Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Stretching my food comfort zones

I've always wanted to take one of the classes offered at D&W's cooking school. When their schedule is released, I always check to see if there are any classes that peak my interest. It seems as though the classes I've wanted to take were always on nights that I had other conflicts. I enjoy cooking, but I also love learning about new techniques and being forced out of my comfort zone. When the class schedule came out for this winter/spring, I immediately noticed the Valentine's Day event. It wasn't so much that it was on Valentine's Day, although that was kind of fun, but it was a couple's event. I talked to Andy about it, and surprisingly, he was actually okay with doing it. I signed us up, and we went! We had a cooking demonstration from a chef, where I learned how to appropriately hold a very large knife, how to effectively cut an onion, and how to blanch vegetables. Then, we got 2 hours to prepare a dish. Each couple prepared 1-2 things, and then from 8:30-9pm we got to eat everything. It was so much fun watching everyone running around trying their best at things they've probably never made before, or using tools you wouldn't normally use in your own kitchen. We had lots of laughs with each other and with the older couple sitting at our table. He was a little confused about where to put the meat thermometer :) The best part was tasting everything. I forced myself to try everything except for the fish (I don't do any type of seafood.... gross). I was so impressed with myself- I had more crazy things to eat last night than I've probably ever eaten in my life. And I LOVED it all!

This class has definitely inspired me to branch out a bit in my cooking, and make some larger meals together as a family on the weekend with lots of fresh ingredients. I find that because my life tends to be quite busy with being a working mom, I do a lot of casseroles, or meals that I make ahead and freeze, which have a lot of processed foods in them and tend to be more fattening than fresh foods. My goal is to use less processed foods, which tugs at my heart a bit, because it does cost more money to cook healthier and you don't find coupons for fresh kale in the newspaper on Sunday. BUT, healthy is good. I'm not saying I'm going to be the perfect chef now, but I'll keep trying my best. I can't wait to take another class sometime and continue to expand my cooking horizons! :)

Andy working on the dough for our pear and cranberry rustic tart

Enjoying a fun night of cooking!

Everyone hard at work

Our final creation- it was SO good, and we even ventured from the recipe a bit (I think it was actually better than the way the recipe told us to make it!)

Lining up the buffet of food to enjoy

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