27 April 2011

Triple Threat


I've been all about using tahini in everything the last few weeks - I bought fresh packaged tahini (versus the regular jars) and it's completely different! It's so yummy! On sandwiches, as a dip, in recipes... anywhere. The other ingredient I love but I never use enough is edamame - unlike it's processed soy relatives, this is the high protein vegetable that is much easier on your body.

Adding those with soba noodles, sesame oil, and black sesame seeds made for Triple Sesame Soba Noodles with Edamame. These sesame noodles were delicious warm (or cold the next day), high in protein, and a nice comfort food on a cold rainy afternoon!

21 April 2011

When in France...



Cooking for me is all about the challenge and variety... so with giant artichokes on sale, I couldn't help but venture out and make them for the first time. (Turns out even picky eaters know how to cook artichokes, it just never occurred to me. If I needed them, I aways used marinated artichoke hearts!)

My produce guys told me how to steam them, but that didn't seem exciting enough. So I made Perfect Steamed Artichokes à la Française. Wow! How have I been missing out on making these for so many years? It's a lot of cooking time (with only moderate effort) for a very light appetizer... but they were delicious! The lemon, garlic, and bay leaves in the cooking water added just enough flavor to the artichoke petals. (Are they petals? Leaves?)

If I was making fancy vegetables, they needed a fancy sauce, so I served them with Tarragon Mayonnaise. Tarragon is another favorite spice - it countered the tanginess of the Vegenaise and the lemon juice. It was definitely a perfect, light accompaniment for my new favorite vegetable recipe!


14 April 2011

6 Nights, 7 Days.



So this "detox diet" sucks. Royally. But I made it a week, and I definitely felt GREAT. It turns out you can make a pretty tasty soup with pretty much any vegetables you have around - especially once you blend it up. A little reminiscent of baby food, but super easy on your digestive system, and a smooth cohesive flavor. (Anything to make yourself enjoy it, right?) The last batch I made was asparagus and squash, with a ton of spinach... topped with a generous amount of Sriracha. It sure beats green juices all day!

The smart way to break a detox is with a lot of fruits and vegetables, and basic foods. So I made miso! (For once, instead of binging on something prohibited like fries or beer.) I used a gourmet mushroom blend (shitake, baby 'bella, and some others) along with lots and lots of bok choy, plus added in some tahini for creaminess. This trick I found on the package of miso paste - and it's delicious! Definitely made the soup taste heartier, and I'm realizing I pretty much love tahini in anything.

Obviously I didn't make it "21 days" like I was hoping... but every bit helps, and now it's on to a spring/summer season of cooking!




11 April 2011

Whew.



I've been super behind on cooking (and subsequently blogging) the last few months. If I cook, I put off blogging. So finally, I'm catching up. In the midst of a hardcore detox. Whew. The last few hours (since I've clearly rambled on THAT much) have been rough for someone not eating solid foods!

Anyhow, I've finally caught up, and now I'm hungrier than I thought. And if you're curious, I've lost 5 pounds thus far. I'm doing the Martha's Vineyard Detox Diet - attempting for 21 days, but starting with 7. I've definitely cheated, but overall, feel great. (I'd be lying if I didn't say I spend a good chunk of each day wanting bread and beer. It's always those two. And every minute spent at work is a challenge!)

The catch with this detox is no solid food. Super greens all day, like Green Vibrance... then a pureed soup for dinner. Pureed, like babyfood. But it starts out super fresh and full of awesome veggies, so it could be worse.

Anyhow, there will be yet another hiatus, so please be patient. But once I'm back in the kitchen, I promise I'll make up for the lack of excitement!

07 April 2011

Chicago Dining



I've traveled a lot, and been to Vegetarian restaurants across the world. But there is a reason Chicago Diner is famous. It's A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I was a skeptic that it'd beat my beloved Seva, but it's a completely different (and even for an almost 17-year Vegetarian, shockingly delicious) experience.


I'd been surviving on Black Bean ("Georgia") Reubens for years - I never liked real-meat Reubens when I was a kid anyhow. But The Radical Reuben is definitely their acclaimed sandwich for a reason. How they get their seitan to look so realistic is beyond me. I had to force myself not to eat it all at once. (And since I often hear Vegan's complain about "realistic looking" faux meat, I was left wondering what those types would do if encountered with this sandwich.) But what meat eater would need the real thing if you can replicate it so accurately?

And yes, that's Macaroni & Cheeze on the side. (Not nearly as impressive or as tasty, unfortunately.)


Heidi's choice were the Gyros - complete with Vegan tzatziki sauce. Once again - shockingly impressive. How they got such a creamy Vegan sauce, or as Heidi said "seitan that tastes JUST like lamb" is beyond me. I'm super grossed out by the concept of "lamb" anyhow, but Heidi is a new Vegan and she was totally stoked to have a cruelty-free replacement of an old favorite. Combine that was some of the best Sweet Potato Fries I've ever had. Wow.


Oh - and how could I forget the guilty-pleasure part? We started our Chicago Diner experience with one of their famous Vegan shakes: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Shake. Ohmigod. Blizzard meet Vegan indulgence. I would weigh 300 pounds if I had access to these treats on a daily basis... and was so grateful I had Heidi to share it with before I devoured it alone. (Look how excited she was!)


My week in Chicago was filed with great food and drinks - even before I made it to Chicago Diner. I had a midnight run for authentic Mexican with Meghan, then amazing gourmet (and BYOB, the one thing Ann Arbor lacks) brunch at Jam with Kim. Plus I got to eat delicious homemade Indian food at Kim's apartment, thanks to her mother-in-law. And we all know that I could eat Indian food (or Mexican for that matter) three times a day. Add in some Chicagoland Whole Foods Market treats, Thai curries with my cousin Anna, and 3am post-bar "breakfast" at Pick-Me-Up Cafe with Kim, Juergen & friends. (Why is it every city but Ann Arbor has amazing Vegetarian-friendly brunch? All I'm asking for is tofu or tempeh in with the eggs and potatoes on the menu!)


It wouldn't have been a successful vacation without some culinary inspiration, some late-night trouble, and some great laughter with old friends!