Like many big projects, writing a cookbook requires years of preparation, hard work and worry, culminating with that moment when you present your ‘baby’ to the world. I was excited to officially introduce my cookbook, The Age GRACEfully Cookbook to members of the press and culinary, health and wellness experts on a recent evening at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. My book is a collection of illustrated recipes that incorporate ingredients, which I call FoodTrients, that help you look and feel younger not only on the inside, but also on the outside. All of my recipes are the result of my passion for food and years of experience cooking, baking and running skilled nursing facilities. To create the recipes, I scoured scientific studies, dug into long-established knowledge of medicinal herbs, sought out natural ingredients from cultures all over the world and drew on memories of my mother’s culinary wisdom.
At the event, I was fortunate to have celebrity chef, Eric Greenspan join me on a panel to discuss the recipes in my cookbook and how they promote health and well being deliciously. Eric is the owner of The Roof on Wilshire, Maré and Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese. He’s also appeared on the TV programs, Iron Chef and Celebrity Cutthroat Kitchen, notably defeating Chef Bobby Flay!
I gave Eric an advance copy of the book and asked him what he thought. In his enthusiastic style, he told the assembled writers, “Quite honestly, there were a lot of ingredients in it I didn’t recognize or that I don’t use in my own recipes, but Grace works them into everyday dishes. There are things like moringa, a plant with super nutritious leaves that she adds to vegetable soup. Millet is a high-protein grain that she stuffs into tiny sweet peppers as an appetizer. She even prepares amazing noodles in Green tea. I was impressed by how well the flavors work together. What I love about Grace’s book is that her recipes are very accessible and easy for the average home cook to execute. I’m already thinking about how to work moringa into my grilled cheese sandwiches!”
Our panel’s moderator, TV personality Robb Weller, asked many questions including how I became interested in cooking (my mother’s cooking school back in the Philippines when I was a child) and where to find the more unusual ingredients (you can find jackfruit or jujubes online or in ethnic grocers like 99 Ranch Market here in the Los Angeles area or online from specialty produce suppliers like Melissa’s ). Robb asked what new health and wellness trends I have been noticing, to which I replied, reishi mushroom powder, a great immunity-booster and ashiwagandha, a medicinal plant from India that’s been used for thousands of years to treat stress, fatigue and to promote muscle strength. It’s with some pride that I like to point out that I was promoting the benefits of chia seeds (anti-inflammatory, high in Omega-3s) many years ago when most people associated them with Chia Pets, those ceramic animals that people exchanged at Christmas! In my cookbook there are recipes for a sweet Chia Seed Treat and a refreshing Chia Fresca beverage.
After the panel discussion concluded, all of the attendees were invited to our FoodTrients buffet featuring various recipes from The Age GRACEfully Cookbook. Judging by how many people went through the buffet line more than once and the many empty plates, I was very gratified. Guests enjoyed Grilled Artichokes with Moringa Dip, Fig Salad, Carrot Quiche, Green Tea Noodles with Edamame, Stuffed Turkey Rolls, Shrimp and Moringa Curry, Almond Blueberry Parfaits, Brazil Nut Tarts and more.
The evening was distinguished by the beautiful setting, delicious food and the lively conversation between members of the media, including The Asian Journal, The Hallmark Channel, Epicurious, the local ABC and CBS affiliates, the Jewish Journal, the Huffington Post to mention a few. The Age GRACEfully Cookbook is available now on the FoodTrients website, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. This cookbook was truly a labor of love and my greatest reward is sharing delicious food that can help you live longer and better.