The Cooking Retreat

And now for a pictorial tour of the Conscious Gourmet cooking retreat which was held at Menla Mountain Retreat in Phoenicia NY (in the Catskills), about 20 minutes away from Woodstock. On one of the evenings we went to the Bear Cafe just outside of Woodstock. It was a wonderful restaurant, I’d highly recommend it. I had pan roasted chicken with garlic mashed potatoes, and it was incredible. And we even got to eat with Uma Thurman. Well, almost. She was two tables away, and looking incredibly beautiful. I think she looks much younger and prettier in real life. As it turns out, her father was one of the co-founders of Menla Mountain.

Our meals were organic, vegetarian (except for halibut in one meal), wheat-free, and except for a bit of butter in a couple of recipes, dairy-free. And no white sugar. We used a lot of ingredients I’d never heard of, but am anxious to try at home. Everything was delicious. And besides the food, we learned some great tips, and learned more about natural, whole, sustainable foods. It was a lot of fun, and I’d certainly do one again.

This is the Snowlion house at Menla Mountain, where we lived and cooked for the weekend. There are three bedrooms and a bath upstairs, and the same downstairs. There was a separate building where we had our yoga classes in the morning, which was full of windows for a beautiful view.

Cooking halibut.

This is our “staging area”, with the kitchen in the background. It did get a little crowded at times, but it was surprising how well we all worked together without getting in each others way.

We made a delicious chocolate cake with fudge frosting that had no wheat, no eggs, no white sugar, and no dairy – believe it or not. We used spelt flour, cocoa powder, and maple syrup as the sweetener. We served it with a raspberry coulis, and it was delicious. That’s my sis on the left in the photo.

This was our brunch on our last day. Clockwise from top: Spinach mushroom tofu quiche (you’d never know it had no eggs or dairy!); whole-grain pancakes made with spelt flour and soy milk, topped with almond butter maple syrup; wonderful muffins with carrots, apples, raisins, and nuts (and either barley or spelt flour, I’m not sure which was used); sweet potato mash; and cucumber and tomato salad with dill vinaigrette.

Our group. There were only six students plus the teacher and a student/assistant. They may say that too many cooks spoil the broth, but fortunately, we worked well together in the kitchen. It was a bit challenging to coordinate use of the burners on the stove at times, but we worked it out and had a great time.

The weekend wasn’t all about cooking. We did spend an afternoon in Woodstock, where a band was playing in the town square.

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One Response to The Cooking Retreat

  1. Margene says:

    It does sound like a wonderful trip! The food looks and sounds yummy!

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