Helen's Kitchen

Classes

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
Fri, Jun 5, 2015 6pm-9pm 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. This class is Paleo friendly. Rainy day policy.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, Jun 6, 2015 10am-1pm Register
Sat, Jun 20, 2015 10am-1pm Register
Sat, Jul 18, 2015 10am-1pm 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. This class is Paleo friendly.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Fri, Jun 12, 2015 6pm-9pm Register

Grilling Meat and Poultry

If crispy, juicy meat turns you on, why not learn the techniques that achieve perfection every time you fire up the grill? Successful meat grilling is not about big flames and big tools; it's about chemistry and thermodynamics. In this class, we'll learn what cuts of meat and poultry to choose for the grill, when to use high heat and when to go low and slow, how to test for doneness, and why marinades work or fail. Dishes might include a grilled rib-eye steak with chimichurri sauce, grilled lamb chops with mint butter, pork chops with mustard vinaigrette, and chicken thighs with pomegranate syrup. Note: the dishes vary based on the season and availability of ingredients. This class is Paleo friendly. Rainy day policy.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, Jun 13, 2015 10am-1pm Register
Sat, Jul 25, 2015 10am-1pm 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 and Paleo friendly.

One 3h session / $80 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Fri, Jun 19, 2015 6pm-9pm Register
Tue, Jul 28, 2015 6pm-9pm 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
Tue, Jun 23, 2015 6pm-9pm Waiting List
Tue, Jul 14, 2015 6pm-9pm Register

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 / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Tue, Jul 21, 2015 6pm-9pm Register

Tender at the Bone

How confident are you when you step up to the butcher counter? Do you know what cuts to get for braising vs. roasting vs. grilling vs. pan searing? While everyone can throw a piece of meat on the grill, taking it off can be a little tricky. How do you know when it's cooked to your liking? Do you season before or after cooking? Should you crank the heat up or turn it down? This class will answer all your meat buying and cooking questions. We'll discuss the cuts of beef, lamb, and pork; learn appropriate cooking methods for each cut; practice trimming and trussing steaks and roasts; and eliminate guesswork out of testing meat for doneness. Dishes will vary with the season and availability of ingredients, but are likely to include a beef steak with red wine reduction, a rack of lamb with garlic and mint, and braised pork shoulder with osso buco sauce. This class is Paleo friendly.

One 3h session / $90 per person
Instructor: Helen Rennie
Location: 3 Ingleside Rd, Natick, MA
Sat, May 30, 2015 10am-1pm 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.