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Friday, October 28, 2011

Central Florida Veg Fest 2011 - Part III

"Food is an important part of a balanced diet."

Hello everybody!  May you experience a lifetime first today.  An insect gracefully landing from mid flight with precision and awe, a family of cardinals visiting your feeder, a pet doing something silly but otherwise out of the norm, or a similar action/event.  Keep your eyes and mind open and enjoy everything that surrounds you!

Back to that most wonderful event, The Central Florida Veg Fest 2011.  Today I elaborate and share some of the food demonstration experiences with you.  To keep it both simple and fair, I shall simply report on the chef and their presentation in the order that I was fortunate to experience them.
Chef Velva Peterson, Vegetarians of Central Florida, "Dal Curry"

If you're a regular blog reader, you might remember her name.  Chef Velva shared the most delicious "Eggless Thousand Island Dressing" and "Pesto Sauce with Linguini" recipes at Central Florida's Earth Day 2011 back in April.

Not to be outdone, she once again shined at Veg Fest where she demonstrated the ease of making delicious "Dal Curry" which she served over basmati rice.  Tiffany and i were fortunate enough to walk into Loch Haven Park exactly where she was setting up for the first food demonstration of the day.

Chef Velva was kind and nice enough to take a few minutes while preparing for her demonstration to chat.  Tiffany immediately recognized her as she quickly recognized me from the Earth Day demonstration.  Our chat was friendly, educating and like talking to an old family friend.

Should you get the chance to see Chef Velva in action, do yourself a favor and don't miss the opportunity to do so!  I've linked her name above to her forthcoming website.  It's probably not up-and-running as this is posted so check back again at a later date.  Chef Velva promises to share lots of her knowledge, experiences, and recipes when her site becomes "live".

Dal Curry over basmati rice (recipe)
Chef Ellen Jaffe Jones, Eat Vegan on $4.00 a Day, "Veggies in a Blanket and Chocolate Mousse"

Tiffany and I caught most of Chef Ellen's lecture, "Eat Vegan on $4 a Day - A Game Plan for the Budge Conscious" over at the Speaker's tent.  Afterwards, we hung around to purchase a copy of her cookbook and had it personally signed.  Not soon after we followed her to the Food Demonstration area.  Wait!  Tiffany and I are becoming Chef Ellen Groupies!  But... That's not a bad thing whatsoever.

Her demonstration showed the ease of preparing healthy vegan food without breaking the wallet.  Nothing extravagant.  Just plain healthy, delicious and nutritious food.

She demonstrated taking fresh veggies, shredding them, and adding them into a healthy tortilla using a health-minded condiment (hummus, for our sample selection).

The cookbook is affordable and provides deliciously simple ideals.  When I flipped through it quickly before deciding upon my purchase, I was amazed how delicious each and every page read.  I haven't had opportunity to make the recipes yet but have read the introductory chapters.  Extremely well written with smooth flow from one chapter to another.  Chef Ellen was destined to become a writer of a vegan book, trust me.
Chef Olive Mackey, Central Florida Raw Food Connection, "Taste the Benefits of Raw Food and Seasonal Eating"

First and foremost, I offer my apology to Chef Olive that I had but taken a single photograph and did not capture the warm smile that is constant upon her face.

Chef Olive had also demonstrated at Earth Day.  She is a highly educated and knowledgeable person who freely exchanges her experiences and skills.  A true pleasure to watch and listen.  The love of healthy raw food exudes from her words and mannerisms.

Chef Olive demonstrated some raw soup utilizing seasonal locally grown produce.  She also spoke of CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) and locally available vegetables.  Another neat little trick shared by Chef Olive this day and back at Earth Day was naturally flavored water.

She takes a good clean sourced water and includes healthy material to make flavored-infused sun teas.  She brought samples fresh rosemary-infused and cinnamon-infused waters for attendees to sample.  Tiffany and I immediately made some cinnamon-infused sun tea (water) the following day.  As a matter of fact, I've brought some to work with me today in a stainless steel environmentally conscious bottle, of course.
Chef Ashley Ripley, The Skinny Pig Baking Company, "Green Goddess Foods"

I found Chef Ashley's demonstration not only educational but quite humorous.  She has a subtle humor that appeared to fly above the heads of most attendees.  I, myself, was laughing out loud inside with her strategic references of underlying humor.

Chef Ashley gave us another two-in-one demonstration.  She did a raw smoothie ("Pura Vida Smoothie") and raw salad ("Very Veg Kale Salad") presentation.  Both simple, raw and delicious.

Tiffany and I have made the "Very Veg Kale Salad" several times for lunch since attending the demonstration.  Who knew raw food could be prepared so simply yet delicious and healthy?  Chef Ashley did!

I do have one regret however.  I truly regret that I did not purchase a copy of her new book, "Peaceful Eating" after watching her demonstration and asking her to sign it.  I see wonderful things happening to Chef Ashley in the future.  If you get the opportunity to meet her, please do.

Chef Katie Mosher, Raphsodic Bakery, "Flavor Pairing with Baked Goods"

With all apology to Chef Katie, Tiffany and I missed your demonstration.  We had to choose a time of day to visit the booths and this was the time.  Maybe next time?
Chef John Couch, Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar, "Wraps-n-Rolls"

Winner, winner, cabbage roll dinner!  Tiffany and I thoroughly enjoyed Chef John's presentation.  Funny!  I think that Chef John has more passion for food than all of the vegans & vegetarians at this event combined.

Chef John demonstrated and shared his secrets to making cabbage rolls but offered no hand-outs.  He eventually plans on writing a cookbook in which he shall detail the ingredients and steps in depth and in detail.  In the meantime, he shared the basics necessary for anyone attending to replicate his dishes.

I cannot wait to make the cabbage rolls that he has demonstrated.  Who knew it was so easy and delicious to do so?  So simple, so easy, so tasty.

I particularly liked some of the "trade secrets" shared by Chef John.  His love for cooking and sharing was so ever apparent.  Now I am looking forward to another Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar visit and sampling more of his concoctions.

Chef Rama Raghava, Chef Rama, "Mushroom Ceviche"

Last but certainly not least was Chef Rama sharing some authentic Peruvian cuisine.  Tiffany & I can safely say that until this past Saturday, neither had experienced Peruvian food.

When Chef Rama passed around the recipe sheet prior to beginning, I immediately recognized that I would be a ardent fan of Peruvian cooking.  He identifies Peruvian foods as having French, Chinese and Indian culinary influences.  How can this combination go wrong?  Trust me, it didn't!

Again, keeping with the day's theme it was simple, easy and delicious.  A combination of ingredients that I perhaps would not have dared experimented (mushroom, lime juice, Limo pepper, ginger, red onion, sweet potato, and roasted corn to name but a few ingredients).

Allow your eyes and imagination to enjoy the dish that he prepared below.  No, it wasn't as delicious and tasty as it appears.  It was tastier and more delicious than the eyes imagine!  I love the melding of a cornucopia of tastes upon my palate.  Chef Rama truly delivered with his presentation of "Mushroom Ceviche"!

Mushroom Ceviche as prepared by Chef Rama

Tiffany & I spent the better part of the afternoon watching, learning and tasting from the food demonstrations.  So much learned by us and so much shared by the chefs.  I cannot emphasize how much thanks and gratitude I have for everyone of them sharing their time, their love of food, and their knowledge of the culinary arts with us.  Chef Velva, Chef Ellen, Chef Olive, Chef Ashley, Chef Katie, Chef John and Chef Rama... "Thank you ever so much!"  Every single minute spent with each of you was time very well spent!

Hi-dee hi-dee what-a-truly-wonderful-gift-that-these-chefs-did-share-ho my friend.

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