Add some Soul to your Fourth of July cookout
Chef Bryant Terry shares recipes for African-American and Southern food at its healthiest, tastiest and most sustainable.
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It's the Fourth of July weekend. Many of us are getting ready for cookouts with friends -- but if you're looking for recipes that aren't the old standbys (and maybe a little healthier than the standbys), chef, author, and eco-activist Bryant Terry has some great, new alternatives.
His most recent book, "Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine," re-imagines African-American and Southern food at its healthiest, tastiest, and most sustainable.
Terry: "Many Americans are looking for very practical ways of being patriotic, and I -- as well as many other people across the country -- think that one way to do this is by supporting a very healthy, just and sustainable food system.
"If we think about what's most healthy and sustainable for all of us, it's the plants in our diets. I'm certainly not advocating that everyone give up meat -- I think that's a very personal decision -- but I think we Americans, given that we're one of the most diet-obsessed nations, but also one of the fattest nations -- need to reconsider our over-consumption of animal products. And even when we do consume them, I think we should think about ways that we can support small farmers and artisans that are really supporting a healthy food system and raising animals in a way that's ethical, that's humane, and that's certainly better for the environment and our bodies."
Terry has his own twist on Southern cooking: "People have to get past this misconception of that Southern food and African-American cuisine is just the deep-fried fatty meats and sugary desserts -- that's certainly a part of it, but what I want to do is paint a more complex picture of it.
"So, taking these traditional staples of Africa, the Caribbean, the Americas, Europe and kind of reworking, remixing, rewinding to make something that reminiscent of the original dish, but different and new. So for instance, instead of cooking green savory, I have this citrus collards with raisins recipe that kind of give it a fresh, modern twist.
"Rather than cooking the collard greens for two or three hours, as was traditionally done in my family, I just give them a quick blanch in salted boiling water, shock them in ice water, and then saute them with a little extra-virgin olive oil, some fresh garlic, give them a sprinkle of coarse sea-salt, fresh orange juice, raisins..."
Try this recipe from Terry's book:
ROASTED RED POTATO SALAD WITH PARSLEY-PINE NUT PESTO
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
* 1/3 cup pine nuts
* 2 cups loosely packed, flat-leaf parsley leaves
* 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
* 1 tablespoon mellow white or yellow miso
* 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
* 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
* 2 pounds small red potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 3 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
* Coarse sea salt
* Freshly ground white pepper
For the pesto
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Arrange the pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast them for about 8 minutes, stirring after 4 minutes.
3. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the pine nuts, parsley, garlic, miso, and lemon juice and puree. Slowly add the olive oil and process until smooth. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and set aside.
For the salad
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes and the olive oil. Toss to coat. Transfer the potatoes to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Add the bell peppers to the baking sheet and stir to combine. Roast for stirring every 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the bell peppers well roasted.
3. Transfer the potatoes and bell peppers to a large bowl, add 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons of pesto (or more if you want it creamier), stir well, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.
4. Cover the remaining pesto with a film of olive oil in a tightly sealed jar and refrigerate for up to two weeks (use it for dressing pastas, spreading on toast, or topping fresh tomatoes).
From the book "Vegan Soul Kitchen" by Bryant Terry. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Find out more at www.dacapocookbooks.com.
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