I really enjoy my Global Vegetarian Cuisines class (read my previous post) through the Adult Education Program at SBCC. I enjoy cooking in general, but I really like getting introduced to new flavors, new ingredients, new cooking techniques, and new friends :), and this class does all of that! And the fact that it’s held on a Monday night, makes the dreaded day go by so much better! 🙂
It’s been very beneficial too, learning how to use and cook all these veggies. I know that if I’m left to my own devices, I will live off of chocolate, peanut butter and bread alone, without touching a single veggie for weeks! haha. (Once, in college, I survived a week on chocolate alone….. you think I’m kidding? Hee hee!! 🙂 ) *note* please don’t try this at home, boys and girls!
This Monday, we had a Mediterranean themed dinner. The menu included:
Algerian Red Pepper Dipping Sauce with slices of bread, Brie cheese (!) and Camembert cheese
Grilled Mushroom Salad with Frisee and Hazelnuts
Torta Caprese – Italian Flourless Chocolate Cake
Ahhhhh, how I love it when we have cheese appetizers….. Drool…
This week, I worked mostly on the Briouates, which is basically phyllo dough with a meat and egg filling. We used a soy-based beef substitute, obviously, because this IS a vegetarian class! I cut up an endless pile of cilantro, and also helped saute the soy “meat” with the herbs and spices. I didn’t actually get to work with the phyllo dough, because our teacher thought we should just watch her do it to “learn”. Can you guess how I feel about that? :p
But, I’m not complaining. I got to talking with my new cooking buddies, who I found out just ran the Nike Half Marathon in San Fransisco this past weekend! Wow! Good job, and congratulations. Another girl had also run a full marathon in Utah just last summer. This really inspired me to start running more again. And I do have an idea in the back of my head of one day running at least a half marathon now! In fact, I think I’ll go running this evening.
Well back to the food. Here is the Red Pepper Sauce on bread, with CHEESE
And here I give you the recipe, courtesy of my teacher.
3 red bell peppers
3 cloves garlic
Sear skins off peppers (you can do this by roasting them in an oven and putting them in a brown paper bag after they come out, or if you have a gas grill, you can directly roast it in the flame).
Cut a little cross on the pointy butt of the tomato (the side without the stem), and immerse in simmering water, and peel the skins off.
Coarsely chop the peppers and tomatoes and place in a pan with a little olive oil and garlic. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until most of the liquid is evaporated.
Place in a food processor and puree. Season with salt and pepper. Makes about 1.5 cups
This is a very healthy and delicious sauce! I don’t usually like the flavor of red peppers, but the tomatoes lend a nice sweetness to the sauce, and the garlic is not too strong or overpowering. It’s pretty thick, so it would be a great sauce for pasta, or on top of fish, (I think it would be great on white-fleshed fish), or even on top of grilled veggies. The possibilities are endless!
The cake was absolutely fabulous as well, and it has no flour! We used ground almonds and hazelnuts instead of flour. I didn’t know you could back a cake without flour. But it tasted sweet and heavenly, with a hint of lemon (we added lemon zest), and the robust flavors of hazelnuts. We added a little raspberry on top, and Julia was very very happy.
and here is a photo of the salad and Briouates
I wasn’t such a big fan of the Briouates… I think we added too much ginger, and the phyllo dough kind of stuck to the roof of my mouth. But I was impressed by how good the fake “meat” was. It looked like dog food, but once we cooked it up, you couldn’t tell it wasn’t ground beef! I don’t think I’ll personally ever cook with it again, since I’m not vegetarian, and if I wanted to eat soy I would just eat tofu, but I’m glad I got to experiment with a new food.
Speaking of cooking with veggies, I have been experimenting with my own recipes as well. Last night, I made two extremely good veggie dishes. One is called Kimpira Gobo, and it’s a Japanese side dish that I love, made with Gobo. I’ve never tried making it before, but it turned out well for my first try. I will post recipe later. I also made Broccoli Says Cheese! which is a recipe I created in my head as I made it. It tasted cheesy and garlicy, and I FINALLY found a way to use the stalk of the broccoli! You can find the recipe in my “Throw Together Recipes” page.
If you have any delicious veggie recipes, please let me know! I really want to learn how to make veggies taste yummy so that I’ll actually eat them! Thanks!