Friday, August 28, 2009

Reflecting on a Glam Vegan World...

That's right...Glam. I've successfully bridged the hippie-slash-post-punk vegan world with the chic-refined-glamorous veg vixens on the other side of the social tracks. This is a trend in my life: bridging different people from different walks of life. I remember my senior year in high school--making the Varsity Cheer Squad while all my super smart academic classmates said "no, Karinna, don't do it! Cheer will change you!" Well, it didn't. I'm unchangeable yet evolving. Undeniably, so is our world and the essence of being human.

We inherently know we must remain paradoxically stable yet dynamic all at once. Certain rules bend, other rules disintegrate like Ptolemaic geocentrism. It's all about Perception!


My wildly diverse academic background fortunately equips me with some depth of substance when it comes to answering anti-vegan concerns. "Oh you're on a DIET?...But the bible says we can eat meat..." No, i don't need to "diet"--and I don't believe the horrific factory farms existed in biblical times. I pick my battles and often play the shallow card so as not to waste energy on a useless cause. The bittersweet duplicity to all of this, dare I say, is that 99% of the population has become so superficial that CC's trump IQ's!

Yes, I said it: silicone is more attractive than a baccalaureate. Until intelligence and inner beauty become popular again, I will use this knowledge to reach my audience effectively. So which direction do I go: The Road Not Taken or the road trodden black? Neither. There are more than 2 roads in my yellow wood, and I decided long ago to blaze my own trail.

Fortunate to have had an action-packed week! I've gone from donating goodies to a family in despair--hair up and tousled in a bun on Monday, to planning and coordinating a major event on Tuesday, to attending a classy book launch party representing a fine California Sparkling Wine on Wednesday, to tasting a heavenly Zin on Thursday, meeting a great Chef in Hermosa and Redondo Beach Saturday, to family fun in La Jolla and Carlsbad on Sunday...all the while touching people's lives with my message of Wellness and Compassionate Living.



I believe in health, compassion, and taking responsibility for our actions. I took a wrong turn Thursday in LA...saw a trash dump site with huge VOLVO cranes smashing down on GARBAGE which millions of people had blindly thrown into trash cans. Mountains of trash--synthetic and organic/biodegradable all mixed up together. The least each of us can do is Compost, Ban any single-use containers from our homes, Reuse, and Reduce when we can. And of course, take action in the recycling process. Shop local organic produce when possible; LEAD by example! (I wear my stainless steel water bottle on harbinger clip on my jeans as a statement; I demand the finest in organic produce; I send my son to Kindergarten with eco-friendly supplies and raw fruits and veggies because practicing what you preach is a great way to spread your message.)



I am confident that more of my friends will see that Going Veg once or twice a week [at least] is fun, exciting, healthy, and a worthy challenge with many global benefits. I personally don't let anything into my body unless it serves a purpose (nutrients) or pleasure (cocktails, wine, or dark chocolate to name a few)!

This week's reading list for my friends:

Skinny Bitch
Quantum Wellness
and for FUN:
The Bubbly Bar (a Cocktail Recipes book!)

Cheers to a Great Week!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Culinary Cocktails at West Hollywood Pavilions

Saturday, August 15th, The Chef Knows team hosted another Culinary Cocktails event at Pavilions in West Hollywood. This glamorous supermarket is located on the corner of Robertson and Santa Monica in the heart of West Hollywood. The Grand Re-Opening took place on July 24th, during which reusable shopping bags were given away to all in attendance. Safeway continues their efforts to reduce plastic bag consumption by encouraging consumers to reuse the sturdy and attractive Pavilions bags. Safeway uses energy saving technologies, wind power, and renewable resources. This warm summer Saturday, the setting was perfect for a day of Gourmet Food Tasting and Pairing with Bacardi Mojitos.

Our Guest Celebrity Chef this week was Chef Vernon Cardenas of BOA Steakhouse, Innovative Dining Group's latest award winning restaurant! Using mostly ingredients purchased at Pavilions, Chef Vernon created Crostini with Burrata Cheese, topped with Mixed Baby Heirloom Tomatoes, 50-year-old Aged Balsamic and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Burrata Cheese is a special type of fresh Mozzarella with a creamy, buttery texture. The Aged Balsamic reduction infused the Baby Heirlooms with a rich, delicious flavor enhanced by the crunchy Crostini. Two bartenders from BOA mixed up some virgin Mojitos for all customers in attendance! Everyone was pleased to see the talented Chef and Peter Dills filming his show, The Chef Knows.



I take pleasure in meeting Chefs that use quality organic ingredients and buy from sustainable farmers and growers. The always-smiling Chef Vernon said he welcomed the challenge of preparing vegetarian dishes and takes care to pick the freshest organic in-season produce available. BOA uses only the highest quality beef and takes pride in the fine selection of meats they serve their guests. BOA has won Wine Spectator's "Grand Award" for Best Restaurants in the World for Wine Lovers. On Sunday nights, Wine Lovers can indulge in BOA's impressive wine list. All bottles are half price! Visit http://www.boasteak.com/ for more information. You just might find me with my friends at BOA on Sunday nights, and every other day of the week!




We will be visiting Vons and Pavilions locations throughout California for Peter Dills' Culinary Sampling and Tasting events. Special Thanks to Bacardi and Innovative Dining Group!

L.A.'s Green Pulse

Seeds of Green have sprouted in L.A. and the next generation of health conscious consumers now have diverse options on every corner--literally!

Restaurants, grocery stores, cleaners, gyms, coffee shops and businesses are all showing a strong dedication to raising health and environmental awareness.

Hungry for Health? Topping my list of Best Green-inspired Restaurants are: M Cafe, Cafe Flourish, Real Food Daily, Tender Greens, Green Leaves Thai, and Hugo's! I love clean and impeccable restaurants so M Cafe de Chaya takes #1 in cleanliness and taste; however, I would like to see more full-service Vegan restaurants in the near future! Veggie Vixens like to enjoy good service and fine dining just as much as everyone else.

Still far from the eco-conscious V-Topia I see in the future, the city continues to grow greener by the day. I've personally helped a few friends plant rooftop gardens in the city--a trend which I discovered in Manhattan is pleasantly sprouting in West Coast Urban hubs as well. Butterfly gardens, while not productive for culinary purposes, attract one of the planet's most beautiful pollinators and generate healthy oxygen for our concrete jungle. Some of our everyday veggie diet staples are the easiest to grow, so google urban gardening or hire a hottie with a green thumb and get a little dirty.

So for now, I take a deep breath outside of the city, but feel the beat calling me back to the city in SoCal with the hottest Green Pulse!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Karinna's Rockstar Zucchini Bread


Thanks for all the Recipe Requests my friends! Here is my version of an old-fashioned homemade favorite!
I call it Rockstar Zucchini Bread because it provides long lasting energy--in fact, if you tweak the moisture level ratio to baking time (for Pro Pastry Aficionados!), then you can create an energy bar with this!

Once you get comfortable with this recipe, you can whip it up at a moment's notice. Last minute dinner party? No Problem. You can prepare this in 10 minutes, then bake it in the oven for an hour while you clean and prepare the other courses. I LOVE to entertain and host parties, so I have mastered the art of multi-tasking! Throw on a cute apron to keep the flour off your hottest holiday outfit and have some fun in the kitchen! (Not a low calorie food -- this is a nutrient dense loaf. To slightly reduce sugar/gylcemic index: substitute the granulated sugar for 5 Tbsp. Organic Blue Agave Nectar added to the wet ingredients.)



Karinna's Rockstar Zucchini Bread

(Yield: 1 loaf)



2 c. whole wheat pastry flour (I like Bob's Red Mill)

1/2 c. packed light or dark brown sugar

6 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 c. old fashioned rolled oats

3 large eggs (I recommend replacing the eggs with Ener G Egg Replacer, or applesauce and flaxmeal)

3/4 c. Canola oil

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 c. grated zucchini


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and Flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.



DRY - Stir flour, sugars, cinnamon, baking soda and powder, and salt together in large mixing bowl. When combined, add the oats. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. WET - In a separate small bowl, whisk the eggs (or egg replacement mixture), oil, and vanilla together then pour into the well. Combine lightly and then throw in the grated zucchini! Careful not to overmix.

Scrape batter into the prepared pan; with a silicon spatula, build a mound in the center.


Sprinkle the top with organic turbinado sugar or dark brown sugar crystals if desired, then bake for about an hour until golden-brown and a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.Cool for at least 10 minutes then invert onto towel over a rack and let it cool a bit more. Serve with Soy "Nog" or some warm Organic Apple Cider...Delish!


Variations

Get creative! During the Holidays, I add nutmeg or grated ginger. Add Flax Meal (I recommend Barleans NutriFlax), add Quinoa, substitute carrots or apple for zucchini! You may need to alter the oats and wet ingredients a bit based on the starchiness of the carrots or moisture of the apples.

Send me an email or post a comment. I appreciate all the responses I've been getting by email. Thank you.



Happy Baking, Happy Entertaining!

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