Thursday, October 6, 2011
To bring in October, me and the family attended The Field of Greens Festival (check them here http://www.fieldofgreensfestival.com/). The festival is an annual event celebrating local foods. This year's highlights included "Meals From The Market" and "The Chef's Tent". Meals from the Market allowed patrons to meet local farmers and try some of their produce prepared in simple, easy to make recipes. Each Chef/Farmer had a information card that included stats of their farms and the recipes they served at the event. The Chef's Tent which Field of Greens is famous for, boasted 30 of Atlanta's and Athens' premier Farm-to-Table Chefs, all under one tent serving up samples of signature dishes from their respective restaurants.
The Festival was productive, my bias being that this year's Festival was to raise funds for SlowFood Atlanta, and our farm, Truly Living Well Natural Urban Farms. There was an interactive children's section where they could make their own healthy snacks and also a play area and animal petting area. For children it was a great social event, for a vegan, umm, there was much to be desired. With the exception of the Meals from the Market, most of the food (especially in the Chef's Tent) was not vegan nor vegetarian friendly. For it to be named Field of Greens I did expect there to be more Green. However, if you are a foodie with no special diet or food aversions this was Local Foodie heaven. There was a nice variety of vendors selling goods from food products to clothing and I was able to cop a really cool poncho made in Guatemala. Would I recommend this Festival? Sure, why not. If you don't mind the 40 minute drive and you're a meat eater.
To soothe my conscious our next stop was Bazaar Noir's Vegan-Vegetarian Taste of Atlanta 2011. I have to admit this event was a bit more my speed. Vegan Vendors from the Greater Atlanta area came together to celebrate good food, good fashion, good music and community. The highlight of this event for me, was the introduction of Young Chef, Iaame Duniani (youngchef.blogspot.com). 11 year old Chef, starting his cooking journey and doing it in a lovely way. He served up an Ethiopian Wat, with Green Salad and Injera. The other treat of the night was FTP's (ftpcatering.com) Vegan sweets table. I walked away with their signature Bean Pie (yes a whole pie).
The Taste of Atl, was a nice event. I would have liked to see more food vendors and food variety, but I was grateful for the chefs that were represented. Truthfully, even with the handful of chefs present (and I hear more arrived after I left) they covered Live Foods, Soul Food, Foods from the Diaspora and Vegan twists on classic dishes. Who can find fault in that? Not me. All Love
My Kitchen Sounds Like: Yesterday's Machine by Saturn Never Sleeps
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
I can remember being a youth running in our courtyard. Every afternoon, once we children were spent from play, my downstairs neighbor would call all of us to her doorstep for a quick munch. I can still conjure up the toasted smell of flour tortillas quick fried in butter and stuffed with scrambled eggs. These days I choose to be a vegan, however i can still appreciate the tenderness and kindness associated with the gift of a meal. I never knew that woman's name, nor did we speak the same language, but the memory of her giving resounds in my mind, even now. As I sit and reflect on this memory, taking in the fullness of home, I realize there is no better way to honor this then through my own giving. Tonight's meal will be Enchiladas.
This meal holds a history for me. It's full of a richness of a people. A richness of cultures intermarried to create this beautiful decadent cuisine. It goes back all the way to the Valley of Mexico, peopled by the Mayan civilization and finds a richness in my family's hometown of Coastal Texas. The men and women of my family took this dish and made it their own, depending on the individual tastes. This is not fine restaurant cuisine. It's what you'll find at a dinner table, surrounded by family, carrying all their experiences and emotions, ready to be comforted by great food. More times than I can remember I watched my mother at the kitchen table, sweating from the heat of the over, grating, chopping and mixing for hours to prepare this dish. It conjures up memories and sounds of neighbors blasting the music of their culture. I would sit in the living room, my head feeling as if it were on the verge of exploding and the very walls seemed they would crumble each time a horn sounded. I recall a people, dancing, celebrating, ululating, singing, loving, at the moment indifferent to a work week that was a day away. And this is the food that comes from that.
In preparing the dish, I take my place in line with the men and women of my family and other families who've all prepared enchiladas with their own signature style. Now I offer mine, Vegan Enchiladas, signed, ME. Love
- 2 cups of black beans (cleaned and cooked until tender, with onions, garlic, bay leaf, Mexican seasonings)
- Tortillas (corn or flour) for this recipe I used flour. (taco/fajita size)
- 2 cups of red chile enchilada sauce (pretty easy to make, but store-bought is not bad)
- Vegan cheese (rice, soy or coconut)
- 1 bunch of spinach chopped and lightly steamed
- 1/2 yellow onion diced
- 2 scallions chopped
- Handful of cilantro diced
Into each tortilla add black beans, spinach and cheese (desired amount). Roll each individual enchilada and place ends down into casserole dish. Repeat until the casserole dish is filled. Cover the entire casserole dish and each enchilada generously with the red chile sauce. Top with diced, onions, scallions, cilantro and leftover cheese. Bake in oven on 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese has melted. I usually serve this with fresh pico de gallo, guacamole and Spanish rice. For variations add olives on top or diced chiles. Also this same recipe can be used with corn tortillas. However, when I use the corn tortillas I dip each individual tortilla in the chile sauce before stuffing and then also sauce on top. Injoy!!
* My interpretation of a breakfast taco using ackee in place of egg or tofu.
- 3 red or russet potatoes, chopped.
- 1 can of Ackee
- 11 soft corn tortilla shells
- fresh pico de gallo
- 2 avocados diced
- 1 clove of garlic diced
- 1/2 onion chopped
My Kitchen Sounds Like: "Working Ways" by Stephen Marley feat. Spragga Benz. Revelation Pt.1
Thursday, June 9, 2011
I've decided to share this simple juice recipe that our family has been using for the last few years. It's a great energy booster, cleanser and aid for digestion. The aloe, collards and rosemary part of the recipe we received from a mother in Kenya, and the lemon and pineapple we received from Eugene's mother. We combined the recipes added a oranges (because we had an orange tree in the backyard) and now its a trusted part of our health regime.. Enjoy!
1 aloe leaf
1 ripe lemon
1 sprig of rosemary
20 ozs of pineapple juice
20 ozs of water
handful of collards or spinach
Remove skin from aloe, using only the inside flesh. Cut the lemon and orange into quarters. Wash rosemary and collards. Slice collards thinly. In a blender add all ingredients and blend well. The mixture will be a bit gritty and pulpy, so strain through wire mesh strainer to desired consistency. I usually strain twice.
My Kitchen Sounds Like: "Undo" by Bjork, Vespertine Lp
Thursday, March 31, 2011
In the last 2 months my family has been traveling. Kenya, Dubai, Atlanta, Los Angeles. I've eaten everywhere it seems. There is this spot in Los Angeles called Urth Cafe (google it). They serve a really awesome Portabella Mushroom sandwich. Yum!! Here is my tip of the hat to Urth Cafe. Ingredients: A really good Ciabatta loaf. Slice it horizontally and toast it, arugula pesto (recipe below), grilled portabella mushroom sliced, roasted red peppers, romaine lettuce and grilled artichoke hearts.
- 2 cups of arugula leaves (no steams)
- 1/2 cup of pine nuts
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 7 cloves of garlic peeled
- salt to taste
You have the option to toast your pine nuts lightly to get a roasted flavor. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and mix until you have a nice consistent paste, or if you wish you can place the ingredients in a mortar and pestle, adding the olive oil slowly as you grind. Voila!! This will be the spread for your sandwich.
Grill portabellas, peppers and arugla. leaving some crunch to the veggies and some firmness to the mushroom. Spread the ciabatta with the arugula pesto and layer your sandwich as you see fit. Yum..quick and easy lunch. If you prefer to leave out the bread, you can always stir fry the mushrooms and saute them in the pesto. Place over a bed of romaine lettuce and add your favorite salad veggies. Injoy!!
My Kitchen Sounds like: The cosmos and "You Make Me Smile" by Aloe Blacc
Thursday, March 24, 2011
My First Fruit: Tree Tomato
My First Meal: Habesha Ethiopian
Imagine a place...The sun has not yet risen, and the cock sings his song to announce the dawning of a new day. The adhan rings out, to remind us to stay mindful of pray. To keep us in thought of thankfulness and humility before the greatness of The Creator. My first taste I know will be passion fruit or porridge. My host has created a remix that couples coconut and a variety of spices to accompany the sour cereal. I know that in these first tastes I will be comforted. Reminded of the warmth of life and the beauty in awakening to new days. Yeah, I'm a food junkie. Completely indulged in my sense of taste. It envelops me and inspires these words. It has brought me closer to family after work days. It sparks laughter and rest. Here in Kenya, the taste are new and fresh. It taste like, feels like home.
If I am to begin anywhere it is with Tata's food. Our meeting was very brief with no words passed between us (however by the end of the night she would name me Wabura), only glances. But her food left an impression on me that has planted roots in my culinary memory. What sticks out was the Pilau, Mokimo and Chapatis. The meal pulled on the part of me that longs for comfort and believes in the power of subtleties. The beauty in simplicity. I was comforted by the familiarity of a family meal and enticed by the newness of food from hands that have known another existence, in another space and time. And the flavors, textures and colors that being in that space give way to.
Nairobi offered meals with the ones I hold near to my heart. Family. It offered the opportunity to cook from fresh, local produce. She was Diamond Plaza and Meru's bhajias with fresh avocado and lime juice. Nairobi was egg less chocolate cake. She was Florence's dengu, sukuma wiki and chips. Nairobi is fashioned with memories of apple mangoes that are kin to bliss, sticky, oily jack fruit, custard apples and pineapples that taste like sunshine. With you beloved one, me and my Sun have run on trails in arboretums, eating mangoes from street vendors seasoned with chili. Our feet red from your soil as we sipped remixed porridge in the morning and traced peace signs with bamboo sticks on your pathways. Our tag, to show that we were there, loving and living. I've trailed the foothills of Mt. Kenya, and breathed the same air that fueled life to Kimathi and the Mau Mau during their freedom struggle. I've walked the roads of Zion, looking for elephants and eating guava jam and fresh fruit bought on the side of the road. I fell in love with my imagination again watching shooting stars and tracing constellations. I knew fullness, my appetites satiated by the abundance that you are Kenya.
In Nairobi there is Aga Khan's Hawkers market. One of the most beautiful things a foodie can come across. Food, fresh fruit and vegetables everywhere. Anything you can desire. Bargains, haggling and the sweetest, sweetness of fruit I have ever tasted. I grew full from all the different varieties of mango I sampled at different stalls. It was perfection. Amazing perfection. And I stood in the middle of all that motion, so still and quiet. Overwhelmed by taking it all in.
And then, and then...there is Mombasa. Ahh, stealer of hearts. Mombasa, clear water beaches and street food. Sugar cane juice fresh and squeezed from a mill by hand with hints of ginger and lime. Mombasa was warm and tender nights. Something kin to bhajias made with potatoes, and battered in lentil flour called viazi via karai, bought in front of someones home, deep fried on the spot in the yard and served with chili paste. (Catch me singing "Best I Ever Had"). Coconut water and breakfast that's more like an adventure in taste; Black beans cooked in coconut milk (mbazi) and stuffed in pastry or mandazis, rice and coconut cakes, lentil bhajias and fresh fruit. Mombasa is pleasure, unapologetic, unabashed. Mombasa is kin.
And I can go on and on. I left you reluctantly and with much strife. And my last tastes, once again, Tata. Pilau, beans and cabbage. The most simple and filling way to say farewell. There is so much more to say. Immense thanks and apprecilove that I cant convey proper. So, beloved one, I salute you dear heart. Until, until..Love
- 1 potato sliced in thin circles. (you can even use the slicer on a food processor)
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 1/2 cups of gram (lentil) flour
- 1/4 cup sliced coriander leaves
- variety of spices to your taste. I reccomend any of the indian culinary spices.
- salt to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder *key element for bhajias to rise
- sunflower oil to deep fry
With the flour and water, make a thick batter, similar to pancake batter. Stir in spices to taste. Add potatoes and make sure to coat completly. Get them completly gooey with the batter. Heat oil until its really hot. Careful not to burn, but make sure that is hot, to the point o fdeep frying. You can do a test by dropping a bit of batter in the oil. If the batter puffs up, the oil is ready. Place the bhajia batter in the oil by spoonfuls. They will rise and puff in the batter. Cook until they are a golden brown and are nice and crisp, about 3 minutes. Voila. Bhajias. Serve with chili paste, tamarind sauce any number of chutneys or my favorite kachumbari, basically salsa made up of tomatoes, chili, cilantro, garlic, onion and lime. The beauty of bhajias is that there are a many versions. A bhajia is really anything fried so try the flour batter mix with spinach or onions, really any vegetable you can think of. Injoy!!
My Kitchen sounds like "Zamaney" by JahCoozi and Ukoo Flani and "Lady of the Sun" by A Race of Angels