I taught my first hands-on cooking class last night at one of the amazing LCBO kitchens. The class was called ‘Tasty Bites’, and comprised of mainly finger foods and appetizers – my absolute favourite kind of meal! Some of the recipes we worked on during the class included Skewered Chicken Tikkas with Raita, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus with Spiced Pita Chips, Mint Kebabs with Tatziki and the ever-so-popular Ginger-Chilli Shrimp served along side a Tangy Corn Salsa.
Throughout the class, as I was giving tips and tricks on how to cook a quick, healthy and delicious meal on a busy weeknight, it suddenly dawned on me that it would be very easy to turn any one of the recipe pairings being taught in the class into a complete and nutritious meal. For example, the Mint Kebabs could be rolled into a pita with a dollop of Tatziki and some lettuce and tomato, to make a delicious Mediterranean-inspired sandwich. The Chicken Tikkas could be served along side some rice and Raita, for a delicious Indian flair. Throw in some chopped cucumbers and tomatoes into the Corn Salsa, top it with the Shrimp and you’ll have a filling and tasty salad in a jiffy. The best though, is that each and every recipe does not take more than 30 minutes from start to finish – prep time included!
It was fun watching the guests getting busy in their work stations, eager to perfect the recipe picked out for their respective table. I’ve taught a number of cooking classes, all in the format of a demonstration, but never a hands-on where the students follow the recipes and make it themselves. All in all, it was fun time had by all – the food was devoured, cooking techniques were learnt and perfected, wine was paired with every course, and I came home with a happy heart. And a rumbling tummy.
Taking cue from all the wisdom I had just shared mere minutes ago, I decided to whip myself a big bowl of yumminess. The noodles were set to boil while the sauce warmed up in the microwave and the veggies were being chopped. 20 minutes in, I was snuggled on the couch with my feet up, enjoying my well-deserved hot dinner.
Prep time: 15 min | Cooking time: none | Serves: 4
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 large mango, sliced into thin strips
1 large cucumber, sliced into thin strips
1 large carrot, sliced into thin strips
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
finely chopped fresh coriander leaves for garnish
3 cups cooked noodles of choice (cooked according to package instructions and drained)
For the Peanut Sauce:
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup water
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp garlic powder
salt, to taste
Mix all the ingredients for the peanut sauce in a microwave safe bowl and heat for a minute or two, stirring occasionally until the peanut butter softens and blends well with the water. Whisk to remove any lumps.
In a large bowl add all the remaining ingredients, stir in the peanut sauce and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve.
NOTE: This was served alongside some Ginger-Chilli Shrimp in the picture.