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COA experiments with Vietnamese dishes

By Julia Beauregard
Hometown Weekly Editor

Dover and Westwood seniors ventured out to Powisset Farm, on the first warm day of spring, to give their hand at making Vietnamese dishes. COA regulars eagerly anticipate these monthly cooking classes to enhance their culinary prowess.

Powisset’s Chef Thi was excited to reveal the three dishes that the seniors would be giving their hand at making; the line-up consisted of a chicken banh mi sandwich, goi, which is a rice salad, and goi cuon, which are vegetable summer rolls. Each dish was paired with a different Vietnamese “mother sauce,” which the seniors made as well.

The COA members worked as a cohesive unit throughout the cooking process, following Chef Thi’s directions through each step of the process. The group worked to make the three dishes simultaneously, working on different pieces of each recipe at a time so the three dishes would be completed before the two hour mark.

“We finish all these dishes in two hours, with enough time to sample all of the dishes at the end,” Chef Thi told the crowd.

The group began the class by working on the chicken for the banh mi sandwiches, as Chef Thi guided them through tenderizing the cut up breasts and painting the pieces with the marinade they created. “She [Chef Thi] tries to demonstrate to everyone how to do it,” Dover COA Directory Janet Claypoole shared.

All of the seniors took turns, giving their best shot at the various steps throughout the cooking process. “This is an immersive experience, get yourselves in there!” Westwood COA Director Lina Arena-DeRosa encouraged all the seniors to participate.

While the chicken was left to marinade, the cooks began working on the spring rolls and the rice salad. Chef Thi directed everyone on how to chop, peel, and handle the various vegetables. She explained the various flavors in the Vietnamese foods, showing the seniors how to mix together different sauces, spices, and other ingredients to create the desired taste. “There is a balance of sweet, salty, savory and spicy in Vietnamese food,” Chef Thi told her students, before going on to say that the best part of Asian cooking is that you can make it the way you like it.

The seniors delighted in working on these various recipes with their valued teacher, Chef Thi. From julienning vegetables and sampling sauces to eating their handcrafted Vietnamese dishes among the company of friends, the seniors truly enjoyed another successful cooking class at Powisset Farm.

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