And how it all began…
My love of cooking with vegetables began years ago, when trying to feed my vegetable-fearing children. On a beautiful autumn day, I scoured the newspapers looking for a fun outdoor activity for my four young children. We embarked on our first of many visits to a drive from our house, to go vegetable picking. The children ran from plant to plant, lifting up leaves and picking string beans, peas, peppers and eggplants. I watched dumbfounded as they filled four red wagons to the brim.
This was my first visit to a farm. I had no idea how these vegetables grew and shared my children’s sense of wonder. We piled happily into the car and discussed which vegetables we were going to prepare for dinner. Ninety minutes later, I watched as my vegetable-loathing kids enjoyed their freshly sautéed string beans, made simply with olive oil, salt, pepper and a little fresh garlic. Was this the solution to years of cajoling?
Secretly, I was the most affected. I became a true vegophile. I sought creative ways to increase the amount of vegetables in every dish. My family became hooked and I knew I had a great thing going.
I wanted to see how far I could go in improving my family’s diet. Thus began my obsession in cooking with vegetables and experimenting with spices and herbs. I took cooking classes, became glued to the Food Channel, and poured over my cookbooks voraciously.
My love of vegetables coincided with a new interest in botany. I started painting botanical watercolors of the bounty I brought home from the farmers’ market. I artistically arranged fruit in a beautiful pedestal bowl and found the kids eating my still lifes. I experienced a visceral connection between food, nature, art and health.
I also find inspiration in home cooks. I am known to stop women in the supermarket who are buying unusual ingredients (defined as something that I don’t ordinarily buy), such as kohlrabi or kabocha squash. People are delighted to share their recipes.
Join me in preparing meals with fresh wholesome ingredients made with lots of love.
Here is the recipe from when it all began:
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