May Day found me blissful and grateful at the fitness spa Rancho La Puerta, arguably the first “eco” resort. The Ranch, as it is known by it’s legions of repeat guests was co-founded in 1940, by Deborah Szekely, who was in residence and celebrating her 95th birthday. The facilities and lodgings are sprinkled amidst world-class gardens. The Ranch practices sustainable organic gardening and resource conservation, and it leads the way in environmental protection and education efforts in the region.
I had been to the Ranch before, first about 15 years ago and then again last summer as a guest of Jill Nussinow, the Veggie Queen, who was speaking on nutrition. This time I was coming as the Visiting Guest Chef.
When I got my invitation to be a guest culinary instructor at the Ranch’s Kitchen that Sings, La Cocina Que Canta, it took me 10 seconds to answer YES! While I am a very good savory cook, I haven’t developed recipes for full meals in years but I eagerly took the the opportunity to do so.
Each of the two menus I put together was composed of a starter, salad, main, grain, two vegetables, and a dessert, and I was to use what would be in the Ranch’s organic garden that week. In fact, the students in the cooking classes go to Tres Estrellas, the organic garden that is right outside the door to meet Salvador Tinajero and pick the vegetables and edible flowers we used in class. Fresh!
I wanted to share one the recipes we made, sensational, easy and really delicious not-fried Millet Polenta Fries. It turns out that the alkalizing grain millet is thought to be the original polenta, which I like to dip in the Creamy Hemp Dill Dressing we made another night to dress the grilled radicchio The dressing is my variation of one by Chad Sarno in the Plant-Based Professional Course at Rouxbe. I made the dressing a bit more spa compliant and used more herbs to suit my taste. That’s the beauty of savory food. It’s easier to change these recipes than it is for batter-based desserts.
I am going to make these Baked Millet Polenta Fries for Mother’s Day. Maybe you will, too.
Oh, and not incidentally, the Ganache Glazed Chocolate Cake to Live For that was our dessert was a huge hit!
The next Esssential Vegan Desserts Course starts June 13, 2017! See the syllabus, FAQ, recipes and videos here: http://tinyurl.com/RouxbeVeganPastry