We had a full house on July 29th at John. F. Kennedy Library with over 20 people attending to hear Chef Lisa Núñez-Hancock teach about how to make classic pesto, other variations of the sauce, and how to use various types of squash as a healthy alternative for pasta.
Chef Lisa is founder of UR what U eat (workshops focused on a farm-to-table cooking philosophy and nutrition), a culinary arts instructor, natural food chef and food activist. She began class with a brief introduction on the Italian origins of traditional pesto sauce and being an enthusiast for healthy eating, dove into the nutritional and medicinal benefits of the basic ingredients. The most common pesto recipe consists of crushed garlic, basil and pine nuts blended with Parmesan cheese and olive oil. “Basil happens to be an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial food that can help reduce inflammation in the body,” Chef Lisa imparted. Other nut variations, such as walnuts and cashews, may be used to create unique and flavorful pestos. Nuts are loaded with heart-healthy fats that aid in increasing good cholesterol.
An enthusiastic teen was invited up to assist Chef Lisa in prepping the ingredients for her tasting samples that were later distributed and enjoyed. There was discussion on different leafy green varieties that can also be used to achieve equally delicious pesto sauces like spinach, arugula and even broccoli to name a few. The workshop closed with a quick raffle draw where winners took home some exciting veggie prizes such as a bright yellow spaghetti squash to begin experimenting replacing pasta for a lighter summer meal.
This conscious eating workshop series includes a book group that meets four times per year to discuss books relevant to healthy eating and the local food movement. Participants were able to get a sneak peak at the next book that will be discussed at our next summer book group meeting on Wednesday, August 30th called “What to EAT” by Marion Nestle. This book guides you through the supermarket, aisle by aisle, to help you make healthy, informed choices about food.
Workshop hosted by the John F. Kennedy library and in partnership with Sustainable Solano and UR what U eat.
The next seasonal cooking workshop for fall will be Saturday, September 16th where Chef Lisa Nuñez-Hancock will cover how to preserve vegetables and fruits. You will learn how to brine and ferment vegetables and how to make healthy, naturally sweetened fruit spreads.