By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
If you’ve ever wondered how to make the perfect meal, you might want to befriend some of the seniors in Dover and Westwood who frequently participate in the in the “Powisset Cooks!” program at Powisset Farm.
These Council on Aging members have honed their knife skills, refined their palates, and, most importantly, enjoyed themselves and some food through the program. Their brunch-making program on May 30 with French-trained chef Didi Emmons was no different.
The participants worked with Didi to bake scones, make a fruit salad, and cook a frittata. Following the recipe that Didi, a former bed and breakfast chef, created, they began with chopping anise hyssop, an herb with a taste reminiscent of licorice.
As she measured out ingredients, Didi talked about how she chose to substitute buttermilk for heavy cream, and opted to incorporate white whole-wheat flour into the scones, too.
“There’s no better utensils than your hands,” Didi said as she kneaded the dough. “I learned that in France, going to school there. They used to make fun of Americans because we had gadgets for everything.”
She continued with her anecdote, telling the participants that two of her instructors insisted that chefs only need their hands to cook. Although she voiced that such a statement is not entirely true, she continued using her hands to mix and roll out the dough.
They also added raisins into the mixture before cutting the dough into triangles and placing them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet to bake.
Next, Didi distributed an assortment of fruits to the participants, showing them how to skin a cantaloupe and chop apricots.
“One of the chef’s tips on fruit salad is don’t pick more than three or four fruits,” she advised them. “Don’t try to put every fruit under the sun into your fruit salad; it will lose its elegance. It’s like adding too many colors in your wardrobe.”
For their third and fourth fruits, they included blackberries and grapes in the fruit salad, which prompted a discussion about pesticides and berries. Didi also sprinkled some sugar and included bronze fennel in the fruit salad to give it a sweet taste.
To complete their brunch, the participants created a frittata, filled with cheese, asparagus, bacon, onion, and chervil. Many of the participants wondered if a frittata would cook well in a cast iron pan, and Didi wholeheartedly supported the idea.
While the seniors found themselves engaged and interested as they were cooking, their favorite part was undoubtedly eating the brunch and taking the recipes home to impress friends and family members.
The Westwood and Dover Councils on Aging frequently partner with Powisset Farm for the program, and those interested in upcoming cooking classes are invited to inquire about them at their respective COAs.