Helen's Kitchen

Classes

French Pastry 101: Pate a Choux

Do you want to learn to make eclairs, cream puffs, Paris-Brest, and fancy hors d'oeuvres? Then you need to master pâte à choux -- the most versatile, gloriously puffy, make-ahead-friendly dough in the French pastry repertoire. Pâte à choux might require more finesse than banana muffins, but the process is not complicated. After we discuss the science behind this technique and give you a chance for hands-on practice, you'll be able to wow your family and friends with magnificent desserts and savory bites. You'll learn to make pastry cream, ganache, and other fillings; avoid the pitfalls of collapsed or soggy puffs; and use a pastry bag like a pro. We'll make both savory and sweet dishes.

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, Mar 7, 2015 10am-1pm Register

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
Fri, Mar 20, 2015 6pm-9pm Register

Eggspertise

A perfectly poached egg can transform the simplest dish into a gastronomic wonder. Breaking through its delicate white to release the golden gush of yolk is sure to delight any food lover. But for all its simplicity, an egg strikes fear even into the hearts of professional chefs. Do your poached eggs resemble an egg drop soup? Do your hard boiled eggs refuse to peel? Does flipping an omelette give you heebie-jeebies? Are you perplexed about the difference between cage-free and free-range eggs? Fret no more because this class will answer all your egg questions and make an "eggspert" out of you. We'll cover techniques of poaching, hard boiling, soft boiling, scrambling, and omelettes. The eggs in this class will be accompanied by all sorts of seasonal vegetables, sauces, soups, beans, and grains. Most of the dishes in this class are vegetarian.

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, Mar 28, 2015 10am-1pm 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
Sat, Mar 14, 2015 10am-1pm Waiting List
Tue, Mar 31, 2015 6pm-9pm 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 and Paleo friendly.

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, Mar 21, 2015 10am-1pm Waiting List
Wed, Apr 1, 2015 6pm-9pm 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. This class is Paleo friendly.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Fri, Feb 27, 2015 6pm-9pm Waiting List
Sat, Apr 11, 2015 10am-1pm Register

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. This class is Paleo friendly.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Fri, Mar 6, 2015 6pm-9pm Waiting List
Sat, Apr 11, 2015 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
Tue, Apr 14, 2015 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 red wine reduction, a rack of lamb with garlic and mint, and braised pork shoulder with osso buco sauce. This class is Paleo friendly.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, Feb 28, 2015 10am-1pm Waiting List
Fri, Mar 27, 2015 6pm-9pm Waiting List
Wed, Apr 15, 2015 6pm-9pm Register

Soup it up!

Ah, soup -- it cures whatever ails you, warms you up from the inside, and gets even better on the second day. In this class we'll cover the building blocks of soup to free you from being a slave to recipes and help you improvise your own creations inspired by the season. You'll learn to make your own stocks, build layers of flavor with aromatic vegetables, and season like a pro. We'll cover both the quick soups that are usually served as a first course, as well as complete meals in a bowl. You'll get plenty of ideas for garnishes to make your soups look and taste as good as in the best restaurants. To save you time, we'll cover the use of a pressure cooker to reduce the cooking time by a factor of 3! Soups might include bouillabaisse (fish soup from Provence), truffled cauliflower, split pea, and creamy asparagus but will vary with availability of ingredients.

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Fri, Mar 13, 2015 6pm-9pm 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.