Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I <3 New York!

Kyle and I took a mini-vacation to New York during July and had a great time! I have to admit that I was a little hesitant about visiting such a big city, but I can't get over how safe and easy it is to get around there! We had an absolute blast.

We also stuffed our faces. We ate salads at Just Salads (no photo), but I have a few photos from some of the other places we visited. One stormy afternoon, we headed to the upper east side to an organic pizzeria, Cafe Viva Natural Pizza. Delicious! I also had to get a cookie (see photo), but I devoured the chocolate cake too quickly to get a snapshot of that.
We also went to an amazing vegan restaurant called Blossom. My friend Chris had been there recently, so we thought we'd give it a try, despite being warned of its pricy-ness (plus, we couldn't go to Pure Food and Wine since we didn't have appropriate attire to suit the dress code). Omigod - we did not regret going to Blossom. I started off with a ravioli that was awesome, while Kyle had a mango salad. I first have to apologize for the dark photos - it was a dimly lit restaurant and I didn't want to ruin the ambiance with my flash going off:

As for entrées, I had some lentil-phyllo thing with curry dipping sauce and steamed beet greens (good, but WAY too much food on my plate), while Kyle had a stuffed portobello concoction on couscous (which he insists was better than mine). They had much fancier names, but they escape me right now.

The most heavenly moment was the dessert - my god, the 'cheesecake' was amazing. It's forced me to try and create a soy yogurt cheesecake (I try to avoid recipes calling for vegan cream cheese since it's a hydrogenated product).

Oh yeah - all the sights were pretty cool too.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Soup 'n' 'Chos

Continuing with the documentation of what appears in our weekly CSA box, here's this week's bounty:

1 zucchini
1 sprig of mint
1 box red potatoes
1 box peas
1 box yellow, purple and green beans
1 bag spring mix
1 bunch garlic scapes
7 green onions
2 radishes
1 beet
1 bunch green swiss chard
6 carrots
1 bulb fennel

I used much of the loot to make Minestrone from Foods that Don't Bite Back by Sue Donaldson. I didn't use eggplant and subbed chickpeas and fresh basil, and it was good. She uses a secret ingredient that I wasn't aware of before - and it was well worth the $4 or so that I paid for the book.

Last weekend Cool Teen #2 had a friend over that would stay for dinner if we weren't having anything "gross". I don't think her definition of the word and mine are quite the same. I thought about what omni teens might like to eat and what vegans might like to eat and what might fall into both categories that I had in the house. The best that I could come up with on short notice was - Vegan/Teen Skillet Nachos. I didn't want to add to my non-cool-adult-that-eats-gross-things image by taking close up photos of my food, so I'll be sure to take a pic next time I make these!

Vegan/Teen Skillet Nachos

1 tblsp olive oil
1 vidalia onion, diced
1 yellow or red pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 garlic scapes, minced (optional, I just happened to have some)
1 super large, or 3 small mushrooms, chopped finely
1 pkg Yves Original Ground Round
1 tsp Fajita spice, or to taste (mine is Victorian Epicure, due to a hostess party I was roped into going to)
1 heaping tsp Mesquite Grilling spice mix, or to taste (mine is Club House)
1/3 cup salsa
1 tblsp soy sauce or tamari
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 mango, diced
2 finely sliced green onions
1 small handful cilantro, chopped

1 cup fresh salsa
1 cup vegan sour cream (I used Tofutti)
1 bag tortilla chips, preferably organic non-GMO baked chips

Heat oil in cast iron skillet on medium heat. Saute onion and pepper for a few minutes. Add garlic clove and scapes, sauteing until onions are soft. Add mushrooms and stir. Add Ground Round, spices, tamari and salsa, lowering heat.
Once mixture is heated through, add black beans and mango. Cook until mango has softened, depending on how ripe it is. Remove from heat and sprinkle green onions and cilantro over skillet contents.

Serve with fresh salsa and vegan sour cream, scooping with chips.

ETA: photo!

Oh, and the reason I typed up the recipe - our Cool Teen guest asked for it!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Strawberries Four Ways

I wasn't feeling so hot, so I opted to buy a large 4 litre basket of strawberries instead of picking them. Despite feeling crappy, I managed to use up every last berry:

1. Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Using rhubarb from my garden, I created this tasty treat to take to one of Kyle's family get-togethers. I loved how it made a whole 9x13 pan of crisp! I obviously veganized the recipe to use Earth Balance instead of butter and Sucanat instead of brown sugar, but I would cut down on the amount of Sucanat next time since it was a little too sweet. A little vanilla soy ice cream on the side would have been great too.

2. Strawberry Ice Cream

I modified a recipe from Vice Cream to avoid juicing the strawberries, but rather puréeing them whole in the food processor, then mixing with the cashews and maple syrup. Tasty! It was very gelato-like, but next time I'll try to ensure I have some soymilk on hand to make a creamier version.

3. Strawberry Freezer Jam

I love making this with crushed berries, organic sugar and pectin. And these cute little reuseable jars are too cool.

4. Fruit Salad

Boring, but tasty.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Happy Canada Day!

Yesterday was the 140th birthdate of our wonderful country, and our family celebrates each year with a feast! Although there are some meat-eaters in attendance, most of the dishes were vegan.

Sarah's contribution was a yummy Black Bean Salad, along with veggie burgers.

She also made her famous guacamole, but that was long gone before the camera came out.

My mom made Hot German Potato Salad (she didn't have any veggie bacon).

She also made a new vegan noodle recipe that she found (I think it is so sweet when carnies look for vegan recipes for their veggie loved ones) that was very good (source unknown to me).

I wanted a light salad, so I googled and made an Asian Cucumber Salad from Kalyn's Kitchen.

It was sweet, spicy and light, and exactly what I was craving. I also made Mango Summer Rolls from VWAV. I used the trick I learned from the Barrhaven Vietnamese Restaurant to keep the rice papers from sticking to each other - pack the rolls in shredded lettuce.

We rounded out the festivities with a stimulating game of Yahtzee and an exhilarating match of Catch Phrase - men vs. women. Guess who won.

I hope all of you Canucks had a super Canada Day!

For some really awesome Canadian trivia, check out the Yarn Harlot's annual Canada Day entry.