From Farm to Table Cooking Class

market district robinson farm to table | almost getting it together

I’m fortunate enough to live really close to a really nice grocery store. I actually remember when my dad first moved back to Pittsburgh and began shopping at the Market District in Robinson. “You should see this place! They have house made ice cream and all this fancy bread and cheese and everything you can imagine.” Okay, that might not be what he said… but I distinctively remember house made ice cream (well, it’s gelato, but whatever).

My love of baking was apparent early in my life. My mother was never a baker, not having the patience to measure things out – she was more “throw things together and ultimately it’s delicious”. She liked the art of cooking, not the science of baking. I latched on to the opposite until a couple years ago when I finally became confident enough in the kitchen to begin cooking/baking from recipes I created myself.

I really started cooking between my sophomore and junior years of college. I had went vegetarian my last few months in Asia (I had decided that the carbon footprint from eating meat was too big and that I had tried every type of meat there was to try) so when I came home, vegetarian options in Morgantown, West Virginia were limited. Thus, I began cooking and never really stopped.

Back to Market District: They have a cooking school and have classes just about every day. I took a cake decorating class last spring and have been wanting to take another class but hadn’t had a chance. The Farm to Table cooking class fell on a weekend that I was actually home and was right up my alley.

market district robinson farm to table | almost getting it together

Local dinner!

The class was led by Chef Alex and assisted by Chef Angela. The class began with a short talk on why we should focus on eating local (within 20 miles of where we live) and why genetically modified food is bad.

  • Ever noticed the difference between organic baby carrots and conventional (I sound like Whole Foods signage) carrots? Non-organic food is gas-ripened and has added hormones and pesticides which effect the taste and the nutrient levels.
  • Eating fermented foods and taking a probiotic is so necessary these days because of all the extra antibiotics we consume everyday from produce and meat that has been genetically modified. (My doctor actually has me on a prescribed probiotic every day and I eat Greek yogurt like it’s going out of style.) Our bodies are building up resistances to antibiotics because of what we eat.
  • Farm fresh eggs are best. (I had farm fresh eggs every morning in Nicaragua and they were AMAZING.) Eggs on the shelf at the grocery store were likely laid 6-9 months ago!
  • Fast food and chain restaurants use genetically modified foods so besides being terrible taste wise, they are terrible quality wise, too. (I think the seafood at Red Lobster comes from China? Ew.)

Chef Alex put together an insanely delicious menu based on what was local and in season. Here is what we cooked (and ate!):

Fresh Fig, Feta and Mint Salad

fresh fig, mint and feta salad | almost getting it together

Fresh fig, feta and mint salad with orange-infused olive oil and chocolate balsamic.

The chocolate balsamic was made by melting a dark chocolate bar from Sarris Candies into balsamic dressing.

Local Goat Tacos with Blush Radish Slaw & Whipped Avocado Spread

Local Goat Tacos with Blush Radish Slaw & Whipped Avocado Spread | almost getting it together

Sear the goat before roasting it.

Local Goat Tacos with Blush Radish Slaw & Whipped Avocado Spread | almost getting it together

The finished roast goat – roast with thyme, crushed red pepper, garlic, vinegar, oil, ancho chili powder, bay leaves, salt and pepper.

Local Goat Tacos with Blush Radish Slaw & Whipped Avocado Spread | almost getting it together

Blush Radish Slaw – pink radishes, red cabbage, red onion, blush raspberry vinegar, sugar, salt & pepper.

Local Goat Tacos with Blush Radish Slaw & Whipped Avocado Spread | almost getting it together

Whipped Avocado Spread – avocados, cilantro, lime, heavy cream and salt and pepper.

Local Goat Tacos with Blush Radish Slaw & Whipped Avocado Spread | almost getting it together

Goat taco bar.

Local Summer Vegetable Tian

market district robinson farm to table | almost getting it together

Also learned some great knife skills during this class!

market district robinson farm to table | almost getting it together

Vegetable preparation in progress.

Vegetable Tian market district robinson farm to table | almost getting it together

Tian pre-brie.

Vegetable Tian market district robinson farm to table | almost getting it together

The only photo of the vegetable tian because we ran out of time before it was finished. Summer squash, zucchini, yukon gold potatoes, garlic, onion, thyme and topped with double-cream brie cheese.

Local Roasted Stuffed Tomatos with Local Lamb

stuffed tomatoes market district robinson farm to table | almost getting it together

Tomato filling – zucchini, roast corn, red onion, basil, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, ground lamb, garlic, salt, pepper and seasoned bread crumbs.

stuffed tomatoes market district robinson farm to table | almost getting it together

My hollowed-out tomato.

stuffed tomatoes market district robinson farm to table | almost getting it together

Tomatos stuffed and topped with zucchini.

stuffed tomatoes market district robinson farm to table | almost getting it together

Roasted Stuffed Tomato with Local Lamb.

Local Honey Vanilla Mint Ice Cream in an Easy Butter Pie Crust with Local Fathead’s Bumbleberry Topping

Local Honey Vanilla Mint Ice Cream in an Easy Butter Pie Crust with Local Fathead's Bumbleberry Topping |almost getting it together

Whisking the eggs into the cream.

Local Honey Vanilla Mint Ice Cream in an Easy Butter Pie Crust with Local Fathead's Bumbleberry Topping |almost getting it together

The ice cream churning.

Easy Butter Pie Crust with Local Fathead's Bumbleberry Topping |almost getting it together

Chef Alex began her culinary career making her famous pie crusts in Vermont.

Easy Butter Pie Crust with Local Fathead's Bumbleberry Topping |almost getting it together

Rolling out the dough.

Easy Butter Pie Crust with Local Fathead's Bumbleberry Topping |almost getting it together

My finished pie crust.

Local Honey Vanilla Mint Ice Cream in an Easy Butter Pie Crust with Local Fathead's Bumbleberry Topping |almost getting it together

Blind bake pie crusts so they don’t shrink by stuffing them with rice or beans in aluminum foil while baking.

Dehydrated edible flowers | almost getting it together

How to dehydrate edible flowers: Whisk an egg white until foamy then coat flour in foamy egg. Sprinkle with sugar and bake at 150F.

Dehydrated edible flowers | almost getting it together

Dehydrated edible flowers.

Local Fathead's Bumbleberry Topping |almost getting it together

Creating the berry reduction.

Local Honey Vanilla Mint Ice Cream in an Easy Butter Pie Crust with Local Fathead's Bumbleberry Topping |almost getting it together

The star of the show.

Disclaimer: I was invited to take this class for free but was not monetarily compensated in any way to attend or write this post. All opinions are my own.

Chat with me:
How do you feel about farm to table or genetically modified food? Do you eat at fast food/chain restaurants? Have you ever taken a cooking class?

28 comments on “From Farm to Table Cooking Class

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Jessie on August 13, 2014 7:25 am

What a cool class. I’ve always wanted to take a cooking class myself, but just never found the time. Looks like you were able to learn some awesome new recipes. I love the stuffed tomato one with lamb. It looks really filling & good!
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Susie @ Suzlyfe on August 13, 2014 7:48 am

THIS IS MAGICAL. Wow. Simply incredible. I want one of everything, please and thank you, and I want it with local ingredients. Such a treat!
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Sam @ Better With Sprinkles on August 13, 2014 8:21 am

I really need to find me one of these cooking classes – they just look so fun! And I’ll eat fast food if absolutely necessary, but obviously it’s not my first choice!
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Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean on August 13, 2014 8:44 am

oh my gosh, this looks like so much fun! doing something like this has been on my to do list for a while now. i need to get on it!
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Liz @ I Heart Vegetables on August 13, 2014 10:06 am

My goodness everything looks so delicious! We’ve been buying a lot more local/organic food and I really can tell the difference.

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Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon on August 13, 2014 10:09 am

This looks amazing! I want a bite of all of those courses. It’ so fun to learn from experts and be a guest in someone else’s kitchen – so many new ideas and tasty things you forget to buy yourself!
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Davida @ The Healthy Maven on August 13, 2014 10:13 am

Dude this looks unreal!!! Invite me next time!
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Caitlin on August 13, 2014 10:24 am

Holy yum lady! I had no idea market district gave cooking classes! I should look into those haha. Love the idea of a cake decorating class and anything that teaches me to make food like that would be a win in both Joe’s and my book ;)
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Julie @ Running in a Skirt on August 13, 2014 10:45 am

Wow. What an inspiring class! This makes me want to whip up all sorts of delishishness for dinner tonight.
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Jenny on August 13, 2014 12:17 pm

While I was in Lake Tahoe, I got to attend a 4-course farm-to-table meal that was absolutely incredible. I’ve never tasted heirloom tomatoes so delicious. It was definitely my favorite part of the trips, and I plan on making way more stops at our Farmer’s Market each week.

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Emily @ Zen & Spice on August 13, 2014 1:01 pm

The zucchini and potato bake looks amazing! I totally want to try to make something like that! I wish we had more local farms and grocery stores around where I live.
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Erin @ The Almond Eater on August 13, 2014 1:18 pm

Ahhh so fun! I didn’t know they had cooking classes (what do I know). Learn something new every day I guess..
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Diana @sosmallsostrong on August 13, 2014 1:49 pm

This looks so lovely! I’m going to look into one of these classes. The food looks amazing, especially the dessert.
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Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on August 13, 2014 1:51 pm

This looks awesome! I really need to find a cooking class.
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Alex Caspero MA,RD (@delishknowledge) on August 13, 2014 2:03 pm

That vegetable tian looks amazing! I am always looking for zucchini recipes! Cooking classes of any kind are so fun but all of these dishes look delicious and not too complicated!
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Amy Cercone on August 13, 2014 2:37 pm

Love this post! So into the Farm to Table movement. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience several farm to table restaurants in several different cities (#MIA #PDX and LAS are my favorites!) and this class looks like it was amazing! I’d love to take one of these! Great pics!

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GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth on August 13, 2014 2:48 pm

I’d love to go to a cooking class! I just found out that one of the grocery stores near me offers a couple and I’m signing up to do a few next semester. So exciting :D
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Rachael@AnAvocadoADay on August 13, 2014 3:16 pm

What a cool class! Everything looks so delicious!
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Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl on August 13, 2014 3:24 pm

Loved this post and seeing all the pictures! Farm to table is something I’m super into so glad I came across this!

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Farrah on August 13, 2014 3:49 pm

That’s awesome! I’d love to find a class like this somewhere around me. The food looks amazing (especially that ice-cream-in-a-pie *-*)!
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Annmarie on August 13, 2014 5:22 pm

This farm to table cooking class looks amazing! We have nothing like that where I live but is something I would love to do! All those dishes look absolutely delicious!
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Cassie on August 15, 2014 8:45 am

They were so good! I’m so glad I got to take home left overs :)

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Amanda @ .running with spoons. on August 13, 2014 7:04 pm

Un.REAL! That cooking class seriously looks amazing. I’ve never taken one before, but it’s something that I’d love to do. Not gonna lie, though… I’d kind of prefer if it was a baking class, seeing as my sweet tooth is basically off the charts :mrgreen:
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Matt @ Runner Savvy on August 13, 2014 8:09 pm

Oh this looks fun!
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GiGi Eats on August 14, 2014 12:27 am

SERIOUSLY LEGIT cooking class! I wish I could take cooking classes but I have food allergies to pretty much EVERYTHING so I would not be able to eat much, thus it would be kind of a waste of money! FAIL! lol
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Cassie on August 15, 2014 8:44 am

You should try and look for one that caters to allergies, I’m sure they exist!

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Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut on August 14, 2014 10:10 am

Wow. I need to find one of these classes! I am AWFUL at cooking seasonally and locally for that matter.

I’m like you, I was always more of a baker than a cook! I’m pretty sure 90% of my recipes on the blog are cookies haha.
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Arman @ thebigmansworld on August 16, 2014 5:27 am

This looks like such a fun foodie event- what a great way to ascertain knowledge and the root of the food (pun intended!)
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