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Today's Table at Middlesex County College: Learn to be a Great Cook

This fall, you can learn how to be a great amateur chef. "Today's Table" will be held in Crabiel Hall's state-of-the-art culinary lab. Come hungry and enjoy tastings of food prepared by the chef. Recipes are distributed.

"This program is for cooks and non-cooks, and it is instructive, entertaining and fun," said Lynn Lederer, director of Professional and Community Programs at the College. "You will develop techniques to enhance your recipes. This is a wide-ranging cooking program that is both enjoyable and educational."

Except where noted, you may register a la carte at $35 for each class or choose any three classes for $75. The savings are available to anyone who registers with payment for the three classes at the same time. Except where noted, classes meet from 6:30-9 p.m. For more information visit middlesexcc.edu/profcom or call 732-906-2556.

Fall Classes

Italian Taste Explosion What food better lends itself to quick weeknight meals and impromptu dinners with friends than pasta? In this class you will learn to pair pasta shapes with ideal sauces, learn five Italian sauces full of flavor perfectly suited for entertaining and family gatherings, and round out the meal with homemade dressed salad and garlic crostini. Tuesday, September 10.

Try Thai The chef, a native of Thailand, will teach you how to prepare authentic Thai dishes from beginning to end and introduce you to the key ingredients. Menu highlights include: Pad Thai noodles and red curry with jasmine rice. Wednesday, September 11.

Fungus Among Us If you prepare them correctly, mushrooms are lip-smacking delicious! Learn how to properly cook, store and handle a variety of fresh and dried mushrooms to get the best results imaginable. Dishes include spicy sausage stuffed mushroom caps, polenta with wild mushroom and rosemary ragu, and mushroom and leek galette with gorgonzola. Thursday, September 12.

Saving the Farmers' Market Slow roasted tomatoes, quinoa-stuffed peppers, salsa verde and more farmers' market-inspired picks will be presented in this class. Tuesday, September 17.

Popular Thai Dishes at Home It is easier to make Thai food at home than you may think. Learn to make some of the most popular and authentic dishes served in Thai restaurants today, including Thai chicken basil with jasmine rice, drunken noodles, and Thai fried rice. Wednesday, September 18.

Meals for Middle Age Learn how food can help us deal with the challenges of midlife such as weight gain, unpredictable hormones and stress. Embrace midlife with glowing skin, a whittled waistline, and energy. Learn how to incorporate recent scientific approaches to health, nutrition and aging into your kitchen. Thursday, September 19.

Cooking Caribbean Cuisine Learn the art of traditional Caribbean cooking techniques, using essential ingredients that will enliven your taste buds. Tuesday, September 24.

One Dough Recipe, Many Types of Bread (Full-day Saturday class) There is nothing like the aroma and comfort of making homemade bread. The chef showcases both sweet and savory breads that are all made from just one versatile dough recipe. Breads include orange and mint loaf, dinner rolls, fruited tea loaf and French viennois. Cost: $70. This course counts as two of the three courses to receive the discount. Saturday, September 28, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Celebrate Oktoberfest Impress your friends with German dishes including beer-braised short ribs, German potato salad, sweet and sour red cabbage and apple cake. Tuesday, October 1.

Homemade Mozzarella Madness Mozzarella cheese is one of the most popular ingredients on any menu today. In this class you will discover how easy it is to make it right in your own kitchen. Thursday, October 3.

You Take the Cake (Full-day Saturday class) This is for beginners. Topics covered include filling and assembling cakes, choosing a cake design, stacking tiered cakes, using rolled fondant and royal icing, and the finishing techniques. Cost: $70. This course counts as two of the three courses to receive the discount. Saturday, October 5, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Donut Boot Camp Who doesn't love fried dough? You will learn to make both cake style and yeast raised donuts, including Boston crème donuts, homemade "munchkins," and glazed and sugar coated donuts. Tuesday, October 8, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

The Spice is Right Add flavor, variety and nutrients to your food as you discover the fascinating world of spices. In this two-part series, you'll learn how to shop for spices, store them properly, and how easy it is to incorporate spices into your everyday cooking. This course counts as two of the three courses to receive the discount. Fee: $70. Thursdays, October 10 and 17.

The Spirit of Aloha Come experience a taste of Hawaii in this class by sampling traditional dishes filled with tropical flavors from the Hawaiian Islands, including pork chops Hawaiian style, meatballs Bali Bali, shrimp and pineapple salad with Mauna Lau dressing, candied tomatoes and drunken bananas. Saturday, October 12, 9 a.m.-noon.

Cuisine of the South This class features both southern hospitality and delicious food. Menu includes blackened catfish with shrimp etouffee, homemade southern-style peach cobbler for dessert and more. Tuesday, October 22.

Passion for Pumpkin In this class you will learn delicious pumpkin dessert recipes including pumpkin and cream cheese roll with ginger sauce, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, and pumpkin cheesecake. Wednesday, October 23, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Trick or Treat: Halloween Baking Attend this class with your little one and work together as a couple learning to make homemade treats to celebrate Halloween. Class size is limited so please sign up early! One parent per child please. Price is per child/parent pair. Thursday, October 24, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

More from the Bonefish Grill Chef E. Jay Myers of the acclaimed Bonefish Grill in Iselin is back. Learn about the philosophy behind this popular restaurant and taste some of the delicious creations. Monday, October 28.

Autumn Vegetable Harvest Get back in the kitchen and awaken your senses with the fresh flavors of fall vegetables. This class is centered around the preparation and cooking of these seasonal ingredients. Tuesday, October 29.

That's Entertainment Hosting parties during the holiday season need not be stressful if you use some simple planning and advance party preparations. Menu includes marinated party lamb chops with homemade dipping sauce and not-your-usual deviled eggs. Wednesday, October 30.

Buttercream for Beginners Start your journey into cake decorating with basic buttercream icing. Learn how to torte and frost a cake, and then decorate it with shell boarders, piped buttercream roses, rose buds and decorative leaves. Saturday, November 2, 9 a.m.-noon.

Pears, Apples & Cranberries Discover delectable uses for autumn fruits straight from the orchard. Sample dishes include pear and cranberry chopped salad, pork tenderloin medallions with apple cranberry chutney, bacon and apple stuffing, and a poached pear and almond tart. Tuesday, November 5.

Thanksgiving Dinner Whether it is your first time making Thanksgiving dinner or you are an experienced holiday host, this class will take you through the Thanksgiving meal, step by step. Menu features roasted turkey with cornbread dressing as well as a honey glazed ham. Wednesday, November 6.

Holiday Desserts Learn to make the traditional buche de noel, a pie perfect for any holiday celebration, and an awesome edible gift. Thursday, November 7, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Comida de España: The Foods of Spain Hola! This class explores dishes and flavors from several regions of Spain. Menu includes farmyard chicken with olives from Andalusia, baked tomatoes from Extremadura, mixed salad from Castile, and iced lemonade from Levante. Saturday, November 9, 9 a.m.-noon.

Turkey Free Thanksgiving If you are vegetarian or want to try something new, these recipes are delicious alternatives for a flavorful thanksgiving meal. Menu includes poached pear salad, cranberry chutney, beet risotto, stuffed acorn squash, and vegetable lasagna. Tuesday, November 12.

Latke Extravaganza With the holidays are just around the corner, it is an ideal time to learn to make the perfect latke! Menu includes: Classic latkes with homemade applesauce, spinach feta nut latkes, sweet potato latkes with chive cream, and leek latkes with lemon sauce. Thursday, November 14.

Cooking with Tea Learn to incorporate teas into your everyday cooking. This class covers how to use tea as a seasoning component by infusing its flavor into your desserts as well as your main dishes. Monday, November 18.

Thanksgiving Side Dishes Turkey may be the main event but the side dishes are what keep your guests full and happy. There is something for everyone, from traditional favorites to tempting creations showcased in class. Tuesday, November 19.

Gifts from the Kitchen When the holiday season arrives, homemade gifts from the kitchen are something everyone is sure to enjoy. Menu includes spiced nuts, pumpkin seed brittle, almond bark, liquid love in the form of coquito and chocolate Irish crème. Tuesday, December 3.

Gingerbread Workshop (Full-day Saturday class) 'Tis the season for holiday baking and cookie decorating, including homemade ginger snaps, decorative gingerbread cookies, and a gingerbread house you can duplicate at home! Cost: $70. This course counts as two of the three courses to receive the discount. Saturday, December 7, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Chocolate Desserts Satisfy your guests with these favorite holiday chocolate desserts, including flourless chocolate cake, Bailey's chocolate chip cheesecake, and more. Tuesday, December 10, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Southern Holiday This southern-inspired, mostly make-ahead menu, is perfect for any gathering this holiday season. Menu features southern seafood supreme, homemade buttermilk mashed potatoes and more. Wednesday, December 11.

Hors D'Oeuvres Cocktail parties are a great way to welcome in the holiday season with food, drink and celebration! Menu includes mini-shrimp rolls, crab beignets, spanokopita, potato pancakes with crème freche and smoked salmon, and spiced palmiers. Thursday, December 12.

Wine and Spirits

The Following Classes Do Not Qualify For a Discount

International Wine Passport: All about French Wine In this class, you'll learn about French wine in-depth – origins, regions and even the labels. Increase your confidence and knowledge with French wine, and have some fun too. Proof of age will be checked at the door. Cost $150. Wednesdays, October 2, 9, 16, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Made in the USA In this course, you'll explore all the major wine-growing regions in the United States, including a few that might surprise you including Texas, Virginia and New Jersey. The curriculum also includes tasting four to six wines a class including red, white, sparkling and dessert wines. Proof of age will be checked at the door. Cost: $99. Wednesdays, November 13, 20, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

One Night of Single Malt Scotch You'll learn about the history of Scotch, how it is produced and why the flavor and aroma from one single malt scotch to the next changes based on the region where it is produced. You'll taste and compare a few Scotches as well, 'up' as well as over ice and with soda. Proof of age will be checked at the door. Cost: $75. Wednesday, December 4.