I did it! I’m a graduate of Rouxbe’s Plant-Based Professional Certification Course!
Since enrolling in the course six months ago, I have loved immersing myself in Rouxbe tasks and lessons, learning and reviewing basic prep techniques, making original recipes using completely plant-based ingredients, creating the perfect homemade manicotti from scratch and challenging myself in new and different ways in the kitchen.
The final portion of the course involved implementing lots of the foundational cooking techniques covered in the entire syllabus. I especially loved how Rouxbe taught these techniques in an order and way that made sense. I didn’t just read about or watch videos of techniques—I implemented them and really understood the how and why behind them.
After I took my final exam, Rouxbe gave me a breakdown of what I learned since I started the course:
But I think my favorite part was creating dishes for my final cooking assignment: making canapés! But, before I go into that, I just wanted to thank all of the Rouxbe chef instructors who gave such great feedback, guidance and encouragement throughout the course. In addition to the great platform and expert instruction, having them cheer you on and give insightful feedback for each cooking task was a great motivator to make each lesson count. Thanks Chefs Chad, Ken and Dawn for your expertise, enthusiasm and guidance, and for making it challenging and fun!
The next Rouxbe course seating starts November 5. Whether you want to learn all about plant-based cooking or already have a good working knowledge of plant-based cooking and want to hone your skills, Rouxbe is designed for both!
Micro-Wedge Salad with Maitake Bacon, Toasted Walnut and Vegan Ranch
If you were around in the 80s, you probably ate a wedge salad or two, which was a big hunk of iceberg lettuce with bacon, eggs, sometimes walnuts and some kind of creamy dressing. This is a mini, veganized version of that concept, but here I’ve used a raw Brussels sprout leaf, then layered it with smoky and salty maitake bacon, toasted walnut pieces, some softened shallot rings and vegan ranch made from Vegenaise, parsley, vegan Worcestershire, agave, garlic powder and a little black pepper, then topped with a microgreen.
Sweet Watermelon Radishes on Toasted Rounds with Vegan Feta and Balsamic Reduction
I had never seen a watermelon radish until we moved from Boston to the West Coast. They are always plentiful here. Bright and crisp with a peppery bite, they resemble watermelon only in appearance. I either eat them raw or pickle them but, for this canapé, I sprinkled them with sugar to offset some of their pepperiness. These rounds are tortilla wraps I cut out with a mold ring, and gave a quick toast to in a lightly oiled cast iron pan.
One of my favorite recipes from Rouxbe is Chad Sarno’s raw, cultured cheese, which is a raw nut base (in this case, macadamia nuts) which are blended with probiotic powder and cultured overnight to develop a rich, cheesy flavor by the next day. Once this cheese was cultured, I added enough salt until it resembled a crumbly dry feta cheese. A dot of this was placed between the round and radish to help them stick, then I added a touch of a balsamic reduction and layered again with more cheese and topped with fresh basil and black sesame seeds.
Vegan Scallop (King Oyster Mushroom) with Amaranth Caviar
I adore vegan scallops and wanted to use them here because they are so pretty and have a nice texture. After slicing them and giving them a soak in some warm water, I scored them on the top and seared them in a screaming hot stainless steel pan. To make the amaranth caviar, I boiled the amaranth grain in beet juice until al dente, and added in some balsamic, soy sauce and thyme in at the end. Once cooled, I placed into the refrigerator to chill and to allow the beet color to really penetrate the grain overnight.
This was a really tiny one-bite canapé, and the flavors in the beet juice really gave it a nice flavor. This caviar doesn’t really pop or taste like traditional or other vegan caviar brands—but visually I really like the way it looks.
One of the tasks at Rouxbe was to make a vegan brisket (I know!) It was the first time I braised anything, and figured out that braising is fantastic. Here I cut the brisket into super-thin strips, rolled with chopped scallions and drizzled with homemade teriyaki sauce. They look really pretty on the plate, and have an amazing texture and flavor!
Baked Cashew Cheese Tortellini with Dried Tomato, Shallots and Basil
The pasta unit was probably my favorite part of the course. Getting the right dough consistency, learning how to roll it out and cook it once done is a fun challenge, and Rouxbe walks you through how to do each one. Here I made some cashew-cheese stuffed tortellini, topped with a dehydrated tomato slice, paper-thin shallot and fresh basil leaf. These were brushed with oil and baked, and made a fun two-bite appetizer.