I am way excited for this month’s CCF Loves because not only is this chick super cool but she loves food just as much as I do…and actually has a legit cause for making it the main focus of her career. If you don’t know Jessica Murnane, you need to know her now…
I met Jessica a few years ago at a large group dinner and I happened to be seated next to her. The event was for her paper line, Suitor, which she recently decided to stop doing to focus on her real passion, One Part Plant (although I do miss that paper…it’s what I use for all my thank you notes and she even designed my business cards). But I’m very thankful that we happened to be seated next to each other that evening because it sparked a new friendship, plus I got to see her develop One Part Plant from the very beginning and it’s really amazing to see how much it’s grown. So what is One Part Plant exactly? It’s basically the anti-vegan vegan website — inspiration and recipes for plant-based meals but not in the way that everyone stereotypes vegans. I’m totally cool with whatever lifestyle anyone choses to live but when you get all preachy and judgy because I don’t live the same way? That’s where I draw the line. Jessica is far from that — I could eat a steak with a side of pizza in front of her and she wouldn’t care the least bit. But I do happen to enjoy vegan food and her recipes are RIDICULOUS. You cook anything from here and you won’t miss meat / dairy / gluten for even a second (plus, she’s giving CCF readers the easiest recipe ever, but you’ll have to wait until the end of this post for details). Not big on cooking? You can listen to her new podcast, which covers an array of topics (you don’t even have to like food to listen…although if you don’t like food I hope we never meet) or try one of her plant-based dishes are her partner restaurants.
Okay so yeah, I freakin’ love Jessica and what she’s doing with One Part Plant. I think she’s going to change the world, one plant at a time So let’s have a chat with her, shall we?
What do you love most about Chicago?
1) The people. At least once a day, I think about the inspiring people in my life and the cool things they’re doing. I feel so lucky to know such a creative and talented crew that pushes me to do more (you’re one of them CCF). 2) I don’t own a car. I am the worst driver and I love that I can walk anywhere in the city or take the bus/train. I know people poo poo public tran, but I love it. I’m forced to just chill and take that time to read or listen to new podcast episodes (Marc Maron and Grantland are my jam). 3) The Weather. Not really. But maybe if I profess my love here…it’ll be nicer to me. Do you hear me, Weather? I love you. I. LOVE. YOU.
What are your go-to things to do/see in the city?
Can “eating” be an answer? I love trying new restaurants and going to Green City Market
and the Saturday market on Division so much. Whenever anyone comes to visit me, the first thing I do is map out all the restaurants and food spots I want to take them to… then if there’s time, I guess we can go look at art or shop or something.
Most memorable moment in your career so far?
Speaking at Apple. They asked me to give a 45 minute presentation about starting One Part Plant (45 minutes!?). I have never been so nervous to do anything. But it turned out to be one of my most favorites nights ever. After you conquer speaking at Apple, everything feels a little easier. Oh, and my hot tip for public speaking? Include a GIF of Nene (from Atlanta Housewives) being crazy if you can. It’s goes over really well.
Any words of advice for someone trying to get into your field?
Besides including GIFs of Nene? Just start. If you don’t have a fancy camera to shoot food photos (I don’t) – start snapping photos with your phone or find a student that needs portfolio work. If you can’t go back to school full-time, find an online certification class (I got mine through e-Cornell). Just start. You can always make changes later. One of my favorite quotes is by Alan Cohen: “Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect”.
Where are some of the best restaurants for plant-based dishes in Chicago?
So, most of these places aren’t all veg. But that’s why I love them. You can go to these with meat and veggie eaters. I love everything planty at FOUND. Chef Nicole Pederson is my idol in the kitchen. Trenchermen‘s veggie brunch dish is insanely good…always. I’ve gotten a preview of Owen + Alchemy and it’s ridiculous. I love the big, giant special salad at Rose Angelis. The new chef (Chef Dino) at David Burke’s Primehouse is working on a One Part Plant dish and I can’t wait to see what he does. If I’m ordering in, it’s always Sultans. I try to order other things, but it always comes back to Sultans.
So to make this CCF Loves even more special, Jessica made a recipe that’s not only completely dairy, gluten and sugar-free but definitely fits in the Half-Assed Meals category that I love so much — there’s two ingredients and it could not be easier to make. You ready for this? Let’s make some peach ice cream (well, Jessica made some peach ice cream, and here’s how…)
5 peaches, sliced and frozen
2 tablespoons raw honey
Slice up your peaches and freeze them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. The first time I made this, I threw them into a Ziplock bag to freeze – but they all clumped together and it was a mess. Trust me, use the cookie sheet.
Let the peaches freeze (it will only take a couple hours).
Take half the peaches and honey and combine in a food processor. Combine until they are broken up enough to add more peaches and the rest of the honey.
Keep combining. You might think that you’re doing it wrong because it’s taking a long time to get smooth. You’re not. It does take awhile. About 5-8 minutes. Just be patient and let the food processor keep whizzing away.
Combine until smooth. You can leave a few big chunks of peach if you want more texture.
That’s it! Dig in! Freeze the leftovers extra in a air tight container in the freezer.
This is a good base recipe, but make it your own. Add in some coconut milk to make more creamy or cinnamon and ginger for more flavor. I like to top mine with coconut flakes or a little basil.
See? She’s damn good (and so are her recipes). For more of Jessica be sure to check out One Part Plant!