Garden of Ideas in Ridgefield: 2015 Cooking Classes

Amy Kundrat

Photo: Garden of Ideas

The Garden of Ideas, the outdoor community center and garden sanctuary in Ridgefield, is hosting a series ofmonthly cooking demonstrations and workshops from May through November with Chef Susie Buckley.

Each class will focus on how to make the most of the seasonal produce, using the bounty of their CSA as a way to highlight the intersection of food, nature, art and science within each workshop. Classes welcome all ages (kids from 8 years and up, and adults) and will feature fresh farm produce, focusing on basic cooking techniques, "nibbles, tastes, and recipes, included." View the complete class schedule below:

2015 Class Schedule

Saturdays: May 2, June 6, July 11, September 5, October 3, and November 7

Time: 1:00–2:30 pm

Cost: $25 per person (kids age 8–12 are free; max 2 kids per family) $22 for CSA members

May 2 - Making the Most of Tender Spring Greens

Spring has sprung, and the salad greens are calling you! Come to the Garden of Ideas and wash, toss and dress the delicious greens of the season. We'll enhance these super fresh greens with homemade dressings to create the ultimate salad. Recipes included.

June 6 - Herbs 101

Would you like to add flavor, nutrition and depth to your dishes? Then this class is for you. Cooking with herbs can be intimidating to those who haven't used fresh herbs before. Let's explore the potential of herbs to add new dimension to your cooking. We will discuss the flavors, usage, and storage of herbs in this 90-minute class. Recipes included.

July 11 - Midsummer's Bounty

It's time to enjoy the midsummer gifts of the garden. And we all know what that means: Tomatoes, tomatoes, and more tomatoes! In this class, we'll sample several tomato dishes, whip up some marinades for grilling, and prepare seasonal vegetables from the garden. Recipes included.

September 5 - Flavors of Fall

With the turning of the leaves comes the fall harvest, and you can be sure there will a plethora of winter squash. It's time for you to learn the different varieties. We will identify and prepare several different types of squash straight from the Garden of Ideas. In addition, we will sample a variety of apples from local farms. You will be blown away by these tasty treats plucked right from the tree.

October 3 - Sumptuous Soups

Nothing soothes the soul quite like a bowl of soup. Come discover the simple techniques required to make a delicious bowl of soup. We will prepare and sample several soups using seasonal ingredients from the Garden of Ideas.

November 7 - Seasonal Side Dishes

Looking for new ways to feature your favorite vegetables? Load up on your veggies with these vegetarian side dishes...just in time for Thanksgiving!

About Chef Susie Buckley

“I grew up in a small town in Southwest Virginia. At the time, it was a one-stoplight most people either had a garden themselves or visited the local farm stand for all their fruit and vegetable needs. My family always had a vegetable garden and, for a few years, a smokehouse. Having fresh vegetables available just steps away from the table fostered my love of seasonal, fresh and organic food. There is nothing greater than walking out into the garden, picking a tomato from the vine, rinsing it off and eating it… still warm from the sun.”  

After attending college at Virginia Tech, Ms. Buckley moved to Brooklyn. Of course, New York City was an entirely different food scene as compared to the mountains of Virginia. She suddenly had the opportunity to taste food from all over the world. Susie decided to go to culinary school and attended Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School (now renamed the Institute of Culinary Education). Her focus was on French cooking but, more importantly, on cooking technique. At Peter Kump’s it was mentioned many times not to be a slave to recipes. Of course recipes are important, but knowing a cooking technique can let anyone cook a good meal. Learning the basics of preparing foods in a simple, easy way that lets ingredients speak for themselves is her goal in both cooking and teaching about food. She believes that we should let the food shine. As Alice Waters, her personal food idol, has said, “let things taste of what they are."

For more information, visit Garden of Ideas online. Garden of Ideas is located at 653 North Salem Road in Ridgefield Connecticut.