October 2020 eNewsletter
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We would like to thank all of our Culinaria friends for your continuous support during these fall and winter months. We are very grateful for your sincere concern and your understanding as we have reorganized our scheduled classes.

During this time of social distancing and businesses shutting down due to the COVID pandemic, Culinaria has been working to bring the cooking world to its wonderful students.  With the holiday season quickly approaching, it is time to think about what to cook for those special dinners.  Culinaria has now listed on-line ZOOM classes on multiple topics, multiple cuisines, and techniques and tips for you to enjoy.  We will be listing the ZOOM classes on the website and once our students have signed on, we will e-mail both the recipes and food list, plus the ZOOM credentials to take the class.  
I sincerely hope this is something our students will be interested in, and while it is very different for our normal in-school classes, our instructors will be teaching, answering questions, and taking you through a cooking class virtually.  
Culinaria is also teaching mini camps/events at the school.  We have limited the class size to 6 students, unless all the members are from the same family, or pod, then we can accommodate up to 8/10 people.  Our goal is to maintain the appropriate social distancing guidelines and safety protocols for both the students and the staff.  Anyone interested in these group classes should call the school (703-865-7920) and speak to Sherry, our Office Manager.

See you in class soon!
Stephen, Pete & The Culinaria Cooking School Team

By: Ellen Wulchin

After my 3 kids left home and it was just my husband and me, I remember thinking and saying out loud, "I don't have enough people to cook for in my house now." I was always giving food to the neighbors or eating leftovers for days. So, in March, when COVID hit hard and my daughter returned from college and my niece, her fiancé and their 2 toddlers came to stay in my house to quarantine, I was excited that I had people to cook for again! Little did I know that I would be cooking almost every day for 7 people for the next 4 ½ months!
I immediately went into my office and rifled through the stack of recipes that I wanted to try. The recipes were from newspapers, magazines, Culinaria classes, copied from cookbooks and handwritten from different food ideas that ran through my head. I also relied on some old family stand-by recipes like my dad's Barbecued Chicken; Spaghetti Sauce like my Italian mother-in-law makes; and celebration foods that my mom made such as Bunny Cake for Easter 
For a long stretch of time, we had a weekly pizza night where I experimented using different crust recipes and different cooking methods. To my family's annoyance, I would pepper them with questions about which one they liked best, which topping, or why didn't I do it this way? I managed no repeat dinner menus for about 2 months straight. I was proud of that accomplishment, and boy was I having fun!
I baked and baked and baked some more. I made English muffins that were great! I made blueberry muffins for the 2 toddlers and then my niece got inspired. She became a blueberry muffin baking fiend. I was always on the hunt for a new banana bread recipe because you do go through a lot of bananas with that many people. I found one that was sweetened with dates and 2 that were over the top with chocolate. We had our fair share of birthday cakes too. My favorite was the one I made for myself. Yes, I made if for myself because I love birthday cake. It was frosted with browned butter chocolate caramel buttercream. It was definitely a happy birthday after eating that. 
Since my kids are older, it was fun to watch the two littlest of the quarantine team discover new foods. I always knew dinner would be a success if I had edamame or homemade mac and cheese on the table. Overnight oatmeal with ginger, cinnamon and dried cherries was a hit for breakfast with the youngest. Planting lettuce with the older one and then serving it up for dinner a month later was a real lesson for him. I made some lemon scented Italian donuts dusted with sugar. The kids licked off all the sugar and left the donut! They had no idea the time and energy that went into a fresh homemade donut. For me, that was okay because I enjoyed the warm donuts enough for the all of us. 
There were times when the endless grocery list was overwhelming. I mean really, how many pounds of strawberries can a 2 and 1 year old eat in a week? The answer is a lot! I was pretty darn tired when I went to sleep at night. But, after a good night's sleep and cooking something new and hearing the toddler say "This is really good Ellen!", was all I needed to hear to fuel my fire and make me dive back into my recipe pile the next day.
Overall, the experience reinforced my belief that cooking is really a life skill. Being able to open your pantry and freezer and figure out how to feed yourself and your family is pretty important. I hope COVID quarantine inspired people to cook and reconnect at mealtime while enjoying some tasty new recipes

Lemon Scented Doughnuts
By: Chef Ellen Wulchin
Makes 12 donuts
2          tsp.         dry yeast
¼         cup.        milk, slightly warmed
1½       cups.       potatoes, peeled, cooked soft,                                mashed fine, or put through a                                ricer
1          lrg.          egg
1          tsp.         vanilla extract
2          TBSP.     unsalted butter, room temp. 
1¾       cup.         all-purpose flour
¼         cup.         granulated sugar
1          - - -          lemon, zested
½         tsp.          salt
3          cups.       vegetable or canola oil, for                                    frying
2          cups        granulated sugar - can add                                      cinnamon if  you want
1.     Mix the yeast and warm milk in a small container and set aside for 10 minutes or until you see small bubbles forming on the surface.  In a medium bowl, combine the potatoes, egg, vanilla and butter
2.     In a bowl of a standing mixer, using the dough hook, add the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest and combine on low speed. Slowly pour in the milk with yeast.
3.     Add the potato mixture and combine. Increase the speed and knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes until it starts to wrap lightly around the dough hook and come off the sides of the mixer bowl. Or turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead by hand for 7-10 minutes. The dough should be soft, but not sticky. 

NOTE: If the dough is too sticky add another ¼ cup of flour, a tablespoon at a time, and continue kneading until dough is smooth and not sticky. 
4.     Transfer the dough into a large clean bowl, cover and let it rise in a warm, draft free place until double in bulk. It will take between 1 to 2 hours at 75-80 °F. It will take much longer in a cooler place.
5.     Turn the dough onto a lightly floured, clean work surface. Lightly work the dough and divide into 12 equal portions, a scale can be very handy for this purpose. Take each dough portion and roll into a rope, then pinch the ends together for form a circle. Or, if you have a doughnut cutter, you can roll the dough out ⅓ - ¼ inch thickness and cut. Place the doughnuts on a parchment lined baking sheet that has been dusted with flour. Cover with a piece of plastic sprayed with cooking spray or a flour dusted kitchen towel. Let rise for 1 hour. 
6.     In a deep pan preheat the vegetable oil to 350 °F, using a thermometer really helps in the frying process. Once the oil has heated, gently drop in 3-4 donuts at a time and cook about 2 minutes on each side. They should be golden brown. Remove from oil onto a paper towel lined plate. 
7.     Quickly dip in the granulated sugar and      enjoy! They are best served while warm. 
NOTE:  If you would like to have the doughnuts fresh in the morning, place the cut doughnuts in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, remove from fridge and bring to room temperature, which takes about an hour, and then fry.

Culinaria Cooking School is a recreational cooking school located in the heart of Vienna, VA. Our trained chefs and instructors are committed to teaching the fundamentals of cooking in a fun, no-pressure environment. Classes are available in both participation and demonstration formats and cover a range of topics including basic techniques, knife skills, baking, regional and ethnic cuisine, healthy dining, couples cooking, kids & teens and wine & food.

To learn more, visit us at www.culinariacookingschool.com.
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