While I was at the art workshop this summer, we made the decision as a group to hire someone to cook us dinner. In other years, we have each taken turns cooking for the group - but it really takes a lot of time and mental energy away from your studio time. Recently, our teachers had located a wonderful gal to cook for us, so we asked her to cook for us 5 days a week, and (hopefully) to make enough that we could also have leftovers for lunch.
Leftovers for lunch
That couscous with lime zest in it was amazing!
(we had a great lunch system: we each took turns at night filling the tupperwares with leftovers, making a little more food as needed, and then transporting the "tupps" to the studio in the morning. Then, at the end of the day, the next team would bring them home, wash them out and take over from there.)
It was really amazing! I felt a little sheepish as the only vegan (even the only vegetarian!), but I needn't have worried. She made us loads of amazing food - almost all vegan. On some nights she would make non-veg things, but she always went out of her way to make me a really great vegan alternative. I was quite touched (and delighted!). Some of my fellow workshop-attendees were "bothered" by eating so many beans (if you know what I mean), but I was in heaven!
Below are just a few of the many glorious dinners we enjoyed. I can't tell you how wonderful it was to come home after a long day at the studio and have a big, beautiful dinner waiting for us. Worth every penny!!
This was an amazing panzanella-type salad made with croutons, red onions, olives, cantaloupe & honeydew melon, cherry tomatoes, and some simple dressing. At first we were all a bit surprised by the melon balls in there -- but we were quickly won over and this was quite a hit. I'm eager to re-create this at home.
This one was a big hit with everyone: fresh tomatoes stuffed with perfectly-cooked herbed lentils. So simple, but surprisingly delicious!
Here's the whole dinner - pretty typical actually. She made so many amazing dishes every night!
In addition to the panzanella and the stuffed tomatoes, there were eggplant slices with marinara sauce, roasted beets with white beans, and a green-bean-tomato-salad. Pretty amazing, huh?
Every night, when we would arrive home for dinner, she would put any special vegan items on a separate table. She made such a special effort to make delicious vegan offerings. On nights when she would serve tomatoes with mozzerella cheese, she would buy a rice-based vegan mozz for me. In truth, substitutes like that aren't really my fave, but I LOVED the idea and message behind it.
Another glorious meal: the tomatoes with rice mozzerella, a tomato-bread salad/stew, roasted eggplants, seared peppers, and some veggie medley.
This isn't really an amazing picture, but I included it anyway, because it was an amazing and beautiful little creation. On this night, our chef had made two large quiche/pot pies for everyone that included eggs and cheese, and loads of veggies. Then, she made a separate vegan one that was so adorable and SO DELICIOUS. The crust was perfect and it was filled with a delicious combo of veggies. I wish I had her recipe for this creation!
This is the beautiful room where we ate dinner every night. Such a wonderful thing to come home to. The dinners were also a special time because it gave us time to talk together as a group about our time in the studio, about the lessons from that day, and so on. Good food, good conversation... so nice.
Heading off on this trip, I wasn't sure what sort of food to expect - it felt like quite an act of faith to hand over my culinary needs to someone else! Obviously I was really pleasantly surprised. I was so happily fed and was very impressed with our chef's ability and willingness to cook such a vegan-friendly diet. She even bought her produce locally from various farmers and farm stands -- my kinda gal! <3 p="">