Monday, June 27, 2011

Natually Nutty Winner Where ARE YOU?

Hey Gang

I've been trying to reach the winner of the Naturally Nutty contest since June 17th. I do hope she sees this post, so I can get her contact info. If I don't hear from Kitten by Friday, July 1. The next poster (#12) will be the winner by default.

So Kitten, if you are reading, please contact me for your prize. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Restaurant Review - Cork

Once again I have to apologize for the photo quality. I didn't have high hopes for vegan friendliness on this one, so I left my camera at home. I am thrilled to tell you, that I was soooooo wrong.

We were taking Ty and Ry out for their birthdays (one way late and one a little early), so we asked them to pick a place they really wanted to try. I got a text from Ty that they wanted to try Cork in Chandler. I had heard really great things about their food, but the menu looked pretty meat and fish based. So I was prepared to have a salad and maybe some side dishes. Hence the reason the camera stayed parked at home.

We found the restaurant in a rather large mall area. It looked very unassuming and fairly small. When we stepped inside, the room was very tastefully decorated with a modern flair. The bar area was nicely appointed. Their wine cellar was on display behind a glass wall. It was very impressive. It was early, so there weren't many guests in the restaurant when we arrived. They sat us in a very spacious and comfortable booth.

Our server, Matthew greeted us very promptly. He let us know that for the evening they were only offering a 5 course chef's choice tasting ($55.00). The regular menu was not available. The restaurant is closing today for 2 1/2 weeks to have a gas line installed, so they needed to make the best use of the food they had left. We asked him if the kitchen could do a vegan version. I was so pleasantly surprised when he quickly returned and said it was no problem at all; the chef was very familiar with what was and was not vegan. I was happy as a pig in the mud!

Now, we don't eat meat anymore, but I have to tell you, each and every course that came out (vegan or not) was beautifully presented. The kids said their dishes had incredible flavor and were cooked to perfection. The wine list was outstanding. I ordered the first bottle. Fred, now armed with just enough wine knowledge to be dangerous, ordered the second bottle. Let me just say, he went more than a little overboard. But, queue the angel music HAAAAA it was a glorious selection. The service was very attentive and spot on without being intrusive. The servers know their food and know how to take care of their guests. We all left very full, very satisfied and very impressed with Cork. We will be going back again and again. It is hard to find a good independently owned upscale place in the east valley, let alone a vegan friendly one.

Ladies and gentleman of the vegan persuasion, prepare for a feast for your eyes. No matter what your dietary persuasion you need to go to Cork for a feast for your taste buds and tummies.

Fred's first course was a beet and greens salad with pine nuts. It was dressed with a light citrus vinaigrette. The greens were fresh and wonderful!

My first course was a duo of cold soups with roasted nuts. The pineapple soup was garnished with toasted coconut and the cantaloup soup with a fresh mint leaf. The nuts were beautiful. The has a very slight hint of sweetness and were a lovely complement to the sweet soups.

The second course was an incredible tabbouleh. I often find that tabbouleh has far to much mint in it for my taste. This one did not. It was perfectly balanced with mint, parsley, black and white quinoa. It was served with a very flavorful Romesco sauce and an herbed gremolata. Look at the beautiful presentation. I could have had this by itself and been totally satisfied for the evening, but oh no, we had three more courses to go.

For the third course. The chef sent out a light citrus salad with shaved fennel and toasted pecans. The pecans and the oranges were fantastic together. It was a nice palate cleanser for the 4th course.

The fourth course was another delightful surprise. I have found in the past when we do tasting menus at upscale restaurants that will accommodate our vegan request, the chef's often times are challenged on providing protein. Such was not the case with chef Brian Peterson (he used to cook at Lon's at the Hermosa, another of our favorites). He masterfully created this beautiful lentil dish flecked with baby asparagus, fresh zucchini and sliced baby bell pepper rings. I wish I had this recipe. The vegetables were perfectly cooked el dente. The lentils also had a perfect texture. The first bite I took I could taste a hint of sweetness, perhaps some fennel, then BAM there was a peppery spice that was just incredible. I love spicy food, so I was ecstatic. I made everyone at the table taste it. Ty said she wished she had gotten it as her entree too. So happy!!!

Last but not least was the 5th course: dessert. I was so full by the time we got to dessert, but this beautiful trio of sorbets was the perfect end to an incredible dining experience. The trio consisted of pineapple, raspberry and melon sorbets. They were light and fruity with just the right amount of sweetness. 

If you really want to impress your date or yourself for that matter, you must make sure to check out this unique east valley experience. 

4991 S Alma School Road, Suite 1
Chandler, AZ 85248

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bountiful Baskets - Easy Breakfast Parfait

Through the grapevine and a few friends I learned about Bountiful Baskets food co-op. This is not my first go around with produce co-ops or CSA's. I love the idea of both. The draw back for me was always that I had a hard time getting through all the produce (I was single and now there are just two of us) before I was required to get or pick up the next order. The really nice thing about Bountiful Baskets is that you have more control over when you get your produce. You don't have to worry about putting your deliveries on hold if you can't pick up your goodies one week. Each week, the organizers send out an e-mail that reminds you of the deadline for that week's pickup. If you decide you want a share, you go on line before the deadline and place your order for that week.

Each week is a surprise. You are never sure what beautiful goodies will come in your share. They get the freshest in season produce they can. I love this surprise element. It kind of forces me to be a bit more creative in the kitchen...and y'all know how much I hate that...NOT. I have noticed with three of the co-ops I have been involved with, there seems to be a lot of fruit. For me personally, this is the only down side. I eat a lots of veggies and not so much fruit. I am still a little hard pressed to use all of the fruit before it goes bad. But for most households, this would not be an issue. So take a look at all of the organic produce only $26.00 gets you. Below is a picture of this week's box contents. That is a lot of organic produce for that price!!!

My goal is to find healthy, creative and hopefully cool ways (it's going to be 112 here today). I'll be posting as I go this week. I got a very good start by making this simple breakfast parfait. I used some of those beautiful organic strawberries. I diced them into bite sized pieces. In a mini trifle dish, I layered strawberries, vanilla soy yogurt and Nature's Path Hemp Plus Granola cereal. Try this easy and cool dish for a quick summer breakfast.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Prescott Shopping Spree - Honeyman

We took a little two day getaway to Prescott, AZ . Prescott is a really pretty little town. It has a small town feel and mentality. Everyone seems to know each other. The town square is bustling with locals and visitors alike. Prescott is also a popular stop for bikers. The famous Whiskey Row hosts lots of bars and bands. Even better than that, our granddaughter lives there. We got a little baby time with her.

We decided to stay at a cute little place called the Motor Lodge. The owners took a run down old motor lodge and turned it into this sweet boutique motel. The rooms have all been remodeled. Most of the rooms have a porch with a table and chairs. The rooms are very retro and very clean. The a cloud. The owners are awesome. They make you feel right at home and they take great pride in their place. Every morning they bring you warm, fresh baked cookies (not vegan, but if you are traveling with omnis it is such a great touch). We did do some hanging out on the porch watching the sun go down and playing Yatzee. 

Oh, did I forget to mention, our room had a kitchenette? I didn't know this before we went. Next time, I'll be prepared!

Just around the corner we found this really kick booty little grocery store call the Honeyman. Much to my surprise they had a great selection of grains, beans, nuts, herbs, spices and holistic remedies. There were lots of vegan products to choose from. We were helped by a super awesome girl named Tamika. She had a great sense of humor and knew a lot about what was and wasn't vegan. Bonus! 

I spent an inordinate amount of time checking out all of the stuff they had. There were so many things to check out. I had to hold myself back from buying too much. I have this tendency to do that, then I have to find room in my already bursting pantry. There were a few things I just felt I had to have or try. They had really good prices on wild rice and black sesame seeds. In the basket they went. I found a couple of things I hadn't seen or used before. One was a white dahl and the other was jade rice. I haven't quite figured out what I am going to do with them, but if you have suggestions...I'm all ears.

I'm sure I've mentioned more than once that I love chiles and spice. I'm not sure why, but I haven't really seen many guajillo chiles in my travels. They had the dried chiles and powder, so of course I bought them both. Some 20+ years ago I discovered szechwan peppercorns. I hadn't thought about them for quite a while. There they were, beckoning to be taken home with me. 

I'm trying to make more beans from scratch rather than using canned. They had a great selection and I picked two: the very pretty Anasazi beans and cranberry beans. I think Terry has a recipe in Vegan Latina that uses cranberry beans. I'm going to have to check!

I'm super excited about creating with my bag of goodies. I'd love to get your ideas on what you would do with this take. If you have an idea of something I could create with these, leave me a comment. I just might custom make a recipe especially for you. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fridge Cleaning = Yummy Pasta Dish

Don't you hate when you have small amounts of a bunch of different ingredients in your fridge? You just hate to waste it, but you're not sure what to do with it?

I had a day like this the other day. I had recently opened a jar of organic roasted red peppers for a recipe that only called for a small amount. I can't tell you how many times I've gone back just a few days later and they are growing mold like a petri dish in science lab. They are not exactly inexpensive, so I was bound and determined to save this jar from an untimely demise. I was also determined to save a few other stragglers in the fridge and I needed to come up with a quick dinner for Fred as he was working yet another 15 hour day and I, my twelve.

Fred loves him some red sauce and I never seem to make enough of it for him. While this may not be what he would have normally expected, it ended up being really good. Good enough for him to eat two meals out of it in one day.

Now I was just throwing things in the pot and not accurately measuring, so I will do my best to re-create this "trash-can" sauce for you.

Meaty Red Pepper Spaghetti Sauce

2 teaspoons olive oil
5 large cloves garlic, minced
2 small onions, diced small
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 oz. cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
3/4 of a 12 oz. jar of roasted red peppers, approx 4 roasted peppers, peeled and seeded
3/4 cup browned TVP
1 - 28 oz. can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1 - 14.5 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes

In a 6 qt sauce pot over medium heat, heat olive oil and add garlic and onions. Saute until onions are softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add oregano, thyme, basil, salt and peppers. Saute for another minute until herbs become fragrant. Add mushrooms and saute until mushrooms start releasing their juices, about 2 minutes. Add roasted red peppers and saute for 2 more minutes.Toss in your TVP, crushed and diced tomatoes. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes or more. The more you simmer, the better the flavor (up to 1 hour).

Can be served immediately over your favorite pasta or grain. It is even better the next day.

A couple of notes: feel free to use fresh herbs or adjust the herb amounts to your liking. This is a very rustic and chunky sauce. If you like a smoother sauce, add the tomatoes before the TVP and blend with a stick blender or in your regular blender, then add the TVP. I can totally see this as the sauce in a hearty lasagna.

Tonight there are other ingredients ready to expire, hope I can come up with another winner!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Restaurant Review - Green New American Vegetarian

While I am tempted to  have you wait and read my entire fabulous review of Green, I am going to be nice and announce the winner of the Naturally Nutty giveaway! But I do hope you stick around and read the rest, because, well, Green is awesome! The winner of the giveaway is commenter # 11 from the June 8, 2011 post. Congrats Kitten!!! Please make sure to get me your shipping info so you can get your yummy Pepita Sun Seed Butter!

I have to apologize for the image quality. I didn't have my camera so I had to use my phone. Not bad for a phone, huh?

Fred and I happened to pop into one of my favorite vegan spots, Green New American Vegetarian, for lunch the other day. I was reminded once again why I love this place. It is located in a very obscure little strip mall just north of McKellips Road on the west side of Scottsdale Rd right next to the Salvation Army Store. You would miss it if you weren't looking for it...and you really should be looking for it. They should be opening their new location in Phoenix (7th Street north of McDowell the old That's a Wrap location) any time now. The new trainees were all over the place.

There are a couple of small tables out front. They are great during the cooler months for dining al fresco. This time of the year we decided sitting inside would be a better idea. As you walk up to the counter you will see a small retail area to your left and a cooler to your right. You can stock up on Butler Soy curls and other awesome vegan pantry products that might be hard to find around town. The cooler has a nice selection of fun beverages, some awesome vegan cheezes (Daiya and Teese), mimi cream and some pastries.

When you arrive at the counter you are greeted by usually very friendly, tatooed and pierced young people. There is one girl that is always super sweet and helpful (and for the life of me I can't remember her name right now). They will efficiently take your order for you and bring it to your table. You will also find some very tempting sweets at the counter. The blackboard lets you know what the day's special is.

The room has a decidedly bistro-hipster type vibe, if you can picture that. There is plenty of seating and even a sofa to lounge on. It was pretty busy for this visit as you can see.

The menu has a good selection of appetizers, bowls, salads, sandwiches and pizzas. It is hard to make a decision, but may I recommend the Spicy "G" Po Boy? Buffalo chickn heaven on a bun. Fred loves the Mum's Meat Ball Po' Boy. This one is a good bet for any omni friends you might bring along for the ride.

There is a separate menu for what should be "World Famous" Soynamis. These tasty frozen concoctions from heaven deserve a menu of their own. They have a boat-load of options on the menu in addition to several specials that are listed on a blackboard. I am crazy about the Chunky Monkey that boasts, you got it, bananas, pecans and chocolate swirled in a creamy vanilla ice cream. (I've gotten my omni co-workers addicted).

Let's talk about what we ate on this visit. Because we both knew I'd be writing about our visit, we went to town ordering. First we ordered the Egglessrolls ($4.00). They were crispy and hot when they arrived. They are served with a sweet dipping sauce. I am not a fan of sweet sauces (total personal preference), but this was easily remedied by a splash of Sriracha sauce that you can find by the self serve tea and lemonade table. They were pretty tasty and I love some crunchy eggrolly goodness.

I much preferred the Vegan Chili Fries ($6.00). They take their fries and slather them with a healthy portion of their delicious chili. I really like the flavor of their chili, it could fool an omni any day and satisfy any chili lover. The only complaint I have is that it always seems a bit on the salty side for me...and I'm a salt lover. You can ask to have some yummy vegan cheese added for another $1.00. They don't really need it, but it's always nice to have options.

I am usually a creature of delicious habit. I usually order the Original Spicy "G" Po Boy or the Thee "Argentine" Po Boy (both $8.00). Both of these sandwiches will rock your world. I've also been known to indulge in many-a Jerk Tofu Salad ($6.00 for small and $9.00 for the large). This day, in the interest of investigative reporting, I strayed from my usuals and tried out the Ranchero Salad ($6.00 for small and $9.00 for the large). The BBQ sauce is on the sweet side and very tasty. The chicken was a bit chewy, but still very edible. They use the same salad mix in this salad as they do in the Jerk Tofu Salad. It has nice crunchy strips of corn tortillas added as a nice touch.

Fred did not stray from his usual fav the Mum's Meatball Po Boy ($8.00). The sandwiches come with a choice of sides. Fred opted for the recently added sweet potato puffs. They are a sweet 'tater version of tater tots. I'm a tot purist, so I wasn't crazy about these, but they are an interesting options and gluten free. As usual the sandwich made Fred very happy. It has a generous portion of meatballs, red sauce and Daiya Mozzarella. The flavor and texture of the sandwich are really yummy. I'd love a bit more red sauce please. But you truly can't go wrong with this one.

As you can probably imagine, we were ready to pop, so we did not partake in a Soynami this trip. But, dear readers, I will not disappoint. Below are four of the visions of loveliness that I picked up for my buddies at work. These are worth stopping in for alone.

What could they do better? Not much. Have Damon (the owner) open a fine dine? Offer vegan beers and wines perhaps? A girl can dream. Will omnis like Green? In my personal experience I would say a definite yes, depending on what they order. If they haven't had faux meats before, it might be best to try some dishes that are not so dependent on them; most of the apps, the Mom's Meatball Po Boy (this is a faux meat, but the texture is not "funky") and any of the bowls with tofu. Of course the Soynamis will blow them away.

I love the fact that I can go into a place and not have to worry about whether or not what I order is actually prepared totally vegan. There is never a doubt. I also like the fact that the food and service are consistently good and the atmosphere is pretty cool. If you haven't been yet, make sure you try them out!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Vine and Dine - Candle Cafe - Seitan Picatta with White Wine and Caper Sauce

Welcome to another edition of Vine and Dine where Phat Freddie and I attempt to pair vegan wines with fabulous vegan recipes from different cook books. This challenge is actually brought to you by the bright mind of Tamasin Noyes from Vegan Appetite. She so kindly invited us to participate along with Liz and Matthew of Cooking the Vegan Books. Vegan Aide of Weekly Vegan Menu and her honey David have joined the ranks. I'm so excited we have so many participating. It's exciting finding more vegan wines to choose from!

This week's adventure in food comes from the Candle Cafe Cookbook by Joy Pierson and Bart Potenza. For those of you who may not know, Candle Cafe is a very famous vegan restaurant in New York. This book gives away some of their famous recipes for the home cook to recreate.

I've had this book for a very long time. I've only made a couple of things from it since I bought it a few years ago and I have to say, I've liked everything I've made so far. The Seitan Piccata with White Wine and Caper Sauce (pg. 119) is no exception. This challenge also included the Sauteed Mixed Greens (pg 147). We decided to forgo the garlic mashed potatoes this time. I was potato-ed out from the last Food Network Friday. I made a huge batch of potatoes and we ate them all last week. I opted to make a simple batch of quinoa with crushed garlic cloves instead.

This was a nice, quick, easy and truly impressive dish. I used my own beefy seitan recipe. I had a couple of thick cutlets in the freezer that I thawed out for the occasion. I sliced them in half lengthwise. I dredged them in the whole wheat flour. I used the left over flour to thicken the sauce rather than using AP. I was excited to be able to use onions and parsley from the garden and lemons from Ty and Ry's tree. For once I read the recipe ahead of time, so the meal was timed well. I started the quinoa before I started the main event. I thought of using the wine Fred picked for the sauce, but then thought better of it. I had a partial bottle of white in the fridge, so I was able to reserve his selection for drinking! I love the combination of the piquant capers, white wine and tart lemon, so I knew this dish would work for me. What I didn't expect was how quick and easy it was to make. I'd make this anytime; for a quick weeknight meal or to impress guests.

I don't know what the heck happened with our greens. They were crazy bitter. I used a combo of purple kale and collard greens. I didn't have the optional bacon bits, so I added just a sprinkle of liquid smoke. The first bite gave me bitter beer face, but they were salvageable with the yummy picatta sauce. I am a huge potato lover, so it was surprising even to me that I chose not to make them tonight. I was so happy I opted for the quinoa. It a perfect complement. It was over 100 here today, so we wanted a bit lighter side dish and this did the trick. We both really like this dish. Two thumbs up.


Kim's dinner tonight was one of my favorites but my wine selection faltered, I had wanted Kim to meet the guy at Total Wines that helps me the most but he was not on shift. Number two expert stepped up and in less than two minutes lost us when he said the weather in Napa does not affect the vineyards and wines very much.......(What the F*&^ dude) so we helped ourselves. What I did notice, as he tried to help Kim, he was product pushing rather than helping find what we were looking for, wrong move with me buddy!  

Another problem we had was, we spent so much time making sure our wine was vegan I did not make sure it would compliment our meal, shoot!. We did find a "Sterling" Sauvignon Blanc, (2009) which is a very nice summer wine, bright with what they say is honeydew, lemon and lime zest but with our dinner came across as having more of a grapefruit characteristic. Although it didn't work with this dinner, at $11.99 for the bottle, it didn't break the bank either. I think it would be great as a spritzer by the pool, not as a dinner wine.

According to Barnivore, all of Sterling's white wines are vegan, SCORE! I have, over the years, had a few glasses of Sterling because it is reliable and good. This was before I knew what veganism was, so there you go. Kim's dinner had lemon in it and maybe that is why our wine was too bright on the tongue. I am trying to find a correlation of sorts between vegan wine lists on line and what is actually available at the store, all I can say is I am always looking and we'll see.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Naturally Nutty Pepita Sun Seed Butter - Giveaway!!

I know that many people out there would die without their peanut butter fix, but there is something even more awesome out there. A while back I happened upon an incredible nut butter. This isn't your basic peanut, cashew or almond butter, oh no! This one is loaded with lots of omega 3's. I'd like to introduce you to Naturally Nutty Pepita Sun Seed Butter. This tasty treat is a fantastic combination of roasted seeds with a slight hint of cinnamon that I just love. It is outstanding slathered on a piece of bread or toast. It has such great flavor, you don't need anything else with it.

Ingredients: Organic Roasted Pepita Seeds, Organic Flax Seeds, Organic Roasted Sunflower Seeds, Organic Hemp Seeds, Organic Vanilla Powder (Organic Vanilla Bean, Organic Sucrose), Organic Allspice, Organic Cinnamon, Sea Salt. Vegan, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Nut Free

The owner, Katie Kearney, of Naturally Nutty, is a vegan mom out of the midwest. She really wanted to produce a healthy product for her family. She has come up with a fantastic line of organic nut butters. Most of the products in the line are vegan. Via e-mail she told me that any future products they develop will be vegan. The website is awesome. The products are clearly labeled for dietary requirements like vegan, gluten free, sugar free, etc. Her products are incredible and I just love supporting a family owned business. Click here to check out Naturally Nutty's other products.

Katie has generously donated a 5 pound container of my favorite Pepita Sun Seed Butter. This is a huge container so you can share with your friends!! Just leave a comment about how you would use this nut butter or your favorite nut butter. The winner will be picked at random on Friday, June 17, 2011 (date extended!). So make sure to post by Thursday night. Please make sure that I can get in touch with you if you are the winner! (This one is for US residents only).

Here is what I dreamed up for the Pepita Sun Seed Butter.

Chocolate Covered Nutty Frozen Bananas

6 Servings

3 large bananas
3/4 cup Pepita Sun Seed Butter
12 oz vegan chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup salted pepitas (shelled pumpkins seeds) roughly chopped
Six craft sticks

Peel bananas. Cut bananas in half length-wise. Spread 1/4 cup or so nut butter on one half of the banana. Place other half of the banana on top. Cut in half width-wise. Insert craft stick in the flat end of banana half. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with other two bananas. Freeze bananas for 2 hours to make sure bananas are frozen all the way through.

Place chocolate chips in top of double boiler. Over low heat, gently heat chips until they are almost melted. Pull of heat to let the last few pieces of chocolate melt, stirring occasionally. Let cool for 5 minutes.

While the chocolate cools, place pepitas on a small flat plate. Take prepared bananas out of freezer. Working quickly, dip the bananas in the chocolate to cover. You can also use a flexible rubber spatula to coat bananas. Before chocolate hardens roll chocolate coated bananas in pepitas. Place back on the parchment lined cookie sheet and place back in the freezer for about an hour. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap. Can keep in the freezer for up to two days for best results.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Food Network Friday - Guy Fieri's Chicken and the Bodacious Bulb

Food Network Friday marches on. Check out the wrap up at Vegan Appetite

I am very late posting, but it was a very busy week last week. I didn't have much kitchen time. Tonight I took a crack at Guy Fieri's Chicken and the Bodacious Bulb.

For this recipe I think I used 7 pans! For the stock, I used Bill's Chickn-ish Seasoning, Better than Bouillon Organic Veggie base in 4 cups of water. I decided to roast the celery, carrots, onions and I added mushrooms and whole peppercorns. I put the roasted vegetables in the broth along with the garlic in cheese cloth. I did sub Earth Balance for the garlic oil so that I would have plenty for frying. Somehow I missed the instructions that said to put the garlic in the roux. This misstep made me miss out on some serious extra garlic flavor I'm sure.

For the chicken, I used tempeh. It was steamed first. Then it took a bath in some soy milk. It was coated with a mixture of corn starch and panko crumbs seasoned with granulated garlic, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Using the garlic oil to fry, the tempeh wound up with a really crispy crunchy crust. The coating was pretty awesome!

I did use the garlic cloves in some very tasty mashed potatoes. Those were made from red new potatoes whipped with the garlic cloves, a touch of Earth Balance, salt pepper and as an added bonus, I added some Bubbies horseradish to give them a little kick. The plate was finished of with some roasted broccoli that was tossed in a bit of the garlic oil, diced organic tomatoes, fresh parsley from the garden and the crispy fried sliced garlic.  I am usually a pretty big fan of tempeh, but for some reason even after steaming, it was a bit bitter. It might be better if it was marinated in something first. I think this might actually be better with marinated tofu. 

This one didn't sing to me. It seemed very heavy and high in calories and the flavor was not as good as I expected (this could be partly because of the garlic exclusion in the gravy, and not the recipe). I'm not sure I'd go for this one again. It could be personal preference, or it could be that I have been eating way too much rich food the past couple of weeks and I'm over salted and burned out on rich stuff. Fred said he drank 6 glasses of water after eating this, so maybe my broth had too much sodium. My fingers are still puffy. But I did love the garlic oil, so that is a win.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

21 is Sweet

This month my niece turned 21. It is hard to believe that she was only 7 months old when I moved to Arizona. She has really become a beautiful, caring, compassionate, creative and wonderful woman. Her love of family and friends is amazing. She is one person that is so pleasant and easy to be around. I am so proud of her and how far she has come.  I can hardly wait to see where the next chapter of life takes her.

To celebrate the big 2 - 1. We had a Mustache (the mustaches are vegan hee hee) Cocktail Party. I was in charge of desserts. My sister requested that I make some mini cupcakes with edible glitter on them. I decided to make the basic vanilla cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World. I added a touch of pink champagne to the batter. They were topped with a pink champagne buttercream, said edible glitter and marzipan 21's. To me chocolate is a must at any chick celebration, so I made two versions of truffles: chili chocolate and Kahlua. My recipe is still in progress. I am not totally happy with the texture, but they were rich and chocolate!

Happy Birthday Riley!