Monday, November 3, 2008

The Magic Chicken: A Cooking Class

A couple of months back, my mom brought to my attention a couple of mutual friends who were looking to learn some cooking skills. We tossed around the idea of a cooking class hosted and taught by us. But what to teach? Where do you begin? What skills are basic enough for a beginner but interesting enough for those with some experience?

I sent out an email to all of my acquaintances, chef and novice alike, to garner a bit of interest. As it turns out, a lot of women are interested in hanging out in the kitchen, getting some new recipes, and building new friendships!

Last Saturday night, Julie Jams presented the very first cooking class entitled: "The Magic Chicken". What's more basic than a chicken? Especially as food prices go up, it is always helpful to know how to handle, dismantle, and prepare a whole (and cheap) chicken.

We covered a variety of topics starting with "How to Cut Up a Chicken".

"It was very informative and fun - from the first sniff of a bay leaf, to the sound of dislocating the hip bone of a chicken...", said my friend Karyn.

Yeah, I thought the very best way for anyone to learn how to cut up a chicken was to roll up their sleeves, plunge their hand into a chicken cavity to remove the organs (i.e. naughty bit), and pop some hip joints. (Actually, it is sooo much easier to cut off those leg quarters with that joint popped out!)

My 6 year old daughter excitedly told her daddy later, "Daddy, I almost touched a chicken heart--it was so disgusting!" Let it be known, though, that she was ecstatic about cutting up the chicken and, I think, about being included in a grown-up girl event.

We then demonstrated a couple of different cooking techniques including poaching chicken breasts (for shredding into some enchiladas)
and braising legs and thighs (using my mother-in-law's Filipino Adobo recipe).

My mom demonstrated her delicious creamy chicken enchiladas using a poached shredded chicken breast, softening corn tortillas in oil, dipping flour tortillas in cream. Mmmm...

Instruction was also provided for how to make your own chicken stock. I must not have expounded on the tastiness or uses for homemade chicken stock enough because many of the women gave me their chicken's carcass and neck for my own stock pot (but I'm not complaining--you should see the stock that all those chickens made--pure gold!).

The end of the class was all about tasting. Creamy chicken enchiladas, Filipino adobo, Cheesy tortilla soup.

My husband printed up some really beautiful little booklets containing all the info plus 6 recipes and even some cookbook recommendations in the back, available to you all thanks to Google documents.

This was really a fun event. I can't wait to do another. We brainstormed some topics to engage a wide variety of interests: Soups and Stews, Sauces, Cookies, Breads, Various Ethnic Cuisines, and more. My mom said, "It was fun to hear ideas from the other participants."

Considering the popularity of this idea, I think I will announce the next class here on my blog--we'd love to meet some new people here on the Eastside interested in cooking! From my friend Julia, "Thanks for the "magic" last night!" (she was, of course, referring to the chicken class...)


Note: all photos were taken by my talented friend Piper. Check out her photo blog. Thanks Piper!


Sig said...

That sounds like a load of fun! Great idea for a girls' night in :)

Joie de vivre said...

That is so fun! I've had some friends express interest in doing this too. You are an inspiration. Thanks for the idea.

Patsyk said...

What a fun idea! I keep wanting to take some cooking classes, but haven't found the time to get signed up.

Chef E said...

Great blog! I taught a sushi class, and it was funny how enthusiastic they all are (drinking wine); until they had to touch the fish :)

Kelly McPherson said...

Oh I'd be up for a cooking lesson/sweet fun times in the kitchen!

Mel Dillon said...

I would love to join you in one of the future classes or events if there is room and my schedule allows. I am kind of amazed at what all you have going on with all the cooking stuff. I would love to hear about where you started and how you got to where you are. I don't know I have enough guts, but I do live close enough to try to glean from your energy and knowledge.

Sharon said...

Wow, that looks so much fun!!

Anonymous said...

How fun!

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