CULINARY BOOT CAMP
4 Saturdays: March 24; April 7, 14, 28, 2-5PM
$65/class, $240/all 4 classes
Monica Pesoli (Cook Like An Italian)
Chef Rachel Zierzow (Macrobiotic & Ayurvedic Natural Foods Chef)
Sharpen your kitchen skills in our 4-session intensive course, while exploring a practical, delicious & healthy approach to both cooking and eating. Using all-Mediterranean dishes, we’ll focus on nourishment and balance, learning foundational recipes you can elaborate on at home.
Topics will include natural foods, authentic Italian cooking, knife skills, quality and sourcing of ingredients, balance and simplicity, digestibility, and more. Classes are mostly hands-on with some demo, and include 2 new recipes per lesson, plus a full meal to share afterward. Location will alternate between chef’s private homes. (Most dietary needs can be accommodated; please let us know your preferences).
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SOUPS & KNIFE SKILLS, March 24 (Chef Rachel’s home in SW Austin) – Learn to use a chef’s knife confidently and effectively, practicing cuts commonly used in making soups + sautés, AND learn 2 soup techniques that have endless variations using seasonal produce.
Minestrone Milanese – Light, yet loaded with veggies, this refreshing twist on an Italian classic has spring & summer days in mind; served chilled.
Spring Zucchini Soup with Fresh Dill and Walnuts – This creamy-textured non-dairy soup is light + refreshing for warmer months. It can be served chilled or just heated through.
WHOLE GRAINS, April 7 (Monica Pesoli’s home in Central East Austin) – Learn 2 totally different approaches to cooking whole grains.
Crescia (Italian Flatbread) w/ fresh toppings/fillings – This pan-cooked unleavened bread is lighter than focaccia, flakier than a flour tortilla, and made with 100% organic sprouted spelt.
Mediterranean Grain Salad w/ Chickpeas – To a perfectly-made pot of quinoa, add homemade chickpeas and the ideal blend of vegetables & herbs for a colorful salad that’s great for lunches, picnics or even road trips
BEANS/LENTILS, April 14 (Chef Rachel’s home in SW Austin) – Learn to prepare beans & lentils from scratch, starting from whole, dried beans. Emphasis on digestibility, texture, seasoning & flavor.
Cannellini Bean-Tuna Salad (Insalata di Fagioli e Tonno) – Part Navy Bean Soup, part Bean Salad, this Roman dish can be served warm, chilled, or room temperature, w/ or w/out tuna.
Lentil Soup w/ Swiss Chard – This warming soup is packed with freshness from seasonal greens and herbs.
SAUCES & DRESSINGS, April 28 (Monica Pesoli’s home in Central East Austin) – A fresh approach to making your own salad dressings, plus a pasta sauce!
Sicilian Pistachio Pesto (Pesto di pistacchi) w/ Senatore Capelli Pasta – This Sicilian pasta topping has the same interplay of aromatic basil vs. mellow pine nuts as the Genovese version, but the burst of pistachio mellows the flavor ever so slightly.
Greek Salad with Creamy Cashew Dill Dressing – This creamy vegan dressing raw cashews, cucumber and fresh herbs makes a dressing that’s light, but super creamy; great with salads, dolmas, and so many other Mediterranean dishes.
From toddler age, Rachel began following her mother around the garden and learning how to cook, as her mother was always making something tasty in the kitchen. Through this early education, she learned about the secret ingredient in every recipe: LOVE. Rachel specializes in health-conscious cuisine with a focus on plant-based, gluten-free, and macrobiotic, and Ayurvedic meals, and gets inspiration from traditional Latin American, Mediterranean, Indian, and Japanese dishes. She is passionate about guiding individuals to make gradual changes that offer lasting health benefits, and has been teaching natural foods cooking for 12 years. Rachel is a certified natural foods chef and macrobiotic health counselor, and holds a BA in Biology and MA in Ecology and Evolution.
Growing up in an Italian-American family, Monica was cooking by the age of 12, and it was her father (raised in an immigrant household) who taught her how to cook pasta perfectly “al dente”! She had a number of Old World family recipes under her belt long before she began cooking for her own kids. After teaching Italian foreign language and taking students on trips to Italy, Monica started Cook-Talk-Travel Like an Italian. She teaches authentic Italian cooking (different from Italian-American cuisine!) and Italian language classes here in Austin, Texas, and takes small groups to the least touristy parts of Italy. She holds a BA in Italian Studies, a BA in Spanish, and an MA in education; has lived in Italy, South America and Texas; and is a citizen of both Italy & the U.S.