As much as I try to not spend too much time on the internet, when I’m on it…I lurk. And I lurk hard. I don’t just love an article and stop there. I’ll see who wrote it, look up their other work, and then eventually end up on some form of their social media. What are they into? Are they as cool as I thought? Most times not. And my obsession ends there. But that wasn’t the case with Anjali.
I had just finished reading a piece that she did for The Kitchn, on my new bud/photographer Julie Lee. I liked it so much that I checked out Anjali’s byline and saw that she was a former private chef (now graduate student in nutrition). Which automatically made me want to learn more. I get so inspired by people that change careers midstream. So I crept more and found her site, Eat Your Greens. It was there I learned that her goal as a dietician is to work in community nutrition. Instead of working with people that are already ill in clinical settings, she hopes to help people improve their health and stay healthy by eating whole and unprocessed foods. Pretty inspiring. I couldn’t wait to find out more about her – so asked her to be the latest BIPL. She happily said yes. My lurking really paid off (for all of us) on this one.
Name: Anjali Prasertong
Relationship Status (with plants): Childhood friends who fell in love in college. Now happily married for life.
Turn ons: Sunshine. Big dogs. Leafy greens (of course!). IPA beer. Movies on the big screen. Library books. Hard workers.
Turn offs: Dirty dishes. Fake food. Valet parking. Small talk. Crappy pens. Fad diets.
Crunchy or smooth: It used to be smooth, but after two years spent living in Japan, where peanut butter is expensive and difficult to find, I now love crunchy. Go figure.
Favorite green to eat: Like 95% of food bloggers, I love kale! I throw it into soups, braise it with kimchi, massage it in salads, and make it into chips. But my favorite way to eat it in the summer is grilled and tossed with a citrusy dressing. It’s smoky and a little crispy, kind of like a warm-weather kale chip.
Best chef tip for cooking plants: If you don’t know what to do with a new-to-you vegetable, try roasting it. It will probably be delicious. Cut it up into bite-size pieces, toss them with oil and salt and roast them in a 400 degree oven until they’re browned and soft, flipping the pieces every 15 minutes or so. I like to add a little acid before serving, like a squeeze of lemon or a drizzle of vinaigrette.
All time favorite cookbook: The cookbook I use the most is Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian, which I reference whenever I need some dinnertime inspiration for whatever vegetable, grain, or bean I am thinking about using. His recipes are super-simple and leave plenty of room for experimentation, which is how I like to cook.
What restaurant would you like to planticize: I’m lucky enough to live in a city with tons of authentic cuisines from around the world. Unfortunately, with the availability of cheap meat here in the U.S., many of them load their dishes with protein and skimp on the veggies. It would be especially amazing to have more restaurants that offered authentic Thai or Mexican food with a focus on vegetables.
Quote that inspires you: “It is so dreadful to have to reassure one’s hostess that everything is delicious, whether or not it is. I make it a rule, no matter what happens, never to say one word, though it kills me. Maybe the cat has fallen in the stew, or I have put the lettuce out the window and it has frozen, or the meat is not quite done… Grit one’s teeth and smile.” – Julia Child (from As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto)
Eating plants makes me...feel great and inspires me to spread the love of vegetables.