The Newcomers-Encore Club is a social club open to all residents of Short Hills and Millburn, no matter how long they’ve lived in the area. The Club organizes various fun events and activities through out the year for its members.
One of my good friends Neetu Salhotra approached me with an idea for offering a cooking class for the Newcomers group. I agreed and we both exchanged a few ideas and emails to come up with the following menu for the group.
Quinoa with roasted Cauliflower, Cranberries and Walnuts
Curried Brussel Sprouts with Paneer and Bell Pepper
I printed recipe cards and handed it to everyone. There was a lovely group of 10 wonderfully enthusiastic people ready to whip up these dishes. I split them into groups of 2 and they were so good at following the recipe and carrying out their tasks like chopping/ cooking/ seasoning/ garnishing-that we finished the class right on time for all of them to taste the dishes that they cooked as a team.
It was interesting that they all had one thing in common to tell me that they learnt a few new ingredients that they used in the class-
Freshly ground garam masala
Fresh coriander seeds
Fresh cardamom seeds for the pudding
“Jaggery” for the pudding- it is a healthier substitute for sugar
Dried Fenugreek leaves for brussel sprout dish
I think it is extremely gratifying to know that people have a nice take away from the class apart from learning to cook couple dishes -in this case- introduction to a set of new ingredients that they werent used to cooking with and now are willing to incorporate in their everyday cooking:)
I am very grateful to all of you and always appreciate the team effort that leads to such wonderful cooking experiences with beautiful people like you.
A few months back, one of my friends Christina Helms along with Sarah Bodnar opened this lovely chic yoga studio in Florham Park by the name of Three Birds Yoga Studio. Its an amazing space with a bunch of very good yoga instructors who teach classes for all age groups.
Christina wanted to host this awesome Indian themed cooking class to bring a few friends and employees together to express her appreciation. I came up with this Indian menu after exchanging ideas over a few emails.
For starters, we decided to make Dal which is a very healthy and nutritious stew made of yellow lentils slow cooked and simmered in onions and tomatoes along with “dal masala”. It serves as an excellent meal in itself by consuming a bowl of lentil soup or dal.
For the main course, Christina and her friends wanted to learn how to make Paneer Tikka Masala with Indian bread or naan. Paneer Tikka Masala is a dish which has Paneer cubes along with diced onions and bell peppers in an onion tomato gravy with fresh cumin, cilantro seeds and fenugreek leaves. If one masters the recipe to the sauce or gravy, then you can substitute Paneer with chicken or any meat and it is as delicious.
For the dessert, we made some caramelized bananas roasted golden brown in clarified butter and brown sugar and paired it with a scoop of ice cream.It was simple yet heavenly.
We had a tasting round after everyone helped and made every dish and it just got better with every round:)
Thanks much to a wonderful cheerful group that helped make some amazing dishes and it was so much fun. I always derive immense satisfaction from the overwhelming feedback that i received after the class- a lot of Christina s friends mentioned they want to host a similar class so looking forward to many more.