Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sushi to go

I feel just like Molly Ringwald in the breakfast club when I eat sushi to go. I got stuck working late and had a good half hour to kill while waiting for my train, so since I was already starving, I went looking for a snack.
There are lots of places in Grand Central to get vegan grub and my latest find is Masa Japanese. They've got a couple of good vegetable sushi boxes. Today I got the "Track 5" which includes inari, a cucumber ume roll, a pickled vegetable roll, and a gourd roll. I also picked up some yaki tofu. Pretty darn tasty for fast food. I also discovered that I can blog from my iphone. So I can enjoy my exotic dinner on the train while blogging and listening to Air Supply. Now if I could figure out how to upload Photos to the blog from my phone then I'd really be in business. Thanks for keeping company on my ride home. Sayonara!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Eggplant parmesan

Eh, I've made it before and I'll make it again. I know it's not in season, but the eggplants at the store looked pretty good for who knows where they came from. Anyways, I'll remember that when I'm drowning in fresh local eggplant in the summer.The secret to a good eggplant parm is the frying. This time I did bother to salt, sit, and rinse, but honestly I've never noticed a difference. I find that instead of breadcrumbs, just a nice flour coating makes for a perfectly crispy eggplant. I also used the Tofutti mozzarella.
Eggplant parm
1 Eggplant sliced lengthwise about 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup flour (or more if needed)
1/4 cup soy milk (or more if needed)
Canola oil
2 TBS olive oil
2-10 cloves of garlic
1 big can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp salt
2 TBS sugar
1 TBS Italian seasoning
(a bunch of fresh basil if you've got it)
Soy cheese
Start with the sauce. Heat olive oil and saute garlic. Add tomatoes, salt, sugar, and seasoning. If adding basil chop up all the leaves and add it. Let simmer while you fry the eggplant.
Heat oil in a cash iron skillet until a droplet of water sizzles. You don't want it too hot or it'll burn before it's cooked. Dip eggplant slices in soy milk, then coat in flour. Cook two at a time for about 10 minutes one side, then 5 on the other. Drain on a cooling rack.
To assemble the ensemble...
I use mini loaf pans, but you can do this in any sized baking pan. Put down a layer of sauce to coat the bottom of the pan. Add Eggplant slice, top with sauce, then cheese, then repeat. Bake in the oven until the cheese is melty.
I like the mini loaf pans, because I can just heat up one serving in the toaster oven and voila, yummy Italian goodness.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Garden blend vegan burrito at Chipotle in Chelsea, NYC

Check out the Chipotle in Chelsea, NYC for a garden blend vegan burrito. The garden blend is vegan plant protein (I hear it's gardein) marinated in adobo sauce and grilled. It's a little on the spicy side, but in a good way. I recommend splurging for the guacamole to cool down the heat. This is the only location in NYC that's carrying the garden blend. There's a Chipotle across the street from my office, but I went out of my way to check out this burrito and I'm glad I did.
I like the way the store blends in with the rest of the block. Chelsea is a neighborhhod in NYC. Blossom is a few blocks away.

Mmmm. Fake chickeny goodness. The seasonings are really nice. Although I appreciate the usual vegan burrito at Chipotle, the garden blend gives you something to really bite into. I didn't test it out on any omnivores, but I don't think they'd be able to tell it's fake meat.
Currently this is the only location in NYC carrying the garden blend. There are a couple of Chipotles in Chelsea, so just to be clear. The Chipotle NYC location with the garden blend is 149 8th Avenue between 17th and 18th streets. Apparently there's a location in DC serving it as well. I sent Chipotle a note to let them know how awesome it is to carry this and I hope they include it at all locations soon!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gardein Parm - and who knew Tofutti cheese was good?

OK, I didn't realize I miss cheese singles. You know the ones individually wrapped in plastic. I picked up some Gardein tuscan breasts and wanted a little cheesy topping, but the store I was in didn't have much in the way of fake cheese options. So I took a chance and picked up some Tofutti Mozzarella slices. The tofutti slices are good just plain, but melted really nicely over the gardein in the oven.The sauce that the tuscan breasts come in is just OK. I needed sauce to serve with spaghetti anyway, so I made a really quick marinara consisting of a big can of crushed tomatoes, 1 tsp salt and 2 Tbs sugar. I added a few good shakes of italian seasoning, and just heated up.

I added a dash of black truffle oil just because it's awesome, and had a good hunk of garlic bread on the side. Yummmm.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Not your mom-mom's Mac & Cheese

It's a good thing I can't watch the Oscars (thanks ABC and Cablevision) because I'm studying for a test tomorrow. It's insurance and I keep falling asleep when I try to read it. Anyways here's to diversions like blogging and cooking....
Last week I stopped in the bodega in my building for a snack and bought some Ritz crackers but when I tried to spread on some tofutti cream cheese they all totally fell apart. I was crushed. So I was trying to think about what to do with a bunch of ritz cracker crumbs. A quick internet search including ritz and vegan lead me to Lindy Loo at Yeah, That "Vegan" Shit and a lovely recipe for Mac & Cheese topped with Ritz. I followed the recipe, but I still don't see why you need to make the white sauce and cheeze sauce separately. Anyway, it was still easy and I only had half a box of elbow macaroni, so I only used 1/2 the cheese sauce and the extra pan came in handy for mixing.
The verdict? This is some super awesome mac & cheese. Too bad I don't have any stewed tomatoes or it would be just like grandma used to make. Well, not my grandma, but everyone else's mom-mom I knew growing up in Delaware.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Candle 79 NYC Restaurant Review

I'm only going to say it once, then I'm going to let it go. When you make a reservation at Candle 79, ask for a table by the window or a booth. If it's busy or last minute, then sure, the section upstairs in the back is OK, I mean it's still the same awesome food, but the ambiance can be a little underwhelming. This is the second time I've had a reservation and got stuck at the crappy table. Our waitress was awesome, and gave us dessert on the house, so that made it better. Especially since it was amazing vegan cannoli, but I'll get to that later.

Here's the (sorry, flash) photos. Cocktails, wine, apps, dinner, dessert, tea and espresso. I got the specials and the ninja got the most normal stuff on the menu. He loved it.Mmm cocktails...They both have sake. The one on the left has spiced something, and the one on the right is the French 79 and has champagne. The point of cocktails is that you don't remember what's in them. Yummy.
Eh, here it is off the menu...
The Lexington: orange-ginger spiced sake, port reduction, champagne, lemon, agave
French 79: sake, apricot nectar, lemon, black currant, agave, champagne float
With the cocktails we got a little jalapeno cornbread. Now for the apps, I got the special which was an artichoke risotto. This was really nice. Creamy and full of flavor. The chips in top are zucchini. The Ninja had the mushroom ravioli. This was really lovely. The little bits on top were kind of bacony and the sauce was rich and creamy. In fact when he asked me if I wanted to try it he said, "oh, you can't have this, it's got cream in it," and I said "um, duh, we're at a vegan restaurant, I can eat ANYTHING!" Yay!
Menu description:
BUTTERNUT SQUASH & WILD MUSHROOM-SPINACH RAVIOLI: cashew ricotta, garlic cashew cream, tomato sauce, truffle oil, sautéed broccoli rabe, crispy capers
The wine was a Chilean malbec/cab. Nice. Ah the seitan piccata. Signature dish. The seitan was perfect. Nice density, lightly fried to perfection. I've made this dish from the Candle Cafe cookbook and I really liked it. Now that the ninja knows he likes it, I'll have to try it again. Usually he turns his nose up at my fake meaty things, but he's been talking about how much he liked this all week. At the restaurant he even turned around and recommended it to the people at the table next to us who were having trouble deciding. I think that's a big thumbs up.
Menu description:
SEITAN PICCATA: creamed spinach, grilled potato cake, oyster mushrooms, lemon-caper sauce I got the seitan special, which was beautifully fried seitan with a portabella mushroom and roasted vegetables in a mild chipotle sauce. This was also really good. There were two pieces of seitan and I couldn't quite finish both but I still almost took the last little piece home it was so good. Holy cannoli, batman. I do miss cannoli. Not with this around. This was fantastic. The ice cream was coconut chocolate chip.
CANNOLI: vanilla cream filling, vanilla chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate drizzle
Kudos to the ninja for being a good sport. Especially since this turned out to be his birthday dinner and all. So Candle 79 is a safe bet if you visit NYC and want to take your omni friends out to dinner to show them the true excellence of vegan food.