This weekend I tried a new online cooking platform — LocalBites — and had so much fun! It’s a far cry from the YouTube cooking videos we all seem to be addicted to these days. Since I’ve never taken a virtual cooking class before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to find an interesting class and register. The entire process was seamless and smooth.
The site has many unique filters to locate classes that perfectly fit your needs, like “For Busy Moms”, “Guy or Girl”, “College Student”, and “Slow Cook”. There’s a range of special diets to choose from as well as specific regional cuisine. I personally appreciate the “Health Conscious” and “Whole 30” tabs. You can also choose the price range and class size.
While it was tough to pick a single class because so many looked intriguing, I finally decided on a session for a gorgeous Peach Mascarpone Greek Yogurt Tart. I like that Jenny, the instructor, has a Ph.D. in nutrition and experience with special diets. She reached out a few days before the class to introduce herself and ask if I had any dietary limitations. She went above and beyond by creating a gluten-free adaptation of the recipe when she discovered that my daughter and I can’t have wheat. We couldn’t be happier!
On the day of the class, we connected easily via a Google Meet link sent with the LocalBites confirmation email. Jenny is very detailed in her instruction and answered my questions throughout the session. We went step-by-step through the recipe beginning with the tart crust, which uses a mixture of almond flour and almond meal, butter, and egg for the binder. Next was the mascarpone cheese and Greek yogurt filling that was hand whipped with sugar and a touch of pure vanilla extract and bourbon. She gave helpful tips about refrigerating the crust for ten minutes before baking and why you don’t want to use an electric mixer for the filling (hint: the fat in the mascarpone will separate). The fresh peaches followed.
As an experienced cook, I honestly didn’t think I would learn anything all that new during the class. I was wrong. Take the peaches. Cutting a peach into slices is pretty straightforward, right? Well, Jenny showed me how to cut the fruit in a very specific way so that each slice was uniform. She also explained about the different types of peaches and which variety was best for the recipe. I’ve never given much thought to “clingstone” versus “freestone” but the type does make a difference when you are cooking with peaches, rather than just eating the fruit directly. She arranged the peach slices in a stunning spiral on top of the tart. It’s downright beautiful. The final dessert looks as if you have spent hours in the kitchen but the recipe itself is simple with a handful of ingredients.
We wrapped up the class in an hour. Jenny then emailed me the adapted recipe and said to reach out if I had any additional questions. The classes are designed so that you can cook alongside the instructor (an ingredient list is provided beforehand on the site) or simply watch and ask questions.
There really is a need for these interactive classes as people are searching for new and innovative ways to engage their hobbies and interests. LocalBites offers both in person and virtual sessions, so there’s tremendous flexibility. It would be fun to organize an online class with far-flung friends. Gifting a session for the foodie’s in your life is another idea. Since LocalBites is a peer-to-peer cooking site, anyone can join or host a class. What’s more, the site has generously offered a referral discount for guest and/or host fees for ThriveLiving readers. Use the code CAROLANNEBITES 5% when registering.
This article was originally posted at https://www.thrive-living.net/2020/09/localbites-cooking-recipes.html.
I’m Carolanne — a writer, chef, traveler and enthusiastic advocate for organics, wild spaces and green living, whose favorite mode of transport is a bicycle.
My daughter and I have lived abroad in far-flung places like Thailand and the Republic of Georgia. We’re now happily settled in the small mountain town of Whitefish, Montana. It’s a nature lovers dream with Glacier National Park right up the road.