Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cooking Class, Green Juice and Baltimore Pics

Thank goodness I caught up on my rest Wednesday night. I never sleep 9.5 hours but I did last night so apparently I really needed it. I woke up feeling SO much better than yesterday. Woo hoo!

Dan had his usual oatmeal with wild blueberries this morning for breakfast.

After he left for work I did a couple of things and then headed out for a walk. I didn’t have much time today so I only did 3 miles but it was enough to get a little fresh air and ramp up my immune system. I took a few pictures for you while I was out.

Today I walked back through the side streets in the neighborhood that people don’t see unless they are local. The photos above are a few of the ones I took that I enjoyed. It is definitely spring time in Baltimore and I love that!

When I came home I made myself a blender full of green juice inspired by a soup Emily mentioned having at her mom’s house recently. Here is my rendition of that recipe but in a breakfast format:

Parsley and Veg juice
Serves 1 hungry vegan


¼ cup raw cashews
1 cup fresh parsley
½ English cucumber, cut into rough chunks
1 lemon, zested and then peeled and seeded (using all of the flesh of the lemon and the zest)
1 tablespoon wheat germ
1 tablespoon chia seeds (could have just a well been freshly ground flaxseeds or hulled hempseeds)
1 clove raw garlic
water enough to process (somewhere between 1 1/2 - 2 cups)


Toss everything into your high speed blender adding as much water as is necessary to process. Serve cold.

Nutritional information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 265.73
Calories From Fat (45%) - 119.64

Total Fat - 14.49g
Saturated Fat - 2.4g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 59.78mg
Potassium - 960.36mg
Total Carbohydrates - 36.13g
Fiber - 12.55g
Sugar - 4.46g
Protein - 11.46g


I thought this juice was amazing but also understand that it isn’t for everyone. I used parsley because I had too much on hand not for any other reason but the flavor it added to this was great. I will be trying this soon with kale to let you know how that changes the flavor and texture. However I am also curious about the change in nutrition since I will share that as well.

Next it was time to run by Whole Foods for tempeh to drop off with Ian. Since he had agreed to make it for me but couldn’t get it from his food vendor I decided to help by dropping it off, before he forgot his promise. ;-) Can you tell how excited I am that he is going to try working with this for us?

After hanging out at the restaurant for a little while and chatting it was time to head to cooking class. Since I was very early I called my friend Sue to see if she wanted to do a little ethnic food shopping and thankfully she was available.

First we went to Lily’s Mexican Market where I bought a lot of stuff. I picked up cuitlacoche (corn fungus) that Rick Bayless is always talking about. I have never used it but what the heck, it is only food right? I picked up one for Ian too so he could play around with it. They also had interesting dried beans which I had never seen before as well as interesting spices.

Next we went to Nazar Market where I bought more things that were completely new to me. My friend Walid had brought me back an Egyptian cookbook a few years ago that had things listed liked “meat spices” which I had no idea what that meant. When I asked Walid he said it was sold that way which was no help to me. What did I find at this market in the Middle Eastern section but ... meat spices, fish spices and chicken spices? I had to buy them just to try out the combination. The meat spices contain: allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, mahlab, ginger, cloves and green spices.

Both of these stores were great and carried things that you never seen in traditional grocery stores like: grape molasses, Turkish eggplant and mushroom salad, cardamom tea, spicy fermented purple carrot juice (which was low sodium) and bulgur with sun-dried tomatoes. I love going into ethnic markets since they always have unusual ingredients.

Cooking class was also fun last night since this one was on homemade pasta. Being Italian I love to make homemade pasta even though I haven’t done it in the last year and a half since I stopped using flour at home for health reasons. I still love getting my hands into the pasta dough. All three recipes for pasta dough were vegan this evening, as were the sauces. Donna did finish the dishes with cheese or meat, except for ours of course which we appreciated immensely.

Here are the three dishes from last night:

The first dish was 100% whole wheat pappardelle with spring vegetables. In classic southern Italian tradition this was finished with bread crumb (in lieu of cheese) which is delicious. I recommend toasting the breadcrumbs for a nuttier flavor. In my less healthy past I would have added olive oil and garlic to the bread crumbs which is delicious if you use olive oil. This was Dan’s favorite since he likes the flavor of whole wheat now. Who is this man?

The second dish was Tuscan hand rolled pici which I haven’t made in a few years. The beauty of this pasta is that you don’t need a pasta roller which makes it a cinch for everyone to prepare. I will make this and show you how but is very easy ... I think you will be surprised. This was served with mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and topped with walnuts.  It was also fabulous.

The final dish was my favorite it was the Sardinian malloreddus. It is made exactly like I prepare potato gnocchi only with a semolina and saffron pasta dough. Brilliant! I thought this was a blast to make and very quick since I have made so many gnocchi in my past. It was served with a tomato sauce with artichokes (doesn’t that sound familiar?). Gee, I wonder why that was my favorite. LOL

After class of course I had to chat and then drop Sue off and her house before trekking back to Baltimore. It was a long day but a great one as well.

Happy thoughts:

• This morning my walk through the neighborhood was absolutely gorgeous. Temperatures were a little cool but the scenery really could not be beat. Additionally I am still always surprised by how nice everyone is here. Every person I pass when I am out walking says good morning or hello. How lucky am I to have so many great neighbors?

• I am still swamped but also getting a lot accomplished and that is a very good thing. I LOVED the small ethnic markets Sue introduced me to on Wednesday. There is nothing I love more than buying unusual food and spices. ;-)

• Today I am grateful for Ian and his willingness to make things that are outside his comfort zone. He is so wonderful to us and I appreciate that he will be making us tempeh in the next couple of day. I hope you all can see why when we got out to eat most of the time we are stopping to see Ian. Seriously, both Dan and I feel like we are part of the family. Everyone (in the front of the house and in the kitchen) at the restaurant is very friendly and accommodating. We are very fortunate to have them in the neighborhood.

• Cooking class was a lot of fun. I had not realized how much I missed making pasta until class. Since I am Italian and have made pasta many times before I helped prepare pasta during class. I swear I think pasta making is my blood; it must be an Italian thing.

Signing out:

Thursday was another busy day but it was a good one again. I had a few errands this morning and ended up walking the restaurant. The weather today was glorious. Any day when I don’t need a coat is a good one in my book. Also I loved being outside so much of the day today. There is really nothing like a nice long walk up and down hills to get my blood flowing.

It is time for me to get myself into the kitchen and get something going for dinner. I wish I had some idea what I was going to cook, but since I rarely do it isn’t a big problem. Hopefully you are having a great week and are looking forward to the weekend. I have some good stuff planned which will be great.

Talk to you again tomorrow!  Happy Thursday guys!


  1. Corn mushrooms???? Um....not sure what to say LOL. Your neighborhood is beautiful - so spring like! My daffodils didn't bloom this year :-(

  2. We here in Baltimore sure do have some pretty stuff to see, if you know where to look :)

  3. ah WHAT in the world are corn mushrooms!?!? I hope you will post a picture :-)

    The dishes you made in cooking class sound to die for...the whole wheat pappardelle would have been my favorite too I believe.

  4. Heather,

    I try to be open minded about food so I figure what the heck re: the corn mushrooms. I will let you know what I think once I try them. Ian likes them so hopefully I will too. *fingers crossed*

    I love spring, it is my favorite season. Bummer on your daffodils, I wonder what happened to yours.


  5. Lori,

    I agree there are many beautiful areas of Baltimore. What are some of your favorites?


  6. Meg,

    Corn mushrooms are literally a fungus that grows on corn that is considered a delicacy in Mexico. Ian says it is great and Rick Bayless loves it so hopefully I will too. I will post pictures of it and let everyone know what I think of it.

    Dan and I both love the flavor of whole wheat. I think I am going to try the pici or malloreddus using whole wheat and see how that works. *fingers crossed*


  7. Wow this all looks really interesting. I'm excited to see what you will do with all of these cool flavors (even if my spice rack is getting out of hand).

    Two questions:
    1. Do you know anyone with a high speed blender that they like that isn't a Vitamix? In other words, I NEED one but I would love it if I could get a cheaper one.

    2. Do you usually buy your spices one at a time? I was trying to find a good deal on getting a whole bunch of whole spices at once since I got my spice grinder. Do you know of anything like that?

  8. Henrietta,

    Most of my friends have a Vitamix. The best price we have found is to get it from Costco. Two of my friends got them there last year for $395. I do have one friend with something called I "Ninja" (I think) which she initially liked but it isn't doing a great job breaking up kale. I waited a long time to buy a Vitamix because I thought it was too expensive but now that I have one I am very sorry I waited. Mine is at least 6 years old and still like the day it was purchased.

    There is an on-line company where I have purchased a lot of spices called "Zamouri Spice". I also find that health food stores tend to carry whole spice in bulk. Ethnic markets are another good source for whole spices.

    I hope that helped,

  9. Hi,

    I'm not sure if my previous comment went through.

    Were the cooking classes that you took in Baltimore? Also, were they vegan/vegetarian or at least have vegan options? A friend and I are looking to take a class, but I am having a bit of trouble finding something.


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