Cooking class

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Last year I gave Keith a cooking class at the Baltimore Chef Shop for the two of us as a Christmas gift. (Given how popular their classes are, I shouldnt even be telling you about this.) It was supposed to be a Couples Cook class making Indian food (which we both love.) Unfortunately, the night we were supposed to take the class brought snow and the class was cancelled. It is so popular that I wasnt able to get us in so we ended up replacing it with a Mexican cooking class which was excellent. (We made Chicken Mole and steak fajitas and we have made it twice since.) But we really wanted to take the Indian class. I stalked the web site and we were able to go recently.

Their classes are really fun. You are working at a table with a few other couples and you divide up the recipes. The teaching chefs are good about doing demos along the way the best way to peel ginger is to use a spoon for example. You can bring a bottle of wine or a six pack of beer per couple and at the end of the class you sit down to enjoy what you have made. (They also have cooking classes for kids. Samantha did a week long baking camp this summer and made all sorts of interesting things.)

In the Indian class we made Chicken Tikka Masala and Saag Paneer (spinach with cheese and we actually made the cheese in class.) We also made Basmati rice, naan, mint chutney and raita. For our home cooking we decided to simplify a little bit. I made the chicken and sauteed Indian style spinach but we skipped the cheese. I also cheated and bought the naan. We were very happy with the result. I made the sauce for the chicken on Saturday and then combined with the chicken on Sunday. Not only did that make it easier (since we played golf today), I also doubled the sauce and will freeze half for a short cut for next time. And we made the rice in our rice cooker.

One of the things they emphasize in class is the importance of mise en place having everything measured, chopped and ready to go before you start cooking. I do that anyway when I cook but with all of the ingredients in these dishes, having all of your prep work done is critical to success. If you have a super helpful 13 year old, it goes even faster!

Chicken Tikka Masala


  • 1 1/2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt
  • Greek yogurt
  • garam masala
  • 1 TB minced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced


  • 2 TB ghee
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 TB minced ginger
  • 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
  • 1 TB tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • pinch saffron
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Cut chicken into 2 inch pieces and put in a bowl of cold water and 2 tsp salt. Brine in fridge for 30 minutes.

Combine yogurt, garam masala, ginger and garlic. Rinse and drain chicken and add to yogurt. Refrigerate until ready to cook.

In a medium saucepan, melt ghee over medium low heat. Add in cumin seeds, garam masala, onions, garlic and ginger. Saute until soft and lightly browned. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, almond flour, brown sugar and cayenne. Cook stirring occasionally over medium low heat. (Sauce mix will sputter and spatter.)

Puree in a blender. (I made to this point and refrigerated overnight.)

Simmer sauce over medium heat and remove chicken from fridge. We used a grill pan lightly oiled to grill the chicken in batches until browned. (It made a mess but it was worth it.) As chicken is cooked, add to saucepan with sauce. When all chicken is in the pan, add saffron and cream and stir. Serve with rice.

Sauteed spinach

  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 bag spinach
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 TB minced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green serrano chili, finely chopped (use plastic gloves, the pepper can get on your fingers and burn if you touch your eyes or face.)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and sautee onion, ginger and pepper for 2 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute another 2 3 minutes. Add spices and stir to combine. Add spinach in batches continually tossing with tongs. When spinach is wilted remove from heat and stir in yogurt.

Here is the finished product:

Indian dinner

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