Farmers’ Market First Courses at Culinary Underground (& Belated Workout Wednesday)

I know, I know. The title is supposed to be “Workout Wednesday” and I should have posted it yesterday. Well, I got a little too busy. And, I was supposed to give you a day’s worth of nosh, right? Uh, my phone camera decided to take a break on the day I tried to do it.

So instead I have a little treat for you involving a lot of pictures from dinner the other night (camera? thankgoodness it was just a break.) My lovely neighbor and friend Lori treated me to an evening at Culinary Underground in Southboro, MA, a cooking school offering a variety of themed classes for the at-home cook. Under the direction of Owner Chef Lori Leinbach, we and eight other students got to prepare a tasting menu of first courses inspired by the latest farmers’ market finds. Would you like a peak at the menu?

Culinary Underground, Southboro

We broke off into teams of two. Lori (my friend) and I claimed the polenta rounds with cranberry bean mash and crispy kale. Lori was excited to learn the technique of making quick-cooking polenta. And me? Well, I would have been excited for just about any of these.

Culinary Underground, Southboro

Lori (the chef) designs each class to include not only a variety of flavors, but cooking techniques. In this class, some of the techniques covered were roasting beets (tip: the golden ones are much less messy to deal with) and rolling homemade pasta dough for ravioli (by hand! puts me and my Kitchenaid attachment to shame.)

Culinary Underground, Southboro

Into the food processor went tender cooked cranberry beans, parsley, lemon, garlic, and crushed red pepper for the polenta bites. Prosciutto became perfectly crisp in a hot oven. And salad took on a new shape by simply using a ring mold to plate it.

kale chips, culinary underground, southboro

Of course, we perfected the ever-popular kale chips.

Polenta technique

Whenever a key step was reached in a recipe, Cher Lori would call everyone together so we wouldn’t miss any of the lessons. Here, she is showing how to tell when polenta is done (tip: it should be so thick that the spoon can stand straight up!)

A mere couple hours later, we were ready to indulge in our feast. Spring pea soup “shooters” (hint: portion them out with a turkey baster!) garnished with cucumber yogurt sauce and crispy prosciutto. Polenta squares went vertical with lemony, garlic-y bean mash and crispy kale chips. A composed salad of golden beets dressed with grainy mustard, vinegar and capers over sauteed beet greens, served with a creamy warm blue cheese sauce. And salad Lyonnaise of bitter greans, chunks of slab bacon, warm bacon vinaigrette and a poached egg. Not pictured is the crab meat ravioli with shallot cream sauce – I guess I was too busy eating? A gorgeous touch to this dish was adding a bit of orange zest to the crab filling – seriously unbelievable!

Conveniently located on route 9 on the Framingham/Southboro line and easily accessed from Route 495, the big, bright kitchen is abundantly well-stocked and easily accommodates 10-12 people. If you happen to live in the Boston, Metrowest or Worcester area, a visit to Culinary Underground makes for a fun girls’ night out, date night, or a great gift for any cooking enthusiast.

Note: My friend invited me to a cooking class at Culinary Underground as a gift. I was not compensated in any way to write this post.

And if you’re still craving a little Workout Wednesday action… I suppose I can throw it in a day late πŸ™‚

Workout Log


If I do all of my sets at the same reps and weight, I’ll write it out this way: sets X reps X weight. So if you see β€œ3/6/40β€³ this means I did 3 sets, all with 6 reps with 40lbs.

If there are differences in my sets, I’ll write out each set separately, this way: reps X weight, reps X weight, reps X weight. So ifΒ  you see β€œ10Γ—55, 10Γ—60, 10Γ—60β€³, this means I did 1 set of 10 reps with 55lbs, then a set of 10 reps with 60lbs, and then another set of 10 reps with 60lbs.

For the heavier exercises,it is crucial to do a series of warmup sets at lower weights, working up to the full weight. The numbers shown below are for the WORKING sets only.

Grouped letters indicate alternating exercises. This means that I do a set of the A1 exercise, then a set of the A2 exercise, for however many sets are indicated. When all sets of A1 and A2 are complete, I move on to the B exercises.

Wednesday 6/13

A1: Barbell box squats – 1Γ—5×120, 3x5x125, 1x3x125, 1x5x120
A2: Chinups – 5Γ—5
B1: Sideways prowler pulls – 3 sets per side for 20 yards (first set with 50lb load, subsequent 2 sets with 60lb load)
B2: Half-kneeling cable lift – 1x10x20, 2x10x25 (per side)
C1: 1-legged hip thruster off bench with chain draped over hips – 3Γ—10 (per side)
C2: kettlebell Turkish getups – 3x3x18lb (per side)
D: cardio medley – Heidens (10/side), reverse lunge (10/side), BW squats (10) – 3 rounds, 1 min rest between rounds

Thursday 6/14

Walked the dog 1.9 miles

Friday 6/5

A1: Chest-supported row – 1x6x45, 1x6x50, 2x6x55
A2: Close-grip incline barbell bench press – 4x80x5
B1: Renegade Row – 3x30x8 (per side)
B2: Pushups with band – 3Γ—10
C1: Standing low-to-high cable lift – 1x8x50, 2x8x55 (per side)
C2: Cable row-external rotation-press – 3x6x5 (per side) (Yes, that’s only 5lbs. This is one of the most humbling exercises ever, if you’re keeping form.)
D: Cardio drill- 30 second jump rope, 15 dumbbell swings per side with 25lbs, 10 burpees – rest 90 seconds. Repeat for 4 rounds.

Saturday 6/16

A1: Romanian DL – 2x145x6, 2x155x6
A2: Pushups with elbow taps –3×8
B1: Barbell suping bridge w/3second hold per rep – 135×10, 2x145x10
B2: Prone arm bridge march – 3Γ—10 per side
C1: Barbell reverse lunge – 2x85x8, 1x95x8 (per side) Tip: I have very stiff hip flexors. If you do too, try doing a set of leg swings (forward/backward, 8/leg) before each set of lunges.
C2: Reverse crunch – 3Γ—10
D1: 3-Point extension rotation – 3Γ—8 (per side)
D2: extra foam rolling and calf stretching

Sunday 6/17

A1: Alternating DB military press, neutral grip – 1x25x5, 3x25x6, 1x25x7
A2: Seated cable row, overhand grip – 3x8x100
B1: Close-grip dumbbell bench press – 3x35x10
B2: Head-supported alternating DB row – 3x8x35 (per side)
C1: Squat landmines – 3 sets of 6 (per side)
C2: Single-arm DB farmer carries – 3 sets with 45lb DB
D: Stairmaster HIIT (high intensity interval training) – 15 second “sprint” / 45 second recovery for 10 round

Monday 6/18

Rest. I had a medical procedure today and was advised to take it easier for a couple weeks. So I will still be training, but I’ll take it a little lighter on the weights, modify some exercises, and reduce my cardio.

Tuesday 6/19

A1: trap bar deadlifts – 2x165x5, 2x175x5
A2: Tall kneeling cable lat pulldown – 1x60x10, 2x70x10
B1: Reverse prowler pull – 3 trips x 20 yards, 55lbs loaded on each side
B2: Half-kneeling cable lift – 3x10x25 (per side)
C1: 1-legged hip thruster off bench, with heel on another bench – 3×10 (per side)
C2: C2: kettlebell Turkish getups – 3x18x3 (per side)

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3 Responses to “Farmers’ Market First Courses at Culinary Underground (& Belated Workout Wednesday)”

  1. 1

    Dawn — June 21, 2012 @ 2:31 pm Reply

    What a FUN event. I need to take some cooking classes!!!! It all sounds so amazing.

  2. 2

    Lori — June 21, 2012 @ 4:03 pm Reply

    Sure was fun cooking with Cara! Lots of tips were passed around among students and instructors. And, what a nice bunch of folks to work with. Thanks for the creative and delicious evening, all!

  3. 3

    Kate — June 22, 2012 @ 5:22 pm Reply

    What a fun class!

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