January 31, 2013

Cooking class with Michael Natkin from Herbivoracious: Mexican cuisine

Red posole with beans (Pozelo rojo de frijo)

Last night we bid adieu to January with a cooking class by cookbook author and blogger, Michael Natkin, from the blog Herbivoracious, and cookbook of the same name. This post is about the class, but since the recipes were from the book, it's also a peek into what you can expect from Michael's cookbook as well.

Although Michael is vegetarian and not vegan, the class was billed as vegan and gluten-free. Michael has been receiving much praise for his beautifully photographed book, and the food we enjoyed last night was both artful and delicious. In his cookbook introduction he says, " I propose to bring you a collection of vegetarian recipes that are so full of flavor, so pleasurable to make and eat, and so satisfying that, if you are an omnivore, you won't give a second thought to the fact that they contain no meat. If you are a vegetarian, you'll be able to greatly expand your repertoire of everyday and special-occasion dishes."

The food Michael cooked in class was very fresh and appealing, and I found links to all of the recipes we sampled, so if you are intrigued by the photos and descriptions, you can give the recipes a try. All were relatively easy to make.

Jicama, radish and orange salad

We started our evening with jicama, radish and orange salad. It was a very simple and refreshing beginning to the meal. Michael cut the oranges into "supremes" then squeezed all the remaining juice from the leftover orange halves into a bowl. He kept the segments and juice together, and used all of it in the recipe, unlike the directions on his blog which only call for some of the juice. If cutting the oranges into supremes is too fancy for you, you could just divide them into segments and add a little orange juice if needed. (Cutting the oranges into supremes separates the flesh from all the membranes, making for a more tender orange segment.) This would be a perfect accompaniment to a spicy dinner. You can add a bit of olive oil if you like.

Next we had red pozole with beans, which is pictured at the top of the post. It was quite wonderful, with a rich, satisfying broth, beans and hominy, and an interesting variety of toppings including corn chips, avocado, shredded cabbage, and sliced radishes. In spite of the complex flavors and impressive appearance, the soup was really easy to make (using canned beans and hominy), and would be suitable for a weekday meal or as part of an easy company dinner. The one difference I noted between the blog recipe and the class recipe was in class we used 3/4 cup of tomatoes.


The main course consisted of grilled tofu and pepper tacos and arroz verde. The taco was so delicious and the rice was very beautiful with a gentle flavor. The rice was very easy to make, and the taco was a little more work but still not too hard. Michael cooked the tofu and zucchini for the taco on a cast iron grill pan — something that's been on my wish list for a while — and it had a great, almost smoky flavor and nice grill marks.

Differences I found between the blog recipe and class recipe: makes eight tacos, 2 teaspoons of tamarind concentrate instead of achiote, 2 teaspoons of cumin, lime juice added at the end if needed. (A note about tamarind paste — different brands have different consistencies and you may need to microwave it for a few seconds with a tablespoon of water to get it stir-able. We have a jar of Aunt Patty's organic tamarind paste and it's very easy to work with.)

The tortilla on my plate is a Rudi's gluten-free tortilla, which I thought was perfect in taste and texture. Other people had more authentic corn tortillas (no ingredient list) but frankly, I thought mine looked better! I encourage you to give the recipes a try, especially the pozole.

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In other news

Miss E has a brand new baby brother, and we're all thrilled!


36 comments:

  1. Ahhh! Congratulations to you and yr family for the tiny new addition! How exciting. I hope everyone is in the best health.
    The dishes all sound fabulous. The rice is very pretty but I really love the sound of the posole. I've never had it but it sounds a lot like my favorite burrito (with radishes, avo and cabbage) but as a soup, which I'm all about in these colder days.
    I signed up for a cooking class at the Natural Gourmet Institute (or something like that) in February so I hope that goes as well as this sounds.

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    1. Thank you. Tiny is barely adequate to describe his size, not that he was unusually small as far as newborns go. But, yikes!

      I'd never had posole, either, but the dried pepper base was amazing and the soup was really good. I can see using corn kernels instead of posole, though I suppose then it would no longer be posole.

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  2. What a cool class, I've thumbed thru that cookbook but I haven't made anything from it yet.

    Congratulations! Miss E looks very happy to have a baby brother. Does the little one have a name? Mr...

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    1. We bought the cookbook but I haven't had time to make anything yet. It's ovo-lacto, but there's lots of opportunity to use the recipes for vegan dishes, as you can see from the class. Maybe you should make posole!

      Delete
  3. congrats on the new addition, andrea!
    xo
    kittee

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Kittee. He's a doll.

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  4. Exciting news about Miss E's new baby brother! How is she taking losing her only child status? She looks pretty tickled, actually. :-) And I, too, am wondering what Little Mister's nom d'blog might be.

    LOL, I'm glad you explained what cutting an orange into "supremes" meant, because I had visions of orange segments dressed up in tight, sequined gowns with big hair, holding microphones and singing "Where Did Our Lunch Go?" and "You Can't Hurry Lunch." :-)

    The tacos sound delicious, and I'm intrigued by the green rice! That would be especially fun to serve on St. Patrick's Day! Thanks for sharing the recipe links. (I'd never heard of Michael Natkin or his cookbook).

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    1. Miss E is taking it quite well. She's a busy girl, and not likely to be sidelined by a mere baby. :) The baby's name coincidentally also begins with "E" so I think I'll call him LB for little brother.

      I'm more familiar with the Supremes you refer to than the epicurean ones in the recipe. It was pretty cool the way the orange segments popped out, but whether or not I can repeat the feat, or even want to, remains to be seen. Sorry, Michael.

      Delete
  5. "Supremes;" where have you been all my life? I love oranges and hate the membranes/pulp/what-have-you. Thank you for putting a name to my prep.

    Everything looks great and I'm glad to have an excuse to buy hominy, which I always find intriguing but have never used.

    Also, nice to hear a vegetarian cookbook author offer a vegan class- no doubt due to popular demand. I'm so tired of hearing of vegetarian restaurants, etc. saying veganism is too limiting or "too strict"- whatever that means.

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    1. I hope you're cutting the supremes the same way Michael did — great technique and they just popped right out!

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  6. Awww--Congrats on your new grandson, Andrea! He looks like a cutie pie :-)

    Your cooking classes always sound (and look!) like so much fun. Thank you for sharing the links to the recipes--that jicama salad sounds fantastic!

    Courtney

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    1. Thank you, Courtney. I think cutie pie is the perfect way to describe a baby on a cooking blog. :)

      The salad was so simple — but sometimes the simplest dishes have the most charm.

      Delete
  7. Congratulations on your new, adorable family member! Miss E has to be so thrilled to be a big sister. :)

    The cooking class sounds fun and the food looks terrific. I love the color of the green rice. So pretty!

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    1. Thank you! Miss E is taking it all in stride.

      We've been pretty lucky with the cooking classes so far — I think only one of the many we've taken was disappointing. The food from the class described here was really delicious and I recommend the recipes highly!

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  8. Congratulations on the new addition to the family! And some congrats too on the vegan Mexican wonderousness! Are the recipes all doable at home?

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    1. Thanks! Yes, the recipes are all pretty easy — especially the soup.

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  9. Congrats on the grand baby! What a cutie!

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    1. Thank you! So tiny and precious.

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  10. Congrats! And that first dish looks delish. I'm a fan of anything you can put tortilla chips on!

    -Stephanie
    veganstate.blogspot.com

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    1. Piling on the toppings was the best part, though the soup was pretty great in itself.

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  11. Looks muy bueno! And so does the little cutie. Congrats :)

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  12. Congratulations on the new addition!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Congrats on LB, he's adorable!


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  14. Aww, look at Miss E all smitten with her little baby brother!

    Herbivoracious is a great cookbook - I love that he encourages people to wing it, and there's even a little note that says "don't stick to the recipe". My kind of cookbook author! :)

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    1. Miss E has been a terrific big sister so far. (At least as far as I know.)

      Delete
  15. Oh, what a fun class! It looks like there were lots of interesting and delicious things to try and recreate at home.

    Congrats on the newest addition to the family! He's gorgeous!

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    1. The food not only tasted good, it was beautiful, too, though I only had a phone camera so my photos don't do it justice.

      I've been sick this week and haven't seen the little boy since last weekend. I miss him.

      Delete
  16. What beautiful pics you took. I think I'd like the pozole best. If it's got a chip in it, I'm in it, too. Congratulations on your precious baby grandson, yay! So cute.

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    1. Thanks — phone pics. I think the pozole was my favorite,too. Not to mention it was pretty fast and easy to make.

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  17. Just discovered your great blog!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! Now I've discovered your blog, too.

      Delete

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