Infectiously Happy

I’m all about this domestic life…. kind of anyway.

I wish I could say “oh I absolutely love to cook”; the truth is I absolutely love to eat so I end up cooking frequently. Frenchie has gained 20 lbs since he started eating my delicacies seven years ago, so maybe I might know how to cook a little bit! Most of the time we eat a plant based diet, which despite what most carnivores think doesn’t mean salads and green beans. I am constantly looking for new recipes and meal options for myself and Frenchie. So here enters a local adventure…

I have this place I like to shop aka hang out… Savory Spice. It’s just next door to my daytime hideaway so I can pop in there and pick something out (spices, herbs, etc.), recipes are all over the place and the owners and staff are full of lovely suggestions and super helpful. Additionally they offer cooking classes in the evening. This is where the fun, inexpensive of course, comes in. Awhile ago I was on a two week sabbatical and able to attend a grain cooking workshop in their store. If you think by grains I only mean rice I would advise you sign up for the next grain class. Besides walking away with some great new menu ideas, we got to eat (again my favorite part of cooking) and I learned some tips for cooking, storing and alternate uses for some new grains.

Here’s what you need to know:

Where: Savory Spice Southend
www.savoryspiceshop.com/aboutus/charlottesouthend.html

The Teacher : Chef Sherry of The Seasonal Kitchen.
www.theseasonalchef.com

Chef Sherry is super knowledgeable and gave the class several tips for shopping, storing and cooking with whole grains. She went over four different whole grain recipes. She made my mouth water with each selection but here is the recipe for my fave from that evening.

Adobo Mexican Farro Wheat & Black Bean Salad:

Combine 1 cup cooked farro, 1 cup black beans, 1 chopped seeded tomato, 1/2 cup cooked fresh corn, 1 chopped avocado, 1 TB olive oil mixed with 1/2tsp of Adobo seasoning, juice of 1/2 lime and 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro. Sprinkle the top of the salad with Aleppo Red Pepper Flakes.

Additional grain tips:

– Store uncooked grains in the freezer to keep them fresher longer.

– Be careful when purchasing grains stored in large bulk bins. They could be rancid or old and should always have a nutty smell to indicate freshness.

– When making salads with grains spread them out on a cookie sheet or flat pan to cool after cooking. Leaving them in a pan can allow them to continue to cook and get mushy.

I was also introduced to the use of Meyer Lemons, which is a winter citrus fruit that can be preserved and used for cooking through out the year. I had an awesome time and cant wait until I have another opportunity to to attend a class. If you love to cook (or eat) and want to know more about new recipes, ways to use spices and herbs for your old favorites or just want a fun outing please make sure you check out their class schedule. Back to work, or play or your own happy adventures….

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