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A Sicilian Cooking Class: Comfort Food For Everyone

Last month I traveled to Cleveland to teach a cooking class for a group of young women, some of whom I met nearly ten years ago when I lived there. It was a nice blend of catching up with how everyone’s lives have evolved, as well as meeting some new friends who I hope to meet again.

I was asked to come and teach a class on Sicilian cooking, something the ladies had chosen collectively as a cuisine they wanted to learn more about. I set up the kitchen with some Sicilian pantry goods like candies and dried fruits and opened up our class with a short lesson on the geographic location of this Mediterranean island where my grandparents were born, raised and lived until they emigrated to America in the 1950s.

The plan was to make a pretty ambitious menu where everyone would be hands-on putting together the following dishes: Roasted Pepper Salad, Mostaccioli, Herb-Stuffed Roasted Chicken, and Tiramisu for Dessert.

We started with some really great ingredients: plenty of dried spices, Italian lady finger cookies, kitchen twine to tie the chicken, and my favorite tomato sauce, Pomi.  A garlic press was a must when making our homemade tomato sauce for the mostaccioli.

The kitchen was nice and big for all of us to fit comfortably, masha’allah. Everyone got their own station and tools, too.

I set up my spices in these cute ceramic mini tagines. Don’t you love them?

Roasting peppers to make the Sicilian Roasted Pepper Salad was one of the first things we did to get the class going. The smell was amazing!

The ladies worked in groups to do everything from making an herbed-butter to stuffing the chicken before roasting. They were such a great bunch to work with.

Masha’allah, these Crescent chickens looked beautiful before they were even cooked!

Homemade tomato sauce for the mostaccioli dish was something everyone pitched in to make after learning the most important basics.

Below is a picture of the ostaccioli before going into the oven to melt all that cheese into one large, unbelievably delicious entree that can feed a lot of people…

Last, but certainly not least came the preparation of tiramisu, Sicily’s classic dessert- this one topped with chocolate and cinnamon.

That’s just a glimpse into one of my cooking classes. If you’d like an in-home cooking class or a cooking demonstration for your community, school, or organization, check out this page for more details or contact me with your requests. I can’t wait to cook with you!

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