Delish: 5 Things I learned at Cooking School

 

Once upon a Groupon – Yes, that is right. It all started with a Groupon…that I USED!

Allow me to start from the beginning. My brother-in-law moved in with us a few years ago for the summer. He is originally from San Antonio, Texas and was not familiar with Buffalo. So one day he told me he was thinking about going to culinary school. Well, being the social worker that I am, I went in to problem solving mode. What could he do that might get him exposed to a “cooking school” and learn a little something before he actually enrolls in a class? Then one day, while being super productive on Groupon, I saw an ad for a local “Cooking Class” and it clicked! I will buy the Groupon for him to try out this cooking class! Long story short. He didn’t go…so I went. AND LOVED IT!

Cooking School Food

Check Out My Other Recipes

I loved the class at Delish Cooking School so much that I immediately scheduled my return visit. I was able to bring my fellow OYS contributing writer, Danielle with me. And I think it is safe to say she loved it as well. 🙂 

Here are 5 things that I learned. (Some of them were also questions that were asked from the facebook post)

1.     Herbs

Our talented and very educated chef suggested storing herbs in a damp paper towel in the fridge and simply re-moistening it every 2-3 days. He also suggested that to clean parsley, you put it in a towel (kitchen towel, not paper towel) and run it under water and to store it in a bowl.

2.     Cleaning/Sanitizing

This was the first thing we covered. The chef cleaned everything in front of us. He recommended 1 cap full of bleach to about a gallon of water. Then used a towel to wipe down the cutting boards and other kitchen and prepping surfaces. He also pointed out that even plastic cutting boards can store bacteria in the divots that are created from the knives.

3.     Over seasoning/Over cooking
If you are afraid to cook, keep this in mind. You can only really “mess up” or “ruin” a meal if you 1. Over season it. or 2. Over cook it. Other than that, you should have fun with it! Side note: I have done both. Multiple times…and I still like to cook…and people still eat it! : )

4.     Oils

Coconut oil is better for you than most other oils that people typically cook with. Coconut oil can also be used at a high heat where other oils (for example vegetable oil) should not be used at a high heat. Our chef suggested that peanut oil is the best in terms of flavor because it locks in the juices; however, many people are allergic to it. Also, he warned us about purchasing oils that have “fresh herbs” in them as you may risk botulism.

5.     Onions

I learned a lot about onions here. Onions contain gasses that build up inside while being transported. Onions can spend months in warehouses before even getting to our kitchen! So when we cut the onion, those gasses are what make us “cry” or tear up.

  • If you want to avoid crying (while cutting onions), you can cut the onion in half (or ¼ pieces depending how big it is) and let it sit for 10-15 min. Some of our facebook readers also suggest putting the onion in the fridge or freezer (not sure how long).
  • Scapes I think this is what he called them? The green part of your onion that grows out of the top is apparently very valuable and delicious. Check them out next time you go to the store!
  • Shallots If you want to simulate the taste of a shallot, but don’t have one…then you can mix 1 red onion and 1 white onion and get the same or similar flavor.

Other questions that were asked on facebook:

  • Cholesterol – I was not able to ask about the lowering cholesterol (sorry!)
  • Butter – had “no calories” that night, so I do not have any suggestions for meals that are not covered in sauces or butter…unless you happen to run across that “no calorie” butter that he had : )
  • “Perfect roast” – I am not sure about that as well. However he suggested that you take meat out when it is about 5 degrees under the recommended temperature. After removing the meat from (whatever cooking method) you should let it rest (10-15min) before cutting it and the meat will continue to cook that additional 5 degrees after you take it out.

Here are some general thoughts about cooking schools:

  • All levels– They’re good for people at any level. You don’t have to be an expert at cooking- but even if you are, you can still learn something new.
  • Recipes– I love to watch cooking shows, read recipes and sometimes test them out. But this is a great and inexpensive way to see how a new dish is created.
  • It’s fun– They serve wine. Need I say more? Ok, I will say more. It is a small class, I don’t think you can fit more than about 30 people in a class. So you are not fighting for a good seat, view, or listening distance. The atmosphere is cozy, comfy and fun! (I’m sure other places that offer similar classes may vary in services and atmospheres).

Cooking School PicsSo as you can see, a cooking class is a great way to introduce not just new and different foods, ingredients and methods but also some helpful tips and tricks for the kitchen as well.

Have you attended a cooking class before? What are your thoughts and experiences?

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