Monday, June 11, 2012

Feeling the "Kitchen Love"

A proper place setting
Coconut Shrimp with Mango Dipping Sauce
Pear, Toasted Walnut & Mixed Green Salad with Champagne-Cranberry Vinaigrette
Mediterranean Kale & White Bean Soup with Sausage
Dry-Rubbed New York Strip with Mushroom Sauce, Creamy  Mashed Potatoes & Glazed Baby Carrots
Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey's Buttercream

Gayle & Katie (and me doing some cooking)
My good friend Kimberly shares my love of cooking, and cooking classes in particular.  My brother-in-law Patrick, a close pal of Kimberly's as well, also loves cooking, although for some reason, his brother, my husband Mike, does not.  Too bad, because Patrick is a really good cook, and I'd be a lucky lady if Mike was into it like Pat.  Thankfully, Mike has oodles of other wonderful attributes that make up for any of his culinary deficits. ;)

So, anyway, back to Kimberly.  For Christmas, she gave me and Patrick a fabulous gift: Living Social vouchers for something called Kitchen Love.  Among other things, Kitchen Love offers private cooking classes in the comfort of your own home. Gayle and Katie take over your kitchen and teach you had to make five delicious courses with your utensils and equipment.  In early June, the stars governing Kimberly's, Patrick's and my schedules finally aligned for our gastronomic get-together.

Katie, a smiley brunette with a twinkle in her eye, began the class by showing us to set a proper place.  I learned a few things I didn't know and will now feel much more confident when dining at a high-brow eatery.  Gayle was delightful in her red and white apron, answering our multiple questions with soft-spoken patience. Come to find out, our constant queries and sharing of our own cooking stories were much appreciated by the ladies.  Apparently, their usual students are not nearly as interactive.  Gayle and Katie told us how much they enjoyed it.  Good thing because we are not a timid trio, especially when food and wine are involved!

I was amazed how simple it was to prepare the Coconut Shrimp and how quickly the crustaceans went from preparation to oven to table.  They've always seemed super fancy and slightly unapproachable to me, so this was an exciting discovery.  Another surprise was the Kale & White Bean Soup.  I was under the impression that soup, especially one with beans in it, needs to be the consistency of paste, kind of like split pea or bean dip at a Mexican restaurant.  This soup was made up of chunky, un-blended elements in a thin broth base, and it was outstanding.  Just as warming and comforting as a thicker soup, but also crisp.  Another revelation was how easy it was to make a vinaigrette.  As Gayle said, why would you ever buy it pre-packaged?  Watching the ingredients transform in the saucepan was fun and reminded me that good things come to those who wait...just as few minutes, in this case.

Every course of our Kitchen Love dinner was delicious, although my faves remain the the shrimp and the soup.  Gayle and Katie make learning fun and accessible. They're well organized and clean up as they go so the whole experience flows seamlessly and on time.  Kimberly, Patrick and I enjoyed ourselves thoroughly, learned a lot, and came away with detailed recipes for each dish.  I highly recommend Kitchen Love to anyone who wants to have a fun night with friends and up their cooking game in the process.


  1. Kitchen Love sounds like a lot of fun! The food looks amazing!

    It was nice meeting you at BlogHer Food :-)

  2. It's very cool, April. I love the concept and the execution that Gayle and Katie bring to it. It was delightful to meet you as well, and I've joined your blog group. :)