Last night I hosted my first cooking class at my apartment in Brooklyn. For those of you who couldn't make it, here's a recap of what went down:
7:00PM - Let’s get the party started! Folks started to arrive at the apartment while I was putting the finishing touches on my prep work. We sipped blackberry mojitos and kombucha and mingled until the whole group was there.
7:30PM - Introductions and intentions. While many people knew each other from other events, we did a round of introductions. And because I’m a yoga teacher and I love this kind of stuff, we all shared our intentions for the class (why we came and what we wanted to get out of the evening). I presented the recipes we would make - all vegan and gluten free, BBQ friendly fare (i.e. these dishes will please a crowd AND not go bad if left out of the fridge for a few hours).
7:45PM - The cooking begins! Well, sort of. We started off with a raw Kale Salad with Sweet Lemon dressing, which I have found pleases even the kale-haters out there. Although I didn’t have to do much convincing last night because this was (mostly) a group of kale-lovers. I shared my tips for making kale more palatable and easier to digest. We all took a turn massaging the kale, which is really the best way to improve the taste and texture of the salad. I learned a new tip: put your kale salad + dressing in a large Ziploc bag and massage that way to keep your hands clean! Amazing, thank you Clare :)
8:05PM - Moving right along to the most radical dish on the menu - BBQ Jackfruit sandwiches with Avocado Slaw. Jackfruit is a large, tropical fruit with a bubble-gum sweet flavor. Strange choice for a BBQ sandwich, right? Actually, unripe jackfruit is the perfect meat substitute - it absorbs the flavor of the sauce or marinade and can be shredded to resemble pulled meat. Everyone was skeptical, but ended up loving how this dish turned out.
8:25 PM - Onto our final dish - Crunchy Quinoa Salad with Peanut Ginger Sauce. This sauce is amazing - you could put it on anything and it would be delicious (okay, ALMOST anything). I had prepped the quinoa and veggies for this salad earlier, so as soon as we blended up the sauce in my Vitamix, we were ready to eat.
8:35 PM - LET’S EAT - All that cooking had us very hungry. Good thing there was a TON of food! As we ate, I shared my top tips for staying committed to eating healthy through the summer season. And because it would not be my kind of party without dessert, we ended the evening with some delicious Rhubarb Berry Crumble (recipe coming soon!).
9:00 PM - Good night! Everyone left full and happy with a bag of goodies (including my Superfood Trail Mix, ALOHA Daily Good greens powder, and detailed recipes). A truly wonderful evening!
For those of you who couldn’t make it, I’m sharing one of the recipes we made - BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches. As strange as they may sound, try them out! Like my guests last night, I know you will be pleasantly surprised and how great they are.
Easy BBQ Jackfruit // vegan, gluten free
- 2 cans young green jackfruit (in brine, not in syrup)
- 1 6 oz package of mushrooms (mixed or white button), sliced
- 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
- Coconut oil for sautéing
- BBQ sauce of choice (I used a full 14 oz container, you may want more if you like your BBQ extra saucy)
- Siracha, to taste
- Prepare the jackfruit: Open cans and place jackfruit in a strainer and rinse. Pat dry. Shred jackfruit with fingers (or use forks) so there are no large chunks and it resembles pulled meat.
- Sauté mushrooms and onions: Heat coconut oil in a large pan. Dice onion and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, until everything has softened. Reduce heat to medium low.
- Simmer in sauce: Add the jackfruit and BBQ sauce to the pan and stir until everything is coated with sauce. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until everything is heated through. Add siracha, if desired. Serve on buns with slaw or avocado slices. No buns? No problem - use lettuce cups or tortillas instead!
Again, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who came last night! It was great to cook with you, and learn a thing or two myself. And an extra huge thank you to Maggie for taking all these AMAZING photos. If you missed it, don’t worry! I had so much fun, I’m already planning the next one :) Suggestions for the theme of a future cooking class? Email me or let me know in the comments below!