Food from the north

I’ve been spending far too much time away from San Diego, and even more time away from Vegpod, for which I am truly sorry.
This past month, my days have been happily spent in a garden. Lots of heavy weeding, shovel skilling, soil turning, seed sprouting, water feeding, earth worm saving, compost smelling fun!
Yes fun!
And better yet? I had one of my best girls with me. Also an amazing vegan pastry chef.
In case you don’t know what 2 vegan chef’s look like in a garden….farm6.JPG
If you took the art of being a chef one step further, I believe you would see a gardener. Gardening/Farming is arguably the oldest known occupation. Growing your own food takes you back to your roots, in the literal meaning. To see and learn just how food comes to be at our tables, from a tiny seed is magical!
And with hard work, comes lots of hearty meals…I could easily get used to this.
Starters from the farmers market: nasturtiums, radishes, romaine, dill, & oregano

A total of 4 gardens were worked on. And with those 4 gardens came early mornings to beat the 95 degree heat.
My morning breakfasts were usually some type of whole grain hot cereal (triticaleh, whole wheat, or steel cut oats) doused in almond milk, and sprinkled with cinnamon.
Lunch & dinner is where the real magic happened.
Homemade Black bean burgers, with roasted peppers, and grilled onions. Served with a cup of navy bean soup, and my fabulous Blueberry Acai Sun tea.

Megs Top 10 reasons to garden:
#1 Garden to be creative. Gardening provides an outlet for creative and artistic expression. You decide what to grow. You decide where to grow it, and how. Express Yourself!
#2 Garden to learn. The more you learn about plants and gardening, the more you want to know. Get out there and teach the youth! They need it most. Plus its fun to play with dirt!

WWII Poster, Build a victory garden!

#3 Garden to exercise. Gardening activities provide both cardio and aerobic exercise. Studies show that an hour of moderate gardening can burn up to 300 calories for women, and almost 400 calories for men. Yup.
#4 Garden for Urban Revitalization. Unless you are pimpin’ it up in the OC, chances are your neighborhood could use a little more love. Gardens are usually a pleasure to look at, and can change shady eyesores, into a beautiful array of colors.
#5 Garden for safe, healthy food. Contamination, pesticides, additives, preservatives…. do I need to go on?
OG Strawberries=yum

#6 Severe Allergies? Hardline vegan? Or just worried about how the food you eat is grown? Maybe you want to know what exact nutrients your food is grown with. Grow your own! Your veg-friends will be envious.
#7 Maybe even my favorite, garden for the sake of the sunshine! 15 min. a day provides your suggested daily amount of vitamin D. And you’ll have a healthy glow.
#8 THE FUTURE OF FOOD, get the movie, watch it. You’ll be growing your own food in no time.
#9 Meditation. We all need it. And you’ll feel a stronger connection with life, our planet, our environment.
#10 Vegan Mac-N-Cheeze! You might not be able to find this at your garden space, but help me in mine, and I’ll cook you up some grub!

The ripe vegetables had been picked over well from the winter and fall, but we made due with plenty of chard, parsley, celery root, fingerling potatoes, celery, chives, leeks, bay leaves, and mint.
There was leftover dried corn from the fall to which we made fresh popcorn with nightly.
Earth-balance butter….yummmm

El Corazon Celery Root

Crusted Tofu, Sweet potato/Celery root mash, Quinoa Pilaf, with walnuts and sun dried tomatoes, and sauteed greens, with yellow onion, and tomato.
We ate pretty good, no?!
Did I mention that all the food scraps, peels, you name it, ended up in the biggest compost pile I’ve ever scene. Well they did.

Sadly, our time at the farm had to come to an end. I came home and my lettuce bed had shriveled away with the heat wave that swept thru San Diego. Sort of made me happy there was more to do at home. They say the best fertilizer is the gardener’s shadow, and a true garden is never finished. But I’m still hoping it won’t be long before I’m back to diggin in the dirt up north again. Till then, watch out for snakes!
California kingsnake

Strawberry Ginger Rhubarb Pie


Forgive this horrible picture but, Hooray for Pie! Pie screams summer, like no other.

Rhubarb is generally eaten as a fruit, but it’s botanically a vegetable. Because of rhubarbs superb amount of tang, and the strawberries being so naturally sweet, I figured the ginger would add a bonus flavor. I made this using my moms, ever so famous pie recipe. I had bought this red palm oil from whole foods, and decided its reddish hues would look nice in the crust. Palm oil is extracted from the pulp of the fruit on the African palm tree. This particular brand is cold pressed, and works great for shortening! Sorry for the blurry picture. EEk!

Nature’s Express, the future of fast food


Its nearing the end of summer. August is 1 week away from being over, and sad to say so is Good Karma.

Just what have I been doing for the last 6 weeks? The people behind the scenes of San Diego’s beloved Kung Food, have another project in the works! As most of us are very familiar with the KF drive thru, we have also had a sister location on the Venice boardwalk.


Serving the most amazing vegan fast food, such as Soy Chicken Chipotle sandwiches, Pesto Burgers, Chili Cheese Fries, Homemade Ice Cream & Mylk Shakes!
Perfect for veg-heads who love their fried food, and hate having to question fryers shared with meat. Or those buff muscle beach lifters (see pic below!)
And more importantly, perfect for aging men and women who want to see a change in their diet, or maybe even their kids’ but don’t know where to start.
The concept behind good karma seems so appropriate for what our society needs. I could start to go into the million and one reasons why veganism plays a huge part in preserving our future, but I’ll save that for another day 🙂
Sad to say that Good Karma will be leaving the boardwalk, closing its doors August 28th. We will be relocating to La Brea, and Olympic, mid-city LA. We’re hoping it’ll be a fast change, and our loyal customers, some who drive from west LA to east LA, 4 times a week in LA traffic (ugh!) will still come out to visit.

So as for the future of vegan fast food? Well, the owners are changing the name to Nature’s Express. And this is just a start….

The grand opening of our Yuma, AZ. location should be in mid-September. Anyone wondering “Why Yuma?” I said the same. But after spending 2 weeks in Yuma, it was pretty apparent. People there have not one single option for healthy foods. And, they need it. More so than LA, maybe even more so then SD. The local folks there seem to rarely cook for themselves, and corporate America has made this small town a huge fast food community. People eat drive thru food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So why not get them thinking about a healthier option!

I just hope I last through the heat! Heres a great pic from the Good Karma pick up window! This place will sure be missed! Till the next episode in veggie adventures…..


Pike Street Market



Well I only had an afternoon, but it was spent well. The weather was beautiful, as was the city. I love the atmosphere of port cities. Most of them anyway.

Lunch was quick, as I grabbed a sandwich from Wayward Cafe, and strolled down to Pikes Market. It was a blast. I even took a moment to watch the fisherman throw around there freshly caught salmon and trout. The market had a huge selection of veggie eats. Organic, local, and fresh produce, nuts, flowers, herbs, as well as a ton of arts-n-crafters! I can’t remember the name, but there was a cute little pastry shop that specialized in vegan cinnamon rolls and other yum yums.


I didn’t get to check out the Mighty-O Donut house, but a friend did bring me a bag of 6 different flavors!!! Lemon Poppyseed heaven! I think soon Ill have to make some of my own soon!


This one is for Mom….Everlasting statice flowers!

My, how I heart M Cafe!

I think after this last visit to M Cafe, I can safely say it is my favorite eatery in all of California…..its true. And is what is not to love? The brunch is Amazing. Best Seitan Cutlets ever, and they’ve even started making ice cream! This months flavor was Black sesame! Grain sweetened Ice cream! I’ve heard they are opening a new location. Hopefully soon, they’ll be one in SD.

IMG_0022Tofu Florentine, with tempeh bacon


Edamame Inari

Cooking Classes

As many of you have probably heard, Kung Foods has changed its staff/direction, without any new location set yet in sight. It has been a hard and fast change, but doors are continually opening and expanding for new projects and ventures in San Diego County…

However, for now, I will be offering private cooking classes, for 2-7 people, to be held at your homes, or friends home, or other locations you might find!! Imagine: invite some friends over, have everyone bring over wines or juices, relax in the comfort of your own home as we go step by step through a full, gourmet vegan dinner – using your own utensils and kitchenware so that there is no further question as to how to precisely make your favorite vegan dish….

So for Spring, I will be offering a series of cooking courses for you – taking the spirit of bold tastes and optimal health in new directions, as we learn together how to grow in our own cooking abilities, and in our sharing of vegan foods to our friends, family, and for those in our lives who ‘just don’t understand.’

I am in the process of checking out new commercial spaces where we can host public cooking classes for now, and hope to have a location locked in within the next few months.
The commercial space will start out being used for a 4 course long series. An overview of each class will be posted here, at the website, as well as a sign up sheet for each class.

Lemon Tart on an Almond Cookie Crust


This tart is made using amasake, which is sweet rice fermented into an extra sweet drink, is used in place of the sugar for the crust. This natural sweetness, combined with the apple juice in the filling, is all you need to satisfy your sweet tooth! The agar-agar is a sea vegetable that replaces traditional gelatin in the filling. Agar-agar is cooling and stimulates healthy digestion. The kuzu helps to tone the intestines and regulate body temperature. Not only is this healthier dessert delicious, it also serves to keep you cool and satisfied in the summer heat.

For the Crust:

  • 1 cup organic spelt or whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp. non-aluminum baking powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup organic hi-oleic safflower oil
  • 1/4 cup organic amasake
  • 1/2 tsp. organic almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined, forming a dough. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a tart pan.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

For the Filling:

  • 2 cups organic apple juice
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. agar-agar flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. organic kuzu, dissolved in 2 Tbsp. spring or filtered water
  • 1/4 cup fresh organic lemon juice, or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh organic lemon zest
  • Fresh organic mint leaves for garnish
  • Fresh organic berries for garnish

Place the juice in a saucepan and add the salt. Sprinkle the agar-agar flakes on top and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
Slowly bring to a boil, stirring frequently once warmed. Boil, stirring frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the agar-agar flakes have dissolved.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the dissolved kuzu, stirring constantly to prevent lumping.
Raise the heat to medium and stir until thick and clear. Remove from the heat. Add the lemon juice and zest, stirring well. Let cool slightly, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Pour into the prepared crust. Refrigerate for about 1 hour to set.
Garnish with the mint leaves and the berries.

Makes 8 to 10 servings