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Vegetarian Cooking Demo

June 6, 2011

On Saturday, we had a fun treat at the spa: Marie Simmons, a prolific cookbook writer, cooking teacher, and food writer (she wrote a health column for Bon Appetit for 18 years!) visited to give a vegetarian cooking demonstration! How perfect is that?

Marie was really helpful and easy to follow—she gave lots of cooking tips as she cooked.  She told us that instead of slicing, she uses her microplane grater for ginger and garlic.  She also said that she always toasts her quinoa, and instead of using a regular pot to cook grains like rice or quinoa, she uses a wide skillet for better distribution and quicker cooking.  Finally, she said that she often toasts her spices, which brings out the flavor of the spice. 

As she talked to us, she was also cooking away.  She made three vegetarian salads, which we all got to taste as the cooking demo went along.

First up: Shredded Tuscan Kale Salad with Tamari and Sesame Dressing:

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Massaged kale salads are pretty popular in the healthy living/food blog world, but I think a lot of people were having massaged kale salad for the first time with this dish.  I bet they liked it—it’s so fresh and healthy!

Second: Toasted Quinoa, Corn, and Avocado Salad with cumin and jalapeno dressing:

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As I said before, Marie toasted both the quinoa and the cumin for the dressing, and it made this dish super flavorful. I’m definitely going to take that tip home!

And finally, Black Rice, Mango, and Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Sesame and Tamari Dressing:

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This might have been my favorite—the mango was so sweet, and such a nice contrast to the sesame dressing.  The rice was really interesting too—an heirloom forbidden black rice!

All of the recipes that Marie made are from her newest cookbook—Fast and Fresh Vegetarian—which was recently named one of the top ten cookbooks of the summer by NPR!

Marie made a point of saying that a lot of people want to eat more vegetarian meals, but sometimes don’t know how to make a “main dish” out of vegetarian cooking.  These three were all great examples of substantial vegetarian cooking! I don’t think anyone would go hungry with these dishes!

Check out Marie’s book if you get a chance—the three of us all bought copies, and her recipes look really fast, delicious, and fresh—perfect for summer cooking!

14 Comments leave one →
  1. June 6, 2011 6:39 pm

    I’ve read before about toasting quinoa and always wondered what it meant. Are you toasting the dry quinoa and then cooking it in water? Or toasting it and eating it crunchy? If you toast it and then cook it in water or broth, does it lose its toasty flavor? Thanks!

    • June 6, 2011 11:34 pm

      She was talking aout toasting the dry quinoa and then cooking it in water. BUT– I’ve seen MANY recipes in blogland for quinoa granola– toasted in the oven and then eaten crunchy.

      I don’t think it loses the toasty flavor by cooking it– it kind of deepens the flavor overall!

  2. June 6, 2011 7:00 pm

    ahhhh fun! =) What a fun experience!

  3. June 6, 2011 7:01 pm

    I love toasting quinoa and millet. it gives them such better flavor. that mango black rice dish looks super good!

  4. June 6, 2011 9:31 pm

    What a fun demonstration! Love my microplane grater, it’s perfect for ginger. Yum, everything looks wonderful!

  5. June 6, 2011 10:27 pm

    What a cool cooking class! I love when instructors give you tips and tricks while they teach you recipes- just fabulous! It all looks good, but I’d be all over that toasted quinoa goodness

  6. June 7, 2011 12:19 am

    Great looking dishes!

  7. June 7, 2011 12:47 am

    what a fun time, all the food looks great!

  8. June 7, 2011 12:00 pm

    I have yet to try massaged kale…I think I’m scared. I have a big bag of it in the fridge though, waiting to be turned into crispy kale chips 🙂

    • June 7, 2011 12:05 pm

      Oooh, you have to try it!! It’s really tasty!

  9. June 7, 2011 12:29 pm

    The quinoa dish definitely looks the best to me- I’m gonna have to try that toasting trick too!

  10. June 7, 2011 4:24 pm

    I’ve never known about toasting quinoa either…I will definitely try that. I am a huge quinoa fan!

    I wish Marie Simmons would come cook for me! On a permanent basis.

  11. June 8, 2011 5:36 pm

    How fun!!! And everything looks amazing!

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