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- 6 cups seedless watermelon
- 1/2 cup mint
- 2 cups coconut water
- 1 cup kale
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1 tablespoon of agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/2 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance), melted
- 1 cup quick oats
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2/3 cups brown sugar
- 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup beer
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 portobello mushrooms, gills removed and cut into halves
- 16 shiitake mushrooms, tips clipped
- 16 oyster mushrooms, tips clipped
- 2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh garlic
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian parsley
- 1 teaspoon white wine
- 1 roasted red pepper, skin and seeds removed
- 1 tablespoon roasted garlic
- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
- Sea Salt
- Cracked black pepper
Watch the video segment below to discover fool-proof methods for selecting the best possible ‘melon from the grocery store and uncover the health benefits of hiding leafy greens (like kale) in a refreshing and unconventional summer beverage.
Plus, learn how a watermelon can stimulate the Texas economy . . . Among other things.
Click on the photo below to watch the video:
Joel’s Summer Loving Green Watermelon Smoothie
Blend, garnish with mint
Inspired by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s Color Me Vegan, this recipe is brought to us by the color purple. A variation on her recipe, these blueberry bars pack on tons of antioxidants, fiber and omega 3s with the addition of the ground flaxseeds. Perfect by themselves, or with ice cream.
Who hasn’t heard the hackneyed phrase, “eat the rainbow”?
It’s nutritionists’ attempt at encouraging people to go beyond the cremes, beiges and browns of unremarkable animal flesh and encourage the consumption of foods that visually make people smile, rather than edibles that demand the unfastening of the belt to accommodate an expanding bacon-double-cheeseburger (fries with that?) muffin-top belly.
“Eat the rainbow” sounds a little like an idiomatic expression that belongs to the land of unicorns, banana kings, sparkling amulets and a bong. Though the recommendation means well, with an ever-increasing fountain of ridiculous nutritional information in the public realm, it is necessary to have some solid ground to promote its message.
Or else, we end up confused. Very confused.
As recently as yesterday, I overheard someone advise against apples because of their carb and sugar content. Really? Am I living in land of magic bridges of hope and wonder leading to Candy Mountain?
Eat the rainbow (without unicorns)
An answer to the colorful-rich sustenance conundrum is Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s Color Me Vegan, a cookbook organized in eight chapters that works through the complete hue spectrum — red, orange, yellow, green, blue/purple, white/tan, black/brown and of course, the rainbow. She provides an array of delicious, easy recipes that gets to the core healthy, sensible eating.
“Most people eat enough veggies from the yellow and red groups, between the familiar veggies of corn and tomatoes, as well as favorite fruits such as bananas and strawberries,” Patrick-Goudreau aka the Compassionate Cook, said in an email interview.
“These tend to be non-threatening foods that don’t require a lot of imagination to see how we can increase them in our diet. The most difficult colors to create recipes for were probably those in the white/tan category just in terms of making the recipes nutrient-dense, but you’ll definitely find that in my Winter White Soup (made with parsnips and white beans) or my Banana Oat Date Cookies.”
Color Me Vegan breaks it down so meals can maximize the intake of lycopene and betzcyanins in red foods; beta-carotene in oranges and carrots, lutein in mangos, lemons and yellow bell peppers; chlorophyll in kale and broccoli, anthocyanins (antioxidants) in blueberries and purple cabbage; fiber and allicin in white beans, parsnip and garlic; and selenium in mushrooms.
Each section contains elements of a complete meal beginning with starters and salads, soups and stews, main entrees, sides and desserts, all while keeping it vegan.
“The biggest misconception about vegan food is that it is somehow special food or different, unfamiliar food. I mean, it ‘is’ special in that whole-food based vegan dishes are healthful and nutrient-dense and kind to the animals and the environment.
“But on the other hand, it’s food we’re already familiar with and food we already love. When we talk about ‘vegan food,’ we’re talking about vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, nuts, mushrooms, grains, herbs and spices. And yes, it’s also bread and chocolate. Even when we talk about ‘vegan’ baked goods, we’re talking about flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla extract and cocoa.”
No animals were harmed in the writing of Color Me Vegan.
Her arguments is simply this: Phytochemicals, phytonutrients (phyto means plants), fiber and antioxidants originate from plants. If they happen to be found in animals, its because they consumed those plants. So why go through a intermediately when you can go to the source?
That just makes sense. But the government’s convoluted message, not so much.
Re-learning to eat
The food pyramid — which since its introduction 20 years ago has resulted in 27 percent of young adults being too overweight to meet the requirements for military service — was replaced by MyPlate in June. The new food icon and nutritional guide as endorsed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests that one-half of a plate should be allocated to fruits and vegetables, an improvement over the previous guide.
But the government entity’s subsidies tells a different story with 60 percent of agricultural handouts benefiting the meat and dairy industry (big surprise) while only one percent have been earmarked for fruits and vegetables.
It gets juicier and artificially more flavorful. Directly or indirectly, $16.9 billion in subsidies for corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch and soy oils (processed as hydrogenated oils) have ended up as junk food additives since 1995.
A new study titled Apples to Twinkies: Comparing Federal Subsidies of Fresh Produce and Junk Food uncovers such a apocalyptic disparity and when taking into account that apples — the only significant federal contribution to fruits and vegetable — received only $262 million, the numbers would equate to 11 Twinkies and less that one quarter of a Red Delicious apple per person (18,952,632 Twinkies to 216,363 apples) for Houston.
Why are we then trusting the government with food, nutritional or health guidelines?
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has put out their own — and may I say less politically skewed — Power Plate consisting of a quarter each fruits, grains, legumes and vegetables. That means there is no need for animal-derived protein.
Making it pretty and colorful
To make such a plate a feast for the eyes and the tongue, Color Me Vegan is now a permanent companion in my culinary adventures. The cookery book has helped me overcome difficulties in achieving my own nutritional goals, including experimenting with food colors that for most, are quite daunting.
“Green is definitely high on the list of food color groups that Americans have trouble consuming and don’t consume enough of,” Patrick-Goudreau explained. “And I think the biggest reason for this is that most people grew up eating green vegetables that were covered in cream sauces and butter and fat and were never able to really appreciate the flavors of such veggies as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale and asparagus.
“When we remove all the animal fat from our palates, our palates become sensitive to the true flavor and vegetables and we recognize that it doesn’t take much to appreciate them — a little olive oil, a little garlic, a little salt and that’s all you need.”
Brought to you by the color purple, this recipe is inspired by Color Me Vegan’s Blackberry Breakfast Bars.
Blueberry Oat Flax Bars inspired by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s Color Me Vegan
Cook the blueberries in a heavy sauce pan with lemon and agave nectar. When the mixture boils, add in the cornstarch dissolved in a little bit of water. Simmer for 5-8 minutes and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine all the crust ingredients and divide in two. Use half of the mixture and press firmly at the bottom of 8 x 8 inch pan (or one of similar dimensions). Bake for 20 minutes.
Spread the blueberries on top. Use the second half of the crust mixture to top, packing gently down to create a firm top layer. Bake for another 20 minutes.
Let cool completely before cutting into desired shapes, otherwise, they will fall apart. Enjoy by themselves or with a scoop of your favorite ice cream. There’s plenty of vegan choices out there.
Editor’s note: Written originally for CultureMap.com.
Every time a vegan is asked, “So, where do you get your protein?” and “What can you eat?,” some poor cow goes to heaven. Yet one glance over at the sans bacon or cheese spread at the second annual VegFest Houston, hosted by the Vegan Society of Peace at St. Stephens Episcopal Church, no doubt served up that answer. If a catatonic food comma is what was intended for guests, mission accomplished.
I seem to always think of green beans around Thanksgiving time. Among my traditional variations are the wild mushroom green bean casserole, saute beans with slivered almonds and garlicky green beans.
Other than tradition, there’s nothing holding us back in bringing these to a Fourth of July celebration. This year, I was inspired by an appetizer at one of my favorite Houston establishments, Natachees’ Supper N’ Punch, where they serve a version of these with a ranch sauce.
These make a lovely appetizer, coupled with your favorite dipping sauce, or try mine.
Start by washing the beans throughly. Aren’t they pretty?
Bring 4 cups of water to boil and salt with salt. Blanch for a couple of minutes.
Stop the cooking process by shocking the beans in ice water. Once cool, set aside and drain fully.
While cooling, prepare the batter. Mix the flour spices and beer in with a whisk.
Hand coat each green bean.
And fry in oil at 375 degrees until golden brown.
Let them cool slightly, but serve them immediately.
If you’d like a dipping sauce, try this cool and spicy ranch.
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
3 tablespoons vegan sour cream
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon your favorite hot sauce (I use Lime Chili Cholula)
Mix all and serve.
When your family loves hummus, screw around with it: white truffle white bean hummus with mushrooms and thymeDecember 1st, 2010
“Joel Luks Jacobs, make hummus,” dad says in an authoritative imperative, using a guttural and rough sounding “h.”
Very Fiddler on the Roof-like of him.
No please or thank you. He used my full name. That’s when you know your family means business.
They like their hummus, well, my hummus, and that means I have to keep a seemingly bottomless supply coming. And there is nothing like the traditional: Chickpeas, tahini, cumin, olive oil, salt, pepper, and a touch of sumac berries, parsley and more olive oil. Thats my basic. Read the rest of this entry “
Raw cuisine requires an abundance of creativity as it defies the Western idea of acceptable sustenance. On a personal level, treating myself to a raw restaurant is always enlightening as it teaches me a few things about new ingredients, techniques, flavors and presentation.
Perusing menus online helped convince my family to follow me on my pilgrimage and quest for darn good eats. We chose wisely.
My cyber research took me to Live Organic Food Bar. Nestled in a busy street consisting of mainly small boutique-style restaurants and shops, Live had the advantage of being easily accessible by a subway stating directly across. Especially for those whose Northern blood has thinned out in favor of Southern heat, humidity and hospitality, the trek was quite easy and non-eventful. However, the experience could only be describe in one word: ridiculous (in the exquisite sense of the word).
I held back my y’alls in favor of my Canadian “ehs” and “outs.” I wanted to blend in the with locals.
The establishment is vibrant and visually wakes you up with complimentary green and orange hues with a comfortable and fresh ambiance. And the food is equally visually effervescent: Colorful while combining varying textures and flavors to entertain you for days, keeping you nutritionally superhuman.
Chef Jennifer Italiano rocked my gourmand world. Believing that the only processing of food should happen by the body, Live’s cuisine follows the mantra that taste is worth a thousand words. My non-vegan family savored every bite.
Where do we start?
Temptation. I wanted to start with the enticing martinis – the “London” seemed awesome with organic bulldog gin and bitters, fresh apple, blueberries, sparkling water & agave garnished with a sprig of rosemary - but given that my behavior tends to be somewhat unruly when I drink, being in the presence of the maternal unit held me back in favor of the light organic juices.
Initially, we shared the Green Kick Organic Juice. But given the unspoken passive aggressive fight for a larger share pushed me to order another one in the spirit of peaceful existence. Ok, I wanted to try something else.
Both are subtly gentle and although similar in color had very distinct personalities. It was the pear juice that subdued the strong greens and ginger into submission in the Green Kick while stronger citrusy notes coupled beautifully with the coriander and ginger.
When in doubt, order more than necessary right? I have always followed this philosophy thinking we would have some leftovers, and started with three appetizers.
The Detox Salad introduced me to new flavors including arame and kelp noodles. Both I had read about but had yet to experienced. Bold flavors otherwise unable to play together in one dish melded beautifully, the avocados adding a gorgeous creamy element.
A personal favorite, the Raw Bruschetta was perhaps one of the most creative and successful translations of a cooked dish to raw cuisine. The almond baguettes mimicked a toasted carby base while the cashew dill medallions simulated rich cheese. I could literally take a bath in the basil pesto while the marinated tomatoes added a nice acidic quality to the melange.
Perhaps the most visually stunning dish, Live’s creativity truly emerged in the Raw Pecan Sushi Rolls with the use of the sweet potatoes as traditional Western sushi crunchies. The hummus was sweet while the miso maple glaze surprisingly mimicked a flavorful hoisin. This was gone in seconds.
Choosing a main dish was not difficult given that a raw sampler allowed a taste of all of their raw main entrees. The beet ravioli was cleverly assembled using al dente thin slices of beet sandwiched around silky and creamy nut cheese. The accompanying basil pesto added richness and depth.
Equally as creative was the raw falafel mixing pumpkin with sunflower seeds on a bed of sprouted quinoa tabouli. As an avid falafel consumer, I have been disappointed many times by raw falafel tasting too green and bitter. This was quite gentle. It was also mellowed with the exotic tahini dressing, which incidentally, I could totally take a bath in.
We did complement our meal with one of their cooked offerings. The rejuvenation bowl was quite filling, allowing me to sample the robust burdock root for the first time.
Chef Italiano, I am a fan.
It is impossible to finish a meal like this without contemplating the possibility of dessert. A strategic walk to the dessert case with a little help from the friendly staff, I narrowed down to all of them, but only took two home with me.
I had previously learned how to use avocado, dates and chocolate to fashion a raw chocolate mouse, so was eager to see how using coconut one could change it into a rich dense torte.
With our tummy’s full, we took dessert home. Acting in a benevolent fashion, I pronounced dessert was to share with my father, which I did, but not too much.
The crust was perfection and the torte was pure indulgent decadence. A slice of tiramisu also found its way home (still not sure how) which in my humble opinion, was the highlight of the evening.
In this case, a picture is worth a thousand words. Ridiculous.
Need I say more?
A fantastic holiday (or any day) recipe from Prego’s executive chef John Watt. Vegan Good Eats puts his vegan cooking chops to the test. The result is an earthly orgy of organic mushrooms coupled with a silky sauce, dotted with salsa verde.
They ask, “where do you eat?”
I respond, “where do YOU eat?”
Nothing is perhaps more annoying than answering a question with another question, but that specific somewhat mischievous act proves a point. I eat where you eat: at restaurants. Sometimes, even at restaurants that some may think as not having any options for one that abstains from animal products.
Finding vegan fare is not as time consuming and as difficult as most think. Truthfully, the more I go “on the scene” and speak to real professional chefs, the more I realize that they have an amazing love for pleasing people. And most also love vegetables and know how to cook them really well.
This little exercise started with an email to a couple of PR friends looking for chefs wanting to feature vegan dishes that would be appropriate for thanksgiving. The first response I received was from John Watt, executive chef at Prego, one of Houston’s most sought out trattorias proposing his pan-roasted organic mushrooms with toasted walnut-roasted red pepper sauce and salsa verde.
John’s food philosophy starts with the freshest ingredients, organic and local wherever possible.
“I believe in keeping it simple, keeping the flavors clean, and using primarily high quality ingredients so you don’t have to do too much to them. A little like Mozart.”
Any reference to classical music I can understand.
I did not need more encouragement. Just a time, a place, and an empty tummy. I recharged my video camera and went on an adventure.
Lesson learned: It is amazing what can come out of a small kitchen at the hands of a pro.
In saucepan over medium heat, saute mushrooms with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and diced fresh garlic until cooked yet still firm, approximately 3 minutes. Toss in Italian parsley, and season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Deglaze pan with white wine.
Toasted Walnut-Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Roast the red pepper on a grill or directly on the flame. Sauté with a little garlic and deglaze the pan with white wine.
Puree together roasted red pepper, roasted garlic, toasted walnuts and remaining olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper. Press through sieve to remove any lumps.
Can place in squirt bottle for use and storage.
In a blender, emulsify together 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, 1 cup flat leaf parsley, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil and sea salt & pepper to taste.
To serve, divide mushrooms among 4 plates, mounding in center of plate, and drizzle with salsa verde. Drizzle salsa verde on plate around the mushrooms.
Of course, this is best served and cooked by someone else, with a rich glass of pinot. At least, that was Chef Watt’s idea.
A vegan baking lesson from Houston foodie celeb Jody Stevens of Jodycakes shows us that there is really no hidden secret for baking without animal products. The substitutions are simple and the product is delicious. Here is her recipe for pumpkin spice vegan cupcakes with a simple cream cheese frosting, perfect for breakfast with a simple glaze, apple or cashew butter, or dressed up with frosting.
Once upon a time, there was a carb obsessed boy.
He would grew up to be a little bit of a computer dork and set-up a website blog to share all his deletable food experiences. All while loving music, talking to his dog and believing that everything is made better with a little sparkle and shine.
He would invite fab chefs to his house to make food for him. While it was under the auspice of “I am writing an article,” the end result was a food fest. Even better when it involved carbs.
And he lived happily ever after. Read the rest of this entry “
Here is a thought. When omnivores describe food, they start with the protein.
“What are you eating?” I ask.
“Chicken,” they answer.
If we described our food in the same fashion, I wonder truly how many people would give vegan good eats a try.
“What are you eating?” They ask.
“Vegan carrot soup,” I answer. Not very sexy or appealing, as most associate vegan with cardboard like taste visions. So, here is a solution. Let’s over-describe. Read the rest of this entry “
Sometimes, well most often, it is not the message itself but who delivers it that determines if it will be heard or taken seriously. Yes, there is definitely increase in chatter regarding food and health issues, especially as we are faced with the possibility of a declining life expectancy in the United States.
Everyone’s grandmother was right. Eat your veggies.
But when Mark Bittman, bestselling cookbook author, food critic for the New York Times and television personality makes statements like “eat more fruits and vegetables, less of the other stuff and you live longer,” the audience that is willing to listen grows rather exponentially.
In his TED talk on the way we eat where he explains that we eat too much meat, too few plants, too much fast food and too little home cooking, Bittman puts it out there.
[pro-player width='640' height='385' type='video']http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YkNkscBEp0[/pro-player]