Sunday, April 13, 2014

Vegan 101 Cooking Class

It's always a pleasure to teach a class full of students who are eager to learn about vegan food, nutrition, and ethical issues associated with animal agriculture.  I just wrapped up week two of a three-week adult education class called "Vegan 101" held at North Branford High School.  Each week I feature an entree made with a meat substitute plus lots of veggies.

For the first week I prepared a simple Easy Peasy Sesame Tofu with Cremini Mushroom Gravy and Colcannon.  This is my favorite way to prepare tofu: marinated in a bath of tamari and toasted sesame oil, then baked in a hot oven until golden and crispy on the outside.  I always recommend The Bridge organic tofu for this recipe, because it's the best around and no pressing is needed.  And high powered commercial convection ovens  really do the trick when it comes to getting that perfect texture.

The tofu was topped by a luscious gravy reminiscent of Thanksgiving and served along with colcannon, which is a mash of potatoes, kale and scallions.  It's also a sneaky way to get some greens into your diet.  My students loved it, and one woman who had never eaten tofu before said, "This was one of the best meals I've ever eaten... if not THE Best." So nice to hear!

I think we even surpassed that in week two.  The menu consisted of Tempeh "Fish" Cakes with Remoulade, Cruciferous Vegetable Slaw, and Mesclun Greens with Dijon Vinaigrette.  The fish cake recipe needed a little modification since there was a minor accident in the parking lot which resulted in the loss of a green pepper.  This became a lesson in improvisation, which is essential for a good cook.  Because I had broccoli with me for the Slaw recipe, I decided to finely dice some of the stalk as a replacement for chopped green pepper.  Not only was this a success visually, but I think the flavor that was imparted was surprisingly reminiscent of fish, as a couple of students noted.  Now I may just include this modification in the future!

Week three will continue with a lesson on beans and legumes.  All recipes are from my cookbook Easy Peasy Vegan Eats, which should be available to purchase by the last class!

No comments: