I may get to eat really great food every week, but the funny – or sad – thing is that almost none of it really comes out of my kitchen. You don’t have to be one of my closest friends to know I don’t cook. Good thing I got approached by two ladies known as Pink Sparrow, who do cooking class-dinner parties, because I’m hoping to learn some skills for my new kitchen and new lifestyle.
It all started with a consultation meet-and-greet with the two gals, where I got to choose what theme I wanted to go with. After listening toÂ some of Jennifer and Christena’s suggestions, I went with Greek! Yes, it’s the most “Greek” to me in the kitchen – so I was excited for my friends and I to get a cooking lesson in the process of a private, fun dinner party.
In addition to our hostesses, we ended up a month later with a dinner party of 4 (I was alotted 5) and were taught basic kitchen tricks and knife skills. (Impressed with their tools, I also learned that I need to get myself a new set of knives.) And then, we set to cooking. Jennifer and Christena brought everything – including all the kitchen ware needed to cook for everyone present, down to the cutting boards.
On our menu:
- Fava Bean Succotash
- Yogurt Marinated Lamb Kebabs
- Tapenade Crusted Roast Salmon
We started out marinating our lamb so that it could sit in the fridge during our preparation of everything else on the menu. Sean massaged the yogurt marinade into the meat, ever so thoroughly, beforehand.
After that, we started on the Dolmades by making the filling, made with uncooked long grain rice, raisins, mint, garlic, onions, olive oil and pine nuts (thank goodness Pink Sparrow also left each attendee with recipe cards). And then we moved to the table to wrap our filling with blanched grape leaves – definitely a fun part of the cooking lesson that we all participated in.
One of my favorite tastes of the night was the Tzatziki, whereby the girls blended dill, garlic, salt, lemon juice, English cucumber and olive oil with plain yogurt. Then came the Fava Bean Succotash – with corn cut freshly off the cob – which ended up being my favorite side of the evening. And then came the tapenade for our salmon – made with Kalamata olives, garlic, chili flakes, chopped parsley, lemon zest and olive oil. The girls came prepared with a handy, transportable food processing tool for blending.
Probably the best lesson that was demonstrated (yet hardest to perform in my own personal experience) was the multi-tasking factor in cooking. I had almost forgotten about the lamb, which was skewered next and grilled while the salmon sat in the oven.
For dessert, we had Ricotta-filled figs topped with pistachios and local honey. It was an easy but delicious dessert, perfect for simple preparation and for guests hungry to finally eat! 😉
AndÂ all that cookingÂ was the greatest way to work up an appetite! Everything was absolutely delicious, and there were even leftoversÂ for later on – definitely the best feature of hosting aÂ cooking dinner party.Â
Jennifer and Christena were fun, casual and really informative throughout the evening and my guests had the best time. I enjoyed having my friends over in a social capacity while handing over the stresses of hosting and entertaining to two professionals. The cost per person of the dinner party runs about $40-60 (all-inclusive), which, when you think about the materials, preparation and labor that is saved – and the pressure of cooking an acceptable or even delicious meal – it’s not a bad deal. The wine situation was BYOB, as it should be. The gals even clean up afterwards, and my kitchen was even cleaner than when they first arrived.
All food was hosted.