Restaurant News: Up your cooking game or gift an experience with PCC classes

Instructor Laurence Boris teaches PCC’s Biscotti Class

COVID upended our world of in-person classes. Every class, meeting and get-together for almost two years or more has been via Zoom (or an equivalent platform). Luckily for everyone’s sanity, this scenario is changing. For years I was an assistant for PCC Community Markets’ cooking classes — primarily at the Edmonds location. I took a break for a few years and recently returned to inspire my own cooking. I’m looking forward to getting tips and trends from the vast roster of the PCC Cooks team.

Taking cooking classes is a wonderful way to explore unfamiliar cuisines as well as improve your skill set. PCC offers a variety of hands-on as well as demonstration classes. They even have classes for kids and teens.  It makes a nice date night, too. Getting a gift card for a cooking class as a holiday gift is a great way to give an experience to a friend or family member. You can sign up for a class together. Learn more here.

I participated in a Holiday Biscotti class with instructor Laurence Boris. She grew up in Chantilly, close to Paris, with a family of food lovers. As a child, she spent time discovering the flavors of the local farmers markets where her parents were merchants. After more than 20 years in the telco business, she changed career paths to become a pastry chef. As a student at the Ateliers des Sens in Paris, she has been coached by world-class teachers from the Ferrandi School of Culinary Arts in Paris. Laurence graduated with a French pastry chef professional certificate and shares her passion by teaching classes to students of all ages. She loves revisiting traditional French pastries by updating them with spices and fresh herbs. See more on her Instagram account.

A student in the biscotti class.

There were only six students in the class and everyone had an opportunity to mix the dough for two different variations of biscotti. No one knew each other beforehand, but by the end of the two-hour class we had built camaraderie and left with at least a dozen biscotti each.

I served as an assistant in the Thai Cooking Party class with instructor Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen. Pranee learned to cook from her mother and grandmother in Phuket, Thailand. When she came to Seattle, she brought her mortar and pestle and began cooking for friends. She is now a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the owner of I Love Thai Cooking, where she teaches, and shares recipes and cooking wisdom. She goes to Thailand yearly to collect and preserve authentic recipes and is working on a cookbook. Pranee says, “You don’t need to visit Thailand to learn Thai cooking.”

Instructor Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen instructs the Thai cooking class.

This hands-on class had 12 participants, most of whom attended with a partner or friend. There were two participants who came solo but quickly connected with others in the class.  One couple came from the Tri-Cities to take the class as part of their date night in Seattle.

The menu included Goong Oob Woon Sen — Shrimp with Cellophane Noodles, Bacon, Ginger and Cilantro; Gaeng Massaman Gai — Braised Chicken in Massaman Curry with homemade Curry Paste; and Kao Now Dam — Black Rice Pudding with Coconut Cream — for dessert. The recipes seemed complex but Pranee made the entire cooking process understandable and fun. She provided history about Thai cooking as well as about her family life growing up in Thailand.

Goong Oob Woon Sen

Spending two hours taking a cooking class at the beautifully appointed demonstration kitchens at PCC is a great experience and may even take you out of your comfort zone. But then you will learn to cook a recipe that you have always wanted to learn how to make — and perhaps see that it’s not as hard as you might think.

The instructors graciously agreed to share some of their recipes from the class. (Note that these are copyrighted by PCC Community Markets)

Recipes by PCC Instructor Laurence Boris

Orange, Almond and Chocolate Drizzle Biscotti

Ingredients

4 eggs
180 grams (2/3 cup + 1/4 cup) granulated sugar
2 tbsp orange juice grams
1 organic orange zest
1 pinch of salt
300 grams (2 1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
200 grams (1 1/3 cup) unsalted raw almonds
175 grams (1 cup) 70% chocolate chips
35 grams (2 tbsp) grape seeds oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 430° F. Crack three eggs into a bowl. Keep the last egg aside. Add the sugar and whisk the eggs with an electric hand mixer (preferably) until they become clear and foamy (almost dense). Add the orange juice, orange zest and salt. Sift the flour with the baking powder. Add to the wet ingredients. Mix to form a homogeneous dough. Add the almonds and mix. You want the dough to be a little soft and sticky. Using wet hands, divide the dough in half and form two rectangles. Place on a lined baking sheet and flatten with your hands. Crack the last egg into a small bowl and whisk. Brush with egg wash over the dough. Bake for 10 minutes at 430° F then lower the temperature to 350° F and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. The dough should be golden, firm to touch, yet soft to the middle. Let cool slightly. Cut into slices (at an angle or not) about 1/3-inch thick. Turn them over and cook for another 10 minutes (this will dry them and make them crumbly). Let them cool on a rack. Melt the chocolate in a water bath or microwave in 30-second steps. Add the grape seed oil. Pour the chocolate into a piping bag and decorate the biscotti with the chocolate drizzle. Enjoy or store in a tin or glass container

Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti 

Ingredients

4 eggs
180 grams (2/3 cup + 1/4 cup) granulated sugar
1 tsp anise seed powder
1 pinch of salt
300 grams (2 1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
100 grams (2/3 cup) dry cranberries
100 grams (2/3 cup) unsalted pistachios

Directions

Preheat oven to 430° F. Crack three eggs into a bowl. Keep the last egg aside. Add the sugar and whisk the eggs with an electric hand mixer (preferably) until they become clear and foamy (almost dense). Add the anise seed powder and salt. Sift the flour with the baking powder and then incorporate it gently to have a homogeneous dough. Add the cranberries and pistachios and mix. You want the dough to be a little soft and sticky. Using wet hands, divide the dough in half and form two rectangles. Place on a lined baking sheet and flatten with your hands. Crack the last egg into a small bowl and whisk. Brush with egg wash over the dough. Bake for 10 minutes at 430° F then lower the temperature to 350° F and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. The dough should be golden, firm to touch, yet soft to the middle. Let cool slightly. Cut into slices (at an angle or not) about 1/3-inch thick. Turn them over and cook for another 10 minutes (this will dry them and make them crumbly). Let them cool on a rack. Enjoy or store in a tin or glass container.

Recipe by PCC Instructor Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen

Goong Oob Woon Sen Shrimp with Cellophane Noodles, Bacon, Ginger & Cilantro

Cellophane noodles are also known as mung bean thread noodles or glass noodles. They are made of mung bean starch and come in a bundle of 1 to 2 servings, around 2 1/2 to 3 ounces. They have a good shelf life and are easy to turn into a meal. In Southeast Asia, you can have them in soup, stir-fried, salad or in the filling of spring rolls.

Ingredients

3 small packages cellophane noodles, about 4 ounces or 2 cups dry
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 strips bacon or pancetta, sliced into small pieces, about 1/2 cup
3 tablespoons thinly shredded ginger
6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
4 cilantro roots or 8 cilantro stems, cut into 1-inch lengths and smashed
1 to 2 teaspoons crushed black pepper
8 to 12 large prawns, peeled and deveined
Salt, to taste
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons Huang Chiew rice wine or 3 tablespoons dry sherry (Optional)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 green onion, sliced diagonally
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Soak cellophane noodles in room temperature water for 15 minutes in a medium size bowl.

Drain and cut into 6-inch lengths.

In the same bowl, mix cellophane noodles with dark and light soy sauce. Set aside. This will yield about 3 cups of noodles.

Heat canola oil in a wok or a large pan over medium-high heat.

Add bacon, ginger, garlic, cilantro roots and crushed black pepper.

Stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add prawns and stir for 30 seconds.

Add cellophane noodles, salt, sugar and Chinese red wine or dry sherry, sesame oil and green onion.

Cook until the noodles are translucent, and the prawns are partially cooked, about 3 minutes.

Divide equally into 2 clay pots or oven-proof pan with lid.

Cover and bake for 15 minutes.

Garnish with cilantro leaves before serving.

—  By Deborah Binder

Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at jaideborah@yahoo.com.

 

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