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Tasty tutelage

Joan Engeseth of Moorhead is what they call a "top dog" over at Moorhead Community Education. She's taken 11 cooking classes since the fall of 2006, a figure she can hardly believe, not to mention all the other classes she's taken in the past 15 ...

Joan Engeseth

Joan Engeseth of Moorhead is what they call a "top dog" over at Moorhead Community Education.

She's taken 11 cooking classes since the fall of 2006, a figure she can hardly believe, not to mention all the other classes she's taken in the past 15 years.

But she sees the results in her cooking at home.

"Definitely I've grown in technique in the kitchen. I think I'm more organized. I can plan for the week or special events coming up," Engeseth says. "It's given me a much larger repertoire of recipes and ideas for company, meals."

Shortly after the winter class catalog came out Jan. 4, Engeseth had circled all the classes she wanted to take.


Cooking classes are the most popular category in Moorhead Community Education's lineup in the fall and winter, says Karen Nitzkorski, program coordinator. That earns them a spot in the front of the seasonal catalog.

When Nitzkorski came on board 10 years ago, she says she began jazzing up the cooking class line-up, including bring them into restaurants.

Like any of their other classes - computer, crafts or personal finance - they're offered because there's a demand in the community, Nitzkorski says.

"People want to learn about different ways to enhance their cooking experience, enhance their skills, make that supper a little more exciting, learn something new," she says.

Bill Shelver of Fargo has also taken several cooking classes from Moorhead Community Education. His background as a chemist and pharmacist has always made him interested in cooking.

"I'm retired now but my wife still works, so that gives me some cooking responsibility," Shelver says. "Even though I don't fulfill them very well, I enjoy trying."

Learning about the culture of the cuisine is almost as much fun as the cooking, Shelver says. He also enjoys the social interaction, with other students and the instructors.

Soizik Laguette, a professor at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, has been teaching French cooking classes for the past few years. She tries to teach some classical French foods, as well as give some basic instruction on how to cook.


The menu for her upcoming class includes tartelettes au saumon et au fenouil (salmon and fennel small pies), poulet sauté chasseur (chicken with mushroom and tomatoes) and ramequins fondants au chocolat, a dessert of melting chocolate ramekins, or pastries.

"I'd hope they bring a little bit of France with them. It's an exchange. I take a lot from America living here, so I enjoy sharing my country with American people," Laguette says.

Engeseth also enjoys the social aspect of the classes. They often serve as a date night for her and her husband.

On a trip to Italy this fall, they brought along hand-outs from one Moorhead Community Education class on how to order in Italian.

"I've gained confidence and ability to try new foods and to try some different things and not to worry if they don't turn out," she says.

Here are a few recipes from cooking classes Engeseth has taken:

Red Wine Bacon Vinaigrette

4 tablespoons cooked bacon, chopped


1 medium shallot, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

Splash of robust red wine (cabernet or merlot)

1 cup salad oil

In a blender, combine bacon, shallots, thyme, mustard and red wine vinegar. Blend briefly until ingredients are combined. With blender running, slowly add salad oil.

Emulsion will take on a "creamy" texture. If desired, heat vinaigrette gently in a pan before serving over salads or meats. Makes 1½ cups.


Recipe from Emulsion Sauces class

Taco Chili

2 pounds lean ground beef or turkey

1 envelope taco seasoning

28 ounces crushed tomatoes, undrained

15 ounces salsa

15 ounces canned corn, undrained

16 ounces kidney beans, undrained


15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed

Sour cream

Shredded cheddar cheese

Tortilla chips

Brown ground beef or turkey. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine taco seasoning, tomatoes, salsa, corn, kidney beans and black beans. Stir to mix. When the ground meat is cooked, drain off any fat, then add it to the bowl of other ingredients and stir to combine.

Freezing directions:

Freeze in freezer bags or rigid containers based on your family size. Seal, label and freeze.

Serving directions:


Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Heat mixture in a saucepan on the stove until it's hot and bubbly. Spoon into bowls. Top each bowl with a spoon of sour cream and sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese. Serve with tortilla chips on the side for scooping. Serves 12.

Recipe from Freezer Friendly Meals class

Chocolate Toffee Bars

1 cup butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

6-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans

Coat 13- by 9-inch pan with nonstick spray. Beat together butter, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla in medium bowl. Mix in flour and salt until well-blended. Press mixture into even layer in prepared pan to form crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until top is golden brown. Immediately sprinkle chocolate pieces over top. Let stand for 5 minutes, spread chocolate with spatula until smooth. Sprinkle with pecans; cool and cut into 1½- by 1½-inch bars.

Recipe from Holiday Bake and Take class


Moorhead Community Education is offering about 30 winter cooking classes from Jan. 22 through March 31. A full list of classes is available at http://communityed.moorhead.k12.mn.us . To register for a class, call (218)284-3400.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5525 Tasty tutelage Sherri Richards 20080116

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