Helen's Kitchen

Classes

Spanish Seafood

If your seafood repertoire is limited to shrimp cocktail, this class will open your eyes to the world of interesting seafood. Spanish cooks have a magic touch when it comes to the culinary treasures of the sea. They can transform an octopus into luscious velvet, monkfish into a juicy roast, and squid into the epitome of comfort food. Most of the dishes in this class can be made ahead and are fabulous for entertaining. Dishes will vary with the season and availability of ingredients, but are likely to include a pan roasted monkfish with tomato saffron sauce, tuna with caramelized onions, seafood paella, and squid stew with chickpeas.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Fri, Jul 25, 2014 6pm-9pm Register

Couples Date Night: Sushi, Ceviche, Tartar

No more cucumber rolls! If you love raw fish, but are not sure how to approach it at home, this class is for you. We'll discuss how to find a good fish market, buy the freshest fish, and handle it safely at home. We'll go over which species of fish are safe to eat raw and the best ways to prepare them. You'll learn how to slice the fish, make sushi rice, shape nigiri and maki. Dishes might include spicy tuna maki, assorted sashimi, scallops ceviche, and branzino tartar with apples and ginger. Note: the dishes vary based on the season and availability of ingredients.

One 3h session / $100 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Fri, Aug 1, 2014 6pm-9pm Register

Orgasmic Vegetables

Vegetables are a culinary wonder with their variety of textures and flavors, and a gift to us cooks. If they occupy the lowly place of repentance food on your table, it's time to rethink your cooking techniques. In this class, you'll get hands-on practice with blanching, roasting, pan searing, braising, and sauteing vegetables, as well as serving them raw. You'll learn to buy, wash, store, and cook everything from roots to leafy greens. How do you prevent asparagus from turning mushy and stringy? What do you do with Swiss chard, beets, fennel, celery root, and rutabaga? How do you make a good salad? Bring your vegetable questions and come ready to cook and eat. Dishes will vary with the season and availability of ingredients, but are likely to include fennel radish green bean salad, seared asparagus, roasted beets with farro, and Swiss chard bruschetta. This class is vegetarian.

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Wed, Aug 6, 2014 6pm-9pm Register
Fri, Sep 19, 2014 6pm-9pm Register

Perfect Burgers

Get your napkins ready -- it's gonna be beefy, it's gonna be juicy, and it's gonna be fun. What makes a great burger is not a filling of foie gras or the topping of truffles. What makes a great burger is knowledge of cow parts and skillful heat manipulation. What's the best time to salt ground beef? How do you prevent burgers from puffing up and turning into meat balls? How do you ensure perfectly medium-rare burgers every time? This class will answer all the burger questions that keep you up at night. We'll cover both the thick and thin burgers, and a variety of toppings, sauces, pickles, and accompaniments. If you like your burger lean or well done, this is NOT the class for you -- this class is about making the yummiest burger possible!

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Thu, Aug 7, 2014 6pm-9pm Register

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Do you like to eat fish in restaurants, but are scared to cook it at home? Or, are you bored of baking salmon with a squirt of lemon, but not sure how to expand your repertoire? Come to this class and explore the bounty of the sea available to us in New England. You'll learn to find a good fish market in your area, buy the freshest fish, learn all about fish personalities and substitutions, and test fish for doneness. We'll make salmon teriyaki, trout in almonds, halibut in sorrel sauce, broiled bluefish, and swordfish Provençal. Note: the dishes vary based on the season and availability of ingredients.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Wed, Aug 13, 2014 6pm-9pm Waiting List
Fri, Sep 5, 2014 6pm-9pm Register

Sauce and the City

Sauce making is one of the most enjoyable kitchen tasks. It unleashes your creativity and gives you room for infinite variations. Once you understand the basic principles of contemporary sauces, you'll be a slave to recipes no more! We realize that you don't have homemade veal stock on hand, and don't find dousing your asparagus in artery clogging Hollandaise that appealing. But that doesn't mean that you can't dress up your dishes with vibrant sauces in less than 15 minutes. In this class, you'll learn how to choose the right ingredients and equipment, how to make pan sauces with the techniques of deglazing and reduction, how to thicken sauces without making them lumpy, and how to make various cold sauces and toppings. Dishes might include fennel grapefruit salad with shallot vinaigrette, scallops with asparagus sauce, roast chicken with porcini cream sauce, and steak with red wine reduction. Dishes vary based on the season and availability of ingredients.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, Sep 6, 2014 10am-1pm Register

Perfect Pizza

This class is Cooking 101 and Baking 101 rolled into one most delicious dish — pizza. It's one of the simplest dishes to make, and one of the simplest to mess up. Does your dough refuse to stretch into a thin circle? Does it get soggy under the sauce and toppings? Are you at a loss as to how to produce a perfectly crisp thin crust? In this class you'll make a 5 minute home-made crust that will teach you many baking fundamentals. You'll also make 4 versatile sauces while learning to use heat and seasoning to your advantage. We'll make pizza Margherita (tomato, mozzarella, and basil); pizza with caramelized onions, pears, walnuts, and blue cheese; pizza with mushroom, arugula and truffle vinaigrette; and Middle Eastern flat bread with cucumber yogurt dip. Note: dishes may vary based on the season and availability of ingredients. This class is vegetarian.

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Fri, Sep 12, 2014 6pm-9pm Register

French Pastry 101: Pate a Choux

Do you want to learn to make eclairs, cream puffs, Paris-Brest, and fancy hors d'oeuvres? Then you need to master pâte à choux -- the most versatile, gloriously puffy, make-ahead-friendly dough in the French pastry repertoire. Pâte à choux might require more finesse than banana muffins, but the process is not complicated. After we discuss the science behind this technique and give you a chance for hands-on practice, you'll be able to wow your family and friends with magnificent desserts and savory bites. You'll learn to make pastry cream, ganache, and other fillings; avoid the pitfalls of collapsed or soggy puffs; and use a pastry bag like a pro. We'll make both savory and sweet dishes.

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, Sep 13, 2014 10am-1pm Register

Eggspertise

A perfectly poached egg can transform the simplest dish into a gastronomic wonder. Breaking through its delicate white to release the golden gush of yolk is sure to delight any food lover. But for all its simplicity, an egg strikes fear even into the hearts of professional chefs. Do your poached eggs resemble an egg drop soup? Do your hard boiled eggs refuse to peel? Does flipping an omelette give you heebie-jeebies? Are you perplexed about the difference between cage-free and free-range eggs? Fret no more because this class will answer all your egg questions and make an "eggspert" out of you. We'll cover techniques of poaching, hard boiling, soft boiling, scrambling, and omelettes. The eggs in this class will be accompanied by all sorts of seasonal vegetables, sauces, soups, beans, and grains. Most of the dishes in this class are vegetarian.

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, Sep 20, 2014 10am-1pm Register

Knife Skills

Do you get excited about a trip to the farmer's market, but dread chopping all those veggies and herbs? If the onions make you break into tears and you can't remember the last time you sharpened your knife, come to this hands-on class and learn to slice, dice, and mince in a casual and supportive environment. We'll go over which knives are used for which cuts, how to buy a good knife in any price range, as well as sharpening and caring for your knives. And what cooking class is complete without a sumptuous dinner? The meal we'll prepare out of all those veggies might include fennel orange salad, potato leek soup, tomato onion tart, and ratatouille. This class is vegetarian.

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Thu, Sep 25, 2014 6pm-9pm Register

French Bistro Cooking

If you've been to Paris, the thought of owning your own little bistro must have crept into your mind - the kind of cozy place with black and white tile floors, bright lights, and intoxicating smells wafting from the large copper pots on the stove. Now is your chance to become a bistro cook without leaving town. Join chef Helen Rennie in her kitchen and learn to make French classics like Salmon Pâté, Seared Duck Breast with Black Current Sauce, and Crêpes Suzette. Note: the dishes vary based on the season and availability of ingredients.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, Sep 27, 2014 10am-1pm Register

Grilling Fish and Vegetables

What can be more delightful on a warm summer day than our local striper or bluefish right off the grill accompanied by farmerís market veggies! Unless, of course, half of the fish got stuck, the other half fell through the grill grate, and those zucchini burnt to a crisp. Cooking over an open flame might be the oldest method known to man, but it does require a lot of finesse to master. What fish types are appropriate for grilling? When should you turn the heat up and when down? How do you avoid sticking? When is the fish done? This class will answer all your fish and vegetable grilling questions. We will use a gas grill, but the same techniques apply if you are grilling on charcoal. Dishes might include bluefish with cilantro lime butter, whole branzino with lemon and herbs, swordfish with cucumber yogurt sauce, mustard glazed trout, and assorted grilled vegetables. Note: the dishes vary based on the season and availability of ingredients. Rainy day policy.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, Jul 26, 2014 10am-1pm Waiting List

The Kid Who Ate Everything

Do you want your kids to fight you for that last Brussels sprout? Do you want them to eat something other than carbs? Feeding children can be challenging and frustrating. If the offspring of Ruth Reichl (former editor of Gourmet magazine) and Melissa Clark (New York Times food writer) only ate pasta, bread, rice, and ice cream, what are the rest of us to do? In the last 7 years, I have been involved in an experiment to see if it's possible to raise food-loving children. I have good news to report -- there is a solution to pickiness, power struggles, and worries about nutrition. My children's favorite foods include duck, lamb, quinoa, chickpeas, buckwheat, octopus, squid, fish (particularly raw), too many vegetables to name, and blue cheese. In this seminar, I'll share my strategies for helping children discover real food. Note: this is not a cooking class. Warning: I can't be held responsible for your restaurant bills once your kids discover sushi.

One 1h30 session / $25 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Wed, Jul 30, 2014 8pm-9:30pm Waiting List

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FAQ

What happens if I have to cancel?
Please see our cancellation policy for details.

How do I get a spot? Whenever I check the website, the class I want has a waiting list.
Read our tips on getting spots.

The class I want to take is full. Will you offer it again?
Yes. Most of these classes are offered on monthly basis and are announced 2 months in advance.

Can you send me e-mail when you announce more classes?
Yes. Just send us to get on our mailing list.

Do we just watch or do we get to cook too?
All classes are hands-on, so everyone gets to participate.

Should we come hungry?
Yes! A full meal is included in each class except for baking classes that are not held at meal time.

Are gift certificates available?
Yes. Fill out the gift certificate request form to purchase one.

What materials should we bring to class?
Wear comfortable shoes--you'll be standing on your feet for 2-3 hours. We'll provide everything else.