The Vegan Cooking Class

Fantastic Vegan Meals that satisfy your cravings for taste & nourishment

I would consider myself a decent cook, so any chance I get to practice my culinary skills with an expert, I jump at it.  After receiving a surprise phone call from the wellness coordinator at the JCC (located on Manhattan's Upper West Side) I happily enrolled in a two part cooking class: Vegetarian Cooking Technique, run by the super talented Chef, Kim Pistone.

Not only was the course fun (it's always a pleasure to catch up with my peers, as the course was marketed to breast cancer survivors) as Chef Kim Pistone has a approachable, warm no nonsense, down to earth style and healthy sense of humor, but I learned a few things that will help me when it's time to recreate healthy meals at home.  So, your wondering "What did you learn"?  Okay, I'll share of few of the Chef's tips:

  • The trick to getting leeks really clean is cutting, rinsing and then letting the leeks sit in a pan of cold water.  If you see sand and dirt at the bottom of the pan, it signals that the leeks aren't clean and you have to repeat the process until you don't see any dirt or sand residue in the standing water at the bottom of the pan.  
  • When sataying and frying food I was using premium olive oil.  Chef Pistone suggested that I instead use a grape seed, sunflower or avocado oil that would perform better when heating (as olive oil does not perform well at a high smoke  point  & the taste changes) .  
  • Obtain tools that would make prepping and cooking easier.  For instance purchasing a microplane for zesting (instead of using a grater), a hand held mixer (convenient for prepping all sorts of ingredients in a bowl and can be used to prep healthy snacks like smoothies)
  • When chopping curl your fingers inward, settle the knife on the board and push out your curled fourth fingers knuckles (the finger that sits next to the thumb) as a guide  If you rest the knuckle up against the knife as you cut (never lifting the knife but using the wrist, holding the knife in the up and down motion) the kniuckle acts as a guide to indicate where that your fingers are safely curled behind the knuckles, reducing the chance of an injury.
  • A great way to prep Quinoa for cooking is to wash it under running cold water, strain it, and then roast it, before cooking.

Attached below are some pictures of the meals prepared for Part One of the Vegan Cooking Technique class.  I must add that the food was absolutely delicious, filling and I took home leftovers! I can't wait for part two.  Oh, and I have included the recipes for your reference.

A huge thank you to the JCC and Chef Pistone for hosting a group of hungry survivors.  It was so much fun.

Please check out the pictures below and I'll provide a link to the JCC's free and low cost courses for survivors in the NYC area.

Chef Kim Pistone demonstrating the blanching of veggies

Class participant putting the finishing touches on the Asparagus, Gruyere and Mint Strudel.  Yum!

Yours truly trying to prepare the super tasty Quinoa Adzuki Salad.  The dressing was so good!

Some of the finished product.  Did not have enough room on my plate for everything.

My leftover, take home delicious Tomato Fennel Soup.  Went so good with the cornbread!

Mmnn Good.  Self explanatory.  Take home, that I ate for lunch! Love it!  

JCC's Wellness Director (in the middle) along with Chef Kim and a Chef assistant prepping the meals & chatting it up.

For your reference.

This was, buttery, warm, tasty and filling.  So good fresh and as a snack the next day!

JCC's Patti Gelman Culinary Arts Center.  Nice setup!

Oh yes, and by adding real corn to the recipe, it was a moist, warm treat.

For more information on JCC and there wellness classes please click on the link: