Sunday, April 27, 2008
2 blocks extra-firm tofu, sliced through the middle and pressed
panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper
sauce of your choice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly coat a cookie sheet with olive oil.
Pour some panko bread crumbs, salt, and pepper onto a plate and combine.
Cut pressed tofu into martini shapes. I got 12 tofu cocktails out of my batch, then I cubed the remaining tofu and prepared it the same way as the 'tinis.
Brush tofu shapes with olive oil. Dip shapes into crumb mixture and place on cookie sheet.
Bake about 35 minutes. Serve with dipping sauce.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
After a couple of nights in Old San Juan, we headed to Vieques for some beach time. The island has many beaches with silky, white sand and teal, clear water. If you just want to soak up the sun and splash in the waves, this is the place for you. We reserved a place with a kitchen and ate many meals in. Here's a view of the palms, pool, and ocean from our condo.
The restaurants were a little unpredicatable in Vieques, with some recent closings and hours not as advertised. However, I highly recommend El Quenepo. In fact, we ate there twice. Here are our cocktails one visit, a lemongrass, ginger infused cocktail (I was not expecting the shocking blue!) and a housemade sangria. Unfortunately, no shots of our delicious meals as it was dark by the time we ate.
El Quenepo's menu is extensive and you can request a vegan version of many dishes. We had a delicious appetizer of lettuce-wrapped glass noodles with pickled carrots, basil, nuts, and a chile jam for dipping. I had a delicious salad of organic greens, red and yellow cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, marinated onions, and balsamic vinaigrette with grilled bread on the side. One night I had an entree of pita, hummus, Mediterranean eggplant, and salad. Another night I had a pasta in coconut curry sauce with shiitake mushrooms and bell peppers. I'm getting hungry just remembering it. A great vacation, plus lots of ideas for dishes to re-create at home.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Things will be quiet around here while we get our yearly beach fix on vacation. I thought I'd leave you with a few great looking vegan recipes posted elsewhere. Give them a visit and I'll see you back here on April 26th.
Kitchen Parade's Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Salad
Glazed Tofu from One Hot Stove
FamilyStyle Food's Quinoa Salad with Smoky Lime Dressing
Vegan Dad's Thai Tofu Red Curry
Monday, April 14, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Although it's gray here, I have summer shoes on the brain. What vegan-wear options are out there? Madden Girl offers these Gladiator sandals for your inner Roman warrior. Madden Girl also comes to the rescue for those of us who need to look like trustworthy professionals at our day jobs, with these synthetic patent pumps, which have a side cutout and kitten heels. And for the flashiest shoes I've ever bought, Marshalls offered these sandals embellished with copper beads and sequins. The Madden Girl shoes come from Zappos.com, which provides free shipping both ways. Another good source for vegan shoes is Alternative Outfitters. Happy cows, happy shopping. And back to vegan food tomorrow!
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Our Baked Penne with Vegetables was adapted from a Baked Ziti dish by Random Vegan Recipes. It includes a tofu "ricotta", and is simple enough to make after a day at work. If you're in the mood for comfort food, this pasta satisfies. I plan to increase the ancho chile next time, or perhaps use ground chipotle instead for more heat. Don't be deterred by the Newman's Own Marinara sauce. While I usually make my own sauce, I like to have some shortcuts available after a busy day and this sauce is actually very good.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
The internet can be the information
superhighway or a world of confusion. Take the Gin Swizzle, for example. Some recipes say add club soda, some don't. Some recipes say the drink should have a "froth", others indicate the glass should "frost" from the swizzle action. Hmm....
The Ultimate Book of Cocktails sounds omniscient, or at least cocky, so let's just go with that recipe and call it a day.
I quote, "The Swizzle dates from the early 19th century, and was originally a drink made frothy purely by energetic stirring. The implement used for this, the swizzle-stick, took its name from the drink....Some recipes add soda water to achieve the swizzle effect, but originally it was all done by elbow grease. The froth will subside fairly quickly anyway." I did not get a froth effect from my swizzling, vigorously as I tried, but the cocktail was tasty and crisp, nonetheless. Below you'll find my adaptation of the recipe, with the original ingredients in parentheses.
1 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 teaspoon agave syrup plus 1/2 teaspoon water, combined (or 1 tsp simple syrup)
freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 lime (or from 1 lime)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in tall glass with ice. Stir vigorously with a swizzle-stick.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Monday, April 7, 2008
We had a full weekend of friends, live music, and good vegan food. Here are a few local restaurants with vegan options.
Terrene is one of the vegan friendliest restaurants I've found here. There is always a vegan entree, currently a spicy tofu lemon curry. During the winter, I had a delicious seitan stew with a vegan biscuit nestled in the center. Yes, I said vegan biscuit. Each time I've visited, the daily soup has been vegan. And I haven't even mentioned the small plates yet. I can never skip the Tofu on a Stick with Cashew Dipping Sauce. Plus, they have special happy hour prices on cocktails and small plates weekdays, 5-7pm, in the bar. They focus on seasonal ingredients, and have outdoor dining too. Obviously, they rock.
After Terrene Friday, we ventured out to the County for live music at The Natural Fact Deli. Will and Laura Scherer opened with some great bluegrass tunes, followed by Brothers Lazaroff. What a fun show. Keep a lookout for the Brothers' new cd coming soon. The Natural Fact serves tasty hummus, and I'll explore more vegan possibilities next time I'm there.
Saturday night found us at El Scorcho. I ordered the taco salad, with veggies added and no dairy. They tend to put sour cream on the plate, even when not mentioned on the menu, so I specify that they can hold the sour cream and cheese for my orders. The server was very accommodating. This was a tasty and filling dish with chips, black beans, mixed veggies, lettuce, tomato, guacamole, and salsa. I've also had the burrito with added veggies and no dairy. They offer a variety of creative salsas ranging from mild to super spicy, in beautiful hues of orange, red, and pale green. They recently expanded, so there's more seating and the atmosphere is funky and casual.
If you have other good vegan dining experiences in St. Louis, feel free to share them with me!
Saturday, April 5, 2008
This recipe is from Real Food Daily cookbook, one of my favorites. Every recipe I've tried has been delicious, and it has lots of photos. You can find this and many other recipes from Ann Gentry here. Choose an episode from the "Episode Selector" and there are recipes for each. I substituted green beans for the zucchini just because that's what I had on hand. Potatoes would be a nice addition too. This soup makes a lot. I freeze a large portion for later.
Quinoa Vegetable Soup
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed well
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 onions, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1-2 cups cut green beans
1 cup corn kernels
1 red bell pepper, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
12 cups vegetable stock
1 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
freshly ground black pepper
Heat a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the quinoa and stir frequently for 10 minutes, or until the moisture evaporates and the quinoa crackles and turns golden. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl and set aside.
Heat the oil in the stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Saute for 12 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the green beans, corn, bell pepper, garlic, and salt. Saute 3 minutes longer or until juices form. Add the stock. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the toasted quinoa. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Squeeze the tomatoes into the soup and add the juice from the can. Add cumin and coriander. Simmer uncovered over medium heat 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until quinoa is tender. Stir in cilantro. Add black pepper.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
There I was minding my own business, reading Serious Eats. Before I knew it, this led to the LA Times on gin cocktails making a comeback. You could have knocked me over with a juniper berry. A few of us like our cocktails classic and not sweet, but we seem to be in the minority. (A , D, & J, you know who you are.)
The plot thickened as I sought a recipe for the Pegu cocktail. Not only did I find one, but a whole list of gin cocktails.
Hence, the first in a series on Gin Thursday. Thursday so you can stock up any missing ingredients by Friday, of course.
This cocktail is sophisticated, citrusy, and tart. A great combination with Bombay Sapphire. Put on your Gotan Project cd and mix one up. Ahhh.
1 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce Cointreau or Triple Sec
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
a dash of Angostura bitters
Shake in cocktail shaker with ice until your hands start sticking to the shaker. Strain into chilled up glass.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Orzo with Roasted Vegetables
1 small Yukon Gold potato, peeled and diced
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound orzo
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
For mixing at the end:
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted
big bunch basil, sliced just before adding to
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss the potatoes, peppers, onion, and garlic with olive oil, salt and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for about 40 minutes, until browned, turning partway through. Cook the orzo according to package. Drain and put in serving dish. Add roasted veggies and cannellini beans.
Combine dressing ingredients in a jar, shake well, and pour over orzo mixture. Let cool to room temp, then add scallions, pinenuts, and basil. Add salt if needed. Serve at room temp.