Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Brazen Kitchen Manifesto

Expand your palate, one vegetable at a time.



The Brazen Kitchen was spurred by Tom Philpott -- one of my favorite food policy writers. I was reading an article that he wrote on one of his best meals on the road: “It tasted healthy, but not in the way of banal “health food,” full of sprouts and Bragg’s amino acids…”

Then it hit me. Bam! An unexpected Emeril moment.

That’s it! Exactly. I hate that! The perception that the spectrum of plant-based, “health food” spans grilled vegetables with hummus on one end and on the other,­ Bragg’s-laced brown rice topped with tofu and sprouts. Neither of those are entirely objectionable but (1) its not what “we” eat every single day and (2) that is definitely not the gamut of gastronomic options we have.

So let me show you how vegetable epicuria can have as powerful pleasurable moan-inducing potential as the meat-centric kind. Let’s not forget that we are here on earth because Adam could not resist an apple. ;) An apple! Not a Baconator.

My passion for food is also informed by its role in our health and in environmental sustainability. As told in the gospels of Bittman and Pollan. So YES, good food and good health are not mutually exclusive! While I will leave it up to you to decide what way of life contributes best to optimum health, one thing is inarguable: decreasing our current rate of animal product and processed food consumption and increasing our consumption of plants will only contribute to better health. Read: I am not saying “jump on the veganwagon”. I am saying, “Eat more kale.”

Small steps. Eat more kale. It is delicious. Let’s start there.

It’s really not that hard. Have you ever tried one of Bryant Terry’s recipes? Cooking to a soundtrack? Get out! Or one of Babycakes’ desserts? Seal the deal. Talk about sexy.

So here I am. With my humble manifesto on what guides me.

1. Form + Function.
Modern, post-modern. The definition is fuzzy. I will echo though that we eat with all our senses. Design. Form. I will strive to feed all of yours. And surprise you at the same time that what you just had the pleasure of eating was actually…yep, good for you! Function.

2. Time is of the essence.
In two ways, actually. I know time is at a premium and I am not just saying that (read: I have a day job, two kids, a husband, and a house that refuses to clean itself) so most of the recipes here consider that and have been tested (well, because if I was able to make it… :) But, corollary to that — to make an impact in your life — I ask you to consider that food and cooking deserve time. See: Slow Food.

3. No frankenfood.
All the ingredients that I use are “real” – that is, I do not use “soy protein isolates” or any other chemically processed meat or cheese substitutes. Let’s eat plants in their whole, natural glory.

4. Flavor. Must. Have. Flavor.
I favor strong spices – my favorite mixes are garam masala, berebere, adobo, anything with chillies – fuego! — and even when I cook macrobiotic-style, I tend to amp up one dimension so that it stands out.

5. Monogamy has no place on the dining room table.
I encourage you to put as much variety as possible in everything you eat. For example, we all love wheat. But did you know about spelt, millet, quinoa, amaranth and teff? You don’t have to be gluten-sensitive to enjoy them. They are delicious and you’re missing out if you don’t try them. How about vegetables? Have you tried celeriac, daikon, sunchokes or even those dandelions in your yard? I will even introduce you to new sweeteners such as coconut palm sugar and brown rice syrup. There are already many great cookbooks out there that tackle the usual suspects. My recipes focus on broadening your pantry possibilities and introducing you to new and exciting tastes.

For sure, this blog is not meant to be a soapbox for veganism (or any -isms!) as the only way to go. I hesitate to claim such categorization myself. I would say, at best, I am a lapsed omnivore.

My hope is to inspire you to expand your palate, one vegetable at a time.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Brazen Kitchen:

Polenta Hiding Greens

Polenta Hiding Greens

This ultimate creamy comfort food is filled with surprises.
10 Reasons Why You Should Attend the Farm to Table Pittsburgh Conference

10 Reasons Why You Should Attend the Farm to Table Pittsburgh Conference

Get the lowdown on one of the best food events of the season.
How to Make the Ultimate July Fourth Dessert

How to Make the Ultimate July Fourth Dessert

Be the hit at your party with these reinvented ice-cream floats.
Pizza for Breakfast is Good for You

Pizza for Breakfast is Good for You

Here are two quick pizza recipes that will elevate you to superhero status.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best of the 'Burgh 2018: Readers' Choice Poll Results

Best of the 'Burgh 2018: Readers' Choice Poll Results

Diners, food trucks, dive bars and more. Here's the most popular stuff in town.
Restaurant Review: The Twisted Frenchman is an Ambitious Endeavor

Restaurant Review: The Twisted Frenchman is an Ambitious Endeavor

Andrew Garbarino moved his fine-dining restaurant into a multimillion-dollar new home. Does it live up to its new digs?
Vietnam Vets – The Warriors No One Wanted to Thank

Vietnam Vets – The Warriors No One Wanted to Thank

When veterans returned from Vietnam, they didn't often hear the phrase “Thank you for your service.” But now, Pittsburgh veterans think people are learning to separate the war from the warrior.
Sadie's Tree: A Plea for Kindness in Memory of a Bullied Teen

Sadie's Tree: A Plea for Kindness in Memory of a Bullied Teen

In an obituary read round the world, the family of Bedford, Pa., teen Sadie Riggs called out those who had bullied her and pleaded for people to be kind to one another. A year after Sadie’s death, lessons remain to be learned from her suicide.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Pirates Pitcher Steven Brault has Pretty Good Pipes Too

Pirates Pitcher Steven Brault has Pretty Good Pipes Too

The Pirates reliever sang the national anthem Tuesday night before the Bucs hosted the Brewers at PNC Park. It's worth watching, especially for his teammates' reaction at the end.

Comments

Crime in the South Side Has Fallen Dramatically

Crime in the South Side Has Fallen Dramatically

Illegal activity plunged along East Carson Street following several new security measures.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
What Anthony Bourdain Meant to Me

What Anthony Bourdain Meant to Me

Reflecting on the loss of a person so many of us admired.

Comments

Northeast Kitchen Brings Northeastern Chinese Cuisine to Pittsburgh

Northeast Kitchen Brings Northeastern Chinese Cuisine to Pittsburgh

Chef You Shan Pei comes to Pittsburgh after cooking in Flushing, N.Y. restaurants for 18 years.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Five Best Spots to Get Pittsburgh-Themed Merchandise

The Five Best Spots to Get Pittsburgh-Themed Merchandise

Looking to show off your Pittsburgh love? Get your favorite city printed on basically anything at these local shops.

Comments

7 Best Pittsburgh-Area Places You Should Try for Doughnuts

7 Best Pittsburgh-Area Places You Should Try for Doughnuts

When you're craving the real deal, these local spots consistently churn out the very best.

Comments


The Other Moving Documentary About a Curious Pittsburgher

The Other Moving Documentary About a Curious Pittsburgher

In "Will Work For Views," the video artist and musician Weird Paul is a little bit Dr. Demento and a little bit Mister Rogers.

Comments

Man, There's a Lot Going on at Zone 28

Man, There's a Lot Going on at Zone 28

The relaunched entertainment complex in Harmarville is casting a wide net, with some success.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead

Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead

A Broadway musical about the life and times of the Pittsburgh Pirates? The idea might not be as farfetched as you think.

Comments

Olczyk Embraces Awareness, Understanding to Fight Cancer

Olczyk Embraces Awareness, Understanding to Fight Cancer

Olczyk found out last August, in the wake of a six-hour surgery that removed 14 inches of his colon and “a tumor the size of my fist,” the severity of what he was suddenly confronting.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

The 400-Word Review: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

The documentary about Fred Rogers' work and philosophy inspires even more wonder about the television legend who called Pittsburgh home.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Ocean's 8

The 400-Word Review: Ocean's 8

The spinoff to the early-2000s heist series is nothing if not mediocre.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Toppers That Take the Cake

Toppers That Take the Cake

Over the traditional bride and groom standing on top of your cake? Try some of these different ideas for cake toppers.

Comments

Couple Shares Photo Spotlight With Four-Legged Friends

Couple Shares Photo Spotlight With Four-Legged Friends

This Pittsburgh couple is using their engagement photos to raise awareness about one of their most passionate causes.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
PPG Paints Unveils 2019 Color of the Year: Night Watch

PPG Paints Unveils 2019 Color of the Year: Night Watch

Paying homage to the restorative power of nature, this deep green shade is one to watch in the coming year. Here’s how to use it on your walls.

Comments

Five Pittsburgh-Based Etsy Shops You Need to Know About

Five Pittsburgh-Based Etsy Shops You Need to Know About

From furniture to wall art and beyond, these local makers created one-of-a-kind pieces for your home or office.

Comments

Edit Module