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Exotic cuisines can be hard to figure out - all of those mysterious spices and unpronounceable vegetables, strange sauces and unfindable ingredients. Well, worry no more! I've done the legwork, now you get to reap the benefits.
I'll put together a package for you containing some exotic recipes, their hard-to-find ingredients, and some cards detailing the how's and why's of the cuisine you pick. It's a cooking class in a box!
I'm trying to raise money for a class I'm teaching at Brooklyn Brainery on world cuisine. Our classes are super cheap, so it can be hard to scrounge up extra money for fun class things. Every cooking-class-in-a-box I ship out to you helps me introduce the same ingredients and cuisines to the students in my class. Featuring Thai dishes, Korean, Ethiopian, Lebanese and more!
WHAT'LL YOU GET?
I like to think that every cuisine has a few magic ingredients. Ethiopian has berbere, Thai has lemongrass and fish sauce, Sichuan a.k.a. Szechuan has Sichuan pepper and chili oil - it goes on forever. Once you have a few of these, your culinary doors are opened to a new cuisine. Not all of these are easy to find, though, especially if you don't live in a big city.
Some examples of ingredients you might get: lemongrass, berbere, Thai basil, Tianjin preserved vegetables, injera, black cumin, gochujang, cardamom, Sichuan peppercorns, shrimp paste - I think you get the idea.
Your batch of ingredients will all have a purpose, too, and those're the included recipes. You'll be able to take something nice and plain that you have laying around, like chicken or tofu or beef or whatever, follow a few directions on a card, and voila! You'll have an international kitchen.
These recipes aren't hard, either. Exotic cuisines seem scary because you've never worked with the ingredients, but you'll pretty quickly see nothing's that different. Soon you'll go out grocery shopping and come home with something looking like this, I promise:
Oh, and for shipping's sake I'm leaving out most of the easy-to-find ingredients like onions or brown sugar. You'll be fine at the grocery store for those!
WHAT KINDS OF RECIPES?
Cuisines: Thai, Ethiopian, Korean, Japanese, Sichuan Chinese, Polish (that one doesn't have much in the way of weird ingredients, though), Lebanese, Indian. I can probably cover a few others, too - let me know if there's something you're interested in!
Dishes: Entrees of course, but we can also do desserts or appetizers! Everything from Korean bulgogi to misir wot from Ethiopia to Japanese red bean desserts.
Some recipes and ingredients cost more than others, so if you're one of those people who like to donate more than the reward price I'll totally hook you up with some extra goodies.
WHAT'LL YOU LEARN?
Sure, learning a recipe is one thing, but there's so much basic information about a cuisine that recipes leave out. I think that's the important stuff! They let you have a mental swiss army knife about how to deal with the ingredients you have, or how to adapt recipes to one thing or the other.
I'll include some cards that teach you these things, in relation to the cuisine you've picked.
Possibilities: how to cut lemongrass, the difference between black, dark, light and Japanese soy sauces (weird, right?), what ghee is in relation to butter, what all those crazy Japanese desserts are made of, and a billion other things.
WELL WHO AM I?
I like foreign cuisines. There's something fun about stumbling through a store where you can't read any of the writing, pulling some things off of the shelf and figuring out how they work together. Here's an obnoxious shot of some of my bookshelf:
My credentials are mostly from hanging out in neighborhood ethnic groceries: I've lived in the tech corridor outside of DC [Indian], Adams Morgan in DC proper [Ethiopian], and now I'm in NYC, where I'm a hop away from Koreatown, multiple Chinatowns, and more Middle Eastern grocers than you can shake a pita at.
I'm teaching a class on world cuisine at Brooklyn Brainery in July, where we'll be looking at 4 different cuisines over the course of a month. Cooking Class in a Box is going to offset the cost of buying a billion exotic ingredients!
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