Vegan Soul Kitchen, Byrant Terry

I saw Bryant Terry give a speech at the 2009 Natural products Expo East. His talk was about food justice, a cause near and dear to my social worker heart. (Here’s a 2003 article on food justice and Terry’s other book and website Eat Grub.) He's written a new cookbook and his publisher sent me a copy Vegan Soul Kitchen. It's “...Alice Waters meet Melvin Van Peebles.” An easy on the wallet, high in the veggies, all-out healthy cookbook wherein every recipes comes with a song suggestion to blare whilst cooking.

For the food allergic and food intolerant set (we allergic girls and guys, and food intolerant dudes and dudettes), Terry stresses an important life lesson: “ close attention and listen to [your] body to see what it needs (or should avoid)."

And then later, related more to the vegan diet "...No single way of eating is perfect for everyone. In fact, because our bodies are so dynamic, no single diet is perfect for any one throughout his or her life. Our relationship with food should be fluid, shifting as we change.”

Yes! Also he encourages playing with his recipes. So, as many include some pastry flour for thickeners and some nuts and nutmeats as garnish or recipe additions, take those out and play! I made the dish that inspired the book, citrus collard greens. Collards have seemed daunting in the past because of how long it was suggested you cook them. (This week, The New York Times has a recipe up this week that are quick cook as well.) Terry uses a classic French method of blanching then shocking them to keep that nice green color and adding some citrus, crucial in digesting iron to it’s optimum. The result is super tasty!

Photo courtesy of Vegan Soul Kitchen:
With the permission of DaCapo LifeLong Press, here is Terry’s recipe and a picture of the end result. 

Citrus Collards with Raisins Redux

Yield: 4 servings

Soundtrack: “Sankofa” by Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and Tony Allen from Allen Chop Up and “Sankofa” by Cassandra Wilson from Blue Light ’Til Dawn

This recipe was the seed of Vegan Soul Kitchen . . . a brand new classic, if you will, dedicated to my home city in the mid-South—Memphis, Tennessee.

Coarse sea salt
2 large bunches collard greens, ribs removed, cut into a chiffonade, rinsed and drained (pages 4 and page 8).
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2⁄3 cup raisins
1⁄3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

• In a large pot over high heat, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the collards and cook, ­uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, until softened. Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of ice water to cool the collards.

• Remove the collards from the heat, drain, and plunge them into the bowl of cold ­water to stop cooking and set the color of the greens. Drain by gently pressing the greens against a colander.

• In a medium-size sauté pan, combine the olive oil and the garlic and raise the heat to medium. Sauté for 1 minute. Add the collards, raisins, and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt. Sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

• Add orange juice and cook for an additional 15 seconds. Do not overcook (collards should be bright green). Season with additional salt to taste if needed and serve immediately. (This also makes a tasty filling for quesadillas.)

The chiffonade cut is used to produce very fine threads of leafy fresh herbs as well as greens and other leafy vegetables. First, remove any tough stems that would prevent the leaf from being rolled tightly (reserve them for stocks or salads). Next, stack several leaves, roll them widthwise into a tight cylinder, and slice crosswise with a sharp knife, cutting the leaves into thin strips.


Tee said…
nice review! i can't wait to get this book. i love soul food. fwiw, any vit c increases bioavailability of iron - so red peppers, for instance, work as well as citrus. i tend to sautee red bell peppers with my kale and other greens to optimize iron absorption.
Alisa said…
I confess, the collards recipe just really didn't appeal to me, but I really like Terry's book. It is full of inspiration. I have tried a couple of recipes already, and both were not only excellent as is, but also easy to tweak depending on your mood. Definite thumbs up!

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