Thursday, October 05, 2006

What I Learned in Macrobiotics Cooking Class

I'm a sad little woman. I've been without my home computer since Sunday and I feel lost. I really really miss blogging. (I'm sneaking in a post from my work computer on my down time.) I live in a veg-friendly city. My family is very accepting of my way of eating. But honestly, most people don't understand being vegan. Most people think I'm depriving myself, that deep down I really want a big hunk of red meat and I'm starving myself with salad and broccoli. I miss blogging because I truly enjoy sharing recipes and ideas and pictures with compassionate, like-minded others. Oh, well. I'll survive.

My Monday night class was so fun! What I learned: Macrobiotics is the practice of spiritual, physical, and nutritional wellness. Macrobiotic cooking is seasonal, local, and organic. (I have emailed the chef to ask why fish is included, but have not yet received a reply.) Our chef instructor for the class is from a local "campus" where there is not only a communal style dining room which serves only macrobiotic, vegan, wheat-free meals, but also includes a natural cooking school, a Montessori school (don't those kids get a great school lunch!), a yoga studio, meditation centers, and a small food store and bookstore. Lunches ($10) and dinners ($12) are all you can eat and always include a soup, green salad and dressing, grains, beans (including soy), veggies, and pickle. Desserts are extra, but so worth it. I truly feel nourished inside and out after having a meal there.

Other stuff from my notes: Always leave skins on organic produce as they contain the most nutrition, even carrots and sweet potatoes. Scrub like a maniac or remove skins from conventional produce. Bitter taste is beneficial to the liver. Coconut oil is best for baking. Steam tofu for 10 minutes before using in dishes to make it more digestible. Popcorn flavored with Bragg's and nutritional yeast is properly titled "Hippie Popcorn."

Most importantly, I learned that (1) Siamese twin plantains taste as good as normal plantains (that was some freaky 'nanner!) and (2) umeboshi is actually green apricots, not plums, and using the paste will add a cheesy flavor to whatever you're cooking.

The chef prepared this menu:

Mixed green salad with strawberry dressing
Sweet potato and plantain fries with Tamarind Ketchup
Polenta Napoleans
Espresso Mousse with Mocha Drizzle

Everything tasted incredible. I have been searching for a ketchup recipe and this one is soooo good. I'll share it with you.

Tamarind Ketchup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, large dice
pinch of salt
1/3 cup palm sugar
1/4 cup tamarind paste
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 clove garlic
1/2 tablespoon umeboshi paste
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon juice from freshly grated beet (for color)
(Chef squeezed out juice into a tablespoon and then added.)

Put olive oil in skillet and sweat onion on low heat with salt, partially covered, until translucent. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in food processor. When translucent, add onion and blend until smooth.

Ketchup will last 5 to 7 days.

I think I'm preparing a birthday dinner Sunday and I want to make the Napoleans to serve then. They were awesome - layered with two kinds of pesto and topped with mushrooms.


Harmonia said...

Thanks for the notes! I enjoyed them...also the recipe! ;) Glad you are back!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great place and a great meal. I live in a large city but it's more "atkins-minded" than veg friendly. When you search the veg lists, we have about 20 restaurants/stores that serve veg friendly food so it's always interesting to find out what other people have in their cities. Thanks for sharing.

bazu said...

Oh you are SO lucky to take a macrobiotic cooking class! I would love to do that. And I learned a lot from your notes. I just blogged today about not liking to peel anything, and I thought that made me obsessive, but now I realize that I'm following macrobiotic principles- yes!!
I hope you can be back to your computer and blogging soon!

Vegan Diva said...

Thanks for sharing some of the great info you learned at your macrobiotic class. I had no idea umeboshi was actually green apricots. I always thought it was plums. I've used umeboshi vinegar in some uncheese recipes before.

Candi said...

Hi! i'm new to your blog and immediately was really interested in your macrobiotic class! Sounds amazing. Thanks for all the tips you included!!

I know what you were feeling when you mentioned that people don't understand why you'd be vegan and think you are depriving yourself. All you can do is stay happy and healthy and continue to love the food you prepare and discover. For me, it was starting a blog and finding like-minded people that put me at ease. :)

Nikki said...

I've always wanted to get into macrobiotics. Hooray for you taking a class!

There's a vegan macrobiotic restaurant not far from where I work that I've been meaning to try. After reading your post I just reminded myself AGAIN to check them out soon.