Showcase #2

Jeebus, I’ve been busy!  Between baseball games, a bachelorette party, a wedding, a going away picnic for Melisser, a fundraiser date at Souley Vegan and Beer Revolution, finishing up my externship, trying to exercise regularly and being really swamped at work, I have been a busy lady.  I have tons to catch up on here, so I’m hoping to start posting more often and get caught up to current.  Expect some long posts coming up!

I introduced the showcase in my last post – it was basically a catered dinner that served as our final group project for the Natural Chef program at Bauman College.  We started planning about two months in advance, and we were divided into committees – decorating, budget and shopping.  We were all involved in recipe planning and the cooking, and some students served as front of the house staff.  It was a lot of work and the entire class couldn’t agree on much anything, but in the end it all turned out well.

We went with a theme called “American Twist” and made updated, healthy versions of American classics.  All vegetarian and gluten free!

The Berkeley Bauman kitchen classroom isn’t the prettiest of rooms, so it was interesting trying to fancy it up on a budget.  We used a lot of things that we already owned, as well as flowers and plants from our yards.

Setting up during the day.

Guests – Dave and our friend Matt are in the back of the room.

The class, with out showcase instructor, Chef Lizette.

Ed Bauman’s wife Chris Bauman came and took lovely pictures while we worked.  (These pictures are published as a student, with her permission.)  She spent a lot of time in the front of the house and I was in the back cooking, so this is the only picture of just me.  I am very serious about sauteing these tempeh meatballs!

On to the important part – the food!

Our “welcome beverage” was my recipe for Green Ginger Ale.  The color is so beautiful, and it tastes fantastic!

Green Ginger Ale

(recipe scaled for 10 servings – to make a lesser amount, divide all ingredients by 3)

3 oranges, peeled
3 green apples, quartered and cored
3-inch piece ginger
3 cups spinach
20 oz sparkling mineral water

Juice the oranges, apples, ginger and spinach.  Combine with sparkling water and serve immediately.  One serving is 1/2 cup juice plus 1/4 cup sparkling water.

We decided on passed appetizers versus plated, so that we’d have less plates to wash!  The first appetizer was my Tempeh Meatballs with Maple BBQ Sauce.  These received mixed reviews.  I absolutely love them (after testing many, many versions), but I think people who aren’t used to tempeh might not have been too into them.

Tempeh Meatballs with Maple BBQ Sauce

8 oz tempeh
1/4 cup quinoa flour
1 Tbs maple syrup
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs water or Maple BBQ Sauce
1 1/2 Tbs wheat-free tamari
1 Tbs arrowroot
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 recipe Maple BBQ Sauce (recipe below)

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Cube the tempeh and simmer it for 15 minutes.  Drain and let cool.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Place the dried sage, thyme, marjoram and fennel seed in a spice grinder and grind into a powder.
4. Finely crumble the tempeh into a large bowl.  Add all remaining ingredients, including ground spices, and mix very well.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
5. Roll 1 Tbs of the mixture into a ball, and repeat with the rest of the mixture.
6. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Line the skillet thinly with olive oil.  Place some of the meatballs in the skillet, being careful not to overcrowd, and saute, shaking the pan occasionally, until slightly browned.  Repeat with remaining batches, adding more oil as needed.  Dip the meatballs in the Maple BBQ Sauce to thinly coat, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
7. Bake the meatballs for 10 minutes.  Dip the meatballs in the sauce again and bake for another 10 minutes.  Serve immediately, topping with more sauce if needed.

Servings: 6
Yield: about 24 meatballs

Maple BBQ Sauce

28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup organic, sugar-free grape juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs molasses
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 Tbs vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
12 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Transfer to a medium saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes, stirring often.

Servings: 12

It was prime asparagus season at the time, so we wanted to be sure to incorporate asparagus with these asparagus pesto-stuffed mushrooms.  We based the asparagus pesto off of a recipe found online (might have been this one), and we tested a vegan version and vegetarian version with Parmesan.  The class preferred the one with cheese, so that’s what we used.

We chose to combine the soup and salad courses into a “soup, salad and sandwich” combination.

This is Roasted Cauliflower Bisque, Chopped Salad with Honey-Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette, and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (raw gouda and caramelized shallots on gluten-free brioche).  The cauliflower soup wasn’t vegan as originally proposed, but they ended up making it vegan.  I don’t know what they switched out for the butter – probably oil – but here is the original recipe for you to veganize if you want.  I was glad I got to try the soup – it was fantastic!

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

1 head garlic
3 Tbs olive oil, divided
2 Tbs butter
3 medium onions, diced
4 tsp sea salt, divided
6 medium heads cauliflower, chopped
1 gallon vegetable stock, divided
2 bay leaves
fresh ground pepper to taste
3-4 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
truffle oil to drizzle
fresh thyme leaves for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Slice the top of the garlic head, exposing the cloves.  Drizzle 1 tsp olive oil over garlic and wrap tightly in parchment.  Bake upright in a small baking dish for 30 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

On three large, rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment, spread cauliflower pieces in an even layer.  Drizzle evenly with 2 to 3 Tbs olive oil.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until cooked through and slightly golden.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onions and 1 tsp salt.  Saute for 5 minutes, until translucent.  Add cauliflower, garlic, bay leaves and 3/4 of the vegetable stock.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.

Using a high speed blender, puree cauliflower-garlic mixture until smooth, working in batches.  Return puree to pot, add remaining vegetable stock, remaining salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for 5 minutes until heated through.  Stir in lemon juice, nutmeg and paprika.  Ladle into bowls.  Drizzle with truffle oils and garnish with fresh thyme leaves.

Yields:  36 servings

The salad was so pretty!  It was also not vegan, so I never got to try it, but I can imagine it was very tasty.  It’s easily veganizable by swapping agave nectar for the honey, so here’s the recipe!

Chopped Salad with Honey-Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette:
1/4 c honey
1/4 c lemon juice
2 tsp chopped onion
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 c olive oil
1 Tbs poppy seeds
white pepper to taste

Salad:
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp agave nectar
2 red onions, sliced very thinly
1 bunch kale, chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 lb carrots (various colors – purple, white, red, yellow), matchstick cut
2 avocados, pitted and diced
1/4 c dried cranberries
1 cup diced apple (optional)

To prepare vinaigrette, place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend well.  Add pepper to taste.  Set aside or refrigerate.

To prepare the salad, start by marinating the onions.  In a medium shallow bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil and agave.  Add onions and toss to coat thoroughly.  Set aside for 30 minutes to marinate.  Meanwhile, place kale in a large bowl and massage with sea salt.  Rinse.  Run kale through salad spinner to remove excess water.  Toss Brussels sprouts in a bowl to separate layers.

To assembly salad, place kale, Brussels sprouts, carrots, dried cranberries and avocado in a large bowl.  Add vinaigrette, 1/4 cup at a time and toss salad.  Top salad with marinated onions and apple before serving.  Each serving can be plated using a ring mold.

Serves 8.

For the entree, we served a Sprouted Chickpea Burger with Arugula, Caramelized Onion and Fennel, Sweet Potato and Parsnip Oven Fries, Homemade Ketchup and Cashew Mayo.

And, to serve as a “milkshake” with our burger and fries, the much anticipated Orange Coconut Creamsicle.  This stuff is so rich and good that a very small serving will do.  A high speed blender is really helpful with the preparation.

Orange-Coconut Creamsicle

6 large oranges
1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 drops liquid stevia
1 pinch sea salt

1. Refrigerate the coconut milk.  Supreme the oranges over a freezer-safe bowl, catching the juice.  Squeeze any extra juice into the bowl.  Freeze the oranges and juice overnight.
2. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Thin with water 1 Tbs at a time if desired. Serve immediately.

Servings: 4

Our dessert was this amaaaaaazing chocolate cream pie thingy, which the recipe writer named Almost Grammy’s Chocolate Cream Mini-Pie.  They played around with this recipe a little, but I do know we added some cardamom and maybe a pinch of cayenne to the filling, so feel free to experiment!

Almost Grammy’s Chocolate Cream Mini-Pie

Equipment required:  high speed blender, food processor, mini-cheesecake pans, piping bag with decorating tip

Crust
1/4 c amaranth flour
1/4 c almond flour
1/4 c coconut flour
1/4 c potato starch
4 Tbs date sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/4 c solid coconut oil (chilled)
4 Tbs water
2 Tbs ground flax meal

Filling
1 1/2 c coconut milk cream, skimmed from the top of chilled coconut milk
1 Tbs agar agar flakes
1/2 c cocoa powder, raw and unsweetened
2 Tbs brown rice syrup
2 Tbs date sugar
2 Tbs date molasses (Middle Eastern Sylan)
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1/8 tsp sea salt

Frosting
1 1/2 c raw cashews; soaked, sprouted and drained
1/4 c coconut cream, skimmed from the top of chilled coconut milk
1/4 c fresh orange juice
2 Tbs date sugar
4 Tbs solid coconut oil, chilled
3 Tbs maple syrup
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
4 whole cloves, ground
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch cardamom
pinch sea salt

Garnish
strips of orange peel
cacao nibs

Preheat oven to 350F.

[crust] Mix flax seed meal and water in a small bowl.  Set aside to thicken.

[filling] Mix 1/2 c coconut milk cream and agar agar flakes in a small sauce pan.  Set to very low heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until flakes dissolve completely.  The final mixture should have the consistency of light eggnog.

[frosting] Combine all the ingredients into a high speed blender.  Pulse and gradually increase speed until the cream is silky and thick.  You may have to use a spatula to assure all ingredients blend thoroughly.  Taste and adjust as needed, especially if orange juice isn’t very sweet.  Transfer to a container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

[crust] Combine flours, date sugar, cinnamon and salt in a food processor fitted with a dough blade for 1 minutes.  Add coconut oil and process for approximately 2 minutes until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add flax meal slurry and process for 1 minute more, until dough forms.  Press dough evenly into the bottom of each mini cheesecake form, about 1/4 – 1/2″ thick.  Blind bake for 15 minutes or until golden.  Set aside to cool completely.

[filling] Combine all the ingredients in blender or food processor.  Add agar agar and coconut milk mixture.  Blend until silky smooth.  Taste and balance flavor as needed.  Final mixture should have the viscosity of chocolate cake batter, but should be completely silky.

Once the crust is cooled, fill each mini cheesecake form to the brim and place in refrigerator to set for at least two hours or overnight.

To serve, remove each mini pie from the cheesecake pan and transfer to a plate.  Pipe frosting on top and garnish with orange peel and cacao nibs.

Yields: 12 mini pies

(not my hands)

Dessert, waiting for the signal to enter the dining space.  This was a great moment, because it meant we were almost done!  Except for clean up, of course.

The showcase took a lot of work.  And a lot of time.  And a lot of energy.  And it stressed us all out.  But in the end it went really well!  I definitely gained some experience in menu planning, recipe scaling and cooking in larger quantities.

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12 Comments »

  1. Megan said

    That all looks amazing! Esp. the tiny milkshakes!

  2. T said

    Wow, sounds amazing! Thanks for posting the recipes!

  3. Mandee said

    Congratulations, you and your team made some amazing looking food! I definitely want to try the cauliflower soup, the orange-coconut creamsicle and the mini cream pies!

  4. Mom said

    That chopped salad is the most beautiful salad ever.

  5. Melisser said

    Thanks for coming to our party! Looks like an amazing food spread!

  6. chow vegan said

    Wow, that was some dinner! Everything looked amazing! :-)

  7. What an amazing meal! I wish I had been there to try all those gorgeous creations.

    I am SO happy the creamsicle recipe has arrived!!! I can’t wait to try it out. It looks incredible.

    I know what you mean about the peaches this week – I used two immediately in a peach-blueberry crisp and the third was moldy by Saturday. I should have paid more attention to how ripe they were when they arrived, but I just haven’t been in a fruit mood. (Too bad as our boxes seem heavily fruity these days.)

  8. What truly beautiful dishes- It’s easy to see all of the passion that went into each one! My mouth is watering over here. :)

  9. [...] Chopped Salad with “Honey”-Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette.  I planned to make this for Thanksgiving ever since it went over so well at our Showcase dinner.  I substituted agave for the honey, and left out the apples and avocado.  I can see how it would be even better with avocado.  Neither of the guys ate their entire salad, but they both said they liked it, which is really impressive for a salad containing both raw kale and brussels sprouts. [...]

  10. [...] Lemon makes a nice addition to almost any combination, and I really like an orange-fennel juice.  Green Ginger Ale is a light, flavorful drink that’s not too [...]

  11. [...] sprouts they think of whole, smelly green globules, but did you know you can eat them raw?  This Chopped Salad with “Honey”-Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette should please even the most adamant brussels haters.  Just replace the honey with agave nectar and [...]

  12. [...] or crumbled tempeh makes a great meat substitute.  These Tempeh Meatballs with Maple BBQ Sauce are a little bit of work, but they’re really delicious, and make a beautiful presentation.  [...]

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