What happened when I took a vegan cooking class

This weekend I went to a vegan cooking class for the first time and it was so much fun! While I am not actually vegan, I do enjoy cooking vegan dishes occasionally, especially since they tend to be easy to make ;) 

Before this, I had only been to one cooking class with my mom when we traveled to Italy, mmmm pasta and tiramisu... so needless to say, my knowledge of cooking is pretty limited. 

Until recently, I never really enjoyed cooking and thought of it more as a chore. I tended to be lazy with it and always ended up going rogue when attempting to follow recipes. So yeah, nothing I made ever came out great.

However, I have been trying to cook a lot more the last several months and I must say, I have improved a bit. 

Because of this, I was pretty excited to take a cooking class and really looked forward to trying new foods and techniques. The class certainly did not disappoint, and I left with a strong desire to start cooking more! 

The class I took was at Radical Cooks in Highland Park and the theme of the class was summer produce. Our instructor Nina, showed us different vegetables and herbs that are in season and are great foods to eat during the summer. She talked about how bitter and spicy foods are great for digestion and help to keep our bodies cool in the hot summer weather. Who knew?! 

The coolest part was trying different vegetables that I had never had before, like okra! What the hell is that you're asking? It's a weird looking green thing that's a little slimy, but it tastes amazing when paired with corn and spices as a side dish. 

 Salad with Persian cucumbers, celery and mint. Side dish with corn, okra, and spices

Salad with Persian cucumbers, celery and mint. Side dish with corn, okra, and spices

I also got to try yellow beets (surprisingly sweet) that topped the pita crisp bruschetta we made and Persian cucumbers that we used in our salad. 

One of the best things we made was a tart for dessert that used tofu mixed with raspberries as the cream filling. Yes, you read that correctly: tofu. It was surprisingly so yummy, you would never have guessed what it was made of. The best part is: no baking was required. 

 Tofu raspberry tart! I am indeed an expert tart filler, just look at that fluffiness. 

Tofu raspberry tart! I am indeed an expert tart filler, just look at that fluffiness. 

We also had grilled vegetables (potatoes, green beans, and fennel) that were topped with a homemade plum sauce. The sauce was pretty spectacular, I must say (I may or may not have been the one in charge of making the sauce). 

 Plums, red wine vinegar, salt, and sugar boiling to become sauce.

Plums, red wine vinegar, salt, and sugar boiling to become sauce.

Overall, everything we made was fairly simple and did not take much time to put together. Once we were done, we all sat down and enjoyed the lovely feast together. I was most excited to try the corn and okra dish, mainly because I had no idea what okra would taste like. It ended up being one of my favorites, and I honestly enjoyed everything! 

I had a great time and hope to go back to Radical Cooks to try out a few more classes. I hear Nina offers a class where she takes you through a farmer's market and show's you what to look for when you shop. I might just have to do that one next! 

Here's a few more pics of the day: 

 Yellow beet bruschetta on pita crisps. Roasted veggies with the super awesome plum sauce.

Yellow beet bruschetta on pita crisps. Roasted veggies with the super awesome plum sauce.

 Salad with Persian cucumber and dandelion leaves.

Salad with Persian cucumber and dandelion leaves.

 Time to eat!

Time to eat!