A beautiful bloggy dinner

Hey everyone! How are ya? I’m bueno over here… even though I’m moving a little slowly after last night’s vino 😉

To re-wind a little to the last part of yesterday’s class, we went in after lunch and starting working on some fig tarts.

We were given the option to use the very basic recipe and be as creative as we wanted with spices and flavors.

I grabbed some of these little gems:

001  (Yes, I cut my thumb while working a couple of nights ago. I’m pretty sure that makes 6 cuts since I got here. I’m great with a knife, can ya tell? Haha)

I chose star anise because I love the licorice flavor.. and my adorable little cousin is named Anise 🙂

So to flavor up the tart shells, I used anise, nutmeg, vanilla extract, a little agave, and orange zest.


They smelled like heaven, and I flavored up the tart cream similarly but also included some orange juice into the mix.


All of the tart ingredients are in the fridge, and today we’ll be assembling them and topping them with fresh figs. And eating them, of course… should be ridiculous 😀

After school, a bunch of us stayed to do prep work for the kitchen since the restaurant has been SLAMMED all week. It’s definitely a good thing, but we’re trying to catch up with everything we’ve sold. The thing about raw foods that makes it tricky is that you have to make a lot of your ingredients before you can start (soaking nuts, making nut milk, hacking coconuts if there isn’t meat available, juicing fruits, irish moss paste, date paste) so it takes a lot of pre-prep work. Then you can start making the components, then finally put it all together. So before we got started on our un-cooking extravaganza, a group of us make some green smoothies for an energy boost.


Mine had banana, Swiss chard, pineapple, almond milk, aloe, spirulina and chia seeds. Deeeelish.

I made some biscotti, malted chocolate tarts, and mango tres leches custard and then it was time to come home and get ready for a bloggy dinner 😀


Meghan, myself, Michelle, Kacy, Dustin, Traci and Megan

First things first: a foodgasmic glass of Shiraz


For the entree, I chose the sushi, which I’ve had before, but I really love it and it’s the perfect size for a small meal—I was still feeling a little full and bloated from everything we ate at school

006  (that pic is for you, Donny)

And shared eggplant chips and hummus and kale chips with Michelle


Those kale chips could quite possibly be my favorite thing ever. I’m so glad we learned how to make them in school because when I get back to Valdizzy, the dehydrator will be packed with those things 😀

The restaurant was so busy and by the time we got there and ordered they were out of some things, so the restaurant manager hooked us up with a bottle of wine and a table full of desserts. I don’t think I would have minded at all because I was enjoying myself chatting it up with everyone, but I’m never one to turn down wine… or dessert 😉

Kelly (aka pastry genius) was so sweet to make a passion fruit parfait for me since I’ve been wanting to try it:


We all shared, and everything was amazing.

It was so cool to enjoy a meal at the restaurant from the customer side of things. It felt good to sit, sip wine, chat and enjoy a beautiful meal instead of stuffing my face on a quick break back by the dish pit 🙂 Thank you so much to Meghan, Kacy, Traci and Dustin for coming out last night!! I had a blasty hanging out and it was so lovely to meet all of you.

Well I’m off to get ready for class—have a great day and I’ll see you later 😀



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  1. Erica on September 17, 2009 at 9:42 am

    What a fun blog meet up! Dinner looks fabulous. The sushi is gorgeous and I want some of those egg plant chips! I am planning on grilling egg plant tonight so that will just have to do! Hooray for free wine and dessert 😉

  2. Stephanie on September 17, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Dinner looks lovely! I need to try these kale chips – I keep seeing them everywhereeee in blog world 🙂

  3. VeggieGirl on September 17, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Star anise = awesome ingredient choice.

    Loooovely dinner!!

  4. Mara @ What's For Dinner? on September 17, 2009 at 9:55 am

    i’m just now learning to like anise… I never liked it before, but its growing on me! I’d love to try sushi like that 🙂
    Check out my CHEESE GIVEAWAY!!! It’s just SCREAMING gina!!

  5. Pam on September 17, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Looks like heaven to me!

  6. Jessica @ How Sweet It Is on September 17, 2009 at 10:07 am

    That tart sounds delicious, Figs are one of my absolute favorite foods! The other meals aren’t too shabby either. 🙂

  7. Leianna on September 17, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Look forward to the tarts, never used Star Anise before!
    Great end of night dessert and a night out with bloggies!

  8. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) on September 17, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Girls night out….just what the doctor ordered! Glad you had fun! I still wanna know the specifics on the kale chips…how long to dehydrate, what spices/seasonings you used, the 411 b/c yeah those do look awesome! And the star anise is such a great fall movin’ into the holidays kinda spice, love it.

  9. Diana (Soap & Chocolate) on September 17, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Very cool that you got to go from cheffer to customer! You will have the ultimate understanding of 105 Degrees, eh? Speaking of which, maybe you should start dropping hints that they need to open an outpost in NYC…and maybe Valdizzy too. I’m just sayin’.

    PS Tried Zumba for the first time the other night and of course thought of you. LOVED IT! I am all in favor of dance-outs vs. workouts. 🙂

  10. Stephanie on September 17, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Those tarts look great! I am loving reading about your school/restaurant adventures! It is so inspiring and I’m thinking of going to culinary school myself…but am concerned about having to eat everything I make so maybe I’ll look into a healthy one:) I’ve not ventured into the foray of raw eating yet though, but I’m wanting to expiriment.

  11. Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) on September 17, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Everything you have been making looks so amazing! I’ve never had a raw meal like that.

  12. Heather McD (Heather Eats Almond Butter) on September 17, 2009 at 11:02 am

    OK, I’ve got to get an Excalibur, if just for the kale chips. Oh Christian Dior…my Christmas list has started. 😉

    What a fun dinner Gina – wish I could have been there, and is that sushi wrapped in avocoado strips. OMG – died and gone to heaven!

    No more knife cuts, K? Be careful my friend!

  13. Sheri on September 17, 2009 at 11:35 am

    My goodness girl you have had quite a few boo boos since you have been there! Try and be careful my dear! 🙂

    That dinner lookes so amazing! Glad you enjoyed yourself and had a night off.

  14. HealthySDLiving on September 17, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Sounds like you guys had such a great time–I’d love to attend a blog meet-up someday!
    OK…I’m dying to try these Kale Chips! I don’t have a dehydrator though, can you make them another way?

  15. Sarah @ The Foodie Diaries on September 17, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I love your caterpillar sushi 🙂

  16. Kasie@~The Art of Life on September 17, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    It was so great to meet you Gina!! We had such a wonderful time. And the food….Oh My Goodness….YUM-MY! Thanks so much for organizing the meet-up. Hopefully we’ll see you again before school is over because we’re definitely going to be back to 105. 🙂

  17. Meghan on September 17, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Thank you Gina for arranging the meet-up…it was so fun to meet one of my favorite bloggers! The food and company were just fantastic! I will definitely be doing some oven-dehydration experiments in the very near future 🙂 Have fun with the rest of school!

  18. Megan McKee on September 17, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Hi there! I am really enjoying your blog! I just started following it, and am loving your journey as a raw foodie! Just a few questions: what is the cream filling for the tarts made from? And what is the base for the raw “yogurt”? I have ventured into the raw food world myself and would love to have some more great recipes to share with my family!
    Megan McKee

  19. Jenna on September 17, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    that dessert looks delish!!

  20. Jenny on September 18, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    I’ll pay you to go out on a bloggie date with me.. you in ?! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on September 19, 2009 at 1:05 am

      i’d love to go on a bloggy date with you! 😀

  21. KRISTEN'S RAW on September 19, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    I’m so happy for you that you’re at the school – FUN!!!!

    All of the pics look terrific.

    Cheers XOXO,

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