Last week I hosted a cooking class at my house.
Four friends joined me on a Tuesday afternoon while all of our kids were in school.
The fabulous cooking instructor, Deb Coulter, worked her magic in the kitchen as we watched in awe!
With her guidance, I chose a menu that was a bit out of my comfort zone.
The theme of the cooking class was "Hearty Harvest" and all
the dishes we prepared included seasonal root vegetables.
Everyone got involved with slicing, dicing, stirring and peeling.
Deb is a terrific cook and she brought along an arsenal of fresh herbs and spices.
Not only did we learn how to prepare some fabulous dishes,
we also picked up some great tips from our wonderful instructor.
I admit, I am quite the novice in the kitchen.
I grew up as an extremely picker eater and was always afraid to try new things.
Once I graduated from college and got out into the "real world",
my taste buds began to expand and finally started to try all kinds of different foods.
While my taste buds may have grown, my knowledge of cooking hasn't.
This class made me less fearful of, not only eating new foods, but making them for my family.
Everything we prepared was absolutely delicious!
In the midst of cooking and eating, we also celebrated one of my dear friend's birthday.
I made her favorite, homemade carrot cake.
Here is the birthday girl, Lisa, getting ready to blow out her candles.
Deb is in the process of starting a cooking blog. I will post a link as soon as it's up and running.
Meanwhile, if you live in the Cincinnati area,
and are interested in having Deb come to your home
for a cooking class, you can contact her here.
PUMPKIN QUICHE WITH POTATO CRUST
For the crust:
4 large fingerling potatoes, two colors if possible
2 Tablespoons butter
For the filling:
1 cup cubed pumpkin or other winter squash
4 strips of bacon
1 medium onion, diced
1 1/2 c. heavy cream (or half and half)
1/4 cup grated cheese, gouda or jarlesburg (good melting cheese)
6 leaves fresh sage, minced
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
salt and pepper to taste
For the crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350º F
- Slice the potatoes thin with mandoline or knife
- Grease a pie dish with butter ; line the dish with potatoes, getting them as close together as possible, overlap where necessary. Dab the top layer with the rest of the butter to help with browning.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Set aside.
For the filling:
- Slice the bacon into small pieces and fry over medium heat. Set aside.
- Once the bacon is done, sautée the onion in the bacon grease (about 5 minutes).
- Peel and cube about 1 cup of pumpkin or other winter squash. Steam or boil the cubed pumpkin for 15 minutes. (I actually did this step earlier and roasted the squash in the oven while the crust was baking)
- In a mixing bowl whisk the milk, eggs, nutmeg, cloves and minced sage leaves.
- Spread the onions, bacon and squash on top the prepared potato crust.
- Fill the pie dish with the egg mixture and sprinkle top with grated cheese.
- Bake at 350º F for about 40 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let cool about 15 minutes – this will help the filling set. Serves 6-8
ROOT VEGETABLE TAGINE
4-5 slices fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon harissa
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
4 carrots, peeled and cut into slices
2-3 parsnips, peeled and cut into slices
1-2 turnips, peeled and cut into cubes or chunks
3 medium or 6 small yellow beets, peeled and cut
into cubes or chunksCilantro for garnish
- Place butter, ginger, cumin, cinnamon stick, tumeric, saffron, tomato paste, harissa, broth, salt and pepper in soup pot or tagine. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer gently, uncovered for about 20 minutes. Then add root vegetables and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender, 15-20 minutes. Season to taste.
- Prepare couscous per directions on box while veggies are simmering. Mound finished couscous on platter, making a well in center. Add the vegetables and juices and garnish with fresh cilantro. Serves 6-8
SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH SHRIMP
1 medium spaghetti squash
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 red pepper, sliced thin
1 yellow pepper, sliced thin
1 small red onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic crushed
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Fresh flat leaf parsley for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Wash and slice squash in half and remove any seeds. Drizzle flesh side of squash with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place flesh side down onto a baking sheet and back for 20-30 minutes, until knife easily penetrates skin of squash. Remove from oven and allow to slightly cool.
- While squash is baking, clean shrimp.
- Wash peppers and slice lengthwise into strips. Also slice red onion into strips and crush the garlic.
- Once able to handle the squash, use a fork to strand the squash. Set aside.
- In large saute pan heat 2 tablespoons (approx.) of olive oil, add onion and garlic and saute until slightly translucent (2-3 min.), add peppers and continue cooking 4-5 minutes. Add squash strands to reheat and gently toss together. Transfer to serving dish and garnish with fresh parsley. Serves 4-6