This past Wednesday, I had the opportunity of teaching another installment of the "What's for Dinner?" cooking class series at The Real Canadian Superstore in Grimsby. For this class, I wanted to prepare some "Sweet and Simple Spring recipes" that were either primarily raw or vegan, with ingredients that were somewhat seasonal and interesting!
After much consideration, I decided on a variation of Golubka's fabulous Avocado Truffles, a Simple Bean Salad inspired by my sweet Carol, and a modified version of my Auntie Chris' amazing Thai Fruit Salad. These recipes are super quick and easy to prepare and really complimented the incredibly warm and beautiful weather we've been having lately in the Niagara region.
First up were the Avocado Truffles. Although they look elaborate, avocado truffles are surprisingly quick to prepare. This colorful dish works well as an appetizer at a dinner party, or an accompaniment to salad.
¼ cup black sesame seeds
¼ cup shelled pistachios
Dried fruit (mango, peach, pineapple)
Other seeds and nuts of choice (ex. sunflower or pumpkin seeds).
Cut an avocado in half and take out the pit. Scoop out some of the flesh, mash and add to the filling: combine chopped mango, cilantro, some black sesame seeds, and lime juice. Fill the two avocado halves with the ‘salad’ mixture. Assemble back together and carefully peel off the skin. For the coating, grind dried ingredients with a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder. Bathe the avocado in the coating. Once fully bathed in the coating, slice truffles in half or segments. Serves 4.
For the coating, I used a hemp seed, sesame seed, and crushed pistachio base, as I found that the dried fruit-seed-nuts option, while super tasty, tends to not adhere as well to the avocado flesh (see my previous post about making Avocado Truffles here). The Truffles turned out quite well, and looked like little ornate Easter Eggs, silently waiting to be sliced and served. I was quite pleased with the overall presentation, and the class really enjoyed the creativity of the recipe.
bye bye Truffles, until we make again
Next up was the Simple Bean Salad. This was inspired by my dear, sweet Carol :). I made this recipe a few days prior to the class, and I just had to share it with the group. The lime juice in the dressing was particularly palate pleasing (that's right, I said it!). The refreshing flavors of cilantro, cumin, and lime juice make this a wonderful salad.
¼ cup olive oil
juice of 2 limes
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp. cumin
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
19-oz. can black beans (turtle beans), rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, diced
12-oz. can kernel corn, drained
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
In medium bowl, whisk together oil and lime juice. Add cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper and mix well. Stir in salad ingredients and correct seasoning. Serve at room temperature. Serves 4-6.
Last, but certainly not least, was the Thai Fruit Salad.
This recipe is inspired from a recent trip to London, England. Passion fruit adds a refreshing element to this sweet and sour fruit salad. Enjoy as a dessert on a warm spring/summer night. (*note: instead of passion fruit, I used some papaya, mandarin oranges, and did not make the lemongrass infusion ahead of time).
juice and zest of 1 lime
1 melon of your choice
1 small pineapple
1 ripe mango
14 oz can of lychee fruit, halved
4 passion fruit
Create a lemongrass infusion by combing lemongrass, lime juice, and lychee juice in a bowl. Cover and leave overnight. Cut melon in half, remove the seeds and scoop out the flesh with a melon baler. Place in a bowl. Peel pineapple, remove core, cube and add to the melon. Peel the mango, cube, and add to the other fruit. Add the lychees, cut the passion fruit in half and scoop the fleshy pulp and seeds into the bowl of fruit, add lime zest and lemongrass infusion. Stir gently to combine. Will keep for three days in the fridge.
I conducted a few, fun little demos with this recipe. First, how to cube a mango, and second, how to bruise lemongrass, which releases the oils from the skins of the grass. To bruise lemongrass, use the back of a knife to press the stalk in several places until fragrant. Bending the stalk is another way to bruise the lemongrass and release its oils.
I just love the vibrant colors of the different fruits in this salad
the wonderful class, enjoying the vibrant food
the wonderful class, enjoying the vibrant food
Overall, these recipes were a great success, and really complimented one another with the use of lime juice and cilantro. I had such a great time sharing these recipes on a wonderful, sunny day! Many thanks to everyone who attended - I really appreciate all of the wonderful comments about the recipes. My next scheduled class at this location will be on July 7th; Can't wait!