Paganini School of Cooking, Mentor offer classes to help make most of season's produce

·3 min read

Aug. 9—Now that August has arrived, area gardens, farmers' markets and the produce counters at your favorite supermarket are burgeoning with nice tomatoes, local sweet corn, beautiful bouquets of basil, peaches, zucchini, peppers and lots more.

And those who lead area cooking classes have responded to meet the demand for recipes and techniques to incorporate the deliciousness of freshly harvested produce into our summer.

Canning 101 is the descriptive title of a two-hour session from 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 16 at Mentor's Wildwood Cultural Center, 7645 Little Mountain Road, led by Judi Strauss. The newest rules of canning will be her subject, and she'll share which foods are easiest to can and which should be avoided, along with when to use a water bath and when a pressure canner is needed. Tastes of home-canned foods will be included, so there's an $8 food fee payable to Strauss on class night. Registration is $18, with a $3 discount for Mentor residents. Register at 440-974-5720 or

Meanwhile, in Chester Township, the Loretta Paganini School of Cooking has classes concluding with meals on everything from peaches to pastas, lobster to meatballs. The classes will take place at the school, 8613 Mayfield Road, and a block away in the state-of-the-art kitchens at the International Culinary Arts & Sciences Institute. There, professional chefs are trained in college-level programs. Consumer classes, taught by Paganini and her staff of professional chefs, are usually 2.5 hours and costs vary. Check out what's available at and register at 440-729-1110.

Chef Kate Csepegi leads the Flavors of the Great Lakes class at 6 p.m. Aug. 23. In it, she'll share the region's rich history and how it has shaped the cuisines developed in and around Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario.

"I grew up in a snowmobiling family, and we spent a lot of winter time in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota," she said. "And when I married my husband, who's from Madison, we visited Pennsylvania, New York. Illinois and Indiana. My taste memories of things I've enjoyed at places I've visited helped me create this class."

The menu and the places include Buffalo-Style Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese and Celery (Buffalo, New York); Falafel with Tabbouleh (Dearborn, Michigan); Lake Erie Fish Fry with Tartar Sauce (Northeast Ohio); Pork Schnitzel with Spaetzle (German Village, Columbus); and Mini Dutch Apple Pies (Pennsylvania Dutch Country). This hands-on class is $75.

Too Many Tomatoes is a demonstration class that will be led by Paganini at 6 p.m. Aug. 30. Those who come should bring a small Mason jar to take home one of the evening's creations, which will include tomato sauce. oven-dried tomatoes. tomato pesto and tomato herb vinegar. The menu includes Ratatouille Vegetable Salad, Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup, Grilled Pizza, Grilled Chicken with Piperade Sauce and Bloody Mary Sorbet Pizzelle Cookies.

Csepegi has developed the Chinese Take-Out class for teens 12 through 17 set for 1 p.m. Aug. 20. Those joining the two-hour class will learn to make restaurant-worthy meals including Crab Rangoon, Pot-Sticker with Soy-Sesame Dipping Sauce, Cashew Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork, Vegetable Fried Rice and Chinese Almond Cookies. It's $55.