The Castro Valley Adult School will be offering several cooking classes this summer. These include Cake Decorating, Doughnuts making, BBQing and Mexican & Southern cuisine. Castro Valley has classroom with 3 kitchens in it, so the classes are very hand-on.
The San Leandro Adult School does not have a kitchen-classroom but it has offered cooking classes in the past. Their class catalog/schedule for the summer is not yet in their website, and I haven’t seen a paper copy – so I don’t know if they’ll have them this summer.
There will be 3 South East Asian cooking classes at San Leandro Adult School in the spring semester. They will have Vegetarian Indian/Chinese/Malaysian cooking on March 21st, Thai cooking on April 25th and Malaysian Cooking on May 9th. If there is enough interest, they could also add another class. Classes are on Saturdays from 9 AM to 1 PM, and they cost $35 each.
I’ve taken several, and I’ve enjoyed them.
A couple of weeks ago, I took a class on Sauces at the Castro Valley Adult School. We learned how to make 3 sauces, a strawberry sauce (which was just a matter of putting fresh strawberries and a bit of water in a blender and adding a little bit of sugar – what I don’t remember is if we cooked the strawberries first), a white sauce and a brown sauce. None of them were particularly difficult to make. I’d never made a brown sauce before, but I think I’d be able to do it again – if I had a recipe. I’ve made bechamel sauces in the past, and the one here – which we turned into a cheese sauce – wasn’t that different from the ones I made. In all, it was an interesting class but I don’t feel it expanded my culinary horizons too much. That said, it’d be particularly useful for beginning cooks. Personally, I’d prefer to learn how to make more complicated sauces, like aiolis, hollandaise and bearnaise. Perhaps in the next class.
Just yesterday, I took a class on South East Asian cuisine at the San Leandro Adult School. This is the third such class I take, I took a class on Malaysian cooking and another one on Southeast Asian cooking with the same teacher before.
This time we cooked Beef Kurmah from Malaysia, Singaporean Fried Noodles and Bamboo shoots with chicken from Thailand. In addition to the dishes, I also learned a couple of techniques.
One is that chopsticks are very useful for turning meat when you are browning it. It’s always a bit clumsy to do it with tongs or a fork, so I will try this method. Another hint is that the pan/oil needs to be *very* hot when you add the meat, let this cook through.
Malaysian food is often based on a paste of shallots, garlic, ginger, lemon grass and chilis. One thing I learned (that is often not in the recipes) is to add a little bit of water when you make the paste in a blender of food processor. I usually use the latter, but the teacher used the former and I wonder if it’s better. I’ll try it.
I had a pretty unsuccessful experience cooking with lemongrass a week or two ago, so now I learned to take out the tough layers of the lemongrass and then slice the rest horizontally before processing.
Finally, the teacher used a knife that looked like a cleaver. I’m thinking of looking for one to see if it works better than the knives I have (which, after a year, seem to be getting dull).
I just checked them out and Castro Valley Adult School has a bunch of cooking classes – some also very affordable ($40 or so). They are mostly on pastry, but they have one on pastry & one on sauces. I’m probably going to take the latter. I hear that they do have a room with multiple kitchens for these classes. Info at:
I’m more than pleased to announce that the San Leandro Adult School will have four cooking classes for the fall semester. The classes will be on Indian Cooking (9/13), Malaysian Cooking (10/4), Thai Cooking (10/18) and South East Asian Cooking (11/8). They are all taught by Jenny Sim, a Chinese woman from Malaysia, who lived in Thailand for a long time. You may recall (or not), that I took two classes with her (on SE Asian and Malaysian cooking) last year. I enjoyed them a lot. And they have the advantage of being *only* $35 – which is /very/ cheap for a cooking class. The classes include all the food, BUT they don’t have a kitchen at the adult school – so the instructor has to bring an electric wok and a camp stove.
Anyway, I’m planning to take the four classes – every time you cook different dishes. If you want to take them, you can register online at http://www.asaonlinereg.com/sanleandro/Classes.asp?txtAction=LoadSections&txtCourseGroupID=3&txtCourseCode=1425.