Monday, April 30, 2012

CT Vegetarian Fest Recap

What an exciting weekend!  I am so happy to have been a part of the first Connecticut Vegetarian & Healthy Living Festival hosted at the CT Convention Center in Hartford this weekend.  Thank you to all who attended, volunteers who ensured everything ran smoothly (and for tracking down that elusive food processor!), vendors and non-profits who showcased amazing products and services, provided musical entertainment, and who screened the  brilliant documentary Vegucated.  It was a fabulous opportunity to connect with others of like-mind, and perhaps even open some minds (and hearts!) to the benefits of vegetarianism.

I've read anecdotal reports that approximately 5,000 people attended the event... in Hartford!  And not even for a UCONN game!!  Great job publicizing and spreading the word in advance!  In addition, hundreds of bags of canned goods were collected for organizations such as Food Not Bombs and the Connecticut Food Bank.  I hope someone enjoys the canned mango I donated!

I had a great time giving my presentation, "Waking the Taste Buds:  Foods of Spring."  It was a tough slot since Chef AJ and Ellen Jaffee Jones (Vegan on $4 a Day) were also presenting at the same time.  Decisions, decisions.  I was glad to see about 35 people huddled in close to hear me talk about healthy spring foods like asparagus, radishes, and quinoa.

I think the Asparagus, Radish, and Quinoa Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette, Pistachios and Herb Oil was a hit!

Here's some of the nice feedback I received:
"The class was extremely informative.  Mary was very kind and entertaining, and the quinoa salad was simple and delicious!  I will be going home to make some!  This class was sure a highlight."
" I enjoyed learning about the health benefits of some of the ingredients like asparagus.  Mary was very nice.  Thanks for the class!"
"Delicious recipe.  Easy to make.  Great idea to take along for upcoming cookouts, picnics, etc.  Informative nutrition information."
"Great recipe!  Very knowledgeable, personable presenter." 
[special thanks to:  Michael for photos, my cooking assistants Devin & Jessica, Carol for the good mood (ring), and my awesome mom, the roadie, editor, head cooking assistant, and everything else!!] 

yay - microphone!  wish I had my guitar!

nice crowd! 

 mixing the vinaigrette

here's the herb oil in progress 

getting it all lined up and ready to go

my mom doing her thing 

leftovers work really well in zucchini boats!


Anonymous said...

What a great presentation and yummy quinoa salad! Your information was so helpful and your recipe was so easy to follow. I can't wait to make it for the upcoming cookout season. Keep your classes coming. Thanks!

Mary Lawrence said...

Thank you for your comment! Yes, this is a quick, easy, and versatile recipe that everyone can enjoy. If you happen to not be a fan of asparagus, you can substitute snap peas or cut up string beans, too.

Anonymous said...

Bummed I didn't make it to this session - looks like a fab dish!

Mary Lawrence said...

I understand caitplusate... there were just too many great sessions happening in the same time slot and it was impossible to get to all of them! Hopefully you'll be able to come to one of my classes in the future.