Parties that Cook

My friends bought me a gift certificate to Parties that Cook for my birthday, and more than 6 months later, I finally got a chance to sign up for a class.  I’ve been looking for cooking classes to take all around the Bay Area, but I have been having trouble figuring out which classes really teach you how to cook and which ones seem to be more about cooking for fun.  Parties that Cook is more of the latter.  We split into small groups and cook different dishes which ultimately culminate into a large family-style meal shared with the entire group.

We gathered at Dacor, a high end vendor for kitchen appliances, which has a showroom in South San Francisco.  Parties that Cook rents the space to host these cooking fiestas.  It’s a very nice and pretty spacious kitchen, so there was plenty of room to set up 6 different stations where groups could cook.  We got assigned to Lettuce Cups (even though I really wanted the Shrimp Po’ Boys), but I actually had a good time.

We prepared two versions of the Lettuce Cups, one with pork and mushroom and one with mushrooms and bell peppers.  Surprisingly, they both turned out pretty good considering all of us in the group didn’t seem so confident in exactly what the proportions should be for all the ingredients.  Nevertheless, it turned out alright.

Vegetarian Lettuce Cups

Lettuce Cups with Pork and Mushroom

The rest of the food turned out pretty good.  It was quite surprising considered most everyone didn’t seem like avid cooks, but I suppose the menu was specifically chosen so that even the clumsiest of chefs could navigate their way through a meal.  Also, with the size of the groups being as large as they are, there wasn’t always something for someone to do. For example, Pdho didn’t do much cooking and found himself more focused on being photographer for the evening… which was kind of nice, because he was able to capture some truly Kodak moments.

Here is a close up look at the various different dishes we had that night. It’s hard to say which was my favorite. I really liked the Mini Shrimp Po’ Boys and the Crostini with Marscapone, but the Spring Lamb Skewers were SURPRISINGLY tasty.  You couldn’t really taste the gamey-ness.  The Fried Green Beans were pretty good, although I think the group was a little heavy-handed with the salt on a few of the batches.

Spring Lamb Skewers

Crostini of Marscapone and Fennel

Batter-Fried Green Beans

Mini Shrimp Po' Boys

Raspberry Streusel Bars

Overall, it was a pretty fun night.  I can’t say I learned anything profoundly new, but I still had a lot of fun cooking. However, they did offer some cool little cooking tips at the beginning of class. Did you know that the only difference between a red bell pepper and a green bell pepper is 2 weeks? =)

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