Ok, I'm almost done catching up to my June travels! I promised myself I'd have them all posted to the blog before the end of July, and I'm coming in right under the wire. We flew from the Virgin Islands to D.C. to stay with my mom for a few days before coming back to Syracuse. I took that opportunity to hop up to New York City for 1 day to take a class at the Natural Gourmet Institute. Inspired by Emilie's posts, I knew I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take a class with Fran Costigan. Here's the description- mouth-watering, right??
# 79 Classically Elegant Vegan Cakes DeconstructedWhen I got to the class, I was so happy and relieved to see familiar faces. Danette (on the left), whom I'd met up with previously in NYC and who is an NGI veteran, and Summer (on the right), with whom I have some friends in common but had never met before. When I found out we would be in a team together, I knew this would be an awesome day.
Are you already confident about vegan dessert basics and eager for your next challenge? Come spend the whole day with dessert wizard, Fran Costigan, who will take you through every stage of three complex and elegant desserts. In its original version, each of these beauties is loaded with cream, butter, eggs, and refined sugar. But, under Fran's expert guidance, you will give each one a glorious vegan makeover. As sumptuous and sensational as the originals, these updated classics are truly desserts to swoon for! You will de- and then re-construct: Opera Cake: Hazelnut Cake, Chocolate Espresso Filling, Dark Chocolate Ganache Filling, Hazelnut Cream & Coffee Syrup, Candied Hazelnuts, and Gold Leaf; Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cherry Gateau): Chocolate Sponge Cake, Cherry Cream Filling, Shiny Cocoa Glaze, Poached Cherries in Optional Red Wine, and Cherry Granita; Mango-Coconut-Lime Torte: Mango Mousse Brûlée, Agave Candied Coconut, Coconut Sorbet, Lime Gelée, Mint Syrup, andCrunchy Wheat-Free Cookie Batons. (Some optional alcohol will be used.)
What I enjoyed most, apart from Fran's expert instruction and getting to taste the sweet results, was just getting to work in a commercial kitchen environment. The convection ovens! The fast pace! The aprons! I was in foodie heaven all day. And here are photos from that day:
My group's assignment- a German black forest cake with cherry crème, chocolate-cherry ganache, topped with chocolate-covered cherries, truffles, and chocolate shavings.
Here is a different presentation we made with the cherry crème, using a vanilla cake, poached cherries, and one of the huge hits of the day, the fresh cherry granita. So good!
Here you see the delectable opera cake- hazelnut cake, espresso mousse, rich chocolate ganache, and gold-leaf dusted hazelnuts. This cake was beyond decadent!
Here is a refreshing presentation with mango mousse (extra intense mango flavor because of the use of dried mango), coconut sorbet, candied coconut, lime gelée, and mint syrup. Perfect summery flavors.
With the extra time we had, we used some leftover ganache to make truffles- here you see them in various flavors: coconut, hazelnut, cocoa, and clove-sugar. Yum.
On our lunch break, my team walked over to Bonobo's, a raw foods restaurant that I had not tried before. I got the salad sampler platter that you see above- filled with steamed kale and 7 different salads, each of which was SO delicious. It was fantastic to give my palate a break from all the sugar of our class, and to energize my body for a few more hours of baking! At Bonobo's, I also got to sample durian for the first time (in pudding form)- and guess what? I liked it!
I learned a lot about techniques and ingredients from this class- I look forward to taking more classes at the NGI! If anyone ever gives you grief about the possibility of being vegan, healthy, ecologically/ethically aware, and decadent, please show them these photos! So there you have the last of my June adventures. After getting home at the beginning of July, Daiku and I have been playing a catch-up game- not just working and teaching, but also trying to rent our house and get packed and ready for our move to England, which is only (gulp!) 6 weeks away! That explains the infrequency of my blogging, but I hope to catch up and visit all your blogs over the course of this week!
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