Cooking classes are fun because they’re social, you learn new cooking techniques, and you get to eat. Back home in Boston I took several classes with my mom on Italian cooking, paella, and gourmet dinners. When I was abroad, I took one in Southern France taught by an owner of a Michelin star restaurant. I’ve always dreamed of teaching my own cooking class and was surprised it was able to come true so soon!
Over winter break I taught a cooking class at my school. There were 2 sessions over the span of 2 weeks: one was for entrees and the other was for desserts. My entree class had 9 students – together, we made a mushroom garlic risotto, bacon and Brussels sprouts, and honey soy sauce chicken thighs (my fave). To prepare for the class, I looked up techniques for making the best risotto possible and then tested it out on my friends the night before the class. I bought all the ingredients and packed all my kitchen utensils in a suitcase that I brought to a large dorm kitchen the day of the class.
I had such a fun time teaching both classes and was glad to see the students did too! Not only did we make delicious food, but we also had a great time. At first, we didn’t all know each other but by the end of the 2-hour class we had all bonded from cooking together. It turned out to be a huge success so I’m definitely hoping to teach again next year!
A week after the class, I woke up to several texts from friends saying the article about me had made the headlines of our school’s online newsletter, the HUB. Check it out here!!! Ever since, I’ve been getting so many encouraging comments about my blog and cooking, which has inspired me more than ever! Stay tuned for more
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 small onions, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon celery, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms (porcini, white)
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 5-8 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, minced
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add celery, salt and pepper.
- In a separate medium skillet, saute mushrooms. Set aside.
- In the large skillet, add rice. Stir well so that rice is coated in the onion mixture. Then, flatten the rice mixture so it is even. Pour vegetable broth into the skillet until it just covers the top of the rice (about 4-5 cups). Continuously stir so the rice absorbs the broth. Make sure to take a break once in a while to let the rice sit. When the rice looks like its getting dry, add a cup of broth in, stir and repeat. The stirring should take 25-30 minutes. Make sure to taste the rice to test whether it is done. It should be al dente.
- Once the risotto is cooked, add the butter, Parmesan cheese, parsley and mushrooms. Mix well and serve hot!
It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a non-dessert recipe. Desserts are so much more fun to make, eat, and photograph. Also, there isn’t a hungry family waiting for you to finish taking photos so they can finally eat! I managed to snap a few photos of this lovely soup before my family got too hungry.
Sometimes in the summer, it can be too hot for warm, cooked food. Sometimes, you just need a nice chilled soup to cool off from the unrelenting sun. Gazpacho is a delicious cold Spanish soup made from tomatoes and other vegetables. This version of gazpacho has avocado (yay!) and plenty of other healthy green vegetables.
Leafy greens are super healthy and the darker the green, the better it is for you. Spinach is great because it has lots of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and folate. These are good for reducing risk of arthritis, cardiovascular disease and even memory loss!
This creamy gazpacho is an excellent way to eat a lot of vegetables in just one serving. It is rich and flavorful because of the variety of ingredients in it. It is a very quick recipe – all you gotta do is just toss everything into the blender!
CREAMY AVOCADO GAZPACHO
1 medium tomato, cut into quarters
1 small cucumber, cut into chunks
1 avocado, cut into chunks
3 large basil leaves
1/2 jalapeño, seeded and roughly chopped
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 small celery stalk
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 ice cubes
Salt and pepper
Chop up tomato, cucumber and avocado, and set aside some small chunks for garnish.
Combine tomato, cucumber, avocado, basil, spinach, celery, garlic, red wine vinegar, honey, and ice cubes in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
Taste and season with salt, pepper, and additional red wine vinegar if necessary.
Refrigerate until chilled and garnish with chunks.
adapted from Epicurious
I must confess that I was never a huge fan of cheesecake as a kid. I used to avoid cheese at all costs and stuck to the sweet, fruity desserts. I guess my taste buds changed because now I looove creamy, cheesy foods – everything from Greek yogurt to mac and cheese. Of course, I still love fruit so I found the best of both worlds in these cute, delightful treats: cheesecake stuffed strawberries!
They are VERY easy to make and will conjure many “oohs” and “aahs”. They are also the simple solution to when you have a craving for cheesecake but you don’t want to bake an entire cake. These will definitely hit the spot.
How do you go about eating these bite-sized treats? Well, you can either take the approach my dad did by eating the whole thing at once; you will first be greeted by a splash of juicy strawberry followed by a creamy cheesecake afterthought. Or, you can take eat it my mom’s way of savoring small equal bites to get a nice ratio of strawberry to cheesecake. Whatever method you choose, I guarantee you will be craving for more!
CHEESECAKE STUFFED STRAWBERRIES
14-18 fresh strawberries
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Graham cracker crumbs
Using a small knife, cut off the stem and tip of each strawberry. Then, cut around the inside of the strawberry to create a small hole for the cream.
Use a handheld or standing electric mixer to beat cream, sugar, and vanilla for 2 minutes on medium speed, until fluffy. Transfer into a pastry bag and pipe into each strawberry.
Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs on top for a finishing touch.
Refrigerate and serve!
adapted from The Comfort of Cooking