Helen's Kitchen

Classes

Easy as Pie

Yeah right! If it was that easy, there'd be more great pies and tarts in this world. Have you been struggling with Pâte Brisée (pie and tart dough)? Or were you too intimidated to even try it? Worry no more. This class will give you plenty of hands-on experience with making full-proof dough, rolling it out, shaping it, making savory and sweet fillings, and baking your creations. Dishes might include a tomato tart with caramelized onions and gruyere, spinach and mushroom quiche, apricot galette (free-form tart), and pear tart Tatin. Note: the dishes vary based on the season and availability of ingredients. This class is vegetarian.

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, May 10, 2014 10am-1pm Register

Homemade Pasta

Few kitchen tasks are more satisfying than making your own pasta - the joy of kneading the dough, the art of shaping it to your liking, and the pleasure of that perfect bite. Home-made pasta does not require expensive equipment, hard to find ingredients, or years of practice. After this class you'll be a pro at making the dough, rolling it out, shaping it, and cooking it perfectly al dente. You'll learn how to prepare several sauces and how to match them to your pasta. Dishes might include pici (thick hand-shaped spaghetti) with wild mushrooms, leek ravioli with sage butter, and orecchiette (hand-shaped round pasta) with cauliflower and broccoli. Note: the dishes vary based on the season and availability of ingredients. This class is vegetarian.

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, May 17, 2014 10am-1pm Register

Sauce and the City

Sauce making is one of the most enjoyable kitchen tasks. It unleashes your creativity and gives you room for infinite variations. Once you understand the basic principles of contemporary sauces, you'll be a slave to recipes no more! We realize that you don't have homemade veal stock on hand, and don't find dousing your asparagus in artery clogging Hollandaise that appealing. But that doesn't mean that you can't dress up your dishes with vibrant sauces in less than 15 minutes. In this class, you'll learn how to choose the right ingredients and equipment, how to make pan sauces with the techniques of deglazing and reduction, how to thicken sauces without making them lumpy, and how to make various cold sauces and toppings. Dishes might include fennel grapefruit salad with shallot vinaigrette, scallops with asparagus sauce, roast chicken with porcini cream sauce, and steak with red wine reduction. Dishes vary based on the season and availability of ingredients.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Fri, May 9, 2014 6pm-9pm Waiting List
Fri, May 30, 2014 6pm-9pm Register

Grilling Fish and Vegetables

What can be more delightful on a warm summer day than our local striper or bluefish right off the grill accompanied by farmerís market veggies! Unless, of course, half of the fish got stuck, the other half fell through the grill grate, and those zucchini burnt to a crisp. Cooking over an open flame might be the oldest method known to man, but it does require a lot of finesse to master. What fish types are appropriate for grilling? When should you turn the heat up and when down? How do you avoid sticking? When is the fish done? This class will answer all your fish and vegetable grilling questions. We will use a gas grill, but the same techniques apply if you are grilling on charcoal. Dishes might include bluefish with cilantro lime butter, whole branzino with lemon and herbs, swordfish with cucumber yogurt sauce, mustard glazed trout, and assorted grilled vegetables. Note: the dishes vary based on the season and availability of ingredients. Rainy day policy.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, May 31, 2014 10am-1pm Register

Orgasmic Vegetables

Vegetables are a culinary wonder with their variety of textures and flavors, and a gift to us cooks. If they occupy the lowly place of repentance food on your table, it's time to rethink your cooking techniques. In this class, you'll get hands-on practice with blanching, roasting, pan searing, braising, and sauteing vegetables, as well as serving them raw. You'll learn to buy, wash, store, and cook everything from roots to leafy greens. How do you prevent asparagus from turning mushy and stringy? What do you do with Swiss chard, beets, fennel, celery root, and rutabaga? How do you make a good salad? Bring your vegetable questions and come ready to cook and eat. Dishes will vary with the season and availability of ingredients, but are likely to include fennel radish green bean salad, seared asparagus, roasted beets with farro, and Swiss chard bruschetta. This class is vegetarian.

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Fri, Apr 25, 2014 6pm-9pm Waiting List
Thu, Jun 5, 2014 6pm-9pm Register

Spanish Seafood

If your seafood repertoire is limited to shrimp cocktail, this class will open your eyes to the world of interesting seafood. Spanish cooks have a magic touch when it comes to the culinary treasures of the sea. They can transform an octopus into luscious velvet, monkfish into a juicy roast, and squid into the epitome of comfort food. Most of the dishes in this class can be made ahead and are fabulous for entertaining. Dishes will vary with the season and availability of ingredients, but are likely to include a pan roasted monkfish with tomato saffron sauce, swordfish with romesco (pepper almond sauce), octopus a la plancha, and squid stew with chickpeas.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Fri, Jun 13, 2014 6pm-9pm Register

Perfect Burgers

Get your napkins ready -- it's gonna be beefy, it's gonna be juicy, and it's gonna be fun. What makes a great burger is not a filling of foie gras or the topping of truffles. What makes a great burger is knowledge of cow parts and skillful heat manipulation. What's the best time to salt ground beef? How do you prevent burgers from puffing up and turning into meat balls? How do you ensure perfectly medium-rare burgers every time? This class will answer all the burger questions that keep you up at night. We'll cover both the thick and thin burgers, and a variety of toppings, sauces, pickles, and accompaniments. If you like your burger lean or well done, this is NOT the class for you -- this class is about making the yummiest burger possible!

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Fri, Jun 20, 2014 6pm-9pm Register

Knife Skills

Do you get excited about a trip to the farmer's market, but dread chopping all those veggies and herbs? If the onions make you break into tears and you can't remember the last time you sharpened your knife, come to this hands-on class and learn to slice, dice, and mince in a casual and supportive environment. We'll go over which knives are used for which cuts, how to buy a good knife in any price range, as well as sharpening and caring for your knives. And what cooking class is complete without a sumptuous dinner? The meal we'll prepare out of all those veggies might include fennel orange salad, potato leek soup, tomato onion tart, and ratatouille. This class is vegetarian.

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Thu, Jun 26, 2014 6pm-9pm Register

Tender at the Bone

How confident are you when you step up to the butcher counter? Do you know what cuts to get for braising vs. roasting vs. grilling vs. pan searing? While everyone can throw a piece of meat on the grill, taking it off can be a little tricky. How do you know when it's cooked to your liking? Do you season before or after cooking? Should you crank the heat up or turn it down? This class will answer all your meat buying and cooking questions. We'll discuss the cuts of beef, lamb, and pork; learn appropriate cooking methods for each cut; practice trimming and trussing steaks and roasts; and eliminate guesswork out of testing meat for doneness. Dishes will vary with the season and availability of ingredients, but are likely to include a beef steak with herb butter, a lamb top roast with garlic cream, beef stew with apricots, and baby-back pork ribs.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, Apr 26, 2014 10am-1pm Waiting List

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Do you like to eat fish in restaurants, but are scared to cook it at home? Or, are you bored of baking salmon with a squirt of lemon, but not sure how to expand your repertoire? Come to this class and explore the bounty of the sea available to us in New England. You'll learn to find a good fish market in your area, buy the freshest fish, learn all about fish personalities and substitutions, and test fish for doneness. We'll make salmon teriyaki, trout in almonds, halibut in sorrel sauce, broiled bluefish, and swordfish Provençal. Note: the dishes vary based on the season and availability of ingredients.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Thu, May 1, 2014 6pm-9pm Waiting List

Perfect Pizza

This class is Cooking 101 and Baking 101 rolled into one most delicious dish — pizza. It's one of the simplest dishes to make, and one of the simplest to mess up. Does your dough refuse to stretch into a thin circle? Does it get soggy under the sauce and toppings? Are you at a loss as to how to produce a perfectly crisp thin crust? In this class you'll make a 5 minute home-made crust that will teach you many baking fundamentals. You'll also make 4 versatile sauces while learning to use heat and seasoning to your advantage. We'll make pizza Margherita (tomato, mozzarella, and basil); pizza with caramelized onions, pears, walnuts, and blue cheese; pizza with mushroom, arugula and truffle vinaigrette; and Middle Eastern flat bread with cucumber yogurt dip. Note: dishes may vary based on the season and availability of ingredients. This class is vegetarian.

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, Jun 7, 2014 10am-1pm Waiting List

Grilling Meat and Poultry

If crispy, juicy meat turns you on, why not learn the techniques that achieve perfection every time you fire up the grill? Successful meat grilling is not about big flames and big tools; it's about chemistry and thermodynamics. In this class, we'll learn what cuts of meat and poultry to choose for the grill, when to use high heat and when to go low and slow, how to test for doneness, and why marinades work or fail. Dishes might include a grilled rib-eye steak with chimichurri sauce, grilled lamb chops with mint butter, pork chops with mustard vinaigrette, and chicken thighs with pomegranate syrup. Note: the dishes vary based on the season and availability of ingredients. Rainy day policy.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, Jun 21, 2014 10am-1pm Waiting List

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FAQ

What happens if I have to cancel?
Please see our cancellation policy for details.

How do I get a spot? Whenever I check the website, the class I want has a waiting list.
Read our tips on getting spots.

The class I want to take is full. Will you offer it again?
Yes. Most of these classes are offered on monthly basis and are announced 2 months in advance.

Can you send me e-mail when you announce more classes?
Yes. Just send us to get on our mailing list.

Do we just watch or do we get to cook too?
All classes are hands-on, so everyone gets to participate.

Should we come hungry?
Yes! A full meal is included in each class except for baking classes that are not held at meal time.

Are gift certificates available?
Yes. Fill out the gift certificate request form to purchase one.

What materials should we bring to class?
Wear comfortable shoes--you'll be standing on your feet for 2-3 hours. We'll provide everything else.