On Thursday evening some coworkers and I decided to head down to Paoli, PA to attend a cooking class. The Kitchen Workshop is a hands-on cooking class where you get to work with others of all cooking abilities and cook, eat, drink and be merry! The class cost $59 and is 3 hours – 6:00pm to 9:00pm. Each class has a different title and the class we attended was called Holiday Nibbles and Noshes. We made 8 different appetizers, those with a wide variety of ingredients including veggies, meat and seafood.
When we walked in we were instructed to wash our hands and pick out an apron. Of course, we as girls, were pondering over the aprons for a while.
After we picked out our apron, it was time to pour a glass of wine. There was an abundant amount of both white and red wines to drink and you could have as many glasses as you like! I was driving and we were about an hour from home – oh and it was raining like crazy – so I stuck with two glasses.
Then, it was time to step into the kitchen. The kitchen was set up with 8 workstations, for the 8 of us in the class – chopping blocks, knives, dough knives, hand towels, etc.
Once we got into the kitchen, we started cooking! There wasn’t much time for chit chat, but more time for getting down to business. We started off making Pineapple salsa and Spicy chicken sausage. Each person in the class was given one of the ingredients to work with in creating the dishes. I cut up the cucumber for the salsa into small salsa-like pieces. Others were busy chopping the pineapple, red peppers, onions, etc. Then once you did your individual job, you place all the ingredients in the bowl and mixed it up to be served. Also someone was handling browning the sausage, which was already boiling for 1 hour. Yes, 1 hour seemed like a long time, but they were really, really moist. After they were boiled, one of the other cooks placed them in a bit of olive oil and browned them on all sides for a few minutes. That was the first two appetizers we sat down to.
After each course we made, we all sat down together at the table to enjoy the food we cooked. The work stations and dishes we used were cleaned up by a volunteer who did a darn good job keeping everything tidy. She volunteers to do all the dishes and then gets credits towards taking a class for “free.” A few of the other women in the class have done this in the past and it seems like a great idea! It was really nice to cook all this food and not have to clean up. That’s definitely the downside of cooking…loads of dishes.
After our first two appetizers, we would take our plates to the volunteer and continue cooking the next two apps. Next up was Seafood (crab and shrimp) salad on French baguette slices and Mini jelly glazed pistachio meatballs.
After that, we went back into the kitchen to work on PF Chang chicken lettuce wraps and Spicy roasted red pepper pimento cheese spread.
And our final appetizer was hummus, which was super smooth from the tahini and nice and garlicky from the many cloves that went into it.
Out of all the things we made from the class, I really enjoyed the Seafood baguette bites. They had a nice flavor, not too much mayonnaise and were a nice bite sized appetizer. I would definitely make them for a holiday party. I also would make the pimento cheese spread, too! I thought it was easy, tasty and a lot better than pimento spread you would buy in the store. After we made these appetizers, we made Holiday eggnog cookies. They were tasty, but by the end, I was too full to even take a picture of them, haha.
I would say overall, I really enjoyed the class. It was nice to work with others (strangers for the most part) in such a teamwork focused environment. It was also nice to be with some who have cooking experience and then others who have no cooking experience at all. I would say that overall the class wasn’t very much of an informational session, but more of a doing/hands-on session. Each time someone would do something that wasn’t “correct” Art, the owner, would redirect you to what was a more proper cooking technique. It was more of a trial and error type situation. For example, as I was measuring out flour for the cookies we made at the end of the class, he told me to dump the flour back in the container. I looked at him puzzled and after doing so, he told me the right way to measure flour is to use a scoop and scoop it into the measuring cups and then level them off. He said you don’t want to pack the flour into the measuring cups, as I thought you were, because that gives you an additional 1/4 cup flour that’s not necessary. Hmm..interesting, right?
So each time someone would make an “oopsie” he would give you helpful hints and tips for how to do it with better cooking ways. I would say that those tips were great, but I would have enjoyed more of them throughout the class. The only reason we really got those techniques and tips was when someone made a mistake or was unsure of how to do something. I would have rather had them in the beginning before you had to back track and fix the error. I think more cooking techniques and tips would really help in a “cooking class.” As I said, instead, the class was more geared for a number of adults to interact with each other and make a number of set recipes. Some people learn better that way, by doing, but I would have liked both doing as well as instructions/tips/techniques.
Overall, we had a great time and had a full belly when we left the Kitchen Workshop. I would definitely go back again and would enjoy learning more tips and techniques for cooking in my own kitchen!
Have you ever taken a cooking class?