Class size: 8 students
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: Helen’s Kitchen at 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Cancellation Policy and other FAQ
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.
Quick Meals with Sous-Vide
What do restaurant cooks and stressed out working parents have in common? Both need to get food on the table fast while dealing with distractions. The sous-vide technique has revolutionized cooking in restaurants, eliminating doneness mistakes and creating flexibility for when the food is served. Compact and affordable sous-vide equipment is now bringing the sous-vide revolution into people's homes. With a bit of weekend planning, you'll have juicy steaks, tender chicken, and mouth-watering lamb on a weekday night in under 30 minutes. This class will teach you strategies to get the most out of this wonderful method. You'll also learn prep strategies for quick sides and sauces. In only 3 hours, we'll prepare 5 easy dinners that will look and taste like restaurant meals. This class is paleo friendly.
Fast Pasta: Gnocchi, Gyoza, and Spaetzle
If you've been dying to try your hand at making your own pasta, but don't have the time or equipment necessary to pull of the task, gnocchi, gyoza, and spaetzle are perfect dishes to add to your repertoire. Not only are they absolutely delicious when done right, they require minimal time investment and no expensive equipment. How do you choose the right type of potato for gnocchi? How do you keep gnocchi pillowy soft but prevent them from falling apart during cooking? What are the tricks to keeping gyoza filling juicy? This class will answer all these questions and will give you hands-on practice making dough and shaping. Dishes might include potato gnocchi with mushrooms and sage butter, spaetzle with roasted cabbage, and pork filled gyoza with scallion ginger dipping sauce. Note: the dishes vary based on the season and availability of ingredients.
One 3h session / $90 per person
Sat, Mar 16, 2019 10am-1pm Register
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.
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.
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 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.
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 / $90 per person
Sat, Jan 26, 2019 10am-1pm Waiting List
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.
If having a dinner party stresses you out, come to this class and learn to do it the Spanish way. Break the "appetizer - entree - dessert" mold, and see the world of delicious and flexible possibilities open up. In this class, we'll recreate some of the most famous tapas. Dishes vary with the season and availability of ingredients, but might include tortilla de patatas (thick potato egg omelette), garlic shrimp, burgers with romesco sauce, and asparagus with serrano ham. Along the way, you'll pick up many useful tips on buying ingredients, prepping ahead, cooking everything to perfect doneness, and composing a harmonious menu.
One 3h session / $90 per person
Fri, Feb 15, 2019 6pm-9pm Waiting List
You can use butter with abandon, you can drink champagne at 11am, you can dress up, or you can be in your pajamas. Yes, I am talking about the most joyous meal of all time — brunch. If you are stressed out about flipping crepes, poaching eggs, and breaking your hollandaise, it's time to learn the cooking techniques that will turn you into the brunch master. In this class, we'll explore the brunch classics: Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon, Biscuits and Gravy, Crepes, and Veggie Hash with Sunny-side up Eggs. Note: dishes may vary based on the season and availability of ingredients.
Want to know when new classes are posted?
Frequently Asked Questions
- 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 an e-mail 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.