Creating Warming Uncooked Meals with Laurel McConville

I did another CCAE class recently. This time, it was “This is Raw? Creating Warming Uncooked Meals” with Laurel McConville.  I think I’ve mentioned this before – I’m a happy omnivore with a fascination with raw foods recipes.  I think it started when I had dental surgery a few years ago.  There were a lot of smoothies, apple sauce, and pureed bean soups while I was forced on soft foods.  And I got bored quickly.  Eventually, I started to find some interesting blended soups that were in the raw foods category, and eventually I came across “Everyday Raw” by Matthew Kenney.  Have you ever read a Matthew Kenney recipe?  They’re attention grabbing, I tell you.

Anyway, fast forward -> I’ve only started to really experiment with raw foods this year.  I haven’t made much, but the little I have have been very delicious.  So, when I heard that CCAE had added a raw foods class to their calender, I made sure to save myself a seat.

Our instructor was Laurel McConville, a very nice young woman who’s been a long time vegan and on/off raw for the last few years.  (It’s hard to be a raw foodie in New England when winter comes around – too cold and good fresh veggies are harder to come by.)  Almost everyone in the class was vegetarian or vegan.  I think my sister and I were the only exceptions.  (however… I often joke that my sister is a part-time vegetarian, to which she usually rolls her eyes at me.)  And, almost everyone had some experience with raw foods.

Class started with Laurel making us some butternut and green apple soup.  My sister and I were really impressed.  It was really well balanced, not too sweet, and not too spiced.  And then, Laurel made us some zucchini and chive canapes.  I absolutely love any cashew based creams/cheeses, so I took a huge liking to the canapes.  I couldn’t stop myself from snarfing them down.  Luckily, Laurel made a huge batch and many of the students held off to taste the other dishes.

The rest of class was spent working in small groups, each group was tasked with making a different recipe that Laurel provided.  By the end of the night, we had:

-brussel sprouts and pumpkin seed slaw
-wild rice and chickpea salad
-kale and shallot pizzettes
-fig and lemon tarts

I enjoyed the brussel sprout slaw and the pizzettes the most (even though one person didn’t like the pizzettes at all), and thought that the tart was alright.  I think I wanted the tart to be sweeter or something.  Maybe more lemony?  That could have been the fault of my group though – we made it and I don’t know if anyone remembered to add lemon zest.

The wild rice and chickpea salad was my least favorite but not because of its flavor.  Flavor-wise, it was fine, albeit nothing stellar.  For me, it was the texture.  I don’t like to do a lot of chewing.  It hurts.  [No, seriously.  Almost two years ago, I spent eight days in Paris.  All the baguettes I ate nearly ruined my jaw for the entire week afterward.  Even the last couple of days in Paris found me buying ham and cheese sandwiches on white bread from the supermarkets whenever possible, out of desperation.]

Overall reaction – I enjoyed the class and it was a great way to taste several different dishes in the raw food style in one night.  I definitely want to make the canapes, the soup, and the pizzette again.  Oh, and I want to make the cashew parmesan cheese that was prepped with the pizzette.  It was delicious and garlicky.  I am willing to bet that the cashew parmesan cheese will be the first thing I re-make.  It’s pretty easy and only requires a food processor.  (A lot of raw foods recipes will require a high-speed blender.  I don’t have one but my sister does.  You know that I’ll be bugging her in the very near future.)

As usual, I don’t repost the recipes I get in a CCAE class.  If you can and you’re local, support CCAE and sign up for a class.  Laurel will be teaching the class again soon in the near future (Jan or Feb?  I don’t remember.)  She’ll also be teaching a raw food cheese class with wine.  I would take the cheese class, except I don’t drink.  Don’t be sad about the lack of recipes though, Laurel posted the canapes recipe on her own blog.  See below.  (^_^)

Reference Links (Laurel’s blog) (recipe to the zucchini chive canapés we made in class)


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