Happy Friday! We made it through the week! I’m so happy for a weekend and some rest – taking care of a puppy is exhausting. And since I’m slacking on my typical Friday Favorites, I’ll leave you with these nuggets.
As you can probably guess, I like to cook but I am by no means an expert of any kind. I feel like I still have so much to learn (hello EXPERIMENTING). I love watching cooking shows and reading, but I truly feel like the best way to learn is through hands on experience.
So, when Chef Robyn from Sur La Table invited me in for a cooking class a few weeks ago, I jumped at the opportunity! It was actually my first time in the store as well, which is beautiful. It reminded me of Williams and Sonoma and Crate and Barrel, but specifically kitchen based.
Cooking classes are a great way to interact with other people, learn new and different techniques for preparation and cooking, get guidance from certified chefs, master new cuisines and try food! I can’t think of any reasons NOT to go.
My Sur La Table class was focused on Thai Cooking. Ed and I love pad thai, but I’ve always been a bit intimidated to cook it at home. This class was so helpful for so many reasons.
Our courses were:
Thai Pumpkin Curry Soup
Spicy Beef Salad with Cucumber and Mint
Perfect Pad Thai (made with tofu)
Forbidden Coconut Mango Rice Pudding
The whole class took about 3 to 3 1/2 hours, with a 15 minute break thrown in there. Here are some of the many things I learned and enjoyed!
Expect to make 3-5 courses, and eat them too!
Some of the prep work will be done ahead of time (i.e. some sauces heating up, vegetables pre chopped) to speed up the process. But, you’ll learn about preparing each dish and have a task assigned to you. You get to keep the recipes and in some cases, take extra food home!
You’ll learn from (and eat from) certified chefs
There were so many useful preparation and cooking tips thrown out during our class. For example:
– Kosher salt dissolves better than regular salt
– The best way to peel ginger is with a spoon (so you don’t lose the flesh)
– Reducing a sauce helps thicken it and increase flavor
Throughout the class, Chef Robyn also talked about the best oils for high cooking, the difference between different cuts and slices, how to cook tofu properly, and how to utilize thai spices for flavor. I left much more confident about cooking thai food than when I came in!
Knife skills are important
They even have a whole class focused on knife skills, which may have to be my next endeavor. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cut myself.
You use ingredients you can find in markets
They don’t want you to go home feeling confused about where to find ingredients. They try to make it as easy as possible!
You’ll hear, “Mise en place” over and over again and keep practicing it!
Mise en place is a French culinary phrase that translates to “everything in place.” Basically, it’s the idea of arranging and organizing ingredients before cooking. It makes the set up and cooking process much more efficient.
Without having things put in place and organized, we wouldn’t have been able to make 5 courses in 3 hours.
You don’t have to do dishes!
This is probably my favorite part. Yummy food, learning things, and no dishes!
Cooking is FUN! While the final product is important, it’s also about the experience.
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Sometimes it’s fun to cook with others. Other times, it’s fun to zone out and destress by yourself in the kitchen. I actually enjoy cooking and don’t see it as a hastle or dreadful experience. I can be short on time sometimes, but I still love the idea of preparing food for my family. It just makes me feel good.
It’s apparent to me that you can never learn everything when it comes to cooking!
Also, you get a nice discount to shop in the store after taking a class, so if you’re looking for some certain kitchen appliances, that’s a great way to save some money!
Thank you Sur La Table for having me in. I was not compensated to write this post, and as always, these are my opinions and experiences.
Have you ever taken a cooking class? Did you enjoy it? Thoughts?