As the New Year approaches, I always spend time reflecting about my year with gratitude. What I’ve learned, how I grew, what I’m ready to let go of and what I’m ready to bring more of into the New Year. I hope that we can all agree that bringing more peace might be at the forefront of our own lives and the planet’s. I know personally that it is something that has been on my mind.
Specifically, I have been thinking a lot about how are our choices impact and effect our carbon footprint. We have more power than one might think. If we each individually made a commitment to using less plastic along with reusable water bottles, grocery bags, recycling, supporting local farms and food that has traveled less, we can make a difference. We vote with our dollars and we impact change one by one. One of my New Year commitments will be buying reusable fruit and vegetable bags so that I’m not putting my produce in plastic bags when grocery shopping. It’s just a small adjustment but can you imagine the effects if we all made an adjustment like this? I always recycle my current plastic bags but recycling is not enough because even with recycling, it takes a long time for plastic to break down. The solution really is using less plastic and purchasing less things that are adding to our carbon footprint.
Sustainable, organic local food has always been at the foundation of my work as an organic female chef. I truly believe this is one of the ways that we can build a foundation of health for ourselves and the planet. This paired with mindfulness for nature. The theory that what we take, we give back and are mindful when doing so. I love the French term “doucement” which means slowly or just a little. This is how I view my relationship with food and how I come to building my relationship with food as a chef. Personally, we’ve always eaten lots of fruits and vegetables and the majority of our diet is plant based. When we do supplement with meat, there is tremendous gratitude and understanding behind it. We eat it sparingly and only source meat from local farms where the animal was cared for and butchered in a mindful way. Food is meant to be nourishing and when we cook it with well sourced ingredients it just tastes different than that item that sat on the grocery shelves for weeks.
I wanted to share this recipe that we eat fairly regularly in our home. It’s fair to say its a staple. I want people to experience vegetarian and vegan recipes that are flavorful, delicious, easy to prepare and dishes that the whole family will enjoy. My kids absolutely love this curry dish and so do we! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Curried Vegan Red Dal
1 medium head of organic cauliflower washed and cut into bite size pieces
1 medium organic onion peeled and diced
1 tbs fresh organic ginger minced
2 cloves of fresh organic garlic peeled andminced
2 tbs mild curry powder (spicy curry powder may be used if that is your preference)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro washed and minced
1 1/2 cup organic red lentils
32 fl oz. organic vegetable stock or homemade stock
2 tbs sweet mango chutney (optional)
1/4 cup organic raisins
1 tbs organic coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Take a medium stock pot with a lid and add coconut oil then place the heat on medium. Once the coconut oil melts, add minced onion, sea salt and black pepper. Sauté approx. 8 minutes till the onions are translucent then add minced fresh ginger, garlic, fresh cilantro and 1 tbs of the curry powder. Cook approx. 2-3 minutes then quickly add the red lentils and cauliflower. Stir quickly then immediately add the stock, the other 1 tbs of curry powder and the mango chutney. Bring the heat up to high till the curry just begins to start to simmer then immediately reduce to low. Add the raisins then place the top on the pot and let cook for approx. 10 to 15 minutes. Chef’s note ** the liquid will reduce.
I generally serve this with steamed basmati rice and you can make this fancy if serving to guests by offering optional toppings to add to their bowls of curry such as additional raisins, coconut flakes, mango chutney, fresh cilantro and even a spoonful of plain coconut yogurt to finish it off.
Enjoy!! – Chef Emery oxoxoxo
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