Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts – Week 3 & 4 In Review

Hey guys!

It’s hard to believe I’ve already been living in the wonderful city of Austin for a month – time flies!  It’s truly been a month of new experiences, like trying new foods, meeting new people, listening to new music, experiencing a warm winter without snow, adjusting to a long-distance relationship, in addition to learning a new language (Japanese!) and how to play guitar.  Oh yeah, and exercising regularly and eating well.  Sound like fun?  It’s been a ride so far!

But since the focus of this blog is food, I want to take you on a tour of some of the yummy eats we’ve been concocting at the Natural Epicurean.  We’ve been focusing on foundational veggie foods like tofu, tempeh, beans, grains, and veggies, which are all things I love to nom.

Tofu and tempeh, which I adore (especially ‘fu).

Working with grains, the superstars being dolmas (of course!) and the black bean, corn and avocado salad.  It was super bright and fresh with cilantro and lime juice.

Beany goodness.  Dudes, if you’re making baked beans (bottom left), I totally recommend throwing in some baked and cubed tofu – it’s such a wonderful addition.

Breakfast foods, like my savory grits concoction and some yummy cereals in the backdrop.

Plantain chips and fruit salsa?  Hell yeah.  Tortilla chips were surprisingly good with savory apple chutney, too.

All the vegetable classes made me so super happy, but I especially enjoy hearty roots and squashes.

Carmelizing onions is definitely a test of patience (which I apparently don’t have, since my batch was burnt and non-photogenic), and they were lovely atop a rutabaga, turnip and ‘tato puree.

Light and fresh veggies are fun too, like these yogurt and dill cukes (and some spiralized zucchini noodles in the back).

But greens are probably my favorite of all – this was a mix of kale, chard, mustard greens and escarole, steamed and then sauteed with paprika, cumin, and salt, and served with kalamata olives, tomato and lemon juice.  I feasted on this, let me tell you.

We also had an exam yesterday which included ingredient identification, knife skillz and making recipes.  Everything went smoothly for me, and I made this kick-ass risotto, but the stress of it all made me completely forget about photo-taking.  Next time!

Hope you’ve all been having a wonderful week, and I’ll catch up with you at brunch!

  • Nikki

    So much goodness in this post! Don't know where to start…. Glad you're enjoying Austin. I really loved it there. So much food and music and beautiful weather.

  • Bianca

    Wow! Jealous! I want to go there and make yummy stuff!!

  • Allysia

    I can't believe how awesome the food culture is here! And the weather, oh lord, the weather…so good.

  • Allysia

    It's pretty rad. πŸ™‚

  • Hannah

    Olives rule supreme. Also, we don't have grits in Aus, so I'd love to try that!

  • Allysia

    Indeed you are right about olives. And it's the same up north, people aren't really into grits there I guess?

  • foodfeud

    Wow looks like yr getting a really thorough bunch of courses. How long is the program?? I'm all over the plantain chips and fruit salsa.

  • xvavaveganx

    What an amazing post! It seems like a lot of really great food has been coming out of that kitchen! I am definitely drawn to the dolmas (not shocking I'm sure) and the back bean, corn and avocado salad. Oh man does that sound good! Plantain chips with fruit salsa sounds pretty much like heaven. Everything looks great though and those greens! I would have dove in head first!

    Sounds like an amazing experience so far!! So glad you are enjoying Austin and thanks for sharing all of the noms! I'm jealous and hungry now πŸ˜‰

  • Allysia

    It goes until mid-June, and that's not including the working stuff after. And yeah, it gets busy!

  • Allysia

    Ha ha! Yeah, I think all of us adored that black bean/avo salad. And pretty much everything else.

  • Helen Prabha

    All the items are wonderful.. πŸ™‚

  • coconutandberries

    Oh gosh, what a lot of fantastic-looking food! Everything looks so good. It sounds such a comprehensive program

  • Joey

    From start to finish, I would nom the bejeebus out of that. The cukes are particularly calling right now, and the black bean and avocado salad too. Sounds like Austin is turning out to be pretty kickass! How many weeks does the course last?

  • Maggie Muggins

    There’s so much going on in this post! How do you not eat yourself sick in that class? Plantains chips sound particularly nom worthy, are they baked or dehydrated?

  • Jolene – EverydayFoodie

    You are eating some pretty incredible food! Do I spy beets? I LOVE beets.

  • Allysia

    Until mid-June, so a good long while!

  • Allysia

    Deep-fried, ha ha. πŸ™‚