Plant-based lifestyle taking over Miami!!!

Here are some fun planet-loving events and news worth sharing today!

1) Matthew Kenney's restaurant "Plant Food & Wine" is opening its doors in Miami Monday, February 29th! Yes, babes!! Remember the vegan cuisine school I attended last November in LA? Well, that's my friend Matthew's! Not only did his school teach me how to prepare the most delicious raw vegan dishes in the world (not joking!) but it also taught me that food and art have a direct connection. Literally! His creations will blow you away! They are all about the taste, colors, edible flowers and surprise elements.

Plant Food & Wine is having a special dinner for the SOBE Food and Wine Festival this Saturday, February 27, from 7-10 pm at their location: 105 NE 25th Street, Miami, FL. Click here to get your tickets. 

Click here to learn about my experience at MK Culinary. 

2) Artichoke Vegan Catering is changing the way busy professionals eat. Seriously!! Yesterday I received a box with 1-day full of meals. From chicken-less curry to meatless potato pie to mushroom soup and squash-carrot soup. Everything packed in mason jars and biodegradable boxes. The presentation was on point and the food was delicious. Better than anything I tasted while I was in banking working the 9-5 (more like 8-9) and ordering from the nearest restaurant with vegan options. Not to mention that Artichoke is 100% organic and free of pesticides, additives, and hormones. AND....their prices are not bad either! A no brainer, guys! This is your opportunity to get healthy, organic, vegan food without stressing about food options while you are at work. Click here to contact them. 

 

3) The WTS Cooking & Yoga workshop is taking place this weekend!!! I'm excited beyond words! There's still time to sign up for Saturday and Sunday classes (Miami & Online). Can't wait to give you guys a super strong hug (in person or via the camera). xx 

Graduated as a Raw Vegan Chef!!

I owed you guys this post! …My last week at Matthew Kenney Culinary in Venice, California. It took me so long to write it because that week I was honestly focused on studying for the written final and on preparing a 3-course raw vegan menu for the second part of the final!! My mind was solely thinking about that menu but turns out I did great! I aced both finals but more importantly, I had the BEST time of my life! Besides learning how to make eye-seductive and delicious recipes that are kind to our planet and humanity, I also got to meet the most incredible and inspiring souls during those 4 weeks. So, if you’re planning on taking this course, be prepared to have a blast creating healthy food-art while laughing at every joke your classmates or the Chefs throw at you. And, to make my last week even more memorable, Nov 19th not only marked Finals day but also my 28th birthday!!! Yeap! It’s that time of the year again. J Right after we finished presenting our dishes to the Chefs and our loved ones (you get to take your friends and family with you), I got surprised with a delicious Chlorella cake topped with chocolate and ice cream. All vegan, organic and made at the MK’s restaurant! No words to describe how good it was. All I can say is, some of us almost licked the plate clean!!

OK, now back to MCK. These are the recipes we made and the menu I prepared for my final. Each of us needed to write a 3-course menu but only execute and present 2 of those dishes. I made a spinach-carrot cream with avocados topped with a truffle oil foam and smoked paprika for the appetizer, and raw vegan Arroz con Leche topped with white chocolate for dessert. Thoughts? <3

PS: I'm officially a Raw Vegan Chef! How about that for my 28th birthday?!!

PS2: Don’t forget you guys can still sign up for MKC’s classes in LA, Miami, Thailand, Maine or even online! They have one every month! Use code “waterthruskin” for a 15% discount. Email admissions@matthewkenneycuisine.com

Raw vegan food....Is it the third week already?!

Wow guys. This Matthew Kenney Cuisine course is slowly coming to an end with a bittersweet taste. On one hand, I'm truly excited to graduate but on the other hand I'm not ready to let go of the amazing people I've met, our Chefs, or the kitchen where we made colorful magic happen. I'm honestly already meditating about taking Level 2 next year. How about you? Any of you interested in learning more about the healing power of raw vegan food or the infinite recipes that will change the way you view food? If so, I have some great news for you!!! If you reserve your spot for December or next year before the end of 2015, you can get 15% off your tuition with the code "WaterThruSkin". Just email admissions@matthewkenneycuisine.com with your information, the course you would like to take, and the discount code. You can take it at any of their locations (Miami, LA, Maine, Thailand!). Like Christmas in November! ;)

Now, back to cuisine this week we learned how to make raw vegan cheeses, water kefir, buckwheat granola, raw vegan chocolate, coconut yogurt, tiramisu, zucchini tartare and other yummy recipes! Let's start with the vegan cheeses. Who knew they could taste so good! We also learned how to create our own flavors by adding or replacing some ingredients from MKC's original cheese recipe. I made a shiitake & black pepper cheese and then a "brie" cheese topped with a raspberry & basil sauce. (If you decide to take the course, this is one of your exams. Cheese plating!)

Buckwheat granola. Even though this might sound common and simple, this granola is very different, starting with the buckwheat ingredient instead of oatmeal. Buckwheat has more protein and nutrients than oats. We also learned how to make coconut yogurt from scratch and I layered it with the granola, some raspberries, bananas, pomegranate and agave.

And one of my favorites: Zucchini Avocado Tartare. I don't know what it is about this recipe...maybe it's the colors and flavors, or the avocado or the fact that it's so easy to make, but I could honestly eat this every day! Avocado, Zucchini, lemon juice, olive oil and flowers. Simple yet refreshingly delicious!

Last but not least, we also visited the Farmers Market in Santa Monica as a class to get any extra ingredients we wanted for our cheese plate exam. The Farmers Market is a few blocks long and absolutely wonderful!! You'll get to see and taste exotic veggies, fruits and herbs you might have never seen or heard of before like Buddha's fingers or the light pink raspberries (combination of the orange and red ones). How about that!? <3

Stay tuned for the next post on Monday (and the final one since graduation is this Friday!!) about MKC.

To read about my Week 1 and 2 at MKC, click here.

To see some recipes, click here. I'll also be sharing some more in the next few days. xoxo

 

Second week of yummy green knowledge!

Last Friday marked the end of our second week at Matthew Kenney Culinary. We still have two more to go and the best recipes are yet to be covered: Raw vegan cheeses and chocolate!!! How about that?! For every soul outthere who uses "addiction to cheese and chocolate" as a reason not to go vegan, that excuse has reached its expiration date my friends. NO VALIDA anymore! Honestly guys... possibilities are endless! We can pretty much make any non-vegan recipe vegan and even raw vegan.

A few things you should know about MKC's Raw Vegan Cuisine courses:

-You don't have to be a raw vegan or vegan (there's probably only two or three vegan students out of the 12 of us in class), a food expert, or a Chef (I've never taken a cooking class in my life!) to take this course. You just have to have the right attitude and be serious about it since you'll be surrounded by people who are actually looking to become Chefs. You are expected to wear your Chef uniform at all times, have your hair tied up and nails clean (no polish), do dishes, clean your station and be present in class every day from 8-2. Yes! You are a student again and expected to show respect towards your teachers and classmates, and take exams almost every Friday. I know I know... I freaked out too but the minute we started going over the recipes and the MKC methodology I immediately knew I had made the right choice. 

Let's start with the MKC methodology: 

-A raw vegan cuisine course (no animal bi-products are used and no ingredient is heated over 115F to preserve enzymes and nutrients)

-Any leftovers of ingredients or recipes you don't want to take home go directly into the compost bin, which is later given to the school across the street to be used for their soil. 

-MKC works only with local farmers

-EVERYTHING is made from scratch (nothing processed, chemical or toxic)

-Colors are everything & you can create masterpieces on your plate (my favorite part!)

-Their restaurant "Plant Food & Wine" (below the MKC "lab" on Abbot Kinney) grows its own herbs and flowers.

And I could go on for hours but let's just leave it at Matthew Kenney Culinary had me at hello! 

Something else I've practiced a lot throughout the past two weeks is meditation/patience, discipline and "ahimsa". Three things I was not expecting to encounter while cooking. The whole discipline concept starts with me getting up every day around 5.30/6am. I haven't done that since I left the corporate world almost 8 months ago! To be honest, a part of me is loving it! I get to enjoy my morning coffee in LA's cold sunrise temperatures, walk Coco around Venice, practice yoga, make myself a Vanilla Chai vegan protein shake, and then head out to class, which is only an 8-minute walk from where I'm staying. Now, meditation and patience...two tricky words that are inseperable. I had my first encounter with patience the day we were told we would have to practice our knife skills (and exact cut measurements) on veggies and fruits for 60 minutes. Right there I knew it! Patience would be key. And the beautiful part about patience is that, once you've accepted and befriended it, meditation follows and takes over your body out of the blue. Specially in cuisine where you NEED to be fully present while cutting, cooking and plating. If you are not there- patiently- and you don't connect with the veggies, fruits, colors, and scents not only will you be missing an incredible experience but you won't be able achieve the results you are looking for. 

And lastly, "ahimsa". As most of you yogis might know, "ahimsa" means non-harm in Sanskrit. And believe it or not, is the name I've given my knife. I've realized that if I treat my knife  (above all its blade) with proper care, respect and love, it will show the same respect, love and care towards me. As crazy and funny as it may sound, I haven't cut myself a single time throughout the past two weeks. Let's hope this love affair grows strong! 

Now that I've covered all those points, here are some of the recipes I learned last week. :) 

xoxo

ps: To read more about Week 1 at MKC or to find out more about their courses, click here.


The Art of Raw Vegan Food

Hello from LA!!

As you guys might've already seen on my Instagram, I've relocated to LA to take my love towards animals and our earth to the next level by taking Matthew Kenney's Culinary 4-week raw vegan course. Week 1 is over and this has honestly been an eyeopening and wonderful experience already! Not only because I'm learning the powerful basics of a raw plant-based diet and the healing power of foods but also because throughout the past week I've discovered a side of me I didn't know existed. A creative side. After spending 5 years working in the Private Banking industry and 4 years studying International Business in college, I was taught to see (and was used to seeing) life in numbers. Everything was either black or white, even when it came to cooking. Until now! It's been only 7 days and I have learned to get out of my comfort zone and dare to play with ingredients and colors fearlessly. I've also discovered that plating is a big factor when it comes to serving food. Even if you're cooking and serving it for yourself. Believe it or not, besides food being our medicine (or slowest form of poison), the way we serve it can very much brighten up our day or sadden it. Since day 1 at MKC, we've learned to combine colorful raw ingredients like beets, carrots, cabbage, microgreens and beautiful flowers that have managed to open up my mind to a new blissful side of gastronomy. Not to mention the mouthwatering flavors of the recipes we've been preparing. I'm sharing a few pictures of the recipes I made during the past few days in the hopes that I get you a little excited about raw vegan food, but most of all, excited about getting out that comfort zone and trying new things. Specially, cooking consciously. For your health and the future of our planet. I'll also keep sharing more details of this course with you as the weeks go by but, in the meantime, you can find out more by visiting www.matthewkenneycuisine.com

PS: I've never EVER taken a cooking class and somehow managed to create the dishes below, so there's really no such excuse as "I could never do that". I'm literally starting from 0 here too and possibilities are endless. You just have to believe, let go and have fun! :)

*In case you guys don't know, raw cuisine is just like veganism- in the sense that no animal products of any kind are consumed- but goes a step further by not cooking anything above 118F to preserve the enzymes and nutrients of each ingredient. Like the name says it, everything is "Raw", unprocessed and made from scratch. 

   How we start every morning. Knife skills.&nbsp;Best part of it is that we juice every ingredient and enjoy fresh and organic veggie &amp; fruit juices every day! :)

 

How we start every morning. Knife skills. Best part of it is that we juice every ingredient and enjoy fresh and organic veggie & fruit juices every day! :)

   Raw vegan Zucchini Lasagna with Macadamia Ricotta,&nbsp;Red Pepper-Sundried Tomato Marinara, and Pistachio Pesto.&nbsp;

 

Raw vegan Zucchini Lasagna with Macadamia Ricotta, Red Pepper-Sundried Tomato Marinara, and Pistachio Pesto. 

   Veggie Hand Rolls with Spicy Mango Chutney.&nbsp;

 

Veggie Hand Rolls with Spicy Mango Chutney. 

   Red Beet Ravioli with Cashew Cheese, Pistachios &amp; Bell Pepper Puree.&nbsp;

 

Red Beet Ravioli with Cashew Cheese, Pistachios & Bell Pepper Puree. 

   Kale Cesar Salad with Sunflower Dressing &amp;&nbsp;Shiitake Anchovies.

 

Kale Cesar Salad with Sunflower Dressing & Shiitake Anchovies.

   Sushi roll with Jicama Rice, Shiitake Mushrooms &amp; Chipotle Mayo.&nbsp;

 

Sushi roll with Jicama Rice, Shiitake Mushrooms & Chipotle Mayo.