Some of you may know that during the spring and summer months, I teach a cooking class focusing on Garden to Table eating. Each class lasts an hour, is free, and free recipes and samples are provided to those who attend. It takes me about 40 hours of behind the scenes work to pull one of these off, but I could not even think about doing so without the help of so many family and friends. So here’s a peek, just in case you were curious.
All of the food is prepared offsite, then packed up and transported to Farmington Gardens Garden Center where we hold the classes. This hauling business is no small undertaking (thank you Dick). Once we get there, all is unpacked and we start setting up for the big event. Today’s class is ‘Moonlight Supper in the Garden’. The class might be about a moonlight supper, but it is already sweltering hot and humid. Tricia has been cutting up over-ripe tomatoes, and here we are, attempting to make them into a Carpese Salsa before our students arrive. No matter what, Tricia always looks cool. I am sweltering.
…and here I am, during class, attempting to not spill it all over the floor.
A lot goes into the plating and serving of our food, especially since we typically serve over 60 people. Nora always keeps a cheery smile and her plating is perfection. This is all despite the fact that my recipes can drive any person attempting to plate them insane. When Neeners helps to put food on the plates, she has been overheard saying “Shall we kill her now?” ‘Her’, meaning me – of course.
Tricia is doing double duty today, both in front of the class and behind the scenes with Nora.
This is a volunteer effort for everyone – I know why I do it, but I’ll be darned if I know why my family and friends are so willing to help out. I am one lucky pup to be sure. This is Addison. Not only is she very cute, she is also an excellent server, and it’s only her first day on the job!
Here I am attempting to show the class how to assemble Tomato Tarts before baking. Truthfully, I really do smile and laugh a lot more than it looks, however, It appears that I am nearing heat stroke at the moment this photo was taken.
Trust me, they look a lot better once they are out of the oven!
And we cannot forget about Neeners. She has achieved celebrity status among many class goers because of her smartie pants comments.
Friend Clark is on hand to provide much needed hydration.
Our good friend Nick is visiting from his home in Hawaii. Nick is an excellent cook in his own right, even though he has a tendency to wreak havoc in any kitchen he comes into contact with. We just scrub behind him – his food is worth it. Here, Nick is practicing the finer points of Zucchini Ribbons for a colorful salad.
Now that he’s got the hang of it, let’s put this thing together.
And for the last time – Roberta, please do not dump the entire thing on the floor..
The salad seems to be getting the thumbs up approval from class.
Dick has been behind the scenes today, grilling Lemon Chicken that is finished with a Lemon Vinaigrette. Here he takes a break with Nick,who, as you can see, is wearing some of his salad dressing already.
Next, Neeners is sharing her Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce recipe with the class. I was attempting to chime in but was having a hard time talking that day due to a bad cold. And what does this loving mother say “Oh, you are losing your voice. Thank God”. You can see now why I rarely turn my back on her.
We always finish with dessert. I find this to be a good way encourage everyone to stay until the end. Today it is an Ice Cream Pie: Inside-Out Apple Pie A la Mode with Roasted Apples in a Cinnamon/Butter/Rum Sauce. Tricia contributed the sauce recipe, and believe me – it is truly something special and not just because it’s full of rum – but that helps of course.
We’re done! Still standing and heading for that pie!! And then we empty the garbage, pack everything up we can’t give away, haul it back home and Dick washes the dishes and puts everything back in order for the next time. I am ashamed to admit that he does this alone since yours truly is usually passed out asleep by then.
Again, thank you to all my family and friends for helping us pull these classes off each month. And thank you to our students – you are wonderful and curious and very kind. Even when things turn out not as good as I had hoped.
Hope you enjoyed the tour. And many, many thanks to MARY BETH ENGELDINGER for all the wonderful photos – great job! xoxoxoxo