Review: Tasia's Table cooking class | Home & Garden
An artisan cheese maker offers cooking classes at her Huntsville home, bringing people together for fellowship and food. Wednesday’s class, Cooking with Chèvre, offered participants a chance to learn about cooking with goat cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
If you’re like me, you love goat cheese, but are intimidates when it comes to finding many uses for it. I’ve been eating Belle Chèvre goat cheese for about two years, and I’m sad to say I’ve only spread it on bagels for breakfast, sprinkled it in salads, or used it as a spread. It’s definitely delicious used these ways, but after the class with Tasia, I’m excited to try my hand at utilizing the versatile product.
Tasia Malakasis, owner and president of Belle Chèvre located in Elkmont, hosts the cooking class and invites participants into her home. The atmosphere is relaxed and inviting, making guests feel welcome. Wine is provided and a sommelier educates guests about the selections and pairing.
Before getting started, we had the pleasure of learning more about Tasia’s story and her passion for food and fellowship around the table. According to Tasia, being rooted in the Southern and Greek cultures formed a magical link to food and the allure of the tabled she just couldn’t shake. Her motto is food should be an experience and fun. She also advocates her product, saying it’s Sexy, Skinny, and Smart. Goat cheese is lower in fat than other cheese, metabolism boosting, high in protein, and studies show dairy products contribute to higher mental functioning.
After introductions, Tasia (who is one of the best hostesses I have ever met- she even remembered everyone’s name!), set to work in the kitchen. The first course Wednesday was a surprise, but a good one. Have you ever had Rotel dip at a tailgate party? Tasia somehow found a way to turn this southern party staple into a classy appetizer. Goat cheese Velveeta, or Belleveeta, is made with a log of goat cheese, butter, baking soda, a spice packet and Rotel. The result is just as creamy as its fake cheese counterpart, but way more delicious (and good for you). I might even stir in some sausage for our next football party. It’s the perfect dip for tortilla chips.
Guests had a great time trying this unexpected hit and talked about doing a taste-test to see if people preferred the traditional orange goop or the creamy goat-cheese version. I know which one I would pick! Tasia educated us about the history of cheese making during this demonstration.
For dinner, we were treated to fig chèvre stuffed pork tenderloin. We learned how to select tenderloin at the market and how to prepare a delicious main course using goat cheese. Tasia served the tenderloin over grits (the slow-cooked kind of course!) with a kale salad. She took the mystery out of how to stuff a piece of meat and gave us confidence to try it ourselves. Her love of cooking and sharing made the dish that much more enjoyable.
What Southern dinner party would be complete without dessert? Goat cheese is used a lot in desserts, and now I know why! Tasia made goat cheese frosting to top some delicious chocolate cupcakes. It’s a simple recipe I will use to replace my traditional cream cheese icing. This wasn’t as sweet as typical frosting, which made it much easier to enjoy. I can definitely see using this frosting on my next red velvet cake.
At the end of the night, guests are left feeling full and satisfied. We made some new friends (all of the guests were so friendly), learned new cooking techniques and got to enjoy a fantastic meal. There aren’t many better ways to spend an evening.
We got a chance to take a look at Tasia’s book, Tasia’s Table: Cooking With the Artisan Cheesemaker at Belle Chevre, while we were at the class. Inside this beautiful book, you’ll find recipes from her cultural influences – Southern and Greek. I was also excited to see the forward by Natalie Chanin, someone I have admired for several years. The photographer, Stephanie Schamban, was also there Wednesday night. Her photographs are stunning, and she’s able to capture the beauty and texture of every meal. This is a book I would recommend to anyone who needs a little variety in their cooking repertoire.
Tasia’s Table costs $29.95 (+ tax) and is available online.
You can also get Tasia’s book at her upcoming book signings and events. She has several coming up in Huntsville this month. (Click on each event to learn more.)
- Book signing at The Wine Cellar
When: Friday, September 7 at 5 p.m.
- Book Signing at Mezza Luna
When: Monday, September 10 at 6 p.m.
The chef will prepare dishes from Tasia’s Table
- Tasia’s Table Cooking Class: Greek Night
When: Wednesday, September 12 at 6 p.m.
- Book signing at Harrison Brothers Hardware
When: Saturday, September 15 at 2 p.m.
- Tasia’s Table Cooking Class: Love Your Vegetables
When: Wednesday, September 26 at 6 p.m.
If you want to whip up some of Tasia’s recipes, here’s your chance to win a copy of her new cookbook. Visit our Facebook page and make sure you like us before you enter to win. You’ll also need to like Belle Chevre’s page if you don’t already. We’ll draw a winner next Friday, September 14.