This past Saturday, I had the distinct pleasure of attending a cooking class at Madeleine Bistro, taught by none other than Chef David Anderson, a 2007 VegNews Veggie Awards winner ! When I asked Dave if it would be ok for me to take photographs throughout the class for the blog, he readily agreed, but his wife and restaurant manager, Molly, was uncomfortable with me posting photos of him, so I will leave them off out of respect. I've also removed the photo that I previously posted of Dave and Molly when I wrote about the Vegan Meet-Up I attended in early January.
Although this was not a hands-on cooking class (with the exception of a small part of the dessert prep), this class was a lot of fun. Dave and Molly are good-natured, good-hearted people who were happy to answer questions and interact with the class. It started at 10 a.m. and they were kind enough to serve coffee and tea to us. They made us feel comfortable and at home.
I know how to cook, so I took this class for the chance to learn from a vegan master. I've always been more than happy to follow a recipe and am not one to create my own. More than anything, what I took from this class was the ability to use a recipe as a guideline. For example, Dave explained that practically any root or cruciferous vegetable could be substituted in equal quantity for the cauliflower in the soup we learned that morning. I'm sure I could've figured that out on my own, but I gained confidence hearing this from the master himself. I'm having difficulty expressing exactly what I mean on this point because I obviously modify recipes all the time to eliminate onions and their sibling offenders, but rest assured that I learned from this class! I also learned that, even if you're not necessarily a fan of wine, you just might love Braised Tempeh and Cabernet Sauce!
Cauliflower Soup garnished with Tempeh Bacon and Parsley Oil
Braised Tempeh and Cabernet Sauce with Mashed Potatoes
Chocolate Cake Charlotte filled with Chocolate Mousse and accompanied by Homemade Raspberry Sorbet
This was a gorgeous and delicious meal. The soup was creamy and flavorful, perfectly holding its texture and wonderfully accented by the smokiness of the tempeh bacon. I was skeptical about the tempeh dish because I'm not crazy about wine (although I'm learning, as a recent wine-tasting experience proves), but the Cabernet Sauvignon reduced to a richly-flavored sauce that both infused and coated the tempeh. I found myself adding more of this sauce to my plate! The mashed potatoes were the perfect consistency and flavor (I ate many bites of potato with some of the Cabernet sauce). Oh, and the dessert...a deep, rich, creamy mousse, ensconced in light, moist chocolate cake with a side of the most vibrant raspberry sorbet you've ever tasted. My goodness, this class was such a treat!
Dave and Molly are considering making these classes a twice-monthly event and I'm certainly looking forward to the next one!
P.S. As I'm a singer and always have a song running through my head and as someone who associates songs with all sorts of sounds, sights, words, activities, etc., raspberry sorbet obviously makes my mind burst into a rousing chorus of Prince's "Raspbery Beret" (with "beret" changed to "sorbet," of course!).