Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Livin' in the Blurbs: Adding to Your Skillez

One of the highlights of my year is the annual spring tour of Ayers Creek Farm in Gaston with Anthony and Carol Boutard. Not only is it one of the few times of the year that they open their amazing organic farm to the public, it's one of the rare moments that you can actually chat with them for longer than it takes to ring up your purchases at their popular stand at the Hillsdale Farmers' Market.

His lofty eminence.

As usual, there will be a short tour of the farm narrated by the always-informative Anthony, to be followed by some snacky bits. Plus I hear they've arranged to have a celebrity greeter, the not-so-secret power behind the throne known as Tito. (If we're very lucky he might demonstrate his vole-fetching skills!)

Details: Ayers Creek Farm Ramble, Sun., June 24, 3-5:30 pm. 15219 SW Spring Hill Rd. near Gaston. This is a real farm, so bring your wellies in case of mud, or at the least wear sturdy shoes for walking.

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Summer is an ideal time to pick up some new skills, whether its at the grill, learning to preserve summer's bounty or picking up pointers on a new cuisine. Whether you're an experienced hand in the kitchen or someone who's more familiar with a take-out menu than a chef's knife, there's a plethora of excellent classes available this summer. Here are some of my faves and a sampling of what they're offering; most are small classes of no more than a dozen students at a time and are very reasonably priced.
  • Sophie Rahman of Masala NW: Learn the basics of Indian cooking, including how to prepare lentils (vegetarian and gluten-free), flatbreads and classic biryani, as well as dishes from Goa, Chowpatty street food and how to grill tandoori-style.
  • Melinda Casady and Susana Holloway of Portland's Culinary Workshop: These gals are making waves on the Portland scene for their fun-yet-informative approach. Both were professional instructors at culinary schools, and bring their extensive knowledge and love of teaching to their classes on a dizzying array of classes on grilling, smoking, preserving, butchery, vegetarian and vegan cooking, knife skills, sushi…you name it, they teach it!
  • Katherine Deumling of Cook With What You Have: Katherine teaches how to cook simple, nutritious family meals, how to stock your pantry to avoid endless trips to the store and how to make the most of seasonal produce. Upcoming classes, which she offers in her home kitchen, include how to use fresh herbs in your dishes and kitchen fundamentals.
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Summer's a time when kids are off from school and parents are desperately looking for quality classes for their young'uns. If you've got a budding Scorsese or Coppola in your house, then the Hollywood Theatre has a camp for you. Project Youth Doc for teens still has a few scholarships available, and if I could still pass for 19 I'd be all over this: Kids will work with industry pros and world-class gear to make a film from start to finish.  Check it out!

Details: Project Youth Doc, a filmmaking class for teens. Two sessions: June 18-July 13 and July 2-27. Scholarships available. Classes at the Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd.  503-493-112.

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