HANSON — The secret to cooking lies in two words — don’t stress.
Chef Bernard Kinsella of Good Life Kitchen cooking school and catering operation, 433 Washington St., Norwell, brought his class to the Hanson Public Library on Saturday, March 7.
He demonstrated a full meal from Israeli couscous salad to chicken meatballs with roasted tomato sauce and crostini to apple strudel for dessert, while reviewing knife techniques and meal planning before concluding with a sampling.
“We do 98-percent hands-on classes,” Kinsella said. “There are a couple of different demos that we do, which are chef’s tables.”
He reviewed the cooking technique for couscous, one-to-one measures of salted water and couscous, stirred together after the water boils. The pot is then covered and removed from the heat to sit for a few minutes to absorb the water before being fluffed with a fork.
Proper cutting techniques for vegetables as well as planning multiple meals each week for the most economical use of vegetables, such as peppers, that can be expensive.
“What am I making today? … and then, what can I prep for tomorrow?” he said. “You don’t want to put [a cut pepper] in a plastic bag and throw it in the fridge.”
Finding a forgotten pepper in the back of the refrigerator at the end of the week is a sad waste of money, he explained. Cutting another portion of the leftover pepper in thin slices prepares it for stir-fry another night and in chunks makes it ready for kabobs another night.
“Try to change your cooking habits and get comfortable with what you’re going to do with your ingredients,” he said. “You have to think it through.”
Proper cutting techniques for onions, tomatoes, baguettes of bread and apples were also demonstrated.
Kinsella also discussed the best way to sharpen knives — don’t do it yourself.
“You ought to make sure your knives are sharp,” he said, suggested one wrap it in a kitchen towel to the grocery store meat department. “Then you say, ‘I’m shopping, can you sharpen my knife?’ and nine out of 10 people will do it for you.”