There’s something really special about cooking with your family. It almost serves as a mini team-building event, as each family member does his or her part to contribute to making a delicious meal, all while having fun. So just imagine the enjoyment when you take that idea a bit further by creating an experience where you can learn to cook something new in a safe, entertaining and hassle-free environment.
Last Monday, I scheduled a trip to Essen cooking school for my oldest daughter Maddie’s 13th birthday. Essen is a recreational cooking school that provides demonstration and hands-on classes for the home cook. The interactive classes are fun and intimate, and focus on how to bring delicious, seasonal, and homemade food into our crazy busy lives.
Betsey Gerstein Sterenfeld, the owner of Essen (which means “eat” in German), graciously hosted a cooking class for Maddie and two of her BFFs. All three girls were really excited and honored to have their very own private cooking session.
The menu for the day included homemade pasta with pink sauce, and chocolate peanut butter brownie cupcakes.
After donning our aprons, pulling back our hair and washing our hands thoroughly, we began with the pasta. We made the dough from scratch (the closest I had ever some to doing this was rolling out Pillsbury pizza crust), then Betsey taught us how to roll it out three different ways: with a rolling pin, a manual crank, and via machine. The process was really fun… lots of giggles were heard throughout the experience. When we finally flattened the dough, we layered it, cut it, unwound it and cooked it. We then learned how to properly “sauce” the noodles with the pink sauce. The end result – delicioso!
The brownies were extremely simple to make, and unbelievably moist and wonderful. Did you know a dab of espresso powder brings out the flavor of the chocolate? They were easy enough for the kids to make on their own, and we used ingredients readily found in most home pantries.
We finished our cooking adventure with a sit-down meal, where I was able to pepper Betsey with numerous questions about cooking, and how she started her business. The girls drank sparkling lemonade as they ate their pasta and brownie cupcakes, and truly felt special.
You need a lot of patience to deal with three giggling 13-year-olds for two hours, so my hat goes off to Betsey for being such a saint. The entire experience was really fun and engaging for the girls. When I asked them what they enjoyed making the most, they all replied rolling out the dough and cutting the noodles, which surprised me since that took the longest. I made a mental note to schedule a time to make homemade pasta with our entire family on an upcoming Sunday afternoon.
Betsey is an excellent cook, and a fantastic teacher. She is personable, enthusiastic and put everyone at ease in the kitchen. In addition to holding various classes for everything from fish to pasta to desserts, Betsey holds cooking demonstrations for those groups that just want to be entertained then treated to a delicious meal. She also offers kids camps, canning classes, team-building events, and more.
To plan your next family experience, girl’s night out, corporate outing, couple’s night, or just some special time for yourself – not to mention learn how to make a delicious meal – visit the Essen website at www.essencooking.com.