Holiday appetizer cooking classes

Holy cow! Our Lady of Second Helpings cooking classes are turning out to be a blast! I would have launched months ago if I knew how much fun everyone would have cooking and learning together. There is still time to get in on the action, the next cooking class is quickly approaching.

Saturday November 10th I’ve got a place for you to learn three surprisingly simple but marvelously flavorful appetizers – Coconut Ginger Shrimp, Southwestern Sweet Potato Bites, and Tomatillo Guacamole.

The class will be held in a private home in Lynnwood. Come solo or with a friend and plan for great tips, warm conversation, and delicious treats.

HURRY! This is likely to be the final class of the year. The menu and the cost will be updated in January.

Cost per person is $20. Send an email OurLadyof2nds@yahoo.com or call 206-369-7007 to claim your cutting board.

I don’t want to spoil all the surprises but if you are on the fence about attending the next class (Nov. 10th) perhaps this will motivate you to grab a spot, and bring a friend.

Truthfully there were a few butterflies in my tummy before the first class but they melted away as I fell into a comfortable banter with the participants. It helped that I was sharing with some very familiar faces. Right away the cooks engaged all five senses. I borrowed an activity from Kathleen Flinn’s latest book, Kitchen Counter Cooking School and began with a salt tasting. Many home cooks don’t stop to consider such an ordinary ingredient and it provided a simple segway to discuss choosing specific ingredients.

Sharing a new experience quickly brings people together. The class format is primarily me teaching recipes and sharing healthy cooking tips. After covering the main points I stepped back to guide gently and let the conversation flow. My favorite part of both evenings became listening to everyone chit chat while their hands were busy chopping, peeling, and mashing.

Cooking is most fun when you can get your senses involved. Tactile and messy recipes are my favorites. This is what separating an egg feels like. This is what everything tastes like – before it has been seasoned and after we mix in the salt and spices. This is what filling a wonton wrapper looks like. This is what baked coconut shrimp smells like.

Now having spent a few hours together the cooking class participants have several things in common. Many attendees will be able to say, “we tasted our first fresh tomatillo together!”

Once everything was assembled and hot we finished each class by sitting down around the table where the conversation continued easily. Of course we discussed food but moved on to kids, family traditions, and living healthful lives. It wasn’t an official part of the class but some how wine glasses appeared and we toasted our health and happiness. Certainly I’m biased but I think times like these make up “the good stuff”. Spending time together in community is how the world becomes a little smaller and our hearts and minds open a little wider.

The most recent class was a larger group that included two junior chefs. Six year old Matthew was more reserved and shy while Ryan, the oldest eagerly jumped in to learn the recipes and got involved in the cooking process. The class also happened to fall on Ryan’s 8th birthday. Thankfully I was tipped off on the birthday front and prepared a batch of dark chocolate cupcakes with marshmallow frosting. Birthday boy Ryan and his younger brother Matthew gave them a big thumbs up. Bless them both for not minding that the cake was very crumbly and a bit dry (gluten free).

Read more from Rose McAvoy at Our Lady of Second Helpings.

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