Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | November 19, 2008

Goin’ out with a Bang!

Last night was my last Global Vegetarian Cuisines Cooking Class. I’m actually gonna miss it alot, cause I was learning a lot about new ingredients and new flavors. ahhh I wish I could go to a culinary school! 🙂 But for now, these classes are great, because I get to make friends, learn, and best of all, EAT!

Since the holiday season is coming up, we made vegetarian dishes that are hearty enough to satisfy your soul without eating turkey and glazed ham. (Though what REALLY satisfies me is good old chocolate….) On the menu was:

Roasted Vegetable Meatless Shepard’s Pie
Roasted Beets with Oranges, Endive and Walnuts
Little Spinach Empanadas
Cranberry Apple Crisp

I worked at the Spinach Empanadas station, since I was interested in learning how to use Puff Pastry, something I’ve never experimented with before. We used the frozen kind from TJs. I learned how to flour the board and roll it out into thin sheets! haha, I felt like such a kid 🙂 I’m not much of a baker (yet!!!) so it was fun to work with some dough. The puff pastry turned out buttery, flakey, puffy, and golden brown. aka perfection.

little spinach empanadas

little spinach empanadas

We used Swiss Chard instead of spinach. It was my first time eating Swiss Chard, but I can’t tell if I liked it or not, because it got overwhelmed by the taste of pine nuts. We didn’t have enough Swiss Chard, and the ratio of pine nuts to Swiss Chard was like 7 to 1. So the entire empanada just tasted like tomatoes and pine nuts, which is find if you like pine nuts, but a little one-dimensional, if you ask me. Note to teacher; BUY MORE SWISS CHARD.

The shepard’s pie was OK. The mashed potatoes on top were deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelicious though! We used some rice milk to make it creamy. Our instructor wanted to show us that mashed taters could taste wonderful even without dairy products. I just didn’t really enjoy the “filling” part of the pie. It contained leeks (ick!) and a soy-based meat substitute. As I’ve said, I’m not a big fan of meat substitutes. I’d much rather just eat the real thing. The meat substitute we used last night had this weird, slightly sweet, slightly cinnamon-y taste that I just could not get used to. However, many of my classmates really enjoyed the dish, as it’s a hearty comfort-food. It can feed a lot of people too!

hungry people got to the pan before I could take a photo. I had to photograph it in my little container

hungry people got to the pan before I could take a photo. I had to photograph it in my little container

The Beet Salad had potential, but wasn’t exceptional. I think who ever prepared it didn’t toss the salad, because the top layer had a strong vinegar taste, while large portions of the salad had absolutely no dressing. I think it’s a simple error that caused dramatic effects. We candied the walnuts before we sprinkled it on, and those were fantabulous. Mmm. Me likey.

Roasted Beets with Oranges, Endive and Walnut

Roasted Beets with Oranges, Endive and Walnut

Now lets move on to my favorite part of the dinner.


The Cranberry Apple Crisp was just out of this world. Unbelievable. I must share with you the recipe. (courtesy of my instructor)

Ingredients: (serves 10)
1 stick + 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut up
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup flour
1 tspn cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
2/3 cup pecans

2 cups dried or fresh cranberries
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 tsp each lemon zest and orange zest
1/2 cup water
7 large apples, thinly sliced
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a pie plate (or lasagne dish, preferbably glass).
Place cranberries, 3/4 cup sugar, half or orange and lemon zest, & water in pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until cranberries are soft and mixture starts to thicken. Transfer cranberries to the buttered baking pan and spread evenly.
Place thinly sliced apples in a large bowl. Combine flour, remaining sugar, zest, cinnamon, and add to apples and toss till combined.
Combine topping ingredients in a food processor and pulse till it looks like coarse meal. (Do not overprocess)
Put apple mixture in baking pan over cranberries, and cover with topping mixture. Loosely cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50-60 minutes, removing foil for the last 10 minutes of baking. Voila!

The most bomb dot com cranberry apple crisp

The most bomb dot com cranberry apple crisp

Two words; soooooooooooooooooooooo good. I will for sure be making this dessert this holiday season. Here is a close up:

with some pomegranate ice cream

with some pomegranate ice cream

And can I just say something? OM frickin G! This soy ice cream made me scream with joy! I’ve never met a soy ice cream I’ve enjoyed, but this Pomegranate Chip flavor from Purely Decadent blew me away! It’s dairy free, and vegan too, I believe. It was so amazing I just HAD to go back for seconds! Ah-mazing! I am going to go on a hunt through SB to track these down, and buy it all up so I can sit in bed eating this amazing ice cream every single night! haha, I’m ‘lil miss piggy 🙂 I’m just joking (kind of) but it was really great.

So, I’m sad that the class is over, but what a dish to end it with! And my newfound cooking pals are going to try to sign up for more classes in the winter semester. One of my new friends coined the cutest phrase though:


Best Foodie Friends Forever

How sweet is that? A best foodie friend! That totally made me smile.
I immediately thought of the blog, and all the foodie friends I’ve “met” in the blog world. You’re all my foodie friends! 🙂 Thanks for always reading, it really makes me smile when you leave me encouraging and sweet comments!

Today’s Question: If you could have one celebrity as a FOODIE FRIEND FOREVER, who would you choose and why? 🙂

Happy happy Tuesday, all!

(for more cooking class recipes, click here, here, here, here, and here)



  1. AMAAAAAZINGLY delectable last class!! 😀

    **Dream celebrity foodie friend = Carol Alt. She’s a raw foodie!! 😀

  2. it seems that you had fun tonight at your class! I really need to go for a real cuisine class!!!

    Dream celebrity foodie friend= Penelope Cruz! I just love her. (did you see Vicky, Cristina Barcelona? it’s a fun movie)

  3. thanks for posting the recipe for the crumble! i must make one ASAP
    i would like giada to be my celebrity foodie friend 😀

  4. I’m also not a huge fan of meat substitutes. I do like tofu, but beyond that it just seems too processed for me. Hmm, my celeb foodie friend may have to be… uh, do you count? You’re kind of a blog celeb?! Haha. Have a great wednesday!

  5. Dream celebrity foodie would be Nigella. It’s a close fight between Jamie Oliver and Nigella but she’s female so we could discuss fashion as well as food. 🙂

  6. Thanks for posting the recipes! A vegetarian cooking class sounds right up my alley!

  7. I totally love reading which celeb you all want as a foodie friend! I’m thinking Alton Brown form the food network. He knows absolutely everything, and is kind of (ok, maybe very) nerdy, just like me! I bet I could learn a lot from him!
    Thank you so much for commenting! you girls are the greatest 🙂

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