I think the vegan community is amazing- everyone involved is making a huge impact in their own special way. I love how vegans ultimately find common ground by simply refusing to participate in the exploitation of non-human animals. As most of us know, the choice to go vegan is no “trend”… it is holding on strong, and will only continue to grow. Which is awesome!
So, I wanted to share with you a person who is doing her part and spreading some vegan love: The Blissful Chef ~Christy Morgan.
She runs Viva la Greens, a fantastic spot in Los Angeles which offers personal chef services, ( for all of you lucky L.A. dwellers), consulting, private and group cooking classes. Christy has a blog where she covers everything “green”. There you will also find some pretty amazing looking recipes and fun videos.
Along with making a big impact on people’s lives, she also used to make meals for Alicia Silverstone, who has become quite a vegan mentor. How fun is that?! I think it is wonderful that there are so many influential and compassionate people out there choosing to educate others about veganism.
To let you guys get to know a little bit about “The Blissful Chef”, here’s a list of a few questions I had the pleasure of asking Christy. She’s such a sweetie- if you haven’t had a chance to check out her blog- please do so!
She also has an e-cookbook coming out soon!! I’ll review that little gem next week and give one away… so be sure to check back!
And, at the end of the post, I have included my all time favorite salad recipe for you guys… because, well, that’s what I do. :)
Now onto The Blissful Chef!
What are some of your favorite foods that have been introduced to you since you went vegan/macrobiotic?
Going to macrobiotic culinary school expanded my knowledge of food, my taste buds, and the foods I ate. I was exposed to so many wonderful things I had never heard of, like burdock, lotus root, kabocha, and daikon. I also began to eat things I had seen in the store but didn’t know what to do with- like parsnips and sea vegetables.
What is one of the most requested dishes or recipes you receive at Viva la Greens, either for a meal delivery or through consultation/classes?
Everyone goes nuts for my Un-Tuna Salad made from chickpeas. I’ve had people tell me they would invest if I start selling it in grocery stores.
Since macrobiotic cooking often incorporates sea-vegetables, what do you recommend as a great way to introduce people to sea veggies aside from the typical sushi roll?
Sea veggies really have an acquired taste. I have to sneak them into things because I honestly don’t like many of them. The best way to do that is throw wakame into soups, buy dulse and kelp flakes to sprinkle of grains, salads, and beans, and I like to sneak hijiki in my tofu quiche, or make a pate/dip from it (two recipes are featured in my eCookbook). Nori is great too as a snack or I cut them into thin strips and throw them in salads.
Do you have a go-to meal/dish you make at least once a week?
Whole grains are a huge staple of mine. My favorite is Lundberg “Golden Rose” Medium-grain Brown Rice or Quinoa. I also love making a un-macrobiotic power smoothie after I work out made with rice milk, hemp protein, VitaMineral greens, UDO’s DHA oil, frozen bananas, and raw cacoa.
What has been your most memorable cooking experience?
It is hard to choose just one, but my favorite experiences in general is when I’m cooking with a group of people, like when I volunteer in the kitchen at French Meadows (a macrobiotic summer camp in N. Cali) or cooking with my friends. It’s so great to share that energy together in the kitchen then sit down to eat with one another.
Favorite way to use tofu?
I love making quiche and tofu scramble, which people go crazy for when I make it. But, tofu is so versatile and can be used in so many ways it’s hard to choose just one. I love using silken tofu to make creamy dressings or cheesecakes.
What is, in your opinion, the best part about teaching people veganism/macrobiotic cooking?
I inspire and empower others to take charge of their health and happiness through an understanding of how food affects everything in our life. This is the reason why I love teaching. I get to really make a difference in peoples’ lives.
Who in your life has influenced your cooking the most?
I would say my macrobiotic teachers are my biggest influence. They help guide me and make sure I take care of myself. Next, I would say my clients and my friends. They help me be the best I can be.
What is your best tip for a novice cook?
Invest in a good knife and learn knife techniques. Take cooking classes to build your skills. Having the proper knife and be able to use it well saves so much time in the kitchen. My favorite is NHS or MAC. They are Japanese style vegetable knives you can find online. After many years as a chef this is my favorite style of knife.
And, if you happen to live in Los Angeles, Christy has a “Basics” cooking class series coming up soon that will teach you everything you need to know about the plant-based diet and how to cook wholesome delicious meals. This class is for those of us new to macrobiotic cooking or even just looking to improve our cooking skills. Vegan and macrobiotic elements will be taught in this class setting a good foundation of what eating, living, and cooking healthy really means. For proper knife techniques, Class 1 is essential and will make prepping a meal quick and easy. Each class is 3 hours and hands-on so you get real experience.
Basics of Eating and Cooking a Plant-based Diet
Class 1 – Saturday February 27th, 10 am – 1pm
Knife Techniques & Overview of Whole Foods (Macrobiotic) Diet
Class 2 – Saturday March 13th, 11 am – 2 pm
Soups & Vegetables
(Christy apologizes for the big gap in classes. She is going to the Holistic Holiday at Sea Cruise, the only vegan macrobiotic cruise. You can still sign-up! )
Class 3 – Saturday April 3rd, 10 am – 1pm
Whole Grains & Sea Vegetables
Class 4 – Saturday April 10th, 11 am – 2 pm
Each class is $50. Sign up for all 4 classes and save $15 (Only $185 for 4 class series!). You won’t find a better deal in town! New Location in West LA!! If you want to get on board, hurry up- class size is limited!
Thank you so much Christy! — Now onto my salad recipe:
Wilted Kale and Mustard Greens Salad
I eat this salad at least twice a week– I would eat it every single day if I could. It is quick and super-duper filling. Seriously… it leaves me stuffed every time I eat it.
Ingredients (makes one large salad)
- 4-6 leaves kale, any variety
- 4-6 leaves mustard greens
- 1 tsp agave
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp -1/4 cup grapefruit juice… freshly squeezed
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- 1 large portobello mushroom cap
- a few Cherry tomatoes
First rinse Kale and mustard greens well and then pat dry. Cut leaves into small strips, using a proper chiffonade method, or just do like I do: roll the leaves up and chop away! Place chopped leaves into a large bowl.
Next, take grapefruit juice, salt and agave and massage into leaves until they become wilty. I like to really get my hands in there and make sure the grapefruit juice, salt and agave have thoroughly covered each piece.
Set leaves aside. Now, saute the portobello cap (whole), over medium heat in a tiny bit of water, until soft all the way through. Salt lightly.
On cutting board, slice up mushroom cap, avocado, and cherry tomatoes. Place on top of greens inside bowl.
Using a food processor, chop up the walnuts into tiny crumbles:
Sprinkle on top of salad and enjoy!