What better way to sneak back into sweetened life than by eating through Doug McNish’s cooking class. I’ve done a few cooking classes before, but this one was definitely one of my favourites. While I am still no master of the knives, I felt that this class was awesome despite not being hands on. Instead, we chatted and watched as Doug created this fabulous menu in under 3 hours.
– Painted Fruit
– Raw Berry Jam
– Fermented Lemon Vanilla Cashew Yogurt
– Avocado Fries with Sundried Tomato Ketchup
– Carrot and Kelp Noodle Pad Thai, Sweet and Spicy Almond Crumble
– Kelp Noodle “Stir Fry” Pear Ginger Miso Sauce, Wilted Spinach and Hemp
– Sweet Potato and Carrot Mac N Cheese
– Mushroom Walnut Stroganoff, Moroccan Spiced Dandelion Greens
– Thick Cut Zucchini Bread, Avocado, Eggplant Bacon, Hemp Mayo
– Chocolate Avocado Torte, Almond Flax Crust
– Banana Crepes, Chocolate Sauce, Walnut Crumble, Raspberry Coulis, Caramelized Peach
Yes, that is over 20 recipes. We munched on a few of the dishes as they were made, but for the most part, the eight of us split the food to take home and eat as leftovers. Batch cooking for the win!
This is where the class shined: The recipes were great. Doug has worked in and with many restaurants and knows his stuff. His recipes are restaurant quality. He highlighted the importance of plating and presentation. He didn’t hide his secrets.Those banana crepes we made? Sound familiar? He made them this summer when he had a special brunch menu at Raw Aura. Some of the recipes are from his current book, some from his upcoming book and others were modifications of published recipes. He does not measure as he cooks. He tastes as he goes and modifies based on the freshness of the ingredients (something I really should learn how to do more naturally).
Doug has previously shared many of his recipes, especially in his cookbook, including his infamous sour cream and onion kale chips. However, I have yet to try any of his recipes. I have been daunted by his zealous use of oils, nut butters and agave. I know his food tastes good, although a bit heavy for me. After making Peacefood Cafe’s Raw Key Lime Pie earlier this summer, I know that restaurant quality really translates to fat and sugar, namely oil and agave!
Trust me, though, I licked my takeaway containers with the delicious food, though. I hope to reintroduce these foods into my kitchen a little bit more Janet-friendly… but most importantly, my spark has been rekindled for raw foods. It also helps that we still have not hit real winter weather yet. Until then, light salads such as this seems to fit the bill.
Herby, peanutty noodly salad. I couldn’t even make up a name as fun as this (Rob probably could but he didn’t). Pick your favourite herbs and toss them in this lime-spiked dressing. Coat noodles of your choice and add in some green vegetables like snow peas, snap peas or even broccoli. Toss with some (toasted) peanuts for some crunch and fats. Not as decadent as the meals this weekend, but I am ok with that.
PS. For those in the GTA, my newest health food store find is Foods For Life which had kelp noodles (16 oz) for $2.49 earlier this week. A quick sale since they expire in January. However, a great price to try these noodles! They also have kamut!
12 oz kelp noodles, rinsed (or pasta of choice, cooked)
1/4 cup peanuts, toasted (use almonds or cashews if you want to keep this raw)
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp lime juice (zest and juice from 1 lime)
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tsp agave, or to taste
1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
200g snow peas, trimmed and chopped (2 cups)
250g cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced (2 cups)
3 green onions, sliced
2 tbsp mint, sliced (I may omit next time)
2 tbsp cilantro, sliced
1/2 tbsp basil, sliced
1. Prepare your noodles. If using kelp noodles, just rinse in hot water. Allow to drain in a colander.
2. In a small skillet over medium-low heat, toast your nuts until fragrant. Allow to cool, then crush with the back of a frypan.
3. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice and zest, garlic and chile flakes.
4. In a large bowl, combine the drained noodles, snow peas, cucumber, green onion, mint, cilantro and basil. Prior to serving, toss with dressing and sprinkle with crushed peanuts.