On Wednesday night I attended a Holiday Appetizer cooking class at a local college (well, local for me means an hour away). The teachers (Eric & Jennifer) are the chefs/owners of The Cooks’ House in Traverse City, MI. The Cook’s House focuses their menu on local sustainable foods. I think the girls and I are taking a trip and visiting during February. I would love for the family to eat more seasonally, but unless I’m canning and freezing a bunch of food in the fall, come February there’s not a lot available. However, I have heard that more northern Michigan farms are utilizing hoop houses to extended the growing season so that probably helps with their menu.
The class was a whirl wind of activity with, at times, both Eric & Jennifer preparing food. Items were being cooked, baked, chopped, mixed all at the same time. At the beginning of the class we received a list of items that were going to be made, but no recipes. Yep, you read that right—no recipes! At first, I was like, “oh no…” see…I’m a kinda follow the recipe gal—I like to have a ballpark of how much of an item to add, well Eric & Jen feel that cooks should be a lot more flexible and learn to get a feel for how much of an item to add. Eric said at one point “add till it looks good.” uh oh…well, o.k., guess I need to work on that 🙂
So, what did we make:
~Crostini topped with roasted root vegetables or a bacon/kale/white bean mixture (both incredibly delicious). Eric tossed the root vegetables with a vinaigrette, I must of been someplace else because I’m not sure what he added. From what I gather he used some creamy brown mustard to it. Those veggies were awesome!
~Pissaladiere (fancy french name for pizza) with onion, bacon, tomato
~Lettuce Wraps with a chicken salad inside–once again YUM!
~Tapas that included: Sweet & Spicy nuts, roasted garlic, stuffed jalapenos, chilled beef tenderloin, walnut-gargonzola spread. I think there were more items in here, but can’t remember….
~Cheese Tray with different Michigan cheeses.
By the end of the class I started to have a better understanding of what they were trying to share with us. They were really telling us its ok to be creative in the kitchen and to try different things. I loved watching them work in the kitchen and I really enjoyed hearing their stories. They shared lots of tips that I brought back home. I’d like to think that I’d be able to recreate some of the food we made as well.
Would I take another class taught by them??? You betcha! My life dream would be to have a personal chef, but since the chances of that are nil to none I’ll continue to try to improve my skills by taking more classes. In the line up this winter: Crockpot Soups, Meatless Meals, and a Winter Food Festival. If you live in northern Michigan and interested in cooking classes? Check out the line up at NMC.