It has been a whirlwind of a week. Although it is day 15 of week 3, I am straggling at day 13 only with some assignments backdated to days 6 and 7 to complete.
Here was what I made and learnt this week.
Raw comfort foods
We created raw and vegan versions of comfort foods such as pizza crusts, breads, pancakes and cookies based on sprouted flours and activated nuts or seeds.
Maple pancakes was very sweet despite halving the amount of sweetener. They needed some getting used to, being made out of nuts and not in the least bit fluffy.
The best and most tiresome part about making these cookies was the chocolate chips. Yes, each individual chip was painstakingly piped, dehydrated and pressed into these cookies. The chips, being made from cashews, had a nutty undertone; if I were to improve on this, I would definitely make it full chocolate cacao chips.
Fermentation in nut cheeses and coconut yogurt
In week one we had a go at making quick unfermented cheeses, such as cashew cheese in Red Beet Ravioli and macadamia ricotta in Raw Lasagna. Flavorings in quick cheeses were drawn mostly of the seasonings themselves, such as shallots, nutritional yeast and lemon juice. Fermented cheese includes the use of probiotics and the nuts are allowed to ferment at room temperature for two days. The byproducts of fermentation, such as lactic acid, creates an even more digestible cheese-like product with alcoholic undertones. We were given the freedom to explore flavorings for our cheese. I decided on a calming herb one with sage (the streaks of minced sage gave it a blue cheese effect) and an assertive spicy and tangy one with sundried tomatoes. The cheeses were to be presented in our cheese plate assignment.
To achieve an aged cheese, you could place the cheese in the dehydrator to create a rind. However I did not have a dehydrator so could not play with this option.
Swiss cheese was made to go with sliders. Mine turned out crumbly with a pockmarked surface. Note that I dried it in the oven but from my classmates who used the dehydrator, theirs turned out pliable and looked startling similar to a slice of actual swiss cheese. Tastewise, it was mild, milky and sweetish. It was fun stamping out the circles and I kept thinking of the book Who Moved My Cheese the whole time!
Out of all the fermentation recipes, I liked coconut yogurt the best, so much that I wrote a dedicated post here.
Plating and Presentation
I came across a picture showing a carpaccio of stone fruits and decided to try out this style of plating with cucumbers and radish in the Seaweed Salad. The colors of red, green and orange played beautifully against one another, evocating fresh springtime lightness, just the right mood to lift the heavy flavors of sea vegetables.
Last but not least, knife skills test passed!