I started taking vegan cooking classes at Spork Foods in LA. I can't say enough about the sister team of Jenny and Heather Goldberg. These girls are fun, smart and sweet, and I love that their business is a family affair - even Mom was there to refill our water glasses!
I became a vegetarian at about age ten. Meat grossed me out. I wrote a fabulous article (if I do say so myself) when I was sixteen for Conscious Choice Magazine called "Confessions of a Teenage Vegetarian" that got me some early journalistic acclaim. Changing my diet and writing about it forced me to learn a lot about nutrition and food and the environment, which then got me baking and cooking. After college, I grew to appreciate some basic white fish and seafoods, because I felt my nutrition seriously laking. I love eating and sports, and so the all veg thing stopped working for me in my mid-twenties - I got sick of my weight fluctuating too quickly from too skinny to too fat, and at one point my hair actually thinned out from malnutrition. I simply couldn't get it right.
That said, I appreciate and love people who do make it work for them and who could stick with a vegan diet for life. Thus, when I picked up a copy of Spork-Fed, a cookbook by these amazing vegan chefs, I had to sign up for classes. I noticed it on the bookshelf at a funky record store in Claremont, California called Rhino Records. The forward is by Zooey and Emily Deschanel (whose career I became interested in after I took a vegan cooking class with her years ago. She was so nice, and we chatted for hours before I figured out she was that actress on Bones, but that's LA for ya).
Here are pics from the first class I took with Heather and Jenny (again, LOVE them!). The cool thing for you is that they offer classes online, so you don't have to live in LA to learn their recipes. I watched a few on my computer and they're easy to follow and very entertaining - and written out recipes are available on the site to print.
The theme of my class was Superbowl Party (that's how late I am to post about it)! Here you go:
|Roasted Potatoes with Vegan Ranch Sauce|
|Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip|
|Seitan French Dip Sliders with a Walnut Dipping Sauce |
(The girls made these with their homemade seitan, which I later duplicated at home. The recipe for it in Spork-Fed is super easy and tastes awesome).
|Vegan Lemon Bars |
(As a baker, I thought these were surprisingly delicious and filling. After a few bites I admit I was able to taste a slight bitterness, but if you're a vegan and have never had my super Tartine Bakery spin-off of a lemon bar, I suppose you won't notice it.)
After I took the class, I made Stay Cool Boyfriend take me to a vegan Valentine's Day dinner at Shojin...I'll post those pics soon!