THERE IS NO EXACT RECIPE FOR SUCCESS. But Jason Wrobel, who graces the cover of our new issue along with Whitney Lauritsen, seems to have a pretty reliable one for a life well lived. “Keep trusting in your dreams and your unique vision for your life,” the star of the world’s first primetime cooking series How to Live to 100 told us when we spoke to him recently. “So many people told me for years that it “couldn’t be done” or that they “already tried and were told no” – but honestly, I didn’t listen.” It is lucky for us, and the rest of the world, that he didn’t. We will get to relish his trademark blend of virtuoso cooking skills, hilarity, and encyclopedic nutritional knowledge every Friday at 6pm PST/9pm EST on Cooking Channel- starting with tonight’s premiere episode, “Goin’ Back to Cauli.” And to whet our appetite, Jason shares his recipe for Vegan Caesar Salad, and more food for thought in our exclusive chat, immediately following the recipe.

VEGAN CAESAR SALAD WITH WILD CAPERS & HEMP SEEDS

For the dressing:
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ to 1/3 cup filtered water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 ¼ teaspoons Dijon or spicy mustard
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ tablespoon ground chia seeds
3 gloves fresh garlic, crushed
4 tablespoons vegan parmesan cheese, grated

For the salad:
4 to 6 small heads of romaine lettuce (preferably baby romaine)
½ cup wild or organic capers
¼ cup raw hemp seeds
¼ cup vegan parmesan cheese, grated
¼ cup dulse flakes or shredded nori sheets (optional)
Sprinkle of ground black pepper

To make the salad dressing, add all ingredients to a blender and process on high speed for 20-30 seconds until very smooth and creamy. If need be, add a slight amount of additional lemon juice or water to thin to your desired consistency. Set aside.

Wash the heads of romaine lettuce and dry with a kitchen towel (do not break apart the individual leaves – leave the heads fully composed). Cut off the hard base of the stems and make a small, lengthwise base cut on the underside of the lettuce heads so that they can lay flat on a plate without rolling or tipping over. Liberally drizzle the dressing over the top of each romaine head and top with capers, hemp seeds, vegan parmesan cheese, dulse flakes and ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 large or 6 small servings
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time:  15 minutes

Cook’s Note: If you cannot find vegan parmesan in your area, you can order online from a brand like Parmela, or substitute a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.

Give us a little taste of the creative process behind “How to Live to 100.”
For 4 broadcast episodes and 6 webisodes, it’s a three week shoot. The creative process is very interesting and challenging. Since the format of the series features a “hero” ingredient in each episode, my mission is to construct delicious and easy recipes that showcase that specific ingredient. Recipe development can be intense, really fun and, at times, frustrating. Don’t even get me started on how much I filled the compost bin with “Cauliflower Rice Pudding” or “Cauliflower Flan”. Needless to say, I stuck with only savory recipes for episode one, “Goin’ back to Cauli”. I shall one day unlock the power of cauliflower for desserts!

It can’t be easy landing a primetime TV show. How on earth did you do it?
Honestly, it was a magical combination of being prepared for the opportunity and being in the right place at the right time. I think that interest, demand and acceptance for this style of cuisine is at an all-time high. So many variables lined up in perfect formation to make this happen. I kept making my food my way and putting myself out into the world via YouTube, social media and live speaking appearances. I always knew in my heart that I would host a TV show. It’s always been my dream – even as a little boy. Well, that was after I abandoned the idea of being an archaeologist. Indiana Jones was the man! Seriously though, I think my approach to landing a TV series can be best elucidated by Calvin Coolidge: “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

Great quote. Let’s pretend I’m Paula from Alabama and I don’t know a lick about vegan cuisine. How would you persuade me to watch your show?
I’d tell Paula she doesn’t have to give up any of the taste, texture, flavor or amazing mouth feel of the food she’s used to. You want spicy, crispy, meaty Buffalo Wings, mama? We’ve got buckets-full. You want al dente Pasta Primavera? Italian grandmas have me on speed dial, yo. Oh, and creamy Coconut Cream Pie? It’s like a Caribbean vacation for your mouth. The intention of my recipes on the show is to recreate familiar, comfort-food dishes that people know and love with healthy ingredients and superfoods. That way, people are still enjoying the heck out of their food while leaving out all the excess fat, cholesterol, sugar and sodium. Everyone wins, and Paula’s family stays happy, healthy and satisfied.

Ok, now let’s say Paula watches your show and decides to go vegan. What’s your advice for the “newbie vegan?”
My big piece of advice is to start with doing your research. I would suggest downloading a ton of amazing vegan recipes online for free or buying a few well-reviewed cookbooks. Then get educated on the nutritional requirements of a vegan lifestyle – you can get all the protein, amino acids, magnesium, iron, calcium, vitamins B12, D3, K2, etc. your body needs from plant-based foods exclusively. But you need to know WHICH foods to eat and WHEN to eat them to have balanced, optimal nutrition. Lastly, buy three pieces of essential equipment to make your life in the kitchen easier: a high-speed blender, a really good chef’s knife and a quality cutting board. As far as delicacies, my favorite food category right now is non-dairy cheese. There are INSANELY delicious brands of cheese on the market from brands like Daiya, Treeline, Kite Hill, Punk Rawk Labs… honestly the list is freakin’ huge now! We are reaching a new level of amazingness- from product innovation to consumer demand – for non-dairy and vegan products. It’s an exciting time to live this lifestyle and hearing things like “I really wish they made a vegan version of… (fill in the blank)” doesn’t exist anymore.

A vegan cheese-themed viewing party of How to Live to 100 would be just the thing. Speaking of your show, any funny or triumphant anecdotes you can share?
Two moments come to mind. The first was doing the “Goin’ Back to Cauli” episode where I was making Cauliflower Lentil Tacos and Guacamole in the kitchen. After we wrap our kitchen segments, the crew usually eats the finished recipes from the set. So, all these really masculine dudes from Atlanta (who are the brilliant lighting crew) are chowing down on the tacos and just beside themselves with astonishment over the taste. In fact, a few of the guys asked me for the recipe and their wives made it for them AGAIN for dinner that same night! That’s what I call a win. The second moment was making the Strawberry Tomato Crepes for the “Attack of the Scrumptious Tomato” episode. Crepes are notoriously finicky for sticking to the crepe pan (especially the first one or two crepes out of the pan). So, the batter was looking good and I was feeling pretty confident, so I decided to improvise and go for a big flip – having NEVER flipped a crepe in mid-air before. I’ll let you watch the episode and see how that one turned out.

Interview by Julie Gueraseva / Photo courtesy of Jason Wrobel 

Tune in tonight, January 3rd at 6pm PST/9pm EST for the season premiere of How to Live to 100. Use the hashtag #howtoliveto100 to talk about the show on your favorite social media sites.

Pick up a copy of our brand new Issue Three to read our in-depth feature on Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen on page 60.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

THE GIFT OF A LOVING HOME

A volunteer with a homeless kitten at Dallas Animal Services. Photo by Sylvia Elzafon.

EVERY YEAR, APPROXIMATELY FOUR MILLION HOMELESS ANIMALS are killed in shelters around the country. Millions languish in cages, often for years. The problem is staggering, yet one with a tangible and clear solution. If even a fraction of the human population in the United States opened their homes to just one rescued animal; if we all spayed and neutered our pets; and rejected the notion of buying animals from pet stores or breeders, effectively cutting off support to puppy mills — the practice of putting adoptable animals to sleep would become obsolete. What better time to begin the domino effect of compassion than right now, today? During a season when we partake in the tradition of gift-giving and gather with our loved ones, why not give an animal in need the ultimate gift – a loving home and a family? The expression may be a cliché, but in this instance it truly would be “the gift that keeps on giving.” Anyone who has rescued an animal will attest to a love and gratitude unmatched. It is life-transforming and life-affirming. Shelters across the country are holding adoptions with reduced adoption fees. We’ve highlighted a few in major cities, but be sure to check in with shelters in your area.

•DALLAS, TX

Dallas Animal Services will remain open with regular hours Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve (and closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day). All adoption fees are only $25 every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in December, and the animals are spayed/neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. Their main location is open until 6.30pm, and its sister adoption location at PetSmart Adoption Center is open until 8 pm. You can view their adoptable pets here, or best yet just show up in person and let your heart guide you to your new friend. Keep up to date on their latest announcements on their Facebook page. Main location: 1818 N. Westmoreland Road Dallas, Texas 75212 phone: 214-670-8246 | PetSmart: 16821 N Coit Road, Dallas, TX 75248 phone: 972-381-1588

•NEW YORK CITY•

Animal Care and Control is the big city shelter, required by law to accept all animals. Although the shelter has a caring staff, it is underfunded and overcrowded. It’s not a no-kill shelter, which means when they run out of space and adoption is not secured, animals are put down. This is the tragic result of the current homeless pet crisis. But it can be remedied simply by welcoming an animal into your home. The shelter will remain open throughout the holiday season with its regular adoption hours of 12-7pm. They are offering reduced adoption fees through December 31st. Cats: $20; dogs: $40; puppies & kittens: $75; and rabbits: $35. All adoptions include spay/neuter, vaccinations, a pre-registered microchip, an identification tag, a collar, and a certificate for a free initial exam at a participating vet. Adoptable pets can be searched for here. You can also foster an animal from AC&C, as you can with any shelter. Primary location is in Manhattan at 326 East 110th Street. phone: 212-788-4000. Other locations: in Brooklyn at 2336 Linden Boulevard | and Staten Island at 3139 Veterans Road West.

North Shore Animal League  is a no-kill shelter that does many of its recuses from kill shelters. They will be open both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Adoptable pets can be viewed here. And follow them on Facebook for latest news. Located at 25 Davis Avenue, Port Washington, NY 11050 phone: 516-883-7575  

There are many other wonderful shelters in NYC including Sean Casey Animal Rescue, Animal Haven, Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue and more — all of them rescue animals from high-kill shelters and situations of neglect.

A pup who finally found a loving home. Photo by Sylvia Elzafon.

•LOS ANGELES, CA•

Los Angeles Animal Services has six locations around the city, including their North Central Shelter, which has an active Facebook feed, with daily listings of animals in need of adoption. This is a kill shelter, so the urgency to adopt or foster from here is especially great. Every weekend in December, their adoption fee is only $25. Search their adoptable list of pets here, or better yet just show up at 3201 Lacy Street, Los Angeles, CA 90031 phone: 213-485-5767

•PHILADELPHIA, PA•

Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia is offering reduced adoption fees for all pets for the entire month of December. Adult dogs: $25; cats: $20. The adoption fee includes spay/neuter surgery, microchip, and age appropriate vaccinations. Find for your new best friend through their online database or come to their open house on Christmas Day from 11am-3pm. The shelter is open weekdays 1–8pm, and weekends 10-5pm. Located at 111 W Hunting Park Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19140 phone: 267-385-3800

•CHICAGO, IL•

One Tail at a Time is a no-kill, all-breed dog rescue that houses all of their animals in foster care. This holiday season they are one of the many rescues participating in Best Friends Animal Society’s nationwide “Adopt ’til You Drop” campaign. Best Friends is an organization whose mission is to end the killing in America’s shelters. One Tail at a Time is offering $50 off their regular adoption fees until the end of December. All fees cover a wellness exam, spay/neuter, all age-appropriate vaccinations, heartworm test, and microchip. Follow their Facebook page for frequent updates on adoptable pups.

Your soulmate awaits! And here’s a sweet video that friend-to-animals Moby made at Best Friends’ adoption center in LA to help spring you into action:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

ISSUE THREE IS HERE!

DEAREST READERS, IT IS WITH ABSOLUTE JOY THAT WE PRESENT our Third Issue: The Irresistible Issue! Built with so much heart — it celebrates the wonderment and enchantment of living life with love and compassion. You get closer, because you can’t take your eyes off the dynamic duo gracing our cover – Jason Wrobel, the magnetic star of the Cooking Channel’s How To Live to 100, and Whitney Lauritsen, the powerhouse force behind Eco-Vegan Gal. Individually, they are breaking new ground. And together, they are a captivating example of the camaraderie and mutual support of the vibrant vegan community. Inside the issue, you’ll delve into stories that will stay with you – of influencers who are shaping the world, exciting product developments, big-picture ideas. You’ll get drawn in with compelling, exclusive content, gorgeous photography, and thought-provoking essays. We criss-cross the country, travel to Canada and France, and come back to you with subject matter you won’t find anywhere else.

We bring you tasty tales of culinary creators from the East Coast to the Midwest – all of them innovating in the world of vegan cuisine, using a variety of exciting techniques and styles.

We take you on unforgettable journeys that you won’t want to end – to places where remarkable animals are free to be themselves among their allies – their incredible human caregivers. Like the ones you’ll find in our feature “The Compatriots,” photographed at three different sanctuaries on the West Coast- Animal Place Sanctuary, and Farm Sanctuary in Orland, CA and Farm Sanctuary in Acton, CA.

We continue to bring you the yummiest can’t-look-away-from discoveries from the world of beauty – all curated with great care. And all, as always, vegan and cruelty-free.

We showcase super-fun, showstopping fashion that you covet not only because it turns heads, but because it allows your to wear your heart on your sleeve.

We cover fascinating individuals from a variety of creative spheres, who are good at what they do, and also do good for others. Like the hypertalented DJ and producer Eli Escobar, whose passion for music and dedication to living compassionately are equally inspiring.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! We hope you’ll develop as big of a crush on our Third Issue as we have right now. This is our biggest issue yet, brimming with hard-to-resist material. And stay tuned for web-only extras and behind-the-scenes goodies. We are so grateful to have your love and support, dearest readers. See you soon!..

 

Cover and Media Dream Team feature photographed by Melissa Schwartz • Taste Makers photographed by Balarama HellerThe Compatriots photographed by Sylvia Elzafon Play With Makeup photographed by Ashley Barhamand Just Chill photographed by Lauren Perlstein In Tune photographed by Joel Barhamand