Piroshki - yeast dough pockets with a savory or sweet filling - are a perfect as an on-the-go snack or as an accompaniment to soup or salad. In this class, we'll make two kinds of piroshki as well as a bigger double-crust slab pie and open-faced sweet buns called vatrushki. You pick the fillings!
The Russian holiday of Maslenitsa, which typically falls around late February-early March, is best known for pancakes, or blini. Take this class to learn how to make two kinds of blini - an almost paper-thin kind that is stuffed like a crepe with all sorts of delicious savory or sweet fillings, and a thicker kind that's made with yeast and has a satisfying chewiness with a crispy edge. We will make two filling for the crepe-style blini; one with ground beef and caramelized onions, and one with sweet cheese and raisins (essentially, a blintz).
BORSCHT, TWO WAYS
Originating in Ukraine, borscht, or beet soup, has become one of Russia's best-loved dishes. Versions of borscht are also eaten in Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, and elsewhere in the region. In this class, you will learn to make two kinds of borscht - a hot and hearty version, spiked with pork fat and garlic, Ukrainian-style; and a lighter version that is served chilled and is perfect for warm weather. As a bonus, we will also make an appetizer or salad to round out the meal.
Taking private, hands-on cooking classes is a great way to receive personalized attention from your instructor and get all your questions answered. Learning in the comfort of your own kitchen will help you relax and feel confident. However, possibly the best part about a cooking class that takes place in your home as opposed to a cooking school is that you get to keep all of the delicious food that you make!
Each class takes approximately three hours and involves creating several dishes that the entire group can then enjoy together. The descriptions below should give you a glimpse of some of the dishes that you can learn to make. Class menus can be customized to reflect your food preferences and to accommodate any dietary restrictions. If there is a specific Russian or Eastern European dish that you want to learn to prepare, please ask!
The following classes are currently available:
There are very few vegetarians in Russia, and even fewer vegans; yet, thanks to the dietary restrictions associated with Orthodox Christian fasts, Russian and Eastern European cuisines have evolved to include many dishes that are prepared without meat, fish, dairy, and/or eggs. In this class, you will learn how to create a delicious meal, consisting of an appetizer or salad, soup, main course, and dessert, all of which will be 100% vegan and will represent Russian cuisine, with influences from nearby Georgia and the Balkans.
CABBAGE AND BEETS:
THE MISUNDERSTOOD DUO
Cabbage and beets are staples of Russian and Eastern European cooking and can be made into all sorts of tasty dishes, from soups to stews to salads, yet, sadly, they enjoy an undeservedly bad reputation in the US. If you are not a fan of these two vegetables, I promise this class will get you to change your mind! You will learn how to make two cabbage dishes and two beet dishes that are both nutritious and delicious!
Want to impress your guests with a towering and moist layer cake or an exotic-sounding "anthill" cake? This class is for you!
Learn how to bake two kinds of apple cake - a classic version eaten throughout Russia and a family recipe that resembles a crostata; rugelach-style pastries made with farmer's cheese; and my mom's version of mandelbrot with walnuts and raisins. These desserts are quick and simple enough to make on a weeknight. When our class is over, curl up on your couch with a cup of tea or hot chocolate and enjoy the freshly-baked goodies!
RATES AND "FINE PRINT"
The rates for cooking classes are as follows:
$50 per person for 4-5 students
$45 per person for 6-8 students
Rates do not include ingredients, which will be billed at cost. You are welcome to request organic ingredients.
Out of ethical considerations, I only use cage-free eggs, free-range meat, and cheese made with vegetable rennet (when labeled).
Classes are available for groups of 4 to 8 students (you are welcome to include fewer than 4 people in your group; however, the minimum charge is for 4 people). Please ensure that your kitchen can accommodate the number of people that will participate in the class that you are hosting.
Cash and checks are accepted, and gift certificates are available.
If you need to cancel or reschedule your class, please contact me at least 48 hours ahead; otherwise you will be billed for any ingredients that I may have purchased by the time you contact me to reschedule or cancel. If rescheduling, you would only be billed for any perishable ingredients purchased.
DUMPLINGS FROM RUSSIA AND BEYOND
Nearly every culture in the world has some version of dumpling - dough wrapped around a filling, and Russia and nearby countries are no exception. Join me to make buuz, steamed dumplings filled with ground lamb that are popular in Mongolia and across the border in the Russian region of Buryatia; pelmeni, the "Siberian wontons" with beef and pork; kreplach, the Eastern European Jewish dumplings filled with chicken and served in chicken broth; and vareniki, Ukrainian-style dumplings that can be filled with anything from potatoes to mushrooms to cherries.