Photo bomb blog post ahead! My June birthday week was beyond special, as I celebrated at the best fitness spa in the world, Rancho La Puerta. The Ranch, as its legions of repeat guests attest, supports and encourages integrative wellness for guests of all ages and fitness levels. I was thrilled to return as the guest chef in the renowned La Cocina Que Canta Cooking School. Executive Chef Denise Roa and Cocina Chefs, Gina, Anikoky, and Angi, ensure that visiting chefs and guests alike have true experiences to remember.
Rancho La Puerta
Rancho La Puerta was co-founded in 1940, by Deborah Szekely. Deborah, who recently celebrated her 96th birthday takes five pilates classes a week, goes for long walks with her dog, and shares her wisdom weekly during her chats and Q&A. Sustainable organic gardening and resource conservation is practiced at The Ranch, which leads the way in environmental protection and education efforts in the region: the flowers, the mountains, the art everywhere, and the stillness.
Vegan Dessert Classes
Last year I taught savory menus at the Ranch. This year, all vegan dessert recipes were on the menu, with our dinner to be cooked by the Cocina chefs. The enthusiasm for the desserts classes was exciting and I’l be returning next year, the week of May 4th, with new dessert menus to teach at LCQC.
After dinner, we plated tasting the recipes that were made in class and everyone got a tasting plate.“
I can’t believe these are vegan desserts!” was the common refrain.
Now, about the Baked Alaska adaptation: Baked Alaska is typically cake, ice cream, a sauce and toasted egg meringue. We used aquafaba for the meringue and we carefully and patiently made it all three nights. Each time, amazement reigned supreme.
To make theses, Chocolate Cake to Live For was cut and fit into ramekins. Since our Banana N’Ice Cream didn’t freeze in the allotted time, we used it as a fruit sauce—which was delicious—and over that was dolloped some of the Almost Instant Chocolate Pudding. This non-traditional Baked Alaska is a keeper. As I say in the Essential Vegan Desserts course at Rouxbe, when you understand the technique, you can recalibrate. Chef Angi used the big torch to toast the beautifully piped aquafaba meringue.
Sugar-free, no-oil added Drop Biscuits were a hit served as shortcakes with Balsamic Roasted Strawberries—the berries were picked right out of the organic garden minutes before class—with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream. Organic Edible organic flower petals from the garden– gorgeous.
My Birthday Dinner
Thursday night’s fully gluten-free menu coincided with my actual birthday of June 14th. Chef Anikoky had made a Red Salad for dinner. Can you guess why? Comment with your answer below and you might win a copy of More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally. This salad was delicious, as was the Mexican Chorizo and Spice Rubbed Cauliflower Steaks! Vegan for the win.
I’ll be back at Rancho La Puerta the week of May 4th, 2019, and more dessert classes will be on the menu. Believe me, you want to visit The Ranch! I have taken The Ranch home, as I continue to take my regular exercise classes, eat good clean food. My heart is filled with gratitute and my address book with new friends!
I have a copy of my book More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally for one lucky winner this week. To enter, follow the instructions below. Contest ends at midnight on Wednesday, July 4th. U.S. residents only, please. Good luck!