Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mediterranean Flavors Cooking Class

Earlier today I attended my very first cooking class. This Mediterranean Flavors cooking class was held at one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants "Cafe Sunflower" in Sandy Springs.
The restaurant owners Lin and Edward Sun, and their daughter Jenny Sun created a very nice atmosphere and a great cooking demo area. I attended this class with about 20 other people, mostly women.

The menu:
Meatless Harira (Moroccan Ramadan Soup) with Harissa
Tagine of Soy Chicken, Preserved Lemons and Olives served over Couscous
Ensalada Catalana

Chef Marc Jolis was teaching this class with the help of his assistants Jackie (a culinary school student) and Edward Sun. Chef Marc Jolis was amazing! I found his style of teaching style very informative, fun, and easy to follow. I enjoyed all the tasty tidbits that accompanied each recipe. It was really interesting to learn not just about the recipes, but also the origin of the dishes and other interesting information about many of the key ingredients. Besides the fact that I learned how to prepare these dishes step by step, I also learned how to preserve my own lemons, prepare fresh Moroccan hot sauce "Harissa", store ingredients before using them in dishes, press ginger in a new way, dress salad with vinaigrette, cut and dice bell pepper, peel tomatoes, and so much more.
Even though I cook often and know a lot of techniques and tricks around the kitchen, I still learned a lot today. It was a very inspiring cooking class and I cannot wait to make these dishes at home. I loved this food journey around the Mediterranean sea!
I was even able to take home a jar with a preserved lemon :-) It will be ready in four weeks.

Chef Marc Jolis stirring the Soy Tagine that was prepared in a traditional tagine dish with a unique cover. Words cannot describe the wonderful, strong aroma of this dish while it was cooking! All the lovely spices came together and created a very flavorful and aromatic meal.

The last touch of olives and preserved lemons.

And here is my bowl of delicious Soy chicken tagine. The flavors were very bring and they lingered in my mouth a long after I was done eating. The preserved lemons gave this dish a perfect touch.

A wonderful Meatless Harira soup accompanied by spicy Harissa condiment. This soup was fantastic!!! Just the perfect amount of heat, bursting with flavor!
I will be making this soup soon.

My bowl of Meatless Harira soup.

Chef Marc Jolis demonstrating the proper bell pepper cutting technique.

Peeling tomatoes for the Ensalada Catalana.

Beautiful Ensalads Catalana with arugula, drizzled with El Alino salad dressing.

I cannot wait to attend the next cooking class! If you live in Atlanta, or near by, you have to visit Cafe Sunflower! They have two locations, one in Buckhead and one in Sandy Springs.
They have some of the best vegan dishes that I have ever tasted! And they even sell a cookbook with many of their famous recipes.

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  1. Nice. I've never taken a cooking class...but I should one day. I LOVE Harira soup. There's a kosher place here that makes one that's amazing!

  2. This is such a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing for those of us who were not able to be there.