Lannae's Food and Travel

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April 5, 2012

Grow Local Kitchen

I found the cooking classes I have always want to take! These classes use local, local organic and local small business products to teach cooking classes. Also, one of my favorite chefs in the whole world, Laura Wilson is the primary teacher, and she is the director of the Grow Local Kitchen at the Nashville Farmer's Market. Most of the classes are generally between $15-$50, they are about 2 hours long, and there is plenty of food to eat, and plenty of technique to learn. You can BYO beverage, and enjoy the class. There are hands on classes, like knife skills where everyone learns about knife skills and can participate in cooking the class meal, to whole butchery class to learn where our meat comes from and learned how to prepare your own meat, to demonstration classes watching and learning from great chefs like Laura Wilson create a delicious meal that you can make at home.

I have to say, I have only taken 3 classes so far, and I have learned so much, and have been inspired again to really get into my kitchen and cook.

Here is a summary of the classes I have taken so far.

Knife Skills - Mirepoix

Cathey's Edge Knife Sharpening
1st and 2nd Saturday Mornings
Nashville Farmer's Market

Cathey is sharpening one of my knifes

medium dice onions

Chicken gumbo creation

In the knife skills class, we learned medium dice, small dice, julienne, and a few other cut terms. We started off by getting our knives sharpened by Cathey, who will be at the Nashville Farmer's Market with her sharpening equipment 1st and 2nd Saturday mornings at the Farmer's Market. Each knife sharpened cost about $3-5. Cathey recommends sharpening every 6 mo to 1 year. Then we started in on medium dicing our onion. I made my first cut and cut off the root end without listening to instruction. Then Laura said, "Keeping the root side intact..." I start laughing because I failed in the 1st cut! Anyway, I did much better with the green peppers, carrot, okra and celery. With all the veggies diced, Laura sauteed them and added the chicken stock she made earlier with Porter Road Butcher local organic free range chicken and veggies. Laura pulled the lovely chicken from the bones to add to the soup, and added andouille sausage as well. The result was a lovely tasty and filling chicken gumbo. We each got to take home containers with the gumbo, and it was welcome couple of lunches for me for the week.

Bento Box - Cute and Delicious Food

fresh veggies

panda bear rice mold

quail egg skull and veggie flowers

The bento box class was way too fun! I also learned how much work it is to make cute little tastings for bento boxes. It seems to be more work than making dim sum, and I don't really make dim sum because it is a lot of work. Anyway, the bento box items Laura made were just lovely, cute and adorable. The one gal I sat next to knew a lot about bento boxes. She said that it is completely possible to make a bunch of rice molds and make them a complete meal. What the method is, is to add fillings in the middle of each rice mold, like veggies or meats/protein, and make a variety of rice molds to be a complete meal. I love that idea. Laura made about 8 different bento box items. That was a lot of work. One that I just loved was the seaweed and soba noodle salad. The seaweed comes frozen and packed in salt and can be found in groceries that carry a lot of Japanese food products. The seaweed needs to be rinsed well to remove the salt, and then can be stirred in with soda noodles, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, tamari and a little chili pepper. The take away is that we eat with our eyes first. The bento box is the ultimate in eating with our eyes while making a whimsical edible landscape in a box.

Oysters - Chicken of the Sea

oyster rockefeller from scratch

Laura's BBQ oyster

The oyster class was way fun. I met a lot of people taking the class, we ate a ton of oysters, and enjoyed ourselves like we were at an Oyster Party. I learned how to shuck oyster from Chris. You really need an oyster shucking knife, a sturdy glove that is puncture proof to hold the oyster while the knife is puncturing the oyster hinge. What you really need is someone like Chris holding the shucking knife and wearing the sturdy glove and shuck the oysters for you. After watching Chris, I can see where oyster shuckers earn their keep. I am partial to raw oysters and there were plenty to go around. What dish I really really liked was the oyster stew. I made a variation at home right away, and just enjoyed a nice pot of oyster stew for a few days. I will like to make the stew again. This class was great because I actually never really cooked with oysters before, I have only had them out a restaurants. This class was great to demystify these little shell fish.


At 4/8/12, 9:02 PM, Anonymous Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Oh this sounds amazing! I am going to have to check this out!


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