Paint Your Plate


Discover a Culinary Rainbow With Simple Summer Recipes That Pack a Colorful and Nutritious Punch

Summer’s abundance presents a tantalizing problem: how do we choose what to eat from this embarrassment of riches? One way to organize your pleasant amblings through the farmer’s market is to shop by color. As simple as this sounds, the concept is backed by research. Phytochemicals, the vitamins and minerals found in plants that give them their brilliant hues, have been found to prevent and treat disease, and we require a variety of these nutrients from across the color spectrum to stay healthy.

When you “eat your colors,” as Michael Pollan advises in his book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (and maybe your mother also mentioned), you get healthy doses of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, as well as antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids. These protect our cells from the effects of environmental toxins and from free radicals, which increase dramatically as we age, and in turn age us. Antioxidants have also been shown to help battle heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Vegan chef and cookbook author Colleen Patrick-Goudreau says shopping and cooking by color actually makes nutrition easier. Simply look at your basket: folate makes kale green, betacyanin makes beets red, lutein makes corn yellow, beta-carotene makes mangos and carrots orange, and so on. Try buying and cooking a different color every week, or assembling the most colorful dishes you can.

Blueberries, a key ingredient in the chilled blueberry mango soup recipe that follows, are packed with one of the most powerful antioxidants around, anthocyanin. The avocados, peppers and greens in the accompanying summer salad provide lutein, more antioxidants, folate, vitamins A, C, and K, and manganese.

These refreshing summer recipes are simple to prepare and require the freshest ingredients available (buy organic when possible). They taste as rich as the season, and their appetizing rainbow of colors provides excellent support for overall vitality.

Read the full article, plus recipes, here.

Raw and Order: Matt Amsden Begins Raw Food Delivery


Matt Amsden launches his L.A.-based raw-food delivery service in New York.

Do you like broccoli when it’s been boiled so long that you can mush a floret with your tongue instead of chewing it? According to raw-foodists, you’re not getting much more nutrition than you would from a bowl of air. The raw-food movement is already well under way in New York and if you haven’t jumped on board yet, Matt Amsden will come to you. The 30-year-old founder of RAWvolution, an L.A.-based meal delivery service, began eating a diet of exclusively uncooked, vegan food at 21. After becoming an integral part of the West Coast raw-food scene, Amsden launched RAWvolution in 2001, and soon was counting Cher and Alicia Silverstone among his clients. This month he brings his convenient, healthy food to Gotham.

Why did you decide to launch RAWvolution in New York?
New York is ready for raw food. And most of our shipments out of L.A. are to the East Coast already. This is a takeout oriented city: If it’s made easy, people will do it.

Why go raw?
The benefits are innumerable, but the main thing is how great it makes you feel. Not long after I started [eating this way], my mind got really clear. And if you need to lose weight, you will—I know people who’ve lost more than 100 pounds. Raw food has 80–85 percent more nutrition in general. In cooked food, the enzymes necessary for digestion are mostly destroyed. Enzymes are involved in every metabolic process in the body. If you’re always eating denatured food, you’ll always be hungry. I don’t get headaches or colds anymore and my digestion is great.

When you first went raw, did you miss things?
Definitely. I went cold turkey from eating junk food to 100 percent raw. It’s not what I recommend, but it’s what I did. I had a visceral craving for corn chips—corn chips were like heroin.

Any particular brand?
[Laughs] Any kind of fix would have done it at the time. As long as it was salty and crunchy.

Where did the name RAWvolution come from?
There’s a lot of craziness, fighting and unhappiness in the world. We all need to clean out. I became calmer and happier with a better diet. We call it the RAWvolution because it’s a revolution with food, but it’s also doing something better for the world.

Visit or call 800-9976-RAW. $110–$140 per delivery (includes two soups, four entrées, four side dishes and two desserts).

My Mother, Making Curry

AS PUBLISHED IN The Paupered Chef

Joelle Hann writes about her family roots in curry, pomegranate martinis, and the etymology of “asafoetida” — an apparently stinky ingredient that the French call “devil’s shit,” and which holds the secret to vegetarian Indian cooking.

My mother was born in New Delhi, India, on midsummer night’s eve — June 24—1940. World War II was raging in the Western world, and India was not far from declaring its independence from Britain. Her parents worked for the Lord and Lady Viceroy to India, and had been living in India for some time, her mother as the seamstress, and her father, a Rolls Royce engineer, as the chauffeur.

Although they were servants, my grandparents had servants themselves. My mother had an ayah, or nannie, to tend to her, and no doubt the ayah took my mother along on visits to the Viceroy’s kitchen when she went looking for snacks, gossip, and companionship. It was in the steamy subcontinental kitchen that my mother acquired her love for the pungent aromas of Indian cooking, and, as an adult with a family of her own, she frequently recreated the meals she remembered so fondly from childhood. (My mother and my grandparents were eventually evacuated from India by the British Army in 1946).

That was fine with us. We all liked curry. In fact, on a family trip to England, when I was 14, my father and I competed to see who could eat the hottest curry. Trembling — crying, really, our eyes streaming with water, our palates blasted from the merciless spice — we worked our way through a few curry palaces in London and in the south where he was from.

In spite of this pedigree, I have hesitated to make curries myself. My mother’s curries were prized staples of her cooking repertoire, but were also painfully elaborate to make with all the side dishes, popadums, chapattis, chutneys (homemade, of course). Personally, I don’t like complicated cooking and never want to be “slaving over a hot stove,” no matter who I’m cooking for.

But this past fall, after carting home a large head of cauliflower from the local Saturday farm stand, and not knowing at all what to do with it (white sauce? surely not) I discovered a simple, cheap, and by-golly delicious recipe for cauliflower and pea curry in my favorite cookbook. It does require a trip to an Indian-foods supply store as the three key spices are not ones you are going to find at C-Town, or even Whole Foods. But once you’ve purchased them, you pretty much have a lifetime’s supply ($3 or so each).

I made the curry again this past Friday for a friend who was visiting. It was warming, soothing, with nice alternating textures — crunchy here, juicy there — and not so labor intensive that I missed hanging out with company during the preparations. With a sweet Riesling to counter the spicy heat (we immediately ran out of mango chutney), it was energetic, provocative, and sociable, and it inspired a long and hilarious investigation into asafoetida, word and thing (it’s a tree gum, and one of the curry’s magic ingredients).

This recipe is borrowed from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. The ingredients that make this curry sing are asafoetida, green mango powder and garam masala. You can’t do without them, so plan ahead.

Curried Cauliflower with Peas
Feeds 4.

In order of appearance:
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ tsp cumin, toasted and ground
¼ tsp asafoetida, grated1 tsp turmeric
¼ cup ginger, peeled and chopped
½ tsp cayenne4 tsp coriander, toasted and ground1 onion, thinly sliced
½ cup water1 large cauliflower, broken into small florets
1 ½ tsp salt
1/2lb sugar-snap peas, strings removed (frozen peas okay)
2 tsp green mango powder (ground amchoor)
1 tsp garam masala
basmati ric
emango or other sweet chutneys offset the curry’s spicy punch

Heat the vegetable oil till hot (I used grapeseed oil since it doesn’t smoke), then add the cumin and asafoetida. Cook, stirring continuously for 30 seconds. Add the tumeric, ginger, cayenne, coriander, and onion, and cook until the onions are translucent-—a few minutes.

Add the cauliflower florets and salt. Stir. Add the ½ cup water then cover and turn the heat down. Cook until the cauliflower is done, but not limp, 10 minutes or less. You want the cauliflower to retain some crunch. Add the peas, stir, and cook for one more minute. Stir in the green mango powder and taste for salt.Serve over basmati rice.

What actually happened:
After heating the oil, and adding the toasted, ground cumin, I had to wait for the asafoetida. The guest of honor, Bruce, was trying to grate the required ¼ teaspoon amount from a block of the turgid stuff. About the size of a cake of soap, and clearly a resin, a “mass” of asafoetida resists being separated from itself. Previously I had tried hacking off a small piece with a finely-serrated kitchen knife; as a result, though, the warming flavor wasn’t distributed well through the other ingredients, and the meal lacked some essential kick. I think grating is the way to go. (Ed. note: if you have a mortar and pestle, many recommend the mash-it-up method)

Fun facts: Apparently, asafeotida “tears” are the purest — and most pungent — form. The “mass” or “massa” I own has been mixed with whole wheat flour to tame the stinky odor (asafoetida contains the Latin word “foetid” with means ‘to stink’). It’s been an important spice in Iran, Afghanistan, and India for centuries: Jains and purist Brahmins also like it because it gives flavor to their otherwise bland vegetarian meals which, for religious reasons, cannot contain garlic and onions.

Anyway, the asafoetida delay meant that the cumin was in the oil for probably 2 minutes rather than the called-for 30 seconds. After we got it in and cooking, I quickly chopped the ginger and slicing the onions — I wasn’t quite ready for this stage — and then added the spices. Everything cooked like blazes for a few minutes, then I turned the heat off completely and made pomegranate martinis.

I figured that the spices and onions would be fine for a while, since they didn’t need to be crisp, and that the fancy soup pot I was using — a Le Creuset, my roommate’s — would retain some heat so that it wouldn’t take much to reignite the cooking. Stopping the dinner preparations at this point to make drinks helped me to slow down, and my guests to include me back into the conversation. We all got happily tipsy on the pomegranate martinis and there was no rush to barrel on into the main meal. A good, filling, spicy curry should not be eaten in a panic, like you have a train to catch.

After martinis and salad, I brought the onions and spices back up to temperature (as I predicted, they came up quickly) and added the cauliflower and salt, stirred, added the water, covered and waited. Then went in half a bag, more or less, of frozen peas, and as a last gesture, the green mango powder. The original recipe calls for fresh sugar snap peas — but frozen peas (without the pod) work just as well to bring contrasting color and texture to the meal (I confess, I’ve never made it with the fresh peas). I had cooked the rice while we were having martinis — 2 cups for 5 people — and I served the peas and cauliflower over the rice, in white porcelain bowls. Yum.

AS PUBLISHED IN The Paupered Chef