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Second in a summer series of cooking class reviews.

Name of Class: The Trinity of Pasta, Beans, and Grains

Name of Instructor: Shannon Herman

Location:

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PCC Teaches Me a Thing or Two About Grains

But is a thing or two enough? 

pcc1.jpg

Second in a summer series of cooking class reviews.

Name of Class: The Trinity of Pasta, Beans, and Grains

Name of Instructor: Shannon Herman

Location: Greenlake PCC

Length: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Cost: $35 for members, $40 if you’re not cool enough

Experience level: Beginner-Intermediate (?)

I was hesitant walking into a class on cooking with grains, afraid that my ability to cook with grains stopped with boiling pasta water. However, desperate to stop the monotony of chicken breasts and pasta for dinner, I was willing to take a chance. 

Shannon, the instructor, first gave us a quick lesson on knife skills, very smart before letting loose a dozen strangers to chop, slice and mince, then took us on a tour through the bulk foods section of the store. She pointed out the whole grains we would be using that night and answered questions about the health benefits of whole grains versus the bad kinds, refined grains, which have had their endosperms (and thus their healthy benefits) processed off. 

She split us into groups of three, each group working on one recipe. My group was given the Hummus dish, though none of us ever figured out which part of it was supposed to be the hummus as the chickpeas stayed whole and were just layered in with everything else. I think Shannon may have forgotten that we weren’t her culinary school students at Seattle Culinary Academy, since she gave us pretty much zero direction. Luckily, the other two members of my group weren’t quite as mystified as I was, and we worked together, splitting up the tasks. Shannon came by to offer her two cents every once in a while—as in when I asked her how to know when the garbanzo beans were done cooking—but eventually we came up with a dish that looked somewhat presentable and actually tasted good. 

Unlike at my last class at Sur La Table, I did get to follow one project the whole way through this time, although that left me with no knowledge of how to make the other five dishes other than the recipes I was sent home with. The meal at the end though was fabulous enough to encourage me to try something else at home, and getting through my dish with little oversight actually gave me a little more cooking confidence.  pcc2.jpg

What I made: Fattet Hummus (Lebanese Chickpeas with Pita and Yogurt), Mediterranean Lentil Salad, Quinoa Tabbouleh, Pasta e Fagioli, Risotto, and Fresh Dates stuffed with Beecher’s Blank Slate.

The company I kept: The usual PCC crowd, mostly health-conscious 25-35 year old women, a few college kids, and one man who probably rode his bike there.

Instructor attitude: Shannon was extremely informative, and sweet. Unfortunately, I think she forgot that we were taking the class because we didn’t already know how to cook pasta, beans, and grains. 

How much product pushing: Mostly just suggestions of food that we had to have.Strangely enough, she often told us to buy them at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods instead. 

What would you make again? I loved it all. I usually don’t like lentil dishes (flashbacks to childhood meals), but this one was almost sweet, and the quinoa was light, fresh, and healthy tasting. The pasta e fagioli, however, came out a bit bland. 

What could you make again? I honestly don’t know!  I bought some quinoa to see if I could prepare it, but as that wasn’t my classroom project, I’m going off of nothing here. My pita dish was fairly straightforward, though maybe not so practical for me, a busy girl who needs quick and healthy meals, not appetizers.

 
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