A Warming Cooking Class with Terry Walters at Weekend Kitchen, Essex


Who knew having dinner with a dozen strangers could be so much fun? That’s exactly what I was up to last week at a vegan cooking class presented by Terry Walters at Weekend Kitchen. After several depressing weeks of rain, an enthusiastic bunch gathered in Nancy Kirkiles’ cozy kitchen.

I’ve long been a fan of Terry Water’s cookbooks, but this was the first time I’ve managed to make it to one of her classes (she often teaches at Weekend Kitchen). She had an intriguing dinner planned for us, and after having just been told by my doctor to stick to a low-cholesterol diet, this vegan menu was just the thing. The concept was “Bring on the Heat, Keeping Warm from the Inside Out, with the goal of eating the colors of the rainbow and integrating all 5 tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and pungent.

We split into groups to create the five courses of Rice Noodles in Spicy Peanut Sauce rolled in Nori, Ginger Shiitake Soup with Cabbage and Edamame, Sesame Ginger Greens, Spicy Thai Tempeh with Cashews, and a Ginger Pear Crisp.

While we chopped veggies, roasted peppers on the stove top, and caramelized onions, Terry was on hand to offer tips and cooking advice and generally provide cheerful encouragement. I’d never made tempeh before, so it was good to learn an easy steaming technique for this healthy protein.

Surprisingly, everything came together quickly, and we sat down for a delicious and healthy feast after about an hour and a half of discussion, prep, and cooking. The pear crumble baked as we enjoyed dinner and blabbed, and was finished just in time for dessert.

We all had such a good time, and I came away with new heart-healthy recipes, skills, and friends. What more could you want from a dreary January night?

Learn more and purchase Terry’s latest cookbook, Nourish, here: https://www.terrywalters.net/product/nourish/

Keep an eye on the Weekend Kitchen website for cooking classes of all kinds.

Here’s the recipe for the Spicy Thai Tempeh with Cashews:

Serves 4

1 8-ounce package tempeh
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced
1 roasted red bell pepper, diced (we did this directly on the stovetop)
1 cup roasted cashews, chopped (tossed them around in an iron pan for a few minutes)
1 tablespoon roasted red chili paste (use a bit less if spicy is not your thing)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons tamari
1/3 cup water
4 scallions finely chopped

Cut tempeh into large chunks and steam for 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside until cool enough to handle.

In a large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté onion in olive oil for 10 minutes or until caramelized. Crumble chunks of tempeh directly into skillet. Add roasted red pepper and cashews and sauté 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together chili paste, syrup, tamarind and water. Pour over tempeh, and sauté another minute to combine flavors. Remove from heat, top with chopped scallions, and serve.