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.
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.