A hands-on cooking class culminating in dinner served with wine.
Growing up, Michelle had a very special friend with whom she shared very special meals. Liana, a transplant from Baku, Azerbaijan, lived with her parents, older brother, maternal grandparents, and a very large Husky who, much to her dismay, didn't understand a word of English. Life in that often chaotic household revolved around food. Mornings were met with potato pancakes, grandma’s homemade bread (which Michelle was never allowed to cut), softened butter, and several jars of jam. Black tea, a symbol of hospitality in Azerbaijani culture, was continuously brewing. Lunch was a time for grazing on rustic dishes like sliced cucumbers, kidney bean salad, pork and potato soup, and ikra, a cold eggplant and bell pepper mixture she would, and still can, eat by the quart. And of course, more bread and butter. Supper was always an extravagant feast: lavash, bowls brimming with herbs (which you'd pick and eat with each bite), soups like borscht and dovga, grape leaves stuffed with cinnamon-spiked rice, and lamb that Liana’s father had purveyed from Pennsylania, a twelve-hour drive away. Such memories had a profound impact on Michelle’s palate and imagination; this class is inspired by and dedicated to those formative experiences and to the people who created them.
Armenian Cucumbers with Sour Cream, Fried Capers, Shaved Onion, Dill
Eggplant, Pepper, and Tomato Salad (Ikra)
Lamb with a Homemade Azerbaijani Spice Blend and Pomegranate Molasses
Saffron Rice with Potato Kazmag
Herb and Allium Platter with Lavash, Olive, Feta, Pickled Chiles
Almond and Honey Cigars (A Cheat’s Pakhlava), served with Black Tea
Michelle McKenzie is the author of Dandelion & Quince: Exploring the Wide World of Unusual Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs. Her second cookbook, The Modern Larder, is due to arrive in Spring 2019 and will introduce home-cooks to a raft of new, flavor-packed pantry staples -- e.g. shiso, ndjua, Job's Tears, and dozens of others -- and incorporate them into over 200 wholesome recipes. To find out more, visit michellemckenzie.com.