MARKET STREET COOKING CLASS – September 10, 2011
“REASONS FOR VEGANS”
I’m counting down the hours to my debut “Vegan” cooking class. Here’s the kicker – The students are mostly non-vegans. I’ve always loved a good challenge! Over the last couple of years, I’ve been obsessed with making vegan fare that appeals to the masses. My motto is, “The taste buds don’t care if it’s plant or animal as long as it’s delicious!”. So what did I do, I peddled my food to Market Street and SOLD! The only requirement is I couldn’t use “Healthy or “Vegan” in the title of my class (a little tricky, but doable). The following is what I hope everyone in class will take away along with my “Coconut Sweet Potato Pie” recipe. I promise your holiday guest will be begging for this recipe – vegan or not! (See Recipe Below) Stayed tuned for the highlights and more recipes from this class and others.
While researching a solution to my own weight issues, I discovered the link between obesity and our acidic American diet. Like many women my age, I had gained 20 lbs. it seemed overnight. What I discovered is our country’s animal based diet is making us sick and fat. Obesity is a result of a body out of balance and one of the first signs of chronic illness. Without going into too much detail, our bodies have an optimum pH balance. We pay attention to the “pH Balanced” when purchasing hair and skin products, but don’t think twice about how the pH of the foods we eat affect our body. Our insides are pH sensitive just like our outside. If acidic products destroy your skin and hair can you imagine what’s going on inside? All animal products are on the acidic side of the pH scale with very few exceptions. Most sugars and saturated fats are acidic. I applied what I had learned and in the end, I lost the 20 pounds in short order. Now my problem is keeping weight on! It’s great to know I’ll never worry about my weight again. The answer is a simple as, eating more often, eating more plants, walking in the sun, and “down time”.
Plant based proteins are less acidic, easier on our bodies and the fact is we need way less protein than the average American diet consumes, (mostly from animal sources). These proteins also contain the unhealthy saturated fat, linked to heart disease, among other killers. Even while the USDA recommends drastically reducing saturated fat, they do a good job of veiling the sources of this fat by giving it technical names like cholesterol, saturated fat and “solid fat”, instead of calling it “animal”. (Ask me about where the majority of government food subsidy dollars go). This excess protein taxes every digestive organ – the pancreas, liver, gallbladder, stomach, kidneys. The average American eats 3 x what the body needs in protein. This excess animal protein is linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis (mineral loss as the body leaches calcium from our bones to neutralize the excess acid in our system). This would explain why osteoporosis is on the rise in our country even with a huge emphasis on dairy (which is also protein). Breast cancer, kidney disease, cataracts, arteriosclerosis; among other chronic diseases have been linked to excess animal protein. A 120 lb. woman needs about 50 grams of protein a day (1 – 5oz. chicken breast and a cup of lentil soup). Sadly, Americns have been conditioned to include animal protein for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Only until recently has vegetable sources been acknowledged as acceptable sources of protein by the USDA and the information is vague. When in reality, the 9 or 10 essential amino acids not produced by the body are readily available from plant sources. Soybeans, quinoa, greens (kale, collard, mustard, spinach, etc.) and potatoes are great examples of plant-based foods packed with these essential amino acids. The foods on the menu for this class alone, provides approximately 44 grams of protein and all essential amino acids! The fact is – we have a biological requirement for amino acids (the building blocks of protein), – NOT PROTEIN, according to Madelyn Fernstrom from the University of Pittsburg. You can choose to get your amino acids from plant or animal. Check out “Forks over Knifes” and the “China Study” for more clues to good health. Another good study resource is www.vrg.org. All information is referenced.
There’s a big misconception that vegan and vegetarians are protein deficient. Not true. A plant-based diet with variety can have all the protein a body needs. The fact is, vegetable protein is a superior, cleaner protein. Just ask famous marathoner Scott Jurek, or tri-athelete, Brendan Brazier what gives them their edge. And, if you need another reason for adding more plant-based meals to your diet consider this – how about cutting your grocery bill in half and doing your part to save the planet and the animals. To raise a cow for slaughter, you have to feed and water the crop and then feed and water the animal. Much more cost-effective feed just feed and water the crop! Another plus, plants are whole foods packed with fiber that fill you up and keep you satisfied. No more dieting! - Eat as much as you want – Never be hungry.! And, plant-based protein can be up to 50% less expensive than animal based protein. How does it stack up?
4 oz. Salmon @ $3.00 per serving = 22 grams protein, 2 grams saturated fat
4 oz. Porterhouse Steak @ $4.00 per serving = 22 grams protein, 9 grams saturated fat
1 cup lentils @ 20 cents per serving = 17.9 grams of protein, 0 grams of fat
We have the solution to America’s Health Care Crisis – GET HEALTHY! “Supply and Demand” still works – Lower the demand for healthcare and the cost will plummet. Demand “good food” and the “bad food” will disappear. President Bill Clinton is a prime example of how you can eat your way to good health. Good food for thought…….
Oat Pie Crust (Preheat oven to 425 degrees)
Makes 2 crust
1 ¾ cup oat flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
2 tbsp dark coconut palm sugar
¼ tsp sea salt
6 tbsp Earth Balance Vegan Butter (cold)
¼ cup ice-cold water more or less
1. In food processor add flour, salt and sugar – pulse a few time to mix.
2. Add butter and pulse until butter is roughly cut in (8-10 seconds).
3. Turn processor to on and add water slowly through feeder tube until dough begins to clump and cleans the edge of bowl. (DO NOT LET FORM A BALL). If too wet and sticking to sides add a little more flour (1 tsp at a time). If too dry add more water (1 tsp at a time.
4. Remove from processor, knead dough a few times and cut in half. Press each half into a round disk, wrap in plastic and let rest in freezer for a few minutes while toasting pecan, coconut mixture. (Freeze one)
5. Roll out onto floured parchment for a 9” pie crust. Transfer to pie plate and finish edges as desired. (I like to place my pie plate upside down on to rolled out dough and then flip it, press it into place and peel off the parchment – BAM!)
6. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Move to cool spot while you make filling.
Note – You can make this in a bowl. Just mix the dry ingredients together. Cut in butter with hand mixer or 2 knives. Make well in middle of dough and add water. Mix until it holds together. And, of course you can buy a gluten-free crust from your local whole foods market.
Sweet potato Coconut Pie Preheat oven to 375 degrees
4 tbsp Earth Balance Butter
1/2 cup coconut flakes
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/2 cup low-fat coconut milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp. dark rum
1 tsp vanilla extract or flavoring
3 tbsp Grade A pure maple syrup
3 tbsp coconut palm sugar or Stevia
2 cup sweet potatoes (prepared fresh or canned)
1 ripe banana smashed
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp sea salt
- Make pie crust first.
- In large sauté pan over med high melt butter. Add coconut, flax, pecans, brown sugar and cardamom. Toast mixture for 3-5 minutes until sugar is caramelized, stirring frequently (do not burn pecans). Set aside.
- In large mixing bowl, whisk together, milk, rum, lemon juice, vanilla, coconut palm sugar, maple syrup. Then mix in sweet potatoes and banana.
- Blend together in small bowl, arrowroot, baking powder, salt, and spices. Add to wet ingredients and beat mixture until light and fluffy about 3 minutes.
- Spread pecan mixture into bottom of prepared pie crust and pour sweet potato mixture evenly on top.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until crust is brown and pie is set (doesn’t jiggle like jello).
Serve with a simple, elegant cream cheese drizzle (see below) and garnish with pecan halves. I promise your holiday guest will be begging for this recipe – Vegan or not!
Cream Cheese Drizzle (enough for 1 pie or cake)
¼ cup Earth Balance Vegan Butter (soft) 4 oz Tofutti Vegan Cream Cheese
3 tbsp confectioner’s sugar ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp fresh lemon juice (a little water if you want it thinner)
In small mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients until very smooth a creamy. Drizzle over your favorite pie or cake. How about some homemade cinnamon rolls…yum.