This week I spoke at the Association of Nutrition and Food Service Professionals conference for about a hundred CDM’s who were there for continuing education credits. There were many speakers covering different professions, HFM Food Service solicited me to be speak about vegetarian options for seniors in care facilities.
I did a cooking demonstration called raw essentials at the Pacific Beach Hotel. I was asked to give better vegetarian options to cook up for their care facilities. I wanted to incorporate Turmeric (Hawaiians call it Olena) containing anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, and Maggis, an anti-oxidant amino acid. I mixed up a Wellness Shot and a Hot Shot. The Wellness shot had these two ingredients plus ginger, lime juice, honey and garlic. The Hot Shot had all this plus Ni’oi (Hawaiian Chile’). Each ingredient added its own rich health benefits. Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric which makes it very strong and astringent. The lime gave it acidity and the honey balanced it out so it’s palatable. I learned of these shots from my recent trip to Kauai at the Common Ground Farm Restaurant.
After the shots I made our summer vegetable Ratatouille Tower that includes red kinwa golden raisin salad and our three different bell pepper sauces. The red bell pepper sauce has red bell peppers, red jalapeno, tobacco, garlic oil, maggis and salt. The green sauce contains green bell peppers, garlic oil, spinach, green jalapenos, chiles and salt. The yellow sauce being yellow bell pepper, turmeric, for color, Dijon mustard garlic oil and old bay seasoning. Of course it’s simple to grill vegetables but demonstrating how to cut and season was the key here. I explained how, with vegetarian meals, you can’t pull your punches. I believe it requires more skill to make vegetarian dishes taste good. It’s easier to make things taste good with butter and meat. Grilling the vegetables gives them a smoky taste adding another layer of flavor. Top it off with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and such. Our tower is visually appealing as well as tasty. We eat with our eyes and presentation is important in making a meal exciting. We serve this with red quinoa which is bright red and very appealing. Not using mayonnaise because it contains eggs you compensate with a variety of other flavors like lemon juice, lime juice, quinoa, raisins, nuts, garlic, onion, pepper. These are all great flavors and you mix them together to get something wonderful. You’re hitting your taste buds across your palate. The participants were eager to put these techniques into practice. Experiment on incorporating some of these ingredients in your next vegetarian dish.