NORTHFIELD A vegan cooking class and dinner is planned for Thursday, September 19 at the Pines Community Center from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
The class will prepare a late-summer dish of ratatouille, a traditional French dish using sautéed onions, garlic, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant and zucchini; a corn, red pepper, and black bean salad with lime vinaigrette on a bed of fresh, organic spinach; a "sour cream" apple pie, and cinnamon herbal tea.
Ratatouille is usually accompanied by rice, pasta, or bread, but the class will be creating a more nutrient-dense version, serving it over quinoa. Quinoa is an edible seed, though it's generally used and regarded as a grain. But unlike grains which are typically low in the indispensable amino acids (IAAs, formerly known as essential amino acids) lycine and isoleucine, quinoa has adequate amounts of both these amino acids and is thus regarded as a "complete" protein.
The science behind plant proteins being preferable to animal proteins is slowly gaining acceptance within the medical community. In an article titled, "Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets" in the Spring 2013 issue of The Permanente Journal, the authors wrote, "The objective of this article is to present to physicians an update on plant-based diets. Concerns about the rising cost of health care are being voiced nationwide, even as unhealthy lifestyles are contributing to the spread of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. For these reasons, physicians looking for cost-effective interventions to improve health outcomes are becoming more involved in helping their patients adopt healthier lifestyles. Healthy eating may be best achieved with a plant-based diet, which we define as a regimen that encourages whole, plant-based foods and discourages meats, dairy products and eggs as well as all refined and processed foods."
Santosha Bouchard of Meredith is a familiar face at the vegan cooking classes. "I love it when she comes and helps me. Not only is she incredibly hard-working, but she has finely-tuned senses of taste and smell, and I depend on her opinions," said cooking instructor Louisa Dell'Amico. (Courtesy photo)