Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Summer Culinary Adventure Part I

This summer, I would like to share some of my culinary adventures I have planned throughout the season.  One of my goals was to try and attend a cooking class at The Culinary Center of Kansas City.  The Culinary Center of Kansas City offers over 500 cooking classes a year catered to all different walks and tastes of life.  This summer they have teamed up with Shawnee Mission Medical Center to promote healthy cooking through their Cook Well program.  For every class offered through the Cook Well series, you not only get an interactive, hands-on cooking class, but also a reusable canvas tote filled with a sampling of the week's farmer's market produce.  As with every class, you also get a complimentary glass of wine or beer to enjoy with your meal or while you are cooking.  You can also bring wine to classes with a $10 uncorking fee.

Last week's class was over gluten-free cooking presented by Chef Jim Tinkham.  Chef Tinkham is the Executive Chef at Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence, Missouri.  He overhauled the food service at the hospital by improving menu options for staff and patients.  Tinkham has been in the business for 35 years working in hotels, casinos, and judging for several national culinary arts competitions.  Here is Chef Tinkham in action.

The class offered four different courses that were all flavorful and gluten-free.  We began with a lesson on Seared Scallops over Tri-Colored Lentils with Roasted Yellow Pepper Coulis.  I was very interested in cooking scallops.  I have attempted to make scallops before.  I bought some big beautiful scallops and was so excited to share them with my husband; however, the scallops shrank.  They were still very good, but did not end up being a very filling entree.  Turns out, I made two mistakes; one, I did not get my pan hot enough in the beginning to get a good initial sear.  Mistake number two, I over cooked my scallops.  These puppies do not take long at all.  With the help of Fran's watchful eye, the scallops turned out perfect.  They were very good!

Pictured above was my partner, Fran.  Fran is a faithful attendee at the Culinary Center and knew her way around their kitchen!

Here are the scallops topped over the lentils.  Below, the lovely plated version with the Roasted Yellow Pepper Coulis and bean sprouts as a garnish.

Next, we made a simple Goat Cheese and Endive Bibb Salad.  Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of the salad, as shortly after we enjoyed the salad we were on to making Pan Seared Chicken with a White Wine Pan Sauce.

After a lesson in how to pound chicken, we were right to work dredging our cutlets in a dusting of potato starch with salt and pepper.  While we were all working on searing our chicken, Chef Tinkham was busy preparing the pan sauce and sauteing a side of spinach and button mushrooms.  In the pan sauce he sauteed shallots, deglazed the pan with white wine, and added rice milk.  He reduced to sauce until it was a lovely thickened consistency.  So good!

Our final course was a creamy Mocha Panna Cotta.  The secret ingredient to this little gem was a package of mocha flavored Starbucks VIA.  I cannot wait to try experimenting with the Starbucks!

Overall, the class was very enjoyable.  I loved meeting other foodies and the social experience of cooking with others outside of my family.  I defiantly plan to attend more classes in the near future.  My next culinary adventure, however, is the World Pork Expo later this week.  I look forward to sharing!


  1. Looks like fun, you made some great looking dishes. I bet its just as fun to cook them as it is to eat them :)

    1. Thank you! It was a ton of fun. If you ever get the chance to take a class anywhere I highly suggest it.