A Cooking Class at Create-a-Cook

February 25, 2009 · 24 comments · Print This Post

in Boston / Massachusetts, Reviews

Create-a-Cook Logo

I actually won something in this year’s Menu for Hope raffle. The item was sponsored by Jo, of Amuse Bouche, who also just happens to be a manager at a local company in Newton called Create-a-Cook. The prize was originally slated to be a cooking party for six friends, but Jo generously offered CK and I the chance to take two of their new adult cooking classes instead of the party if we wanted. Two classes and I didn’t have to try to coordinate six other individuals’ schedules?! Obviously I chose door number two in this scenario.

After examining their upcoming schedule I decided that CK and I would take our classes in Ron Sarni’s Techniques of Italian Cuisine series. The topic for the first course was fundamentals of making pizza and the second class (scheduled for March 16 so there’s still time for you to sign-up) will deal with making fresh pasta. Since my last pasta experiment with ravioli ended with me having a tantrum I think it’s safe to say I could definitely use a few pointers.

Unfortunately, right before CK picked me up at work, I cut my finger trying to open a stubborn Poland Springs water bottle in the office. It was a pretty deep cut so I bandaged myself as best as I could and silently hoped that I wouldn’t end up bleeding all over my pizza. Off to Newton we went, with me whining about my finger the whole way. Things actually started looking up pretty quickly though when we discovered that the Create-a-Cook building was situated in a small plaza with an honest to goodness parking lot. A lot of you are probably thinking, “Huh? What’s so special about a parking lot?” But when you live in a large city parking becomes a sort of obsession and promising events can become total chores when you can’t find anywhere to park your car.

Ron and Gina Prepping the Class

When I entered Create-a-Cook I was immediately greeted by Jo who showed us through their cheerful lobby into our classroom. Along the way I was distracted by theΒ  array of great foodie products and gifts that were on sale in their lobby area. Somehow I managed to contain my inner shop-a-holic, and I was even graciously given a pair of rubber gloves to protect my injured hand (not to mention the pizza) before class began.

Note The Stupid Glove

Due to a last minute cancellation, CK and I ended up having a private cooking class with Ron. After, sampling a few little nibbles of tasty salami, olives, and Asiago cheese, Ron put us both right to work making our own pizza dough. After a thorough kneading process we bagged our dough and set it aside to take home.

Kneading

After working with our dough, Ron walked us through his favorite pizza sauce recipe while telling us great stories about his cooking adventures in Italy and the fabulous brick pizza oven that he has in his backyard. I told CK to make note of that detail for our own imaginary dream house some day.

Puffy Pizza Dough

It turns out that CK and I are pretty competitive with one another. It comes out mostly when we play board games, and now apparently when we cook side-by-side. My dough came out better than his, so I smugly “won” that round. Then I couldn’t peel my potatoes for the leek soup because of the silly bandage on my hand, so he won that game. It went on and on all evening, but all in good-fun.

Pizza Toppings

Ron gave us a lot of great tips while we were making our pizzas. The one that stuck with me the most encouraged us to cook our pizza on a pan that is placed on the bottom rack of the oven. This will give you a more authentic crispy textured crust. We each were allowed to make two pizzas and Ron finished up the night by showing us how to make a dessert pizza that was covered in a topping of Nutella, pears, cinnamon, and sugar. I’m a self-proclaimed hater of all things Nutella, but this combination made me a complete convert – at least when it comes to the pairing of those four ingredients.

Peppers, Mushrooms, and Salami Pizza

A truly unique element of the classes at Create-a-Cook is that you get to take home all of the food you make. In addition, to the cooked pizzas that we made, Ron and his fantastic kitchen helper, Gina, packed up our batches of rosemary infused Potato-Leek soup, homemade tomato sauce, the dough we made in class, and a fabulous salad that we prepped. The salad was comprised of sliced arugula, Granny Smith Apples, pear, cranberries, walnuts, and blue cheese. I’ve been eating it for lunch over the last few days and it sends me right to the ultimate of happy places.

CK's Pepperoni and Basil Pizza

I’m so looking forward to our next class and I hope you’ll consider joining us. I’ve actually taken several cooking classes in the Boston area and my experience at Create-a-Cook is by far the one I’ve enjoyed the most. In addition to their new adult cooking parties and courses, they also offer creative workshops and parties for children. I guarantee you’ll be in good hands.

Nutella Pizza

You can view my complete set of images from our excellent class at Flickr.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Claire February 26, 2009 at 12:32 am

dessert pizza is amazing! I, however, am a huge lover of Nutella. I have never heard about this place – and I from Newton…strange! Perhaps in the future I will look into it..

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2 Monica H February 26, 2009 at 12:52 am

Ooh, that pepperoni and basil pizza is calling my name!

Do you care to share any of the recipes? Please πŸ™‚

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3 Claire February 26, 2009 at 1:33 am

woops….*I AM from Newton… haha that’s what being tired does to you.

p.s. are you baking round pizzas in rectangular pans?

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4 Elyse February 26, 2009 at 2:21 am

Eeek, I’m so sorry about your finger! I was a waitress at this fancy Italian restaurant, and we had to cut bread for the diners. First night waiting there, I totally sliced my thumb open and had to wear one of those gloves!! Yay, I totally empathize with you. But, hey, despite your handicap, you managed to make some AMAZING looking pizza. You have me hungry, and I just finished a big dinner!!

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5 Julia February 26, 2009 at 7:03 am

So good to know about that! Sounds like it was a good experience too!

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6 Diana February 26, 2009 at 7:06 am

Looks like an amazing time! You guys lucked out with a private lesson! Sorry to hear about your finger…you should check out “liquid bandages”…I recently cut mine and they made life easier.

How can you hate Nutella? It’s soooo delicious! Ok ok, it’s not for everyone. πŸ™‚ Giada has a great dessert pizza that uses nutella and chocolate chips…mmm…

πŸ™‚ D

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7 Pam February 26, 2009 at 8:32 am

That looks like such a good time! I’ll definitely check them out!

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8 geeky February 26, 2009 at 9:30 am

Wow, it all sounds so delicious and wonderful! I’m drooling. Can we get the recipe for that nutella pizza? It sounds divine!

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9 Karen @ Mignardise February 26, 2009 at 11:25 am

This sounds like so much fun! Wish I lived just a little closer, then I would definitely join you.
The pizzas look great! Nice job.

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10 Courtney February 26, 2009 at 11:50 am

Looks delicious!

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11 Meg February 26, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Yummy pizzas! That looks like so much fun!

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12 snooky doodle February 26, 2009 at 2:18 pm

what a nice experience !!

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13 Lys February 26, 2009 at 5:56 pm

I agree with Geeky – recipe for the Nutella pizza? Yum! What great pictures and a fab class/post.

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14 Julia February 26, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Hi Erin,

I’m sorry I missed the chance to meet you at the ‘bur event tonight. Hope you enjoyed the event! I actually found your blog through publicradiokitchen.

Happy Blogging!

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15 ttfn300 February 27, 2009 at 9:06 am

Sounds like a great time!
Great to meet you last night πŸ™‚ And now that I know you work by me, let me know if you ever want to meet up!

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16 Kelly February 27, 2009 at 9:59 am

Great meeting you last night. I’m looking forward to continuing to read your blog in the future. Those cooking classes look fantastic. I will have to check the place out. So far I’ve only taken classes here through Brookline Adult Ed & The Cambridge School for Culinary Arts.

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17 carrie February 27, 2009 at 11:29 am

yum. the pictures look amazing.

I won/took a pizza class at johnson and wales down here when I first moved here, and I loved it.

that salad sounds crazy good, too. damn. I’m hungry again!

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18 Kathy - Panini Happy February 27, 2009 at 4:43 pm

What fun (minus the finger incident – ouch!)! Those are some pretty incredible bubbles in the pizza dough. Good to know the tip about positioning the pan near the bottom of the oven – didn’t know that one.

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19 farida February 28, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Looks like you guys had a great time cooking:) Your pizzas looks very tempting. Yum!

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20 Lindsey March 1, 2009 at 2:36 pm

I had no idea this place existed, and I’m always trying to find places to take cooking classes in the Boston area (but of course still haven’t taken any). I’m going to have to look into this place, your pizza looks great!

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21 Lilly March 1, 2009 at 10:36 pm

My God, you take fabulous photos. I can’t believe you made blobs of dough look good. *Jealous*

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22 Shannon L June 26, 2009 at 3:58 pm

we have places similar to this here, they were all the trend about 2 years ago. they were on every block. you went in and cooked your own food with the help of a chef but you made large quantities to be frozen

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