August Cooking Class

August 30, 2015

Aug class 1

September is almost here! Where did the summer go? Back to school and restarting of organizations that adjourned for the summer makes September a busy time for almost everyone, so the August cooking class focused on fast, easy to make dishes that could be made ahead of time and even frozen.

The dishes also focused on the bounty of seasonal local vegetables available right now. My garden is brimming with zucchini, Swiss chard, tomatoes, corn, carrots, onions, garlic and peppers.

Below are the recipes for a delicious blueberry Swiss Chard Smoothie, a soup made with fresh from the garden veggies, a quick and easy pasta dish, an old time coleslaw and healthy, hearty and irresistible cookies packed with seeds and nuts.

Thanks Mei for taking pictures during the class.

Blueberry Swiss Chard Smoothie
Blueberry Swiss Chard Smoothie

This blueberry green smoothie will retain the purple blue color of the blueberries if you use the deep red or yellow Swiss Chard. If not, its just as delicious but a muddy brown color.

Blueberry Chard Smoothie

  • 2 cups Swiss Chard
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 3 large ripe frozen bananas or 2 cups frozen pineapple
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 cups water

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy.

Harvest Tortilla Soup
Harvest Tortilla Soup

This garden fresh soup is adapted from the Oh She Glows Cookbook but is also found online on her recipe blog. If you have a garden or access to a farmers’ market, you can find almost all the ingredients for this soup locally grown. As a bonus, this soup freezes well so you can enjoy the garden bounty even after the snow arrives.

The soup is served with tasty tortilla strips which are a nice change from the usual bread or crackers.

Harvest Tortilla Soup

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red or green pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced (optional)
  • Kernels from 2 ears of fresh corn or 1 ½ cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes (canned or fresh)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1  tsp chilli powder
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tbsp red balsamic vinegar or lime juice
  • ½  tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • ¼ tsp black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 (15 oz/425g) can black beans, drained and rinsed or 2 cups cooked black beans

In a large stock pot, heat oil and add onions and garlic. Sauté until translucent. Add red pepper, jalapeño, corn and zucchini. Sauté for 10 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, broth, spices and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until veggies are tender. Stir in black beans and simmer until hot.

Tortilla Strips
Tortilla Strips

Toasted Tortilla Strips

  • 2 tortillas
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

With a pastry brush, spread oil over the tortillas and sprinkle with the seasonings. Slice the tortillas into strips using a pizza cutter and place in a single layer on a rimmed baking dish. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes at 400F or until golden. Remove from oven and let cool. Strips will firm up as they cool. Make ahead and store in a sealed container. If necessary, crisp up in the oven before using.

pasta ingredientsThis pasta dish if from the Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking cookbook but can be found on the PETA website. They call it Tuesday Night Dinner. Its a wonderfully easy way to make a from scratch pasta sauce in a very short time. For the class, we served the sauce over whole grain kamut penne.

Pasta Dinner

    • 1 1-lb. pkg. whole-wheat penne or brown rice pasta
    • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 cup vegan Italian sausage, diced
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 red pepper, diced
    • 1 poblano or jalepeno pepper, diced (or substitute a green bell pepper)
    • 12 small cremini mushrooms, cut in half
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
    • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
    • 2 tsp. oregano
    • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, to taste
    • ½ tsp thyme
    • ¼  tsp rosemary
    • 5 whole garden fresh Roma tomatoes, diced  (or 2 cups crushed tomatoes)
    • ½ cup vegetable broth
    • 1 tbsp red wine  or balsamic vinegar
    • 1 cup chopped raw spinach leaves   (or kale)
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • nutritional yeast, for garnish

pasta cooking◾Prepare the pasta according to the package instructions.

◾While pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in your deepest saucepan, skillet, or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, toss in the vegan Italian sausage and cook, flipping occasionally, until slightly browned. Then, add all the onion, garlic, peppers and mushrooms. Sauté a few minutes until onions are translucent and mushrooms are tender. Add spices and sauté a few more minutes. Add diced tomatoes, broth, vinegar and spinach. Sauté until tomatoes are cooked and spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over pasta with a dusting of nutritional yeast

cole slawAs a kid, my Mom always made coleslaw with an oil and vinegar dressing. Her basic recipe was equal parts oil, sugar and vinegar. I’ve modified the recipe slightly to reduce the oil and sugar but retain that light zippy taste.

You can also add shredded red cabbage to the mix for an extra splash of color and nutrition. Fresh locally grown organic cabbage and carrots are especially delicious.

I like adding roasted sunflower seeds to the salad for an extra boost of protein.

Oil and Vinegar Cole Slaw

  • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp raw cane sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive, canola or grape seed oil
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp mustard powder (or prepared mustard)
  • Shredded cabbage (green or a mix of red and green)
  • Shredded carrots
  • Green onions, diced
  • Roasted sunflower seeds (optional)

Make the dressing by combining vinegar, oil, sugar, salt and mustard in a small jar. Place shredded cabbage, carrots and onions in a large bowl. Add enough dressing to coat and toss well. If desired, top with roasted sunflower seeds for an added crunch and protein boost.

cookiesThis cookie is from the Oh She Glows recipe blog and is a favorite of mine. You can change it up to suit your tastes by changing the type of nut butter you use and the seeds, nuts or dried fruit added. For class I made it with almond butter, carob chips, sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. This is a great cookie for packing in lunches as it holds together well once cooled, although it is very fragile straight out of the oven.


Dry Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats, (Gluten free is necessary) blended into oat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal or almond flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3 tablespoons dark chocolate or carob chips
  • 2 tablespoons of 4 nuts, seeds or dried fruit (raw cacao nibs, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, chopped nuts, raisons, dried cranberry, currents)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons water, mixed together
  • 1/2 cup “drippy” almond butter (or other all-natural nut butter)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup liquid sweetener (maple syrup, honey, brown rice syrup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

1.Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.Whisk together the ground flax and water in a small bowl and set aside so it can gel up.

3.In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients.

4.Once the flax egg has gelled, add the remaining wet ingredients and mix well.

5.Add the wet mixture on top of the dry mixture and stir well until combined. This will take quite a bit of stirring until all of the dry patches of flour are gone. Mixture should be sticky. If too dry, add a tablespoon of water or almond milk.

6.Portion small balls of dough (1 tablespoon each) onto the baking sheet, spacing them a couple inches apart. Flatten slightly.

7.Bake cookies for 13-15 minutes, until light golden brown on the bottom. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack until completely cool. The cookies will break apart easily until cooled, so be careful.


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