Recipes

Cooking Vegan for Lent: Eggplant Stew

While cooking professionally I worked in plenty of kitchens where meatless Fridays were observed. Friday Fish Frys and tuna salad were items that were prepared in huge quantities. Not being Catholic, I never quite understood the ritual of not eating meat on Fridays, but as a cook, I made the food that I was directed to prepare.

At the Deli, vast quantities of Tuna Salad were consumed. We were located in a catholic neighborhood and owned by Catholics. When working at the Brewery we could count on the owner, glass of beer in hand, laying down battered fish in the fryer. He was also a staunch Catholic.

While I've remained confused and uneducated about the abstinence and fasting rules, I am now cooking for people who observe the Season of Lent. This is a perfect opportunity to introduce them to 100% vegan food, and learn more about this religious observance.

Ingredients

Fearless Cooking with Nopal Cactus

Growing up in the Sonoran Desert I was surrounded by all the spiny, thorny, sharp things called cacti with names like Saguaro, Cholla or Jumping, Organ Pipe, Barrel, and Prickly Pear.

Prickly pear is one of the most prolific of all the cacti and highly adaptable. Like most cacti, once the thorns are removed, it is edible. I knew that cactus could be eaten and, with a grandmother who spent time in Mexico, it would be a natural assumption that I learned how to cook with this plant. As I cooked by her side I was not shown the secrets of how to prepare and cook either prickly pear (the fruit) or Nopal (the leaves).

Food Observances & Holidays

World Vegan Month 2016

Did you know that it’s World Vegan Month? World Vegan Day was celebrated on November 1st. I was busy making a vegetable barley soup and cooking portabella mushroom steaks. World Vegan Month was started to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vegan Society.

In the last several years there has been an explosion of popularity of veganism. Medical reports continue to prove that eating a plant based diet can actually save your life. Veganism is starting to fight back against the dairy and meat industries.

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Article Roundup: Skills of a Chef

When you're an accountant, people ask you tax questions. When you're a doctor, they ask about medical problems. If you're a chef, you get asked about food, kitchen equipment, and whatever celebrity chef is the hottest at the moment.

In 2015, Chef Johnna wrote a series of articles describing what it's like to be a chef. The "Skills of a Chef" series addressed many popular topics around being a chef working in restaurants and catering.

An Update from the Heartland

There have been big changes in my life over the last several months. The biggest: the Kitchen Shaman has relocated. After our road trip in late July, where I cooked up a storm at VeggieFest Chicago, we decided to pull up stakes in Arizona and move to the Midwest.

Festival Fun at VeggieFest Chicago

Recently I traveled almost 4,000 miles to participate in VeggieFest 2016 in Chicago, which is one of the largest and oldest vegetarian festivals here in the states. My spouse and I drove across the country so I could split open a watermelon and talk about chilies and tofu.

The festival itself was wonderful with so many like-minded people gathered together and the demos went off well. I did Watermelon Three Ways and Red Chili Tofu Taco Salad. You can watch the full watermelon demo in the video below.

SoCal Chocolate: Chocxo

I love happy accidents and amazing finds. On this trip to Southern California, as we were driving into Costa Mesa, I saw a sign that said Chocxo. I pretty much knew it was a chocolate/coffee house and then I saw part of the sign said locally roasted. We were on our way to the local library to work, so I stopped in.

Skill of a Chef: It’s All About the Knives

Knives are personal. The way they feel, the way they balance in the hand. How the blade cuts through the food. Personally, I like a lighter knife, one that is easy to grip and that is very, very sharp. Cat Cora of Iron Chef fame uses a 13" chef’s knife, and she’s 4’11”. Intimidating? Yes. Necessary? When you are that short and working in a “man’s” world, wielding a large knife can help intimidate your co-workers.