Today’s Table at Middlesex County College: Learn to be a Great Cook

Lisa Palmieri, demo kitchen coordinator (Photo courtesy of Middlesex County College)

Lisa Palmieri, demo kitchen coordinator (Photo courtesy of Middlesex County College)

EDISON — This summer, you can learn how to be a great amateur chef.  Middlesex County College will hold a series of classes to help bring your skills up to speed. “Today’s Table” will be held in Crabiel Hall’s state-of-the-art culinary lab. Students are encouraged to come hungry and enjoy tastings of food prepared by the chef. Recipes are distributed.

“This program is for cooks and non-cooks, and it is both instructive and entertaining,” said Lynn Lederer, director of Professional and Community Programs at the college. “You will develop techniques to enhance your recipes. For example, you’ll learn how to slice a tomato for maximum flavor, and why one omelet tastes better than another even though they have the exact same ingredients. This is a wide-ranging cooking program that is both fun and educational.”

Except where noted, you may register a la carte at $35 for each class or choose any three classes for $75. The savings are available to anyone who registers with payment for the three classes at the same time. Except where noted, classes meet from 6:30-9 p.m. For more information visit or call 732-906-2556.

Summer classes include:

Summer Bread Baking (all day class) You will learn bread basics and fundamental recipes that will include how to prepare delicious homemade hot dog and hamburger buns, perfect for holiday BBQs and summer parties. Total $60 (does not qualify for discount). June 4, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Cajun Kitchen Explore great regional cooking in this flavor-filled part of the United States. Learn to be creative in your food preparations the Cajun way. Includes spicy corn bread with Andouille sausage and red peppers, chicken and shrimp gumbo, brandied apricot beignets with chocolate sauce. Wednesday, June 5.

Pate a Choux and You Start with this versatile scratch dough to make an assortment of recipes both savory and sweet. Learn the ins and outs of creating both chocolate éclairs and cream puffs. Tuesday, June 11, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Sensational Summer Salads Authentic Greek salad, perfect chopped salad, and Lebanese tabouleh salad are among the recipes featured, along with homemade dressings. Thursday, June 13.

Herbs, Herbs, Herbs Nothing will brighten a dish like a splash of fresh herbs. Summer is the perfect time to try some new ways to use these fresh flavors. Tuesday, June 18.

Not Your Typical Backyard BBQ Host a backyard get-together using the season’s freshest ingredients. Thursday, June 20.

Mommy and Me Cooking is a great skill for children of all ages. This class is for children ages 5 to 8 accompanied by an adult caregiver. It includes savory and sweet treats in the kitchen, including make your own pizza from scratch, and bake and decorate your own cupcakes. Enrollment is limited so register early. Price is per child/parent pair (one parent per child). Tuesday, June 25, 5:30-8 p.m.

A Night of French Desserts You will learn to prepare from scratch these French classical favorites: mocha pots de creme, caramelized apple tart tatin, and grand marnier crème brulee. Thursday, June 27, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Grilling – A Pizza Party Who wants to heat up an oven on a hot summer day? Use your grill instead and see how fun and easy it is to add flavor to your pizza dough by grilling it. Tuesday, July 2.

Farmer’s Market Finds Get cooking this summer with delicious ingredients from your local farmer’s market stands. Gain some culinary inspiration, learn the seasonality of food, and enjoy fresh recipes bursting with flavor. Tuesday, July 9.

Celebrate Bastille Day Come commemorate the day the French celebrate freedom and food. Thursday, July 11.

I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Ice Cream Cool off from summer’s heat with these refreshing frozen treats. Popsicles, homemade custard ice cream, and toppings for sundaes are among the recipes showcased. Learn simple techniques and tips to easily turn these recipes into sensational summer dinner party finales. Tuesday, July 16, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Picnic Treats Whether at the beach or in the park, summer and picnics go together. Learn how to create your own homemade granola bars, lemon and blueberry loaf cake, or carrot and nut loaf. Thursday, July 18.

Summer Tea Tasting Tour Taste the teas of summer. This class will feature iced teas, tea sangria and a summer style menu fit for a garden tea party. Monday, July 22.

Opposites Attract Let the basic elements of taste and flavor be your guide. Opposite flavors play off each other, creating new flavor sensations. Learn how to pair summer’s best sweet and savory components using stone fruits. Savory applications for peaches, plums and cherries will be taught. Tuesday, July 23.

Grains & Beans Grains and beans can rival the most celebrated foods with their creamy texture and slightly nutty flavor. They are also very nutritious and inexpensive. This class will help you get the most out of them. Thursday, July 25.

Surf and Turf This is a new twist on a classic pairing. Learn how easy it is to prepare a light summertime surf and turf dinner at home using flavorful ingredients from land and sea. Tuesday, July 30, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Tropical Desserts Escape to the tropics whenever you please with these desserts made from commonly found and easily accessible tropical fruits, such as banana, coconut, key lime and pineapple. Thursday, August 1, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Intro to Indian Foods If Indian food intrigues you, or you simply want to learn to cook it for the first time, embark on a journey to learn the cuisine of India. Tuesday, August 6.

Cuban Cuban cuisine has incredible flavors. Come gain the knowledge of the cultural influences that shape this rich style of cookery and taste some classic dishes. Thursday, August 8.

Eggplant’s World Tour Eggplant is more than parmesan – it is popular all over the world. This versatile ingredient is used in the cuisine of many countries. Tuesday, August 13.

Too Hot to Cook – Mediterranean Salads-as-Meals Learn to turn summer’s peak harvest into delicious meals. Create satisfying, healthy meals-in-a-bowl using a delicious array of seasonal salads sure to please every palate. Thursday, August 15.

Grilling Fiesta Learn to grill with fabulous southwestern flair recipes including grilled shrimp margaritas, grilled chicken fajitas with onions and peppers, pico de gallo and homemade guacamole, grilled summer corn salad. Tuesday, August 20.

Measure Don’t Eyeball This is the perfect class to start to learn the basics of cake baking and decorating. From recipes for cake layers, fillings and frostings you will see how to assemble delicious desserts from start to finish. Thursday, August 22, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

It Is Easy Being Green If you want to learn to eat more healthfully and have more energy, this class will show you how. Enjoy these new seasonal vegetarian dishes and “beef up” your meatless cuisine collection. Tuesday, August 27.

Tequila Tasting and Appreciation Course Tequila is an unusual and often misunderstood distilled beverage, with a history and character all its own. At this two-night course, learn about the various types of tequila, how it is produced, basic principles of mixing tequila cocktails, and cooking with tequila. Fee $99 (does not qualify for the discount). Note: Proof of age is required at the time of registration AND again at the door prior to class. Wednesday, July 10 and 17, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

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