Cooking in the Great Outdoors!

It’s been a whirlwind few months around the Co-op, and we’re so excited to be able to safely offer outdoor class programming to our community again! We’ve teamed up with the Intervale Center to schedule a series of outdoor cooking classes that allow for space and fresh air in a beautiful setting. With a variety of policies and procedures in place for our community’s wellbeing—smaller class sizes, a face covering requirement, and socially distanced workstations—we’re chopping, dicing, and grilling our way to new summer favorites.

We kicked off our July programming with instructor Melissa Pasanen, who taught us how to “Eat Without Heat”. The summer’s multiple heat waves have already reduced my desire to turn on the oven or stove in my tiny apartment, so this class was right up my alley! She showed us all how tiny pasta like couscous can be “cooked” with nothing more that hot tap water and some plastic wrap over the bowl, a lifesaver when the thought of boiling water on the stove is just too much. We scooped out the seedy insides of some beautiful local tomatoes from Singing Cedars Farmstead, saving the insides to turn into a light, refreshing blender gazpacho. Melissa whipped up a filling with canned salmon, diced cucumber, curry powder, and our “cooked” couscous for students to stuff into the hollowed tomatoes. Not a fan of fish? Mashed chickpeas are another easy, filling protein option! Melissa has recently released The Little Local Vermont Cookbook: Recipes for Classic Dishes, so be sure to snag a copy to read about some fantastic local favorites!

The following week, we held the next installment of our Backcountry Cooking series with Outdoor Gear Exchange. Gas-fired camp stoves can seem somewhat intimidating (I know they are to me!), but Amy deftly showed participants how to set up, prime, and light the tiny stoves with ease.

We boiled water to cook rice noodles and chopped local veggies into long matchsticks for tucking into delicate spring roll wrappers. Local fresh herbs from Red Wagon Plants, like mint and Thai basil, completed the perfect flavor combination. The rolls were light, but filling, the perfect meal when it’s hot and humid. Amy will be back to teach another backpacking recipe with us again at the end of August, so make sure to sign up here! 

We also held a class on Vegetarian Grilling with Abby and Emily Portman, founders of Poppy Café & Market (opening soon in the Old North End). As the smoke of the charcoal wafted through the air on a light breeze, the sisters discussed how vegetables are often overlooked in favor of meat-heavy grilling favorites. We enjoyed grilled zucchini over a lemony Maplebrook ricotta base showered with fresh herbs and toasted walnuts, and esquites salad made with local corn, feta cheese, and herbs. 

Carefully grating only the juicy insides of local heirloom tomatoes and discarding the skins intact, we spooned the result over grilled local bread from Red Hen Baking rubbed with fresh garlic, and topped it with shreds of fresh basil from Pomykala Farm for a fresh, easy treat called pan con tomate.

If these descriptions are tickling your taste buds, we’d love to have you join us at one of our future classes! Please visit our Class Calendar page to learn more about what we have planned for the future, and e-mail  with any questions.