Wednesday, April 22, 2009

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

    Blogger Meg Wolff said...

    Your culinary designs (and ingredients!) are exquisite!

    I came over from the Eat'n Vegan blog and I'm glad I did.

    3:56 AM  
    Blogger Anna Haight said...

    Fascinating, I really missed out. I did convince my out of town friend to try Cafe Gratitude in the city with another friend while you were doing this.

    8:27 AM  
    Anonymous cfox said...

    Yum & Fun!

    11:18 AM  
    Anonymous Culinary artschools said...

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