Saturday, March 1, 2014
Getting back into my current unit at the Natural Epicurean, we have been working on vegan baking - one of my favorites! There are not many things I love more than sweets. Though at the beginning of the unit, we were promised to be tired of baked goods by the end of week three. So far I'm not phased.
carrot cake w/buttercream icing
chocolate beet cupcakes sprinkled w/cacao nibs, pumpkin bread with cranberries and zucchini almond muffins
One of our lessons in the unit focused on substituting refined sugars for coconut sugar, agave or maple syrup. This cookies follow a recipe from Pastry Chef, Vanessa Musi.
gluten-free, sugar-free double chocolate and spicy cashew cookies
cinnamon rolls with vegan cream cheese drizzle
I am going to take a little break from the school updates to do a bit of another picture mega-post. Most of these recipes were prepared according to a cleanse recommended by Chef Ahki, a celebrity chef, natural food activist and blogger. All recipes pictured are vegan and gluten-free, made using primarily organic, non-hybrid veggies.
mesoamerican bruschetta on amaranth flatbread with a parsley and dandelion greens salad
millet "crab" cakes w/lemony purple cabbage cole slaw
red lentil coconut curry with millet and steamed kale
chia, flax and quinoa flour flatbread veggie pizza
sauteed mixed greens salad with purple cabbage, butternut squash and creamy tahini dressing
mushroom amaranth with an endive, cilantro and cauliflower salad
raw lettuce tacos with macadamia nut "ground beef" and sour cream made from almonds
acorn squash rings with turmeric spiced rice
spinach and pumpkin salad with (the best!) Hiliary's adzuki bean burger, spicy hummus and tomatoes
raw zucchini noodles with red pepper and tomato sauce
Our Foundations of Cooking unit finished up by highlighting different techniques for preparing vegetables and fruits. Going back through all our recipes it's amazing to see how many we have done. I am only sharing a few, but this post will likely be a picture mega-post. The course certainly helps you grow a kitchen tool wish list!
roasted vinaigrette cauliflower with almonds and raisins
stuffed collard green enchiladas with sunflower seed and chipotle "nacho cheese"
grilled fruit skewers with a strawberry pineapple dip made with almonds
Our next unit was vegetarian and vegan cooking, which included a pasta making day. We also made gnocchi during the potato day (unfortunately it didn't get to be pictured). I was surprised by how simple the gnocchi was to prepare and curious to try out some different substitutes for the potatoes in the recipe.
pasta day! fresh fettuccine and steamed dumplings
Post Punk Kitchen's tofu omelette courtesy of Isa Chandra Moskowitz
soup day! left to right cold corn soup (much more delicious than it sounds), curried coconut and lentil soup & mock vegan clam chowder made with oyster mushrooms and topped with mushroom "bacon". I may add a separate soup with these recipes. They were really impressive.
During this unit we had a lesson on using up whatever leftovers and food scrapes that the kitchen needs to get rid of - basically my standard mode of cooking. my group scrounged up cucumber wrapped millet sushi.
We also had a lesson on appetizers, including portion size, building value and functionality.
To finish up this unit we were given a "CSA challenge" where each team was provided with a CSA box full of fruits and veggies from local organic farm, Johnson's Backyard Garden, who supply lots of produce to the Natural Epicurean classes. We were asked to create a soup, salad and entree with three sides which followed a theme and were only permitted to use the contents of the CSA box and a few extra items available from the pantry. Basically an organic, vegan Chopped. Our theme was valentine's day in a meal. We made a spinach and citrus salad topped with carved daikon "hugs and kisses", roasted beet and apple soup topped with a beet flower and smokey pan seared tempeh with sweet potato puree, sauteed garlicky kale and mushrooms and a broiled grapefruit. So much fun!
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
A few weeks into the program at Natural Epicurean, we moved from fundamentals to foundations of cooking. The first few units of foundations covered all types of grains and how they can be prepared.
pan fried rice cakes
oat, almond and maple breakfast bar
traditional breakfast grits
Next, we moved onto beans. This also included a section called "beyond beans" where we learned about the processed of making tempeh and tofu from scratch.
orange ginger glazed tempeh triangles
tofu migas (a local tex-mex favorite in Austin)
french lentil salad with wilted spinach, butternut squash and red onion
During this time I also experienced several "snow days" (definitely not what I had in mind for moving to Austin!), which were a clear (and funny) indication of how relative weather conditions really are. I have to say, I did almost fall down the stairs that day thanks to the ice. The delays and cancelations really led me to questions why all throughout Texas there are road signs alerting drivings to watch for ice, yet not a single salt truck can be found. Seems like money well spent to me..put up a sign and hide.
scary conditions (and attire)