Friday, October 26, 2012

Let the Vegging Begin

When the course  booklet came from a local school district's adult education department what caught my eye on the cover was under the New for Fall heading: Vegetarian Cooking. I've been dabbling with eating more meals that are vegetarian or vegan in nature. There are a variety of reasons why I've been doing this and I'll try to hit on some of those later as I blog.

Of course as the primary cook in our home, if I'm dabbling in this eating style, unless he cooks his own separate meals, it means Aaron will be eating this way too. When I mentioned wanting to take this class,  much to my surprise and delight he jumped on board and wanted to take it too...."well, are you sure?" was my question.
First Class...appetizers
Our instructor; chef Christina Martin right up front told us many of the things we'd be learning to make would be vegan. That was fine with me. There are about 16 or so students and naturally Aaron is the only guy. However thankfully one of the instructors assistants is male and prior military. (even if it was Air Force)
In addition to introducing ourselves during the first class she asked us to rate our cooking skill level. Everyone got a chuckle out of Aaron saying he is probably about a 3 because he can make grilled cheese without burning it. She said "that's great, we're going to be making a vegan grilled cheese and I'll make sure it's your kitchen assigned to make it that night."  She held true to her word...sandwiches were week 2, you'll read more about that next time. When I did my introduction I corrected his skill level noting he can make a mean cheesecake.

In addition to whatever theme we will be doing Christina told us we would more than likely be doing a dessert of some kind. On this first night we made mini banana muffins. The mini muffins that night were delish. Aaron and I have since recreated them at home, regular sized, see proof here. They turned out fabulous. These were the first things made for us during her initial demo that night.
Each class consists of an initial demo of some sort then the recipes she has selected for us are divided up into our groups to prepare. Class ends with a buffet spread of what each kitchen has made and we feast. Many students in the class are trying some things for the first time.
Our kitchen team consists of myself, Aaron and a lovely woman we met named Gail. She wants to try new things but not sure how much her meat and potatoes hubby will go for. This first night we were given the task of making Soy Ginger Wings. Yes, you read that correctly, this is a vegetarian cooking class and our recipe is to make wings, albeit faux wings.

We used Gardein strips and did them 2 ways one with the sauce the package included so people who had never really had them could try it as packaged. The second way we made our own sauce: soy ginger which was equal parts vinegar and soy sauce, mixed with a couple tablespoons each of ginger and sesame oil.  We basically used the cooking directions to saute the strips per the package. What I like about this instructor is she often does not give measurements which is a great deal how I cook. As Aaron says "I'm really good at throwing sh*t in a pot and making it taste good".  I also like using the making lemonade out of lemons theory. On this night there were no sesame seeds to toast and sprinkle over the dish. She had however brought sunflower seeds...what the heck we toasted those chopped a bit and sprinkled them on the homemade soy ginger sauced strips.  Here is a picture Christina took that night after we all made our dishes. She posts pictures of our dishes on her facebook page.

Last photo, our first night another kitchen made Triple Squash Soup. I just made this dish today at home and it turned out fabulous. I did a slight tweak by adding less liquid which made the need for cream absolutely unnecessary. As we did in class, I toasted the seeds from one of the squash with a sprinkle of smoked paprika.
Final note following our first class. As we left the building Aaron said "that was better than I expected, I really enjoyed that". I asked what he had expected, he said I didn't know what to expect but I liked it. Guess that meant he'd be going with me to the other 5 classes which made me happy too.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you both so much for sharing. I have to say I am afraid of Tofu since the few times I have tried to eat it.... BLEH. I am really interested to see what you try out, what your comments are and then trying a few myself. Looking forward to your next blog.