Fall Harvest Cooking Class at Millennium
Photo from one o'clock: Sunchoke & Smoked Portobello Gallette; Yuba Roll with Chard Florentine, Tempeh Sausage, and Rice; Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower with Smoked Tofu, Miso, and Orange; Chipotle-Glazed Georgia Candy Roasting Squash with Greens and Pumpkin Seed Brittle; Rich Mushroom Reduction with Fresh Italian Beans.
This weekend I enjoyed the "In the Dirt" themed Fall Harvest Cooking Class at Millennium, San Francisco's finest Vegan Restaurant. Millenium and Executive Chef, Eric Tucker, were featured today in a NY Times Article on Expanding the Frontiers of the Vegetarian Plate. And I quote:
"Eric Tucker...is highly regarded for a polyglot style that marries ingredients and techniques from diverse cuisines with a sense of how best to celebrate Northern California's vegetable bounty....Such is Mr Tucker's skill that the food at Millennium attains a gustatory cohesion not suggested by the eclectic ingredients."
Polyglot? Well, it's, perhaps, more poetic to say, he's a translator of cultural approaches and interpretations of the best available local ingredients. And, when you attend one of his classes (this is my third), you realize, he's a kick-ass chef who wants to teach people how to work creatively with ingredients rather than to sheepishly follow a recipe.
And, if you haven't eaten at the restaurant, regardless of you meat-eating orientation, any food-loving person owes it to themselves to enjoy a meal here. I've taken hearty, meat-eating food bloggers here and they've been totally satisfied.
So the weekend starts off with a foraging visit to the San Francisco Ferry Building's Saturday Farmers Market.
Far West Funghi is always an interesting place to visit:
We picked up some Cauliflower Mushrooms...
Which ended up as a deep-fried, tempura-battered garnish in a delicious cauliflower bisque, with a rich shallot oil and a spicy chili oil garnish:
We used the unique tasting Matzutake mushrooms to create a delicious Matzutake Pho with Pumpkin Gnocchi, fresh mint and Thai basil, smoked tofu, paper-thin Matzutakes, bean sprouts, and lime wedges. The pho broth was created with a serious mushroom base, with shallots, ginger, lemongrass, spices, and oils:
Chef Tucker picked up a Georgia Candy Roasting Squash:
The squash was roasted and served with a rich sweet chipolte dressing and a delicious salad with bitter greens and pumpkin seed brittle:
Probably, my favorite thing today was the amazing cauliflower, charred over gutsy hot heat, with smoked tofu, miso and orange juice:
I love cauliflower, but I don't think I've ever loved it quite this much. I could easily have eaten the entire plate!
The Brussels got the same treatment:
And, these yuba (tofu-skin) rolls stuffed with chard florentine (made with cashew cream), tofu, and tempeh sausage, topped with smoked paprika were so out-of this-world:
And, we also made these awesome gallettes with a filling of pureed sunchoke, topped with rich portobello mushrooms:
The pastry crust was made with ground,toasted walnuts, flour and palm shortening and was rich and tender.
I can't tell you how lucky I feel to be a local able to enjoy these cooking classes. The class is totally hands-on, the instruction, clear and flexible, and, the level of comraderie is high. Attending the Farmers Market foragaing event is also a wonderful learning experience and a treat not to be missed.
Previously attended classes: