Whether you’re a complete amateur or consider yourself a budding Batali, cooking lessons are a way to fine-tune your skills, or learn new ones. And with the holidays upon us, there’s never been a better time to perfect your braising technique or try your hand at baking bread. Here’s a roundup of classes at three Brooklyn cooking institutions.
The Brooklyn Kitchen
100 Frost St. between Leonard Street and Manhattan Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 389-2982. For info, visit www.thebrooklyn-kitchen.com.
This Williamsburg store’s classes are so popular, it had to open a whole new location just to accommodate them. Here’s a sampling of what’s on the agenda this holiday season.
Nov. 13 and 20 at 2 pm, $50
Learn about butter and lard crusts, choosing seasonal fruits, and demystify lattice crust, so that you can order one less thing this holiday.
Nov. 15 at 6:30 pm, $75
Own this classic French dish, comprised of tender Great Northern beans, pork sausage and confit duck legs with crispy garlic bread crumbs folded in and layered on top, so you can present a satisfying country feast this winter.
Nov. 15 at 6:30 pm, $40
Welcome to the world of naturally leavened breads, where you’ll learn how to start a sourdough culture and then make a great sourdough bread in your very own home.
Stocks and Gravies with Brendan
Nov. 16 at 6:30 pm, $50
It’s the foundation of a meal. Learn the simple steps to creating consistent stocks and sauces, from mother sauces to quick pan sauces, including stock ratios, ingredients, proper procedure and storage. Never use store bought stock again!
Nov. 17 at 6:30 pm, $65
Dress up your Thanksgiving meal with some inventive new sides, including a pumpkin sage pate, pumpkin seed stuffing, cranberry orange relish with port, and even moremouth-watering dishes that will have your guests helping themselves to seconds and thirds.
Nov. 18 at 6:30 pm, $60
Neil Rosen, of Rosenthal Wine Merchant, will be showing a selection of wines to complement your Thanksgiving feast, including an array of classic wines as well as some more unusual and esoteric choices to go with your turkey and all the accoutrements.
Nov. 29 at 6:30 pm, $65
Melissa Weller, a former baker at Per Se, will show you how to make the usual suspects, including challah, pannetone and more.
Dec. 1 at 6:30 pm, $65
This one’s right in time! Learn what to do with great fish to make it last longer, so you can get some of your food out of the way before you’re stressed. Several different curing methods, including smoking, as well as curing techniques will be taught.
Ger-Nis Culinary & Herb Center
540 President St. at Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, (347) 422-0337. For info, visit ger-nis.com/culinary-herb-center.
This Park Slope center offers a wide variety of hands-on technical classes and diverse recipes to help you make simple or elaborate meals with an emphasis on organic, local ingredients.
Herbal Thanksgiving Sauces, Glazes & Gravies
Nov. 16 at 6:30 pm, $50
Spice up your dishes this Thanksgiving with a modern take on cranberry sauce, using unexpected ingredients like cilantro and jalapenos.
Nov. 30 at 6:30 pm, $50
Nothing says winter quite like warm root vegetables and seasonal spices wrapped in a steaming-fresh pastry crust the way that pot pies do. Whip up this classic pie and experiment with new approaches to the traditional.
Dec. 2 at 6:30 pm, $50
Brussel sprouts are wonderful paired with toasted nuts, rendered bacon, sweet potatoes, golden onions, sweet maple syrup or just plain olive oil and salt. You’ll learn recipes for all, which will have everyone at your table will be clamoring for this notorious green vegetable.
Making Spirits Bright
Dec. 3 at 6 pm, time TBD
Play bartender and learn the art of cocktail making and alcohol infusion using classic and original techniques, so you can impress your friend’s at your next cocktail party.
Holiday Mix and Mingle
Dec. 4 at 5 pm, $50
It’s a crash course in hosting your own cocktail party, with tips and recipes for a memorable evening, from herbal libations to tasty appetizers – all kept simple so you can also enjoy the party.
Middle Eastern Desserts and Turkish Coffee
Dec. 8 at 7 pm, $50
Your dessert spread won’t be complete without a Middle Eastern sweet. Learn how to make fillo triangles, knafe, baklava, and Turkish coffee (it’s all about the cardamom).
Seasonal Soup and Salad
Dec. 9 at 6:30 pm, $50
Shake up your usual repertoire and learn the ins-and-outs on selecting the right salad greens to what stocks, grains, spices, herbs and veggies to use in your soup, as well as some tasty new recipes to try at home.
Dec. 15 at 6:30 pm, $45
A classic gets revamped, with fresh herbs and new vegetables (beets, anyone?).
Festive Holiday Pies and Tarts
Dec. 19 at 11 am, $50
Make your desserts from the heart – and home – as you’re guided through pastry-making techniques and unique filling ideas.
Soups and Stews
Dec. 21 at 6:30 pm, $50
Bring warmth and color to your table this holiday and learn how to maximize flavor b letting fall’s concentrated flavors simmer and stew.
Dec. 22 at 6 pm, $50
’Tis the season for braising. Get schooled in moist cooking methods, including braising, poaching, simmering, and more, to produce a full, savory flavor and tender texture for fall foods.
The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts
1407 Coney Island Ave. between Avenue J and Avenue K in Midwood, (718) 758-1339
It’s all kosher at this Midwood culinary center, where you can spice up your repertoire just in time for the holiday season.
Chanukah Fried Favorites
Nov. 21 at 10:30 am, $75
Perfect the classic fried dish this Chanukah season by taking your latka frying, sufganiot filling skills to the next level. Also add other fried dishes to your repertoire, including pumpkin fritters and southern fried chicken.
Look Good, Taste Good Cupcakes
Nov. 28 at 10:30 am, $75
Get creative with cupcakes by learning different cake bases, including chocolate, orange-vanilla, red velvet, vanilla, orange, chocolate, coffee and raspberry buttercream, followed by how to decorate with different pastry tips, sprinkles and decorative sugars for desserts that only look store-bought.