Monday, February 3, 2014

A Southern Vegetarian Cookbook Giveaway + Cauliflower Couscous with Sautéed Kale and Artichoke Hearts

+++ This contest is closed. Thanks for all the great comments! +++


Commenter #6, Joan
Commenter #9, Tofu Mom (aka Tofu & Sprouts)
Commenter #8, Liquid Extrovert
You have won your very own copy of The Southern Vegetarian cookbook courtesy of Memphis Fight OnPlease private message us on Facebook with your address and we'll get the book in the mail right away. Thank you for your compassion and support.

The Chubby Vegetarian is proud to partner with Fight On, a local community of cancer survivors, current fighters, and supporters sharing stories of survival and strength. The nice folks at Fight On are giving away three copies of our book, The Southern Vegetarian: 100 Down-Home Recipes for the Modern Table. To win your very own copy of the book, leave a comment below sharing your words of encouragement and support for those who are just beginning their fight and then go and 'like' the Fight On Facebook Page. We also encourage everyone to visit the Fight On website to learn more about this great organization. 

The three contest winners will be chosen through a random drawing and announced on Monday, February 10, 2014.  (Winners must be in the 48 continental United States. Only one winner per household. Winners will be chosen using a web-based random number generator. Enter as many times as you'd like. Comments are moderated. We will review and post them at the end of the day.)

Cancer has touched each of our lives at some point. When our friend Denny was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2010, we were all shocked. Cancer has the power to do that, you know? A tickle in the throat led to tests and more tests, which turned up the conclusion that no one wants to hear.

No one would have ever guessed that cancer would choose Denny. He's an absolute bad ass, a Marine, pilot, runner, and gym rat who is built like a brick mailbox and probably did more reps last Tuesday that I'll do all year. In addition, he eats healthier than anyone I know and always has. His plate is always loaded with fresh fruit and vegetables with a side of lean protein. So in this situation, it would be easy for anyone to throw their hands in the air and scream, "Why?" But he dug in and asked, "How are we going to fight this, and what do we need to do to win?"

"It's really a great time to have cancer," he once told me. As strange as that sounds, I understand what he means. We have so much research, information, and technology to assist us in the fight; now a diagnosis doesn't mean the exact same thing it used to mean. So he organized his game plan, which included treatment, chemo, and most of all, continuing to exercise and eat healthfully every single day.

Even when he felt weak from the treatment or nauseated by the chemotherapy, he'd show up at the gym and work out on the elliptical or train with weights. According to published reports, exercise during treatment not only doesn't harm the effectiveness of the treatment, but improves multiple aspects of one's quality of life including maintaining strength and range of motion and combating fatigue and depression. 

He knew he was on the right track. Even when he told us everything tastes "like I'm chewing on aluminum foil," he continued to eat healthfully because we all know that food is fuel for our bodies, and he was fueling up for his fight. This is where we knew we could help. To celebrate Denny's progress, we threw him a dinner party with dishes that displayed a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. On the menu: Green Pea Hummus, Watermelon and Tomato Gazpacho from our book The Southern Vegetarian: 100 Down-Home Recipes For The Modern Table (Thomas Nelson, 2013), and Cauliflower Couscous with Sautéed Kale and Artichoke Hearts, a dish we created just for him.

We came up with this dish after researching what one should be eating while undergoing treatment. The list wouldn't really surprise anyone. Multiple sources describe a diet overflowing with fresh vegetables as a great way to combat cancer. One thing I learned about after a tip from Denny is how to make sure the foods you're eating are alkaline as opposed to acidic. Alkaline foods supposedly don't cause inflammation in the body like acidic foods can. Admittedly, we got a very surface education in this before diving right in and cooking. Many of the favorite foods we already love are on the alkaline list, including cauliflower, mushrooms, artichokes, and kale.

We were thrilled that Denny loved our meal! Denny, his wife Nina, Amy, and I ate and laughed and forgot for a moment what we were celebrating…which was the whole point. We are so thankful for his spirit and his friendship. As you can see, he is a great inspiration in our lives. He's still fighting the good fight, and we hope hearing about him today has inspired you as well. 

Cauliflower Couscous with Sautéed Kale and Artichoke Hearts
(Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Alkaline)

2 large artichokes
2 organic lemons
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1/4 cup Kosher salt (more to taste)
2 tablespoon olive oil (divided)
1 8-ounce package baby bella mushrooms (quartered)
1 large shallot (sliced, about 1/2 cup)
1 large head curly kale (stems removed, chopped)
1 cup roasted, salted almonds
3 cloves garlic
1 medium head cauliflower (leaves trimmed, roughly chopped, about 7 cups)
parsley and finely diced red pepper (to garnish)
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)

In a large soup pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Halve one of the lemons, squeeze the juice into the water, and then add both pieces to the water. Add the Italian seasoning and the salt. Trim the top third off of each artichoke. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the stem and trim the end off of the stem. Cut each artichoke in half lengthwise and place each into the boiling water. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until stem is tender. Remove artichokes from the water. Once the artichokes are cool enough to handle, pull the fibrous "choke" out of the middle using a spoon. It should slip right out. Set aside.

Discard water and lemons and use the same large pot for this part. Over high heat, add one tablespoon of olive oil and the mushrooms. Allow them to cook undisturbed for one to two minutes or until the mushrooms are nicely browned -- mushrooms don't burn easily because of their high water and low natural sugar content. Once mushrooms are browned, add the shallots and cook for one minute. Add the kale and sauté until bright green. Add 1/4 cup of water, use a wooden spoon to scrape up all of the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot, remove from the heat, and cover. Season with salt and pepper and set aside until ready to serve.

Into the work bowl of your food processor, add the almonds and garlic. Process until very finely chopped. Add 1/3 of the cauliflower and process until it's very fineley chopped and the cauliflower resembles sand. Repeat until all cauliflower is processed. In a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the processed cauliflower mix and stir with a wooden spoon; allow the bottom to brown before each stir. Cook for five to six minutes or until heated through. Add 1/4 cup of water and stir. Season with salt and pepper and set aside until ready to serve. The texture will resemble a fine-grained couscous.

To serve, place the warm Cauliflower Couscous on a platter and cover it with the kale. Next, position the artichoke hearts, which may be seared in a little olive oil to warm them, on the top. Garnish with the juice and zest of one lemon and some parsley and red pepper. (Serves 4.)

*It should be mentioned that eating healthfully doesn't always have to break the bank.The ingredients for this whole dish only cost about $15!


Kendy P said...

Recently I was told that my pap-smear came back showing bad cells. The first thought is cancer, I was really scared. My follow up tests kept getting postponed so I had to keep sitting at home being worried about all that could be wrong.

I finally found out last week that I did not have cancer. That in fact whatever was wrong with me repaired itself. Breath of fresh air.

I know I am lucky and others are not. I want to send some positive light to those battling cancer and those dealing with cancer in other ways, maybe waiting with trembling hands for news about their results...

Judi Hetzroni said...

In July 2013 I found out I had tongue cancer. Very rare in a healthy, non smoker 30 year old. I am married and have two kids ages 5 and 2. After my surgery, (I had almost half my tongue amputated and reconstructed), and mostly through my chemo and radiation treatments, the main thing that kept me going was cooking and baking for my family. I couldn't and still can't eat anything other than my high calorie shakes. Cooking and baking is my therapy. My husband and I have been vegetarians for about 20 years (from way before we met!) and we are raising our kids as vegetarians as well.
I want others to know, if I can get through this - so can you! It's not an easy fight, it really sucks, but I learned how strong I am and I feel like I can do anything. I finished treatments about 2 months ago and I am healing. Really looking forward to getting my life back and enjoying real food again soon!

Kristen said...

I am a researcher for a pharmaceutical company specializing in cancer pharmacolgy. While I am in the lab and never directly work with patients all day every day I read and think about cancer. As is inevitable it often personally touches my life in the form of family and friends. While I love my job and truly do believe I make a difference in the long run I often consider switching fields so that I can make a personal difference every single day not just in the lab but as a dr. or nurse helping people through this experience. While I may never meet patients as a scientist not a minute of my day passes without me thinking about and encouraging all cancer patients.

Julie said...

As a one-year breast cancer survivor, I feel that I have a new lease on life, a second chance to do things I didn't do before I was sick. Early in my diagnosis, I decided that I wouldn't let cancer control me, destroy me or define me. I learned to be patient and I discovered that I am strong and can handle anything that life presents. When I have a bad day now, I remember that I've certainly had more difficult days and every challenge pales in comparison to what I've already overcome. I kept my faith, tried to stay positive and believed that I would get over the big cancer hurdle. Daily exercise helped tremendously. It made me feel that I was doing my best to stay healthy. Regular physical activity also aided in dealing with stress and anxiety and promoted better sleep. It helped me to heal physcially, mentally and emotionally. For all those currently battling cancer, my heart goes out to you. You are not alone. Keep the faith, believe and fight on!

matthew hendren said...

denny! wishing you all the best in your fight. i'm impressed with your resolve and optimism despite what seem - well, let's just say high stakes. keep that machine of yours fine tuned and do the best yo ucan - pullin for you man.


Joan said...

Wishing Denny all the best. Thanks for the nice giveaway. Would be nice to have some good southern veggie recipes.

Megan Donovan said...

Sending strength, positive energy, and lots of prayers.

The Liquid Extrovert said...

I send wishes of strength, positivity and hope to anyone who has to fight cancer, as well as to those who love and care for them.

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

Sending best wishes and prayers - all the love, light and positivity you need for this battle! Good luck, you are blessed to have such great friends and supporters!

Casey said...

Keep your resolve Denny! sounds like you have great friends who will uplift you whenever you need it!

Anonymous said...

Much love, many prayers to all who are struggling with this desease. You are an inspiration to all of us.

Flimflam1 said...

What a gorgeous vegan dish! It sounds like Danny is fit and very health conscious, and that will help him win this fight (not to mention the support of family and friends like you). I'm no expert, and talking about diet and lifestyle during this particular time in Danny's life might be a sensitive issue, but I hope he considers adopting a completely plant-based diet, full of cancer-fighting properties. Certainly positive thinking, the support of friends and family, and chemotherapy will help! But it is possible there are other factors also within his control, like his diet. Research has shown that forgoing all meat and dairy and adopting a vegan diet of organic, minimally processed plant foods can reverse some cancers. As I say, I'm no expert and I can only imagine the challenges facing Danny and his family right now, but this unfortunate downturn in his health is an opportunity for a radical transformation of thinking--about everything. I wish Danny and his family healing and peace on this journey. And many thanks to the Chubby Vegetarian, for promoting a peaceful, healthy, compassionate world through a creative vegetarian diet!

Anonymous said...

I already your cookbook and have to say I love it...don't know how I managed 30 years without miracle mushroom gravy

ICTREI said...

It would be easy to say that a clean diet and exercise didn't help prevent it, so why put in all that effort, but cancer is so complicated! It's great that he kept up the efforts knowing that it was worth the effort to try to help beat the cancer. I hope that people will start to see that what we put in really matters like he always knew.

kdonald said...

Thank you for providing such tasty ways to prevent and heal. Cancer is indeed something that has touched everyone's life at some point.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it feels like you don't have the strength to go on. It can be from any reason, illness or death in your family or depression. Anything that makes your heart weep and you feel lonely and dark and sad inside. You must find the strength to continue, because you know you will want to, it will come. You will be facing challenges, yes you will, but you will be doing that with strength from yourself, loved ones, prayers, healing and the opportunity to see your child laugh or the look of your puppy or cat.
I wish for everyone to have the strength that you will need and you will muster up because what other choice do we all have. Ultimately, we choose Life. Blessings from your new friend, Laurie

Grace Grits and Gardening said...

I love everything about this dish! Yum.

Grace Grits and Gardening said...

Wishing everyone good thoughts and prayers to continue their courageous fight against cancer. Cancer has touched my family over and over again. My grandmother died of leukemia and 10 or her 11 brothers/sisters also died of cancer. My dad died of colon cancer at age 57... Such a horrible disease.