"Let us Know if you Cut Yourself or Burn Yourself": My First Cooking Class

Last week I was one of nine women attending a cooking class at Sur la Table in North Hills.  As a somewhat novice cook, I was eager to learn to make the four featured recipes* and perhaps learn some new techniques.  As the chefs were giving us preliminary instructions, one of them said: " the knives are very sharp and the stoves are very hot so be sure and let us know if you cut or burn yourself."  I thought, oh boy, but I am happy to say nobody did either.  It was a fun and informative evening. 

We worked in groups of three at our individual stations in a beautiful modern kitchen at the rear of the store.  The class was beautifully organized, and everyone had an opportunity to make a contribution to each of the four recipes. 
Chef Cordell in the kitchen.
Chef Steve led us in the preparation of the pumpkin ice cream.

Pumpkin ice cream was the first recipe we tackled.  That was done early so that the mixture could be put into the freezer and would be ready for dessert.
Our sugar and spices and pumpkin puree all ready for making the ice cream.

Celebrating Fall Flavors with Chef Cordell McGary.
 Preparing the Savory Mushroom and Gruyere Bread Pudding gave everyone an opportunity to chop (using the knife properly) leeks, mushrooms, and spinach.  And to shred or grate cheese.  The puddings were set aside and later baked in the main oven. 
Here I am spreading the bread pudding into the casserole dish. (Photo by Assunta.)
 I learned a new term as we were browning the chicken for the Cider-Braised Chicken with Bacon and Apples.  The brown bits that collect in the bottom of a pan are "fond" (French for bottom pronounced fahn.  I knew the term deglazing when a liquid is added to the fond to loosen it from the pan to create a sauce.

Deglazing the fond.  (Photo from the internet to illustrate deglazing.)
Finally we prepared an interesting side dish using a winter squash new to me, Delicata squash.  It is a colorful little squash with a thin skin that gets crisp when roasted, making a nice contrast to the creamy, sweet flesh.    
Assunta preparing the Delicata squash.

At the end of the class all the dishes were ready and we had a delicious meal.

The three dishes we prepared ready to eat. 

The pumpkin ice cream was creamy and flavorful. 

My friend Assunta and I enjoyed the help of Chef Tie who is the newest Chef at Sur la Table, and she is a barrel of fun too.
Assunta (on left) and Chef Tie.

What did I learn in my first cooking class:  the term "fond" as it applies to cooking, a new kind of squash, Delicata, and most of all I learned what fun it is to take a cooking class.  I've already signed up for another one. 

*I will be making some of these recipes in the future so stay tuned. 

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