Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Plant based Keeps You in the Prime of Life!

It has been a month and ten days since I added anything to this blog.  Did not mean to stay away, but then again, I did.

I write to try to explain why a plant based diet has so much to offer the human body and all of us in general. The correct focus on nutritional density offers longevity, easy to digest foods, a better way of food production for the planet and to someone like myself a whole hell of a lot of tasty creativity.

When you write a blog you have to know why.  I read of all these food bloggers who have hundreds of thousands of followers.  I have a small group of followers and want it to expand, as the message is so key to our future.  But the followers do not seem to expand which is probably a combination of a small message, my inability to enunciate the mission, poor execution of ideas or just disinterest in the subject.  However, back I am and after a lot of trial and error.

Homemade Ranch Chicken Salad
For three weeks I moved off a plant based diet.  I went back to meat and poultry and the SAD (Standard American Diet) .  Within ten days I felt terrible, lost my interest in working out, put on 8 pounds and in general was in a terrible, crappy mood.  It took me a week to convince myself to get back to where I feel best as the SAD is like an addition to fat, carbohydrates and animal protein.  When you grow up that way, returning to the SAD is like heading down the lane of your first house when you are a kid. However, I have returned to the way of the plant. And I am immediately feeling like I am about to hit the first stages of my PRIME in life! Yahoo!

While eating SAD, I learned that the foods I was doing as plant based needed better more rewarding recipe content with more tasty recognition.   I had been too stoic and a purest in my earnest to develop Vegetable Alchemy.  See what you think of this easy adaptation of a Chicken Ranch Salad.

A half a bag of Broccoli Slaw gets two hands of finely chopped kale, two cups of diced fresh tomato and two tablespoons of the All-American Buttermilk Ranch Dressing.   One large or two small breasts of chicken are rubbed and  pan roasted with homemade Ranch seasoning: chopped parsley, thyme, garlic, onion and cracked black pepper.  Let the chicken rest for five minutes partially covered after cooking.  For me no additional salt needed.  Mound the slaw in the bowl and slice and top with the homemade Ranch seasoned chicken.  Something Old, Something NEW.   And while there has been a huge redux in home cooking, the pendulum seems to always want to swing the other way when the time it right.  Stay the way of the plant!  The Vegetable Alchemist returns.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Considering the Morning Coffee Routine

dashi broth, miso, scallions, a touch of bonito and seaweed flakes
I suppose like winning at anything in life you need more than just a focus.  You need spirit and dedication, determination and grit.  Never forget grit.  While a morning run of two miles at the speed of a snail or possibly growing into a revving turtle is not much, it is the game I've got at present.  Time to think. What are items slowing me to more pace.  Thinking a lot about how my legs, lungs and heart feels as I run I start thinking about my morning coffee. I feel raspy and realize my hearts racing and its not just the conditioning.

I've spent a lot of  time owning restaurants and learning about coffee and tea, sourcing beans, blending, learning to roast, grind and care for excellent cups of coffee. But in running I see coffee is one of the first items I need to swap out for a better work out. While so much has been written about its properties, one that I do not like is the negative effect on my heart rate and lungs.  Part of that is the caffeine, part of it could be the sourcing, even organic have some pesticides considered organic.  But now what to do instead.

So suddenly MISO comes to mind.  Nothing exotic in combination.  Just simple Miso Soup, a little dashi broth poured over and stirred into miso, diced shiitake mushroom, scallions, touch of chopped ginger.  I skipped the tofu.  A flash from the past is now a morning habit.  Miso it is. The Vegetable Alchemist.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Seven Minute Mile Run_Day Two

soon to rethink Burgerdom

Lots to learn when you focus on training for a seven to ten minute run!  Besides the mechanics and the pacing, what do you eat?  Somehow habits return and I think about my  I am my pride knowing the calories I ran off,  instead of asking how I should eat to hit my correct running weight as I look for more endurance and speed.  Throwing Vegetable Alchemy to the wind, I head over to a spot and grab a notable Ramen Burger.  And notable it was. At the sensory level it had appearance, a touch of crispy crackle, felt kind of sexy when you picked it up with a great general aroma and tasty as all get out.  A good blend of beef, no salt, and spinach in the silver lining, with a secret sauce, all back up with cucumber chip pickles.  Where could I go wrong?

Well forget the evening run.  It was too much too digest and sat there in my stomach as a mass of dead energy. I have never been much or a meat eater but I suddenly realized this is how we and I have been eating for decades.  I have been thinking, protein, carbohydrates and fats and that burger fills that framework and satisfies. If I thought load up on calories for sure I was experiencing a touch of heaven.  But add living with bigger thoughts based on  nutritionally rich foods and that burger hit a low 70 on the ANDI scale, 1128 on calories.  To some the burger was a super enjoyable belly stuffer, a lot of tasty enjoyment.  To me it confirmed I have found a better way to eat and for sure will never do that seven minute mile or possibly even a ten minute mile with old thoughts on what to eat from the Standard American Diet based on old habits marketing what we eat.

On the other side of satisfy, while I get all the smart talk about smoothies, nuts and legumes, the raw or slightly cooked veggies and love the focus and connection to the body from this style of daily fare, morphing my mind and groceries to this lean way of eating is still a mental still unfulfilled challenge. Neither Rome nor my new recipe base was built in a day.  So back at it and will share more thoughts soon.  The Vegetable Alchemist.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Seven Minute Mile

kitchen gloves turns to challenging gauntlet!

The bet was on the table.  I had to pick up the gauntlet!  I am not sure if it was the idea of continuing my pursuit of  Transformation  or that fact that I was surrounded by faces laughing away at the thought of me, still slightly over weight and striving for my own lean sleek and fast frame, could run against a marathoner who was doing 7.5 minute miles.  The test comes in 30 days from today.

So I ask myself, how is the best way to run in the first place?  I consulted a mentor who asked how many consecutive miles had I been running and what was the most efficient stride.  Next I thought about something closer to mind.  What kind of food and fuel will power this surge for 'optimal performance in sports and life' to boost my energy and feel great, as Brendan Frazier puts it in THRIVE.  Good fun thinking for better body smart living.  More thoughts and recipes soon to follow. 

The Vegetable Alchemist.

Monday, September 15, 2014

False Sense of Good Everyday Food

sweet potato rolls with purple rice
I am in search of an everyday menu of tasty body smart foods.

Since working three weeks on combining nutritionally dense eating with a daily routine of exercise it was more than natural to me that I tested my work and results.  So I binged!  I had been feeling terrific the last weeks, had developed a few good dishes, kept to my discipline and worked along side my new focus with no challenges.  But a few events, a party or two, a little fun in the social circuit and I caved to beers and all kinds of nutritionally low,  carb, fat and protein quick dishes that are SAD (Standard American Diet) favorites: pizza, pasta, burgers and a few Japanese cooked veggie styled rice rolls.
warm red chili kale and cabbage salad

It was not like I sat down for days and ate at the table of Henry the Eighth.  I just went with the flow on evenings out and decided to see what would happen if I just ordered as others.  The results were exactly as expected.  I was lethargic, sleepy, slow and drowsy, and it was not the few beers over those days.  By Sunday morning I found myself with three added pounds in spite of half the work out, lethargy effects for sure.  And one should not have to work out or take pills to work off their food!  It over stresses the body and frankly the pills are a bad use of money, disregarding that you pay for food you want to work off because it makes you fat!. One should work out to keep limber with good muscle tone, blood flow and flexibility.  Completely different than how workouts are often suggested.

Thankfully, I finished the day with a no brainer a kale cabbage salad as lightly warmed classic.  Let the new week begin!  The Vegetable Alchemist.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Developing Tasty More Functional Food

When Nirvana sings, 'Just because your paranoid, don't mean they're not after you'.... it makes sense!

Yes, occasionally I did hear from someone he might have been on drugs.  But then there are times when so many of us feel when we are trying to develop an idea we too might be on drugs, without actually taking them.  When you come to an idea you think will make a difference or an idea you just want to bring to market, you realize to change or add something to the status quo is swimming against the tide of the system. But you have to forge ahead.  Those that do break through and make a significant impact.   Think light bulbs, and cars, computers, i phones, new tracking watches, biochemistry and digital technologies, things that make peoples' lives better. Being able to write this blog even though only a few people read it, helps me sort out ideas as I look for a break through, that point of significant change.

Mushroom Chile Taco with Goat Cheese
Creating a lifestyle cuisine based on form, function and nutrition in simple daily eating is the goal of Vegetable Alchemy. But it has to fit in the ways and times that people enjoy food. Transforming recipes, swapping ingredients, mapping nutritional information, finding significant ways to tie ingredients to smarter body health and putting taste into all of this is daunting, at least for me.  The commercial tide of the system starts with suggested taste preferences that are suppose to be healthy or fun, heads down the path of marketing, into home cooking, kids lunch rooms, and the manufacturing distribution food system. It has a large eyeglass to profit and holding on to control as well providing justifiability by all the taxes it generates.   Let the paranoia begin!
 
On the individual side, sure there are books out there on dieting and not dieting and eating nutritionally rich. They suggest a large divergence from traditional eating with drastic changes. After making a hundred or so recipes from those books, with flavor as king, I can easily say, I am not comfortable with the outcome. I am not looking give up flavor in drastic change.  As a result, I constantly think about how to alter each meal and the calendar of seasonal choices as I learn more about better body health.  Better is defined against the SOD, the Standard American Diet the commercially sold food system.  I want to be leaner, carry less weight, have more flexibility and just overall feel better than I did when I was simply eating suggested proteins, carbohydrates and fats.  Those ideas were justified according to Food Pyramids, ethnic recipes, fusion cuisines and magazine insights, that speak little to what the body actually needs in more important elements like phyto-chemicals, vitamins, and enzymes. In all this there is challenge but solution.

Adding nutritionally rich adjustments to easy, fun recognizable recipes like this simple taco is a perfect example.  Swapping lettuce for two hands of chopped, quickly warmed and seasoned kale adds 800 points of nutritional density, a lot of protein and vitamin I would never get from lettuce and the flavor is outstanding.  Suddenly I am not paranoid., and I look like any other diner so happy with the taste that I am hording my daily fare! 

Gently saute a pound of sliced mushrooms with a touch of chopped poblano pepper in a few drops of oil. Add a little tomato salsa with sliced serrano chiles to the pan.  Cook to warm.   Top to a tostada with lightly sauteed chopped and seasoned kale and a tablespoon of fresh goats cheese.  Don't eat it too fast as you will sure be wanting to make another.  Better yet, start with making two!  LOL!

 The Vegetable Alchemist.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What's the Style of Functional Food?

Noodles, Cabbage and Greens

" Beware the Devil Within! ", says the protagonist in, 'The Italian Job'.  Lots of snake oil out there selling goods and services.  Think about what you need. With that said I turn back to thinking about how to style more functional body smart food.  But how to sell this concept is still evolving.  What is it.  How is it showcased and explained.

It is not ethnic, it is not fusion.  It is not from 'The Modernist Cuisine'.  It is not linked to the seven volume series, 'ebulli, the evolutionary analysis, 2005-2011' of Feran Adria. And while all these have a purpose none of them are Cell2Cell, or cells in food designed to focus on a cells in the body.  This is the quest.....smarter food minded on more body function.  Showcased in a restaurant, maybe in a pop up eating spot,sited  in a food truck, and maybe a fast casual diner it is still Cell Cuisine.  And like all good ideas, it starts with the concept and incubates in the home as it grows understanding and traction. I  build from past cuisines and current trends adding substance in Cell2Cell.

The dish included is an updated pasta.  Toss a cup of cooked fettucine with double the amount of finely sliced fresh cabbage, shredded nutrient rich greens and a lemon-lime-ginger radish dressing.  Body smart, satisfying, and refreshingly functionally.  The New Vegetable Culture sensibly lies within each of us.
The Vegetable Alchemist.



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

It's What You do that Counts

light Summer white baby eggplant stew
tomato, eggplant and mushrooms
While it is somewhat meaniful that French Chef Alain Ducasse took meat off his famed Paris restaurant, it is what you do for you and your family that really counts.  With billions of consumers, what we do is powerful.
Alain did it as a statement on conserving planet resources.
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/eats/chef-alain-ducasse-takes-meat-menu-article-1.1932467

baby white eggplant
I suggest working with nutritionally more dense foods that offer sustainable growing opportunities as well as a low foot print to cost of production to market, THAT will conserve resources when it all catches on at a national, international level.  And, oh YEH!  you will feel the difference in eating more nutritionally dense food and your body will be marvelous!

While you are all reading the article and giving this a thought I put my time to making a super good baby white eggplant stew.

Wash and cut 3 cups of baby eggplant in half.  Peel and thinly slice and onion.  Slice a cup of mushrooms. Finely dice two cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of fresh ginger and 2 teaspoons of poblano or jalapeno chile.  Open a small 4.5 oz can of chunky tomatoes in juice and begin. Saute the eggplant and veggies in a large pan over medium heat.  Season lightly. Add the tomatoes and juice with 2 teaspoons low sodium soy, 1 generous tablespoon oyster sauce and almost cover all with water.  Simmer very slowly about 30 minutes.  Taste for seasoning. Serve with a touch of rice and a sprinkle of chopped green onion and cilantro or basil to soak up the sauce and enjoy.  If you want more heat, crushed red chili pepper flakes do the trick!

The Vegetable Alchemist.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cauliflower: a flower like no other!

oven roasted chickpea and cauliflower

Take anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular plus, phytochemical, body detox, vitamins C, K and folate and put them into one and you get Cauliflower.

I like it raw, pan seared or lightly roasted.  Here I combined, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, curry and chickpeas in foil in the oven til just past raw, about 30 minutes at 350 degrees and finished with a handful of slivered green onion and cilantro.  No mess, easy clean up and delicious.  Memorable for sure.  Good for a stew one day and cut into smaller pieces for a great sandwich or cold salad with drops of oil and touch of seasoning.

The Vegetable Alchemist.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Does Your Food Function for You ?

When you think of eating, what do you want your food to do?  To get right down to it, as a percentage of 100 how functional is it for your body?   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functional_food

Should it, offer enjoyment, fill the stomach, show a little flavor that sparks your day, help you to live healthy? I  believe it should do all with no side effects.  Side effects are not often sited as coming from food.  Side effects can be bloating, additional weight, poor skin, drowsiness, muscle tension, headaches and more.  Crazy, no?

Well not so crazy if you have any of those side effects and you and your food are at odds.

Think about it.  And while you are considering your choices make a simple Miso Soup with an upgrade of ginger and a touch of bonito flakes for flavor and body minded goodness.  Yes, you can buy a mix but generally they have way to much salt to preserve the ingredients which causes bloating and swelling. For a  simple fresh version take 4 cups of water and stir in a tablespoon of chopped fresh ginger. Bring to a simmer.  Add and dissolve 3 tablespoons of mild yellow miso, 2 tablespoons each of soaked dried seaweed and chopped green onion.  If you have it, a half teaspoon of bonito flakes rounds out with additional flavor.

Sometimes sipping a big bowl of tasty Miso Soup does a lot to help you think while your body enjoys the effect of this wonderfulness !  The Vegetable Alchemist.




Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things

red and curly kale, green tea and apple cider vinegar
The kitchen refrigerator and cabinet has changed the last years to something of more substance than the routine groceries of cereal, pasta, rices, dairy, meats, poultry, and sweets.

My front and center weekly big purchases are now Apple Cider Vinegar, Green Tea and Green Leafy Vegetables.  The reason is simple, I have changed my focus from ethnic and regional dishes to developing new ones or adapting old recipes to those that benefit what my body needs to stay healthier and more fit!  Sure I can make a Pasta Carbonara or a Cog au Vin.  But once I saw that there are more efficient ways to eat and keep my weight in check, my body in better working order, and I just feel great....then time to upgrade reasoning and recipes.   Scads of new discoveries ahead.  But first,time for a run !

The Vegetable Alchemist.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Time for an Enterprise $

Eating is a billion dollar plus enterprise.
Where can I fit...with a low, low carbon footprint and a healthy following of great tasty nutrient rich edible body smart food? 

I just have to keep at it and figure it out and create my following.

Step by Step. 
As the movie says, if you want to find your nitche and succeed you have to 'go the distance.'

Have a good day.  Eat wisely, think sustainable food for a sustainable active life.

The Vegetable Alchemist.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Slaw

two cabbage, kale and yellow pepper slaw

Sometimes I think SLAW is as awesome and versatile as Crazy Glue!

Dress it, blend it, layer it, salad it, sandwich it, stuff it, accessorize it.  Use it warm, hot or cold, but keep it crisp and fresh keeps it sexy.  Balancing stronger vegetable flavors with spices, herbs, mustards and fruits offers extensions enough for a lifetime of combinations.

Slaw, you almost can't have a great healthier body without it. The Vegetable Alchemist!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Quinoa Burgers

         
chili, pesto and arugula flavors......



Any way they stack up, respect the quinoa and you have a fabulous meal.

Easy to digest, loads of energy and just good food! 

the Vegetable Alchemist

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Testing in the Kitchen

a more sustainable burger

Simple thoughts on compounded vegetable burgers offer a lot of promise.  Too many are not gluten or dairy free, too many have gum pastes and all sorts of 'natural' but not so natural food products for flavorings.

using the mix for meatballs

These are the beginning of a series of tests on how legumes will work more effectively in many forms.  Step by step.  I have to check everything from basic quality of the legume, to method of cooking and binding.  It took Edison 1000 tests to make his light bulb. 

Cannot say for sure but these ideas on no soy, gluten free and no dairy are certainly a labor of patience in the name of more sustainable foods. But this guy is not counting......time for a toasted bun, a some homemade Chipotle mayo, shaved cabbage or spinach and tomato....YUM!

The Vegetable Alchemist. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

5 Minute Ramen

Kale simmering with the noodles
 5 minute Ramen





















Why did I not think of it first!  The easy and convenience of using a dried ramen pack as a base for a meal.

Well here you have it.  I added an additionally one cup of vegetable stock and enhanced the nutrition with three cups of chopped curly kale simmered with my own spice blend as the one included was full of salt.  A five minute meal with easy clean up.  A good start to the month.  The Vegetable Alchemist.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Tomato Pie = Vegetable + Alchemy

Pizza Marinara...jucy and crisp!


In traditional historic Italian pizzerias many say there are only two types of pizza: Marguerita, with cheese and basil; and Marinara, without cheese adding basil and oregano.

Before you is a Marinara Pizza. The Vegetable is the Tomato.  The Alchemy is in the Development of outstanding flavor from one great ingredient handled well.  The tomatoes are in two styles: cooked in a simple sauce, spread on thin crust, then covered with slices of fresh ripe tomato.  A final sprinkle with basil and oregano and baking starts til crisp. 

Outstanding taste!  Easy to make and enjoy at home.
The Vegetable Alchemist.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Partnering Flavors


A simple combination of shaved radish and grated fresh Parmesan does well to balance fresh cut kale tossed with a touch of salt, fresh ground pepper with a bit of lemon and olive oil.  The croutons actually add texture and round out the dish.  A keeper of a recipe for sure!  The Vegetable Alchemist.

Friday, August 29, 2014

CARROTS!

four to five inch carrot pieces of tasty fun
To cook or prepare food is a routine that a lot of us looked forward to doing each day.  It's a way of creating something cool and fun, flavorful and tasty that gives you lusty memories all day.  On occasion depending on how good you do it, it is almost as memorable as sex!  So not cooking you lose you a lot of memorable fun time that you could be having when you are not having or in the mood for sex.  Just a thought.

These carrots are slightly past raw, slightly past no fat, but completely high in flavors that will get you smilin' and on to doing it again and again....doing it over and over again will get you good at this charring technique.

Start with peeling and cutting a bunch of your favorite carrots in half.  Then cut the halves in half and then into four to five inch pieces. Grate a teaspoon of lemon peel and set aside.  Take out a cast iron pan and set up some kind of quick steamer.  Bring the steamer to boil.  Heat the cast iron pan to medium heat.  Have a bowl stand by with a few drops of oil.  Have some sea salt at hand and fresh pepper on hand if you have a frig stocked like mine, a little homemade or great store bought soft ricotta is a plus for a side garnish dipper.

Steam the carrots.  Toss them into the boil with the oil then quickly spread them to char in the cast iron skillet.  Turn the heat up slightly and in two to three minutes char the pieces, removing them as they char on one side to the bowl.  When all are done, toss in the lemon peel, a few pinches of seasoning and plate.  Offer the ricotta on the side and a sprinkle or two of chopped cashews or hazelnuts doesn't hurt either!

The first time you do these don't make the mistake that I did and only do three of four carrots.  Because they are so tasty, you will find yourself making a meal of them!  Good to do for a group with a glass of Prosecco around as you show and cook!  Charred carrots rock fun memories!  The Vegetable Alchemist.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Compounding Kale

Quinoa, Chickpea and Softened Kale
Two days ago we talked adding a touch of lemon juice and sea salt to chopped, stemmed kale and working it with your hands to soften and sweeten the texture and flavor.  In this dish I simply compounded that bowl of kale with drained and rinse chickpeas, and equal parts of cooked quinoa with some spices like smoked paprika, basil and pinch of cinnamon.  The addition of drizzles of olive oil smoothed out the flavor.  Good thing about this dish is that you will have NO leftovers!  The Vegetable Alchemist.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Work, Life and Fashionable Food

mixed cabbage, cauliflower, gr.onions, soft wrap
When it comes down to it, The Quest of the last ten days to drop 15 lbs of unneeded weight based on enjoyable nutrient dense plant centric recipes has opened a lot of new doors for me.  And now I am thinking of how to make this into an enterprise of entrepreneurial merit. 

Looking at what makes food cravably delicious I find it starts with this pre-vision of eating something with a concept in mind when you know you want to eat.  For me, that begins with one bubble of items that are inseparable: the look, the taste, the nutritionally dense and monetary value.  This one bubble makes the rest of the work pale.  It is the ease of executing that one bubble of items that can send me in motion to make the dish, find and buy the dish or have a friend do one of the same.


video
fold or wrap it up!
 Here: a lightly braised red chili cauliflower with onion rolled into a gluten free soft bread wrap.  This was a 25 minute bit of work, that makes my life rock and has a smart body sense to it of fashionable food, pleasure and sensuous taste.  The Vegetable Alchemist.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Kale Redux

cut leaves of curly kale
softened kale hand rubbed with lemon and salt
Depending on the variety, some kale are stronger than others in flavor and leaf.  One easy way to soften the taste of a stronger type is to remove the strong stems and mix the leafy green with a touch of lemon juice and pinch of sea salt. Toss and work the leaves in your hands for 4 or 5 minutes or until leaves wilt and the volume decreases almost by half.  This techni ue turns bitter flavors to sweet!  Use the resulting greens as an addition to anything from salads, sandwich additions and slaw. 

In this case a cabbage kale slaw with bacon and thyme.  The Vegetable Alchemist.
kale and cabbage bacon slaw

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Art of Transformation

tasty curried shredded cabbage, greens and broccoli
Changing Habits can be challenging, in fact difficult.  A week ago I put out 'The Quest', to make changes to my work out schedule, and form a new consistent method to how and what I eat.  The goal is to focus on a height to weight ratio of 5'10" and 170 lbs, 27 lbs less than a week ago.  To be clear, I was not looking for a diet but to test my idea of a new Cell Cuisine shaped out of Vegetable Alchemy that would offer more flexibility, much more energy, less stress on the body skeletal and organ structure and because of all of it, a more sustainable and longer approach to living, as each of our bodies is our own eco-system. 

As of yesterday, 5 days into the project, on a comfortable tasty plant based menu which I posted daily my weight has gone from 198.9 lbs to 191.1.  My hope is to drop to 189 by Monday, a decent start and with no regrets.

curry rubbed pork chop adds to the salad
What I gleaned in the first week I want to share.  When I stepped on the scale yesterday, my mind kept pleading, 'please be more loss that 197 lbs.!'  I literally could not see that much discernible difference in losing the first  8 lbs!  Second, I realize how much stress a poor body to mass index has on the organs and skeletal structure as running, swimming, biking or any other details, even simple everyday walking carry weight past my needs. 

But more importantly what I have found is that I have learned a fantastic amount of information about my body and how what I eat effects my moods, my flexibility, my daily work and in effect my relationships.  I am in the midst of a complete positive physical transformation. In short, I simple feel noticeably healthier.  So on to phase two.  My goal is not gaunt, straggly skin and clothes that do not fit, but a decent looking body that likes to enjoy life to the fullest and learn a lot more about living on the way.  The Vegetable Alchemist.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Broccoli Caprese


Simple, tasty, nutritious, easy, and cheap!  Need I say more.......very lightly blanched broccoli, or better yet, just cut uncooked broccoli smaller so it is easier to digest.  Toss with tomatoes, diced mozzarella, fresh chopped basil and drizzles of lemon and olive oil.  Season if you need it.  In the case of unripened tomatoes or if you want to make this an all season dish, lightly oven roast tomatoes to increase their flavor.

Easy Broccolisi Caprese!   The Vegetable Alchemist

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Another Kale


I know, I hear it all the time.."NOT another kale salad !  It's gross.Tastes terrible. Disgusting.  No Way!" ....recent comments from a good foodie. 

BUT there is great news, at least I think its great news.  Massage!  Massage the kale to sweeten and soften the texture.  This one had a few drops of lemon juice with a pinch of sea salt worked into the greens until it softened, then I added a bit of garlic toasted crumb and herbs with a touch of EVOO. 

Massage the kale and then toss with the rest of your ingredients.  The Vegetable Alchemist.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Moving to Sustainable Food



video
pasta, mushroom, kale and beef



















From a small quart of leftover sustainable burger mix from the night before emerges meatballs and a mushroom, kale, and beef pasta simmered lightly with a touches of chopped kale, garlic, tomato and onion.  The kicker that brought it all together was using a little smoked cinnamon and dried pimento.  Wish you were there!  Two ounces of pasta without the usually added saved pasta cooking water to the sauce.  And
only 15 minutes from scooping, chopping and cooking to the finished bowl.  The Vegetable Alchemist. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Eat Well, Be Active, Have Fun......

remember the motto  eat well, be active and have fun!  
sometimes it's just good to get away for a few minutes!

The Vegetable Alchemist




Monday, August 18, 2014

“When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?”

Esprit's  1985 'Making of an Image'

This title is a favorite quote from John Maynard Keynes, considered arguably one of the greatest economists of the 20th century.  It's a perfect statement for the application of knowledge on modern nutrition to the how's and what's we eat . New science offers an amazing fresh opportunity to a healthier longer life. 

And so, with that in mind, I press on past The Making of an Image as done by the 1968 company Esprit, and further into a 'Remaking of an Image' as done by The Vegetable Alchemist.  Change and adapt more healthful information on nutritionally dense ingredients for your daily menu choices and enjoy the results.

A jolly good conclusion if I do say so myself !
The Vegetable Alchemist.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Quest



I always love this pic.  'The ultimate luxury....' the spa day.

This is on my mind today, and soon to come...but first the quest....

personal remake in process, testing my own
principles.......

The Vegetable Alchemist


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Floundering

' Floudering ', not be be confused as the noun for a fish called flounder or an action named, Dufnering is one of those barely loved actions that seems to take forever,  that has to take place in order to produce insights for a direction in a goal one perceives as a good future. From the list below, I chose the first definition as I have been floundering until recently to establish a cuisine based on true body nutrition, updating age old recipes and creating new ones for a true Cell Cuisine for nutrient dense food cells to body cells. Sounds a little intense but actually cuisine is just what I do.

So without 'floundering' any further from the last years of trying to figure it out, I have hit at least a base level for testing my Cell Cuisine this month.  In the process the last years I have reviewed countless articles, books, and hundreds of work shops on food and nutrition. To test my insights and the effects of same, I am establishing a height to weight ration of 5'10.5" and 170 lbs for my body type and embarking on a simple task to 'install an update' to  my style of eating nutritionally rich foods and recipes to reduce my weight by 15 lbs by the end of August.

After cooking many cuisines in countries world wide 'INSTALLLING' a body based cuisine update to drive the significance of eating nutritionally instead of just from various cuisine recipes offers me a future of food and active exercise to keep me fit, lean and mellow.  And, yes, you gotta have taste. This salad did it for me last night.....

Chopped and shredded cabbage, kale, spinach, celery leaves and green onion tossed with a bit of white balsamic vinegar, a touch of toasted sesame mix, pepper and smoked paprika!  Ukika!  Now to  get organized and document..      The Vegetable Alchemist

floun·der1
ˈfloundər/
verb
gerund or present participle: floundering
struggle or stagger helplessly or clumsily in water or mud.
"he was floundering about in the shallow offshore waters"
synonyms:struggle, thrash, flail, twist and turn, splash, stagger, stumble, reel, lurch, blunder, squirm, writhe
"people were floundering in the water"
  • struggle mentally; show or feel great confusion.
    "she floundered, not knowing quite what to say"
    synonyms:struggle, be out of one's depth, have difficulty, be confounded, be confused; More
    informalscratch one's head, be flummoxed, be clueless, be foxed, be fazed, be floored, be beaten
    "she floundered, not knowing quite what to say"
  • be in serious difficulty.
    "many firms are floundering"
    synonyms:struggle financially, be in dire straits, face financial ruin, be in difficulties, face bankruptcy/insolvency, founder
    "more firms are floundering"

Friday, August 15, 2014

Salt for Bitter

tasty kale Caesar finessed with a touch of salt
In a recent cocktail challenge in Paris competing bartenders turned to salt as a finishing ingredient to strengthen and enhance flavors, as.... 'Salt reinforces the natural sweetness in other ingredients, which can help to balance any bitterness or added bitter.'

Such is the effect in this fantastic two kale Caesar styled salad where the anchovy is worked into toasted bread crumbs with a touch of salt, then tossed into a light lemon vinaigrette.  Taste and appearance add so much to how we value our food.  And this dish is utterly delicious.

Nutritionally rich salads add another brick to the wall of evidence that a little daily exercise, lowering stress in your work day and having meals from smart plant based recipes combine to keep you lean, fit and mellow, a formula that continues to demonstrate a long, healthy life.

The Vegetable Alchemist.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

How Modern is Our Food?

In a current issue of The Art of Eating, author Edward Behr presents a six and a half page summary to a question he pose at the onset of the article: ' where will modern innovative cooking go from here..?'

He handles the answers in an interesting fashion peppering with details from various restaurant scenarios looking past bread, the handling of bold flavors, use of finer quality ingredients, de-emphasis on sauces, up to the moment competitive awareness of modern chefs ideas as well as a celebration of the  of producing food. All good topics and well addressed.

But I pose another question. How MODERN is out food?  And I answer it with 'Not Very Modern" considering all the data in science available on cell nutrition, physiology, micro-nutrients and more.  We continue with age eating that continues to age us too early and cause disease.

This salad is a nutrient game changer with the combination of kale and bitter greens, touch of Parmesan, almonds, dates and white balsamic vinaigrette.  Nutritiously dense and packed with flavor.

A game changer is coming.  Enter the world of a new cell cuisine.  The Vegetable Alchemist.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How Much Weight is Enough?

Yesterday I mentioned my quest to change my lifestyle from a full working chef/ restaurateur to another that allows me a different lifestyle.  I wrote about wanting to return to playing amateur sports especially golf and what I need to do to make that happen.  In changing my daily routine I have had to adjust to working out more, sleep, what I eat, how I focus and on new goals.  I have had to deal with my weight, my flexibility, my endurance, and in general, the bleak condition of my body at present and be patient and smart as to how I cross train, mentally as well as physically to get me into shape and on to a long fun life.

fun, but not my thought for nutritionally rich food!
I have been comparing the heights and weight of individuals suggested by professionals supporting  healthier nutritional dense eating with those of successful athletes in the low or no contact sports I want pursue or use in cross training.  Some of these are: swimming, running, biking, hiking, riding horses, tennis and, kayaking, and of course, golf. 

It is interesting to see the similarities in height to weight suggested by those experienced in nutritionally rich eating and those who are actual athletes in size.  In the former category height to weight is suggested as follows:  5'0': 105 lbs; 5'10": 155 lbs; 6'2": 175 lbs or 5 lbs per inch over 5 feet.

Add strength building to the latter and you increase the body to mass index and so a little more weight becomes evident.  When I looked at the reality of weight to height for top professional male golfer contenders I found:  5'9": 150 lbs; 5'9" 160 lbs; 5'11": 170 lbs; 5'11": 175 lbs; 6'2": 180 lbs; 6'3": 180 lbs; 6'4": 190 lbs.  All of these can drive the ball past 300 yards demonstrating other training factors for this.

When I adjust down for not adding professional muscle and strength building workouts for a nutrient dense comparison on height and weight, numbers, with slight exception to body types, are remarkably consistent to those on nutrient dense longevity eating. I see my goals for an amateur and nutrient dense eating weight clearly determined and a direction in mind. Consider you own activity to food and weight goals.  To me a happy long healthy life are worth it! 
The Vegetable Alchemist.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Feed Your Dreams

Vegetable Alchemy: Sustainable Food for an Active Life.  Why sustainable?  First because, it has to sustain the  world.  Second, because it has to sustain me.  The world needs to grow, raise and consume Sustainable Goods to keep the planet in better order.  Why active?  Because without being active your body will put on weight, decay and not maintain good quality. The body needs exercise.  Food and activity sustain life.

At one time my dream was to become a professional golfer and all that came with it.  My travels, worked out, and thoughts were all about golf. I planned my life and living and dating around that dream.  I had a certain height, weight, a regimen to cross train and practice, with a soft flexible vision of how my life would unfold from income to girlfriend to family.  For various reasons I could not accomplish that dream and had to turn to the reality goal of making a living. I did not find a new dream in sports and ended up, because of my background to turning to an industry with much different habits with the goal of being a successful Chef.

workouts add a touch of ginger to carrot juice
I was not as familiar with that goal as a dream.  I thrust it upon myself as the alternative. I could use my learned talents coming from a restaurant family and apply them to what I found was a market opportunity. There were few American Chefs at the time and I felt it was open territory to build a whole new genre of farm to table Chefs and suppliers with principle. My goal was to build an industry. And the success that came depended on developing a larger vision for The American Cooking Movement nationally and internationally, which we did. But personally as I Chef I lacked personal goals, (which included but was not limited to...) no work out, no set work day, no focused income, no consistent living style, and no stable relationship. I left all basically to the whim of the food and beverage gods and what was needed to succeed. In one small sense I did.  But going forward, I am now driven by new thoughts of the future with the knowledge that a welcomed discipline will accompany my new interest for this success.

I am setting out to make my living based on the discipline of being an athlete while adding the creative work from food and beverage used in becoming a Chef.  As I test various elements that work to combine an active life as an amateur sportsman with food that sustains the activity, I add a routine and objectivity which are key, including the nutritionally rich food that will keep this slowly transforming body in shape. 

In the beginning, my new routine started with a daily floor mat workout.  While I suppose it showed effort, it became clear early on, I was naive.  To make a Chef lifestyle change and break into being even simplest of amateur athletes, way more discipline was involved, and that same kind of discipline that goes inot conditioning will be key to this transformational success.  First I have to burn more weight left from another lifestyle. I added cross training in swimming, running, hitting golf balls, biking, riding a horse and other various sports.  But soon after that it was evident that lifestyle and diet play a bigger role.  My food and beverage are key. Why work out, then put on weight as I crossed back into the lifestyle and recipes of me as a former renegade Chef ? For a complete 'make into' I have to push harder and into a new regimen, as the Chef lifestyle laughingly usurps the sports discipline that I had as a golfer. Add a new dream and purpose and what was at first reluctant nod has become accepting a willing positive change.   

Sustainable food whether as fuel, as fashion, as health, as taste has to have purpose. It should be delicious, look fantastically inviting and be efficient for the body.  It should be affordable and have an ingrain sense of passion in recipe. With my new quest, I have picked up at least fifty small and large books on plant based eating as my focus is plant based for Sustainable Living.  To date what I have gleaned is that plant base will offer me Sustainable Food.  Now to design plant based food for a much more active body with a much longer term future than it did when it was not plant based in the sustainable mode.

So this is my quest.  Good luck in your own. Hopefully you will see the valuable components in sustainable food based on plant based living.   More to share tomorrow.....The Vegetable Alchemist.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Fountain of Youth

Nike does it step by step.  What about you?
This is a week to discuss Sustainably Active Us.  Nutritionally dense foods coupled with a good active life offer a glowing opportunity for a happy healthier life.  Add tasty, reasonably priced recipes and I am in the game both feet and all body full speed ahead.

Yesterday the conversation on food shifted to discussions on weight, BMI and sports or athletic activities people enjoy as part of a goal to train, compete or just look good and stay healthy.  As the discussion continued it is clear that some sports build body mass: weight training, contact sports like football, basketball, hockey, wrestling.  You just need body mass to survive and compete.

Other sports thrive on less weight:  running, biking, riding a horse, swimming, tennis and soccer where speed and agility combine with lightness.  Chose your activity to fit your goals. But add food that assists great cell nutrition.  Emerge your own fountain of youth.  In this approach, there is still no finish line.

The Vegetable Alchemist

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sustainably You

The Garmin's business to consumer Connection
Cell Cuisine: My form of business to business.  The Cell to Cell Connection. Food cells to your body cells.  To me, cell to cell is in the context of you understanding you are your own eco-system.  You need to know what you need for your body and then focus on ways that food, recipes, producers, suppliers, retailers and manufacturers can offer you what you need, because  food needs to be cell to cell, not recipes offering old nutritional data based on calories that do not support modern information on cell to cell living.

Most people have no idea of what they and their bodies need to stay healthy. The routine is not to consider it until they are overweight or have health problems. What should be proactive becomes reactive and you lose control of your own eco-system.  It is not a matter of dieting. It is a matter of staying connected with your body's needs and updating that connection with information from credible sources that have you and your health in mind from cell to cell thinking.

Historically we don't grow up taking much responsibility for our bodies other than what food manufacturers and the government have offered. But there is a new self-sustaining era afloat now and the more you really understand in a clear fun way, the better you are.  Easily accessed updated information is great power.  Stay connected to The Vegetable Alchemist as the months go on with ways to learn what you need.  You are your own Eco System and you need to have information that supports you.
.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

'Keeps You Sane but Drives you Crazy"

Music and great relationships have two things in common, 'They keep you sane but drive you CRAZY !'
I heard the phrase from Mickey 'the Geek', a cool, tatted, music dude working at The Tiny Lounge on Lincoln Ave in Chi-town.  Right away I thought it was a super parallel to what we choose to eat. We love the steaks, chops, burgers, pizza, pastas from the SAD (Standard American Diet) but they cause a lot of challenges on your body.  I love my early am coffee ritual:  filtered water, grind beans, sustainable filter, brew, aroma and enjoy in multiples, but it cramps muscles, makes me gritter, and raises my heart rate.

Recently after being away from the game for over 20 years I went back to try on golf, hitting 30 minutes of range balls each day, cross training with an early run, and later with a swim and steam.  EOW....Exit 5 lbs.  Of course it might have been 6 or 7 lbs had I not had the habit still of hydr0lizing with gemstone flavors at places like THE TINY LOUNGE.  But one step at a time. 

Today's dish is a fantastic Hot n' Sour Soup fashion after thinking about how great I feel cooking and eating things that are not part of the SAD and leave me with fantastic energy.  This luscious blend of veggies with shittake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, carrots and green onion get simmered with a half spoon of chili garlic paste.  Cover withchicken or veggie stock and in almost when done drop in a protein, in this case tofu, with a half a cup or so of fresh shredded cabbage stirred in at the end for nutritional density.  OMG!  No steak ever did if for me like this!  Hot in a sense of as spicy mild as you want, and sour in the addition of apple cider vinegar to finish.  A full bowlful later I was after more and more and more. I feel light, nourished and refreshed,  ready to take on the driving range and a lot more lap time in the pool.  Step by Step I am on to my new Cell Cuisine tm and a lot more years of healthful, fun livin ! .  The Vegetable Alchemist.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Blistering Way to Snack

Shishito Peppers.....one of the finest little tasty morsels in life.  WIKI says, 'the name refers to the fact that the tip of the chili pepper (唐辛子 tōgarashi?) looks like the head of a lion (獅子 shishi?), and in Japanese it is often abbreviated as shishitō.' 

A little associative knowledge is always great but even greater is eating them.  Broil plain or pan fry in a touch of hot oil til blistered. Finish with a pinch of seasoning.  Or if you feel the "Chef" within you, make yourself a black bean aioli like this spot did and drizzle for that extra touch.

Great for the blood.  Terrific snack to release a little endorphin.  Try em, the first chance you get! 

The Vegetable Alchemist.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

One Sea Vegetable Loves Tomatoes

nori flavored tomato and mixed greens
Summer tomato salads make it to the top of the list for me.  Refreshing, colorful, fast, versatile as a one dish, side dish or garnish on meat, fish, poultry, meats and pork.

There are a couple of items to remember in making warm or cold BABY tomato salads.  When warm at least you can get away with a quick saute or simple blanching to soften skins.  Cold, I suggest cutting them as you don't have to chase the little shapes around the plate or bowl, and they are a whole lot easier to fork with or without greens.  You can see I test this in the photo and believe me, a spoon is the only solution to leaving baby tomatoes whole. And if marinated, they do not soften as well whole.
make time to cut in half when serving cold






I added chopped, flaked NORI to make a quik farmer's tomato and greens snack dressed with a touch of lemon juice and few drops of sunflower oil.

Tomatoes get a nutritional  density score of 190 and the nori addition ups the anti with its own 209.   I love the flavor and sea vegetable toastiness.  Puts me right back in the water diving! The Vegetable Alchemist

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wednesday's CAT

designed to get you past HUMP DAY !
This Belgian Styled Japanese 'session' beer named Wednesday's CAT is especially made for HUMP DAY and, as noted on the label, 'can help you get through the rest of the week.'  So seeing this outstanding graphic yesterday at a local store, it reminded me it's time to take stock this middle Wednesday and make sure we know our goals and direction.

The Vegetable Alchemist is about great tasting, nutritionally dense food that offers a lot of variety in simple preparations that keep you fit with energy focused on the active in mind.  This means staying away from dead calorie recipes and highlighting the complete opposite with lots of nutrient  rich salads, legumes, herb, spices and foodstuffs that showcase the phyto-nutrients, minerals, vitamins and enzymes that bring good things to life and certainly will get you past HUMP DAY!!  Happy Wednesday.  The Vegetable Alchemist