Posts Tagged Bauman College

More Personal Cheffing

For the rest of my externship, I did a few personal cheffing sessions.  I met with the client to assess their needs, planned the menu, grocery shopped, prepared the food in their kitchen, and cleaned up.  All of my “clients” were friends, so it was pretty fun!  Exhausting, but fun.

My first client was Miles.  Miles is a healthy, active guy, so I was sure to include plenty of protein and good fats in his meals.  He is trying to eat low gluten and low soy, so I took that into account as well.  I packaged his meals individually so he could grab them on the way to work.

For the first meal, I made the Quick Red Posole with Beans from Viva Vegan, served with Braised Brazilian Shredded Kale (also from Viva Vegan), toasted pumpkin seeds and quinoa with lime juice.  The kale is really great for such a simple recipe.

Since Miles strives to be mostly soy-free, he makes really interesting stuff like hemp tofu and Burmese tofu, made with chickpea flour.  He had prepared a batch of Burmese tofu, so I made Fragrant Burmese Curry with it.  The chickpea tofu held together much better than I expected.  I served the curry with brown basmati rice and roasted broccoli.

This is “tuna”-stuffed tomatoes with Italian pasta salad.  I used this recipe for the tuna, substituting hemp seeds for the sesame seeds and using an adaptation of this cashew mayonnaise recipe instead of prepared vegan mayo.  The pasta salad was based on this recipe, with gluten free pasta and Zesty Italian Dressing.  Miles didn’t care for the pasta salad much, but he said he loved the tomatoes.

My next clients were Alex & Kristin, an awesome couple who, apart from a few allergies and dislikes, aren’t too picky.  I packaged their meals for two, so that they could reheat and eat together.  (I forgot to bring my camera that day, so please enjoy the craptastic cell phone pics!)

Kristin reeeeeeally wanted lasagna, so lasagna she got.  I’m not sure I would make lasagna again for a client becuase it takes me forever to put together, but it was worth it to make her happy!  I based my lasagna on the recipe from Veganomicon, with the VCon marinara, spinach, tempeh sausage, and cashew cream with plenty of nutritional yeast.  I would’ve also added mushrooms, but they don’t like mushrooms.  The horror, I know!

This White Bean Salad with Mint was the side dish for the lasagna.  I’m not huge on fresh mint, but I think it was pretty tasty.

Atrocious picture.  I know.

Alex & Kristin love Indian food (who doesn’t?), so I made the Tamarind Lentils from Veganomicon and some saffron basmati rice pilaf.  Alex called it biryani, which I guess is what it was.  The slivered almonds totally made the rice.  I also made some kale saag, which tasted nice but photographed so horribly that I can’t bring myself to post it.  It’s unrecognizable as food.

To use some seasonal vegetables, I made succotash from a recipe I printed from Food Network’s website many years ago which doesn’t seem to be there anymore.  Instead of the bacon called for, I add a dash of liquid smoke.  I served the succotash with polenta cakes.  I wanted to do grit cakes, but the grocery store I went to didn’t have grits.

My last clients were Raelene and Wayne, and their adorable 2 1/2 year old daughter.  I packaged their food family style, which basically meant just putting the whole recipe away in the fridge or freezer.  I brought my camera that day but totally forgot to take pictures, and then left my camera there!  They were nice enough to take pictures on my camera when they tried the meals.  They wanted to eat kind of “light”, and they basically like everything, which made it easy to choose recipes.

First up, Quinoa-Corn Chowder and Classic Cabbage with Cilantro-Citrus Vinaigrette, both from Viva Vegan and both tasty and easy.

The next meal was Two-Broccoli Stir-Fry on Soba Noodles from Vegetarian Times, and Fat Free Vegan’s Double Mushroom Miso Soup.  I wanted this meal to be filling yet light, if that makes sense, and I also wanted to sneak in some seaweed :)

Lastly, we wanted to try freezing one of the meals, which worked out well since Raelene just had surgery (she’s fine), and they pulled it out of the freezer last night for dinner.

This is Curried Cauliflower Frittata from Vegan Brunch, with added spinach, and Samosa Stuffed Baked Potatoes from Veganomicon.  Looks like the served it with some chutney – Good call!

A few people have asked me about my experiences with the Natural Chef Program at Bauman College, so I thought I would share a few opinions here.  I enjoyed it overall, and I’m very glad that I did it.  Yes, It was difficult to attend the classes and complete the homework while still working full time, but I basically decided to dedicate my time and forgo a social life for six months.  The program is not vegan, but it is vegan-friendly, and I was never asked to taste or work with any non-vegan ingredients.  My classmates were super-cool about working with me and making sure I had enough to eat at the end of class.  The instructors were educated and experienced, and if they ever didn’t know the answer to a question they would find out before the next class.  If you’re vegan or vegetarian in the program, you do have to be okay with being around meat for a few classes, but you don’t have to work with it.  Also, you may have to listen to some talk about the merits of stuff like the Weston A. Price Foundation that you may not agree with.  Basically, you have to be understanding with your classmates, the same way you would want them to be understanding with you.  Overall, the program is extremely vegan/vegetarian friendly, and very approving of plant-based nutrition.  Also, because the program is a condensed six month program, you have to know going into it that you’re not getting the same education or experience that you would at a three-year culinary school.  In the end, I feel like I still have a lot to learn and to cook, but that I have a better basic understanding of food and nutrition, and a much better foundation in knife skills, cooking techniques, ingredient knowledge and kitchen timing.  Again, I’m very glad that I completed the program.  If you are considering attending Bauman and have any other questions about my experiences, e-mail me at jamboxrock AT hotmail DOT com and I’ll try not to take forever to answer!

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My First Try at Personal Cheffing

The very last component of the Natural Chef Program at Bauman College is the externship.  While many students completed their externships at restaurants or with catering companies, I chose to spend mine trying out personal cheffing, since it is what I am considering as a possible future career.  I recruited some vegan friends on The PPK who were interested in trying it out as well, from the client’s perspective.  In California, legally, food has to be prepared in a professional facility like a commercial kitchen, or in the client’s home, which is where personal cheffing comes in.

For my first assignment, I cooked a special dinner for Megan and her roommates.  The birthday boy’s favorite cuisines are Central American and Middle Eastern, and I chose to go Central American for the challenge, as I didn’t really have much experience in the area.  Note – This was before Viva Vegan came out, which would have made my planning a whole lot easier!  I did as much research as possible in order to present a somewhat-authentic meal.  I didn’t have time to take pictures, as I was serving each course plated, but Megan’s sister was kind enough to snap some shots.

First, I brought out Strawberry Agua Fresca and some South American beers.  BevMo didn’t have any Central American beers, so we had to settle for South.

The agua fresca was just strawberries, water, a little sugar, and lime juice blended up and strained.  Delicious!

The appetizer was chorizo-spiced mushroom papusas with curtido and hot sauce.

For the filling, I sauteed some diced mushrooms with a chorizo seasoning mix based on this recipe, then added some fresh cilantro as I stuffed the papusas.  The curtido recipe is from Vegan Lunch Box Around the World.

I chose a cold soup that I could make ahead for the second course, to free up some burners and cooking time in preparation for the main course.

This is Mark Bittman’s Savory Cold Mango Soup.  Not authentically Central American, but close enough flavor-wise to go with the meal.  I wasn’t sure how well this would turn out, but the diners really liked it.

For the salad course, I chose Hearts of Palm Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette.  Except that the grocery store I went to, which is usually very well stocked, didn’t have hearts of palm.  So, it turned into an artichoke heart salad, which was probably just as good.  The recipe didn’t call for avocado, but I figured there oughta be avocado somewhere in the meal.

The entree was a large plate of food, and the diners were starting to get full by this point, but they tried their darndest to eat as much as possible!

This is Tofu Pepian, Gallo Pinto, Sauteed Kale and Roasted Plantains.  The pepian sauce is from this recipe.  It was really easy to make, and ridiculously flavorful.  It was my first time working with tomatillos, so I was pleased to find out that they are relatively easy to work with.  I breaded the tofu with the method of the Cajun Spiced Tofu from Yellow Rose Recipes.  I used this Gallo Pinto recipe, which was super duper delicious, and the kale was simply chopped and sauteed in a bit of oil with some salt.  The ripe plantains were tossed with some oil and roasted at 425F, just until they started to brown.

Dessert was the birthday boy’s choice…

Smlove Pie from Veganomicon.  This picture cannot express how amazingly delicious this pie is.  It’s somewhat time-consuming to make, but so very worth it.

After this meal I was exhausted and their kitchen was a mess, but they thoroughly enjoyed the meal and I learned a lot about planning and executing a catered dinner.  I’ll return soon to tell you about the rest of my externship experiences!

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My Final Presentation: Cooking For Vegan Children

For my individual final project at Bauman College, I was required to choose a specific health conditions on which to write a report and give a cooking demonstration.  My report was supposed to include a “brief” description of the condition, a 5-day menu plan, a few recipes and recipe costs.  Then, we were to give a 45 minute demonstration, preparing two recipes and showing cooking techniques and presentation abilities, as well as providing nutritional information.  There weren’t any health conditions I was really interested in reporting on, so I asked the program coordinator if I could choose cooking for vegan children, and she approved.  I chose this topic because it’s something I really knew nothing about, and at the time there wasn’t much good, consolidated literature on it.  Of course, this was before The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Eating For Kids came out.  I haven’t read the book, but I imagine it holds a lot of the same information I came across in my research.  I can also recommend Raising Vegetarian Children as an excellent resource.  While the title says vegetarian, the book is really vegan and generally against dairy and eggs.

Because I really didn’t know anything about cooking for children, I dove into the research, using vegan, vegetarian, and non-vegetarian resources.  My report ended up being not-so-brief; it’s 22 pages including biography.  For how long I’ve been out of school and away from writing in an academic manner, I was pleased with how it turned out.  I feel that it was comprehensive enough to be a good basic guide including solid nutrition information, but not overly detailed.  I am still in no way an expert, but here is a link to my report if you would like to read it:  Cooking For Vegan Children

Edited to add:  A reader pointed out that the nutritional yeast is missing from the ingredients list of the soup recipe in the report.  If you make the soup, be sure to add about 3/4 cup nutritional yeast when you blend it! The recipe listed below is correct.

(Explaining to visitors that the stack of books on my desk about raising and feeding kids was just for research was interesting for a while!  I got some funny looks.)

My demonstration also went well.  My audience (my classmates) felt a little cold to the topic at first, as none of them were vegan and they probably don’t agree with the idea of raising a child on a vegan diet, but as I started to cook they asked some questions and opened up as I answered and offered my opinions.  Once I made sure that they knew I wasn’t trying to tell them that children should be vegan, but instead that they could, everyone was cool with the topic.  We were only required to prepare two recipes, but I chose simple recipe and went for three, just because I enjoy challenging myself.  I came in at 45 minutes exactly, including plenty of time for discussion.

It was fun choosing the menu plan and recipes for my report.  I think sometimes as chefs and foodies, we get so caught up with fancy stuff like reductions, infusions, ethnic cuisines, garnishes, etc., so it was fun to step back and think of food like a kid would.

Chocolate-Avocado-Chia Pudding
by Erin Weldon

2 Tbs chia seeds
1 Haas avocado
2 Tbs cocoa powder
1 cup unsweetened, fortified non-dairy milk
2 Tbs agave nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch salt

1. In a spice grinder, grind the chia seeds into a fine powder.
2. Place all other ingredients (avocado flesh through salt) in a food processor and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.  Add the ground chia seeds and pulse a few times to combine.
3. Transfer the mixture into four ramekins or small serving dishes.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and serve cold.

Servings: 4
Yield: 2 cups

Amount Per Serving
Calories 160.09
Calories From Fat (49%) 77.78
Total Fat 9.19g 14%
Saturated Fat 1.37g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 108.4mg 5%
Potassium 338.57mg 10%
Total Carbohydrates 18.64g 6%
Fiber 5.54g 22%
Sugar 10.67g
Protein 3.92g 8%
Vitamin A 65.4IU 1%
Vitamin C 3.81mg 6%
|Calcium 46.73mg 5%
Iron 1.03mg 6%

picture from an old post

Full Meal Muffins
Adapted from Vegan Lunch Box by Jennifer McCann

1 cup spelt flour
1 cup quinoa flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 ripe bananas, peeled
3 Tbs blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup apple juice, plus more as  needed
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs ground flax seed
1-2 carrots, shredded, to make 1 1/2 cups
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped or ground
1/2 cup raisins

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly oil a muffin tin and set aside.
2. Combine flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together.
3. Place the bananas, blackstrap molasses, apple juice, apple cider vinegar, and flax seed in a blender and blend until smooth.  Mix the wet and dry ingredients together, then fold in the shredded carrot, walnuts, and raisins.  Add a bit more apple juice if needed to wet all of the dough.
4. Divide the mixture evenly into the muffin tin and bake for 20 minutes or until the top springs back to the touch.  Remove muffins from the pan and cool on a wire rack.
5. Store in an airtight container or freeze in individual freezer bags to eat as needed.

Yield: 12 muffins
Serving size: 1 muffin

Amount Per Serving
Calories 164.6
Calories From Fat (23%) 37.6
Total Fat 4.41g 7%
Saturated Fat 0.4g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 276.77mg 12%
Potassium 350.17mg 10%
Total Carbohydrates 29.08g 10%
Fiber 3.51g 14%
Sugar 8.1g
Protein 4.06g 8%
Vitamin A 1140.22IU 23%
Vitamin C 6.64mg 11%
Calcium 111.54mg 11%
Iron 1.84mg 10%

Broccoli Cheez Soup
Adapted from The Uncheese Cookbook by Joanne Stepaniak

1 large potato, diced
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 cup vegetable broth or water
2 cups broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15.5 oz can
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 cup unsweetened, fortified non-dairy milk

1. Place the potato, carrot, onion, and vegetable broth in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, place the broccoli florets in a steamer basket and line a pot with water.  Cover, bring to a boil and steam for about 5 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork.
3. Place the remaining ingredients (chickpeas through milk) in a blender and add the cooked vegetable mixture along with any remaining broth or water.  Puree until completely smooth.  Pour the blended mixture into a clean soup pot.  Stir in the steamed broccoli florets and warm the soup over low heat until hot.  Do not boil.  If the soup is too thick, add some additional milk or broth to achieve the desired consistency.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  Serve warm.

Servings: 5
Serving size: 1 cup

Amount Per Serving
Calories 260.13
Calories From Fat (27%) 70.13
Total Fat 8.08g 12%
Saturated Fat 0.87g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 742.84mg 31%
Potassium 505.68mg 14%
Total Carbohydrates 36.53g 12%
Fiber 9.35g 37%
Sugar 2.27g
Protein 14.36g 29%
Vitamin A 3673.92IU 73%
Vitamin C 42.05mg 70%
Calcium 92.64mg 9%
Iron 2.48mg 14%

The feedback on the recipes was generally good – the class LOVED the muffins.  Some people thought the soup was a little too nutritional yeasty, but what can I say?  I love me some nutritional yeast.

I’ve got one more post up my sleeve relating to Bauman, and then you won’t hear me talk about it any more!

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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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Showcase #1

The final group project of the Natural Chef Program at Bauman College is what’s called the “showcase”.  Basically, we host a catered dinner for invited guests in our classroom, and it involved a whole lot of work and planning, including decorating the classroom!  To come up with recipes, the class was divided into groups and assigned a course – I was assigned appetizers and beverages.  To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled with being assigned appetizers, but in the end I was happy with what I came up with.  We were kind of going in the direction of upscale, reinvented American classics, so that is what I went for.

Coming up with beverages other than just tea wasn’t very easy, since we were focusing on natural, whole foods.

Green Ginger Ale

Orange Coconut Creamsicle.  A picture cannot describe how good this one was.  We ended up using both of these on the menu, so I’ll share the recipes in my next post.

I tried to make tempeh wings with a homemade sugar-free buffalo sauce and cashew ranch.  Neither attempt was particularly successful, but it was fun trying!  In the second picture I went with a carrot and celery slaw rather than veggie sticks, which I thought was a neat spin on tradition.

Barbecue tempeh meatballs, which we also ended up using on the menu, so I will post the recipe next time.  These are super delicious!

Lastly, my vegan and gluten-free take on Bagel Bites.  The class liked these but thought they might be a bit too heavy for a first bite, so they didn’t end up on the menu.  I fed some to a group of football-watching boys, and they also approved.  I only tested them twice, with varied results, so I don’t guarantee the texture of the gluten-free mini bagels.  The taste, however, is great.  The “portobello pepperoni” is awesome, if I do say so myself.

Vegan & Gluten-Free Bagel Bites

Bagels
1 3/4 cups warm water (115-120°F)
1 Tbs sucanat
1 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
1 Tbs flax meal
3 Tbs warm water
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 cup quinoa flour
2 Tbs arrowroot powder
2 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Portobello Pepperoni
1/4 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp mustard seed
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 pinch sea salt
2 portobello mushrooms, gilled removed, cut into 1/4″ dice
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp wheat-free tamari

Pizza Sauce
14.5 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, juice reserved
1 date, chopped
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper

Mozzarella Sauce
5 Tbs water
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/3 cup gluten-free oats
1/4 cup tahini
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sea salt
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp xantham gum

1. Mix the 1 3/4 cups warm water, sugar and yeast in a large bowl and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine the flax meal and 3 Tbs warm water and whisk vigorously for 30 seconds.  Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the tapioca flour, brown rice flour, quinoa flour, arrowroot, xantham gum and salt.  Whisk to incorporate.

4. Check that the yeast has proofed – it should be slightly foamy.  If the yeast has not proofed, the water was too hot or the yeast was not alive.

5. Add the flax mixture and apple cider vinegar to the bowl with the yeast.  Add the dry mixture 1/2 cup at a time and mix well.  Incorporate as much of the dry mixture as possible working the dough with a wooden spoon, then use your hands if needed to form the dough into a ball.

6. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth.  Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

7. Meanwhile, prepare the other components.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  To make the portobello pepperoni, grind the fennel seed, mustard seed, red pepper flakes and sea salt in a spice grinder.  Place the diced portobello in a medium bowl, add the ground spices and all remaining ingredients (smoked paprika through tamari) and mix well.

8. Transfer the portobello mixture to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, stirring once.  Set aside and let cool.  Leave the oven on at 400.

9. To prepare the sauce, place all sauce ingredients (tomatoes through black pepper) in a blender and blend until smooth.  Add the reserved tomato juice 1 Tbs at a time to thin the sauce to desired consistency.  Pour into a bowl or jar and set aside.

10. Rinse the blender.  Place the 5 Tbs water, nutritional yeast, oats, tahini, lemon juice, onion powder and 1 tsp sea salt in the blender and blend until smooth.  Place the olive oil in a small bowl and whisk in the xantham gum.  Add the oil to the blender and blend together.  The mixture will thicken very quickly.  Transfer to a squeeze bottle and set aside.

11. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Check on the bagel dough – it won’t have risen very much, but it should be slightly springy when touched.  Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces.  The dough will be tacky but shouldn’t stick to your hands too much.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Shape each piece into a ball and flatten slightly.  Once the water is boiling, use a slotted spoon to place three bagels at a time in the water.  Boil for 1 minutes, flipping the bagels after 30 seconds.  Remove the bagels to the baking sheet and repeat until all bagels have been boiled.

12. Bake the bagels for 20 minutes, turning them over after 10 minutes, until the tops are starting to brown.  Remove from the oven and cool for at least 30 minutes.  Keep the oven on.

13. Carefully slice each bagel in half with a serrated knife.  Spoon some of the tomato sauce on each half.  Top with the portobello pepperoni and squeeze the cheese sauce on top.  Bake for 10 minutes and serve immediately.

Servings: 8
Yield: 24 bagel bites

Amount Per Serving
Calories 335.64
Calories From Fat (30%) 101.18
% Daily Value
Total Fat 11.72g 18%
Saturated Fat 1.43g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 750.59mg 31%
Potassium 469.7mg 13%
Total Carbohydrates 47.75g 16%
Fiber 7.87g 31%
Sugar 5.53g
Protein 12.79g 26%

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Showin’ Off My Skills

As part of the Natural Chef Program at Bauman College, each student had to present a 15 minute cooking demonstration with a recipe including three assigned skills.  It was like teaching a cooking class in front of my classmates, complete with nutrition information.  My skills were blanching & shocking, cutting a medium matchstick, and using a food processor.  I racked my brain for about a month for a good way to combine these seemingly unrelated skills, and here is what I came up with!

Broccoli Pesto Pasta Salad with Apples & Chickpeas

This gluten free pasta dish is easy to prepare and features a great variety of textures.  It is a little high in calories as a four-serving main dish, but if you want to reduce the calories you could omit the apples or chickpeas, or divide into smaller portions and serve with a salad.

8 oz gluten-free spiral pasta, such as Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta Garden Pagodas
2 medium heads of broccoli, cut into small florets (about 5 cups)
1/2 cup walnuts
1 Tbs white miso
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for coating the pasta
1 cup chickpeas, cooked
1 medium apple, cored and diced
1 large carrot, shredded
water (if desired)

1. Cook the pasta according to directions on package, just to al dente.  Drain, rinse and put in a mixing bowl.  Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and toss to coat.  Set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and have a bowl of ice water ready.  Add the broccoli to the water and boil for 2 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli to the ice water to shock.  Drain and shake off as much water as possible.
3. Place the walnuts in a food processor and process to the size of large breadcrumbs.  Add the miso and nutritional yeast and pulse to combine.
4. Add the garlic, parsley, broccoli and salt and process until incorporated, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
5. With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil and blend until well combined, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.  If needed, add a little bit of water to thin to desired consistency.
6. Add the chickpeas, apples and carrots to the pasta.  Add the pesto and mix gently to combine well.  Serve at room temperature.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 695.29
Calories From Fat (49%) 341.75
% Daily Value
Total Fat 39.3g 60%
Saturated Fat 4.82g 24%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 623.75mg 26%
Potassium 614.6mg 18%
Total Carbohydrates 77.36g 26%
Fiber 10.86g 43%
Sugar 6.27g
Protein 15.61g 31%

Comments (8)

Homework #5

Even though I already finished the Natural Chef program at Bauman College,  I still want to catch you guys up on the rest of what I did there.

For our fifth homework assignment, we had to go to a farmer’s market, pick out an organic farm, find out some information about them, and design a day’s worth of recipes using what they had available – two recipes each for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Additionally, two of the recipes had to be raw.

I chose Lopez Farms at the San Leandro Bayfair farmers market.  They’re not certified organic, but they are pesticide-free which is good enough for me.  Here is what they had in mid-December.

(Their lettuce was only $1 a head last weekend – score!)

It was tougher for me to come up with breakfast recipes than lunch or dinner.  I didn’t want to resort to a tofu scramble, so it was difficult to find a way to use multiple vegetables in breakfast dishes.  Here is what I came up with.

Savory Amaranth Porridge

To make a thinner porridge, just add more broth or some water.  I love adding fennel seed to breakfast recipes because it’s reminiscent of a sausage-ey flavor.

8 oz tempeh, cubed
2 Tbs virgin coconut oil
1/2 medium red onion, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/2 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, diced
1 cup amaranth
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Add the tempeh and simmer 20 minutes.  Drain and allow to cool.  When cool enough to handle, crumble the tempeh and set aside.

2. Place the coconut oil in a large pan over medium high heat.  Add the onion and saute 1 minute.  Add the cumin, paprika, fennel seed and celery seed and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add the brussels sprouts, carrots and a large pinch of salt and saute for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the mushrooms and continue to cook for 6 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the tempeh, mix and remove from heat.

3. Meanwhile, place the amaranth and broth in a medium pot and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Add the vegetable mixture to the amaranth, stir well and continue to simmer for 10 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed.  Remove from the heat and stir in nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to taste.

5. Serve hot, topped with toasted pine nuts.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 487.93
Calories From Fat (40%) 195.13
% Daily Value
Total Fat 23.17g 36%
Saturated Fat 8.6g 43%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 430.23mg 18%
Potassium 976.63mg 28%
Total Carbohydrates 52.86g 18%
Fiber 10g 40%
Sugar 4.18g
Protein 25.33g 51%

Ginger Beet Smoothie

Beets for breakfast?  Why not?

3 medium beets
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 prunes, chopped
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2-3 tsp agave nectar
1 cup ice

1. The night before, preheat the oven to 400.  Wrap each beet in foil and bake for 1 hour.  Allow to cool and refrigerate overnight.

2. Unwrap the beets, use a spoon to scrape the skin off and cut into pieces.

3. Place the beets and all remaining ingredients in the blender, starting with 2 tsp agave nectar.  Blend until smooth.  Taste and add more agave nectar if needed.  Serve cold.

Servings: 2

Amount Per Serving
Calories 159.65
Calories From Fat (3%) 4.18
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0.5g <1%
Saturated Fat 0.07g <1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 97.48mg 4%
Potassium 713.39mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates 38.2g 13%
Fiber 4.31g 17%
Sugar 29.95g
Protein 3.05g 6%

For lunch, a little soup ‘n’ salad…

Creamy Cauliflower & Chickpea Soup with Parsley Coulis

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 Tbs virgin coconut oil
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk
2-2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp white pepper

Parsley Coulis
1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs water

1. Steam the cauliflower florets for 20 minutes, or until very soft.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large pot over medium heat and add the coconut oil.  Add the garam masala, coriander, cardamom, turmeric and cayenne and cook for 1 minute, stirring and swirling the oil almost constantly.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes or until the onions are soft, stirring frequently and being careful not to let it burn.

3. Transfer the onion mixture to a blender and add the chickpeas and milk.  Blend until smooth and pour back in the pot.

4. Place the cauliflower and 2 cups of broth in the blender and blend until smooth.  If your blender is small you may need to do this in batches.  Pour into the pot with the onion mixture.

5. Add the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt and white pepper to the soup and whisk to combine.  If the soup is too thick, add 1/2 cup broth.  Heat the soup, whisking occasionally, until heated through.  Taste the soup and add more salt, pepper or cayenne if needed.

6. Meanwhile, rinse the blender.  Place the coulis ingredients (parsley through water) in the blender and blend until as smooth as possible, stopping to scrape down the sides.

7. To serve, ladle the soup into four bowl and drizzle the coulis over each serving.

Servings: 4
Yield: 4 servings

Amount Per Serving
Calories 321.49
Calories From Fat (22%) 69.56
% Daily Value
Total Fat 8.05g 12%
Saturated Fat 3.55g 18%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 907.59mg 38%
Potassium 1529.58mg 44%
Total Carbohydrates 51.85g 17%
Fiber 15.63g 63%
Sugar 14.08g
Protein 17.02g 34%

Poppy Seed Coleslaw

This stuff is like coleslaw crack.  I easily could have eaten all four servings at once.  So good!

1 small head cabbage, shredded
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 carrot, shredded
1 celery stalk, shredded
1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight
1/4 cup water
2 Tbs fresh orange juice
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 tsp agave nectar
1/8 tsp dry mustard
1 dash onion powder
1 dash garlic powder
3/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp poppy seeds

1. Place cabbage, red pepper, carrot and celery in a large bowl.

2. Drain the cashews and place them in a blender.  Add the remaining ingredients except poppy seeds to the blender (water through black pepper).  Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides if needed.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

3. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and add the poppy seeds.  Mix thoroughly and serve immediately.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 227.33
Calories From Fat (50%) 113.69
% Daily Value
Total Fat 13.4g 21%
Saturated Fat 2.24g 11%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 412.5mg 17%
Potassium 643.03mg 18%
Total Carbohydrates 24.01g 8%
Fiber 6.82g 27%
Sugar 11.78g
Protein 7.02g 14%

For my dinner recipes, I tried to be a little more fancy.

Lemony Raw Swiss Chard Salad

This tasty raw salad is best the day it is made.

1 bunch chard, stems removed, torn into bite-size pieces
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
5 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 pinches sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp lemon zest

1. Place the swiss chard in a large bowl.  Place the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a small jar, close the lid and shake until well combined.  Taste the dressing and add more salt or pepper if needed.  Pour the dressing over the chard.  With clean hands, massage and squeeze the chard until it reduces in size and feels more tender, a few minutes.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Place the shallots in a small bowl and cover with water.  Set aside for 1 hour.

3. After an hour, drain the shallots.  Add the shallots to the chard and mix well.  Transfer the chard to a serving bowl.  Sprinkle the raisins, lemon zest and more freshly ground black pepper over the salad.  Serve cold.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 217.26
Calories From Fat (43%) 92.81
% Daily Value
Total Fat 10.53g 16%
Saturated Fat 1.46g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 410.09mg 17%
Potassium 876.52mg 25%
Total Carbohydrates 30.17g 10%
Fiber 2.49g 10%
Sugar 7.6g
Protein 5.03g 10%

Tofu & Potatoes En Papillote with Leeks & Parsley Pesto

En Papillote is just a fancy term for “in paper”.  The red wine marinade gives the tofu a really pretty rosy color and great flavor.  And, the parsley pesto is good with everything – especially pasta!

1 lb extra-firm tofu
2 cups red wine
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs tamari
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 1/2 lb yukon gold potatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 leek, halved, rinsed and thinly sliced
Parsley Pesto
1/4 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
1 1/2 tsp white miso
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups packed fresh parsley
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
lemon slices, for garnish

1. Pat excess water off of the tofu.  Place the tofu on a plate and place another plate on top.  Balance a few heavy objects such as canned food on the top plate and press the tofu for 30 minutes.  Drain the excess water.  Place the tofu on its side and carefully slice the tofu into eight thin pieces.

2. Combine the red wine, balsamic vinegar, tamari, lemon juice and smashed garlic in a container large enough to hold the tofu slices.  Submerge the tofu and marinate for at least 1 hour.  Drain.

3. Preheat the oven to 375F.

4. Cut four pieces of parchment paper into 15″ x 15″ squares.  Fold each square in half.  Draw a large half heart shape on each rectangle and cut out.  Open each piece flat.

5. Place one piece of tofu on one side of a parchment heart.  Place two to three potato slices on top, then layer another piece of tofu and a few more potato slices.  Top with one fourth of the leeks.

6. Fold the paper over the ingredients so that the edges meet.  Starting from the top of the heart, fold and crimp both edges of the paper so that the packet is sealed, overlapping the folds and twisting the bottom corner.  Repeat with the remaining paper and ingredients.

7. Place the packets on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes.

8. Meanwhile, prepare the pesto.  Place the walnuts in a food processor and process until they are the size of breadcrumbs.  Add the miso, nutritional yeast, garlic and salt and pulse until combined.  Add the parsley and process until finely chopped.  With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil slowly.  You may not need to use all of the oil.

9. To serve, open the packets and top with pesto and a lemon slice.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 431.98
Calories From Fat (49%) 210.98
% Daily Value
Total Fat 24.1g 37%
Saturated Fat 3.11g 16%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 230.15mg 10%
Potassium 920.72mg 26%
Total Carbohydrates 40.04g 13%
Fiber 7.46g 30%
Sugar 3.11g
Protein 17.16g 34%

Comments (14)

Out with School, In with Detox

I’m this close to being done with the Natural Chef program at Bauman College.  Our group final-slash-graduation-ish dinner was last night, and we just have one more wrap up class on Tuesday.  While I’m extremely happy that I took on the five month program and I have greatly increased my cooking skills and knowledge, my personal diet for the past few months has been less than ideal, and I’ve gained a few pounds.  So, now that I have time back on my hands I’m going to embark on a cleanse.  It’s a little more stringent than the last cleanse I did just before school started, and a little less intense than the Adventure Cleanse Tune-up that both Bianca and Jessy did recently.  I didn’t have a juicer when I cleansed back in August, but now I do (thanks again, mom!) and I’m excited to include a green juice as a part of my daily menu.  I also didn’t have the guts to completely knock out coffee and alcohol last time, so this time I’m going to give it a go.  We are going on vacation on the 20th, so I expect the cleanse will last 19 days.

Here are the guidelines:

- NO gluten
- NO sugar (maple, agave and stevia are okay in small amounts)
- NO coffee
- NO alcohol
- Very limited processed foods (I will use almond milk, green powder and hemp protein powder in smoothies)
- Abundant fruits and vegetables, moderate amounts of protein and fat, and limited whole grains
- Increased “booster foods”:  hemp, flax and chia seeds, seaweed, nutritional yeast, sprouts, fermented foods, umeboshi plum, etc.

Menu plan
- first thing in AM:  warm water with chia seeds and lemon juice
- breakfast:  fresh green juice, green or black tea
- mid-morning snack:  smoothie (fruit, omega-3 oil, hemp protein powder or nut butter, and green powder)
- lunch:  salad, mostly raw, with cooked protein optional (beans or soy), OR a totally raw meal of some sort
- afternoon snack:  raw veggies with hummus OR raw energy bar OR trail mix
- dinner:  cooked meal including whole grains or starchy veggies and other vegetables, possibly with protein and/or topped with a sauce
- after dinner: herbal tea

That is the plan, and I intend to stick with it.  Better than last time.  No cheating.  I have thought about the possible cravings and weaknesses I may encounter, and have plans for them.  If I feel like having a beer, I will try either fruit juice mixed with sparkling water or herbal tea instead.  My snack cravings tend to be salty/crunchy, so I have a jar of Bubbie’s dill pickles for emergency snacking.

As to not leave this post picture-less, here are two juices I have made recently.

Orange, apple and ginger.  So tasty.

This one was mostly red cabbage.  I know I put other stuff in too, but I remember it tasting mostly like essence of red cabbage.

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Homework #4

The fourth section of the Natural Chef program at Bauman College focused on ethnic cuisines, specifically European Mediterranean, Levantine Mediterranean/North African, Japanese, Indian, Latin American and Thai.  Our homework assignment was to turn in one recipe representing each of these cuisines.  I figured that there are plenty of authentic recipes out there that are much better than I could do, so I focused on using the ingredients of each region in what might be a non-traditional manner.  I also wanted to make each recipe a one-dish meal to make things easier on myself.  Here they are!

White Bean & Vegetable Bake with Herbed Polenta Crust

If using dried herbs instead of fresh, be sure to use half the amount called for.  This is great for dinner, but also makes a good breakfast.

2 Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 leek, halved, rinsed and thinly sliced
1 bunch swiss chard, stems sliced and leaves chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp fennel seed
1/8 tsp celery seed
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 cup dry red wine
28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Tbs capers
2 cups cooked white beans
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 cup polenta or coarse ground cornmeal
1/2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme
1/2 tsp minced fresh oregano
1/2 tsp minced fresh basil
1/2 tsp minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place a large pan over medium heat and add the olive oil.  Add the onion, carrot, leek, sliced chard stems and a few pinches of salt and sweat the vegetables for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are becoming translucent.  Add the garlic, fennel seeds, celery seeds and red pepper flakes and continue to saute for 2 minutes.  Add the wine, tomatoes and capers, turn up the heat slightly and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the chard leaves and white beans and cook for a few minutes, until chard is wilted and beans are heated through.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
3. Place the vegetable broth or water, polenta, herbs, salt and black pepper in a medium pot.  Bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes, whisking constantly, until thickened.
4. Transfer the bean mixture to a baking dish and spread the polenta evenly on top.  Bake for 30 minutes and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Servings: 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories 482.56
Calories From Fat (13%) 63.71
% Daily Value
Total Fat 7.22g 11%
Saturated Fat 1.14g 6%
Cholesterol 1.03mg <1%
Sodium 1353.81mg 56%
Potassium 1356.33mg 39%
Total Carbohydrates 83.8g 28%
Fiber 14.55g 58%
Sugar 8.4g
Protein 16.07g 32%

African-Spiced Rice & Lentil Salad

4 cups vegetable broth or water, divided
1 cup brown basmati rice
1 cup green lentils
1/4 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup raisins
juice and zest of 1 lemon (about 3 Tbs juice)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp agave nectar
5 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1 large carrot, shredded
1/4 cup shelled pistachios, chopped

1. Bring 2 cups of the vegetable broth or water to a boil in a medium pot.  Add the rice, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 40-45 minutes until rice is done.
2. In a separate pot, bring the remaining 2 cups of vegetable broth or water to a boil.  Add the lentils, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 30-40 minutes until lentils are tender.  If any water remains in the pot, drain the lentils.
3. Bring a small pot of water to a boil.  Remove from the heat and add the dried apricots and raisins and soak for 5 minutes.  Drain and slice the apricots thinly.  Set aside.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing.  Whisk together the lemon juice, ginger, spices (coriander through cayenne), salt and agave nectar in a small bowl.  Drizzle in the olive oil slowly, whisking constantly.
5. When the rice is done, immediately transfer it to a large bowl.  Add the dressing and stir to coat.  Allow the rice to cool a little then add the lentils, apricots, raisins, cucumber, carrot and pistachios and mix well.
6. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Servings: 4 as a main or 8 as a side.

Amount Per Serving (for 4 servings)
Calories 604
Calories From Fat (33%) 196.38
% Daily Value
Total Fat 22.48g 35%
Saturated Fat 3.13g 16%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 259.09mg 11%
Potassium 956.01mg 27%
Total Carbohydrates 84.89g 28%
Fiber 19.12g 76%
Sugar 14.87g
Protein 18.79g 38%

(I forgot the scallions when I took the picture – it’s much prettier with them!)

Soba Noodle Stew

3 quarts water
2 pieces kombu
1/2 oz dried shiitake mushrooms
2 1/4-inch slices ginger, peeled
1/4 cup tamari
8 oz soba noodles, 100% buckwheat
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 medium heat napa cabbage, finely shredded
2 Tbs rice vinegar
1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1/4 cup white miso
2 scallions, thinly sliced

1. Place the water, kombu, dried shiitakes, ginger and tamari in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 15 minutes then remove the kombu, ginger and garlic.  If the shiitakes are whole, remove them from the broth, allow to cool, thinly slice and return to the pot.
2. Turn up the heat and bring the broth to a boil.  Add the soba noodles, carrot, napa cabbage and rice vinegar.  Cook for 8 minutes, until noodles are done.  Remove from the heat and carefully ladle some broth into a small mixing bowl.  Add the miso to this broth and whisk until smooth.  Add the miso mixture and edamame to the soup and stir to combine well.
3. Serve the soup hot, sprinkled with the sliced scallions.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 322.04
Calories From Fat (9%) 30.45
% Daily Value
Total Fat 3.76g 6%
Saturated Fat 0.54g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2149.96mg 90%
Potassium 697.66mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates 63.43g 21%
Fiber 4.37g 17%
Sugar 3.46g
Protein 18.28g 37%

Chickpeas and Vegetables in Almond-Coconut Curry Sauce

1 cup almonds
1 Tbs virgin coconut oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbs ginger, minced
1 lb yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup water
13.5 oz can coconut milk
14.5 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, diced with juice reserved
1 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15.5 oz can
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
4 cups loosely packed spinach, rinsed and chopped

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and have a bowl of ice water ready.  Add the almonds and boil for 1 minute.  Drain the almonds and plunge into the ice water until chilled.  Squeeze each almond to remove the skin, and pat off as much water as possible.  Place the almonds in a food processor and pulse until ground into the size of breadcrumbs.  Set aside.
2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the coconut oil, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds and cook for 1 minute, shaking the seeds around the pan.  Add the ground spices (garam masala through cardamom) and continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring the spices to distribute.  Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened.  Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
3. Meanwhile, place the potatoes and water in a large, wide pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.  You should be able to pierce the potatoes with a fork easily, but they should not be falling apart.
4. Transfer the onion mixture to a blender.  Add the coconut milk, tomato juice, salt and a few grinds of black pepper and blend until smooth.
5. When the potatoes are cooked, add the sauce, ground almonds and diced tomatoes to the pan and stir to combine.  Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce heat to medium.  Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until potatoes are soft and sauce is thickened.
6. Add the chickpeas, peas and spinach and cook for a few more minutes, until the chickpeas are heated through and the spinach is wilted.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
7. Serve hot, with basmati rice or flat bread if desired.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 634.33
Calories From Fat (50%) 314.73
% Daily Value
Total Fat 37.52g 58%
Saturated Fat 22.23g 111%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1050.61mg 44%
Potassium 1578.4mg 45%
Total Carbohydrates 65.46g 22%
Fiber 14g 56%
Sugar 9.08g
Protein 18.07g 36%

Mole-Style Sweet Potato Chili

1 dried ancho chile
4 prunes
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, juices reserved
1 Tbs virgin coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 small sweet potatoes or 2 large, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 tsp sea salt
15 oz can tomato sauce
1 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup vegetable broth or water
1 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 avocado, diced
fresh cilantro

1. Wearing a glove if desired, use scissors to halve and stem the dried chile, shaking out as many seeds as possible.  Bring a small pot of water to a boil.  Remove from the heat, add the chile and prunes and let sit for 30 minutes.  Drain.
2. In a food processor or nut grinder, grind the pumpkin seeds into a fine powder.  Transfer to a blender.  Add the drained chile and prunes and the juice from the diced tomatoes.  Blend until smooth and set aside.
3. Heat a large pot over medium high heat.  Add the coconut oil, onion and green pepper and saute for 8 minutes, until onions are becoming translucent.  Add the garlic, cumin, paprika and cinnamon and saute for 1 minute.  Add the sweet potatoes and salt and continue to cook for 10 minutes.  It is okay if the vegetables start to brown a little.
4. Add the chile mixture, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chocolate and vegetable broth or water and mix well.  Raise the heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the pinto beans and corn and continue to simmer for 10 more minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  If the chili is not spicy enough, add a dash of cayenne pepper.
5. Serve the chili topped with the diced avocado and cilantro.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 465.91
Calories From Fat (27%) 125.9
% Daily Value
Total Fat 15.04g 23%
Saturated Fat 5.64g 28%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1488.2mg 62%
Potassium 1901.14mg 54%
Total Carbohydrates 78.29g 26%
Fiber 17.47g 70%
Sugar 17.77g
Protein 13.01g 26%

Mango and Rice Noodle Salad with Tamarind Baked Tofu

1 cup sweet tamarind pulp (from 4-5 large tamarind pods)
2 cups water
2 Tbs vegetarian fish sauce (recipe below)
2 Tbs tamari
juice of 1 lime (about 1 Tbs)
1/8 tsp sriracha
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 lb extra-firm tofu
7 oz rice noodles
1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
1 mango, diced
1 bunch radishes (8-9 radishes), julienned
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup peanuts, lightly toasted and chopped

1. Place the tamarind pulp and water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to medium.  Simmer the tamarind for 30 minutes, occasionally using a fork to press the tamarind against the side of the pot, separating the flesh from the seeds.  Remove from the heat, allow to cool a little and pour through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl, using a spoon to push through as much tamarind flesh as possible.
2. Add the vegetarian fish sauce, tamari, lime juice, sriracha and ginger to the tamarind juice and whisk together.
3. Press the tofu gently with paper towels to blot off some liquid.  Cut the tofu into bite-sized pieces, approximately 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch.  Add the tofu to the bowl with the tamarind mixture and submerge the tofu as much as possible.  Place a small plate on top of the tofu to weigh it down.  Marinate for at least one hour, stirring after 30 minutes.
4. Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and use tongs to move the tofu from the marinade to the baking sheet, reserving the marinade.  Bake for 20 minutes, flipping once after 10 minutes.
5. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced by half.  Allow to cool completely.
6. Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles according to package directions.  Drain and plunge into a bowl of ice water until chilled.  Drain and set aside, shaking off as much water as possible.
7. Place the romaine, mango, radishes and cilantro in a large bowl, reserving some cilantro for garnish if desired.  Add the rice noodles and mix together with your hands, separating the rice noodles if they are sticky.  Pour the reduced marinade over the mixture and mix with your hands until well combined.
8. To serve, top the salad with the tofu, peanuts and reserved cilantro.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 473.6
Calories From Fat (19%) 91.29
% Daily Value
Total Fat 10.56g 16%
Saturated Fat 1.51g 8%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1051.73mg 44%
Potassium 830.18mg 24%
Total Carbohydrates 82.84g 28%
Fiber 8.54g 34%
Sugar 28.22g
Protein 17.38g 35%

Vegetarian Fish Sauce
from the Bauman College Natural Chef Cookbook

1 cup dried seaweed (any kind)
2 cups water
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/4 cup tamari
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbs brown rice vinegar
1 1/2 tsp palm sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground garlic
1/8 tsp chili powder

1.  Add the seaweed and water to a pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and simmer for 20 minutes.
2.  Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for another 30 minutes.
3.  Remove from the heat and cool.  Strain and use, or store in refrigerator.

Yield:  2 cups

I’d also like to share some of the food that we made during the ethnic foods classes…

There were two Mediterranean classes, encompassing western Mediterranean, the Levanth, and Northern Africa.

Cannellini Beans with Chard

Provencal Artichoke Ragout

Fennel, Orange and Mint Salad with Herb Roasted Olives

Baked Falafel with Tahini Sauce (my first time making falafel!)

Tunisian Beet Salad

Whole Wheat Pita Bread with Zataar

Fall Vegetable Tagine over Couscous

North African Carrots with Harissa

Levant-Style Stuffed Cabbage

Japanese class was seaweed-tastic.  Wakame salad.

Veggie Sushi

Kinpara Gobo (Burdock Root and Carrot)

Soba Noodles

Rice Balls with Umeboshi Plum

Indian class was super duper delicious, especially this South Indian Vegetable Curry.

Vegetable Biryani

Moong Dal

Latin America class was nice and spicy.  This is a Grilled Nopales Salad, made from fresh cactus.

Plantains

Mushroom Tamale with Mole Poblano

Lastly, Thai class…starting with Miang Kum, or Thai Lettuce Bites.

Tom Kah – Lemongrass and Coconut Milk Soup

Pad Thai!  I got my own little serving, without the egg and other non-vegan stuff.

Red Curry Squash with Jasmine Rice.  We made the curry paste from scratch and it was hard work, but the flavor was sooooo worth it.

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Homework #3

My third homework assignment for Bauman College was to come up with two recipes for breakfast and three recipes for dinner, including one with seaweed.

For some reason, I made one of the breakfast recipe incredibly complicated, with multiple components.  Luckily, most of them can be made the night before and you can throw it together for an easy breakfast in the morning.  This breakfast kept me full twice as long as my normal breakfasts.  If nothing else, try the avocado cream the next time you make Mexican – it’s ridiculously good!

Breakfast Fajita Bowls with Spanish Millet, Mango-Radish Salsa & Avocado Cream

1 cup pinto beans, soaked overnight
Spanish Millet
1 cup millet, soaked overnight
8 oz can tomato sauce plus water to equal two cups
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
Mango-Radish Salsa
1 bunch radishes (8-9 radishes), finely diced
1/2 large mango, peeled and finely diced
1 Tbs fresh lime juice
1/8 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
Avocado Cream
1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
1/2 cup water
1 medium avocado
1 Tbs fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
Fajita Vegetables
1 Tbs high heat sunflower oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large bell pepper (green or red), sliced
1 medium zucchini. cut into matchsticks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 paprika paprika
1 dash cayenne pepper
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Drain pinto beans and place in a medium pot.  Cover with water and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, checking for doneness after 1 hour.  Drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, drain the millet and place in a medium pot.  Pour tomato sauce into a 1-cup measure and add water to equal 1 cup.  Pour into pot with millet, then add another cup of water.  Add cumin, onion powder and garlic powder and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 25 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes.  Stir in 1/4 tsp salt, taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.
3. In a small bowl, combine the radishes, mango, lime juice, chili powder, 1/4 tsp salt and chopped cilantro.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
4. Drain the cashews and place in a blender.  Add 1/2 cup water and blend until mostly smooth.  Add the avocado flesh, lime juice and 1/2 tsp salt and blend until completely smooth.  Thin with extra water if desired.  Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
5. When all other components are ready, heat the sunflower oil in a large pan over medium high heat.  Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the bell pepper, zucchini, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook for 4 minutes.  Add the spices and continue to cook for 6 minutes, or until the vegetables are crisp-tender.  Add the pinto beans and black pepper and cook just to heat through.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
6. To serve. place some of the millet in a bowl and add some of the vegetable/bean mixture.  Top with salsa and avocado cream and garnish with extra cilantro.  Serve with hot sauce if desired.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 767.94
Calories From Fat (35%) 270.96
% Daily Value
Total Fat 32.12g 49%
Saturated Fat 5.17g 26%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 865.43mg 36%
Potassium 1830.52mg 52%
Total Carbohydrates 99.92g 33%
Fiber 19.93g 80%
Sugar 14.08g
Protein 27.11g 54%

To go with my fajita bowls: spiced pumpkin seed milk.

Pumpkin Seed Milk

2 cups pumpkin seeds, soaked overnight
3 cups water
1/4 cup organic maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch sea salt

1. Drain the pumpkin seeds and place in a blender.  Add 2 cups of the water and blend until very smooth.
2. Add the third cup of water and the remaining ingredients and blend until everything is well incorporated.  Pour the mixture into a nut milk bag over a pitcher and squeeze all of the liquid out.  Discard the solids or reserve for another use.
3. Refrigerate the milk until ready to drink.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 148.66
Calories From Fat (35%) 52.29
% Daily Value
Total Fat 6.24g 10%
Saturated Fat 1.19g 6%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 260.04mg 11%
Potassium 300.83mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates 18.4g 6%
Fiber 0.19g <1%
Sugar 0.84g
Protein 5.95g 12%

The rest of my recipes turned out just okay, so I’m not sharing.  I’ll show you what they looked like though…

This was supposed to be napa cabbage rolls with dipping sauce, but I didn’t like how the rolls tasted, so it turned in to…

Butternut Squash Skillet with Rice, Beans & Almond-Miso Sauce.  Unfortunately,decent but not really worth repeating.

This is Gomasio Green Beans, my side dish with seaweed.  It’s good, but you don’t really need a recipe – buy or make some gomasio and toss it on cooked green beans.  Yum!

My third recipe is still a work in progress – a vegan, soy- and gluten-free cheesecake.  It’s been a really long time since I had real cheesecake, so I asked my coworkers to help evaluate.  The flavor was good, but the texture was too grainy, so I tried again.  The first one had a really nice persimmon sauce, and…

The second one got a simple strawberry sauce.  This one had a better texture but could still use some work.  If I get it perfect I will surely share it with everyone!

Now I will regale you with pictures a classmate took during the third section of classes.

For the Grains, Legumes, Nuts & Seeds class I worked on this Pecan Loaf with Creole Glaze, which we paired with mashed cauliflower.  Tasted better than it looked!

We also enjoyed Hearty Greens in Cashew Curry Sauce.

On Sea Vegetables day we started with Sea Vegetable Caviar, which was actually very good, although I couldn’t compare it with “real” caviar.  Check out the adorable lemon flower.

Ruby Slaw with Sea Palm, a lot better than it sounds :)

Sesame Yams with Arame

Italian Bean Soup with Wild Nori

And for dessert, Apple-Pomegranate Kanten with Cashew Cream.

We didn’t get many pictures from the Alternative Ingredients class for some reason, but these are the gluten- and sugar-free Banana-Nut Blueberry Muffins I worked on.

This is a very pretty deconstructed Vegan Caesar Salad.

Our Breakfast class was heavy on eggs, but I got to try this Homemade Granola with Fresh Almond Milk.

And Spiced Amaranth Porridge with Coconut Blueberry Topping.  Amaranth has become one of my new favorite things since then.

Vegetable Proteins class was awesome!  It was one of only a few classes where I could taste everything since everything was vegan.  This Asian Salad with Ginger Marinated Tofu and Almond-Sesame Dressing was topped by some of the tastiest baked tofu I’ve ever had.

A classmate garnished this African-Style Quinoa Stew with pretty leaves made from leftover leeks.

Cranberry Braised Tempeh

High-Protein Lentil and Millet Burgers with Cheesy Cashew Sauce

I was a little more at a loss for dinner after the Fish and Chicken classes.  While my classmates practiced their filleting skills I made Lemon-Scented Quinoa with Oyster Mushrooms and Snowpeas.

To help feed the other vegetarians (including our kitchen manager), I made an Asian-inspired tempeh salad using what I could find in the fridge.  It was really tasty for something thrown together at the last minute.

During Chicken class, I got to improv.  I made a salad which was good but nothing crazy impressive.  I put most of my effort into this dish, Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds with Chard, Lentil Puree and Frizzled Leeks.  That’s what I’m calling it at least.  The lentil puree was silky smooth (thank you Vita-Mix), flavored with worcestershire and champagne vinegar among other things.  The presentation was a little sloppy because I was rushing to finish on time, but the flavors really came through.

And finally, desserts.  I didn’t work on as many desserts as everyone else because many of them included eggs, but I did work on this Pumpkin Tart with Coconut Cream.

And this is Raw Fall  Fruit Cobbler with Cranberry Coulis.  One of the girls that was in my group that day is pretty wild with presentation (in a good way), so we let her do her thing and just provided persimmon stars.

I hope everyone had Happy Holidays and a great New Year’s Eve.  I’m a lucky duck – I get about two weeks off of both work and school, so I’m home now relaxing but starting to take care of business again.  I’m working on some projects for school, organizing the pantry (pictures to come if it goes well), and continuing to relax as much as possible (meaning not thinking about the mess of work that awaits me when I return to the office).

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