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A Very Vedge Birthday

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I’ve been wanting to make a pilgrimage to Vedge, the stellar vegan restaurant in Philadelphia, so my birthday last week was a perfect excuse to make the trip.  Joined by good friends, it was the best birthday dinner ever. The five of us decided to order something from each of the three menu sections and share them, thus allowing for us all to taste many more dishes than we normally would have.  Everything was fantastic and thanks to my friend Elissa, who took photos of every course, I can share pics of some of the highlights.

My favorite appetizer was this the Stuffed Avocado with pickled cauliflower, romesco, “fried rice” and black salt:

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As a seitan fanatic, it should come as no surprise that my favorite items from the Hot Kitchen section was the Grilled Seitan served with smoked potato salad, pickled celery, and grilled corn peperonata:

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Coming in as a close second, though, was the Spicy Grilled Tofu with gochujang, edamame, roasted miso, and yuba crackling:

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We also sampled several vegetable sides from “The Dirt List.” They were all great, but the Fingerling Fries with creamy Worcestershire garnered the most “oo-oohs” and “aa-aahs”:

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Dessert was beyond amazing, especially the Saffron Cheesecake served with basil gel, rhubarb ice cream, and black olive pistachio crumble.  OMG. Kudos to pastry chef/co-owner Kate Jacoby, for her dazzling desserts.

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Topping off a perfect evening with great friends and great food was an opportunity to chat with the Rich Landau, the talented chef/co-owner of Vedge.

Before leaving Philadelphia for DC the next day, we had lunch at Rich’s other restaurant, V Street.  But I’ll save that for another post!  If you find yourself in Philadelphia, be sure to visit Vedge and V Street for some of the best vegan food being served anywhere.

 

 

 

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Cucumber and White Bean Ceviche

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The hot humid weather is back in full force and so is my desire for quick and easy meal solutions.  One of my favorite salads from Vegan Without Borders is this Cucumber and White Bean Ceviche (photo by Sara Remington).

Traditionally made with raw fish or scallops, I like to make this lime-marinated salad from Peru with cucumbers and white beans for a nice contrast of refreshingly crisp and creamy.  The salad is great on its own, but I’ve been thinking that it can be even better as a main dish, so here’s what I’m going to do…

For dinner tonight, I plan to toss this zesty salad with some cooked leftover rotini pasta and top it with diced avocado.  (I have a feeling it’s going to taste delicious!)
Cucumber and White Bean Ceviche

This recipe is from Vegan Without Borders (c) Robin Robertson, 2014, published by Andrews McMeel Publishing.

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 scallions, minced
2 teaspoons chopped capers
1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans or 1 (15.5-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 English cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoons minced cilantro or parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
5 cherry or grape tomatoes, thinly sliced or quartered
In a bowl, combine the lime juice, oil, salt, and scallions. Stir to combine. Add the capers and beans and toss gently to coat. Refrigerate, covered, for 1 hour.
Fan the cucumber slices in a circle in the center of a large platter or individual salad plates. Spoon the bean mixture on top of the cucumber slices. Garnish with tomato, sprinkle with cilantro, and top with a few grinds of black pepper.

Serves 4

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The Vegan IMG_0958

I was honored when asked to write a piece for The Vegan, the magazine of The Vegan Society in the UK.  Now that I have my hands on an actual copy of the spring issue of the magazine, I’m excited all over again!

In the feature, I write about the international nature of vegan cooking and share three of my favorite recipes from Vegan Without Borders.

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The recipes I shared were for Farinata; Bibimbap, and Papri Chaat (photos by Sara Remington).In case you don’t get The Vegan magazine (or in case you don’t have Vegan Without Borders), at the end of this post, I’ll share my farinata recipe.

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Papri Chaat from Vegan Without Borders. Photo by Sara Remington.

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Farinata with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Olives
When I travelled to Italy, I felt truly at home, not just because of my heritage but also because of how easy it is to eat vegan, especially with dishes such as this farinata. Made with chickpea flour, farinata is actually more of a savory pancake than a bread. It’s easy to make this Ligurian specialty that can be served as an appetizer or as part of the main meal. Farinata is often prepared without embellishment, but I sometimes add a fresh herb such as rosemary, sage, or basil, and chopped olives and sun-dried tomatoes, as in this recipe. (This recipe is from Vegan Without Borders by Robin Robertson © 2014, Andrews McMeel Publishing.)

1 cup water
1 cup chickpea flour
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons minced kalamata olives
3 tablespoons minced sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons torn basil leaves

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the water and chickpea flour until smooth. Add the oil, salt, a few grinds of pepper, olives, and tomatoes, and basil and mix until well blended. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Oil a 12-inch pizza pan and heat in the oven until hot. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and add the batter, spreading evenly. Bake until the top is firm and the edges are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cut into thin wedges and serve immediately.
Serves 6

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fire and ice noodles mc

With the arrival of hot weather, my meal planning has been undergoing its own seasonal change, as I trade in some of my cold-weather favorites for warm weather options like the Fire and Ice Sesame Noodles from More Quick-Fix Vegan (my favorite of the “quick-fix” trilogy).  The evocative name refers to the heat from the sriracha and the cold since I usually serve this dish chilled. You can serve it at room temperature, if you prefer, but “fire and room temperature” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The recipe is below, but first, I’d like to announce the winner of the Bonus Recipe Bundle from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen.  The winner is Ali @ Chickpeas & Change whose favorite Indian ingredient is tamarind sauce.  Congratulations, Ali! And thanks to all who entered the giveaway.

Now here’s that recipe….

Fire and Ice Sesame Noodles

This recipe is from More Quick-Fix Vegan (c) 2014 by Robin Robertson, published by Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Serves 4

8 ounces buckwheat soba noodles
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 medium carrot, coarsely  shredded
3 scallions, chopped
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup tahini sesame paste
1 tablespoon white miso paste
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce, or to taste
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon natural sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Cook the soba in a pot of boiling water according to package directions.  Drain well and rinse in cold water, then drain again (extremely well). Return the drained noodles to the pot.  Add the sesame oil, carrot, cucumber, and scallions and toss gently to combine. Set aside.
While the noodles are cooking, in a bowl, combine the tahini, miso, soy sauce, sriracha, ginger, vinegar, and sugar.   Blend until smooth.  Stir in the water and continue stirring until smooth and creamy.
Add the sauce to the noodles and vegetables and toss gently to combine.  To serve, transfer the noodles and vegetables to a large serving bowl or individual bowls and top with the sesame seeds.

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Vegan Richas Indian Kitchen-Front-cover

When paging through a cookbook actually makes me hungry, I know it’s a winner.  That’s what happened with Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen, the new cookbook by Richa Hingle.  By the time I got to the dessert chapter, I needed an Indian food fix and was soon cooking up a batch of Carrot Halwa, and enjoying the fragrance of cardamom gracing my kitchen. I’m excited to participate in Richa’s blog tour with a sample recipe from the book as well as a Giveaway for her Bonus Recipe Bundle.  More about the giveaway at the end of this post, but first, about the sample recipe…. As a card-carrying cauliflower addict, I naturally gravitated to the many distinctively delicious cauliflower recipes in this book, including this recipe for Spicy Baked Cauliflower Florets (known in Indian restaurants as Gobi 65).

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As Richa explains, “There are a few fried cauliflower (gobi) appetizers offered in Indian restaurants. One of the most common ones is Gobi 65, a spicy fried cauliflower in a cornstarch and flour batter with curry leaves. This is a baked version of Gobi 65. You can also fry the cauliflower for a restaurant-style version. Serve alone or with a side of mint-cilantro or coconut chutney.”

Many of the ingredients in Richa’s recipes can be found in any supermarket, although there are some items (such as the curry leaves in the following recipe) that need to be purchased at an Indian or Asian market or online.  Richa’s easy-to-follow recipes accompanied by stunning photographs of all my favorites (and many soon-to-be favorites, I’m sure!) are positively transportive. Richa demystifies Indian spices and other ingredients and her welcoming voice comes through in the recipes, making you feel like she’s in your kitchen with you. If you’re a fan of Indian food but think it’s too complicated to make at home, this book can be a game changer.

Spicy Baked Cauliflower Florets

Gobi 65

Prep: 20 minutes | Active: 20 minutes | Inactive: 30 minutes | Serves 4

To make these gluten-free, use 1/2 cup chickpea flour + 1/4 cup rice flour instead of unbleached all-purpose flour. (Recipe from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen, copyright © 2015 by Richa Hingle. Used by permission Vegan Heritage Press, LLC.)

BATTER:

2 tablespoons chopped red onion

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unbleached white flour

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Garam Masala

1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons cayenne

1 teaspoon sriracha sauce, chile garlic sauce, or other hot sauce

1 (1-inch) knob of ginger

4 cloves garlic

12 curry leaves

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 cup water

2 teaspoons safflower or other neutral oil

CAULIFLOWER:

Safflower oil spray, as needed

4 1/2 cups small cauliflower florets

GARNISH:

1 teaspoon safflower or other neutral oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/3 cup thinly sliced green or red bell pepper

10 curry leaves, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Blend all the ingredients for the batter in a blender and blend until smooth and pasty. Transfer to a large bowl. If the batter is too thin, add 1 tablespoon flour, or more, and mix well.

2. Add the cauliflower florets to the batter, toss to coat, and let marinate for at least 15 minutes. Mix to coat again. Place the florets on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and spray with oil.

3. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet. Bake until a toothpick passes through the cauliflower easily, about 15 minutes. The total baking time is 30 to 35 minutes.

4. Make the garnish: Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, peppers, and curry leaves, and cook until the onion is golden, 7 to 9 minutes. Garnish the baked cauliflower with the onion mixture. Serve hot.

 

Bonus Recipe Bundle Giveaway:  The recipe bundle is a collection of recipes that did not make it into the book, including several that are tester favorites.  Leave a comment at the end of this post and tell me your favorite Indian dish or ingredient for a chance to win Richa’s Bonus Recipe Bundle.  The contest closes at midnight Eastern Time on May 26th. A winner will be announced on Wednesday, May 27th. This giveaway is open internationally, so everyone can enter!  And if you don’t have your own copy of Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen cookbook, what are you waiting for?

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Jamaican_Skewers_-530

A recent trip to the vegan-friendly Nine Mile restaurant in Asheville, NC, reminded me how much I enjoy the flavors of the Caribbean.  When I’m at home, I like to make these jerk-spiced vegetable skewers, especially now that the weather is ideal for grilling outside.  I sometimes add seitan or extra-firm tofu for extra protein.  Otherwise, I serve it over coconut rice and beans. If you don’t like the fussiness of skewers, you can cook the vegetables in a grill basket instead.

Jamaican Jerk Vegetable Skewers

This recipe is from Vegan Without Borders © Robin Robertson, 2014.

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon natural sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large red onion, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

2 small zucchini, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch chunks

8 ounces small cremini or white mushrooms, trimmed

12 ounces cherry tomatoes

Olive oil

If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 1 hour or overnight. (You should need about 8 to 12 skewers, depending on their size.)

In a shallow bowl, combine all of the spices, stirring to mix well. Set aside.

Thread the vegetables onto skewers, either alternating different vegetables or, alternatively, skewer one type of vegetable on separate skewers for even cooking. Brush the vegetables with olive oil, then sprinkle on the spice mixture, turning to coat all over with the spices.  Preheat the grill until hot.

Arrange the skewers on a lightly oiled grill and cook for about 5 minute per side, turning once, or until the vegetables are tender and nicely browned. Serve hot

Serves 4

 

GIVEAWAY WINNER:  The winner of The Good Karma Diet Giveaway is: Carolyn Strickland, whose favorite ingredients are avocados and butternut squash.  Congratulations Carolyn.  Send me an email with your mailing address so a copy of The Good Karma Diet by Victoria Moran can be sent to you.  Thanks to all who entered this giveaway!

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