• vegan cooking class with spork foods!

    February 8th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, spork foods, vegan events

    i can’t believe it, WE FINALLY TOOK A SPORK FOODS CLASS! and it was every bit as awesome as we hoped! read on.

    personal seitan pot pie with a biscuit topping and caramelized onion mashed potatoes with crispy sage

    spork foods has been on our radar for ages. the popular cruelty-free cooking class, run by adorable local sisters jenny and heather goldberg, has been written up by everyone from vegnews, to the los angeles times, to LAist.com, and various vegan blogs alike. i’ve tried their marvelous food in the past, first at the opening of their weho instructional space, and next at an LA vegan drinks shindig. i’ve also had the pleasure of virtually taking their classes and making their dishes in the comfort of my own home via the newly-launched sporkonline.com, a website that gives you access to high quality instructional videos as well as recipe breakdowns.

    even though i’m usually pretty intimidated by the thought of cooking, the sporkonline classes were so fun, i knew i had to take one in real life. the sporkies do a different themed class every weekend with several time slots available. they are $65 each, and include about 2 hours of instruction plus a huge home cooked meal at the end! they’ve covered everything from italian food to curry, to holiday feasts and healthy meals. plus, every month they do an entirely gluten-free class for people with gluten sensitivities. we tracked the cooking class calendar until we found one that sounded perfect for us: “throwback to the 50’s – TV dinner edition” with recipes such as succulent succotash, personal seitan pot pies with a biscuit topping, crispy sage and caramelized onion mashed potatoes, and rich chocolate peanut butter brownies. sounds too good to pass up, right?! well it was…

    from the moment we entered the beautiful spork foods space, we felt like we were at home. we were greeted with friendly smiles by heather and jenny, and lead into their spacious kitchen where we gathered around a huge island to watch their instruction. there was a great mix of oldies music playing (maybe as an homage to the 50’s themed class), and a lovely dining table already set for us to enjoy our meal.

    the ingredients for each dish were all laid out behind the counter, increasing our excitement for what was about to go down…

    in our class, there were ten students. i’m convinced that’s a perfect amount, because it was intimate and private, but there were enough people there to get a friendly dialogue going. it was a mix of vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores; there were people who had signed up for the class themselves, were brought by their spouse, or had received the class as a gift. basically, everybody was there for different reasons, but they were all delighted to learn more about vegan cuisne.

    before i go on, i should tell you a little bit about jenny and heather…

    heather (left) and jenny (right)

    the above picture is a press shot, but it pretty much sums them up and gives you an idea of what it’s like to take their class. they are just so warm and kind, and it all carries over into their teaching style and food. they are honestly some of the sweetest, cutest ladies you will ever meet in your life. jenny trained at the natural gourmet institute, so she really knows her stuff…and heather uses a decade of non-profit experience to run the business side of spork foods. together they teach the class, help each other chop and cook, and answer any questions students may have.

    one thing i loved about the spork foods class is how interactive it was. they passed out recipes, encouraged participation, and even had little spoons on hand for people to sample ingredients. i will admit i indulged in more than a few chocolate chips…

    speaking of chocolate chips, the class started with a fudgy brownie recipe topped with a peanut butter swirl…

    brownie swirlin'!

    after they showed us how to make the decadent dessert, they popped it in the oven where it would continue to cook and omit glorious smells for the remainder of the class.

    next up, seitan pot pies! the sisters had tips on everything from cooking seitan, to which vegetables to buy, to how to chop things, and to making our very own biscuit crust.

    cooking the seitan!

    fillin' up the pies!

    i must admit, i was a little nervous when i saw them pull out a huge orange bell pepper to chop up and put into the pot pies. everything else in the pies looked so delicious, and i absolutely HATE bell peppers…so i thought my meal would be ruined! i’m happy to report though, this one was very mild and i actually LOVED my pot pie. i’m making progress, people!

    ready for the oven!

    after the pies were assembled, they joined the brownies in the oven. within moments, the overwhelmingly good food smells were almost too much to handle…

    bake bake bake

    next was my favorite dish: the richest, tastiest mashed potatoes i’ve ever eaten. this dish also called for some chopping instruction, and i honestly think spork classes are worth the price of admission just for the cutting techniques…

    cuttin' tatties

    chop chop

    …and roasting techniques. like the one they taught us for roasting this head of garlic…

    glorious garlic - makes everything better

    jenny also took the time to school us on the miracle product called earth balance. some folks in the class had never heard of it, and i guarantee you their lives are now forever changed. this is the secret to making vegan food taste not so vegan at all.

    the university of earth balance

    we also learned the secret to caramelizing onions…

    sweet goodness!

    and about using fried sage as a garnish…

    sage instruction

    the spork sisters seem to know EVERYTHING about EVERY ingredient they use. from the history, to the disease-fighting qualities, to the best brand to buy. when you take their class, don’t hold back! ask lots of questions, because they’ve got answers.

    fryin' up sage!

    lastly, as the dishes were finishing up in the oven, the sporkies taught us how to make succotash—vegetables and lima beans in a creamy sauce.


    the pot pies were simply gorgeous when they came out of the oven…

    fresh from the oven

    here is a look at the full on dinner plate…

    seitan pot pie, succotash, and mashed potatoes

    i must admit, the succotash contained way too many bell peppers for me to give it a try, but the other students sure loved it! (the plate pictured above belonged to my husband.) lucky for me, the feast was family style and there was more than enough food to go around…so i filled up on some extra mashed potatoes. if you have any food aversions, i would suggest you contact spork and ask which class would be best for you.


    the pot pies were simply amazing. the seitan was plump and juicy, the vegetable filling was rich and creamy, and the biscuit topping was all crispy and buttery. heaven, i tell you, heaven! similarly, the mashed potatoes were epic…

    insane mashed potatoes

    something about the sweetness of the caramelized onions and the crispiness of the fried sage made these babies irresistible. this has got to be my favorite mash recipe yet.

    lastly, the brownies!

    time for dessert

    i love sweets, and these things won me over instantly. they weren’t dry and cakey like lots of brownies can be, but ridiculously soft and fudgy. the peanut butter on top was just perfect as well…subtle, and not overbearing. i could eat these everyday.

    overall, the spork foods cooking class was absolutely lovely. from the gorgeous space, to the expert instruction, to the delicious food, and friendly dinner…we loved every minute of it. i’m already stalking the spork schedule and plotting my next class. i’ve got my eye on the south american, new england, and brunch-themed classes. aaaaagh, who am i kidding? they all sound amazing!

    do yourself a favor, and sign up for a spork class ASAP! they also make great gifts, and valentine’s day is right around the corner. just sayin’!

    for more info, head over to the spork foods website, follow them on twitter, and check out their awesome online cooking classes.

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9 responses to “vegan cooking class with spork foods!” RSS icon

  • Mashed potatoes with caramelized onions and fried sage… I don’t think I’ve had fried sage on anything. I’ll have to try that next time I make some mashed potatoes.

    Keep trying bell peppers and I’m sure you’ll like them eventually. Kim at C’est la Vegan said she used to hate them too. They’re the same as hot peppers except without capsicum.

  • I want to take one of these classes so bad! I’m sad I missed the Superbowl one. It looked incredible!

  • i LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE the sporkies!!! have taken several classes with them over the years and have learned so much and am thrilled they are doing so well <3 <3 <3

  • The Spork Sisters are the BEST. I took this class as well (Throwback to 50’s..) and I can second Quarrygirl in saying how truly amazing it was. I have taken several other classes with these gals and it is always the most fun, happy and joyful experience, and delicious too! I am enrolled in a bunch of the upcoming classes too because they are just too good to resist. Love Spork! 🙂

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    What lovely photos!!!!
    And everything looks marvelous and delicious too.

  • I wish they were my sisters!! So fun!

    Great pics, btw!

  • Love the pictures! Yummmmmmy! I love this blog!

  • That looks fantastic! I’ve been looking for an excuse to sign up for their online classes, and this just might be it. 🙂

    Does anyone know if you get access to past classes when you do that?

  • Looks delicious. I love using those mini Le Creuset ramekins, too.

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