Wednesday, September 13, 2017

10 Questions: Vegan Foodie with Julie Hasson


This week’s vegan foodie is someone who just sends me into an instant shame cycle with her productivity.
Julie Hasson has been a fixture in the vegan scene for a long time, and as if being owner of the popular Native Bowl food cart in Portland, recipe developer, prolific cookbook author, columnist, cooking show host, and baking mix entrepreneur weren’t enough, she has now embarked on a new project with her friend and fellow vegan, gluten-free foodie Kittee Berns: fun and fabulous new e-books and consultation via their new venture together, Julie & Kittee. Despite her impressive resume, Julie remains an approachable, friendly, warm and engaging presence online, helping everyone learn some amazing new vegan recipes without judgment or condescension. She’s just the bomb and I am honored to feature Julie Hasson as this week’s Vegan Foodie.

1. How did you start down this path of creating delicious food? Was a love for food nurtured into you? Did you have any special relatives or mentors who helped to instill this passion?

My mom really instilled my love of food, as well as my French grandmother, at a very young age. So it was of no surprise to my family when I changed my career path in college from pursuing an art degree to enrolling in culinary school. My brother and I are both chefs.

2. What was your diet like when you were growing up? Did you have any favorite meals or meal traditions? Do you carry them over today?

Growing up I ate a very healthy diet. Until my mom went back to work when I was in 6th grade, my parents were health nuts. My mom made everything from scratch. It was all about whole wheat bread, home-grown vegetables, tofu, carob, and granola. No Wonder Bread sandwiches for me, no matter how much I may have begged at the time. Chocolate and sugar were frowned upon for quite a few years there too (and may have inspired my future career in pastry!). My mom’s bread and homemade soups were some of my favorites.

3. It’s late at night and you just got home: What is your favorite quick and simple vegan meal?

Fried rice! I just shared the recipe in the new issue of VegNews.

4. If you could prepare one meal or dessert for anyone living or dead, who would it be for and what would you create?

That’s a hard one! I’ll have to get back to you on that.

5. What do you think are common mistakes in vegan cooking and how do you avoid them?

Under-seasoning food is the biggest mistake I see. Vegan food should have tons of flavor, and texture and color too. Don’t be afraid to really season your food with layers of spices and fresh and dried herbs, as well as lots of colorful vegetables. Also, a little salt and oil go a long way in flavoring food.

6. What ingredients are you especially excited about at the moment? Also, what ingredients do you always like to have on hand?

I am loving the last of the summer corn, peaches, and tomatoes. It’s hard to see the summer fruit and veggie season come to an end. As for ingredients I always try to have on hand, there are lots! There’s nutritional yeast flakes, chickpea flour, a variety of gluten-free flours, smoked paprika, granulated onion and garlic, zucchini, fresh garlic, onions, tomatoes, scallions, lemons and limes, broccoli and red cabbage. I know I’m missing some, but that’s a good start.

7. What are your top three cuisines from around the world?

Again, so hard to choose, but Korean, Mexican, and Italian, followed closely by Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Chinese and Indian. I really love spicy, bold flavors, as you can see.

8. Who or what has been most influential to you on your vegan path?

My friend Heather for sure! She really inspired me to go vegan when I was first vegetarian. Also
Tanya Petrovna, who shared her delicious recipes and let me assist her cooking classes years ago, when I was a vegetarian chef. And Bryanna Clark Grogan, who inspired me with all of her amazing recipes, and did a 3-day cooking intensive with me in her kitchen!

9. What issue is nearest and dearest to your heart that you would like people to know more about?

There are so many important issues to focus on now that need our attention, so it’s really hard to pick just one issue. But, that said, dog rescue is something very close to my heart. I became involved with
One Tail at a Time – Portland, which is doing amazing work, including setting up a hospice program for old and sick dogs, and creating a short-term fostering program for those that are hospitalized and have no one to take care of their dogs while they’re away. There is also a huge need for fostering dogs as well as adopting. I wish I could foster all the dogs in need.

10. Last, please finish this sentence. "To me, vegan food is…”


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