I decided it would be a good idea to take a cooking class or two. I don’t know that I’ve ever come across a vegan cooking class in any of the communities I’ve lived in, but right now I have the good fortune to live near NYC. That seems to make a big difference in terms of vegan opportunities!
I went searching online, and came up with the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Public Classes. When I was searching, most of the classes marked as vegan were full, but I saw one that was happening in February, that looked really interesting. Hence, I enrolled in the Southeast Asian Vegan Banquet class, with instructor Myra Kornfeld, author of The Voluptuous Vegan: More Than 200 Sinfully Delicious Recipes for Meatless, Eggless, and Dairy-Free Meals. The class was really cool, and the food was amazing. I’ve never taken a cooking class before (well, I had home ec in middle school, but I don’t think that really counts). The class isn’t a “beginner” class, but that was fine- I don’t think I had any problem keeping up. There were a lot of individual dishes on the menu, which might seem a little daunting, but you as a student don’t cook each individual dish- you’re broken up into teams of two, and in this case, we each cooked two of the dishes. At the end, everything was all plated together- you’ll see in the pictures.
My only complaint about the class is that the Watercress Salad with Cucumber & Green Mango in Lime-Peanut Vinaigrette dish is not actually vegan; it contains honey. I am including a picture so you get to see what it looks like. Since that is a separate dish, it’s a little easier to skip eating it. You still get plenty out of the class by not making it, since you’re only making two out of the eight dishes yourself, anyway. I did mention it in my comments sheet, and hopefully they will be more clear in their advertising in the future.
I still plan on taking another class or six there in the future! It was a great experience, and the food was amazing!
Hot and Sweet Sesame Nori Fins
Watercress Salad with Cucumber & Green Mango in Lime-Peanut Vinaigrette*
Galangal, Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime Leaf-Baked Tofu Medallions
Spinach-Thai Basil and Yellow Pepper Coconut Milk Sauces
Red Bhutanese Rice with Roasted Vegetables
Crispy Rice Noodles
Mango-Lemongrass Ice Cream Parfait with Lemon Tuiles
In the middle of the plate is the Red Bhutanese Rice with Roasted Vegetables; surrounding that is the Galangal, Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime Leaf-Baked Tofu Medallions. The rice/vegetables are topped with the Indonesian Sambal. It’s all surrounded by the Spinach-Thai Basil and Yellow Pepper Coconut Milk Sauces, and then topped with the Crispy Rice Noodles.
Finally, Mango-Lemongrass Ice Cream Parfait with Lemon Tuiles. The ice cream is the only thing the students didn’t make, though we watched it being made at the very beginning of the class (since it had to get into the ice cream maker right away in order to be ready). It was delicious!
*Not vegan as prepared in class.