Photographs by Kimberley Hasselbrink
On May 17th we had an ambitious mission- to teach six full workshops (in one day!) on topics ranging from grilling to knife sharpening, oyster shucking and home fermentation to a group of beginners, curious folks and a few possible pros hidden in the crowd. Not only did we want to teach them, but we wanted to feed them as well, with a grilled picnic prepared, cooked and enjoyed together after a day of learning and exploring new skills. Our skilled teachers were ready and our students were eager. Oh, and we had a backyard full of chilled beer, hot barbecues and about 50 lbs of fresh local fish and oysters.
To kick off the day, photographer and author Kimberley Hasselbrink shared a recipe from her forthcoming cookbook Vibrant Food. We tasted Summer Squash Pasta with Green Goddess Dressing -a refreshing tangle of noodles made from summer squash, tossed with a bright and zesty yogurt-based Green Goddess Dressing, and garnished with fresh herbs, pine nuts and shaved parmesan cheese.
While we nibbled, Galen Garretson of Town Cutler taught a basic 3-step process for sharpening knives at home with Japanese Whetstones. Galen also impressed the crowd with his knife skills and deep knife knowledge.
Fermenters Club founder Austin Durant brought his love of kimchi and some serious fermentation-savvy, as he taught us how to make the traditional Korean fermented vegetable dish. Hearts were won, flavors were intense and kimchi was loved by all.
Anna Larsen of Siren Fish Co. lead us through a comprehensive and downright impressive lesson on local fish. We learned what to look for and what to avoid when buying fresh fish. Anna impressed us all with her speedy technique for gutting sardines, plus she taught us how to scale a fish and debone a fish. Did I mention the oysters? Everyone got the opportunity to try out their new skills, shucking and eating oysters with Anna.
Towards the end of the afternoon, stomachs were starting to growl, but it was time to roll up our sleeves and learn about building a fire. Our grill expert, Bruce Cole of Edible SF demonstrated some fire basics: what to use and how to get it all started. While the coals warmed up, Bruce took the lead in demonstrating how to break down a whole fish, then handed knives over to students eager to try it out for themselves. Once we had two large King Salmon broken down into beautiful fillets, the fire was ready and it was time to get cooking.
We gathered around the hot grills with a cold beer and conversation lead by HenHouse Brewing Company Brewmaster, Collin McDonnell. We talked beer and and community as we feasted on a grilled meal of salmon, grilled little gem lettuce and grilled peaches.
Thank you to all of our teachers and our generous host, StoreFrontLab for making this magical day possible!
To learn more (about beer):
An overview of beer pairing:
Rich Higgins talk on pairing food with IPA:
The importance of beer freshness: