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Cooking with herbs class

Dimple's MomDimple's Mom Posts: 1,740
edited 8:14PM in Off Topic
Well, I'm recovering from the class I taught yesterday. My legs and feet are killing me from so many days of standing.

I made a lof of stuff to sample ahead of time, but I also had a few things to make in the class. I attempted to make:

Rosemary Lemonade
Dilly Eggs
Three Way Chicken Salad
Rosemary Rolls
Cilantro Pesto
Rosemary Walnuts
Thyme Pecans
Stuffed Dates with Basil
Thyme Sorbet
Orange Rosemary Pound Cake
Herbes de Provence Orange Butter Cookies
Tisane Shortbread with Lemon Verbena & Lavender
Rose Geranium Cupcakes
Lavender Sage & Lemon Ice Cream

So here's how it went down. When people walked in, they were handed a napkin and a glass of rosemary lemonade. On their seats were a business card of the woman who gave me the rose geranium leaves, a cute little 'menu card' I made up of all the above foods, and three handouts - one with the recipes; one with a list of common herbs, how to grow them, what foods they went well with, etc.; and a generic handout on herbs, using them, storing them, etc.

I had an hour and 15 minutes. At that rate, we had to eat something about once every 5 minutes. :woohoo:

Some of the food didn't turn out, or in my opinion wasn't perfect. I did not end up doing an alcoholic drink as I had planned because I realized at the last second I wasn't allowed to serve booze in a public high school setting. I didn't want to risk the fine and jail time. Well, I was more concerned about the fine than the jail time, but anyway, scratched the booze drink.

I had my ice cream machine there and I had the bases already made, so I started the class with pouring the lavender ice cream base into the machine and talking about the herbs in that and the recipe.

Dilly Eggs were basically scrambled eggs with dill. I had someone in the class chop the dill while I scrambled eggs from our chickens on a portable butane burner. That was well received.

Three Way Chicken Salad - I had made up a huge bowl of a plain chicken salad and we divided it into three portions. One to sample plain and two to mix herbs into. The class chose the herbs, participants chopped up the herbs, and we mixed them in and sampled and compared the three different versions.

Rosemary Rolls - they were made ahead and baked but needed to be crisped. I couldn't figure out how to use the microwave convection oven in the class. We never got to the rolls and I brought them home and ate one for dinner. It was good but not excellent.

Cilantro Pesto - This was to be made in class and completely didn't have time for this, so didnt' do it.

Rosemary Walnuts - made ahead and was planning to pass them around with the thyme pecans. They turned out very good.

Thyme Pecans - these were to be made at class in a pan over the burner and passed with the walnuts. I got distracted showing the class the base for the thyme sorbet, the pecans started burning, I grabbed the pan and put it in the floor (which I later discovered burned a big hole in the floor--we were in the staff lounge room), the janitor came in and made us open windows because the alarm in the entire school was about to go off. A bit of a disaster, but I put the spices on the burnt pecans anyway and we sampled the pecans and walnuts together. I just told people to try and pick out pecans that weren't burnt. :whistle: It smelled a lot like my kitchen at home on many occasions. :ohmy:

Stuffed Dates with Basil - these are also to be made during class and no time for that, so brought all the ingredients back home with me.

Thyme Sorbet - I had had a bit of a problem with the base when I made it at home, but I took it anyway and we put it in the machine and made it. It was a bit too sweet but you could definitely see the potential. We served both the ice cream and sorbet as the last 2 things.

Orange Rosemary Pound Cake - I felt this had been cooked too long, but people in the class didnt' think so and said they liked it.

Herbes de Provence Orange Butter Cookies - These were amazing and also the prettiest cookies I've ever made. These will be in my repertoire from now on, esp as christmas cookies (you can make them weeks and weeks ahead supposedly) but also for any tea, luncheon, or other fancy spring/summer party I ever give.

Tisane Shortbread with Lemon Verbena & Lavender - good and also a good recipe to sub in other flavors

Rose Geranium Cupcakes - the leaves did not add any flavor to the vanilla cupcakes, which were almost an angel food sort of thing. I think the leaves, while in great shape and gorgeous to look at, were not at their most flavorful peak, so it was actually a good thing to talk about, when to pick herbs for the best flavor.

Lavender Sage & Lemon Ice Cream - really yummy but very filling (as is most homemade ice cream).

All in all - way way way too ambitious for an hour and 15 minutes. Some people seemed disappointed that it was more a cooking class and less about gardening and just herb talk. That is just my impressions from standing in front and watching faces. But many people came up afterward and said how much they liked it. I did have quite a number of experienced gardeners and cooks in the class, but after I realized that anyone who was a novice would have been overwhelmed.

The janitor came in at the end and immediately found the burned place on the floor! I should have covered it up with a box. She made a comment and I feigned ignorance. I don't know if the school will make an issue of it or not. The floor in the lounge was in good shape before but the floor in the rest of the school (same surface) was in horrid shape, so I don't see why they should care too much. It was their first time letting us use that room and so I fear it may be off limits in future years. :S

So while the class didn't go perfectly, at the end of the day I realized I had learned quite a lot about teaching a class and about myself (and about herbs and cooking with them). I didn't get paid for the class but I did have all my ingredient expenses reimbursed. It was a ton of work. I probably put in about a hundred hours in total on it, but I learned enough that I felt it was worth it in the end.


  • Photo EggPhoto Egg Posts: 7,806
    WOW, sounds like a great class but so much work on your part.
    That was a buch of food...
    Thank you,

    Galveston Texas
  • Dimple's MomDimple's Mom Posts: 1,740
    Yeah, it was way too much. If I did it again, I'd do about 1/3 of what I did this time. It was rushed and overwhelming.
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    Sounds very interesting and like you said kind of a lot for you and a lot for the spectator. I would be interested in learning the gardening techniques as well. To bad about the floor. Sounds like you needed help or a helper. Could be if you do it again it could get easier and maybe skip over some of the stuff you did and hit on the tasty treats that go over good. All in all it sounds like you learned a lot and you gained some herbs and some knowledge of their use. Best to you. ;)
  • Dimple's MomDimple's Mom Posts: 1,740
    I actually did have an assistant. She completely saved my butt. The class would have been a disaster without her. She washed every dish immediately after I used it, got the burning pan off the floor before it set the school on fire, and did more. I never had to tell her one thing, she just saw what was needed and did it. She was amazing.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    you did much better planning and executing than i ever could. sounded like fun.

    i can't believe you only had an hour and fifteen. yikes
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
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