December 28, 2010

Ancho Cashew Cream Sauce

What you see below is a bowl of Ancho Cashew Cream Sauce from Daily Grub.  As a gift, Elle (owner and chef) gave me an enormous jar of it.  She knows just how in love with it I am.  
So what did I make with this lovely spread?  Every morning, I ate it on toast with Granny Smith apple slices.  For lunch, I dipped vegetables and pita in it.  For dinner, I made pasta with broccoli and smothered it with Ancho Sauce.  There is nothing you cannot eat with this spread.  It is so creamy, smooth, spicy, and satisfying.  It's hard for me to even put into words how much I adore it.  If you're ever lucky enough to eat at Daily Grub, you can enjoy the Ancho Cashew Cream Sope or the Banh Mi, which both feature the sauce.  Truly, one of the best gifts I've ever received :)
If you're friends with me on Facebook, you can see a picture of me just after I received my gift, shot by my awesome friend Denise! 

December 27, 2010

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays!  I'll be traveling the next couple of weeks, but I'll soon have full reviews of my eats from Chicago, Columbus, Youngstown + Palm Springs!!! 

December 22, 2010

One Flew South

Last weekend my husband and I had a long layover in we finally got to try their sushi restaurant, One Flew South, in the E terminal.

I started with the Arugula Salad with apple butter, cranberries, pecans and onion vinaigrette.  The apple butter is made in house and was the perfect addition to this lovely salad.
And their Garden Roll is filled with arugula, carrots, cucumbers, avocado + micro herbs.  I also ordered just a plain Avocado Roll, a staple of vegetarian sushi.
They also have a full Non-Sushi menu.  They have a Salmon Hot Pot that includes fried rice, tofu and veggies that could most likely be ordered without the salmon.  You could also make an entree out of all of their side dishes, like sweet potatoes, cous cous, brussel sprouts, spaghetti squash puree, etc.  For vegetarians, they offer a Mushroom Ravioli with shitake mushrooms, cauliflower, golden raisins, capers, green beans and spinach.

It is expensive compared to a traditional airport meal (normally fast food), but it is so worth it if you have the time.  You actually feel good after eating here, not heavy and lethargic.

December 20, 2010

Vegan Desserts Go Mainstream

Today I discovered that Candle Cafe vegan desserts have finally made it to Omaha.  I had been checking the Whole Foods here for months...I am so thrilled that they have gone nationwide.  If they've made it to Omaha, chances are they're in your Whole Foods or on their way!

When I'm in New York I always grab one of their Raspberry Linzer Tarts for an after dinner treat.  They also sell a Vanilla Cheesecake and a Peanut Butter Tart...and just in time for the holidays.  Cheers!

December 14, 2010

My Oh So Wonderful Veg Parents

Happy Birthday to my amazing veggie parents - both have birthdays this month and my mom's just happens to be today!

Thank you to both of you for accepting my decision to go vegetarian at the age of 3 and supporting me in every way since then.  And thank you for becoming vegan and helping me become vegan this year!  Love you both.

December 13, 2010

Eat the Worm

This weekend my husband and I were snowed in, so we had to find a restaurant within walking distance.  We decided to try Eat the Worm, a taqueria and bar nearby.  At first, I thought finding vegan options might be difficult, but I was oh so wrong.
A Vegetable Tostada with lots of fresh veggies, guacamole and pico de gallo.
And a Tofu Soft Taco with guacamole.
They have all of the traditional Mexican dishes - enchilcadas, tacos, burritos, tostadas - that can all be made with veggies and/or tofu.  Just make sure to order without cheese if you're vegan.  And their guacamole is sour cream free!

December 10, 2010

Community Food + Juice

I love going for a light brunch at Community Food and Juice on the Upper West Side whenever I'm in New York.  I used to live closeby, so it was our go to spot on the weekends.  I love the atmosphere - light and airy, yet extremely cozy.

Their Hot Apple Cider is so comforting on chilly mornings.
I wasn't terribly hungry that morning, so I stuck to the fruit plate.  They also have dressed greens and several kinds of toast and jam.  I have inquired about the veg status of their Carrot Hashbrowns, which I used to adore, but have not heard back.  
For lunch, they have a Vegetarian Soup of the Day and Rice Bowl with Tofu, along with a Spring Market Salad, Farmer's Chop Salad and Warm Lentil Salad that can easily be made vegan.  

The restaurant is extremely vegetarian friendly...I hope that in the future they become even more vegan friendly!

December 6, 2010

Soy American + Mozzarella Cheese Review

This week I also tried Galaxy Nutritional Foods Vegan American Cheese Slices and their Mozzarella Cheese.

I made a grilled cheese with Earth Balance and roasted red pepper puree, with half American and half Mozzarella.  The roasted red pepper just gives it a nice flavor and a bit more depth.  

I was so pleasantly surprised by these cheeses.  There wasn't a whole lot of flavor going on (which in my opinion is a good thing - these types of cheeses in particular should not have strong flavors), but the texture was spot on.  Both cheeses had just the right amount of creaminess and melted perfectly.  The American was exactly the texture of traditional cheese slices.  I haven't tried them uncooked, but they'd be perfect on any hot sandwich.

And the mozzarella was very similar to how fresh mozzarella would melt, great on paninis or on top of baked pasta.  

I'm absolutely thrilled that vegan cheeses have evolved from what they used to be!  I've avoided most of them because of bad experiences early on...most of them I've tried have very strange flavors that overpower everything.

Trader Joe's has a great Roasted Red Pepper spread if you want a shortcut to preparing your own!

December 1, 2010

Soy Parmesan Review

This is my last post for Vegan Mofo.  It has been so much fun...and I've loved connecting with my fellow Mofoers!  So much good vegan info out there...

I was recently sent some cheese alternatives and asked to review them.  I was slightly concerned at first, since I don't think all that highly of soy cheese. (If I don't like something, you won't hear about it.  I like to keep Eat Pure 100% positive).  However, I was very happy to see the Soy Parmesan (pictured below) by Galaxy Nutritional Foods arrive at my door.  I am very familiar with this product and have used it for quite some time.  I really like it on pasta and pretty much all things Italian.  It can be used as a substitute in any recipes that call for Parmesan cheese.  I particularly like it on top of salads and bruschetta.

It has a slight Parmesan flavor, but mostly it adds texture, like traditional grated Parmesan.  I love the simple dish of penne, marinara sauce and soy Parmesan with garlic bread.  It's so comforting and perfect for winter. 

November 29, 2010

Vegan Chocolaterie

I recently visited Cocoa V in New York for the first time.  After tasting their chocolate cake, I cannot fathom a trip to NYC without stopping here.  Everything is fair trade, organic and vegan.  

They have all kinds of chocolate truffles, candies and baked goods. 

Truly, this chocolate cake was incredible.  My step son shared it with me and neither of us could get enough of it.  He seriously enjoys chocolate and is not vegan, so the fact that he loved it says a lot!

November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Potluck at DG

On Thanksgiving night, my husband and I attended a potluck at Daily Grub, my favorite restaurant in Omaha.  The restaurant itself was closed, but friends of DG were invited (omnivores, vegetarians and vegans) to get together for food, drink and conversation.  

Considering most people spend all day with their families, an evening with friends is a nice way to unwind and relax.

Here are a few things we enjoyed...everything is vegan unless otherwise marked.

Shepard's Pie with roasted vegetables and turnip mash
Roasted Root Vegetables with fresh dill
Spinach and Soba Noodle Salad (vegetarian)
Pumpkin Pie, made by the lovely Elle
And this is the magical pumpkin.  He looks whole in this picture, but his other half is in the pie!  
It was such a lovely evening.  I brought Chestnut Stuffing, not pictured, but the recipe is in my previous post.  And a potluck is such a great idea for Thanksgiving...only one dish to prepare!

November 25, 2010

Vegan Chestnut Stuffing Recipe

My mom's Chestnut Stuffing is my favorite thing to make for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I especially love making it for omnivores who think stuffing has to be made with turkey juice.  The chestnuts give it a great texture and the poultry seasoning and chickenless stock make it extremely flavorful and moist.  The recipe is below (the puff pastry is optional - I've made it both ways), along with an amazing Vegan Gravy. 

Chestnut Stuffing with Puff Pastry

½ cup oil
1 cup soy butter
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
8-10 cups day old bread, cubed
2 T. poultry seasoning
1-2 cups peeled, roasted chestnuts
2-3 cups Better Than Bouillon No Chicken stock
1-2 sheets of vegan puff pastry
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat the oil and half of the butter in a large pan. Saute the onion and celery until translucent. Add the bread cubes and stir to evenly distribute the oil and butter mixture. Add the remaining butter and season with poultry seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the bread mixture into an oven safe serving dish. Add the chestnuts and vegetable stock. Top with puff pastry and bake at 400˚ for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

2 T. canola oil
2 T. soy butter
¼ cup grated carrots
¼ cup diced onion
2 T. flour
2 cups Better Than Bouillon No Chicken stock
1 cup soymilk
½ cup vegan sour cream
3-4 T. soy sauce
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat the oil and butter in a medium saucepan. Saute the carrots and onion until translucent. Add the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the stock, followed by the soymilk, sour cream and soy sauce. Let it come to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

November 24, 2010

Pitch Perfect

Pitch is a cozy little pizza joint in Omaha.  It's one of our favorite places when the weather gets cold.
They do have a vegan pizza on their menu (The Marinara), but I actually prefer their Veggie pizza ordered without the herb cream sauce and cheese.  I originally ordered it with tomato sauce instead of the herb cream, but they accidentally left off the sauce.  To my surprise, I loved it.  Just the olive oil, roasted vegetables and basil made for the perfect combination.  And the coal fired crust is heavenly. 

November 23, 2010

Hominy Casserole at Daily Grub

Last week I had the nicest afternoon at Daily Grub...

Hominy with Cashew Cream, Red Onions + Seasoned Sweet Potato Mash
With the New York Times = perfection.

November 22, 2010

Simple + Flavorful Lunch at DG

A favorite Daily Grub lunch...Black Bean Soup with Avocado Crema and Hot Sauce with an Ancho Cashew Cream, Red Onion + Apple Toast.  It's so simple, yet remains one of my favorites.  If you're ever near Omaha, make time for Daily Grub.  With all of my travels, it remains in my Top 5 Vegan places to eat. 

November 19, 2010

Adopt a Turkey for Thanksgiving

For the past 5 or so years, my Thanksgiving tradition has been to adopt a turkey from Farm Sanctuary.  It's such a lovely thing to do and it actually promotes thankfulness, gratitude and a love for all beings, as opposed to killing 45-50 million turkeys (isn't that statistic incomprehensible?).  If you're not familiar with Farm Sanctuary, it's exactly that.  A sanctuary for animals.  And it just so happens that they have quite a few turkeys at their New York and California locations.

If you visit the Adopt a Turkey site, you can choose which turkey you'd like to sponsor.  I always try to pick the strangest looking turkey because I assume that most people pick the cutest turkey and I don't want any turkey to get left out.  This year, Reese was my pick.  She is very strange looking indeed :)

It's $30 to sponsor a turkey, and that's probably less than you'd spend on purchasing a turkey to eat for Thanksgiving.  Plus, healthier for your family and the planet.  The side dishes are the best part anyhow, right?  Next week, I'll post recipes and pics of what I'll be making for our vegan Thanksgiving.  I promise you won't miss the turkey.

And a very special shout out to the Rose family of Powell, Ohio who will be celebrating their first vegetarian Thanksgiving this year.  They are omnivores, but they've chosen to reduce their meat consumption and what better day to start than Thanksgiving?  I love you, Mark Tramy Owen + Isaac.

November 18, 2010

Vegan Hot Dogs from a Street Cart

If you're ever strolling through Central Park...
And you spot the Good to Go Organics cart, you'll be happy to know that they sell several vegetarian hot dogs.
The Smart Dog is vegan, however, the Smart Sausages contain eggs.  I believe they used to be vegan, but unfortunately they started adding eggs to some of their products.
I was thrilled to be able to enjoy a hot dog from a street vendor for the first time.  I like mine with ketchup, mustard and raw onions.

November 17, 2010

Vegan Pho

I forgot to post the most comforting thing that Ely's To Go prepares...Vegan Pho with Soy Chicken, Cilantro, Sprouts, Hoisin and Lime.  Pho is a traditional Vietnamese soup typically eaten for breakfast.  It's got incredible flavors...cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg along with the rice noodles, fresh herbs and Hoisin.  If you ever have the chance to eat at a vegetarian Vietnamese establishment, you will not be disappointed.  Vietnamese food is always bursting with flavor and fresh greens and herbs.  I believe I've mentioned this before, but my husband calls Pho 'Massage in a Bowl'.

November 16, 2010

Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien is a great place for vegans.  They have various vegan pastries and everyday they have a vegan soup of the day, along with lots of other great options.

During my last trip to New York, I stopped by LPQ and asked which pastries were vegan, for some reason they weren't marked.  I was told the Pumpkin Muffin (pictured below) was vegan.  It was amazing.  So flavorful, light and fluffy.  The next day, I went into another LPQ, where the pastries were labeled, and the Pumpkin Muffin was not labeled vegan.  I have now confirmed that it is NOT vegan.  Now, I understand, everyone makes mistakes.  I don't think in any way that the LPQ employee was trying to trick me into eating something non-vegan.  However, the only image I have to show you is of a non-vegan muffin.  I apologize for this, and normally I wouldn't include it in a post.  But this is the only negative experience I have ever had at an LPQ and I feel it deserves a post.  Their soups, hummus, tofu scrambles, curry tofu sandwiches and other vegan pastries are all incredible.  I love restaurants where you can get good vegan food quickly.  

So even though this particular muffin is not vegan (again, I'm sorry but this is the only image I have), their vegan pastries are just as delicious and look just as good.  

And lucky for us, Healthy Happy Life has a recipe for a vegan version of this muffin. 

November 15, 2010

Green Market on 77th + Columbus

There's a flea market on the Upper West Side of Manhattan that has incredible produce.  I love the Union Square Market, but sometimes I don't want to venture 90 blocks for my groceries.  The 77th Street Market is only open on Sundays (Saturdays and Sundays during the holidays), but it's full of great finds. 

At least ten different kinds of apples...
Lots of heirloom tomatoes...
Pumpkins of all shapes and colors...
And Purple Cauliflower.  I've never actually tasted this type of cauliflower, but it's so lovely to look at.
And my favorite apple...Mutsu.  They're difficult to find in some parts of the country, but you can find everything in New York.
These are just the things that caught my interest.  They have everything your grocery store carries, but cheaper and local.  Produce is just a small portion of this green market.  They have furniture, clothing, jewelry, books, home goods, jams, pies, etc, etc.  And when it gets cold, one vendor always serves hot apple cider.  It's such a lovely thing to do on a Sunday, and it's right by the park so you can take your apple cider to go and stroll through Central Park.

November 12, 2010

A Light Dinner with Two Desserts

After eating all of those glorious lunches at Ely's To Go, my mom (Ely) would make us some killer eats at home.  

One of my favorites is lemongrass soy meatballs (you could also use soy chicken, tofu or seitan) with vermicelli, lettuce, cilantro, cucumbers, marinated carrots and peanuts with vegetarian Nuoc Cham.
And for dessert...Apple Tart made with that mind-blowing Vegan Puff Pastry with Trader Joe's Soy Vanilla Ice Cream.  I cannot put into words how outstanding this tart was.  Beyond belief, one the best dessert I've ever eaten.  And I don't even like tarts that much.  I'm a vegan chocolate cake kind of girl.  Tarts?  I could take em or leave em.  But this tart blew chocolate cake out of the water.  Underneath the layer of apples was a layer of ground almond paste - it made all of the difference.  It gave so much depth to a plain little tart. 
And I had to try one of my dad's UFO cookies.  They're vegan sugar cookies with Trader Joe's Mint Chocolate UFO candies.  Chocolate + mint is by far my favorite flavor combination and these did not disappoint.  The chocolate is rich, but completely mellowed out by the sugar cookie.