• Frijoles refritos
  • Following the Spice: Peppercorns
  • May Food Observances
  • Skill of a Chef: Palate
  • Why Restaurants Fail
  • Don't Overlook Celery
  • Chef Demo: Portabello Fajitas with the Kitchen Shaman

Say Yes to Spicy Strawberries: Strawberry Salsa Fresca

Posted by on May 20, 2015 in Condiments, Recipes | 0 comments

Say Yes to Spicy Strawberries: Strawberry Salsa Fresca

As we continue to celebrate the National Strawberry Month – and since it’s also National Salsa Month! – below is my latest creation: a recipe for Strawberry Salsa Fresca. If you are lucky enough to live where strawberries grow, today (May 20th) is National Pick Your Own Strawberry Day. I live in the low desert, so strawberries aren’t grown here. Up in the mountains of Arizona there is a town called Strawberry and its neighbor Pine, AZ. If you live in Arizona, that’s the place to go to get fresh berries so you can make compotes, jams, and...

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May is the Month of Strawberries

Posted by on May 18, 2015 in Fruits, Ingredients | 0 comments

May is the Month of Strawberries

Welcome to the month of strawberries. Let it be known that in our house strawberries rule. When they are in season and on sale I purchase them and make strawberry jam, strawberry syrup (for ice cream, lemonade, and waffles), strawberry compote, strawberry ice cream, and now, strawberry salsa. There are many more things you can do with strawberries, but one of my favorite things to do is just eat them until I can’t eat anymore. It’s kind of like blueberries: stuff them in your mouth until you can’t stuff any more. read...

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Frijoles Refritos

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Legumes, Recipes, Southwestern | 0 comments

Frijoles Refritos

Pinto beans are native to the American Southwest and Mexico. They have been a staple in indigenous diets for centuries. They are seen on tables across homes and restaurants throughout the greater Southwest. In Moriarity, New Mexico, there is a yearly festival celebrating the harvest of this popular bean. Traditionally Frijoles refritos, or refried beans, are cooked with lots of chilies, garlic, and onion. The beans are cooked to tenderness, then fried and mashed in lard. They are salted and consumed in large quantities. I’ve been eating them...

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Following the Spice: Peppercorns

Posted by on May 11, 2015 in Herbs & Spices, Ingredients | 0 comments

Following the Spice: Peppercorns

What is the first thing a person does when a plate of food arrives for consumption? Or after you fill your plate up when it’s “family” style? Reach for the salt and pepper, of course. Most people know where salt comes from, but pepper? What really is in that pepper mill or shaker? We were taught to shake it on our food, but why? So here’s a little history about pepper and its uses. Pepper is from India. South India to be exact. Pepper is harvested before it turns ripe and then goes through a process that transforms it into the little black...

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Cinco de Mayo Celebration, Vegan Style

Posted by on May 5, 2015 in Holidays & Observances | 0 comments

Cinco de Mayo Celebration, Vegan Style

Since I’ve retired from restaurants, I’m grateful for not working the big holidays. Living in the American Southwest, this means I duck taco station duties on one of the most celebrated days besides Mother’s Day: Cinco de Mayo. I do have a little bit of perspective, having worked on the line with lots of guys who are Mexican. We’ve had conversations while slinging nachos and guacamole. “What’s so big about today, Manuel?” “Eh,” he says, “No se, gringos estupidos.” I can tell you, Cinco de Mayo ain’t that big a deal to my Mexican co-workers....

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May Food Observances

Posted by on May 3, 2015 in Holidays & Observances | 0 comments

May Food Observances

It’s the first of May and that brings with it, Beltane, a celebration of fertility and health. There are other wonderful celebrations that happen this time of year, but May Day is one of the oldest on-going celebrations. Along with this day, there is also food, lots and lots of food. Vegetables and fruits come forth and provide sustenance for us humans who have braved the long, cold winters, dreaming of that first taste of fresh asparagus or strawberries. May is the month of both these foods and more. Let’s take a look at the vegan friendly...

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Why Restaurants Fail

Posted by on Apr 10, 2015 in Restaurants | 0 comments

Why Restaurants Fail

Restaurants come and go. Aspiring chefs, people who have money to invest, and those encouraged by friends and family with money to invest decide to open concept restaurants without researching the food and the area. Usually these folks have no understanding of how the food industry works (if they aren’t an experienced chef). Whether it is due to high food cost, bad management, or an ill-conceived concept placed in a non-supportive or hard to get to location, they fail, and fail hard. Doors close as fast as they open. read...

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April Food Observances

Posted by on Apr 2, 2015 in Holidays & Observances | 0 comments

April Food Observances

April is upon us and the national food holidays certainly reflect that. This month there are many food days for vegans to celebrate along with omnivores. It is probably due to the fact that April brings with it full on spring. Lush, beautiful produce spilling out over the bins at the market. Some of the month-long celebrations include National Soyfoods Month, National Garlic Month, National Florida Tomato Month, and National Pecan Month. We also have National BLT Month and National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month. Thanks to products like tempeh...

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Don’t Overlook Celery

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Ingredients, Produce | 0 comments

Don’t Overlook Celery

March is a month-long celebration of celery, so here’s what you need to know about this often overlooked veggie. Celery has been consumed by humans for a long time now. It’s that vegetable that we grab at the store, because we were taught to by our parents or grandparents, and then it lives in the crisper (the vegetable drawer) long past its expiration date (value of vitamins), until it goes limp and brown and finally gets thrown away. Why is celery purchased then ignored? Deep in our genetic bones we know that celery IS good for us. At...

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Chef Demo: Portabello Fajitas with the Kitchen Shaman

Posted by on Mar 12, 2015 in Cooking Demos | 0 comments

I love doing chef demos. It gives me a chance to cook a few recipes, share lots of food facts & cooking tips, and show off my chopping skills. (How fast can YOU chop cabbage?) A few years ago I was invited to participate in “Party in the Parking Lot,” an event to help raise interest for VegCo, an all vegan grocery store in Phoenix, Arizona. As with any live event I had fun, but also had challenges — like almost catching myself on fire. read...

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