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2018: new home, new feathered family, new classes

Happy New Year folks! I haven't checked in here for quite a while, so here is a quick recap (of mostly non-culinary stuff) from the past 7 months or so.

We did not end up going to Alaska for the summer as we had planned. Instead, we stayed in the Methow Valley and bought a house! My husband and I had been dreaming about buying (or building) a home in the Methow for years and we consider ourselves so, so fortunate that it worked out and we found a home that fit our limited budget, was approved for the type of loan we had applied for, and is a good fit for us. We moved in mid-August and feel mostly settled in, although there are definitely still things to learn about the house, improvements to make, etc.

Also, we got chickens to go with the new house :) Last summer, while the home-buying process was (very slowly) pending, we spent a month house-sitting for our friends, which involved taking care of their flock of 25+ chickens. It was fun and fascinating to learn more about these beautiful and intelligent birds and to interact with them or even just simply observe them going about their day. So, less than two weeks after we moved into our new home, I brought a squeaking, peeping box home from the post office early one morning... and then another box a week later. Our little flock is now ensconced in two coops (long story) that were luckily already sitting in the back yard and just needed some renovations and equipment, which our chicken-keeping friends generously assisted with. We are hoping for eggs next month but it could happen as early as this month. (Better hurry up and finish building those nest boxes!) Eggs are my standard breakfast, probably up to 5 days a week, and there are few foods I like more than a good egg with a runny yolk, so I am really looking forward to our hens reaching laying age.

That was a good segway into food-related stuff (finally!)... After a 9-month break, I can't wait to get back into offering cooking classes, and have just scheduled a class for Friday, January 26, 6-9 pm, right here in Twisp. The class will take place at Main Event Catering & Commercial Kitchen on the TwispWorks campus. This airy, functional, well-equipped space is the new home of Kathy Borgersen's Sunflower Catering, and I'm excited to help "inaugurate" the facility by teaching one of the first cooking classes to be held there.

The class will be a variation of the Winter Nights in Siberia class that I'd previously offered at PCC Cooks. On the menu: pickle soup with beef & barley, Siberian pelmeni dumplings with beef & pork, and Russian apple cake aka "sharlotka" (not to be confused with the Polish czarlotka). The Methow Valley is strikingly similar to the part of Siberia where my husband comes from in terms of climate, plants, and landscapes, and the hearty fare we will make in this class is guaranteed to make hungry bellies happy not only in Siberia but also right here in the middle of Washington State.

A wonderful Ukrainian woman named Iryna (yes, same name, same pronunciation, just spelled differently) who is married to a local man has generously volunteered to assist with the class. Iryna has professional culinary experience in both Ukraine and Russia, not to mention decades of home cooking under her belt, and I look forward to learning about her versions of the dishes that we be making and hearing her kitchen stories.

I'm trying to keep prices low for my Methow Valley classes because the average income around here is a far cry from that of a typical Seattle household, so this class is only $30. Email or call me to reserve your spot!

Hopefully there will be more classes down the pike this year, both here in the Methow (possibly as early as this spring) and in Seattle (likely not until the fall). I'm also hatching another plan for bringing Russian cooking to the local masses... stay tuned!

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