It was Saturday, May 16, 2015
hosted at Pirch in the UTC Mall in San Diego. It was tagged on his website as "A watch-learn-eat-drink and have fun, kind of class."
Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. I thought it was actually a cooking class so my first thought when we arrived was, "O wow, we don't have to cook." And we arrived early enough that my mom and I got some prime seats right at the counter, which meant Sam was cooking right in front of us, barely 5 feet away. It was pretty intimate with only about 20 other people in the room. Sam set the stage at the very beginning and told us it was our time to ask ANY QUESTIONS we wanted because he was there LIVE AND PERSONAL just for us. He said, "You'll regret it if you don't ask it. You'll be driving home or thinking about it later and saying, man I wish I had asked." And you know what, he's right. Alas, as a huge introvert though, I had no burning questions. I do wish though that I had had the courage to ask something insightful. I had 3 hours to do it, but alas there were enough others who asked fun and pertinent questions. I was content to listen, and the evening overall was pretty spectacular even without a question from me.
I have to say I was super impressed. And another random thought. He's a lot thinner in person, very charming, pretty funny, and an AMAZING COOK! I swear everything he made melted in my mouth with deliciousness AND he didn't even measure anything WHICH actually made me FEEL AWESOME! Because as a newer cook in the kitchen, I don't measure anything. So that made me feel better. He said it frees you up to experiment when you don't measure, unless you're baking, then you do have to be exact.
The Menu was as follows:
Blackberry and Mint Margarita
Honey, Soy and Mustard Salmon
Kale, Roasted Corn and Bacon Salad
Lamb with Cous Cous
Toasted Pound Cake
Overall Rating: A+++
If he owned a restaurant, I'd definitely be there. I'm actually surprised he doesn't own a restaurant....yet.
He gave us a written copy of all the recipes, so we could really just focus on asking him questions about technique, what it was like to be on the Today show, his philosophy around olive oil, where he shops for his food, about the red green onions he bought (yes I said red), or the powdered hibiscus he had (which was amazing), why you shouldn't put knives in dishwashers, and how he would grab his wok if his house was burning down. It was good conversation! And his 4 assistants made sure our drinks were full and that the bites were plated quickly. It was pretty flawless.
I'll share below one of my favorite recipes from the night. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I LOVED it. I actually made it for my husband tonight and HE LOVED IT! He was shocked to love it so much, especially without any meat in it. We didn't have green pepper or cumin. We did use yogurt, and we added some medium taco sauce. Sam encouraged us to follow his recipe loosely if we did not have everything available in the fridge. He said that was the best part, improvising and just being inspired to cook. So even if you don't have all the ingredients, don't be afraid to tackle this. I hope you enjoy!
Vegetable Fajitas Recipe
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon each cumin, garlic powder, oregano and cayenne
Sour cream or Greek yogurt
Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Heat olive oil in large skillet.
Add both peppers and saute for 5 minutes until they begin to soften.
Add onion and continue for another 5 minutes or so mixing well, then add zucchini.
Saute all for another couple of minutes, then add about 3 tablespoons water and cover pan with a lid for 2 minutes - you want everything soft.
Remove lid, add herbs and mix well.
Turn down heat, and warm your tortillas.
Place a little sour cream/greek yogurt, some vegetables and a little cheese in each cooked tortilla and roll up!
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