Thursday, May 21, 2015

Food Revolution Day Cooking Demo Community Event... Mediterranean Grilled Veggie Flatbreads...

Saturday, the day after Food Revolution Day was another happening event for me! I was assisting my fellow ambassador Linda Matarasso at her public Wonky Veg Cooking Demo venue at Hendrix Restaurant Supplies & Equipment's brand new showroom in North York. Linda had a team of friends to support her- she had two people assisting her with greeting attendees at the door and handling ballots for draws, and in the kitchen with me and her friend Jenny Roger. There were a lot to prepare in the kitchen before Linda started her presentation at noon. Her menu consisted of homemade pita flatbreads, Mediterranean grilled veggie flatbread sandwiches and spicy carrot soup. We had enough ingredients to prepare food for a hundred!

Photo Credit: Alex @hypebelly Alissa from Hendrix with sandwich 

Excited to work in Hendrix's brand-spanking kitchen space.
Photo Credit: Jenny Roger @jenny_roger

In charge of the dough-making for the flatbreads, I managed to whip up nine batches using two Kitchenaid mixers in the nick of time to give them an hour to rise in room temperature.

There's Linda looking smashin' before getting ready to rock and roll. She poses with sponsor Richa Gupta's Good Food For Good Sauces which she used to add flavour in her Spicy Carrot Soup.

Linda working her charm and humour throughout her demo presentation to engage the crowd. Her thorough instructions were nicely injected with personal stories and tips. It was great she had an entourage of friends there to support her! So sweet!

Linda shows how easy and quickly a mandoline does the job of giving veggies a consistent slice.

As Linda' s right hand woman, I was committed to make sure her demo went smoothly. Photo credit: Alex @hypebelly

Participants rolling out dough that have risen and cut into pieces to get their hands in the action!

This was the first time I made homemade flatbread (and nine batches on my first try)! Super easy! Click here to download and print all the recipes including the deelish spicy carrot soup.

Vegetables is always a smart offering at any venue due to various restrictions in people's diets. And the Mediterranean-style fits the bill harmoniously in these grilled sandwiches.

And then the grilling begins.... I hustled and bustled the large hot grills and griddle alongside Jenny, flipping countless sliced coloured bell peppers, zucchinis and eggplants to blister with grill marks. Richa joined in and assisted in seasoning the grilled veggies with Linda's spice mix and garlic oil. To prevent the garlic from burning during cooking, this was added at the end. Next to hit the hot grills were the flatbreads. The dough was sectioned into eight pieces, and we helped knead and stretch while Linda carried on, telling her audience how simple they are to really make and I concur! They puffed up nicely with some air pockets and blistered nicely. It was the first time these grills were used at the store, and we completely broke them in on Food Rev Day!

This cool hand blender was an apparatus in itself. Huge and quite powerful I'm sure but just in case we kept the bad boy buzzing at a moderate level. Wouldn't want to be splattered all over with hot orange carrot soup.

Look at that beautiful vegetable spread! YUM!

We served the flatbreads and grilled vegetables as a DIY where the participants could customize to their own tastes. Each taking a flatbread and their choice of veggies, homemade pickled onions along with a tahini sauce, mint yoghurt sauce, Parmesan cheese and crumbled feta and fresh chopped mint were offered as toppings and condiments.

The verdict? OMG!!! The most delicious pretty vegetable sandwich I ever sunk my teeth in! Delectable, hearty and delicious! The pita was soft, pliable and chewy! And popping with colours and textures! The juicy vegetables burst with natural sweetness and the garlic-infused oil- mmmm!! The homemade pickled onions added a nice sweet and sour crunch and the tahini and yogurt sauce the slight creaminess.... Heaven in my mouth I say!...

Okay, is this the most gorgeous shot or what? Photo Credit: Alex @hypebelly

And another with Spicy Carrot Soup.  Alex @hypebelly, you're killing me...

After everyone had a chance to sample the sandwiches and soup, prize draws were awarded that included two gift baskets containing a Jamie Oliver cookbook, Sobeys gift card, apron, pens and note pads, Aroma Espresso Gift Card, Uber Card, and a free bag of food from Fresh City Farms. Although, most of us were quite tired after a busy day with Linda and I barely able to stand anymore, we knew it was a fun-filled successful venue where everyone who came out had a great time and supported a great cause on Food Revolution Day!

The amazing team supporting Linda and two little lovely ladies joining in the fun! Credit: @hypebelly

Flexing and posing for Fighting For Food Education!
Photo Credit: Alex @hypebelly

To see Linda Matarasso's personal account of the day's event, check it out here on her blog Starving Foodie.

So....... Seriously, I have been dreaming about Linda's delectable and healthy sandwich since and with cooking back in full swing at home after all my food revolution activities, I was super inspired to make it tonight with my family. 

I don't own a mixer, so I made up a batch of Linda's flatbread recipe, kneading the dough for 10 minutes with both hands. I will tell you that the dough did not double in size. The water I used to dissolve the yeast was too hot, it needs to be very warm (not hot) for the yeast to bloom, and so the dough did not rise properly. You'd think I'd get it right after making nine batches at the event.... However, all was not lost, we worked with them and grilled them up anyway, and they were indeed flat flatbreads. Thin, crispy, very chewy and still pliable enough to fold!

My boys helping to knead and stretch the dough pieces to ready for the grill.

Very thin right? But still tasted good!

I also put out oven-roasted turkey deli meat as a protein option since it was dinner. As for condiments, I had a few ripe avocados that I easily turned into a guacamole, tahini-lime dressing and creamy sweet and tangy Japanese kewpie mayonnaise! Sliced onions and cilantro added crunch and added flavour! Hearty, healthy and delicious!

Yep, my boys agreed, they liked it too, nodding, savouring and smiling between bites!

Here's the thumbs up to you Linda! Husband loved it too! Thank you for inspiring our dinner tonight- it's a recipe that I will make over and over again! A fantastic way to get your kids to eat their veggies- grilled is definitely a way to go! 

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