In a culinary rut? Dave Ramirez's "Hot and Spicy Foods From Around the World" will re-inject a little spice into your diet. Taught at the Institute of Culinary Education (212-847-0770,, all you need is this one session (August 8) to rekindle your passion for all things hot. Play with multicultural dishes such as shrimp pili-pili, chicken vindaloo, and of course, the classic beer-buddy: jalapeño poppers.

Ever panicked in the produce aisle at the sheer variety of it all? Janeen Sarlin (212-517-8514, may just be the answer to your problems. Her two-day, small-group course "Fresh From the Garden Dinner" lets students get a grip and face the summer squash with confidence.

We know it's bathing-suit season, but you look a little carb-starved. Grandma's Secrets (212-862-8117, bakery would love to help. They'll start by re-introducing dessert into your diet with their pie-making class. And you don't even have to leave your home! An instructor will come to your kitchen and teach you and up to three friends how to make crust and two pies of your choice. Elizabeth Lawler


If you need to fight off some residual anger after being cast as a tree again, sign up for the New School's "Solo Theater" (212-229-5690,, where you'll be the best (and only) star of the show. Forget about counting lines: They're all yours!

Want to be an actor? New York is the place to be, and "Acting 101: The ABCs" will teach you techniques to get over that old devil stage fright, to begin with. The folks at NYU (212-998-7200, will arm you with the basic training you'll need to "bring a playwright's words to life," and survive all those auditions.

NYU's "Poetry Slam!!! Great Performing in 3 Minutes or Less" (212-998-7200, allows you to bitch as much as you want, in the time allotted. Give the performance of a lifetime in the blink (OK, maybe a few blinks) of an eye, learning how "word, emotion, gesture, and voice can merge into a powerful stage presence." Be a minute man, and wear it on your sleeve.

Whip out that whoopee cushion and let 'er rip at NY Goofs' Sixth Annual Ultimate Clown School (212-591-0028, from August 9 through 22. The first week focuses on character, while the second focuses on developing material. Laughter not included. Clotilde Hainline


In just two Saturday afternoons, F.I.T.'s "Star Quality Vintage Shopping" (212-217-3334, will have you dressing better than both Hepburns combined. Your kickass wardrobe won't be found in the local mall, or on Madison Avenue for that matter. So when Joan Rivers asks you where you got it, simply reply, "It's vintage, bey-atch."

I am not about to sit in a chair for 15 hours to knit a scarf the width of my pinky, only to realize that I messed up and it looks like crap. Join me surreptitiously at "Beginners' Machine Knitting," and produce enough sweaters (that's right, sweaters) to last a lifetime. F.I.T. (212-217-3334, specifically promises to fool those suckers with "garments with a hand-knit look."

Where do the stars go when they need ice? Forget Jacob the Jeweler. After taking "Collectable Jewelry I" at F.I.T. (212-217-3334,, your celly will be blowing up. Create the "high fashion necklaces and bracelets" of your dreams using "pearls, crystals and semi-precious stones." Don't forget your shades; all that bling will have you wearing sunglasses indoors. Clotilde Hainline


Picture yourself one year from now: fixer of leaks, provider of keys, and proud owner of a stylish brownstone. Neighborhood Housing Services (212-519-2500, trains you to be the landlord you never thought you'd want to be. Courses are offered year-round and focus on everything from analyzing your taxes to choosing your realtor to opening finicky locks.

If everyone else in New York is silently and subtly self-promoting, you might as well. NYU's "Self-Promotion for Introverts" (212-998-7171, will show you the ingredients to a "marketing mix" that will enable you to woo your "target audience." Expect to excel in all sections of the pie chart—job, friends, love. All this with only minimal charge to your pride.

Now that you've figured out how to promote yourself, learn how to promote your favorite hobby with the Learning Annex's "17 Businesses You Can Start in Your Home for Under $1000" (212-371-0280, Turn that contraption you made into a moneymaking scheme. The class is offered September 22 and October 20. Come ready with ideas! Rachel Aviv


Guaranteed to "turn on your lover," the Learning Annex's three-part class on belly dancing (212-371-0280, helps you master the art of seduction. Taught by Altagracia (even her name breathes sexiness), the class will get you using muscles you never knew you had. Start your training on August 6, 13, or 20. Only women allowed.

Capoeira was first practiced by Angolan slaves in Brazil who disguised their combat exercises as playful dance. Unfortunately, Brazilian slaveholders were fooled only briefly, and the technique—a mixture of music, acrobatics and self-defense—was illegal until barely 70 years ago. Celebrate your freedom at the Capoeira Angola Center in Chelsea (212-989-6975, $15 classes offered daily except Saturday.

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