Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gluten Free Vegan Masterpieces Class in Manhattan

I taught a class last night at the Natural Gourmet Institute in Manhattan.  As usual when I teach the classes at the school, it was a vegan, gluten-free, soy free baking class that also had several ingredient restrictions - such as no refined sugars, oils or flours, as well as utilizing mostly organic ingredients.  This is definitely great, but forces me to be very creative and imaginative with the recipes and ways to present the dishes.  In the class, we made 7 different recipes and I brought along a gf bread I have been working on testing.  I received great reviews on the bread, which I am very happy about, but I think it still needs a little tweaking to get it exactly where I want it to be, but it is definitely in the right direction.  I can't wait to be making it into multigrain bread, "rye" bread for my tempeh reuben (it is so ridiculously good, especially when I add tomato and avocado.  YUM!) and all kinds of flavors in between.

I'm not going to share any recipes at this point, perhaps at a later date, however, I will share some of the pictures I took, and am hoping one of my assistants in the class that took a ton of pictures will share hers with me and I can post them later.  It was a blast and I enjoyed meeting and working with everyone in the class.  Till next month, and the next baking class I teach at the school!

Coconut Raspberry Roll Cake

An aerial view of the Roll Cake

Chocolate Chip Cherry Cookies - a little blurry

Peach Coffeecake with Pecan Sucanat Struesel Topping

Chocolate Cupcakes with Coffee Frosting
Iced by almost everyone in the class!

Gluten Free Yeasted Bread test!

Pistachio Thumbprints

Lemon Blueberry Loaf

A "Sample" plate.  Looks like a plate of dessert for dinner!



Sunday, August 12, 2012

Homemade Lemonade

This is something the Hubbs and I have been having a lot of this summer.  Actually we can't seem to get enough of it.  It is so refreshing and not overly sweet - it's great in this hot hot heat!  I've done a lot of different things to it like adding other concentrated juices such as tart cherry, cranberry and blueberry.  I've also put the lemonade in the blender with some fresh berries, mostly strawberries and raspberries, blended till smooth and had an awesome frothy, fruity lemonade.  The possiblities are endless.  Hubbs suggested mango to try next - sounds good! 

Homemade Lemonade:

Fresh Lemonade garnished with lemon slices.

1/4 cup turbinado/raw sugar
juice of 1 1/2 lemons, rolled on the counter to soften
2 cups filtered water

My mom always sends me amazing homemade canned goods from Michigan and I have also done my share of canning here in NY, so I have a ton of glass jars, which is what Hubbs and I store most of our food and all of our drinks in. 

1.  Juice the lemons and place in a jar.  Add the sugar and filtered water, cover with the lid and shake until the sugar dissolves - this will take some time because the sugar is large granulated. 

That's it!  So easy and tasty!



Friday, August 10, 2012

Best Dinner Ever! Appetizers!

My Hubby and I went on an amazing vacation to Michigan to visit my family and came back to NY 1 1/2 weeks ago.  It's sad though, because it almost feels like it was a dream and that I never left ny at all.  I did actually get a little color and a disturbing flip flop tan, but that has unfortunately already disappeared.  As soon as Hubbs and I landed in MI and were greeted by my mom, dad and younger brother Danny, we knew immediately that ny was no longer the place we were meant to be.  We've been feeling for a while that we are tired of ny and ready to be around family, and it only cemented it in our minds that we need to be there.  My older sister has a 2 1/2 month old baby boy and my older brother and his wife are expecting their first baby (a girl!) on Thanksgiving.  I have never seen my sister pregnant (and this was her 3rd and final child!) and was blessed to see my sister-in-law with the bump (she's almost 6 months along).  The unfortunate thing is that I will not see my brother and his little one until she is 9-10 months old or so. Sad.  So those were a couple of the motivating factors, but certainly not all.  I miss my family.  My oldest brother's daughter is going to be 13 in November - I can literally remember the day she was born and we have always been very close. 

We are also getting close to starting our business - a vegan cafe, and have decided to open it in Traverse City, Michigan.  We have finished our menu, have tested and perfected it all, and are now working on the baked goods.  It is the most exciting and stressful thing ever, but we cannot wait to get started.  Lots of work on the business plan and lots and lots of cooking in this oppressive humidity and heat!  I have decided not to renew my teaching contract at the Natural Gourmet Institute in Manhattan when it finishes in March, and as soon as our lease is up at the end of July next year, we will be moving to Michigan!  I am so excited and cannot wait!

Until then, however, I'm gonna keep working on all the business aspects, keep cooking and baking and see my friends as much as possible.  And in this terrible heat, I do not want to be in the kitchen unless I'm testing recipes.  So dinners have been simple: a lot of sandwiches and salads lately.  This time, however, I wanted to have an appetizer dinner and just eat a little bit of this and that and it was a blast, Hubbs definitely thought it was fun, and I'm glad the only time I spent in the kitchen was slicing the cheese for him, slicing the bread and putting everything in ramekins.  Best dinner!

Appetizer Dinner:

So simple and tasty!
What I Used:

Baguette, sliced on the diagonal
Homemade dill pickles (sent to me from Michigan, made by my mum)
Assorted Olives
Earth Balance, Yellow Mustard
Sliced Cheese (dairy) for the Hubby
Sliced Daiya for me
Artichoke Salad (which for some reason was not in the picture)

Use whatever you'd like and have a super easy dinner!