Monday, March 4, 2013

Gouter has done it again! Raw, vegan cooking class: BRUNCH!

Don’t you love how people can change you for the better? 

Last Saturday I had the privilege of attending a raw, vegan brunch cooking class with two fabulous fans of our page, now fantabulous friends, who taught me an important lesson: all the fun happens in the BACK of the class!

Kerry and I had purchased tickets the moment we learned Gouter, a local raw food business based in DC, was teaching another raw, vegan class, this time with BRUNCH in mind. We couldn’t help but get excited after having such a fun and tasteful experience last time at Gouter’s very first raw, vegan cooking class back in October (Click here to read about Kerry’s experience and all the yummy eats we made!).  We were almost guaranteed fun, laughter, drinks and delicious food. Then, a few weeks before the class, Kerry made a huge life decision to move to Florida which meant missing the class. :(

I’ll admit I was sad to see my partner in crime go and even sadder she wasn’t going to be joining me, but I still had a fan and a close friend of Kerry’s still attending, so I wasn’t COMPLETELY alone. I was determined to get there early in order to get better seats than last time, but when the time came, I ended up in the back..the way back! WHY? Because I decided to go with the flow instead of being the serious, OCD person that I am who always has to be near what I considered the “fun” in the front of the class.

By the time Grace and I got in, we had ended up in the third row (nowhere close to the front) with Sonia nowhere in sight. It didn’t occur to us to save a seat as we were being ushered in so quickly, but as we were washing our hands, we heard her tell the Living Social staff as she was walking in that she was meeting us. Not wanting to leave her alone, Grace suggested we move back there with her and I went with it! And I am so so so glad I did. We had a blast! We were laughing, chatting up a storm, and attempting to pay attention and make our yummy eats. It was so nice because the atmosphere seemed a bit too serious than other classes I have attended. I guess 1:00pm on a Saturday is when the coffee starts wearing off? Or maybe everyone was concentrating too hard? I don’t know, but these two totally brightened it up! So lesson learned: the fun is not in the front of the class, it is in the back where the space is unlimited and the atmosphere is open and free.

So a huge thank you to both ladies for helping me slowly overcome some of my OCD issues…it was really nice to be so worriless and well, free.

Okay, okay now that I got the emotional part out the way... ;)

Gouter once again impressed us with their skills at making yet another set of delicious, easy to prepare, raw, vegan dishes. After preparing and tasting every dish, all we could say is, “I can’t believe I just made this!” From banana yogurt, to raw, gooey sticky buns to a mouthwatering, quiche layered with cashew cream, marinated mushrooms, a savory crust and wait for it…bacon, dried tomatoes (I know!), every dish had us feeling totally Top Chef (Sonia’s words :)) in preparation, plating ANNND taste! Of course, we couldn’t have done it without Stephen’s, one of Gouter’s founders and our chef for the day, instructions and expertise, and of course, the amazing staff at Living Social 918 F St whose job I seriously envy. Thanks to them both for making it possible.

And now, for your entertainment, droolworthy, raw food porn!

First up, a Golden Basil Mimosa made with a blend of OJ, golden berries and basil and topped with, of course, champagne! This drink was hands down unique and refreshing in every way. The juice itself was ridiculously good and something I would make as a twist to a morning, fresh squeezed OJ.

Next we made banana yogurt! No, not banana ice cream with just frozen bananas, but rich, creamy, thick banana yogurt made with cashews. We topped it off with sprouted buckwheat groats and raspberries. It was so rich, creamy, semi-sweet and thick and it paired so well with the savory, crunchy buckwheat groats and the tart raspberries. I’m pretty positive we all downed ours within minutes.

Now who knew raw sticky buns would be so flippin’ simple to make!? Process the crust here, blend the filling there, a little rolling arm action later and you have raw sticky buns! Filled with a sweet cashew cream, some golden raisins and apples, this treat provided a wonderful mixture of textures and flavors. The crust was semi-sweet with a wonderful hint of cinnamon in each bite; the filling, was smooth and creamy and the add ins provided the perfect combination of both chew and crunch. These babies were dense so all you needed was a small slice to feel oh so satisfied. Thanks goodness we got to take them home! I think I may try making these as little round bites, stuffed with the cream… I can freeze them for a treat every now and then.

And last, a raw quiche. Oh my gosh did they save the best for the last because this was hands down our absolutely FAVORITE dish out of them all…well except for the mimosas J This quiche required a couple of steps but each one was fast and easy to make. First, squash strips for our base, then a layer of savory, crust that reminded me of thanksgiving stuffing in flavor, a layer of soy marinated mushrooms, savory, cheesy cashew cream, and topped with yes, the sundried tomato bacon! Flipped over and tada! She’s a beauty we know. We topped it off with a bit of the mushroom marinade, extra crust, tomatoes and fresh basil and downed it like we hadn’t eaten for days. The flavors and textures paired so well together in each and every bite.  This recipe is a keeper and will make you look like a professional, raw chef. No kidding.

So now that you had a moment to wipe the drool off your face (hehe) what do you think!? Would you be willing to try any of these dishes? Should I see if Gouter will let me share the recipes!?

Oh and you MUST check out Gouter! They sell their tonics at several locations in DC and you can even order a three day raw juice cleanse which will have you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to take on a new, healthier you!  Just check out their facebook page here and while you are at it, check out Living Social 918 F Street too! They have some amazingly fun events for vegans and non-vegans alike! Up next I think it’s belly dancing and/or painting and wine class!

P.S. A HUGE thanks to Grace for her plating skills! The pics wouldn't be nearly as pretty without her!

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