Cook, Eat and Be Merry. While Your Children Play in the Other Room.

I have a hard time saying "no" to doing things that sound really, really fun. Who doesn't, right? So when one of my mama friends suggested taking a cooking class, I was all for it. And when I found out it was a cooking class that had childcare? Well, that was a no-brainer. A few hours of cooking and eating with girlfriends while the little guy had a play date with a few of his buds was one of the most lovely ways to spend a Friday morning. The talented chef Nicole Kollock, owner of Savory Pear Catering and Cooking Classes, had a brilliant menu planned for her Cooking from the Farmer's Market class, which was taught out of her amazing home kitchen.

After brief introductions over coffee and muffins, the four students in class threw on our aprons, divvied up the recipes and got started on preparing the dishes on the menu.
  • Minted Sweet Pea Soup
  • Roasted Asparagus with Prosciutto and Herb Breadcrumbs
  • Artichoke Caponata with Grilled Crostini
  • Strawberry Crostata
The class was true to its title - Nicole had been to the farmer's market the day prior and picked up fresh asparagus, sweet peas in the pod, artichokes, tomatoes, strawberries, onions, parsley and even full stems of garlic.

Despite each being responsible for only one dish, we all were able to learn about tips and tricks from the other recipes as Nicole paused class as each "chef" reached certain points in her recipe. She taught us how to check if an artichoke is fresh (tight leaves), then trim and prepare them. We learned how to properly smash garlic, quickly chop an onion, toast pine nuts perfectly, learn when peas start "popping" to indicate they're done, make our own fresh bread crumbs from day-old bread, snap asparagus to see where to trim it, and make a delicious flakey pastry dough. (Beyond that, there were also mini-lessons not on the curriculum that included tips on composting and a list of Bay Area farmer's markets amongst other things.)

We had an amazing time cooking together, laughing at our mistakes, learning from them and then enjoying the delicious fruits of our labor. Especially the strawberry crostata.

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