I love taking and teaching cooking classes.
Through the years I have attended many recreational cooking sessions, all over the country and even spent some time assisting with Sur La Table cooking classes in Scottsdale where I was paid for attending classes, gathering recipes, meeting great chefs and honing my cooking skills. Here are some of my favorites.
When I first moved to Phoenix in 1998, my brother gave me a gift certificate to Sweet Basil Gourmet, a great little cooking school and culinary shop in Scottsdale. There I met, Hallie Harron, gifted chef, instructor, and food writer who ran a wonderful restaurant called Quiessence at South Mountain and spent the next couple of years assisting her part-time at the restaurant, with cooking classes and catering events. I also attended her Unpolished Paris Tour, a fun food-based City of Light tour that further ignited my love of great food.
I continue to take cooking classes and attend cooking retreats when I can. In June of 2006, my sister Brenda and I attended Deborah Krasner's Vermont Culinary Vacation, where we spent five days of cooking, touring, and exploring wonderful food from the James Beard Award-winning cookbook author's 18th century renovated barn in southern Vermont.
This year I am hoping to attend The Conscious Gourmet's Sedona retreat, a program that teaches the relationship between our food choices and our physical, mental, and emotional health and includes "cooking classes and lecture/workshops that immerse participants in the hands-on preparation of health-supportive foods as well as an ever-expanding array of nutritional approaches to assist you in choosing foods that balance you." It sounds like the perfect course for me right now and even includes three yoga classes!
On Friday night, I went to Kitchen Classics for a Savvy Citrus Cooking demonstration by Chef Rachel Albert-Matesz, author of The Garden Of Eating: A Produce-Dominated Diet & Cookbook, a comprehensive guide to natural eating that I have been cooking from for the last several weeks.
On the menu at this wheat-free, gluten-free and dairy-free presentation:
- Baked Chicken Thighs with Tarragon & Lime
- Quinoa with Dried Cherries, Pistachios & Orange Zest
- Winter Green Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing
- Luscious Lemony Goat Cheesecake with Fruit Topping
- Herbal-Sweetened Hibiscus-Lime Punch
Everything was tasty, but the zesty juicy chicken and luscious cheesecake where the stars of the evening for me. The chicken was so good I made it for dinner last night. Here's the recipe if you want to give it a try:
Baked Chicken Thighs with Tarragon & Lime
- 2-3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 ½ tablespoons dried tarragon
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard
- Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Preheat the oven to 375F-400F. Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Arrange the chicken in an ovenproof dish. Rub with the seasonings and sprinkle with lime juice. Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until done. The should be firm to the touch and the juices should run clear when pierced with a knife. If you have the time and desire, de-fat the pan juices, reduce them to a ¼ cup in a saucepan, then pour them back over the chicken. Enjoy!
I hope this has peaked your interest in checking out a healthy cooking class in your area. They are a fun, tasty, way to find new recipes and improve your cooking skills.
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