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Jul 22, 2018







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Chipotle black bean burger and sweet potato fries. Courtesy photo.




Upcoming vegetarian classes

Both menus can also be made vegan. Visit culinary-playground.com.
 
Vegetarian Meals Workshop
When: Sunday, May 22, from 4 to 6:30 p.m.
Where: The Culinary Playground, 16 Manning St., Suite 105, Derry
Tickets: $60 (adults-only class)
 
Couples Cooking Vegetarian Dinner
When: Thursday, June 2, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Where: The Culinary Playground, 16 Manning St., Suite 105, Derry
Tickets: $155 per couple




Veggie adventures
Culinary Playground debuts vegetarian classes

05/19/16
By Allie Ginwala aginwala@hippopress.com



 Find out how flavorful and healthy the wide world of veggies and grains can be at the Culinary Playground’s vegetarian meals workshop on Sunday, May 22, and couples cooking vegetarian dinner on Thursday, June 2. 

Karen Mansur, chef at Joppa Fine Foods in Newburyport, Mass., teaches a few classes each month at The Culinary Playground that encompass her specialty of meat-free dining.
“I like to find healthier ways to make foods that people love, making people understand that it’s possible to [have] foods that feel decadent and rich but are actually good for you,” she said in a phone interview. “I like to get people out of the idea that healthy food is boring and bland and people can’t stick with that way of eating because it’s no fun.”
Her two upcoming workshops are brand new to the Playground’s lineup and focus on vegetarian and vegan cooking. The May workshop’s menu features a Southwest flavor profile with chipotle black bean burgers, sweet potato wedges with cheddar and crispy kale and strawberry salad with cinnamon crisps. 
“It’s almost like a pub menu but vegetarian, which I’m hoping will intrigue people,” Mansur said.
She also wants to dispel any preconceived notions about cooking sans meat.
“I think the main point I want to bring home is how to bring flavors in that aren’t the way we’re most used to,” she said. “Most of the time we’re adding butter and salt and fats to get flavor and I’m really hoping I can show the healthy ways of bringing flavor and texture in foods.” 
She’ll show how spices and citrus “awaken the palate,” which may be a surprise for folks unfamiliar with veggie dishes. The black bean burger, for example, is a hearty and rich protein that mimics the feel one expects from a typical beef burger, she said.
“Not that I don’t love good grilled burger, [but] it’s nice to have options, and I think more and more people want to and just don’t know how,” she said.
Mansur goes into her classes with a loose and flexible mindset, letting each group dictate how things play out. Sometimes a group is very social, simply looking to have a good time and try tasty things, while others come in with lots of questions and want to get down to business with the nitty gritty aspects and cooking techniques. She’s curious to see the demographic that comes out for the vegetarian cooking classes in particular, expecting some already interested in a vegetarian diet and others who want to find out what it’s all about. 
“I like to be ready for whatever way they want to go … and gear it to the group,” she said. “It is a hands-on class. They will all cook what’s on the menu and get to try it and take it home … so when you go home you can replicate the menu and impress all your friends.” 





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