ICA: Morimoto vs. Cohen

Just two more episodes left of season 8 of Iron Chef America.  Still no sign of the newest Iron Chef, Jose Garces.  Perhaps that is why the Network is ready to kick off another season of the Next Iron Chef in a few weeks.  But that is neither here nor there.

Amanda Cohen on WannabeTVchef.comThis week kitchen stadium is visited by New York’s Amanda Cohen.  A vegetarian chef, Cohen’s motto is, “Anyone can cook a hamburger, but leave the vegetables to professionals.”  She is a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute.  NGI is not a strictly vegetarian cooking school as they do have classes on eggs, poultry and seafood, but there are no mammals in their curriculum.

Since receiving her degree from NGI, Cohen has labored in several of New York City’s vegetarian restaurants.  She has done a little time as a teaching assistant at Angelica’s Kitchen which has specialized in organically grown plant-based cuisine for over 25 years.  But it was at Spanish Harlem’s DinerBar that she gained notoriety, oddly enough for her Buffalo Wings.  When pop star Moby decided that he wanted to open a vegetarian tea room he picked Cohen as the first chef at Teany.

Cohen has since worked at a number of vegetarian eateries culminating with her own restaurant, Dirt Candy.  Cohen’s restaurant has since been named “Best Vegetarian Restaurant in NYC” by amNew York and L Magazine, voted “Best Vegan Restaurant in NYC” by Citysearch readers and the Village Voice singled it out for “Best Grits in NYC.”

Amanda Cohen enters Kitchen Stadium having proven herself a star in the vegan counter culture.  But the question that remains is can she go blow for blow with Iron Chef Morimoto armed with a menu full of side dishes?

Well, the Chairman took care of that by banning the use of meat, poultry and seafood.  So the judges (Melanie Mannarino, Jeffrey Steingarten and Kelly Hu) got to sample ten said dishes.

Be sure to check out my exclusive interview with Chef Amanda Cohen.

Click HERE for the outcome.

New Recipe: Chicken Fried NOT-Steak

Each week as part of my duties with I plan a full menu of meals that feed a family of four for an entire week.   Each day’s menu feeds the family three meals plus a snack for the kiddies.  These recipes need to be relatively easy to allow more quality time for the family to spend together.  Another part of my charge is to come up with healthy recipes.  Each week I will share one of these recipes with you.  Here’s this week’s:

Chicken Fried NOT-Steak with Rice & Gravy

  • 4 large portabella mushroom caps, cut into 1” wide strips
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 cage-free egg
  • 1 cup water
  • Coconut oil for deep frying
  • 2 cups quick cooking brown rice, cooked
  • Sawmill Gravy (recipe follows)

Wash and clean mushrooms. In medium bowl, combine flour and garlic salt. Stir in egg and water. Stir until smooth. With a spoon dredge mushrooms through batter and drop into hot oil (350 degrees). Fry until golden brown. With slotted spoon remove mushrooms from oil and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Serve mushrooms with cooked rice smothering both with gravy.

Sawmill Gravy

  • 1/4 cup organic AP flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil from frying the mushroom
  • 1 – 2 quarts organic low fat milk or soy milk
  • Salt & pepper

Heat the coconut oil in a heavy skillet. Add flour and stir constantly to make a roux, cooking for 5 – 7 minutes. Bit by bit add milk stirring constantly. Once the gravy thickens add the remaining milk and allow to thicken slightly, stirring constantly. Taste and season as needed.  Pairs well with my Healthy Biscuits.

Each serving contains 487 calories, 31 grams of fat (mostly from coconut oil which is VERY healthy), 42 grams of carbohydrates and 12 grams of protein.

ICA: Morimoto vs. Cohen – Outcome

iron chef america, wannabe tv chef

SPOILER ALERT: The following information is the outcome of Morimoto vs. Cohen. If you want information on the combatants click HERE. If you are only interested in the outcome read on.

The judges for Battle Broccoli were Melanie Mannarino, Jeffrey Steingarten and Kelly Hu.  The Chairman also required that all dishes contain no meat, poultry or seafood.

Morimoto              Cohen
Taste: 26               Taste: 24
Plating: 14              Plating: 10
Originality: 14         Originality: 11
Total: 54                Total: 45

Winner: Iron Chef Morimoto

Be sure to check out my exclusive interview with Chef Amanda Cohen.

The Myth of the ‘Ethical’ Diet

I have all the respect in the world for vegetarians. I fully support their diet and at every kitchen I run I try to offer something more than just salad and Portobello burgers for vegetarians. Their diet is healthy and as long as they don’t try to convert me we’re good.

Vegans are a different story. I do not support a vegan diet. Why? Two reasons:

  1. The whole ‘ethical’ farce. There is nothing ethical about being a vegan. Animals were put here for four reasons: food, tools (riding, plowing, etc.), clothing and pets. I abhor people who abuse animals. Kick a dog in front of me and you are libel to wake up in a body cast. Now I do not know what basis vegans use for their ‘ethical’ claim but it certainly isn’t based on a Judeo-Christian belief system. Not religious? Cool then this part does not apply to you. If you are religious, then listen up: Genesis 9:3 “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.” Once again, if you do not have a Judeo-Christian belief system skip on to #2. If you do, veganism is unethical because it defies God.
  2. The whole ‘healthy’ farce. Since vegans do not consume any animal products they are deprived a certain compounds that only occur in animal fats. Nothing that grows on a vine, sprouts from a bush or hangs from a tree can replace these compounds. Most vegans I have known have terrible skin – it is dry and ashy. It is because they lack proper nutrition. Another common ailment is poor joints. Without at least a little animal in your diet your joints will degenerate years before they would naturally. You don’t have to eat a medium-rare steak to get what you need, just a glass of milk (no soy milk will not work) or some cheese on that next salad. So stop it with the whole healthy shtick, it just doesn’t wash.

I am not telling any vegans that they should change their lifestyle. That would be unethical. I fully support your right to eat whatever you want, or in this case whatever you do not want. It is after all what makes you happy and I am all for everyone being happy. What I am saying is stop the crusade, it has no scientific or spiritual basis; it is simply your choice. Quietly set your example and perhaps you can turn more people to your cause but the browbeating simply makes you an ass.

My fellow carnivores will enjoy this clip and you herbivores get to see things from our point of view. Best of all, everyone gets a good laugh.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up


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