Although it was over 3 years ago, I can clearly recall watching Twitter co-founder Biz Stone prepare a vegan version of a classic “bourguignon” on The Martha Stewart Show. At that time, I first learned that Biz Stone is a vegan. I stared at the TV screen in awe as Biz described how a previous visit to the Farm Sanctuary with his wife, Livia, led them to their lifestyle change. I was pleasantly surprised by this tidbit of information, although it took me a while to figure out why I should have been surprised at all.
I am not alone in my belief that Biz Stone is one of the most entrepreneurial forces of the 21st Century, the “age of information.” As a co-inventor and co-founder of the incredibly popular Twitter, Biz has proven himself to be a pioneer. In fact, he holds several awards, including (but not limited to) one of the Most Influential People in The World by Time magazine, Entrepreneur of the Decade by Inc. magazine, and one of Vanity Fair’s Top Ten Most Influential People of the Information Age.
In addition to Twitter, Biz helped create and launch Xanga, Blogger, Odeo, The Obvious Corporation and Medium. He is also an investor and advisor in a variety of “startups,” including the amazing Beyond Meat. Let’s not forget about his recent creation, the Mobile Q & A App Jelly which allows you to ask friends and other networks of people questions through the use of photos, interactive maps, images, and location. Brilliant!
Here’s my best explanation. Throughout much of my life, I viewed the world through a “black and white” lens. I had some pretty silly preconceived notions which, unfortunately, were either unfair or simply ignorant. I erroneously believed that all entrepreneurs and “capitalists” were motivated by nothing more than selfishness and greed. I thought that it was impossible for anyone to achieve financial success while caring about the welfare of society at the same time. In other words, I wrongly assumed that the sole goal of any entrepreneur was to make money with little or no consideration given to the impact of their actions on the world at large. Boy was I wrong!
Biz Stone, as well as other “shakers and movers” such as Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey, have clearly proven that you can be a capitalist with a conscious, and an uber-successful one at that! This is good news to me, since these wonderful role models have enabled me to view the world with technicolor vision as opposed to the boring old “black and white.” Witnessing their success stories has enabled me to expand my world view, and to mature and grow. Clearly, this is a good thing.
Back to “Bizness!” I recently discovered that, as a Fellow at Oxford University, Biz Stone won a debate on the subject of whether or not entrepreneurs can effect positive change with regard to the world’s biggest problems. Not only did Biz win the debate, but he proved his hypothesis to be absolutely true in the real world. Through hard work, perseverance and social awareness, Biz’s vision of achieving entrepreneurial success combined with effectuating positive change in the world has materialized. His success includes his continuous involvement in causes surrounding animal welfare, the environment, poverty, health and education.
Biz just came out with a new book entitled Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind which is a memoir of his life and times. From the reviews I’ve read (I haven’t read the book yet), Biz tells wonderful juicy personal stories from his early life and careers at Google and Twitter. According to an article on the website DNA, the book reflects Biz’s mantra that money is not what it is all about. In the article, Biz is quoted as saying…
”I grew up poor, struggled with credit card debt through my life, and now I have the ability to help many people. Helping people is what my wife and I choose to do with our wealth.”
And that, my friends, is why I love Biz Stone!
Before I forget, I want to tell you about one other HUGE reason why I love Biz Stone. Of course, it’s because of his delicious “hearty and meaty” recipe for Seitan Bourguignon With Mushroom “Bacon” which he prepared on Martha Stewart’s show a few years ago, and which I have been making ever since. The recipe is really simple, and perfect for a Sunday dinner, impressing your non-vegan guests or if you are craving a more substantial meal. The hardest thing about this recipe is spelling the word “Bourguignon!”
Please note that I used a generic red cooking wine to prepare this dish, as opposed to the Pinot Noir called for in the recipe. I also added extra onions and carrots to make it even heartier, and the dish got a two “thumbs up” from the critics in my household. I’m sure you’ll get the “thumbs up” if you make it too.
BIZ STONE’S “HEARTY & MEATY” SEITAN BOURGUIGNON WITH MUSHROOM “BACON”
Serves 4 to 5
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 (1/2-pound) packages traditional-flavored seitan, broken into bite-size pieces
4 shallots, minced
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced crosswise into 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 (750 mL) bottle pinot noir
1 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium vegetable stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
1 large bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
15 pearl onions, fresh or frozen, peeled
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons margarine
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add seitan and cook, stirring, until seitan is browned and caramelized on all sides. Reduce heat and add shallots, carrots, and garlic; cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
2. Transfer seitan mixture to a large saucepan; add wine and enough stock to just cover seitan mixture. Add parsley, bay leaves, thyme, and pearl onions; cover and bring to a simmer until vegetables are tender. Transfer seitan, carrots, and onions to a large serving bowl; set aside and keep warm.
3. In a small bowl, mix together flour and margarine. Add flour mixture to saucepan, stirring until well combined. Let sauce simmer, uncovered, until it reaches a gravy-like consistency. Remove bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.
4. Pour sauce over seitan in serving bowl; garnish with mushroom “bacon” topping and parsley. Serve.
MUSHROOM “BACON” TOPPING
4 to 5 Servings
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place mushrooms in a large bowl; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt.
3. Evenly spread mushrooms in a single layer in a shallow glass baking dish. Transfer to oven and bake, tossing with tongs every 5 to 10 minutes, until dry and crisp, taking care not to burn. Remove from baking dish; mushroom “bacon” may be used hot or at room temperature.
Click here to see the results of The “TODAY” Show’s Taste Test Of Beyond Meat.
Click here to read about the Jelly App.