Spanish Vegan Cooking Class
Well, hey there! I’ve been meaning to recap this Spanish themed vegan cooking class for quite sometime, but I’ve just been swamped! A few weekends ago, my Mom & I attended another awesome vegan cooking class with Chef Jenn at Sea Rocket Bistro. People always question, “a VEGAN cooking class at a SEAFOOD restaurant?” The answer is “yes.” Kinda kooky at first thought, I know, but this is vegan friendly joint - in addition to these seasonal vegan cooking classes, they hosted the first ever LOVELIKEBEER event, launched the first dish in LLB’s permanent menu series, recently hosted an all vegan brunch, & always have a handful of vegan items on the menu. Needless to say, it’s a great place to take a mixed crowd, as there is something for everyone, & I appreciate that!
Anyway, back to the class. This Spanish inspired all vegan menu was built around small plates served “tapas” style, a main course of Quinoa Paella, & a delicious Spanish style coconut custard! Yum. Here’s a bit more detail!
- Warm Almonds with Mixed Olives: "Assorted olives mixed with garlic, herbs, citrus, red pepper flakes, & olive oil, served with warm toasted almonds." These were wonderful! I could’ve eaten these all day! Perfect to snack on with a lovely cocktail, or glass of spanish rose.
- Grilled Eggplant in Tomato Vinaigrette: "Thick rounds of Japanese eggplant slightly grilled & topped with a "sauce" of raw roma tomatoes, Spanish olive oil, sherry vinegar, green onions, capers, garlic, & basil.” This is such light & refreshing dish. This would be a perfect appetizer to serve at a summer soiree when eggplant is in its peak season.I love eggplant, but my mom has never been an eggplant fan, but this dish made her a believer!
- Patatas Bravas: "New potatoes roasted with fresh chives & parsley & topped with a Spanish style "brava" sauce of pureed tomatoes, onion, carrot, garlic, white wine, sherry vinegar, olive oil, Tabasco, agave, sweet pimenton, cumin, & fresh thyme.” The brava sauce was delicious - slightly sweet with a bit of heat! I wanted to put this sauce on everything from toasted bread, to roasted veggies.
- Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic Aioli: "Cauliflower florets simply roasted with olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper, topped with a vegan take on aioli - a blend of pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, evoo, salt & pepper.” I think cauliflower gets a bum rap! To any of you who think it tastes like dirty gym socks, I dare you to roast it until it’s tender & caramelized! Simply delicious & even better with a creamy aioli!
- Vegetable Quinoa Paella: “Quinoa toasted & simmered in white wine, vegetable stock, & saffron, served with piquillo peppers, roma tomatoes, fresh peas, garbanzo beans, & thinly sliced fennel.” I loved this healthful twist on “traditional” paella, which utilizes protein rich quinoa in place of rice. My favorite NYE tradition is whipping up a pot of paella to serve with champagne, & will definitely be making this again. I enjoyed the combination of vegetables in this recipe, but you can substitute with whatever your little heart desires. And…who else cannot get enough of saffron? So rich & fragrant!
- “Natillas" Spanish Style Custard: ”Almond milk, coconut milk, & coconut cream infused with vanilla,cinnamon, lemon & lime zest, thickened with silken tofu & blended into a creamy pudding. Served chilled & topped with cinnamon & fresh strawberries.” Natillas is a Spanish term referring to a custard dish made with milk & eggs. Isn’t it wonderful that we can veganize almost anything these days. I’m obsessed with dessert, especially dessert that consists of coconut cream! This rich & creamy custard was a delightful end to our meal. I really love strawberries, & am so excited to see them arriving at the farmers’ markets, but this custard would be lovely top with any seasonal fruit variety!
I’ve been to almost all of Chef Jenn’s classes, & this was one of my favorites to date! If you are a San Diegan & haven’t attended a class yet I highly encourage you to join us. The classes are hands-on - so you learn A LOT. It’s also a great way to meet new friends. What better way to connect with others than cooking a meal together? The best part is, after all that prep & cooking, everyone sits communal style to enjoy the meal, paired with thoughtfully selected craft beer or wine. Oftentimes, we even make enough for leftovers to take home. Be sure to check Chef Jenn’s website for upcoming classes. I believe the next one will be scheduled for the spring. We’re hoping it’s for Easter brunch!