This year on my list of fun fab things to do, was taking a cooking class with my husband. CHECK! This past Sunday we headed off to Ojai and the enchanted Lavender Inn. The Ojai Culinary School hosts different chefs in the bright and sunny French inspired kitchen at The Lavender Inn throughout the year and I've been perusing their newsletter for the perfect one. The Lavender Inn holds a special place in my heart as it has been the destination for many a girls getaway over the years. So when I saw that Sundays Chef was Suzanne Landry, author of The Passionate Vegetable, I could not sign us up fast enough! I mean it's called The Passionate Vegetable!!! What more did I need?! In addition to being a Chef Suzanne is a wellness educator, and she knows what's good for you!
Our day started with a tour of the Ojai Farmers Market, conveniently located down the block from The Lavender Inn. We've been many times, and frequent our own farmers market as well, so we thought there was really nothing she was going to share that we didn't already know. So wrong, in one hour at the farmers market with Suzanne, (which felt like 10 minutes), we learned so much about organic produce, what to do with those weird looking veggies, how long things last, when they are ripe, and how to know if it's really organic. Never buy produce like garlic that comes from China (hello 99cents store) and eating locally grown produce can help prevent illness by building your immune systems resistant to disease in your own environment. Pretty cool. Find out about the 'dirty dozen' the top 12 fruits and vegetables that are the most toxic with pesticides at www.ewg.org.
The food, from the market to the plate, was incredibly gorgeous and equally delicious. And in the spirit of organic I have not edited any of these photos.
In the Garden at The Lavender Inn.
Farmers Market Fleurs.
Good for you greens.
Tomatoes and mini melons.
Lots to know about peppers!
Carrots, onions and greens, oh my.
Scallions & squash.
Cabbage, squash and beans.
This Swiss Chard will be transformed in the kitchen.
Eat the rainbow.
It was so much fun to watch Suzanne create such amazing and healthy food and she made it look so easy that you really want to try these at home!
First on the menu was this amazing Roasted Fresh Fig with Goat Cheese. After sharing how to choose the right figs, she slit them, stuffed them with goat cheese, wrapped them with a thin piece of prosciutto and popped them in the oven for about 15 minutes. They were so good, a party in my mouth good!
Next up this Spicy Watermelon Salad, delicious! Suzanne's associate Maryann was great at arranging the food for my photo ops.
This bowl of ingredients became California Fiesta Quinoa Salad. This is so amazing and easy we'll be making it every week.
Learning about carrots, always buy them with the leafy tops on.
Roasted Asparagus, so delicious and so easy, olive oil, lemon and salt.
I love this picture because you can see how joyful this is for her and that made it joyful and inspiring for everyone in the class.
Here's that Swiss Chard again about to be transformed. Who knows what to do with Swiss Chard, besides shoving it into the juicer?
Creamy & Crunchy Kale Salad. Had we not watched it being made we would have sworn that this salad had a creamy mayo based dressing, but it's only avocado, lemon juice and garlic. Finally learned what massaged Kale means. It really means massaged kale. Easy and fabulous!
With these gorgeous colorful heirloom tomatoes...
Made this gorgeous Tuscan Tomato Bread Salad. Another party in my mouth.
And it wouldn't be The Lavender Inn, without a little lavender, of course.
What I love about The Passionate Vegetable Cook Book, in addition to the great recipes and beautiful pictures, are the "Bites of Insights" Suzanne has included with each recipe that tell you something useful and interesting about the ingredients whether it's the origin of a vegetable, something you need to know about using it, or its health benefits, it's chock full of useful and interesting information. I can't recommend this cook book enough for your health and wellness, and of course to take your veggies from drab to fab ;)
You can find more of Suzanne's recipes, health tips and classes at www.SuzanneLandry.com
Cheers to happy healthy cooking!