Date Night Outside the Box: Coop Classes

Switch up your usual date night (or solo adventure) with something more interactive!

Date night dinner out at the usual place, although yummy, can get pretty stale. 

Why not try something more interactive? 

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The Lebanon Coop offers hands on food and cooking classes all year long. In May alone they are offering classes in topics ranging from specific dishes (paella, sushi, chocolate souffles) to specific ingredients (rhubarb, almond milk, fiddlehead ferns). Many are perfectly timed from 5:30 - 7:30pm to allow you to arrive right after work, create something yummy and not get home too late. Others, like their Lunch and Learn series, are from 11:30am - 12:30pm and are an opportunity to, as their website puts it, "Watch. Learn. Lunch." (I particularly enjoyed taking the chocolate souffle offering. What's not to love about chocolate souffle for lunch?) There is even a class coming up this month on french pastries - taught entirely in french! Mais oui!

The Coop's state of the art demonstration kitchen

The class schedule has a handy key in the description section letting you know if the class includes a wine or beer pairing*, is hands on or demonstration based, or includes a vegetarian option. You get to eat what you or the instructor cooks** and will often go home with a To Go container. 

My partner and I took the knife skills class this past week. There were only five of us so we had plenty of one-on-one interaction with our instructor Lindsay Smith. (The class sizes vary. I've been in classes with as many as twenty and as few as three people.) First we learned how to properly hold a knife and cut things safely. Then we got to put those principles into plenty of practice by making two veggie dishes. We made a rhubarb cucumber salsa (rhubarb, cucumber, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice and honey) that was delicious and so plentiful that we've been eating it with everything all week. We also each chopped sweet potatoes and made a classic mirepoix (diced carrots, celery and onion). Lindsay added our piles to lentils (she cooked the lentils and sweet potatoes while we were chopping) and fresh baby spinach to create a warm salad I never would have tried at home. With the addition of a tahini dressing it was a hearty yet light vegetarian dish I would make again. 

Knife skills class: onion, sweet potato, cucumber, rhubarb and jalapeno

I highly recommend checking out their class offerings. There's something for everyone. Prices range from $10-$35 for Coop members and $15-$50 for non-members. That's well within the usual date night budget of dinner and a movie. The classes are also fun with friends or as a solo activity. 

The fruits (veggies) of our labor

* Fair warning: Wine pairings and access to the grocery store selling the products you've been trying can be dangerous. After a charcuterie/wine tasting class I ended up with a basket full of chutneys, fancy jams and sauces. I regret nothing. 

** not 100% guaranteed to include a full dinner, especially if you're a hearty eater. We've been known to supplement the offerings with dessert on the way home. Because once you're out for date night, why not keep it going? (Full disclosure: We've been known to supplement the offerings with dessert on the way home...even when the offerings have been plentiful and hearty. And included dessert. Again, I regret nothing.) 

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