Tuesday, April 9, 2013

PICKLE ME! Pickling Class at 918 F Street

I've never done a cooking class before.  Not because I don't need one, rather I've never made the time and the cost for the classes seemed a little excessive to me (really, $90 for a fondue class?  to melt up some chocolate?). 

But the other day, I found a Living Social deal to go to 918 F Street, Living Social's own little microcosm of a community, to attend a pickling class.  And it was super reasonable -- only $40.  Not to mention, I'm in the process of growing some veggies that I fully intend to pickle this summer.  So I was down with some pickling class.

The class was lead by Chef Matt Finarelli, a chef who specializes in culinary instruction (and has spent time in restaurant kitchens).  He was very nice, informative, and amusing - all great qualities in a teacher.  To be honest, I am totally jealous of Chef Finarelli's job.  I love to cook and would love to cook for others but I do not have the interest in working long nights behind the line at a restaurant.  I was a waitress for TOO LONG and I know how much a restaurant sucks at 2am while you are cleaning your tables.  I don't care if you get to hang out at the bar after and get free drinks.  It is not worth it to me. Being an instructor sounds perfect - normal hours, cooking and drinking wine while you cook (my favorite part).  And you get paid.  What's not to love?  Anyway, I digress.

During our pickling class we learned about the 'slow pickle' and the 'long pickle' and the proportions of water, salt, sugar and vinegear.  We even learned a little chemistry.  And we learned how to tie a sachet.  Lots of learning and no test.  Perfect. 

We each had a station with all the kitchen equipment and portions for making the recipes.  It was awesome because you could adjust want you wanted and learn from the hands-on experience.  I am also proud to note that we spilled nothing and were rather clean in our cooking... extra credit points for that!

During our class we made two pickled items - oysters and vegetables.  The vegetables we got to take home (and I was nice enough to share with my husband).  The oysters we pickled over the duration of the class and ate at the end.  Here are the oysters, pickling...  the BEFORE shot.

And here is the AFTER picture.  Yummy oysters with a light salty finish, topped with tangy pickled cucumbers.

As we pickled our vegetables, we talked about canning, pressurized canning, vinegars, and salt.  Oh, and the best vegetables to pickle!  I also figured out how to make my own homemade pickled spicy green beans. 

Here is the can of veggies we pickled at class with red wine vinegar.  I've never had pickled tomatoes before and these were outstanding.  It's like a fresh sliced tomato with salt (one of my favorite snacks) but more juicy. 

An awesome class at 918 F Street with Chef Finarelli, I plan to pickle up a storm this summer with veggies from my garden. 

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