Monday, September 27, 2010

Millennium Class Sept. 2010

This beautiful Chilled Green Curry Melon Soup with a Melon, Cucumber & Cherry Tomato salad, made at yesterday's cooking class at Millennium, was the perfect dish for our suddenly sweltering Indian summer weather. The soup was cool, complex, and creamy and the salad added a wonderful acidity and freshness. Taught by Millennium's Executive Chef Eric Tucker, students made a Green Curry Based from scratch with lemongrass, Thai chili, Kaffir lime leaves, and black fermented soy beans, to name just a few of the ingredients. Combined with melon and coconut milk, heated with the curry, then chilled, this was probably my favorite soup we've made in my 17 classes, and I never make or order chilled soup. Change is good!

This time around, we made the majority of the dishes before lunching. They included this Gigantic Bean and Sweet Pepper Salad:

A Nopales (Cactus) & Radish Salad - the nopales were charred, scrapped, then boiled to remove their gelatinous quality:

A trio of salsas - Guac with Poblanos, Spicy Tomato, and Huckleberry Salsa:

And a King Trumpet & Abalone Mushroom Salad with Carrots:

Here's the plated shot with the fresh maza tortillas:

Like I said, it was a big lunch. I was very excited to make an expanded version of a dish I always order at Millennium: Deep Fried Corn-Encrusted Oyster Mushrooms. As you can see, we also deep-fried thin green beans, thick-cut onions, firm tomatoes (green weren't to be had)and zucchini strips.

It's hard to see, but in the center is a wonderful Lovage Remoulade ( a Vegan version of the classic French caper & herb spiced mayonaise). Made with tofu and miso, I think it's worth attending a Millennium class simply to learn how to make one of these incredibly tofu mayos. No way can you tell it's vegan! We switched from a cornmeal based dust to a garbanzo bean flour dust (the darker items) - both were delicious:

A couple of gratuitous shots of my deep-fried darlings (fried in rice bran oil) Zucchini & Oyster Mushrooms:

Thin green beans and onions:

Needless to say, there were no leftovers!

After lunch, we made dumplings or giant mezzaluna filled with a creamy blend of purple peruvian potatoes, leeks, cashew cream and herbs, including lovage. These were served with a Smoked Chili Oil (Chipotles) and a Braised Lobster Mushroom and Fresh Shelling Bean side (we used Cranberry & Marrow Fat Fresh Beans). The lobster mushrooms had a "seafood"-like flavor, created by adding saffron (Iodine quality), scraped vanilla bean pod and white wine. My lousy photo doesn't do this amazing dish justice:

Dessert was Panna cotta made with agar and kuzu. As you can see, it's not the easiest gelling agent to work with, although I think the less set version actually tasted a little better:

Superbly complemented with vegan -chili-clover blossom honey, two very different apple compotes, and candied sweet chilis. Just when you think you can eat no!

As always, many thanks to Eric for another superlative class. Thanks also to Thomas, Veronica and Intern Mike! It was also great to see several friends from previous classes and, of course, to meet new people!

Ann - we missed you! See you next time.

Here's links to my previous 16 classes:
  • July 2010 Cooking Class

  • June 2010 Cooking Class

  • Spring Cooking Class 2010

  • Chiles Cooking Class 2009

  • July Cooking Class 2009

  • June Cooking Class 2009

  • Spring Cooking Class 2009

  • 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
  • Thursday, September 23, 2010

    Black Bean & Corn Soup

    So Fall is here and we're enjoying a pleasant mixture of hot and cool weather. This soup reflects that - a spicy tomato based soup where sweet fresh organic corn, fresh green peppers, fresh jalapeno and a whole bunch of cilantro combine with hearty canned organic black beans and sliced black olives. I threw in some dinosaur kale to round it out nutritionally. It was delicious!

    I've been cooking a lot more with tomatoes lately, and adding tomato sauce to a soup was a new move for me. The tomato sauce made it a little sweet to my taste, so I'd probably use less sauce and more vegetable broth next time. Still, a nice combination of light and hearty!

    Black Bean & Corn Soup:
    2 TBS olive oil
    1 small onion, peeled and finely diced
    3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
    1 green pepper, deveined and chopped
    1 jalapeno, deveined, seeded and cut very small
    14 oz can organic tomato sauce
    16 oz vegetable broth
    4 oz water
    3/4 cup of torn dinosaur kale, stems removed
    14.5 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
    small can of sliced black olives
    kernels from 2 ears fresh corn
    1 bunch cilantro, leaves only, chopped

    In a heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the diced onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add the sliced garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add the green pepper and jalapeno and saute for 3 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes and add the kale. Cook for 5 more minutes and add the black beans and sliced olives. Cook for 5 minutes and add the corn and chopped cilantro. Cook 3 minutes and serve.

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    Indian Eggplant with Spicy Tomato Sauce

    Last week I had a rare opportunity to attend our local Thursday Farmers Market. I was thrilled to find a vendor with tiny Indian eggplants (shown above). I couldn't resist buying them, but then, as often happens, I found myself with an ingredient that was at it's prime without a specific dish planned.

    No way was I letting these tiny eggplants pass me by. So I searched one of my favorite newer cookbooks, India's Vegetarian Cooking: A Regional Guide and prepared the recipe for Eggplants and Potatoes with Peanut Sauce:

    While the dish was delicious, I think there may have been a typo in the recipe which called for only 2 teaspoons of ground peanuts with a sauce of a 14 oz tomatoes. Although the dish was very tasty, it was very mild on the peanut flavor. I plan to rework this sauce in a number of ways, specifically I plan to try increasing the ground peanuts from 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons to help the peanut flavor develop.

    My favorite thing about this recipe was that it required so little oil. Most eggplant recipes involve frying them in oil, which they absorb readily. Here, they were cooked in the spiced tomato sauce with only 1-2 TBS of oil. The eggplant and potato were tender and beautifully spiced, I just wish the peanut flavor hadn't been lost in the tomatoes and spices. Still, a very tasty eggplant dish:

    Fresh Garbanzo beans from the pod

    So here's a fresh garbanzo bean just plucked from it's pod. I just ate them straight up. Wonderful!

    Wednesday, September 01, 2010

    What am I?

    Look what I found at the farmers market today! I didn't know what it was - do you?