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A culinary class has many advantages 

by Jolene Lamb, community education culinary coordinator, Lincoln Land Community College  

Once a month I share my culinary thoughts and recipes with you via this article. Over the years my articles have spanned topics such holiday meals, mini dessert bars, bread baking, simple snacks, cooking with kids, party cocktails, farm fresh seasonal ingredients and too many others to list. The variety is much like the variety of culinary classes we offer at Lincoln Land Community College as part of our Community Education class offerings. 

Many of us have our go-to recipes and meals we cook often, but variety is greatly needed in order to keep our taste buds excited and keep those we cook for interested in eating our food. 

There are endless resources for discovering new dishes, flavors and cooking techniques including the classic cookbook and the internet blog where you get to read the writer’s entire life story along with step-by-step photos and eventually, after scrolling for what feels like forever, the recipe. 

There are thousands of short videos from social media chefs with their kitchen hacks, and of course the many popular cooking and competition shows. And finally, there is our weekly Epicuriosity 101 article like the one you’re reading. With so much content out there, people ask, “Why should I take a cooking class?”  My short answer is, because they are fun, creative and educational, and we do the dishes for you!  

Our hands-on classes offer you the whole experience of learning about the ingredients, practicing the techniques hands-on, having a chef guide you and answer your questions, and tasting of the food you prepare. All that, along with the comradery of cooking with others in a group, having the shopping and set up done for you, taking leftovers home and no mess for you to clean up or dishes for you to do after class. No cooking show, internet video or blog can offer all that. Our classes are all about the experience, and we have a variety of offerings suitable for the novice cook to the experienced home chef.  

Here's a glimpse of what we have coming up. Explore international cuisine, cook entire meals on a sheet pan, mix up cocktails, bake homemade pop tarts, grill up slider burgers while sipping on a liquor infused milkshake, transform one simple ingredient into five different dishes. We even have youth-themed classes designed for young chefs. Don’t forget to check out plant-based meals. As Jay Kitterman mentioned in his column last week, the plant-based food trend is one we are watching this year. Not sure where to start? Take a knife skills class. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your cooking and baking questions. We like to educate the community about all things culinary, it’s in our name! We are passionate about food and want to share it with you. I’ll leave you with a few recipes from our classes over the years. And hopefully I’ll see you soon in one of our classes! Enjoy!

Cold Soba-Noodle Salad With Chicken, Peppers and Cucumber

Serves 6


*Coarse salt and ground pepper
*8 ounces soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles)
*2 tablespoons vegetable oil
*1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
*2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges, for serving
*2 tablespoons rice vinegar
*2 bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), thinly sliced
*1 cup torn fresh basil leaves
*1 English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
*1 rotisserie chicken, skin and bones removed, meat shredded (about 4 cups)


In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook noodles until al dente; drain, and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together oils, lime juice, and vinegar; season dressing with salt and pepper to taste.

Add bell peppers, basil, cucumber, chicken, and noodles to bowl; toss with dressing. Serve noodle salad with lime wedges.

Patatas Bravas  

Serves 4

Bravas sauce:

*3 ripe tomatoes
*2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*1 teaspoon sugar
*1 bay leaf
*½ tsp pimento
*1 pinch cayenne
*1 tsp sherry vinegar
*Salt and pepper to taste


2 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 in cubes
2 tbsps. aioli (1 egg, 1 cup olive oil, 1 lg garlic clove, 1 tsp sherry vinegar, salt.  With a stick blender blend all, slowly incorporating olive oil)
2 tsp chopped parsley

For the sauce

Heat olive oil over low, chop tomatoes, add everything except vinegar and salt and cook to a deep red color, season with the vinegar and salt to taste

For the potatoes

Boil the potatoes until just tender, freeze them.  Fry at 350 until crisp.  Drizzle with the bravas sauce and aioli, garnish with parsley

Zuppa Tuscana

Serves 6


*1 pound Italian sausage (spicy) 
*5 russet potatoes, scrubbed clean, un-peeled and cut into large, bite-sized cubes 
*1 onion, small chop 
*2 tablespoons garlic, minced fine 
*32 ounces chicken broth 
*1/2 bunch kale (or swiss chard), de-stemmed and cut/torn into bite-sized pieces 
*1 cup heavy whipping cream 
*2 tablespoons flour 
*Salt and pepper to taste 
*Cayenne pepper to taste 
*1/4 cup bacon, cooked and chopped 


Brown sausage links in a sauté pan.
Cut links in half lengthwise, then cut slices.
Place sausage, chicken broth, garlic, potatoes and onion in slow cooker. Add just enough water to cover the vegetables and meat.
Cook on high 3-4 hours (low 5-6 hours) until potatoes are soft.

30 minutes before serving:

Mix flour into cream removing lumps.
Add cream and kale to the crock pot, stir.
Cook on high 30 minutes or until broth thickens slightly.
Add salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste.
Top with bacon immediately before serving


Lincoln Land Community College offers credit programs in Culinary Arts, Hospitality Management and Baking/Pastry, and non-credit cooking and food classes through LLCC Community Education.

Cooking or food questions? Email