Cooking with Friends: Food Workshops

 Last weekend I was invited to a cooking workshop hosted by my friend Amie. Amie is a food and travel writer, and she is incredibly knowledgeable about the science of cooking. She is also a great teacher, so when she invited me to come to her canning workshop, I was thrilled!

Organic strawberry jam was the first thing on the menu. We made two varieties: one with granulated white sugar (for the “purity” of taste, as Amie phrased it) and one with maple syrup as the sweetener. We did it the pure old fashioned way: sans gelatin and lots of simmering.

What I loved about Amie’s workshop is that she involves the participants in the kitchen (which I, the control freak that I am, could never do) and she educates her attendees about why we do certain things. For example: when we are sealing the cans by boiling them in hot water, we don’t screw the lids on as tight as we can or else we risk a jar exploding! Instead we turn them to finger tightness.

We also made pickled eggplant. Now this was entirely new to me: I had never tried pickling anything myself, let alone eggplant! But it was surprisingly easy, tasty, and versatile.

The participants went home with a jar of each, which is a great reward for an afternoon in the kitchen. Best part? Somebody else did the clean up 🙂

If you’re interested in attending fun workshops like this one, check out Amie’s Bookalokal profile to see what she has coming up! And tell her Cocoa Bean sent you 🙂

She has also done a guest blog post on Cocoa Bean in the past- check out her recipe for crustless pumpkin pie with brown sugar streusel! She’s got some other fantastic recipes on her blog here.