“Today’s Table” Classes Offer Tools To Aspiring Amateur Chefs

Denise Edwards, Middlesex County College's demo lab kitchen coordinator, will teach many of the classes in this spring's "Today's Table" series. (Photo courtesy of Middlesex County College)

Denise Edwards, Middlesex County College’s demo lab kitchen coordinator, will teach many of the classes in this spring’s “Today’s Table” series. (Photo courtesy of Middlesex County College)

EDISON — This spring, Middlesex County College will continue its “Today’s Table” program in Crabiel Hall’s state-of-the-art culinary lab. Students are invited 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 instructive, entertaining and fun,” said Dr. Lynn Lederer, director of Professional and Community Programs at the College. “You will develop techniques to enhance your recipes. This is a wide-ranging cooking program that is both enjoyable and educational.”

Except where noted, you may register a la carte at $40 for each class or choose any three classes for $99. 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 middlesexcc.edu/profcom or call 732-906-2556.

Spring classes include:

  • Soup’s on Discover how simple it is to create your own signature soups from scratch, including clear, thick and creamed soups in detail. Tuesday, January 7.
  • Heart Warming Sunday Dinners Bring back that old time feeling of warmth and community with dishes such as honey glazed ham, candied yam soufflé, BBQ short ribs, garlicky smashed potatoes and braised collard greens. Thursday, January 9. 
  • Creole Cooking Creole Cooking is a mixture of many cultures: Caribbean, African, French, and Spanish. Uncover the origins of this Louisiana-style cooking with dishes such as mock crawfish salad, Creole style tomato, and jambalaya, pears over sponge cake and Creole-styled beans. Saturday, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., January 11.
  • One-Pot Meals Learn to make delicious and healthy meals with no fuss and no (or at least fewer) dishes to wash. These stress-free meals include Sardinian-style paella, Thai tofu braise (vegetarian), Moroccan fish tagine with pepper saffron and spinach and vegetarian chili. Tuesday, January 14.
  • Roasting and Braising Learn the Art of Braising – a simple cooking technique with huge outcomes. Turn tough cuts of meat into juicy, tender mouthwatering morsels. Thursday, January 16.
  • Comfort Foods These are the foods that make you feel cozy and warm and make you feel better – gooey mac and cheese, roasted Rosemary chicken, braised short ribs, or warm chocolate pound cake with vanilla ice cream. Thursday, January 23.
  • Chinese New Year Celebratory Foods In celebration of the Chinese New Year – the year of the horse – this class will explore traditional Chinese New Year foods – pearl balls, symbolic of family togetherness: pork and shrimp dumplings, representative of wealth and prosperity; roast duck, symbolizing loyalty; and hot and sour soup. Tuesday, January 28.
  • Super Bowl: Snack Attack Kick off Super Bowl Sunday with an assortment of wings ‘n’ things that are sure to please! Snacks include traditional as well as ethnic variations of favorite snacks. Thursday, January 30.
  • Jerusalem Gems Join Nirit Yadin, an Israeli-born chef, to sample and learn to prepare the unique Mediterranean cuisine from Jerusalem, including Jerusalem mezze spread (stuffed grape leaves with cinnamon and pine nuts) Jerusalem hummus, roasted squash with tahini and za’atar, root vegetable slaw, braised spring lamb and flourless chocolate cake with halva-pomegranate sauce. Tuesday, February 4.
  • Contemporary Soul Foods This class puts a spin on southern cooking with crispy roast duck with apple and raisin sauce, bourbon-braised oxtails with butter beans, mustard greens and blue and yellow cornbread muffins. Thursday, February 6.
  • Royal Icing This sugary icing makes a great topping for cookies, but it can also be used to decorate cupcakes and cakes. Saturday, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., February 8. 
  • From Russia with Love The Olympics are coming, so get in the mood with Russian food including beef stroganoff, chicken Kiev and Russian tea cake. Monday, February 10.
  • Cooking for Couples Whether you’re planning a romantic dinner for you and your sweetie or just an everyday meal for you and your companion, this course provides tips, techniques and recipes for couples, empty nesters and others who cook for two. Tuesday, February 11.
  • Sweet Treats for You & Your Sweetie Looking for some sweet indulgences this Valentine’s Day? Look no further. This class features homemade sweets from the heart. Thursday, February 13.
  • Black History Event Celebrate Black History Month with tasty African-American inspired dishes such as deviled eggs, red beans and rice, mustard greens, fried chicken, and sweet potato pie. Tuesday, February 18.
  • America’s Best Chicken Recipes! Whether roasted, fried, baked or slow cooked, chicken is one of America’s most versatile, inexpensive, healthy, easy and delicious dishes. Chicken is perfect for family meals, picnics, soups and special guests. Thursday, February 20. 
  • Cooking With Beer Beer adds flavor and depth to many dishes and brings out the best in other ingredients. Learn about beer-inspired recipes: Beer cheese dip, chicken in stout, papaya salad with ale, twice-baked potatoes and bread pudding with beer. Saturday, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., February 22. 
  • Tasty Treats from Tuscany Explore the rustic regional cookery of Tuscany with a hearty soup served with crusty country bread: zuppa di cavolo Nero, cannellini, e salsicce: kale, white bean, and sausage soup, pollo al mattone: Chicken under a brick and homemade gelato. Tuesday, February 25.
  • Let’s Go Fishing According to the American Heart Association, eating fish at least two times a week is important to your health. Discover many of the tasty cooking methods for fish. Included are steaming, poaching, sautéing, grilling and baking. Thursday, February 27.
  • Celebrate Mardi Gras the Cajun Cooking Way Explore great regional cooking in this flavor-filled part of the United States. Add some flavor and spice to your dishes with these recipes: spicy corn bread with andouille sausage and red peppers, chicken and shrimp gumbo, brandied apricot beignets with chocolate sauce. Tuesday, March 4. 
  • More Mozzarella Madness Back by popular demand, Chef Jeff McNamara will demonstrate how to make your fresh mozzarella with variations and helpful tips, storage, recipes and more! Thursday, March 6. 
  • Saucier Boot Camp Learn the five classic mother sauces, how to make them and some of their uses. Tuesday, March 11.
  • Kiss Me, I’m Irish This year, celebrate the Feast of St. Patrick with traditional dishes such as Irish soda bread, shepard’s pie, Irish colcannon (vegetable Casserole) Irish coffee with Kahlua and Guinness cake. Thursday, March 13.
  • Rolling in Dough An international workshop of fried, boiled and baked appetizers and desserts: pot stickers, spring rolls, pierogi, ravioli, empanadas, beef patties and profiteroles with your favorite chocolate and fruit fillings. Tuesday, March 18. 
  • Greens, Greens, Glorious Greens Eating a helping of delicious, dark leafy greens each day can help keep you in amazing shape. Join Csilla Bischoff, holistic health coach and founder of shininghealth.com, for this fun, interactive class and let her demystify the basics of cooking greens. Thursday, March 20.
  • European Tour Take a cooking vacation without the travel time. Sample dishes from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Saturday, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., March 22.
  • Spanish Paella and Tapas The quintessential dish of Spain, paella is a bounty of seafood and spicy sausage simmered with saffron rice. Enjoy other tasty culinary treats from the region such as empanadas and Spanish meatballs and flan. Tuesday, March 25.
  • Exploring Portugal Through Food and History Take a food trip through selected regions of Portugal with samples of bacalhau a gomes de sa (salt cod, onions and potatoes), caldo verde (traditional kale soup aka “green soup”), almeijoas na cataplana (baby clams steamed in a cataplana with white wine and tomato sauce). Tuesday, April 1.
  • Cooking Local Join Chef Nirit Yadin as she introduces you to local farms and community food products. She also gives you advice on about how to get the most out of your food dollars while eating locally. Along the way you will sample delicious local favorites such as the ultimate cheeseburger, spring polenta pizza, cheese and chicken pot pie. Thursday, April 3.
  • I’m in it for the Dough (Full-Day Saturday Class) Dough – a mixture of flour water, water and yeast – sounds simple but has endless possibilities. Explore the infinite possibilities of the world of dough from every day to simply elegant recipes. Fee: $75. Saturday, April 5, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • April in Paris Can’t enjoy April in Paris? Bring the city of lights to your dining table, invite some friends over to sample some French bistro delights: French onion soup with crusty baguette, sweet and savory crepes, cardamom palmiers and French macrons. Tuesday, April 8.
  • Spring Cleanse Foods Want to shed winter weight and rejuvenate your body? Join Csilla Bischoff, holistic health coach and founder of shininghealth.com, for a delicious spring meal where you will feast on wonderful, cleansing foods that she will prepare using local and seasonal ingredients. Thursday, April 10.
  • It’s a Pizza Party! (Full-Day Saturday Class) Whether you like your pizza with a thick or thin crust, you will learn the proper baking techniques for both with various toppings. Traditional pizza margherita (tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella), pizza bianca (ricotta, mozzarella, parmigianino reggiano and gorgonzola), roasted pepper and goat cheese pizza, ricotta calzone, Roman potato pizza and focaccia. Saturday, April 12, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Sushi 101 Learn the art of making sushi at home! This course is a beginner’s guide for a simple application of the basic recipes and techniques required for making delicious and healthy sushi at home. Impress your friends and family with the amazing food you will be able to prepare: three different styles of sushi with many different types, a variety of sauces. Tuesday, April 15.
  • Master Salads and Salad Dressings Now that the holidays are over, many of us want to lose a few pounds. No need to buy bottled dressings any more. Learn to make vinaigrettes, creamy dressings and more! Appetizer salads and entrée salads will be a part of our evening presentations. Thursday, April 17.
  • The Kale Kraze Everybody has gone crazy for kale and for good reason. Learn all things kale including recipes to entice, satisfy, and boost your well-being. Tuscan kale ribollita, kale smoothie, kale saag paneer and vegan cream of kale soup. Tuesday, April 22. 
  • Healthy Desserts that Will Rock Your World but Not Your Blood Sugar Do you have a sweet tooth? Do you follow a gluten-free, dairy-free, or low-sugar diet? Eliminating those ingredients doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the dessert course. Csilla Bischoff, healthy eating coach and founder of www.shininghealth.com, will show you how to make healthier desserts that will rock your world, but not your blood sugar. Thursday, April 24.
  • Taking Thyme for Tea Take some time for yourself and join Kathy Hippeli from One Steep at a Thyme Tearoom for an evening of relaxation over freshly brewed teas, elegant desserts & scones. Learning how to choose the tea that suits your tastes, as well as enjoying the simple pleasure of pairing delicious foods will be part of your night out. Recipes featured will include: classic savory tea sandwiches and complimentary sweet treats. Monday, April 28.
  • Lose Weight and Eat Well Don’t get derailed by getting stuck in a rut! Learn to prepare tasty, healthy and low calorie foods that are sure to please the entire family. Fewer calories for a meal doesn’t have to mean less taste. Tuesday, April 29.
  • Latin American Cuisine Latin America is massive and diverse, as is the food – it is robust, aromatic, flavorful and sometimes complex. Thursday, May 1.
  • Campania Campania – Experience the Foods of Southern Italy! As Campania’s largest city, it’s no surprise that Neapolitan cooking traditions have greatly influenced the specialties that you’ll find throughout the region as well as the East Coast of the United States where many Italians immigrated from 1876 to 1976. This class will feature classic Neapolitan specialties from soup to dessert. Tuesday, May 6.
  • Mother’s Day Breakfast Brunch Treat your Mom on her special day with all of her favorites: pancakes, frittata, cinnamon rolls, waffles, crepes, fruit smoothies, and Mimosas! Saturday, 10 a.m.- 12:30 p.m., May 10.
  • Eating For Energy Do you often find yourself wanting to crawl under your desk at work at 3 p.m. to take a quick nap? Or looking around to find a piece of chocolate or a cup of coffee? Get off the blood sugar roller coaster ride by joining Csilla Bischoff, holistic health coach, for this energy cooking class and discover the best foods that you can eat for sustaining your energy throughout the day. Thursday, May 15.
  • Tea Cupping, Exploring Loose Leaf Teas Explore white, green, oolong, and black and pu’erh teas. Of course there will be a variety of scones to sample as well! Whether you are an occasional tea drinker or you cannot start your day without that cup…this course is for you. Monday, May 19.


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