May 12, 2012
Introducing Live Nachos
Ruth, my organic farmer friend, and I have been talking to a nutrition class once a quarter at the local community college. The instructor invited us to come share what we know about organic gardening and plant based eating. Ruth talks about her farm and shares her trials and rewards of organic farming. She covers the documentation, the successes and failures of her crops, farmer's markets, and answers many questions about gardening. Since it is finally spring around here and the gardens are getting planted, there were lots of questions for Ruth this time. For the next hour I get to talk about the food and why someone chooses a plant based lifestyle. I've brought in books, articles, recipes, other resources, and share some of what I've learned through this journey.
The first two sessions, I brought some home made vegan treats such as cookies, kale chips, flax crackers, and I think I brought some vegan cupcakes. This time I brought my Blendtec and my recently acquired Vegan Fusion training and demonstrated how to make vegan nacho cheese. It was a lot more fun then just talking and an opportunity to practice my own teaching skills. We weren't sure at first where we were going with this, it seems to be evolving into a nice presentation.
I made the chips at home in the dehydrator ahead of time, a batch of cheese, fresh salsa, and chipotle cream and handed the students a beautiful serving of raw vegan nachos as I began my demonstration. I wanted them to taste them before I told them I used raw butternut squash and cashews as a base. There were a lot of questions and really good comments. I think, it went over very well, I didn't see any in the garbage can when I cleaned up. Most of these students had not tried a vegan or live dish like this.
Spicy Nacho Crackers/Chips and Nacho Cheese are from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Eating Raw. They're very tasty!
This was more than just sharing the plant based food this time. The classroom was in a different building than it has been. It was in the rooms the business classes are taught in. As I walked near the classroom carrying my supplies memories of carrying a heavy backpack in this very hallway came back. This was not the first time I've demonstrated and shared some of my kitchen witchery with students. Twenty-five years ago in this very building I was taking some businesses class here, a marketing and a business communications class. As with most classes I took in college a research paper and a presentation were required. I usually started with what I know, food, and did a presentation for a business idea, a deli with delivery service. I decided if I was really presenting a business idea to investors I'd like them to know what I can do. So, of course, my presentation included fresh strawberry cheesecake. I used my cooking skills through business classes a lot. But, Oh my Gosh! my cooking habits have changed. Back then, you could have watched your arteries hardening right before your very eyes from my cheesecake. I used lots of cream cheese and three or four eggs, processed ginger snap cookies for the crust, cooked in real butter. I still love to make strawberry cheesecake, but the recipe is much different now. No animal products and the ingredients in the base of the recipe, cashews or tofu, are usually very high in nutrients.