Cooking school

Carol Kinelski shows off one the knives she uses to cut up the meat for her tomato bisque beef stew while demonstrating at Saturday’s Halfway Homemade Cooking School at the Madison County Extension Center.

Just in time for the great feast of Thanksgiving, the Madison County Extension Homemakers conducted a cooking school Saturday to help even good cooks be better.

“Since I’ve been married for more than 50 years, sometimes I think I know everything about cooking, but I’m always learning something new,” said Carol Kinelski, one of seven homemakers who demonstrated all the elements of sumptuous meal.

The ideal menu includes crunchy, smooth, tart and sweet entrées, she said.

About 100 attended the midday event sponsored by the Kentucky Beef Council. In addition to the seven presenters, 10 other homemaker members served samples of the items demonstrated.

A large overhead mirror allowed the audience at the Extension Center to see what the cooks were doing on the countertop.

To start, Betsy Burch blended a lemon, peach and raspberry iced tea punch from Tater Knob Pottery. The tea was topped off with some almond flavoring.

A vegetable salad is usually low in calories, said Danella Tate, who presented the salad demonstration. A low-calorie salad is often offset, however, by a high calorie dressing. Just a tablespoon of blue cheese dressing, “which isn’t much,” adds about 110 calories to a salad serving, she said.

Tate suggested a tasty raspberry vinaigrette dressing as a low-calorie alternative. “It adds only one to three calories to each salad serving,” she said. She suggested a using a pump-spritzer to apply the vinaigrette to a salad that included craisins, pecans and apples as well as lettuce. Roasted almonds and walnuts also can be added.

Craisins — or dried cranberries — added a Thanksgiving touch to the menu.

Sautéed squash, zucchini and carrots provide healthful addition to a harvest celebration feast, said Melba Williams. She recommended tossing rather than stirring the vegetables to keep them crisp.

The vegetables cook in eight to 10 minutes, less time than its takes to chop them, she said.

In recognition of the event’s sponsor, the demonstration’s main entrée was beef.

Kinelski recommended using tomato bisque soup as the base for a beef stew.

Sandra Harris demonstrated buttermilk biscuits like her father used to make. She suggested a recipe based on observations of her father’s cooking. “My dad just added a bit of this and a bit of that,” she said. “I’m giving you a recipe that anyone can use.”

Instead of rigidly following the recipe, Harris added buttermilk to her mixture to get the desired consistency, much as her father might have done.

Pam Trageser and Becker Knauer added the coup de grace with their dessert demonstrations, “stained glass torte” and double chocolate fudge cake.

“Never use a wooden spoon to stir when cooking chocolate,” Knauer said. “Wood absorbs moisture and will make the chocolate clump.”

Spectators paid $10 each to attend. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Kentucky Homemakers campaign against ovarian cancer.

Bill Robinson can be reached at brobinson@richmondregister.com or 623-1669, Ext. 267.

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