Friday, July 12, 2013

Cooking Class: Healthy Cooking in a Hurry

Last night I held the summer edition of my "Healthy Cooking in a Hurry" class for West Hartford Adult Education.  Because it was a sweltering evening after a long, hot and sticky day, the menu featured recipes that minimized the use of the oven.  The result was a delicious array of crisp, fresh veggies in savory sauces, along with a seasonally inspired dessert that was sweetly satisfying.

To start, we indulged in a Gazpacho soup made with cooling vegetables like cucumber and celery.  It was topped with a garnish of parsley oil and a fan of avocado, then served at room temperature.

Everyone was pleasantly surprised at how flavorful and substantial this uncooked starter was.  If I was making this for a summer party, I think it would look elegant served in tall shot glasses!

The entree was a combo of two uncooked salads that would work well at a picnic.  The Mock Chicken Salad is made with tempeh combined with chopped carrot, celery, red onion, and dill pickle.  I used Earth Balance Mindful Mayo, but Nayonaise and Vegenaise are also really good mayonaise substitutes.  This was served with a colorful Cruciferous Vegetable Slaw made with broccoli, cauliflower, and purple cabbage as well as pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries.  Not only was this melange of anti-cancer superfoods tasty, it was crunchy, too... but in a good way.

For dessert we indulged in Gluten-free Blueberry Buckwheat Hemp Crisp.  This is the same recipe as my Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp, but with the substitution of seasonal blueberries.  Almost any fruit can work here, though some are more watery than others.

I think the filling would have benefited from one more teaspoon of cornstarch, but the blueberry syrup at the bottom of the bowl was kind of a nice ending, nonetheless.  It was a light, sweet dessert to a meal that was filling but not stuffing.

What did you think of the meal?  Was it satisfying?  Were you surprised at how delicious these foods could be?


Joanna said...

The Gazpacho, Cruciferous Vegetable Slaw, Mock Chicken Salad and Blueberry Crisp were so colorful and reminders of the kinds of foods that we should be eating on a regular basis. They are all nutritious, super foods. When is your next class? I would love to take one of your classes.

Mary Lawrence said...

Thank you for your comment, Joanna. I don't have anything scheduled yet, though I will be teaching the "Healthy Cooking in a Hurry" class in the fall with a seasonally appropriate menu. I also give private cooking lessons if you can't wait till then! Feel free to contact me for more info.