Each blogger took home both of the prepared meals, including the ingredients we sliced and diced during the class, a cup of grains, and broth prepared by the cooking instructors. When the cooks made the broth, tossing in pieces of vegetables, even some less fresh, it reminded me of the scenes in Alice In Wonderland, where the good witch is making a potion up for Alice, tossing in all sorts of questionable and exquisite ingredients.
Nestled in the kitchen of Whole Foods Market, in the suburb of Northbrook, both suburban and urban bloggers (like myself), gathered to cook together and celebrate their dedication to wellness. We started with a short introduction and then each team of two took a shopping list around the store with a provided gift card, scooping up the ingredients and tossing in a few of our own, like eggplants for the chili and some jade pearl rice for the chicken stir-fry. Then, we peeled, scraped, cleansed, tossed, opened, smushed, uncanned, uncorked, grinded, minched, our way to cooking bliss.
In addition to the prepared meals, my goodie bag contained cannellini beans, artichoke hearts, split green peas, chunk white albacroe tuna, Alaskan wild salmon honey mustard, and roasted peanut oil. I took home both jade pearl rice and rye berries as my grain options for the stir-fry recipe.
When cooking my first meal, the chicken stir-fry, I poured the roasted peanut oil into a pot, then tossed in the vegetables, while in a saucepan I poured in the prepared chicken broth to cook the jade pearl basmati rice I selected as one of my grains. and it turned out quite lovely. The chicken broth gave rich flavor to the aromatic rice, that I cooked for about 10-15 minutes, and the roasted peanut oil for high heat cooking paired perfectly with the stir-fry.
For my goodie bag ingredients, I came up with a recipe that incorporates all of them: split pea soup with cannellini beans, a side of artichoke hearts and and white tuna coated with honey mustard. Both the the prepared meals and the take-home, I can flavor with this homemade truffle salt provided by the cooks, simply made with sea salt and minced black truffle mushrooms from the produce department.
On a sweeter note, we ended the class with a few sweet treats and protein dense recipes. To make almond-cardamom cream chia pudding: place chia seeds into a bowl, blend together with cardamom cream: 2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon almond butter, 8 Deglet Noor pitted dates, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, pinch sea salt, and once set for 15 minutes, top with fresh berries, toasted coconut, and hemp seeds.
To make lemon treats, blend together 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates, 1/2 cup raw walnuts, 1/2 cup sesame seeds, and 2 tbsp lemon juice in a food processor, then roll into balls and roll in coconut flakes. Bon apetit e bon voyage!