As I was finishing up lunch today at Whole Foods* with long-lost foodie friend (and smartypants PhD candidate) Jessie, I told her I was headed off to write up a blog post. She asked me what I was going to blog about and I said, “Who knows? But I feel like we’re going to still be in Austin for awhile with all the pictures and recipes I’ve neglected to post!”*Is it weird that I consider that my favorite restaurant?
One such set of pictures came from The Natual Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts graduation showcase, which I was invited to attend on my very last day in Austin.
Considering my rather abrupt departure, I, quite understandably never blogged about it. However, as I was so happy to be invited—and because my dear co-worker (and friend) Shelly was not only a part of the graduating class…
…but the head chef of the whole event, I would feel remiss if I never shared the beautiful, creative, and plant-based dishes that they presented.
The Natural Epicurean is one of the only plant-based culinary schools in the country, with programs in macrobiotic, raw and living, vegan/vegetarian, and Ayurvedic cooking.
With a recently developed interest in Ayurveda, a newfound love of creative vegan cooking–and the fact that I’d heard Shelly talk about the showcase for weeks–I was, quite naturally, very (epi) curious to see what the graduates had in store for us.
*Sorry. I had to.
Being greeted with a shot of house-made kombucha is always a sign of good
digestion things to come.
Nothing was going to top the tempeh burgers and kale chips imagined and executed by my dear friend Shelly, herself.
Seriously, she needs to bag those chips up and sell them. I tried to uncover her secret, but the most I could remember was a nice coating of cashew ‘cream’ sauce blended with ranch dressing-style seasonings.
I did uncover another secret, though: after tasting a Tamari Lotus Pickle, I inquired about how they were made…and apparently you can soak any vegetalbe in tamari and vinegar and pickle it!^
^Note to self: you need to get back to your Culinary Bucket List and “pickle something.”
My Indian-food obsession was quelled with homemade naan, rice, vegetable curry, sumptuous dhal…
…and a seasonal (autumn) pear chutney.
I’m pretty sure I received far more than my fair share of (vegan-friendly, and omnivore-pleasing) food presentation tips and tricks from these ladies. From the salt-rimmed kombucha shots and citus-infused water……to the carrot flowers* adorning the macrobiotic cauliflower soup.
*Which I know I’m too lazy to ever make…but a girl can dream!
My favorite bite of the day–mostly for style, but y’all know I’m a sucker for raw vegetables*–were the pressed salads.
*Seriously. Who says things like that? Who AM I?
Umm..PLEASE try this at home! [And yes, Shelly thought of them. I know how to pick people.]
Since I was moving the followin, and had to scoot pretty quickly away from the celebration, Shelly snuck back into the kitchen so I wouldn’t miss dessert: Vegan Pistachio Ice Cream. With options like this available, I just might be able to survive without dairy after all.