Thursday, February 9, 2012

Recap: Mad About Mushrooms Cooking Class at The Chubby Cook

In January, I blogged about the fantastic raw foods class I took at The Chubby Cook in Beachwood.  I have been traveling like a maniac for work and have missed out on quite a few other classes I would have liked to sign up for, but this past Monday, I had the opportunity to take another class.  It was called Mad About Mushrooms and featured a smorgasbord of mushroomy dishes. 

My prep station
I realize that not everyone likes mushrooms.  Which, as a girl who can eat an entire container of sliced mushrooms in one sitting, seems crazy to me.  But I know that we all have our own tastes.  I've learned over time to ask people if they enjoy eating mushrooms when I have them over for dinner, because more than a couple people have turned their noses up at what I consider to be the best recipe I've ever made - Heather's Mushroom Gnocchi.
The fruits of our labor. And what we had for dinner.

In this hands on class, we all got to try our hands at making a variety of mushroom dishes - everything from Caesar salad with grilled mushrooms (minus the Worchestire sauce, obviously), to polenta with mushrooms in a fig and port wine sauce, to mushroom Bolognaise (which I plan on making for Sunday dinner this week), and baked mushrooms in a rich gravy.  I got a bunch of great recipes to take home and I learned two very important things - 1. I should never use a normal sized Santoku knife because I will probably lose a finger and 2. you shouldn't scrub mushrooms - just lightly wipe them off with a damp towel.  Why a damp towel, you ask?  Because they absorb lots of water (which can make them rubbery when you cook them) and the dirt they is on them really isn't "bad" dirt.  Mushrooms are grown in a sterile environment, so even if you don't get every particle of dirt off, it's not going to hurt you.  This was a life changing revelation for me and my mom.  She's made fried mushrooms for holidays for as long as I can remember, and collectively, we've spent hours peeling and washing mushrooms to get the dirt off.  D'oh!

I think they need bigger plates. I could have eaten so much more. Oh wait, I did.

If you're not familiar with The Chubby Cook, it's an excellent cooking school/catering company/homestyle meal provider in Beachwood.  There are always vegan and vegetarian cooking classes on the schedule, as well as some more traditional, meat based classes.  I know this bothers some vegans and vegetarians, but it doesn't bother me.  And although you might not agree with me, I think it's a little ridiculous to not attend a class at a school that doesn't exclusively offer vegan and vegetarian classes.  (Although if you are looking for something like that, check out Foodgazi.)   The Chubby Cook himself, Scott, has been nothing but supportive of the vegan and vegetarian community in Cleveland.  But to expect him to try and run a profitable business offering only vegan and vegetarian classes in meat and potatoes Cleveland right now seems unreasonable right now.  But that's just my $.02.  I like to put my money where my mouth is, and I will continue to take classes at The Chubby Cook, and I will encourage my vegan and vegetarian friends to do the same.  Change doesn't come overnight.  Cleveland will probably never be an all vegan or vegetarian city, but we need to support the people who are helping our cause and encouraging people to be more open minded about eating plant meat based meals.


  1. I've been wanting to take a class there and now I want to even more! Looks like fun.

  2. It's so great to see people promoting local businesses! This was a nice article, and Scott, The Chubby Cook certainly rocks, but the class was taught by Tamara Mitchell, AKA The Dine in Diva, of Akron. She's not veg or vegan, but she can offer some very good, appropriate recipes for you. Her vegan Portabella Mushroom Bake is amazing. I think she may have made it for your class. I've had in only once and still crave it on occasion! Tami's on Facebook and has a blog