It’s Almost Christmas…of 2021! How Did That Happen?

It feels like I lost two years.

I was just reflecting on 2020 and 2021 and have the weird feeling that those years got lost from my life timeline.  

Perhaps some of you can relate?  As we try to figure out if we can gather for Christmas for everyone’s comfort and safety, it is odd to realize we haven’t had a Christmas celebration in 2 years.

Are you gathering?  Are you changing plans or traditions?  Let me know in the comments?  I just don’t quite know how to navigate this continuing pandemic.

To give you all a bit of holiday cheer, scroll down to find a discount code that can be used online when booking a class.  You can save 10%!

 

Snow Farmers

Here’s a fun fact:  My husband, John, is one of the area’s new Snow Farmers.  The Snow Farmers are a group men (all Dads) who have gotten together to create snow when the conditions are right but Mother Nature got busy elsewhere and didn’t have time to put some out for area kids to sled and play on.

They are currently waiting for the Hanson Street hill in Whitehall to be closed so the kids will be safe.  If you see them out there, bring them a hot cup of joe and tell them thank you.  They are usually making snow in the nighttime or early morning.  They also assist with helping to keep Montague’s skating rink cleared of snow for skaters.

John, Rusty, and Elie. (Jimmy is absent the photo)

Upcoming Menu

Here is the menu for December 21 – 26.  Please note that I will not be making anything 12/24 or 12/25.  The foods on the menu will be fine in your fridge for a day or two if you really want something for meals those two days.  Just ask for your order to be made late in the day of 12/23.  You can pick up that evening, or the next day from the refrigerator we keep just inside the front entry to Art of Cookery.

Remember to let me know if you want a hot meal or refrigerated one when you pick up.

A Discount!

Book a class using our online registration and enter this code at check out to get a 10% discount.  The class can occur next year but must be booked by midnight 12/31/21.

CODE:  DEC2021

Don’t see a class you are interested in or can’t attend due to schedule?  Let me know via email what you want and some dates/times that work.

Last Post's Quiz

WOW!  You all really came through on that quiz I last posted.  I learned so much from you.  And your suggestions for posts were wonderful!

Look for something you suggested in upcoming posts.  I’ll be addressing pantry staples in my next post.  I will weave the topic together using a tried and true recipe.

Pear Conserve

This delightful pear and almond conserve goes well with both savory and sweet treats.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Resting Time1 hr
Course: Appetizer
Keyword: Conserve, Jam, Pear
Servings: 8 half pints
Author: vkhanson

Equipment

  • Waterbath Canner
  • Canning funnel
  • Dutch Oven
  • Small Saucepan
  • Cooling Rack
  • Jar grabber
  • Half-pint canning jars (about 8)
  • Lids and Rings for jars
  • Ladle

Ingredients

  • c Pears Peeled, cored, diced
  • 6 c Sugar
  • ½ c Lemon juice
  • ½ c Finely diced almonds unsalted is preferable
  • 2 t Dried citrus zest Any flavor works. Or, 2 T fresh
  • 1 t Minced ginger root
  • 3 oz Liquid pectin usually 1 pouch

Instructions

  • Mix pears, sugar, and lemon juice in Dutch oven. Let sit for 1 hour. Stir occasionally.
  • Fill canner half-way (up to the bottom of the raised rack) with hot water and place over burner to come to a boil.
  • Put new lids in small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a slight boil and turn off burner.
  • Add almonds, zest, and ginger root to Dutch oven mixture.  Bring to a rolling boil.
  • Add pectin and return to a boil.  Boil 1 minute.
  • Remove from heat and, using funnel, ladle into jars.  Tighten lids on.  Place in canner and submerge. There should be at least 1 inch of water over the tops. Add more hot water if needed. Cover.
  • Once water in canner returns to a boil, set timer for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, pull up the canning rack, remove jars and place on cooling rack.

Notes

You don't have to can this fantastic little recipe, but the jars make great host/hostess gifts.
This pairs well with beer and cheese.  I make a sourdough bread using beer and rosemary.  To serve, slice the bread, spread with conserve, and place a slice of cheddar on it.  YUM!

Pate a Choux Class

There’s still room for 1 more person in next week’s Pate a Choux class.  Pate a Choux is french pastry and is normally used to make cream puffs in the US.

The class is December 21st at 12 noon.  It is $20.


Traditional Bread and Butter

Traditional Bread Baking/Butter Churning Combo

You don’t need a bread machine!

 

Bread baking is soul therapy. Make a beautifully soft white bread in the traditional ways. Be surprised that it is almost the same amount of on-hand time as bread machine baking, just minutes extra … and oh so much more satisfying.

While the bread is rising, CHURN BUTTER! Awesome. 

Bring home your own loaf and some fresh churned butter to serve with it. You may be mistaken for June Cleaver (who?)

The butter churning process is quite simple but does really have more steps than the unfinished butter your kids made by shaking the cartons, there actually is more to it and some great science.

Adult On-Site $29

Adult Online $24

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Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

 

These cookies are a tasty way to celebrate any holiday…even everyday.  They are easy, non-fussy, and tasty. 

In this class with Chef Valerie Hanson, make the sugar cookies, learn tricks to make royal icing easily and how to frost your cookies using a flooding method. 

Discover ways to change flavors to suit your desired results without loosing the tender cookie quality.  At the end, divide up the cookies and take them home…or eat them immediately.  You won’t be able to resist!

Adult On-Site $35

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Sourdough Bread – Not the Starter

Sourdough bread is another artisan skill.

So, you have a good sourdough starter, but do you know how to make bread from it with no added commercial yeast and with literally just minutes of active attention?

Chef Valerie has worked on this artisan bread technique for years and is still excited and amazed by it. 

Learn technique for making bread easily and without commercial yeast.  You can repeat this at home and be a hero to your friends and guests.  Best part?  You can keep the dough “at the ready” for baking when you want.  This is the follow-up session to Sourdough Starter.  

Adult On-Site $25

Adult Online $20

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Bread

In each box below, click on the name of the class you are interested in to see it’s description and schedule.  Remember you can request a class to be scheduled  for a date/time that suits your calendar.   When you see mention of Customer preference, it is an invitation to suggest a topic not listed that interests you.  Use the Select by Category box to jump around by various topics.

Sourdough

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Traditional Yeast Bread

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Sweet Bread

Select by Category
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Scones

Scones!

Love to nibble on a nice scone with coffee?

Have guests coming for the weekend? Here is a recipe that is sure to please! Enjoy some “down-time” and relax with friends or come meet new ones while spending time in the Art of Cookery kitchen. You will learn to make Country Scones.

Included are great tips and tricks for baking pastries…and scones in particular. Students will make and bake scones and take theirs home. 

This recipe is great for adapting to any seasonal fruit, dried fruit, chocolate chips.

Adult On-Site $24

Adult Online $19

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Pumpkin Pie Perfection

 

There truly is a difference in flavor when making a pumpkin pie from natural ingredients…and we mean the pumpkin too.  Learn how to easily make a pumpkin pie by opening ZERO cans of anything.

Upon arrival, participants will be putting a pie in the oven to bake while they learn all of the steps to getting to that point. 

Start by making the pastry and learn tips for keeping it from getting soggy under the wet custard.  Next, see how easy (and hands-off) it is to roast your own pumpkin, then.  Finally, make the pie filling using items normally on hand, as well as learn a few ways to adapt it to your tastes and bring it to another level.  At the end, get the pie from the oven while learning what it should look like when it is finished baking.   Bring a pie home with you. 

Onsite:  $35 per person or $60 for a team  of 2 making one pie.

Online:  $30


Pie Perfection

Want to learn how to make a great pie from scratch?

Does pie making challenge you?  Chef Valerie says it shouldn’t, and she should know, she was named one of the top 6 Pie Makers in Michigan!

Join us for a pastry session that will make you famous. Learn to make pie crusts and follow it up with baking a tasty pie using in-season fruit. You’ll take your pie home to enjoy (and brag about)!

Truly with a few good tips it is easy to get rid of store-bought and be the pie maker that is famous in your family. Bring your beverage of choice if you wish.

You will start by assembling a pie and getting it in the oven.  Then, while it is baking, learn all of the steps by making the pie pastry.  Examples would be tips on adapting the recipe to any fruit pie, how to finish a great pie with various top pastry adaptions (lattice crust, cut-outs, rustic), and finishing options (egg wash, cream wash, etc.)  Even learn about some tools that would be helpful.

You will be taking home the baked pie you first put in oven.  In addition, participants have the option of bringing home the unbaked pie they made while the first one one was baking for $10 (so you would be leaving class with 2 pies).  You can also choose to bring home your unbaked pie and not the baked one for no additional cost.

$35.00 per person, $25 for 2nd person in a team making one pie

Onsite:  $35 per person making 1 pie

Onsite: $60 for 2 people making 1 pie

Online:  $30


Pie

In each box below, click on the name of the class you are interested in to see it’s description and schedule.  Remember you can request a class to be scheduled at a time/date that suits your calendar.  Use the Select by Category box to jump around by various topics.  Don’t see a topic of interest?  Make a request, the Chef loves a challenge.

Two Crust Pies

Pie Perfection – Flavor is seasonal

Pie Perfection – Flavor is Customer’s Choice

Mincemeat – Really, give it a try

Real Pot Pie – No Cans/Boxes

Select a Category

One Crust Pies

Cheesecake Pie

Cream Pie – Flavor varies

Pecan Pie – (old school, real food ingredients, no corn syrup)

Pumpkin Pie Perfection – (from a pumpkin)

Single Crust Pie – Flavor is Customer’s Choice

Quiche – Real men don’t just eat it, they make it!

Select a Category

Kid’s Young Chef Series ages 10-16

Kids:  Young Chef Cooking Series

Designed for young people, aged 10 to 16.
This series of classes is designed for young people who are interested in engaging in a deeper understanding of food mastery.  Skills learned are Food Safety, Basic Culinary Skills, Basic Knife Skills, Kitchen Etiquette, and Self-Esteem.  Students do not need to register for all the classes at the same time.  But they must complete them in order of the series.  There is a special price break for registering for the whole series.  If using the price break, the sessions must be in a row.  Each session 1 through 4 is $40, session 5 is $55 – Register for all five:  $195.

Sessions cover:

  1. Knife Skills and Food and Kitchen Safety: To provide a sound foundation for future lessons, students will learn safe use of a stovetop, basic kitchen conduct, terminology, and knife skills.
  2. Introduction to Baking and Pan Frying: This session lightly engages the students in foundation skills for baking (proper way to measure, how to crack eggs, not overworking certain doughs) and for pan frying (how to properly heat the pan, adding oil, when to flip, safety).
  3. Food Safety and Pastry: Students will learn to avoid contamination of foodborne illness. Additionally, they will learn more delicate baking methods.
  4. More advanced Knife Skills and Fruit/Vegetables: Peeling potatoes and cubing them, peeling apples and slicing them are part of this session. As is making a basic vinaigrette.
  5. Young Chef Skills Demonstration: In this fifth and final session. Students will be planning and making a full meal that demonstrates their progressive learning over the previous 4 young chef sessions. One adult per student has the option to join the class ($15 for this ticket) at the end and dinner is served!

Use the Book Now button below to book the whole series.  Alternatively go back to the Kid’s Cooking Class main page to select specific courses as listed above.

Kids aged 10-16: $195 for full series.

Adult attending session 5 meal: $15