On Monday 9/22, eight students gathered at the Boston Center for Adult Education (BCAE) for a Celebrity Chef cooking class taught by Josh Lewin of Bread & Salt (a semi-permanent pop-up currently at Wink & Nod). Judging by the class title – Foods of Rosh Hashanah – students probably expected your typical Rosh Hashanah meal. Well they did get that, but with quite a twist! Together with Josh, the class prepared a multi-course meal built around five good-luck foods of the New Year – leeks, beets, black-eyed peas, gourds, and dates.
Throughout the class Josh shared where much of the ingredients were sourced from, as well as very helpful cooking tips that students could take home with them (along with some yummy leftovers). Today we're sharing with you five of those tips so that you can use them next time you find yourself in the kitchen!
1. When making one or multiple recipes involving several ingredients that need to be cooked in water on the stovetop, the same pot of water can be used for all the different ingredients. Just be sure to start by cooking the least starchy item, and move on until you are cooking the starchiest item last. For example, Josh cooked some leeks in hot water and then used the same water to cook angel hair pasta. The starchiest item will at that point take in some of the flavoring that may have been added to the water by previous ingredients.
2. To get the most out of seasoning, add it to something the second it comes out of the oven. Josh demonstrated this tip when he quickly seasoned pumpkin seeds that had been roasting while the students did other food prep. Not a single portion of that sugar pumpkin went to waste!
3. Common table salt is a finer consistency thank kosher salt. If a recipe calls for one or the other, a swap cannot simply be made. Bonus fact – salt tempers two things while cooking, flavor and heat. Talk about double-duty!
4. When boiling leeks, it is best to do so in small batches so their color is best retained. If the leeks have been cooking too long, they will turn a pale green.
Note: The vegetables used in the class (including the leeks) came from Josh's favorite CSA, through Peace Field Farm in Dracut, MA. He had nothing but great things to say about his farmer and you can find her on a rotating basis at the Harvard Farmer's Market!
5. Lamb is a suitable substitute for ham when it comes to making stock. The Hoppin John is not traditionally a Jewish recipe and usually calls for ham, but Josh used lamb since this was a Rosh Hashanah themed class. We couldn't tell the difference!
Big thanks to Josh for teaching us so much – now we are ready to cook some delicious food year round, not just in the New Year!
We hope to see you in a future class – sign up here to get 25% off your tuition!