Mississippi Vegan, Wonder Chef From The South
I was beyond lucky enough, to grab some time out of Mississippi Vegan’s busy schedule to sit down and find out what one of our favorite Master Chefs does in his spare time,. How he’s as friendly offline as he appears online. Read on, it’s a great interview!
Hi Timothy, thank you so much to agreeing to this interview! We have a lot of parents who religiously follow your Instagram and your new YouTube channel for ideas, and simply because your food is amazing. As busy parents, we could never imagine being able to recreate some of your dishes. Yet, that doesn’t stop us from tying. What would you say, is the easiest ‘go to’ meals you have?
I would say the easiest food that I often make and therefore recommend to busy folks (all you Mamas and Papas!) is one pot soups and stews, as well as roasted veggies and potatoes. Creating a base of sautéed onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and whatever fresh or dried herbs you have is a great start to this.Then you can add a veggie broth or mushroom broth and whatever vegetables, mushrooms, or canned beans that you like (I prepare my beans from scratch, but if I used canned, I find that chickpeas are the my personal favorite). Since lentils cook quickly, you can add those dried and bring to a boil.
To season the soup I always add a splash of vinegar of some kind (brown rice or apple cider for example), a squirt of ketchup (for a pop of tang and sweetness), fresh black pepper, and tamari for depth of flavor. To go with the soup or stew, a side of freshly cooked rice is always a nice addition. To make this special, I always add freshly chopped herbs (dried is ok too!), a few bay leaves, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and sesame seed oil for a nutty flavor.
Try doing this next time you make a batch. Both of these can be kept in the fridge or in the fridge for future meals. If you’d like to try a more advanced soup, check out my Okra and Tomato Stew on my blog. For the roasted veggies, pre-heat the oven to 350 and chop whatever you have into bite size pieces (cauliflower, brussel sprouts, potatoes, sweet potatoes, radishes, turnips…. whatever!).
Toss these with sunflower seed oil, nutritional yeast, black pepper, sea salt, and a dash of onion powder and garlic powder if you have some. Toss to coat well and roast until whatever you are cooking is tender and slightly crispy- the time will depend on whatever you are making but aim for 30-50 minutes, checking every so often after the 30 minute mark. If you want to try a fun variation of this technique, try my Maple Miso Mustard Carrots on my blog.
Okay, that sounds absolutely delicious, not to mention, amazing! No wonder everyone loves your food! speaking of your great creations, on Mississippi Vegan Instagram you post a lot of videos in the stories foraging for mushrooms. Even personally, it has given me great ideas for taking the kids out to look for edible food. What are some helpful tips for what to watch out?
I would say the most important thing starting out is tapping into your curiosity and interest. This will allow you to have fun. I am no expert, nor do I claim to be. I just go outside and explore. Sometimes, I can spot something I am familiar with. Oftentimes, I do not know so I document, share with others, ask questions, research and ultimately learn what it is and how to identify it in the future (whether it be a plant or mushroom).
When you first start to forage, don’t expect to harvest anything the first few times. Rather focus on the exploring, documenting, and learning how to properly identify things. Once you become more comfortable and confident, that is when you may start to introduce small amounts of wild foods into your diet. The most important thing to remember when learning how to forage is the direction you are going, not necessarily the speed.
Have you ever seen a better looking bruschetta? Find the recipe on his blog.
I would suspect parents living outside of NYC would find it easier to find places to forage, do you find living back in South differences between NYC and Southern living for vegans? Is it easier, or challenging?
Well, it’s not really fair to compare the two in regards to dining out as a vegan. NYC has over, I don’t know, 20 – 30 vegan/vegetarian restaurants? All of Mississippi has about 2 or 3. So, is it easier to eat out in NYC, absolutely. The one thing I miss the most though is having access to fresh juices. For being the loudest and dirtiest city ever, NYC sure does have lots of organic cold pressed juice! And on every corner it seems like!
I do occasionally eat out here in Jackson, as I have a found a few places where I can order certain things that are vegan and delicious. But in all honesty, I am working on my cookbook so I am making loads of food all of the time. I am eating better than probably ever before in my life because I am constantly cooking really delicious recipes non-stop. As for grocery shopping in the south, I have developed my friendships with local farms and I go to the farmer’s market often and there is loads of beautiful produce. Mississippi also grows an abundance of wild foods like figs, mulberries, paw paw, blueberries, blackberries, chanterelles, lion’s mane, and morels- just to name a few!
That is super sweet that you’ve made friends with everyone who sells the produce, which reminds me. I read once, that you talk to your mom every day, which is adorable, and something we all hope our kids do when they fly the nest. Is your mom vegan?
Yes, that is true! She is one of my best friends. We weren’t very close during my teen years, but once I hit 21 we became closer and now we talk everyday. I also live 2 hours away from her and I visit often. When I complete a recipe, I watch her make it to make sure my instructions are clear. My mom is not vegan but she is very open to veganism and is very supportive of my lifestyle. She loves eating my recipes and I would say she is predominately plant based.
She still doesn’t make the connection that if you wouldn’t hurt or eat your pet dog (whom she is obsessed with) than you probably should be vegan. We have addressed this many times but ultimately all I can do is inspire and be positive.
That is adorable that your mom makes your recipes, and I’m sure we can all relate about having a non vegan parent, it’s a connection most of us had to make at one point. So we can’t let your mom get in on all these great recipes, apart from IG and Facebook, is there anywhere else where we can follow your inspirational pictures?
Well, my blog has more pictures that I oftentimes do not post to the gram. I also started a YouTube channel which is more of a landing page that has previously recorded snap chat and Instagram stories that I particularly like, mainly the ones about foraging!.
I will be adding more videos slowly and hopefully start my very own cooking episodes designed just for the channel. But right now, my main focus is my book so everything else is on the back burner. Once my manuscript is delivered in December, I will aim to post a new recipe once a week on the blog, Instagram and YouTube! 🙂
December for the book? Those are some really exciting times ahead. Okay, last question before we lose to you the culinary gods. One question for dads, how do you keep that beard looking so Viking like? Do you do something to it, or is that just the power of plant based?
Ok, so I take care of my beard. During my shower, every other day I shampoo and condition. Right out of the shower, I rub it with a blend of macadamia oil, argan oil, and ylang ylang essential oil. This soaks into the beard and makes it soft. About 2 to 3 times a week, I brush it. And twice a month I get a beard trim with my haircut. (When I was in NYC I would get a beard trim once a week but that was because my shop was right next to me in the hood!)
A Note From The Raise Vegan Staff
Don’t forget to check out the Facebook Group Vegan Eats For Smaller Feet, for some great ideas on easy peasy meal ideas for that amazing plant based family! If you’re looking for other like minded parents, we have the main group, Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting, over thirty thousand parents, all Raising Vegan! From homeschooling, to food and everything in between. We have you covered for every over asked question that may come your way. Check out articles such as Hot For Food Interview With Lauren & John and Easy Peasy Pasta Sauce The Whole Family Will Love
Raising children vegan is sometime wrought with worries about nutrition, and doubts from outside influences. You are doing an amazing thing for your kids, the planet, and most importantly, the animals. We thank you, we are grateful to you, and we admire you! Keep on rocking vegan parents, we are changing the world together!
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