Hi all. I've been neglecting my blog lately, but I've been working on another project that I'm not quite ready to announce, but am very excited about. When I make a little more progress, I'll let you know what it is. But it is vegan, and it is food related. And it might have something to do with Thai recipes. Shhhh.
In the meantime, I'll share with you some recent eats. It's not often I manage to get out without the baby, so it was wonderful recently to have a ladies-only brunch with a couple of my best gal pals. We went to the wonderful Cafe Blossom on Carmine St. and it was just as delicious as what I have come to expect from their sister restaurant, Blossom in Chelsea.
We started with these tasty bite-sized treats, the black-eyed pea and potato cakes, served with chili pepper aioli. Crunchy, savory, with just a little bit of spice, absolutely addictive.
My friend got the banh mi sandwich, which includes marinated tofu, kimchee, sunflower sprouts, cucumber, kimpura carrot, mayo, avocado, cilantro, basil, and mint, on a toasted baguette. Some Sriracha sauce on the side was the perfect addition to this amazing sandwich.
There's no way I could NOT order the Southern fried seitan with an herb and cheese biscuit, gravy, and sauteed kale. It was crispy, savory, everything a (half) Southern gal could dream of. To be honest, the biscuit wasn't as light and fluffy as I like my biscuits to be, but it tasted really good all the same, especially smothered with the sage-y, herbaceous gravy. Yum.
My other friend ordered the quinoa spaghetti, chock full of spiced tofu, artichoke hearts, carrots, leeks, roasted
fennel, kalamata olives, sauteed bell peppers, asparagus, and basil marinara. Very, very tasty.
And then, because this is how we roll, we shared an order of the french toast for dessert. Covered with maple syrup, caramelized banana, candied pecan clusters, and vanilla crème, I definitely ate more than my share of this one.
Since the weather has finally started to warm up, we made it over to one of our favorite parks in Dumbo recently, to take Bodhi for a few rides on Jane's Carousel and a stop by Smorgasburg. If you haven't experienced Smorgasburg yet, in any of its locations, you must check it out. There are plenty of vegan options to choose from the myriad vendors there, the hardest part is stopping yourself from ordering EVERYTHING. On this most recent visit, we stopped by Bombay Sandwich Company. All of their sandwiches are vegan, but they were also selling non-vegan masala chai at their table. Thinking everything on their menu was vegan, we ordered a chai, took a big gulp, and realized it was full of milk. The guy at the table was very apologetic to us and switched our chai for a refreshing and delicious mango lemonade, but just note that the chai is not vegan if you stop by.
The Original Bombay Sandwich: potatoes spiced with dried mango powder, tomatoes, ginger, green chili & lime:
The Sweet Potato Sandwich: sweet potato with dried cranberries, carom seed, cilantro & ginger:
And then we couldn't resist getting a sampler from Taste of Ethiopia. I loooove Ethiopian food. And by the way, they are now selling these packaged spicy collards and lentils in Whole Foods, in the prepared foods/deli section. So delicious!
And something else I've managed to sample recently is more products from Nyl, the all vegan, all natural skincare line. I tried their gentle sugar body polish recently when it arrived in my Vegan Cuts box, and now I've also tried their whipped hand & body lotion, transformative serum, rosewater face wash, and foaming castile hand soap. Everything is delicately scented, which is a huge plus for me because I am hyper-sensitive to fragrances and perfumes, and leaves your skin feeling dewy soft and silky. I especially like rubbing a few drops of the transformative serum around my tired, haven't-slept-in-over-a-year-eyes. Anyway, Mother's Day is coming up, and any of these products would make a great gift, just sayin'.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Friday, April 12, 2013
Well it's still chilly and rainy here in NYC. I'm really looking forward to some springtime produce, like artichokes and asparagus, fiddlehead ferns, peas, ramps, and the like, but last weekend I went to our farmer's market and all they had were a bunch of apples, potatoes, and carrots. Booooring.
Sunchokes, however, are still in season, though not for long. This recipe from the March issue of Food & Wine caught my eye, it looked so hearty and satisfying, was nearly vegan except for the butter and was a perfect opportunity to try out two new ingredients that I'd never worked with before: farro and sunchokes. I have to confess that I've eaten but never cooked farro before. It's super easy, you just boil it like you would pasta. It doesn't absorb the water like you would expect a grain to do, so you simply drain it just as you would pasta. Sunchokes were completely new to me. If you don't know, they are tubers that are related to sunflowers. The knobby, gnarly looking little guys have a texture similar to potato, but are milder and slightly sweet. You can pretty much cook them just as you would potatoes - boil, steam, bake, saute, roast, puree into soup, etc., or you can also eat them raw.
|Sunchokes. They look like if a potato and a ginger root mated.|
Sunchoke, Kale, Oyster Mushroom & Farro Hash
makes 2 large main portion or 4-6 side servings
1/2 cup farro
1 pound large sunchokes, peeled and sliced about 1/4-inch thick
1/2 pound Tuscan kale, tough stems discarded
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 small red onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 - 1/2 pound oyster mushrooms, tough stems removed and halved if large
Salt & freshly ground pepper
1. In a medium saucepan, cover the farro with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, cover and cook over low heat until the farro is tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain the farro.
2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cover the sunchokes with water and add a pinch of salt. Boil until the sunchokes are tender, about 10 minutes; drain.
3. Fill the large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the Tuscan kale and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Drain the kale and let cool slightly. Squeeze out any excess liquid from the kale leaves and then coarsely chop or tear them.
4. In a small skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Add the red onion and a pinch of salt and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 12 minutes.
5. In a nonstick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Add the sunchokes in an even layer and cook over high heat until browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. (*Resist the urge to stir them around. Leaving them undisturbed will get them to brown nicely.) Turn the sunchokes, reduce the heat to moderately high and continue cooking until starting to brown, about 2 minutes. Push the sunchokes to the side of the skillet.
6. Add 1 more Tbsp. of the oil and the oyster mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until browned, 3 minutes. Add the farro, kale and onion and cook, stirring, until hot. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
|Somebody thinks it looks good enough to try!|
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Have you signed up for a Vegan Cuts monthly snack box yet? It's the gift that keeps on giving! I recently got my first of these boxes of goodness, and I have to say that it is a brilliant way to discover new vegan products, easily delivered to your door each month so that you don't have to, you know, go out or anything. The March snack box had a whopping eleven different sample-sized treats for me, none of which I had ever tried before. Check out what I got:
Eli's Earth Bars - an organic "milk" chocolate, peanut butter crunch and caramel "Treasure" candy bar. This was scrumptious. Right up there with the Go Max Go bars, which is mighty high praise in my book.
Earth Balance Aged White Cheddar Puffs - Vegan. Cheese. Puffs. Need I say more? I inhaled this whole bag. I love Cheesy Poofs.
Beyond Eggs - the vegan egg replacers just keep getting better and better. I can't wait to make a batch of cookies with this.
Vbar - a delicious whole-foods snack bar
Ultima Replenisher - an electrolyte drink powder to boost up that glass of water
Sjaak's Organic Chocolate Eggs - perfect for your vegan Easter basket
Barre - I got the one with pecans, coconut, and spirulina. Looked "healthy" but tasted great.
Equal Exchange - delicious fair-trade chocolate
Cocomo Joe Cocomocorn - another highlight of the box! Vegan caramel corn! Totally addictive.
Nyl Gentle Sugar Body Polish - all natural skincare products because you need to treat yourself on the outside, too
Flamous Falafel Chips - every vegan has to declare their love for falafel (as well as hummus) in order to earn their membership V-card. These taste just like falafel, but thin and crunchy!
So if you haven't discovered Vegan Cuts yet, they have great discounts on all kinds of vegan products - food, accessories, fashion, and more. And these monthly snack boxes for only $19.95/month. So get yourself on over there and sign up for one. And get another one for a friend. And maybe one for your mom. And for your hot vegan lover.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
They tell me it's springtime. When the weather gets warmer, I usually start to crave more salads and lighter dishes. Out with all the heavy winter comfort foods, in with all the lighter, fresher flavors. The problem is that good ol' Mother Nature didn't quite get the memo yet on springtime. It's still been cold, rainy, and occasionally, snowy here in NYC. Which is why this salad is perfect for this weird transitional season. It's fresh and crunchy but still comforting, healthy but warm and hearty enough for a main course. It's one of my new favorite salads that I will definitely be making often.
I found this recipe in Bon Appetit (here) and the only thing I had to substitute was the vegan mayonnaise. Also, the original recipe calls for pearled barley, but I didn't have that, so I used red quinoa instead. I really liked the red quinoa because it adds a nice color contrast and also packs the protein punch. I think pretty much any grain you feel like using would be good with this salad though.
So here is my very slightly adapted recipe:
Warm Cauliflower & Herbed Red Quinoa Salad
makes 4 servings
1/2 cup red quinoa
1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. vegan mayonnaise
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
6 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 15-oz. can gigante, corona, or butter beans, rinsed
1/2 cup parsley leaves, divided
2 Tbsp. fresh tarragon leaves, divided
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Much as I like to think spring is just around the corner, it's still cold here. In fact, we're expecting a winter storm to hit this evening and get a few inches of snow between now and Friday. In other words, it's still warm and comforting food season.
This is a super quick and easy recipe (that I veganized from this one) that you can manage to whip up any weeknight, when you get home from work or, if you're like me, with one hand while you're holding your fussy toddler in the other arm because he's tired and hungry and wants to see what you're doing on the stove up there. It's so easy as to barely need a recipe, but I'll give you one anyway. Totally feel free to improvise with the ingredients - a spicy chipotle vegan sausage would be a great sub for the Italian ones, pinto beans instead of cannellini, spinach or other greens instead of baby kale. Use whatever you have on hand. It'll be good. I promise.
Vegan Sausage & White Bean Stew
makes 4 servings
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
1 package (approx. 13 oz) vegan Italian sausage links, sliced (I prefer Field Roast sausages)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 sprig thyme
2 15-oz. cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed
2 cups vegetable or No-Chicken broth
Salt & freshly ground pepper
5 oz. baby kale or spinach (about 10 cups)
Smoked paprika (optional)
1. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add vegan sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer sausages to a plate.
2. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in same skillet. Add onion, garlic, and thyme sprig. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5-8 minutes. Add beans and broth and cook, crushing a few beans with the back of a spoon to thicken sauce, until slightly thickened, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add baby kale by handfuls and cook just until wilted, about 2 minutes.
3. Fold sausages into stew; add water to thin, if desired. Divide stew among bowls; drizzle with oil and sprinkle with paprika, if desired.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
It's my last and final Oscar Noms post of the year and I managed to get it posted just in time for the big event. This one is a take on Argo and escargot, with all of the garlicky goodness of that French delicacy but without, you know, the snails. It's a simple recipe I found in the previously mentioned The Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook. It's just sliced shiitake mushrooms (or use any mushroom you want) sauteed in garlic, shallot, dried basil and oregano, fresh parsley, a bit of white wine, and a splash of lemon juice. These fauxscargot are served as appetizers, perfect for your Oscar viewing party, nestled on little beds of angel hair pasta (just take 4-6 strands of angel hair and twirl them around into little nests). It's really all about that scrumptious garlicky, lemony, wine sauce - which is the only reason anyone would ever eat snails anyway, right? I mean, I challenge you to find me a person who claims to eat escargot because they just LOVE the taste and texture of SNAILS. Seriously.
I think Argo is likely to be the big winner tonight, but regardless, I'm really rooting for my girlfriend (in my mind) Jessica Chastain to win for her role in it. Not only is she gorgeous and incredibly talented, but she's also a longtime vegan! So I hope you put on your best red carpet attire/sweat pants, pour yourself some champagne, munch on plenty of Oscar Noms, and enjoy the show! Or don't watch! Either way! Just drink champagne!
|Doesn't this look a million times better than a pan full of SNAILS?|
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Hush puppies. This might possibly be the most unhealthy vegan food I have ever made. But these crunchy little deep-fried balls of cornmeal goodness are actually things of wonder, crisp on the outside but pillowy soft and fluffy on the inside. Let's just face it, fried food is delicious and sinfully good.
Hushpuppy is also the name of the most unforgettable character I saw on film this past year, in my favorite of all the Oscar nominees, Beasts of the Southern Wild. I was completely entranced by Hushpuppy's magical, other worldly, sometimes cruel but often whimsical life in the bayou. This little firecracker of a girl is also hard on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside. If you see any of the films nominated this year, it should be this one.
But back to those fried little fritters. I veganized this recipe from Martha Stewart, who isn't Southern but she knows how to make things good. They really are delicious, so splurge a little. Fry these up today and eat a salad tomorrow.
Vegan Hush Puppies
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/3 cup applesauce
1 cup soy milk
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. grated onion with juice
Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
1. Whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the cayenne. In a separate bowl, stir the lemon juice into the soymilk, then let stand several minutes to curdle (this makes a vegan buttermilk). Whisk together the "buttermilk," applesauce, and onion. Stir wet mixture into cornmeal mixture. Batter will be as thick as a heavy pancake batter.
2. Heat 4 inches oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 360 degrees. Working in batches, drop batter by the tablespoon into oil. Cook, turning occasionally, until cooked through and deep golden brown, 1-2 minutes on each side. (Adjust heat so that temperature remains constant.) Transfer hush puppies to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Serve warm.