Monday, March 10, 2014

in other news...

I'm taking a moment to share this very funny post from Comedian, Myq Kaplan. Literally (correct usage) laughing out loud. Very original.

(and what to say back) 

On a more serious note, I also read an interesting article from Josh Tetrick, Owner of Hampton Creek Foodsan exciting food technology start-up based in San Francisco.

According to Wikipedia...Hampton Creek Foods, Inc. is a food company headquartered in Northern California that focuses on finding new ways of utilizing plants to replace eggs in a variety of different products. Primary investors include, among others, Li Ka-Shing, Jerry Yang, Khosla Ventures, Peter Thiel's Founders Fund, Eagle Cliff Partners and the Collaborative Fund. The company was founded in December 2011 by CEO, Joshua Tetrick and Josh Balk, the Director of Food Policy at the Humane Society of the United States.

I love the idea of thinking in leaps. The same frame of mind is needed to facilitate changes the medical industry. We watched the film Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare, which left me feeling like it should be required viewing for every American. I believe it is available for free through Amazon Prime. Incredibly moving. 

Change begins in the way we think. When we step outside the norm and respond from the heart, we are able to do things that have never been done, whether in jokes or imperative social changes. And, we need to keep taking those leaps. 

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

Chef Ahki inspired Cleansing Cuisine

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 

Culinary School Catch up Part III

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. 
 tofu wraps with a trio of dipping sauces and a small micro-greens and black sesame salad

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!