Color Me Hungry


Almost a decade ago my family and I traveled to Durango, Colorado for my cousin’s wedding. I’d never been out West before and I remember thinking how insanely different everything looked and felt. I decided, while staring out of the hotel window at a mountain range, that I’m a city person. I’d rather look at buildings. I’d rather be surrounded by tall steel and crowded streets than lonely nature.

In those ten years I’ve seen plenty of cities and gorgeous buildings and cramped sidewalks. But now, my deep appreciation for food forces me to better acknowledge the brilliance of nature.

Like, seriously, how the fuck did the Grand Canyon come about? I’m still confused. That thing is enormous. And scary. Totally insane. I think about my few hours in its presence and I’m shocked, humbled, amazed.

Nature also impresses me in the every day with its color coding abilities: similarly hued vegetables contain similar nutrients, vitamins and healing properties. I knew orange colored veggies could help with cancer prevention but I hadn’t mastered the rest of the colors. Enter Color Me Vegan by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.

I’ve only flipped through (and messed up one recipe, but that’s my fault, not hers) but I’m really liking the book so far. Organized by color, each chapter explains the benefits of the color and provides recipes from those vegetables. From a quick glance the recipes seem straightforward and not frighteningly (or excitingly, depending what kind of cook you are) unique. Although the cashew cheese recipe teases me from page 78. But there is a ton of information with snapshots and tidbits, food lure and cooks’ tips.

On a mostly leftover dinner night, I decided we needed a vegetable (I didn’t count mashed potatoes) on the plate. A few carrots were the only vegetables remaining in our very empty fridge so I started to search for ideas. I landed on Patrick-Goudreau’s Carrot Fries.

Carrot Fries
Adapted from Color Me Vegan

Cut carrots into matchsticks, about 4 inches long. Toss them with oil, salt and pepper. Patrick-Goudreau recommends ground cumin, agave nectar and/or chili powder as an addition. Pretending the carrots were fries, I sprinkled them with Bojangles French Fry Seasoning. The author also suggests serving the fries with blueberry ketchup, which would also go great with beet burgers. I won’t pass judgment on blueberry ketchup at this point, but I’m not thinking great thoughts.

Once the fries are seasoned and on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, throw them in a 425 degree oven for about 45 minutes, tossing them every 15 minutes. I left them in way too long, but I already know I want to try them again, maybe with curry powder.

Pictured above, the parchment paper after cooking.

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  • 80 Proof December 6, 2010  

    Was not excited when Gansie mentioned we would have carrot fries for dinner. Sounded too much like some healthy version of good-tasting food. But even though they were a little overcooked, I’ve got to say they were damned tasty. They were sweet and almost tasted like sweet potato fries. Of course, anything is better with Bojangles seasoning.

  • Borracho December 6, 2010  

    Methinks the blueberry ketchup aversion is more because you don’t like ketchup. Sounds great to me as do the fries!!

  • erica December 6, 2010  

    i think blueberry ketchup sounds really good!

  • gansie December 6, 2010  

    please tell me. what the hell would you use with blueberry ketchup? what could possibly go with it?

  • erica December 6, 2010  

    just off the top of my head: beet burgers!!

    i have no reality on which to base this theory, i think it just sound like they belong together. and would make a lovely color.

  • erica December 6, 2010  

    i think i would also try it with something fennel-y, just to see.

  • Borracho December 6, 2010  

    Really blueberry ketchup isn’t that far from a chutney. In addition to some of the ideas already mentioned I am thinking lamb burgers,chicken and apple sausages and of course carrot fries!

  • gansie December 6, 2010  

    so i just went back to the cookbook and thought maybe i should check out the ingredients before talking shit. it actually sounds interesting with shallots, red wine vinegar, ginger and lime, but im still unsure how to make it work with another food.

    here’s a pic of the recipe.

  • Michaela December 6, 2010  

    Yea, blueberry ketchup sounds pretty terrible. And Borracho, chutney’s not that great either… not exactly a great selling point for the ketchup.

  • Borracho December 6, 2010  

    Ha yeah it is all a matter of preference and may be tempered by my love of most chutneys (prune chutney is the only kind I have tried that I did not enjoy) Either way I think I shall be subjecting my household to blueberry ketchup in the near future.

  • erica December 6, 2010  

    i haven’t yet met a chutney i didn’t like (though i haven’t tried prune), so I’m with borracho on this one.

  • Andros December 30, 2012  

    You’ve really hit on the key issue, Kate: it’s all about motdraeion, or treating treats as treats (another Michael Pollan quote, this time from his book Food Rules). Teaching kids to enjoy treats, but to know what is an appropriate amount, is a good thing. Demonizing food isn’t healthy either (and the French don’t do this which is why they still allow ketchup once per week). I guess the issue is whether all kids can really eat something like ketchup in motdraeion (I suppose the French felt that they weren’t).The nutritional issues are interesting too: there are guidelines for sugar and salt intake (which aren’t subjective, in my opinion, as you can quantify intake), but it depends on what else the child is eating. So how much’ of a food is definitely an individual determination. But the French are much more willing than we are to have general food rules’ that apply to everyone. Another interesting (and the most important) objection the French have to ketchup has nothing to do with nutrition. They actually reject it because it masks flavors: if kids eat ketchup with every meal (and, in particular, if they put it on all of their vegetables), the worry is that they’ll learn to like the taste of ketchup, but not the actual foods that they are eating. Food education in France is about teaching kids to like different flavors and tastes, and the argument in favor of banning ketchup was centered in part on this. French kids certainly do eat a much greater variety of things than North American kids, from what I’ve seen. Seems surprising to us, I know. Thanks for your comments, Kate!

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