I recently had the pleasure of taking a Delicious Dish cooking class with Occupational Therapist-turned-self-taught-chef, Carolyn Cohen. Iâ€™d heard about her classes for years and was intrigued, mostly because the menus were hoarded secrets. Sharing recipes was considered to be horribly bad form. Verboten? Forbidden fruit? I wanted in!Â After managing to coax a few tidbits from some willing rule-benders, I tried a couple of recipes.
And they were, indeed, delicious dishes.
It wasnâ€™t long before I was on Carolynâ€™s email list. Schedules were listed, but menus were not. And while I debated whether to sign up, the classes would fill up and sell out within hours of being posted. Who was this Carolyn Cohen? And what was she serving??Â Finally, a friend asked if I wanted to join a private group she was organizing and I jumped at the chance.
The class was designed to be healthy, family-friendly, good for entertaining, and gluten-free optional. I’m not so healthy, thoâ€™ I try to start the week that way. My family rarely eats the masterpieces I cook, and I am nothing if not a glutton for gluten.
I was in.
A week before the event, the original organizer had to drop out, along with half the class. After a mad scramble to collect a minimum of ten bodies â€“ ten $95 pre-paid bodies â€“ we ended up with 13 and were rarin’ to go!
Carolyn called me to plan the menu. At her suggestion we swapped some of the original planned mains, and we agreed to go completely gluten-free. We had a celiac among us, as well as the founder of the Gluten-Free Garage. In fact, I’m honoured to have posted this piece as a guest-blogger on the GFG web-site.Â Click here to check it out. You’ll find loads of gluten-free ideas and information. And no, you don’t have to be gluten-free to check it out.
But I digress….
The night of our class, we descended upon Carolynâ€™s kitchen, where she commandeered 13 of the chattiest ladies in town. Pouring glasses of red, to go with the quinoa pizza bites sheâ€™d provided as a starter, Carolyn got right down to business.
She was a mountain of information both healthy and practical. Onion goggles to stop the waterworks. Kevlar gloves to prevent slicing off fingers. A list of suppliers and shops â€“ and salts. Kitchen scales. Dough scoopers. Slicers. Pine nuts. Olive oil. She had it all covered.
We all laughed, learned and ate. A lot.
First up was quinoa with beets, radish andâ€¦wait for itâ€¦.crispy Brussels sprouts. Anything with crispy Brussels sprouts and Iâ€™m in. But look how gorgeous this golden quinoa is with its beautiful Brussels sprout collar. Divine.
Kale is the roughage du jour. The king of green. It’s everywhere. Healthy and tasty as it may be, Iâ€™ve always preferred mine wilted and tossed into a stir fry or sauce (or ratatouille! Yum!). But this Southern Italian Kale Salad, a cousin of the one at Toronto eatery Gusto, was crazy good. Made with black kale and Parmesan, it was totally addictive. I easily couldâ€™ve downed the entire platterâ€¦.
Chipotle Chicken burgers with Guacamame. These sliders were smoky goodness on a gluten-free bun. Spicy and beyond tasty and â€“ get this â€“ cooked under the broiler! Who knew? And that stunning bright green topper? Itâ€™s a dip! Itâ€™s a sauce! Itâ€™s NOT guacamole, but guacaMAME. Avocado + Edamame = one tasty topping. On anything. Or nothing!
My fave of the night was the Seared Tuna with Smoked Sea Salt, Sesame and Pepper crust. On a soy-maple glaze. This ainâ€™t your gourmandoâ€™s ahi. Itâ€™s albacore! And itâ€™s better, believe it or not. None of the gristle, all of the taste. And the glaze? Sublime! Instead of finishing it off on top, the seared tuna is sliced and sandwiched with a sliver of jalapeno before resting on a bed of glaze. Brilliant!!
And then there were the cookies: Granola cookies. Family-friendly, no doubt â€“ if there are any left. Our crowd inhaled them, some of us even sneaking in extras. And by extras I mean thirds. OK, fourths. They taste neither gluten-free nor healthy, in the best possible way.
Carolyn has generously allowed me to break with protocol and publish a recipe! Allow me to present The Granola Cookie, by Delicious Dish. Resistance is futile.
From DELICIOUSDISH: THE GRANOLA COOKIE
“These are cookies that you can bake and not feel guilty about eating them
afterwards! Make them and enjoy them; delicious cookies just donâ€™t get any
healthier!” Carolyn Cohen.
2 cups (8oz/225g) rolled oats, I like the large flake or old fashioned for these
1 cup (4Â½ oz/130 g) of brown rice flour (or any flour of your choice)
Â¾ cup (2 oz/55g) shredded unsweetened coconut
1 Tbs. cinnamon
Â¼ tsp. sea salt
Â¾ cup maple syrup
Â½ cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
Â½ cup small raisins or chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350Â°F or 325Â°F convection. Line several cookie sheets with parchment.
2. In a large bowl, combine, oats, flour, coconut, cinnamon and salt.
3. On a smaller bowl or measuring cup, stir together the maple syrup, oil and vanilla.
4. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until evenly combined.
5. Fold in walnuts, raisins or chocolate chips.
6. Using a soup spoon, scoop batter into mounds onto the prepared cookie sheet. You may need to form them into mounds with you fingers. They may appear as if they are not coming together, but they bake up great! Donâ€™t worry about crowding the pan a little, they do not spread.
7. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
Makes 3-4 dozen
Copyright 2013. May not be reproduced or used for commercial purposes without
permission of Delicious Dish/Carolyn Cohen.
For more info, contact Carolyn Cohen 416.200.3522 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Carolyn offers classes all year round, day or evening. Private or GenPop. Your kitchen or hers. Be warned – if you head to her place I might be the one loitering outside, looking for scraps…..