What happened when this stubborn meat and potatoes girl met Oprah’s favorite vegan chef? A culinary adventure called The Conscious Cook Challenge that reignited my passion for creative cooking, eating healthy, thinking a little more green, and feeling fully satiated without any animal protein!
My vegetarian (now ex) husband and my precious daughter tried for years to persuade me there was life after giving up meat. One bite of Tal Ronnen’s food at his book launch party a few weeks ago, and my preconceived, and admittedly prejudiced mind realized it was not the meat, or any animal products for that matter, that distinguished great food from cardboard tasting brown rice and tofu… it is an inventive chef applying his classical training and technique to his vegan lifestyle that makes all the difference. My taste buds were doing the happy jig and this was no hippie food!
Just as I was seriously considering wether I could give up meat, a friend asked if she could hire me to do a vegan dinner party for 12. Sheer panic set in when she promptly invited our hosts with her next breath. What happens when a non-classically trained cook tries to recreate the cuisine an internationally renown, classically trained chef created- raced through my mind? That is precisely how The Conscious Cook Challenge began. I decided to weave my way through the recipes in the book, learn Tal’s technique, and eventually write a few vegan recipes of my own when I eventually do that dinner party in January. Then I invited followers of http://jewelsfromtherovingstove.blogspot.com to join me in the challenge… sharing successes and exploring remedies for our less successful attempts together.
My vegan friends inform me that live stock and meat production are responsible for 18% of global greenhouse gasses, and if everyone gave up meat in just one meal a week (lowering demand) it would really make a difference to the environment. I was willing to go that far, but suddenly found I no longer fancied that juicy beef burger, so one meal a week is quickly turning into most meals a week. While I’d like to claim I’m doing it for the environment, in truth it is just that my tummy feels so much better. I highly recommend everyone try at least one of the recipes from The Conscious Cook cookbook available at most bookstores, or try the Celery Root Soup with Granny Smith Apples above… you will swear it is rich with cream, and oh so filling!