Posts tagged ‘Spring’

April 30, 2012

An opening post for spring

While I was taking Amateur Foodie Classes at NWCAV, Chef Tony slipped in a healthy cooking class.

Miso Soup  to start

and a  main of asparagus with a  barley quinoa risotto.

Distinctly,the miso soup was not going over well with our entire class. We’ve been indulging in gnocchi bolognese, troute paupiettes with salmon mousse, tenderloin with demi-glaze and red wine reduction.

Now were we getting a stinking bowl of miso? To his credit- our homemade miso was great and a million miles better than the rehydrated packets from the store or the stuff you get free with your sushi at the express japanese joint.

Equally as good was the quinoa barley risotto. It just wasn’t flashy. No one was excited. there was no “sexy sheen” of a sauce or fancy food prep. So healthy food is boring? We sat glumly sipping our soup listening to Chef Tony explain the benifits of whole grains, miso. That his own diet is porridge in the morning, and miso before any ‘Chef’s Table’ 6 course style meal. And then he mentioned Andrea Potter, chef at Radha and Rooted Nutrition cooking instructor.

2 years later, and I’m in my first classes at Rooted Nutrition this spring.

My first class is legumes, wow. exciting.

to my surprise, it really was.

I went there thinking- hey, I like beans, I know how to make beans, maybe she can make them more interesting.

What I learned has me mastering my handful of legume dishes. A red lentil soup that I’d tried very different variations of is now FANTASTIC every time.

*I’ll never buy canned beans again … except in a pinch: They are pressure cooked in the can, all that foam you need to skim off when you cook- is cooked right in there in the tin can.

and- the quick soak method?

*The whole point in soaking your legume is to prepare it for digestion. Yes, it does reduce cooking time, but this is not the point of soaking.  In the animal world- the legume passed through the animals body whole, and out the other end, where it plants in the soil and sprouts. It is the sprout’s survival mechanism. By soaking your bean you are encouraging it to sprout, which makes it easier to digest. Quick soaking won’t work.

The best tip I learned?

*soaking beans with lemon juice, cooking them with kombu or a bay leaf until they squish between your fingers, and making sure you add enough acid to your final bean dish to really make the flavours and texture come out.

We made a bowl of black beans and rice. A once bland bowl of beans is suddenly VIBRANT with squeezes of lemon juice and lime juice. And the toppings of sprouted greens, radishes, herbs, avocado make it really pretty, and very tasty.

Chef Andrea added turmeric to her brown rice- brilliant really. It disguises it from being plain bland ol’ brown rice to looking something exotic and colourful and, tasty.

I love the skills NWCAV taught me- how to use my chef knife, trusting kitchen intuition, heat control: don’t boil your stock, always heat your pan before adding your food, sweating vs frying and sauteeing and poaching..  I love being able to make my food taste better.

Andrea at Rooted Nutrition  is teaching how to use whole foods and her honesty and obvious love for food traditions make her classes exciting.  The food is good. It’s not over flashy like adding truffle oil to everything, or coating your broccoli in cheese sauce to get anyone to eat it. We learn what is really in all the pre-packaged food.

In the mania that has become the local food movement, the organic food craze, the raw food diets, Food Inc., and Fast Food Nation I’m finding her classes are encouraging me to use the resources we have to make inexpensive healthy foods, like how we used to do. I am looking forward to the summer farmer market season, planting my own herbs and plants, making beans beans beans and more cooking with Rooted Nutrition. My second class had me excited about nettles, really.

Read more about Rooted Nutrition Here:

For Amateur Cooking @ NWCAV (Highly recommended!!):