1. What makes you smile in the kitchen? Cooking with my sons and my friends. We like listening to music and dancing around while we cook.
2. What are your favourite summer and winter ingredients? In summer, I love tomatoes and the leafy greens from my garden, collards, spinach, lettuce. In winter, I love to cook with butternut squash and sweet potatoes, which are delicious in enchiladas and soups.
3. Which kitchen appliance do you use most (aside from good knives)? Probably my little food processor! I use that for tons of stuff when we’re in a hurry, throwing in onions, celery, carrots, even cashews for some sauces.
4. Do you have any tips for people who think they can't cook? I think everyone can cook! It’s all about experimenting and finding what you enjoy making and eating. We, for example, love curries. Once we learned how to combine certain spices and herbs, we can throw that in with anything.
5. How do you explain your food restrictions when ordering at restaurants? Most places are pretty responsive! We’ll typically order dishes without meat or dairy or ask for those modifications, and we’ve found most restaurants are really accommodating.
6. When sharing food with others do you divulge the ingredients and/or it's health status before or after letting them dive in? Not all the time. If someone says they like it or ask for the recipe, it might strike up a deeper conversation.
7. Do you believe in moderation or abstinence- can you have just one bite/one treat? I’ve always had a sweet tooth, and I love chocolate, so I practice moderation with sweets and baked goods. My favorite treat from the book is the No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars. We also make the Fresh Strawberry Pie a lot.
8. You say not to be scared of carbs and encourage whole grains but how do you feel about more refined carbohydrates like whole grain flour/breads etc. You have many yummy recipes that use them but do you feel they should be limited? If you’re eating balanced meals, with lots of fruits and veggies on the side, carbs will and should be a small proportion of your complete diet.
9. When you're missing something how do you go about vegan-ising and health-ifing it? After eating a whole food, plant-based diet for a long time, I’ve noticed my cravings subside. There are some great healthier options out there, though. For example, if you’re craving a burger, try a delicious Portobello sandwiches (yum!) or a great veggie burgers. There are so many ways to make delicious meals without animal products.
10. How do you feel about labels like vegan or plant-based? Do you think they help or hinder? I tend to use the term “plant-based.”
11. If you could choose, what would your last meal be? I like a lot of international dishes. This year, we had some of the best Thai basil we’ve ever had in our garden, so we made some great Thai curry. But my favorite meal, which I’d probably choose, would be a good bowl of Dominican Rice and Beans with a nice crunchy salad. And something sweet after, of course.
12. Are you going to be writing any more cook books? I am! We’re working on The China Study All-Star Collection: Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes from Your Favorite Vegan Chefs. Keep an eye out for that in the spring of 2014.
Thanks again LeAnne! and now for the drool-worthy blackberry yumminess...
Blackberry Lemon Tea Cakes
Makes 1 dozen tea cakes
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup Sucanat
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
½ cup plain soy yogurt
1 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 egg replacers (2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal with 6 tablespoons water)
1 cup blackberries
2 tablespoons unsweetened reduced fat coconut (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners (or use a nonstick pan).
- Combine flour, Sucanat, baking powder, and zest in a medium bowl.
- Mix together soy yogurt, milk, lemon juice, and egg replacers in a separate bowl.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until just moistened.
- Gently fold in the blackberries.
- Spoon mixture evenly into the prepared muffin cups.
- Sprinkle coconut over the tops for decoration, if desired.
- Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a tea cake comes out clean. Cool slightly before serving.
I hope you enjoy the interview and this delicious recipe as much as we have been!
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