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North Carolina Cooking Class

North Carolina Cooking Class 

For several weeks this summer I assisted with culinary classes in North Carolina. This was my second year assisting but this time I was a student at a North Carolina cooking class. 

I have been teaching, cooking, assisting others in classes and consulting for many years, I still love to learn. 

The class was in Marshall, NC at Smoke Signals. I saw an article about Tara Jensen in a magazine at the beginning of the year. I started to follow her on Instagram and saw her post about class offerings.  

Wednesday and Thursday we made bread dough, pizza, starters, and learned about starters, grains, equipment, ovens and more. Friday we needed to give our baby starter it’s first feeding so we needed something else to fill the day. 

Pie Too!

Tara taught us a new pie crust technique and we each made an apple pie. This dough is very flaky, all butter and delicious. We baked our pies in the wood oven and they were delicious.

My pie before.

My pie after. We ate vegetable tart for lunch.

Husband and I drove home Friday after stopping at East Fork Pottery. All week we used gorgeous tumblers and plates made at East Fork. I purchased a few tumblers and a small jar to use for salt. 

Home Dinners

We stopped at Jaemor for tomatoes and green beans on the way home. We arrived at home about 7:30 and copied dinner from Thursday night. Dinner was bread, cheese, tomatoes and pepperoni. No pictures, too hungry.

The cats expressed displeasure since they had missed several days of treats. I spent the rest of the evening covered in cats with Sophie meowing. Sophie doesn’t make any noise when she meows so you have to be looking at her to know it’s happening. 

Saturday was easy dinner. Burgers from the freezer, potatoes from the farmer’s market and roasted okra from the farmer’s market. Beautiful okra.

Menu Plan

Sunday I shopped with my list. We needed produce and some dairy since I have a freezer with chicken, beef, pork and fish. 

I ate cheddar popcorn for lunch on Sunday and then took Marta downtown to meet some friends.     Denise Vivaldo taught a food styling class in Atlanta so I visited with her and her friends.

I met Denise many years ago when she wrote her personal chef book and interviewed me. We’ve kept in touch, see each other at conferences and she’s a lot of fun. I got home about 9 and (no judgment) heated leftover mashed potatoes for dinner. Not balanced at all – popcorn and potatoes all day.

Storm Adjustments

Monday I planned to meet Amanda Cushman, a Facebook friend. She was in town to teach a cooking class, we have a lot of friends in common so we had plans for lunch or dinner. 

Not happening. The governor declared a state of emergency on Sunday, there was wind, rain, power lines down, trees down, most everything closed. We talked on the phone for a while and will meet someday! 

Freezer to the rescue with Swiss steak over egg noodles. Storm weather food. I am happy that our storm was nothing like what happened in Florida, but do not like tropical storms. 

My personal chef customer texted me Monday evening to see what was up for Tuesday. She had power, I had power, I told her I’d see her the next morning. 

We were very fortunate with the storm. We did not lose power, no trees fell on our house although there was one big tree blocking part of the subdivision circle. 

I cooked salmon cakes , vegetable beef soup , sesame noodles and more. My customer was happy to have food. She had a busy day and the kids were home since schools were closed due to the storm.

Tuesday I fed my bread starter and made the leaven. We were scheduled to go out for dinner and go to a worship service, but too much storm damage in Decatur so I needed to cook dinner! Plan change.

I foraged in the freezer, found chicken verde burritos from Trader Joe. I added some green salsa, cheese, baked the burritos and heated some black beans.

Bread on My Own 

Wednesday back to the bread. I made the dough, proofed it, got a hair cut, continued proofing and then into the refrigerator to hang out. Dinner was on my own and it took me a while to decide what I was craving. 

I crushed a couple tostado shells in a plate. I cooked two eggs over easy, heated some salsa verde and melted some cheese. Poured over eggs and corn shells. Added some fresh tomato and avocado and enjoyed. 

I baked the bread on Thursday using the oven, not The Big Green Egg. The bread came out well for my first try on my own. I made two loaves, one baked directly on the pizza stone and one in a loaf pan. I did not stencil the loaf pan but maybe next time.

You can get a glimpse of my salt pot that I purchased at East Fork pottery. Love it. Dinner was easy – roasted salmon, potatoes and beans from the Jaemor stop. 

Friday was my very early eye doctor appointment and back home to start my chili verde. Maybe some desk work for an event next week and some organizing for a class coming up in October.

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