Bake and Destroy!

by Kelly Behr

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A blogger reached out to us inquiring if we had a good eggs benedict (sans eggs of course!) recipe. And we sure do, in fact it is one of the many recipes in our Celebrations Cookbook. (this is my plug to get everyone to pick one up, and you can thank me later after you fall in love with the shroom burgers) But back to the egg-less benedicts. I wanted to give a shout out to the Bake and Destroy blog which not only has a sweet design behind it but is full of vegan recipes, animal facts and little tid-bits everyone should know to help make our planet a more sustainable place to live.

I invite you to click here to enter the rad world of Bake and Destroy and to see our recipe in all its eggless glory.

In the Spotlight: Lighter

by Kelly Behr

Native Foods Cafe

We have written about Micah Risk before and her rad Runner’s World cover where she was sporting vegan socks for the entire running community to see.

This isn’t the only cool thing Micah has been up to. She recently launched Lighter, a plant-based recipe and grocery delivery service. We caught up with Micah to talk all about her new company. 

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1.) What is Lighter all about?

We are the easy button for going vegan! Lighter’s mission is to challenge the Standard American Diet (SAD) and celebrate real food. We do this through our curated grocery delivery service, which means we create custom meal plans for your whole household and arrange for all the groceries to be delivered. We believe that eating good food at home should be delicious, convenient and affordable for everyone!

2.) What inspired you to start it?

We were looking for real solutions to real problems that people face when they make the decision to eat healthy food. Our curated grocery delivery service includes delicious, easy recipes that are nutritionally balanced and customized to your household. We do the planning and budgeting for you then we have all the groceries delivered right to your doorstep!

3.) How can people get involved?

 Check out our website: www.lighterculture.com to sign up for delicious recipes, a customized meal plan, and groceries delivered right to your door! It’s super easy.

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USA Today’s 2015 Foodie Trends

By: Lauren Neuschel

What’s “in” in 2015 (besides Native Foods and veganism of course!)? USA Today has the scoop on the biggest trends to hit the foodie world this year.

The Top 10 shocked us! But what didn’t surprise us was the continuing shift towards a healthier, vegetable-loving diet! Here’s their projection (get ready for bigger, better and…louder?):

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Run…Vegans…Run…

by Kelly Behr 

Native Foods Cafe

 

Meet Micah Risk, mother, business owner, runner, vegan and the newest cover model for Ruuner's World. And what a more perfect match for the October Nutrition Issue. Run, vegans, run!

 

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I had the pleasure of meeting Micah at DC Veg Fest where I learned a little more about her and her business which just happens to be in food…healthy & delicious food, we already had so much in common.. well except for the whole, her being a marathon runner thing. 

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She has started this rad business called Ligher Culture which is designed to make it easy for people to eat healthier, stick to their diets and stay within their budgets. They offer food coaches who tailor your food preferences just for you! Then you are given a special meal plan, set up a time for your groceries to be delivered and boom…you are your own gourmet chef. Lighter is going on a national launch soon, so stay tuned! 

I was able to stay and watch her cooking demo as she showed the crowd a few simple recipes that they could easily make at home. Her tacos sounded delicious, I really should have taken notes! 

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I am excited to hear how Lighter is expanding, click here to sign up to hear when the food delivery service is available in your city!

I Think….Therefore I Cook….

Chef Susen A. Hunter

Native Foods Cafe

 

People often ask me how I come up with recipes so I thought I would take a minute to explain the “process” for me.   The explanation is that there is NO process.  I can find inspiration in a variety of ways –  from tweaking an existing recipe or using a “new” spice, to having a visual in my head and trying to create it, or even just thinking ”what if I…..”.   I LOVE the “what if” game!

There is nothing I find more refreshing than having 3-5 days with nothing do to but be creative in the kitchen.  I may start out with tweaking a recipe only to think of additional new recipes or methods that I want to try.  Or, I may have a theme in mind and try to brainstorm new ways to present foods/flavor profiles that represent that theme. 

I love it when I’m creating new foods and I have a few friends available to try what I’m making…then I don’t have to constantly eat/taste everything myself!!!  I love getting instant feedback during the creation process because it helps me narrow down the precise amounts of ingredients – most usually the spices and salt content. 

I try never to google any of my ideas before I try them….that way I know my recipes are original and I haven’t been subliminally influenced by some other recipe.  Overall, I rely on my decades of cooking/baking/creating experience to guide me in my inspiration. 

I can tell you that as a chef, there is a great feeling of accomplishment when hundreds of people have tried your food and have responded positively.  That, for me, is why I love doing cooking demos for the public…that sense that I shared a unique recipe and the members of the audience love enough to go home and make it.  How cool is that?

Here is a recent creation!

 

Orange and Black PROTEIN POWER PILAF 

 

1 C of Black Forbidden Rice – Steamed/cooked according to instructions

1 C of Black Beans from can – rinsed/drained

1 C of Black Lentils – Steamed/cooked according to instructions

1 TSP Better Than Bullion Vegetable base dissolved in 8 oz water

1 TSP Adobo seasoning

½ TSP Chipotle seasoning +/- by taste

1 C of baked sweet potato – cubed

½ C carrot – diced fine

¼ C orange pepper – diced fine

Vegan Butter- approx. 1 TBS

Pinch of garlic powder, pinch of onion powder, pinch of sea salt

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In a large skillet over medium heat, add the water/veggie base and adobo and chipotle seasoning.  Stir and add in the rice, beans, and lentils stirring to get the flavoring distributed evenly.

In a separate skillet, melt the butter over low heat and toss in the sweet potato, carrot and pepper.  Sprinkle with onion powder, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt.  Stir gently over low heat for about 3minutes then gently fold into the beans/rice/lentils in the larger skillet.  Serve with a dollop of chipotle mayo.

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Optional — Carve orange peppers into Jack-O-Lanterns, rub with EVOO, and stuff with pilaf.  Place in covered baking dish and bake in oven on 350⁰ for about 25 minutes

 

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Vegan Recipe: Rum Point Fruit Fry

By Chef Susen A. Hunter

Native Foods Cafe

This recipe is one of my favorite vegan comfort food desserts.  I first created it whilst living near the beach at Rum Point on Grand Cayman Island.  I didn’t have plantains for my breakfast, so I friend up some bananas instead and threw in some fresh pineapple for good measure.  The resulting breakfast treat morphed into a dessert over time.  It’s really yummy and warm fruit is especially good on a cold, windy day.  The taste takes me right back to the tropics….

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Rum Point Fruit Fry

Recipe:

2 bananas sliced

½ cup pineapple chopped

2 TBSP +/- Coconut oil

1 TBSP +/- Vegan butter

Agave nectar to taste

Cinnamon- just a dash – nutmeg also works

2 teaspoons dark rum

Vegan granola and/or ice cream

Directions:

Heat oil and butter on medium heat and add all ingredients…. Stir until caramelized and when it “dries” up.  Squeeze a little lime juice

Sprinkle with shredded coconut chopped and serve with granola and/or coconut ice cream

Yield —  approx. 2 servings

There are over 300 different species of Agave plants that grow in the Central America region from the top of South America to the southern United States.  Natives called the naturally occurring liquid in this succulent “aguamiel” which means “honey water”.   This substance can be reduced down to form agave syrup or fermented to become tequila.  Centuries ago, agave syrup was used by the Aztecs as a healing salve for wounds, infections, and skin irritations.  

The aguamiel reduction results in a syrup that can range from light to dark without having any overpowering taste other than “sweet”.  Because of its neutrality, agave syrup has become popular in cooking, baking, and as a drink sweetener.   Although gram for gram agave has more calories than regular sugar, it is sweeter so less is needed resulting in less calories overall. 

Always buy Organic Agave Syrup to be certain that it has no added sugars or high fructose corn syrup.

(((Photos below — all mine))))

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Foul-mouthed Vegans!

By Lauren Neuschel

Native Foods Cafe 

 

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The vegan duo behind the completely crass but undeniably entertaining health food blog, Thug Kitchen, is coming out with some offline reading – a cookbook – under the same name “Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F – – k.” The pair, who cook up, write, and photograph their own healthy vegan creations are putting their own take on your typical cookbook…swear words! A lot of them. Warning: not the right holiday gift for your boss or Grandma.

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The book is set to launch in early October, but even in vegan cooking, there’s controversy. After the authors recently revealed themselves as the tag-team behind Thug Kitchen, they were hit with uproar in the form of protests nationwide. As a white couple from Hollywood, the loose use of “thug” has become an issue for many. Is calling their book “thug kitchen” racist? Expected to tour the Bay area before the launch of their cookbook, the couple have since canceled all appearances in the area due to the protests. Those against the book and both its title and profanity, call themselves ethical vegans, according to SF Weekly and feel that “neither these authors nor this store should benefit or profit from this hurtful work.” Booksellers have found themselves caught in the crossfire.

Still, many are huge supporters of the book and its writers. Gwyneth Paltrow, author of Goop, is singing their praises and helping launch their book. And even with the uproar, it’s hard to take issue with how much press they’ve brought to vegan cooking and their hip blog. It’s definitely a go-to read, and as the blog reads, you should “Sign the f – – k up.”

Vegan Recipe: Arugula-Cashew Crudite

by Kelly Behr

When Chef Susen first made this and brought it to our offices no one could get enough! We were like you must present that as a demo recipe. This crudite is so versatile it can be eaten as just that, a crudite but can also be used as a sandwich spread. This tasty treat is great with chips, pita crisps and or fresh cut veggies. It takes about 2 mins to make from scratch and is both delcious and healthy, a true win win.

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Vegan Scene Hits the Venice Scene!

by Lauren Neuschel

Native Foods Cafe

 

We're sooo excited!! Opening Fall 2014 in Venice Beach is Vegan Scene, a vegan shop and event space! Apparently their moving into their new pace at 610 Main Street next week, but just for hiring purposes…Right now they're accepting applications for contributors and retailers in the vegan space. We can't wait to see this store in action! May have to take a little looksee this week…

 

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Vegan Recipe: Raw Sweet Potato and Apple Salad With Maple Vinaigrette

By Steve Petusevsky
Director of Culinary Innovation
Native Foods Cafe

A perfect salad to make on these hot summer days!

Serve as is or over spinach, arugula or field greens.

•2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled

•1 skin-on Granny Smith or Gala apple, grated

•1/4 cup golden raisins

•1/4 cup dried cranberries

•1/4 cup chopped raw almonds or cashews


•2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

•1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

•1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

•Fresh-ground black pepper

•1 tablespoon natural brown

sesame seeds

Cut the sweet potatoes into matchstick using a mandoline or julienne them by hand. Pile sweet potatoes and apples as high as they will stand (like a haystack) on a large plate. Sprinkle raisins, cranberries and nuts over top. Drizzle with maple syrup and rice vinegar. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and sesame seeds. Makes 2 to 3 servings.