Our Final Culinary School Dinner: Put Some South in Yo’ Mouth

Nope, not your average meat and three or butter and cheese-loaded mac and cheese and cornbread-fest. Given my penchant for anything southern and involving glazed pecans, it’ll come as no surprise that my six-person culinary-cohort settled on a southern themed epicurean paradise.  And this past Friday night (times two because I wrote it two weeks ago and forgot) was the culmination of my chef’s training program at the Natural Gourmet Institute: a three course vegan meal for 100 people.

Also of note, my amazing boyfriend who could subsist (ew did I just say amazing boyfriend? I hate people who wax poetic about that kind of stuff) on eggs and lean chicken breast alone with a wild aversion to all things plant-based, offered rave reviews of the bean and mushroom stout pot pie (even more miraculously, he hates both beans and mushrooms) and probably tried about five new vegetables in the appetizer alone.

After countless hours of chiffonading greens (because, hey, I can kind of do that now), supreming oranges (which, hey, I can also do) and arguing for spiralized beet “noodles” over roasted pickled beets, we managed to pull it all off. Behold, a few favorite photos from the feast.

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Vegan Greek Salad with Oregano-Dijon Vinaigrette

Crusty french bread. It’s my downfall. I basically spend 41% of each day attempting to figure out, “What meal can I create that create a delicious vestibule to dip crusty french bread?” The answer, unfortunately for my carbohydrates intake, is pretty much everything.

Thankfully, this healthy Greek Salad leaves me full enough that my baguette-a-day addiction has dissipated.

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Ingredients
(serves 2)

Salad:

1/4 package kale
1/4 package herb salad mix (preferably with dill in it) or lettuce of choice
6 grape leaves, crumbled
2 tablespoons capers
1/2 cucumber, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 orange pepper, chopped
10 baby carrots, chopped
optional: 1/4 onion, chopped

Dressing:

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard.
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon red chile pepper flakes
Hearty sprinkle nutritional yeast (yay B12!)
salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

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1. Mix all salad ingredient in bowl. Add dressing and coat evenly.
2. If possible, refrigerate for an hour to let dressing soak in. Eat!
3. Yes, it’s okay to sop up the extra dressing with crusty french bread.