Interview with Ava Chin, author of Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love, and the Perfect Meal – 09.10.15

Ava Chin is the author of Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love, and the Perfect Meal (Simon & Schuster), which won 1st Prize in the 2015 M.F.K. Fisher Book Awards for Excellence in Culinary Writing. Kirkus called Eating Wildly “A delectable feast of the heart,” and Library Journal chose it as one of the “Best Books of 2014.” Her writing has appeared in The New York Times (“Urban Forager”), the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Marie Claire, Saveur, The Village Voice, and Eating Well, among others. A former slam poet, she is an associate professor of creative nonfiction at CUNY and a fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University. The Huffington Post named her one of “9 Contemporary Authors You Should Be Reading.”campaign

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Spicy Eggplant and Seitan in Garlic Ginger Sauce 


1 pack of Seitan (1 lb, 2 oz.)

2 Tbs. Olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon minced ginger

2 jalapeno peppers, diced small

14 cup Tamari

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp Aji Mirin

1 tbsp. honey

1 tsp. sea salt

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

4 medium Japanese eggplants, sliced at an angle into 2″ thick pieces

1 onion, cut into slivers

½ red pepper, cut into strips

½ green pepper, cut into strips

2 Tbs. minced garlic

1 Tbs. minced ginger

½ tsp. red chili flakes

1 tsp. sesame oil

14 cup diced scallions


Cover bottom of wok with 1” of water, bring to a boil. Place cut eggplant into bamboo basket and sit the basket over the water. Cover wok with lid, and steam eggplant until soft, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, mix Tamari, Mirin, honey, vinegar, and salt in a bowl; set sauce aside. Sauté seitan in heavy skillet with 2 Tbs. of olive oil. Add the 1 t. of garlic, 1 t. of ginger and jalapeno peppers and cook until seitan is golden brown. When eggplant is soft, remove basket from wok, and dry the wok over high heat. Add the other 2 Tbs. of olive oil to the wok, followed by the onions, and cook until translucent. Add the red and green peppers, garlic and ginger, and cook for a few minutes. Add the eggplant, ½ t. red chili peppers, and sautéed seitan, and stir-fry 30 seconds. Stir in sauce and cook until sauce is thickened, 3–5 minutes. Remove from heat and drizzle with dark, toasted sesame oil; garnish with diced scallions.