Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's fun to Eat at Millennium too!

While it's fun to learn how to cook great vegan food at Millennium, it's also a great place to dine. I have to tell you, I've enjoyed two great meals there since my Sunday cooking class and I already have a reservation for next week!

These photos are from an early dinner. Above the delicious gold dusted frites with smoky ketchup. Below, flatbread with "gorgonzola" cashew cream, black olives, chile and oregano with radicchio salad:

And the glorious Edamame Gnocchi with seared snap peas, spring onions, shiso aioli, Sencha tea and sesame salt.

This is such an incredible dish, I think we have to learn how to make this in an upcoming Millennium cooking class! Although I don't have photos, I also enjoyed:

Seared Brassicas with a smoky almond romesco
Sesame Crusted Oyster Mushrooms
Fava Beans with macedona almonds
Housemade pickled vegetables
Miso broth with soba noodles and marinated tofu

Millennium Spring Cooking Class 2009

This Sunday, I enjoyed my 10th Vegan cooking class at Millennium (see links to the last nine at the bottom of this post). Taught by the incredibly knowledgeable Executive Chef Eric Tucker, 10 students spend a good part of the day in the Millennium kitchen, learning about vegan ingredients and creating a host of vegan gourmet dishes!

This class had a lot of great technical information and I was glad I took my camera into the kitchen with me and took a few production shots.

We made dessert first and made two wonderful variations of a Coconut Cardamom Cake with a sticky topping (agar flakes and syrup made it sticky) of pine nuts with either dried fruit or kumquats with spices. We had this with a Coconut Vanilla Cream made with coconut milk and palm shortening, agar, and kuzu. Both were rich, indulgent, and delicious, but unfortunately I forgot to take photos of the desserts.

For lunch, we made two variations of a Green Garlic and Spinach Tart: one used cashew cream and one tofu "cheese". Like many ,eggs often come to mind when I think of Spring recipes, so I was psyched to learn how to make the tofu cheese version which made a tasty and moist tart, with seasonal green garlic and spinach and a scrumptious dough crust that was pressed directly into the tart pan.

The tofu cheese, a combination of tofu, soy yogurt, EVOO, nutritional yeast and lemon zest, made an awesome vegan "quiche":

I also had the opportunity to make the Indian spiced tomato sauce which was served with this: a combination of spices, chaat and tomato paste. I've included the recipe at the bottom of this post - a great little sauce that would be a welcome additional to many recipes.
The other group made these crumbly shortcrust pancake versions of the tart:

This was a "fix" as the dough was overworked and the fat melted creating a crumbly texture. One of the great things about the classes is that if something goes wrong, Eric always has a winning and tasty "fix".
We lunched on the tart, pancakes and a delicious simple salad with tahini dressing:

After lunch, it was back to the kitchen to make this elegant Potato and Fava Bean Terrine with Mustard Aioli:

Basically, a delicious potato salad, made beautiful by using the classic technique of wrapping the salad in blanched leek leaves, which were "molded" to the terrine pan with plastic wrap:

Here Eric demos how to cut and plate the terrine:

We also made this amazing Mushroom Tofu Chowan Mushi on toasted bread:

These were such a wonderful combination of smooth tofu, sauteed mushrooms on crunchy toast. A selection of mushrooms (including black chanterelles and morrels) were sauteed with sesame oil, ginger and tamari. They were placed in the bottom of flexible molds and topped with a blend of tofu, arrowroot, miso and mushroom ginger stock, thickened with agar flakes to make a custard, then baked:

The molds were inverted onto toasted bread and topped with curly watercress (providing a nice snap):

Then finally topped with sauteed oyster mushrooms with a healthy dose of garlic:

These were a little more labor intensive, but so worth it and definitely something I would consider making for a party (now I've taken the class and know what to do!)

Incredible baby artichokes braised with white wine, tomatoes, garlic and fresh herbs - we ate these with our fingers!

And finally Artichoke with Puntarella and Tempeh Sausage:

Puntarella was a new ingredient to me:

A chicory, it is also known as Italian dandelion. It has long pointy greens and small fennel-like bulbs which were sauteed and added to a delicious smoky tempeh sausage:

With the braised artichokes and finished in the pan under the broiler, this was a hearty and delicious dish.

If you like hands-on cooking and want to learn about vegan techniques, I really can't say enough good things about Millennium's cooking classes. I've really learned a lot and you don't have to be a vegan to appreciate the classes or the delicious food served at the restaurant (more on this very soon!)

OK. This post is long enough. Without further ado, here's the recipe for the Indian spiced tomato sauce:

Indian Spiced Tomato Sauce:
1/2 white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, whole
vegetable oil
1 TBS whole cumin seeds
1 TBS Indian Chaat
2-3 TBS tomato paste
1TBS balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable stock, to create a ketchup consistency
salt to taste

Heat the oil and slowly char the onion and garlic. Add the cumin and chaat and cook to infuse flavor. Add tomato paste and combine well. Add enough vegetable stock and cook to a ketchup consistency.

Links to previous Millennium cooking class write-ups:
  • Mushroom Cooking Class

  • Holiday Cooking Class

  • Fall Harvest 2008

  • Indian Summer

  • Southern Comfort Cooking Class

  • Spring Cooking Class

  • Fall Harvest Cooking Class

  • Chiles Class

  • Tomato Class
  • Sunday, April 19, 2009

    Roasted Greek Salad

    I love Greek Salad: the tangy feta with the freshness of cucumber, juicy tomatoes, red onions and olives. I could eat this every summer day!

    As I am roasting asparagus and peppers every other day (I just can't get enough of these flavors!), I added them to the salad along with some oven roasted cauliflower. Wow! This was delicious! Perhaps not the prettiest salad, but the smokiness of the roasted vegetables made this extra special. Keep this in mind for your next BBQ!

    Saturday, April 11, 2009

    Green garlic soup with Fresh English Peas

    Here's the perfect Spring soup using fresh Farmers Market ingredients: green garlic, new potatoes, fresh English peas and chives to garnish!

    This vegan soup was just the perfect combination of light comfort food and fresh spring taste. I used macademia nut cream in this soup because I was out of cashews and it was divine.

    Green garlic is immature garlic that has not yet formed a strong, pungent mature bulb and flavor. It is wonderfully delicate and mild and perfect in this springtime soup. It looks like a small leek or a big spring onion:

    If you can't find green garlic, use 1/3 garlic bulb and increase the cream.

    Green Garlic & Pea Soup:

    3 bulbs green garlic
    3 small potatoes, peeled and small dice
    1 TBS vegan butter or butter
    sea salt
    1/4 cup cashew or macadamia nut cream (nuts blended with warm water until a creamy consistency)
    1/2 cup fresh English peas
    chives to garnish

    Cut off the roots of the garlic and most of the green stalk. Peel of the outer layer of skin and soak like leeks to remove grit if you see any mud or grit. Slice thinly. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the green garlic and potatoes and a couple of pinches of sea salt. Cover and cook over medium heat for around 8 minutes, stirring to avoid sticking. Add water to cover the mixture by about 1/4 inch and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer partially covered for 20 minutes (add more water if needed). Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender. Add the cashew/macadamia nut cream and thin with water as needed. Taste and adjust salt. Add the fresh peas and cook for 4-5 minutes until peas are just tender. Serve garnished with snips of fresh chives.

    Happy Easter to all!

    Wednesday, April 08, 2009

    Matzo Lasagna

    There's nothing quite like the cheesy decadence of a lasagna!

    Filled with ricotta cheese, spinach, mozzarella, Parmesan, tomato sauce, garlic and fresh oregano and.....

    In this case, Matzo!

    Yes, this is a Matzo Lasagna, a hearty Passover dish I learned to make many years ago.

    The key trick is to soak the matzo in warm water, so it's not too dry and crumbly. Otherwise, you could follow any vegetarian lasagna dish and simply substitute soaked matzo for the pasta.

    A good passover to all.

    Post script: I made this for others and it was a hit! Happily, they sent me back a piece to try. It was really moist (none of that cracker texture) and delicious.

    Sunday, April 05, 2009

    Amy Sherman's Appetizer Event

    I was very fortunate to attend a wonderful appetizer event that Amy Sherman of Cooking With Amy fame contributed as a Larkspur Library fundraiser. The first event was sold out in 3 days, so Amy graciously gave a second class in simple and tasty appetizers. Amy developed 44 appetizer recipes for the Williams Sonoma New Flavors for Appetizers , classic recipes with a twist, in 6 weeks!

    Amy is very knowledgeable about food and an eloquent speaker. Food is her passion, and she has a lot of experience in the areas of recipe development, food writing, marketing and branding. She is also a down-to-earth, home cook who develops recipes that are simple and efficient rather than complex and laborious. She encourages people to cook fresh, healthy recipes while being mindful of the time and effort available to the average cook. That makes her my kind of cook!

    All the appetizers she made for the event were simple and had few ingredients (all of which were available at Trader Joe's). Here's Amy demonstrating dried apricots filled with chevre goat cheese and chopped roasted almonds:

    An appetizer a child could help you prepare, these were an incredibly simple and delicious blend of sweet tartness, cream, and crunch:

    My favorite was the crostini with edamame (or fava beans) with ricotta, pecorino, lemon and mint:

    And a vegan option, Endive with White Bean Dip:

    Amy treated us to many great food stories and experiences and all the appetizers she prepared in minutes were delicious.

    Amy also did Prosciutto Pear Bites and I'm musing on a vegetarian version of this, which is hard as I've never tasted prosciutto. Would love to hear any suggestions in the comment!

    Huge thanks to Amy for being so gracious with her time, answering questions, and providing an awesome foodie event in Larkspur.