13 Feb 2011
Meet Mrs. Pleasant
by Robyn Jasko
Hey Mrs. Pleasant! Can you tell us what you do?
Hey! :) I'm a Vegan/Vegetarian Personal Chef/Baker, Teacher and Food Writer.
What are some of your favorite meals to prepare for dinner parties or delivery?
I make these (Raw) Pecan Pate Collard Green Wraps, usually with Mango and Avocado inside and no matter what, people always love them!
I love incorporating raw foods into my menus, because a lot of people have never had raw, and its one of the best ways to get more vitamins and minerals into your diet. Also, Falafel and different kinds of Quinoa salads come to mind too.
Also, how did you get that great name?
Thanks. It was a nickname from my parents.
When did you become a vegetarian/vegan?
I went vegetarian 16 years ago. I was that rare kid who ate all my veggies first and then I'd pick at the meat on my plate. By the time I turned 15, it just felt right to stop eating it.
What inspires your recipes?
I love making any recipe healthier. I'm also very drawn to color, and always add a lot of it to whatever I make.
Do you have a favorite cookbook?
Hmm, that's a hard one! I'm a huge fan of (Raw Chef) Ani Phyo and although I don't use it as much anymore, The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen changed my life. It was the first cookbook I really used.
What ingredient couldn't you live without?
All kinds of curry and I also love coconut milk.
What advice do you have for someone looking to become vegetarian/vegan/eat healthier, but don't know where to start?
I would definitely start small. You don't have to go vegetarian or vegan overnight, (and your body will thank you, if you don't). If you eat meat, poultry or fish everyday, pick one night a week and make a vegetarian meal. It can be something really easy like stir-fry. All those small steps over time create big change!
What's your favorite music to listen to when cooking?
I love anything soulful, (which covers a lot of musical ground). Everything from Joni and Dylan to Miles and Ella to Ani, to even Deep House and Hip Hop. I usually dance as I cook. :)
Do you have a favorite indie beer or wine?
I'm not a big drinker, so I can't think of anything off hand, but I'm open to suggestions. :)
How did you get into cooking healthy foods?
I was raised in a healthy home. (No sugar cereals, lots of fruits and veggies in the fridge) and I've always loved food. The combination of that and being raised by two amazing parents who exposed me (and my sister) to all kinds of food growing up helped a lot. I was also really drawn to being able to help people and change their lives for the better. What you put in your body (on a regular basis) affects everything around you.
What do you love most about what you do?
Definitely being able to help people live healthier, even if its incorporating one new meal. It still makes a difference. I love all of it, but the teaching and writing are my favorites!
And, would you share a recipe?
Black Olive Hummus
1 can of chickpeas
1 can of black olives
1 to 2 heaping tablespoons of tahini paste
1 clove of garlic
1 scallion (white and green parts, chopped)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
S & P to taste
Put everything in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. (You may have to scrape the sides with your rubber spatula)
Serve with pita chips, crudite or my favorite way is on a (split) collard green leaf with sliced peppers and cucumbers, rolled up. (1 collard leaf makes 2 wraps).