November 23, 2008

Raw Comfort Foods Class

Ever since I saw the swank demonstration kitchen in the new Rochester Hills Whole Foods I've wanted to attend a class there. When a listing for a raw comfort foods demonstration came up I jumped at the chance to attend. I've been exploring raw foods because the methods are so fascinating and delicious. The instructor for the demonstration I attended was Beth Wilke.

Beth's focus is on simple and quick recipes. She had two comfort food dishes to demonstrate that day: Cinnamon Apple Breakfast Porridge and her B&B Hot Chocolate. She began with a primer on what raw food is, for her it's vegan and nothing heated above 115 degrees F. We went over the nutritional advantage to soaking and sprouting nuts. She had samples of nuts she had soaked and dehydrated herself. We compared the soaked and dehydrated almond's and pecan's for the differences in taste and appearance to the regular raw nuts. Then we moved on to the two recipes. Both of her recipes were sweetened with medjool dates. The apple porridge was sweetened with homemade date paste (soaked dates that have been pureed) but the hot chocolate's fresh almond milk used whole, pitted dates. Beth dehydrates the remaining pulp from making her almond milk to use as flour. Because it is blended with dates she creates a sweetened almond flour. For the porridge, she warmed the dish in an oven though a dehydrator would be used at home. With the hot chocolate, she used the Vita-Mix blender to beat it to a warm temperature.

Both dishes were tasty and I really want to try and make more almond milk at home. Alex my son likes chocolate almond milk and I'd like to see if he'd drink a date-sweetened version. I'd love to play with the by-product, the date-sweetened almond flour. Beth has several other upcoming classes and she also hosts a raw potluck in the northeast metro Detroit area every other month. You can chose to bring a dish as long as you also provide a recipe or you can offer a $10 donation to attend and try all the raw food. I think it would be a great opportunity if you are just getting started. For more information, you can visit the link to her site. In addition to the new Whole Foods, the open air mall Village of Rochester Hills also has a Williams-Sonoma store that hosts classes and demonstrations. You can see all of the upcoming events in the link below.

The Village of Rochester Hills
In-store Events at The Village (Lists both the Whole Foods and Williams-Sonoma events and classes)
Rochester Hills Whole Food Market
Beth Wilke's Schedule

Beth preparing the raw cinnamon apple breakfast porridge.
From the left: coring apples, showing us the medjool date paste, the finished dish
Beth preparing the B&B's Hot Chocolate.
From left: Starting the blender with the almonds, dates and water,
filling the nut milk bag, squeezing the nut milk