cute picture of you and your mom!…and YUM!…what a great meal!

  18. Happy Birthday Katie’s Mom! :D

    xoxo
    Kathleen

  19. MK says:

    I took a few cooking classes at the local community college, and had a great time. I did Chinese and Peruvian. I will say that most Peruvian food isn’t up my alley, but it was a fun class. I would love love love a knife skills class. I think the SO and I will be attending a vegan cooking class at a local cafe soon — his suggestion!

  20. I love cooking classes! I’ve taken three at a local culinary school over the last year and will be taking a fourth in a couple weeks. Great way to learn new skills, meet people, and have fun! The dishes from your class look great! Any chance you could share the recipes?

    • Katie says:

      Yeah I think that would be doable! Is there any one in particular you’d like? Perhaps I’ll try to re-create it at home and write a whole post about it!

  21. What a great gift! I love taking cooking classes and cooking vacations. Have been taking them all over for decades and now I even feel confident enough to give them. I did a birthday cooking class with 5 friends on Saturday afternoon. We made blue cheese stuffed dates, spinach salad with oranges, avocado and red onion, rice pilaf, bistro chicken (with shallots and artichokes) and berry cobbler. Everyone had a great time and it was a lot of fun.

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