October 28, 2012

Planted Based Cooking Class #3 at Country Village

Another cooking class at Country Village Cafe went very well and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  I heard quite a few other folks did too.  I had some great help from my friends in the kitchen and they all said they had a great time. Thanks to all who lent a hand, I am still learning how to navigate through all of this, and it's a lot easier with supportive friends and family. We fed more than 40 people plant based treats, including some grocery store customers who stopped by to view the activity in the cafe.  It's usually closed on Saturdays so the activity was a little curious.  Which reminds me, a few years ago I looked at the closed cafe one Saturday and told Patti I should try to run it on Saturdays.  I thought a breakfast or lunch special, not a full menu, might be fun.  Hmmm, there I was feeding a full cafe.  I loved it!

Country Village was also celebrating 35 years in business by hosting "Customer Appreciation Days".  We contributed by keeping a sample tray of plant based goodies filled throughout the day.

Twenty five students attended, some of them very new to plant based eating.  I did my best to get new tastes and textures introduced to the interested.  I cooked this time.  I just love my portable burners.  It's like a stovetop in my pocket.

This time the guests found cheezy kale chips, savory pepitos, and a crudite of brightly colored vegetables and papaya seed ranch on the tables waiting for them.  Yes, papaya seed ranch.  I learned something new also.  While out picking vegetables at Willow Grove Gardens, Ruth picked some purple caulflower and sprial broccoflower and put it in my box.  I know a lot of people might want to try these out of the ordinary vegetables so I picked up my Complete Idiot's Guide to Eating Raw cookbook in search of a nice raw ranch dressing.  I found a papaya seed ranch, very easy, not many ingredients.  I never knew you could eat the papaya seeds.  I immediately cut one opened and ate a spoonful of the tender seeds.  Wow, they're great!  They have a flowery, yet spicy, taste.  Sort of like a nasturtiam flower.  I'll make more of this dressing, I loved it and so did the students.

We tasted:

Raw Creamy Broccoli Soup
Curried Winter Squash & Apple Soup
Fettuccini Alfredo
Forbidden Black Rice & Polenta Casserole
and Gluten Free and Oil Free Pumpkin Spice Cake

Enjoy the class, I know we did.  Country Village employees made a list of interested shoppers while we held the class.  Looks like I get to do another.

Vegan, Gluten, & Oil Free Pumpkin Spice Cake

It's about time I catch up on my blogging.  I've been so busy the last couple months and there are a few dishes I've made that I would like to be able to look up again and make.  September and October are busy, stressful months at work.  I am sure if you checked out a blog from this time last year, I probably mentioned the same thing.  My day job is pretty pleasant for the most part, but we do some pretty heavy number crunching in the fall preparing the plan for the next year.  I call it an accounting marathon.  I also had the great pleasure of heading up the kitchen at the VegFest in Portland, OR.  That took a bit of commitment too.  Things are settling back to the normal chaos, I'm coming up for air now, and have time to catch up on some great recipes.

I've been keeping my cooking classes not only plant based, but gluten free.  I am not gluten intolerant, that I know of, but I'm meeting more and more people who are.  I've been out with some friends who have celiacs disease and many times they can only have lettuce or raw carrots in a restaurant.  In all the presentations I attend and articles I read, it's a good idea for all of us to moderate our gluten intake.  It's not been difficult to make some great gluten free meals. 

This cake took some work because I also wanted to make it oil free. It took a few tries, but I managed to come up with a recipe that works every time.  My husband was a little disappointed I figured it out because it meant I wasn't going to make a cake every three days trying to get it right.  Here it is for you to try.  If you don't mind using wheat flour, just leave out the xanthum gum.

Here's one of my first attempts.  It was good, but still a little too moist in the middle for my tastes.

I went to so much trouble to make this cake healthy, I chose not to frost it at my cooking class.  I lightly sprinkled it with a mixture of organic powdered sugar and a dash each of cinnamon and nutmeg.  I thought it was a bit dry for some so I added just a little dollop of some pre-made rice whipping cream and garnished with a couple nice dried cranberries.

Vegan & Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake

               By Debbie Kay

Two eight inch layers or one 9”x 11” baking pan, or 24 mini cupcakes
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce (1 large or two small apples with 2 TB filtered water puréed in high speed blender)
  • 1 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon each cloves & ginger
  • 1&1/2 cups organic Sucanat, coconut sugar, or brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 egg replacements, (I like ENERG egg replacer for this cake, 1 TB egg replacer with 2 TB water = one egg replacer)
  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose flour
    Unbleached all purpose flour can be used, omit the Xanthum Gum
  • 1 teaspoon Xantham Gum
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
To make the cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375º
  2. Cream vegan margarine or applesauce with the sugar.
  3. Mix the powdered egg replacement with water as directed on the package.
  4. Add the liquid egg replacements to the creamed vegan margarine and brown sugar.
  5. Mix the pumpkin puree and vanilla to the creamed margarine mixture.
  6. Sift the flour in a large mixing bowl, add the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger and mix well.
  7. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and blend well.
  8. Pour the batter into parchment lined baking pans.
  9. Bake for 55 min. to 1 hour. Test with toothpick, toothpick should come out clean
  10. Cool on a rack before removing from the pan for five minutes.
Sprinkle warm cake with mixture of organic powdered sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Or, frost with your favorite vegan frosting after completely cooling.

Here's a quick buttercream frosting if you prefer a frosted cake.  Add a tablespoon of lemon juice for a cream cheese taste.

Buttercream Frosting

1 cup softened Earth Balance or other vegan butter
1 cup palm oil shortening
3- 4 cups pound sifted organic powdered sugar
½ tsp Vanilla or seeds from ½ Vanilla bean

In the bowl of a standing mixer or food processor cream together the Earth Balance and the palm oil on medium to high speed until completely combined.  Turn the speed down to low and slowly add in the sifted powdered sugar one cup at a time, allowing it to blend thoroughly before adding more.  Add in the vanilla and continue to blend until the mixture looks creamy.