Tag: online cooking classes

The Least-Used Ingredients in Vegan Cooking

Raise your hand if you have spices and herbs in your kitchen.

Great…thanks! (That’s almost everyone!)

Now raise your hand again if you have dust collecting on the lids of those cute little jars.

Thanks again. (Quite a bit of you).

Finally, raise your hand if you have had those herbs and spices for longer than 6 months — without hardly having used them.

A year?

Two years?

Five?

Yup, almost everyone. I get it. You’re not alone.

Herbs and spices are the most underused ingredients in cooking — yes, even in vegetarian and vegan homes! 

I often quip that people who say they “could never be vegan” because the food is “too bland” haven’t stopped to think about the fact that they flavor their meat with plants: ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, relish, vinegars, oils, horseradish, hot sauces, chutneys, jellies, jams, salsa, soy sauce, wasabi, curries, tahini, pickles, garlic, ginger, onions, lemons, limes, and an endless array of spices and herbs.

But truly, aside from the most widely used commercially prepared condiments, even vegetarians and vegans are not taking advantage of the thousands of herbs and spices available that add flavor, color, texture, warmth, and excitement to their dishes.

And that’s what I covered in my class: EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT HERBS AND SPICES I addressed the most commonly asked questions. 

  • What’s the best way to store herbs and spices?
  • Should I use ground spices or whole?
  • I have a small kitchen but love to cook, so if you could choose only 5 spices and 5 herbs to have on hand, which would you choose?
  • I tend to stick with typical spices and herbs (cumin, coriander, turmeric) but would love to know what to do with less familiar ones such as sumac, fenugreek, and tarragon.
  • How do I substitute herbs and spices? For instance, if a recipe calls for cumin and thyme, but I don’t have either, what can I use instead?
  • Which herbs/spices go best with which foods?
  • Can I freeze leafy herbs like basil, parsley, and sage? How?
  • In terms of nutrition and flavor, which are best: fresh or dried?
  • If a recipe calls for one tablespoon of fresh herbs and you have only dried, what would the measurement be?
  • What cuisines are specific herbs and spices associated with?

I also provided recipes to help boost your use of some common (and not-so-common) spices and herbs:

  • Turmeric “Golden” Milk
  • Hibiscus-Infused Water
  • Za’atar
  • “Poultry” Seasoning
  • Herb-Infused Simple Syrup

I packed a LOT into this class, and I’m so pleased by the response to it. You will feel soooo empowered and soooo excited by the end. GET YOUR ON-DEMAND VIDEO, RECIPES, AND RESOURCES

And tell me what else you’d like to know regarding cooking with herbs and spices. 

Mom Would Be Proud

If she were here, I know she would be taking my online cooking classes.

It’s funny…we didn’t cook together a lot (I lived 3,000 miles away, after all), but I was always so touched when she made my recipes, particularly my Carrot Ginger Soup, which (along with my Garlic and Greens Soup) was her favorite. ⁠ ⁠

In honor of her, it’s one of the soups in my upcoming Soups and Stews class. (I can’t believe I’m already scheduling classes for October! I’m already working on recipes and schedules for Thanksgiving and Holiday classes!

In the meantime, I’ve added more, including one we’re trying out as a Friday Night Happy Hour Cocktails and Nibbles class!⁠ ⁠I’ll be demonstrating how to make the nibbles; David will be demonstrating how to make the cocktails! 

Here’s what we’ve got so far for our upcoming Online Cooking Class Line-Up:⁠ ⁠

The classes were recently mentioned by VegNews, and I’m grateful for everyone who shares the classes with friends and family. Thank you so much. Mom would be proud indeed.

Summertime Online Vegan Cooking Classes

Tools for Making Homemade Pizza

Here are some of the tools I use for making pizza at home. 

PIZZA STONE

Technically speaking, you CAN make pizza without a stone, but you will get the most authentic homemade pizza with a stone because of the heat it absorbs and generates. There are many out there, but here is one I like a lot by Pizzacraft. I really like the size — it’s 16.5″ round, though you can use rectangular as well.


PIZZA PEEL

First and foremost you need a pizza peel. This is what you build your pizza on and use to slide it in and out of the oven. For years, I used only a wooden one, but now I use both wooden and metal. The raw pizza dough sticks less to wood than to metal (even with the cornmeal on it), so I prefer the wood for building the initial pizza on. However, the metal is just so much easier to slide underneath the pizza once it’s cooking on the stone — in order to turn the pizza as well as to pull it out of the oven. You’d be fine just using the wood for everything, but I thought you might like to know my technique. 

IMPORTANT: Do NOT cut your pizza on the peel! Once you slide it out of the oven using the peel, transfer it to a large cutting board for cutting!

Metal Pizza Peel. My 1st choice is Pomodoro and the one I have (I like that the handle folds in for easier storage), but there are lots out there. Another choice would be 

Wood / Bamboo Pizza Peel. I like this Fiery Chef Bamboo Peel for the same reason as the Pomodoro metal one above. The handle folds in making it easy to store. However, if that’s not an issue for you, I do tend to like having one solid piece as a peel, such as this New Star peel. It just feels sturdier and more stable. 


PIZZA CUTTER

Whereas you can use a knife for cutting into thicker Sicilian-style pizzas or focaccia, you’ll be very happy using a proper pizza cutter wheel for Neapolitan-style. As above, I prefer all metal


BOWL SCRAPER

Perhaps not essential for you, but I like being able to use the scraper to get the dough out of the bowl (the dough scraper above is a little too big for that, and this bowl scraper is a little too small to manage the dough on the countertop). So…here’s a bowl scraper I would recommend. 


KITCHEN SCALE

Those of us in North American tend to measure rather than weigh our dry ingredients, but weighing is SOO much more accurate. In my recipes, I will always provide measurements in cups, but I really like being able to talk about weight in ounces, as well, especially when it comes to separating out the pizza dough / balls. So, do consider getting a kitchen scale. It will change baking for you. Here’s one I’ve had for years.  

…and of course, a pizza class! (Join my virtual cooking classes for fabulous recipes and a fun, inspiring, energetic hour!)

 

 

Online Vegan Cooking Classes Are Here to Stay!

As you know, I taught cooking classes in Oakland for over 10 years, along with classes for PCRM’s The Cancer Project (now called Food for Life) and Dr. McDougall. I stopped teaching classes because 

a) they’re an incredible amount of work

b) they’re an incredible amount of work

c) to focus on writing 

and because

d) they’re an incredible amount of work

You get the idea.

Over the last couple years, however, I’ve talked often about how much I miss teaching. I mean…I’ve never stopped teaching…in my conferences, with my books, in my lectures, and even in my regular live videos on social media. But I missed teaching cooking classes. 

Nonetheless. Whenever I thought for just a second of resuming the classes, I shivered, shook my head, and pushed it out of my mind. They just required so much time, work, and bandwidth.  

I never dreamed I’d be teaching virtual classes. Of course, none of us ever dreamed we’d be facing a deadly pandemic that would compel us to protect ourselves and each other by physically distancing from one another and staying safe in our homes. 

I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to teach cooking classes again, and while they still require a lot of work — deciding the class theme and recipes, putting the recipe packet together, creating the graphics and event page, marketing the classes, shopping, prepping, teaching, and cleaning up — the virtual online classes are so much more manageable and sustainable than when I taught in-person classes. Plus, people can join from anywhere in the world (and they do)! 

How awesome is that? 

I don’t know what the coming weeks and months will bring for any of us. We will be changed. We will be stronger. We will have lost. We will have gained. But I do know that I plan on continuing teaching for as long as you’re interested. And I do know that the classes themselves will continue to be virtual. 

Of course, there will come a day I’ll be able to speak to live audiences again, host in-person conferences again, and travel around the world with you on our vegan trips with World Vegan Travel again, but I’m 100% certain the cooking classes will remain virtual — enabling me to provide people with the tools and resources they need to eat compassionately and healthfully in a way that I can manage and in a way that you can enjoy from anywhere you live — even when this virus is abated. 

I look forward to seeing you in our upcoming classes. You can always view what’s coming up at JoyfulVegan.com/Events.

WHAT TYPES OF CLASSES WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE? (PLEASE COMMENT BELOW!)

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