Our mystery class is a favorite every semester and our latest one did not disappoint! Chef Lawrence and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Christine Carlson of the University of Arizona Student Union led our Cooking on Campus class and shared some of their tricks of the trade with us.
This week, the star of the class was jackfruit. Never heard of it? Don’t feel bad, not a lot of people have. It is a fruit that typically grows in tropical areas so we do not see it in the southwest desert. Although fresh jackfruit is not abundantly available, canned versions of the fruit can be found in supermarkets. Chef Lawrence explained that canned jackfruit may be a better option than fresh because not as much preparation is involved.
Christine explained that jackfruit is a member of the fig family, but everyone in the class agreed that it does not look like a fig! It has been made popular for its ability to mimic the texture of pulled pork. That’s right, pulled pork! It is one of those foods that takes on the flavors you add to it. Chef Lawrence began by showing the class how to make a pulled jackfruit slider. He simply mixed the fruit with BBQ sauce and put it in a saucepan until heated through, then finished it off by topping it with a fresh cabbage slaw. All of our students were shocked to discover that these mock meat sliders had the taste and texture of pulled pork!
Chef Lawrence then prepared jackfruit tacos, and again, the students agreed that they felt as if they were eating a dish with meat. Jackfruit ceviche was next up on the menu and he served it with crunchy pita and tortilla chips.
In addition to the jackfruit, Christine also talked about other plant-based alternatives. When the students walked into the class, they saw a jar of meringue cookies but weren’t aware that they were not the classic dessert. Christine surprised everyone when she said that they were made with aquafaba, which is the liquid that chickpeas are canned in. Aquafaba can be used to replace egg whites in many recipes and will not affect the flavor of recipes it’s added to!
This class opened the eyes of every student in attendance and it is safe to say that they are ready to be making their own jackfruit creations! We want to say a huge thank you to Chef Lawrence and Christine Carlson for taking the time to educate us all in such a fun way.
Our next class, Fixing Fast Food, is on Tuesday, April 4th at 5:15 pm in the Outdoor Adventures building of the UA Rec Center. Hope to see you there!