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The Los Alamos Co-op is cooking up some classes that can teach the average person how to eat healthy and cook a variety of inexpensive, alternative recipes.
Casey Greenling has been special events caterer for about eight years. He specializes in raw and vegan cooking for festivals and retreats all around the United States.
Greenling lent his expertise on Aug. 20 with the first class of the series, Raw Dessert Alchemy and taught how to use cacao, the raw version of chocolate. In his first class, Greenling taught participants how to use some of the best superfoods using raw preparation techniques, which maintain the maximum energetic potential and taste. Greenling will teach another class on cookies and pies using raw preparation on Sept. 10.
“I have a passion for food and teaching,” Greenling said. “Food is an art.” He cooks gourmet food that is raw, yet savory.
Regarding healthy dishes, cooking raw can sometimes be time consuming, because Greenling uses a dehydrator rather than baking in the traditional oven. Temperatures are lower so the “cooking” time is slower. “It takes time for the enzymes to break down in a dehydrator,” Greenling said.
The point of this type of cooking is to get away from processed food. Greenling has worked at many raw food and vegan eateries in Santa Fe, including Mama Pachas Vegan and BODY Café.
Eating healthly and plant-based doesn’t mean breaking the bank. The class Vegan on a Budget will be Sept. 17. Learn techniques from Liz Miller for vegan cooking that will keep the flavor high and the cost low.
“There is a common misconception that being a vegan is only for people privileged enough who can afford to buy meat replacements and other ‘gourmet’ vegan items,” Miller said. “Bulk foods and high-nutrient, but inexpensive foods like beans and grains provide great nutrition at a minimal cost.”
Miller has volunteered at the co-op many times and became interested in teaching classes after chatting with co-op employees about health, nutrition and diet. She recently taught a vegan, gluten-free baking class. She wants to express to the participants what veganism is and how healthy and affordable it can be.
On Oct. 1, Ray Joggerst will show the class how to make dishes with the science of fermentation. Joggerst will focus on vegetable and daily fermentation. The art of vegetable fermentation is often used in the Korean dish Kimchi (using fermented vegetables and a variety of spices). Dairy fermentation can be used for cultured butter, yogurt and Crème fraîche — a soured bacterial culture. Joggerst has taught dairy fermentation in the past and has given cultured samples to classmates so that they can try to make a dish at home. In this class he will focus on wild fermentation and the naturally occurring bacteria in vegetables.
Cabbage, as used in kimchi, is the easiest to ferment because when mixed with salt and left to sit it in its own juices, the fermentation happens naturally. It is important to store the cabbage in an oxygen free container. “With no air, there will be no fungus and the lactic acid will create a salt rich pickling,” Joggerst said. “It is not for everyone, but it is a natural way of doing things.”
Joggerst has a background in chemistry and microbiology. He said that he always keeps buttermilk cultures so that he can make pancakes, biscuits and fried chicken. “It is a money saver and a tradition that is largely lost,” he said.
Kale can make a healthy snack and Lisa Kennard is teaching a class on how to make dehydrated kale chips. Learn how to save money and make several different healthy snacks for the whole family on Oct. 29. Kennard discovered kale chips by figuring out how to recreate store brought items to make them more affordable and fresh. “I enjoyed a few great brands, but most kale chips didn’t taste as amazing as they could,” Kennard said. “I figured out how to make raw vegan toppings for my kale chips that made them irresistible to even my three-year-old. She said she mainly cooks at home creates her own recipes. She wants to teach the class to make raw, vegan, nutrient rich food that is desirable enough to be what they grabbed at snack time.
Kennard lives in White Rock and works for the co-op and was influenced and inspired by the grocery, but also the shoppers. “Los Alamos has some creative, intelligent, worldly shoppers,” Kennard said.
Many organic vegetables and ingredients may be found every Thursday at the Los Alamos Farmers Market.
Shop with a Chef classes are from 6-8 p.m. at the Los Alamos Co-op, 95 Entrada Drive. Registration is open for the remaining classes. Classes are $15 for members and $20 for non-members. For more information call Sandra at 695-1579.