Taking a Cooking Class at the HL Learning Center
I was fortunate to be able to attend the From-Scratch Crockpot Cooking Class this past Saturday with an out of town visitor: my mom! She receives our Healthy Living Learning Center class calendars via e-mail. Even though she lives in Western Massachusetts, she was willing to make the drive! (and numerous times she has mentioned to me how she wishes she wasn’t 200 miles away so she could attend.) We found Saturday’s class to be great timing for a weekend visit and we signed up right on hlivingstaging.wpengine.com. (I must also mention that this was a great class topic for us, as my mom gave me a crock pot for Christmas. It may have lived in the box since then…)
The class was scheduled to run from 1:30 PM – 4 PM on Saturday, it was a perfectly planned afternoon. There were 4 other people in the class with us, making it 6 people total set up around 3 beautifully stocked cooking stations.
First up, was a delicious Indian Chicken Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach. We watched Laura, the Learning Center Coordinator, demo for us the perfect way to skin the chicken and begin to brown it in her pan of oil. The braising process had begun and we were able to watch it from start to finish, only to go back to our stations to perfect our own! While that process was happening, Laura made sure we all felt comfortable prepping the peppers, onions and other veggies that were going to enter the pan as well as the aromatics. I had my mom cut the onions… If you’ve ever attended one of Laura’s classes before, you learn a really useful technique for slicing or dicing onions. I won’t give away the secret here though, you’ll have to join in for a class.
My mom learned a really cool tip… did you know you could peel ginger by simply using a dull spoon to chip away at the skin? It peels right off and it way more handy than using a potato peeler when it comes to getting into those small nooks and cranny’s.
After watching Laura, we all went back to our stations, turned up the burners and put our knife skills to the test. While this was happening, Laura walked around and made sure that everyone felt comfortable with what they were doing. She gave tips and tricks when she saw the opportunity and made sure everyone felt really comfortable with what they were doing. My mom and I took turns flipping the meat and cutting the vegetables. It was a great time for us to talk and bond and just do something different together.
Just as the smell of the delicious food began wafting around the room, Laura had samples of Chicken Curry ready for us that she had prepared the night before. So yes, if you plan on taking a Cooking Class, come hungry! You will leave with a full stomach and with leftovers galore.
After the Curry, we were up to start a Hearty Beef Stew with Horseradish Cream. Laura demonstrated how to cut the meat and explained what cuts of meat work best in a crockpot and why. Any question anyone had, from cuts of meat to non-stick pans, she answered with confidence. Again, she showed us how the beef should look with a perfect stove top sear, how to prep the veggies and then we were off to cook at our stations. It’s amazing to turn around and look back at your station after a demo and see that Pam, Laura’s assistant has magically transformed your station from a mess to a perfectly clean set up with all the next ingredients ready to go for you.
We cut the meat into sizable portions and seasoned them before putting them into our pot with a bit of oil. While the meat was searing, we prepped some different vegetables. Laura taught us to rely on our noses and eyes to tell us when to add them, and the aromatics to the oil. Carrots, celery, onions, garlic, a bay leaf… “fragrance is key!” To this recipe, we also added tomato paste and some white wine. Many recipes call for wine. Do you ever wonder which wine you should pick? Brian, our Beer and Wine Manager/Buyer here at Healthy Living, or David, his associate are available in store to help you pick the perfect one to add to or drink with, your recipe! (or even better, for what to drink with the meal).
We finished off the class by braising chicken legs and added honey and rosemary to make the room smell delightful. Again, we got a sample and plenty of leftovers to enjoy at home, after simmering for a couple hours in our own crockpots.
Here is a note that my mom left after the class:
I am writing to tell you how much I enjoyed the Healthy Living ‘From Scatch Crockpot Cooking’ class I recently attended at your Burlington Learning Center.
I learned a lot in a very welcoming, organized, modern classroom stocked with healthy and delicious ingredients! Laura provided every participant with individualized attention and assistance. She also shared with the group many tips for preparation of ingredients – from knife skills to pan choices. Pam did a great “behind the scene” job of making everything ready to go! I came away with a renewed interest in “cooking from scratch” , purchasing healthy ingredients and enough meals for a week!
I wish I lived closer, I would certainly be a regular attendee!
Thank you so much for a great experience!
I highly encourage you to take a cooking class at the Healthy Living Learning center. No matter what your topic of interest is or how experienced you are, I guarantee you that you will learn something. The setting is relaxed and comfortable and during these cold winter days, what’s better than grabbing your best friend and cooking away?! You can view our March Schedule by clicking here. We hope to see you soon.