Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Isa Chandra's Cooking Demo

Who: VN Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig
What: Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Cooking Demo
Where: The Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market in San Francisco
When: February 12, 2011
Why: Being an aspiring cook, I wanted to learn from the very best.

The Scoop: I have been a vegan for nearly 10 years now, but I just recently discovered my love for cooking. Ever since, I've been voraciously reading cookbooks to try and get my skills up to par, and like many vegans, I am a huge fan of Isa Chandra Moskowitz's cookbooks. I honestly can't get enough of her Gigantic Peanut Butter Cookies from Vegan with a Vengeance, or the Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon (co-written by Terry Hope Romero). Her new book, Appetite for Reduction, hit shelves earlier this year, and I'm loving the back-to-basics, whole-foods approach that the book has to offer. So when I found out that Isa was coming into town to give a cooking demo, I marked my calendar right away! Also, I'm very sad to say, I had never visited the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market, so this was a great reason to see it for the first time.

The two cookbooks every vegan knows and loves

It was a gorgeous Saturday morning, and I was running late. Luckily, the farmers' market was running behind as well, because the first cooking demo was still going and I had enough time to grab a spot, even amongst the big crowd. And it was crowded—people were literally fighting for chairs around me, and we were told during the introduction that it might have been the busiest cooking demo yet!

Of course, there was no introduction needed, and Isa was very comfortable with the crowd from the get go, with many funny jokes and witty remarks to keep us smiling. She informed the crowd that her main goal with the cookbook was to teach various cooking skills with each recipe, which is important with a whole-foods diet. So one of the first things she mentioned was how to properly hold a chef's knife, and how to go about cutting and chopping different vegetables. This may sound tedious, but I, for one, realized that I was not doing it correctly—and I thought I was getting so good! She went on to make the Thai Roasted Root Vegetable Curry from the book, as well as the Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits. Unfortunately, due to the crowd, and the fact that I had to head out of town after the demonstration, I was unable to try a sample, but boy did it look good, and I will be making the recipes myself in the very near future.

Isa, showing off her knife skills

Isa is currently living in Omaha, NE, but it seems like she does a bit of traveling. Be sure to check her out if she comes to your town—it's a great cooking lesson, and will definitely inspire the chef in you. Also, check out the recent VegNews interview with Isa to hear more about Appetite for Reduction.

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