Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Akron Cooking & Gardening Classes



I'm excited to roll-out my cooking and gardening classes. As we dig out from yet another blizzard (I'm on break from shoveling my driveway so the granite guys can get in), I thought you'd enjoy a photo of a summer's afternoon harvest from last season.

Whether you are a seasoned cook, or need a little culinary coaching, you'll find a class that suits your needs. Classes can be scheduled in your kitchen (I'll bring everything needed to prepare the class recipes), or in a few weeks I'll be able to start hosting them in my newly remodeled kitchen.

Ideally we'll need 6-12 participants per class to make it affordable for all since classes are priced based on time + cost of ingredients. (Private classes can be scheduled as well as custom topics). Food costs increase marginally for more participants. In other words, the more friends you gather, the lower the cost per person - $25 - $50 per person. Classes are hands-on, there’s lots of sampling, and include hand-outs with recipes & tips.

To sign up for class update newsletter or to suggest another class topic, e-mail me at Dineindiva@neo.rr.com and put "Classes" in the subject line.

Romantic Dinner for Two - Stay in for Valentine's Day this year, or pull this menu out on any evening for a special repast. Learn about surprising foods with aphrodisiac properties. We'll make a sexy salad, an entree of chicken or salmon with champagne cream sauce/ or seared beef/pork w/ port & dried cherry sauce, simple sides, Grand Marnier Honey Chocolate Fondue, and an Amorous Edible Massage Oil. Call the babysitter!

Make Your Own Mixes - Learn to make your own mixes minus the weird and unhealthy ingredients. We'll also make our own salad dressing. Home made is fresher, tastier, and better for you and your family, not to mention greener since you'll use reusable containers vs. throw away packaging.

Secrets of a Professional Grocery Shopper - Who isn't looking to get the biggest bang for the buck these days? I do more than the average amount of food shopping so I know where the best selections and prices are. Learn about organic, seasonal and sustainable foods and how they can fit in your budget.

Victory Garden - During WW I & II, folks grew Victory Gardens to ease the burden on the food supply during wartime. With the interest in local foods, there's no better way to reduce your carbon footprint than by growing your own. Learn what grows best here, when to plant, harvest, and how to cook and preserve your crops. It isn't too soon to start planning for spring! Also learn about how you can plant an extra row to feed the hungry and about local farmers that will do the work (or most of the work) for you for an upfront investment annually (CSA programs).

Cook From a Book - Group selects a cookbook and we'll cook a selection of recipes from the book. I have over 400 for you to select from. May I suggest Mark Bittman's 'Food Matters, A Guide to Conscious Eating with 75 Recipes' which in addition to recipes, provides information on how and why changing the way you eat will impact your health and the environment. See other book possibilities in my Amazon store.

Leftover Makeover - Family wrinkle their noses at leftovers? Learn the secrets of making meals taste as fresh as the first time around, plus strategies for turning the cooked ingredients into totally new meals. Stretch your food budget while saving time in the kitchen and reducing your food waste.

Natural Beauty from the Garden and Pantry - With a few ingredients from the pantry & garden create your own healthy beauty products.

Under Pressure - Not granny's pressure cooker. Learn how this kitchen appliance can help you make normally slow cooking dishes possible on any weeknight. Old fashioned Ham & Navy Bean Soup in 15 minutes. Tender Rosemary Beef Stew in 35 min. These are also great time savers for preparing whole grains on the weekend to have in the frig all week.

Flexitarian - Eating less meat is good for your health and your budget. Learn some recipes that are flexible enough to please the meat eaters and vegetarians alike.

Spice Rack Redo - If you're still using the dried spices that came with your rack you're missing out on the flavor punch these ingredients provide. Bring your clean empty jars and fill them up with fresh spices and learn how to use them.

Go with the Grain - You know whole grains are good for you, but are you stumped on how to prepare them? Explore whole grains like wheatberries, quinoa and barley. Check out 'Whole Grains for Busy People' by Lorna Sass in my Amazon store.

Sear, Roast, Sauce - One of the questions I'm often asked is how to make steak like restaurants. This class will teach you a basic technique that works with beef, pork, chicken and fish and has endless flexibility.

Kitchen Math for Kids - Perfect for homeschoolers. Learn math by working with kitchen measurements.

Catering Secrets - Learn how to set up a buffet, decorate and put on a party on a budget that looks like it was professionally catered.

On the Side - Tired of the same old boring rice and frozen vegetables? Spice up your plate with some exciting side dishes.

What's For Lunch? - Brown bagging to save money? Learn how to prepare healthy lunches and morph your dinners that will have your co-workers begging you to trade.

Ugly Vegetables - You've seen the celery root in the produce section but have no idea what to do with it. Some of the ugliest vegetables are the tastiest. We'll explore celery root, parsnips, fennel and others.

Rotisserie Chicken to the Rescue - They're quick and convenient, but kind of boring. Learn how to use them to jump start a more appealing meal.

Home Creamery - Learn how simple it is to make your own yogurt, ricotta, creme fraiche, butter, etc. at home. I have a few extra copies of The Home Creamery by Kathy Farrell-Kingsley for sale, or you can buy through my Amazon Store. One of the leading mail-order companies in the country that supplies all kinds of make your own supplies is located right in our backyard and has a retail location. We'll use milk from local dairy, Snowville Creamery.

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