Story last updated at 10/30/2013 - 7:01 pm
This month I have been teaching cooking classes through the Community Schools program in Juneau. It has been such a wonderful experience and as a new instructor, I have learned quite a bit.
First thing I learned; plan my menus ahead of time. While I can cook anything on the fly at home, when I’m teaching a class, I need to be prepared.
Second, have the correct supplies. I have gained a lot of new cooking tools such as knives, cutting boards and other fun utensils. This is to ensure we have enough tools for each student. When my husband questioned how many knives I now possessed, I queried him on how many fishing poles he has. End of conversation.
The third thing I have learned is allowing the students to experience the class full force and immerse themselves in the cooking process. This is what makes the class fun. As an example, I taught a basic recipe and the students took it to whole new levels by incorporating ideas they enjoy.
Last week was a perfect scenario for creativity in the kitchen. The class was “Snacks and Sides.” We made some fun appetizers and snacks as well as a few side dishes for holiday dinners. These simple, basic recipes were combined and morphed into whole new dishes with an added level of flavor and texture. I was not only impressed; I eagerly requested their approval to share these yummy ideas.
The first appetizer we did was a standby for me, candied pecans. This recipe has appeared in my column before and combines two simple ingredients: Butter and brown sugar. The side dish recipe was glazed carrots, which also involved butter and brown sugar. My students, Kelly, Sharon and Cory, decided to top the glazed carrots with chopped candied pecans and they had a delicious dish that would outdo any sweet potato casserole at Thanksgiving.
The other fun addition was presented by Hannah and Adam, who added in pears to the glazed carrots. I suggested throwing in a few dried cranberries. By the end of the evening we had created a wonderful holiday side dish that could be taken to any dinner party and impress your hosts. An added bonus is that because the ingredients are so simple that a large batch or small amount could be made to meet your needs.
I have had such an incredible time teaching these classes. I’ve learned new ideas, gotten some new toys and, most of all, made some great friends who now share my passion for food.
This week I present to you a collaborative dish created from my Meals with Midgi cooking class: Glazed Carrots with Pears
Until next time…
Eat and enjoy,
GLAZED CARROTS & PEARS
4 large carrots peeled and thickly sliced
1 pear, thickly sliced
2 tablespoons dried cranberries (optional)
6 teaspoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter
Combine butter and sugar in large sauce pan or skillet. Cook over medium heat until well incorporated. Add carrots and stir until coated. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, add pears and cranberries. Cook additional 10 minutes, until carrots are cooked to your desired consistency. I prefer mine still firm, but others like them softer. Top with chopped Glazed pecans.
1 cup pecans
2 tablespoons butter
3 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon sea or kosher salt
Combine butter and brown sugar in skillet or sauce pan. Melt together until well incorporated. There should be more butter than sugar. Add nuts and coat well. Remove from heat and spread on foil-lined baking sheet. Cook on 425 degrees for 7-10 minutes. Watch carefully so that they don’t burn. Remove from oven and sprinkle sea or kosher salt on the nuts while they are still warm.
Kelly Moore, a.k.a. Midgi, writes and cooks from Juneau. Visit her blog, www.mealswithmidgi.com, for additional stories and recipes. She may be reached at midgi@