Mediterranean Cooking Class: Healthy eats with fresh taste

For my birthday my hubby treated me to a Mediterranean Cooking Class hosted at our local Whole Foods. I have never taken an "official" cooking class so I was thrilled. My friend Yasmin (Right) signed up with me and we chose a Healthy Mediterranean class taught by Wafa Aranki (Left).

The menu included:
Lentil Soup
Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini
Fatoush Salad
Chicken Kabob

When we arrived at the class, which had about 15 other cooks in training, we got right to work. Wafa assigned me to the job of toasting the pita bread. Meanwhile, I spied on all the other jobs and took pictures so I could remember the steps of the recipes.

We started out with a Lentil Soup made distinct with the juice of a lemon and a whole lot of garlic.

-2 cups red lentils
-1 large onion, diced
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-lemon, juiced
-1 1/2 teaspoons salt
-1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1. Put the lentils in a large pot and cover with water. Boil.
2. Add onions.
3. Continue to boil approximately 45 minutes until lentils are soft. You may need to add more water to the pot if it evaporates quickly.
4. Add garlic, salt, cumin.
5. Use immersion blender or regular blender to mix soup to a creamy texture. Boil 5 more minutes.
6. Juice lemon and add to soup before serving.

Another group of cooks in training made this yogurt marinade for our chicken. Then they set it to grilling on a panini maker. Of course, a regular grill or George Foreman work just fine as well. I personally prefer the regular outdoor grill because the chicken maintains its juiciness.

Chicken Kabob

Marinade Ingredients:
-1 pound boneless chicken breast
-5 cloves of garlic, crushed
-1 teaspoon fresh mint, chopped
-1 teaspoon sea salt
-1 cup of plain yogurt
1. Combine marinade ingredients.
2. Trim fat from chicken and mix in marinade. Refrigerate 15 minutes or more.
3. Grill chicken 5-6 minutes.

Our menu also included grilled eggplant and zucchini with a marinade similar to the chicken. These are easy to prepare ahead and then just throw on the grill when you get home from a busy day.

Grilled Eggplant & Zucchini

-1 large eggplant
-2 large zucchini
-2 tablespoons lemon juice
-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
-1/2 teaspoon fresh basil
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 teaspoon sumac
-1 cup plain yogurt

1. Peel eggplant and slice 1/2-inch thick.
2. Cut zucchini in 1/2-inch thick slices.
3. Create marinade with salt, basil, garlic, sumac and plain yogurt.
4. Add vegetables to the marinade. Refrigerate 15 minutes or more.
5. Grill until tender.

Probably my favorite dish we learned to make was a Fatoush Salad - very popular in the Middle East. The blend of flavors in this salad is truly amazing. I also love the pita chips on top that provide a yummy crunch with each bite.
Fatoush Salad

-3 medium tomatoes, sliced
-1 medium onion, sliced
-1 bundle green onions, diced (approximately 1 cup)
-1/2 head of romaine lettuce (chopped)
-1 head of butter lettuce (chopped)
-5-6 radishes, sliced
-3 cucumbers, sliced
-1/2 bunch of parsley, chopped (approximately 1 cup)
-1 cup mint, chopped
-1 jalapeno, diced (Optional)

-10 cloves garlic, minced
-2 tablespoons vinegar
-1/4 cup olive oil
-2 lemons, juiced
-1 tablespoon lemon zest
-1 1/2 teaspoons sea slat
-1 teaspoon sumac
-1/2 teaspoon black pepper

-2 pita breads, toasted and crumbled

1. Chop all vegetables and add to salad bowl
2. Combine ingredients for dressing.
3. Dress salad.
4. Sprinkle pita chips on top.

1 comment:

Crystal Kurzen said...

I love the new design of your site, Dorina! It's great! The Mediterranean cooking class also sounds like a lot of fun! I have signed up for a Thai cooking class this summer in July. I can't wait! The title of the class is "Thai Classics" so I think we're going to learn how to make pad thai, a curry dish, and some sticky rice with mangoes. Yum! I love reading all about your adventures with food and your family's life.

Much love,

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