Welcome to my third blog post for In-depth 2022!
Congrats to all of you who are still here, following me on my journey to perfect the arts of plant-based cooking. Since my last post, I met with my mentor, went up to Whistler for a weekend to ski with my family, and cooked CRISPY CAULIFLOWER TACOS!
This week I decided to try to cook a twist on tacos. I followed a recipe from the PlantBasedBlonde to make some crispy cauliflower soft tacos. Originally, I was going to cook this delicious dinner on Saturday but eventually realized that I would be in Whistler with my cousins. Since my cousin (Leila) really enjoys cooking, I quickly texted her to ask if she would be interested in being my sous chef. When I found out she was completely on- board with the idea, I went to the grocery store, bought some cauliflower, and hit the road! What I didn’t consider was that I had just committed to cooking for 2 families (no pressure!) and cooking in a completely different kitchen than I was used to.
The cooking went very well, Leila was very helpful and found the plates, which was a relief because we spend 20 minutes looking for them. In all sincerity, this was a pretty easy dish, other than all of the components required. I roasted the cauliflower separately with homemade seasoning, made Pico-de Gallo, made guacamole, a sweet sauce to drizzle on top, and added sliced avocado. This dish took quite a while to cook; partly because the oven took a really long time to roast the cauliflower. I think another contributing factor was that I was cooking for double the amount of people, increasing the cooking time.
The recipe I used: https://www.plantbasedblonde.com/cauliflower-tacos/
Photos of the process:
Me and my cousin (we forgot to take a picture of us cooking, so here is a picture of us later that weekend with my brother and other cousin) :
Yesterday, I met with my mentor, Ms. Lee. She had made a burrito bowl instead, using similar ingredients. Instead of cauliflower, she substituted the ground meat for crumbled tofu mixed with taco seasoning. I found this a really interesting substitute, and I will definitely keep it in mind for my final project. Our mentor meetings have been going really well. I love how we always get the chance to meet in-person during lunch school hours. Below are the pros and cons of our meetings:
- What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?
Each meeting, I receive a lot of helpful feedback and new ways to think about vegetarian substitutions. I appreciate the time my mentor takes in planning and cooking a meal each week, then meeting with me to discuss challenges, successes, and discoveries. We have an enjoyable time reflecting on my progress, while still learning/teaching new ways and techniques to tackle the dishes we make. For example, this week we had a conversation on my idea of making cauliflower tacos and how it is very unique from our usual dishes. Ms. Lee taught me how that dish had little to no proteins in it, and that next time it might be a good idea to try and incorporate lentils, nuts, etc. into the dish.
- What three strategies could improve the quality of your mentoring interactions?
- In-person cooking –> due to COVID, we aren’t able to truly cook alongside each other. I think we would both benefit from being on-on-one when we cook, such as I could learn new techniques as they come up, and my mentor would have an easier time teaching me skills that come up as we are cooking.
- Discuss our meal before cooking it –> We realised that we don’t often get to discuss the meal before we cook it, as I send Ms. Lee a list of recipes to choose from separately. We thought that by discussing the recipe before cooking it, we can talk about what is going into the meal, and other logistical strategies.
- Cooking the exact same dish –> We have been cooking our own renditions of each dish and then sharing it with each other to gain new ideas of substitutions that could be made. Instead, we thought it might be a beneficial idea to cook the exact same meals so we can focus on the skills provided by each recipe, instead of the substitution.
- What is the action plan for implementing each of the three strategies?
We will be implementing the last two strategies next week at our meeting since the first strategy isn’t available with restrictions right now. In our weekly meeting, we will pick out our next meal and then discuss the skills and substitutions we will be making. Additionally, we will be cooking the exact same dish, then reflecting on how it goes in our next meeting.
Much to my brother’s disappointment, I did not end up making the tacos on “Taco Tuesday”, which he mentioned contributed to the 9/10 rating he gave the dish. It’s the simple things, I guess.
Overall, this dish was voted 10/10 by my family and my extended family!
Until next time,