Cooking Classes Category

Canning 101: Strawberries

Thursday May 26th 6pm-7:30pm. Join Becky Calvert for this Hot Water Bath canning class. She will show you all that you will need to know to start canning you own Strawberry Jam. Just in time for Strawberry season!! $40 per person. Beverages included. Please call The Happy Cook at 434-977-2665 to reserve your spot.

Japanese Cooking Class: Tensoba (Tempura Soba)

Thursday May 12th 6pm-7:30pm. Come and join Ereina Avery as she shows us how to prepare Tensoba,(Tempura Soba). She will deep-fry shrimp, eggplant and green pepper in a light & crunchy batter. They will be served with soba noodles in a savory soy broth. This will be a very fun and delicious class. $40 per person. Beverages included.

Local Commons Volume 3 Meet the Chefs

Tuesday May 3 from 4-6pm. Come and meet the Chefs of The Local Commons Book and pick up a copy of Volume 3 hot off the presses. Chefs Melissa Close-Hart, Christian Kelly, Lu-Mei Chang and Mahabuba will all be here with samples of their delicious food. Gearharts fine Chocolates as well as Cardinal Point Winery will be here too! ! This is a FREE Event. Please RSVP  at The Happy Cook 434-977-2665 so we know you’re coming.

Bengali-Indian Cooking Class

Great cooking class this week with Tuno and Mahabuba! They taught about Bengali-Indian spices and featured several traditional courses. The menu included Darjeeling Cha Tea, Narkeler Dudh Bhat (Rice with Coconut Milk), Moong Lentil Curry with Cauliflower and select veggies, and a Spiced Sour Red Lentil Soup with Mango.  It was a busy one and a half hour class! 🙂

For more information regarding our cooking classes, “like” our Facebook page, check the ever-updated calendar on our website, or join our email newsletter list. Our classes feature all kinds of cooking; from Vegan cooking to Chocolate making. Come join us!





Spiralizer Vegan Style

We hosted a wonderful Vegan cooking class last night with local health coach Nancy Bond of Eat Heal Glow.  She used one of our most popular products, The Spiralizer, to make vegan Mediterranean Pasta and Sweet Potato Fries. The delicious menu also included Apple Berry Parfait with Coconut Chia Cream.  Everything was tasty and we sampled fresh veggie pasta within minutes!


This was the first time Nancy Bond had taught at The Happy Cook and we hope to offer many more classes with her! (Check out our website or Facebook page to view our current class schedule.) Below, we have posted her recipe for Sweet Potato Fries that we sampled during class. Nancy shared with us that eating just 1 up of sweet potato per week can decrease your cancer risk by 40%!

The Spiralizer  has three different blades that can make spaghetti, ribbon strands, curly fries or long, spiral strands in a matter of seconds.


“Spiral-ized Sweet Potatoes Fries”


1 large sweet potato spiralized with blade of choice

1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil

Pink Himalayan sea salt

Chili Powder


Dipping Sauce:

¼ cup vegan mayo or sour cream

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

Sea salt

1 teaspoon ume-vinegar

Hot sauce to taste



Preheat oven to 415F

Line a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and lightly spray with oil. Drizzle with a little melted coconut oil or olive oil and sprinkle with salt and chili powder. Bake for 25-30 minutes turning every 10 minutes until nicely browned. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with dipping sauce or ketchup.



Fabrizia Lanza

Signing and Demo with Fabrizia Lanza

Tuesday, November 12th, 6pm to 7pm

*Free Event – Please call to reserve a seat – (434) 977-2665 *

The Happy Cook and Apeiron Travel by Steve Deupree are excited to bring you this exclusive event.  Join us for a demonstration and cookbook signing by Fabrizia Lanza from the Case Vecchie cooking school in Sclafani Bagni, Sicily.   For Fabrizia cooking was always a passion and a great pleasure; now, at the cooking school created by her mother, Anna Tasca Lanza in 1989, cooking has become a profession.  Their cooking school has hosted culinary stars and food advocates such as Alice Waters, Jamie Oliver and Julia Child.
Fabrizia has been involved in the food and wine world since when she was a child. In food she has found an amazing key with which to interpret the history of her family, which brings together two Sicilies both complementary and quite different: the value of country cooking, the soups, the vegetables, homemade biscuits, blancmange; and the value of an opulent cuisine made of gateaux, vol-au-vent, koulibiak, profiterolles, soufflés, obviously of French inspiration and imported to Palermo by the Bourbons at the beginning of the 19th century.

Canning 101 with Becky Calvert

Some items Becky brought it to share with the class

Canning has always been something I’ve been interested in learning about, but was always a bit afraid of because of the feeling that it was overly complicated and difficult. But after last night’s class at The Happy Cook, where Becky Calvert introduced canning to about 20 or so people, I feel much more comfortable trying it, and can’t wait to get started later this summer.

Books about canning abound, and Food in Jars is one I will pick up right away.

There are a lot of books about canning, and Becky brought a few of her own stash to share with the class last night, and “Food in Jars” (which is also a blog) looked like a beautiful introduction to the art that conjures up images of our grandmothers from the past “putting up” large quantities of fruits and veggies for the long winter ahead.  Canning got it’s start back in the late 1700’s when in 1795 the French Military “offered a cash prize of 12,000 francs for a new method to preserve food,” and Nicolas Appert, a French Chef and confectioner succeeding in storing soups, vegetables, juices, dairy products, jellies, jams, by placing the food in glass jars, sealed them with cork and sealing wax and placed them into boiling water.

Strawberries for jam were on the menu last night.

In order to demonstrate just how simple canning can be, Becky brought in some strawberries, and started by cutting them in quarters and heating them with some sugar.  Each participant received a hand out with recipes, and was able to follow along as the strawberries reduced and Becky explained the different tools necessary for canning, and the folks at The Happy Cook had a bunch of beginner kits and other tools available for sale as well.

Becky speaking to a full house at The Happy Cook last night.

The important part about canning, I learned yesterday, is that everything has to be clean and sterile, and after that as long as you follow a few simple rules about time and temperature you won’t have any trouble, and you can “can” just about anything. Becky brought it some  Curried Pickled Squash that she had from last year that tasted wonderful, and pickled peaches that were delicious.

The different in jars is somewhat personal

Becky, a self described “Jar Geek,” had a number of different canning jars on display and explained the benefits and differences of the various designs.  Ultimately, though it comes down to a personal preference, and most any jar on the market is going to work well as long as you can get a good seal between the lid and the jar. The jars and rings are reusable but the lids are not, which was news to me, and you can get plenty of them at The Happy Cook.

The funnel prevents the food from getting on the edge of the jar, and helps with the seal.

Filling the jar to the first line leaves just enough space at the top.

After filling the jars with the reduced strawberry and sugar mixture, lids were put on top of the jars and finger tightened with rings, and then placed into a large pot of water that was almost boiling. An important aspect of the canning process is that the jars can not be touching the pan bottom, and there must be a trivet in the bottom of the pan, or you can purchase a specific pan that has a jar holder built into it. There needs to be ample room for each jar (about an inch around each side) so the bigger pot you have the more you can can at a time.

Becky pulling out the jars after they had been boiling for ten minutes

The final part is simply waiting for the water in your pot to come to a boil, and then to allow it to continue for the prescribed amount of time, in this case ten minutes for the strawberry jam.  Becky answered a number of different questions as pickles and peaches were passed among us, and she explained the difference between hot water bath canning and pressure canning.  Becky will be back at The Happy Cook on May 28th for Pickling 101 and then on June 11th for Pressure Canning.  Please check The Happy Cook Calendar for other upcoming classes.

Thanks for reading along and don’t hesitate to leave a comment or ask a question.




Cooking local with Brookville Restaurant’s Harrison Keevil


Brookville Restaurant features 90 plus percent local products everyday.

The term locavore was coined by professional chef and author Jessica Prentice back in 2005, and the word was the Oxford English dictionary’s word of the year in 2007. The idea to eat “locally” spawned a movement that has since spread world wide, and here in Charlottesville, one of it’s biggest proponents is Chef Harrison Keevil of Brookville Restaurant.  On Sunday,  April 14, 2013, Chef Keevil will share some of his philosophy, cooking skills and inspiration at The Happy Cook Farm to Table series, from 5:00 – 6:30 PM, and you can call (434) 977-2665 for tickets, which are $40 per person, tasty bits and beverages included.  Click here to book online.

Chef Harrison Keevil behind the line at Brookville Restaurant

I caught up with Chef Keevil last week at his restaurant and talked to him about the upcoming class at The Happy Cook.  Chef Keevil grew up in Richmond, Virginia and after a circuitous route to the kitchen, which included stops in California, London and San Francisco, he opened Brookville Restaurant in Downtown Charlottesville in 2010 with his wife.  About the class series, Chef said, “We partnered with The Happy Cook to create a Farm to Table class series, where I team up with a local farm, and we could just show and give credit to the local farmers who are really doing all the hard work.”  It seems to me to be a prefect match, because The Happy Cook itself is locally owned and operated since 1978.

Looking at tickets during dinner service

“Brookville was founded with the philosophy of sourcing and utilizing as much locally grown product as we can,” said Keevil, “right now we are 90 percent locally grown … so most everything comes within 100 miles, and everything else we get from small local purveyors here in town, so our money can go back into the local community.”  This standard will be on display during the Farm to Table cooking class at The Happy Cook  when Chef Keevil presents Shiitake Crepes made with locally sourced mushrooms from Sharondale Farm on April 14, 2013.

Shiitake Crepes with micro greens and smoked Piedmont

“I love this recipe because it is a fun vegetarian recipe that is delicious year round,” said Chef Keevil. “It’s a nice simple vegetarian dish … the last of the cold weather kind of warm you up dishes, that will hold you over until all the greens of the spring arrive.”  Crepes, a thin French kind of pancake, is something everyone can benefit from learning how to make.  I learned to make crepes in Normandy, France back when I was an exchange student, and once you make your own at home – you can fill them with sweet as well as savory items, they will become a regular on your weekend menu. When asked about the hardest part of making crepes for this recipe, Chef said, “The hardest part is the crepe. You have to make sure your heat is not too high because you want as little color as possible.”

So come on out and support our LOCAL FARMS and CHEFS, and sign up for this great evening at The Happy Cook.  Chef Harrison Keevil from Brookville Restaurant will be cooking Shiitake Crepes, among other treats! Learn about this local farm, eat great food, and enjoy a fun evening out with your friends! $40/person, beverages included. (434) 977-2665 Sun., April 14, 5-6:30 pm.  Click here to purchase tickets online.

A new voice at The Happy Cook

Justin, at right, in the kitchen at Menton in Boston.

Starting soon The Happy Cook will add a new voice to its social media team when professional photographer and food blogger Justin Ide joins the operation, periodically contributing to the store’s blog, Facebook, and Instagram pages. Justin is a recent transplant to the Charlottesville area from Boston, Massachusetts where he worked as a photographer for Harvard University, as well as photographing for some of Boston’s best known chefs.  Look for new posts on items for your kitchen that you can find at The Happy Cook as well as stories about cooking classes, chefs, local farmers and upcoming events.

Welcome to Charlottesville!

Farm to Table Cooking Series

Sunday, March 10th, 2013 5:00-6:30pm – $40 per person

Come eat and talk about our local food scene with a Chef who is devoted to it every day!  Chef Harrison Keevil from Brookville Restaurant will feature menu items from local sources every second Sunday right here at the Happy Cook!

Harrison will feature Timbercreek Organics in Charlottesville for his first offering.  Menu: Holstein Schnitzel, Pork and Eggs. Beverages included. $40 per person – (434) 977-2665.  5-6:30pm.  Pre-payment required.

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