Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Thursday

July 11, 2013

The art of cooking

TRAVERSE CITY — Frankfort may be small, but the lineup of summer culinary classes at its Oliver Art Center is mighty.

The “Dinner on the Porch” cooking classes are led by award-winning chefs, cookbook authors and restaurant owners in the center’s teaching kitchen, Kay’s Kitchen. They run through early fall.

This is the second season that the center has offered the classes, targeted at home cooks. They’ve been a big hit with residents and visitors alike, said Chef Jim Voltz, director of culinary arts at the center.

“I’m thrilled with the talent we’re attracting in our visiting instructors and the variety of courses we’re able to offer,” he said.

Voltz, who kicked off the season in May, recently launched his fourth cookbook, “Simple Meals on the Porch.” Two of the six classes he is teaching this summer are based on the book, which offers recipes and tips for easy entertaining.

“This book takes things down a peg,” Voltz said. “It’s for summer people who want to spend more time at the lake and less time in the kitchen. These recipes will give you more time to enjoy the summer.”

Many of the dishes can be made in the morning and can sit in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat. Or you can put them together all at once in about an hour. Recipes like the shrimp and crabmeat au gratin sound impressive but aren’t a whole lot harder than throwing burgers or hotdogs on the grill.

“You can do many of these in one pot without a lot of work,” Voltz said.

The cookbook contains more than 50 main dish recipes, plus recipes for a few basic accompaniments and 16 desserts.

Joe Muer, owner of several Michigan restaurants including one of Detroit’s premier eateries, Joe Muer Seafood, is presenting three classes offering tips and techniques for preparing fish and seafood.

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