This past week I took two classes - one was a vegan cake baking & decorating class, and all of the recipes were gluten- and soy-free. Not realizing the irony at the time I registered, the second class I took was a seitan-making workshop, meaning we were working with 100% gluten. It's all about balance, right?
The cake class was great because, you know, cake! The cake recipes were good, but I have to say that they weren't as good as anything I've had from Gone Pie or Babycakes (two sources of gluten-free vegan deliciousness) here in NY. We made a French Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting; Chocolate Cake with Caramel Chocolate Frosting; Lemon Cake with Lemon Frosting; Strawberry Banana Cake with Banana Icing; a Tropical Carrot Cake with Creamy Coconut Frosting; and a Pistachio Almond Cake with Almond-Scented Frosting, but the most fun was getting to play with all the different pastry tips to work on our cake decorating skills. Here are some of the fine examples from our class:
|This was our instructor's chocolate cake - very inspiring!|
|This was the Pistachio - Almond cake... I think she had some decorating practice already!|
|I had the pleasure of meeting mtvVegan in the class - she also did a great job decorating her cake!|
|This was the Tropical Carrot Cake that I made and took home. |
I'm a good wife, right? Although I need some more practice on my cake-decorating skills....
Our instructor was chef and cookbook author Peter Berley, with whom I took a Vegetarian Winter Casseroles class last year, where I learned such creations as Beer-Braised Kielbasa with Sauerkraut & Onions, Tempeh & Vegetables in a Spicy Lemon-Coconut Broth, and Seitan & Vegetable Enchiladas with Spicy Mole Sauce. Peter's recipe for the seitan workshop were just as delicious and inspiring - we made Seitan Wrapped Burdock, Leek, and Carrot Rolls; Braised Chickpea Stew with Seitan Chorizo & Fennel; Pan-Seared "Steaks" with Chimichurri; Gluten Puffs with Sweet & Sour Sauce; Seitan Sausages; Savory Seitan-Stuffed Summer Squash Provençal; and Eggplant & Seitan Falafel with a Lemon-Tahini Sauce.
Valerie & I worked on the seitan steaks with chimichurri sauce - if you don't know chimichurri, it is an intoxicating blend of parsley, cilantro, mint, garlic, shallot, jalapeno for a little kick, olive oil, and some rice vinegar for acidity. I know I sound biased because we made this dish, but it really was the biggest hit of the evening among all the other students.
|Valerie thinks our dish was ugly but I thought that vibrant green sauce was just gorgeous!|
Also delicious was the falafel made from seitan and roasted eggplant:
At first, I thought Seitan & Eggplant falafel sounded kind of strange, but the falafel balls really had the exact same texture as regular falafel, but the roasted eggplant and ground seitan really gave them an extra depth of flavor and savoriness. They were very tasty. And some of the other dishes:
|These were the gluten puffs - deep-fried goodness with a sweet & sour sauce. |
Satisfies all those Chinese take-out cravings.
|This was actually an improvised dish that Peter Berley made with some leftover seitan - a roulade stuffed with a Mediterranean vegetable mixture. Delicious!|
|The seitan-wrapped burdock, leek, and carrot rolls|
|The Provençal-stuffed squash dish - rustic and very delicious.|
|Braised Chickpea Stew with Seitan Chorizo - a vibrant, flavorful dish!|
|The best part of the class... fixing our plates to sample everything|
|A very colorful tasting plate full of many different, all delicious flavors|
We enjoyed the class with Peter so much that we are contemplating signing up for his homemade tofu class. Not that I really see myself making homemade tofu on a regular basis, but like changing the tire on a car*, I figure it's probably a good skill to know, right? I've also signed up for a vegan truffle-making class with the wonderful Fran Costigan the end of this month, so stay tuned for more deliciousness!
*I don't actually know how to change the tire on a car. I should probably learn sometime.