Looking Forward to 2008

I read somewhere that it is traditional to have a noodle dish for New Year’s. It was an Eastern custom and the long noodles signified long life and all kinds of good stuff. It’s not as if I needed an excuse to do something with noodles or Asian food. I could eat Asian food nearly every day and never tire of it. I’ve been accused of trying to do that with our menus if I tell the truth. Last night’s dinner used a variation on the peanut sauce from VwaV tossed with noodles, topped with a stir fry of broccoli, snow peas, red peppers and seitan.

Over the weekend, I had this terrific idea for a red pepper and portobello panini sandwich, with a side salad dressed with a balsamic maple dressing. Instead, we ended up with this French Onion Soup. The mushrooms didn’t look so hot and the greens weren’t so green. The soup turned out ok.

We also had another version of Tofu666′s Marsala. This time with seitan made from V’con. That seitan recipe is my all time favorite. It helps that it’s so easy, too. From now on, I’m making it in batches 2 1/2 times the recipe size so I can keep some in the freezer. The Marsala is so different made with seitan! It’s an awesome recipe and delicious both ways.

While they aren’t resolutions, I have some goals for 2008.

  1. Eat less sugar (except for cookie testing, of course),
  2. Learn to make sushi,
  3. Learn to make pierogies,
  4. Experiment with more grains,
  5. Exercise once in a while (it won’t kill me!),
  6. Learn to really use our camera so I can take better pictures,
  7. Scour the net for more great vegan recipes from bloggers,
  8. Increase my awareness about my own actions,
  9. Be less reclusive so that I can…..
  10. Be a better advocate for veganism.

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year, filled with new experiences and much happiness.

Other Food from VegiTerranean

In case you were wondering what else we had:

Spaghettini with Marinara and Gardein Meatballs

We’ve been eating nearly the same thing every time we’ve been to the restaurant and decided we had to shake it up this time. We don’t get there often enough so we still want that burger that is the best vegan burger ever… so branching out was a big step. The marinara sauce kind of had a California feel to it, very fresh tasting. The meatballs had a lot of fennel to them and were ok. I was never much of a meatball eater so they didn’t floor me. Jim really enjoyed it, but I was much happier with what I ordered.

Chicken Panini with Balsamic Tomatoes

This sandwich was fantastic! I was a little afraid of trying the Gardein chicken. Most ‘meat’ substitutes really turn me off. (There was a particularly bad experience with tofu dogs). But considering how much I love seitan, I tried to rationalize that it wouldn’t really be that different and was worth a try. The flavor was great and the texture was very chickeny but not in a bad way.

We’re already looking forward to going again. This is the only restaurant that we really feel safe eating in and it’s worth the drive. At this point, as much as I love the food, I’d go back just for that cheesecake!

Forget My Earlier Post About a Baker

Disregard my previous comments about the idea that Vegiterranean needs a baker. Apparently they had one the whole time…. it seems all the desserts were selling out before I could get any. Clearly a good sign. But just to update things, since my earlier post I’ve had 3 desserts there but only got a picture of one of them: The Cheesecake. It deserves capitals since it’s the best cheesecake (vegan or not) that I’ve ever had. I’m not sure what it’s made from but it’s going to launch me on a vegan cheesecake making marathon that probably won’t be the healthiest thing. I’m already researching recipes. I can’t wait to get started!

We’ve also tried the apple cranberry pie which was delicious. The most visually stunning dessert we had there (when I didn’t have the camera!) was a key lime napoleon. Wow! It had avocado in it (I’m looking for key lime/avocado recipe, too) and was fantastic! The napoleon crisp part reminded me of those waffles we used to get at the fair, whatever they’re called. I’m wondering if they deep fried phyllo dough? They weren’t oily at all, though…..questions, questions.

If you have a cheesecake recipe you love or know about the key/lime avocado idea, please let me know! I’d be super grateful.

25 Year Old Soup Recipe

I’ve been making this soup forever, or at least it seems like it. I mean that in the best possible way. If I remember correctly (and I might not), this is a variation from a Martha Rose Shulman recipe and I started making it in the early ’80′s. Probably longer than some of you have been on the planet. We love this soup so much that it has stood the test of time. The only other recipe that I still make pretty much the same way as then would be onion soup.

Potato Leek Soup
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp eb
4 leeks, cleaned and sliced
1/2 an onion, diced small
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp flour*
6 – 8 potatoes (depends on size) chopped in various sizes
4-6 cups broth, water with boullion cubes (whatever)
1/4 cup white wine
1 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
1 tsp thyme, dried
1 tsp dill, dried
1/2 tsp rosemary, dried
salt and pepper

Heat the oil and eb, add the leeks and onion and let sweat a bit. Add the garlic and the flour and stir it around a while, but don’t let the garlic burn. Add the potatoes and stock, white wine and seasonings and simmer until the potatoes are done. I like the various cuts as some cook down a lot faster than others and it adds to the body of the soup. You can also smoosh some chunks or even blender some of the soup if you prefer that kind of texture. Right now, we’re enjoying it a little more straight ahead as you can see in the picture.

Of course, you can use fresh herbs instead. I rarely have fresh dill in the winter.

*The flour is the key to this recipe. It’s the same kind of trick you do with onion soup and it gives it a really nice mouthfeel. I can’t believe I said mouthfeel, but I’ll blame it on being a wine drinker. Wine drinkers use weird words. I’m proof.

Yummy Hot Artichoke Dip!

Hot Artichoke Dip

This recipe is originally from Pamela, but of course I had to make a few changes just because that is who I am. By who I am, I really mean I hadn’t properly shopped for this recipe. I didn’t have tomatoes or green onions. I made up for it by adding some chopped red peppers and regular onions along with a few more spices. The picture above is ‘prebaked’. I popped it in the oven for a few more minutes when we got to my sister’s and served it with corn chips. Pamela has a slew of other recipes posted on her blog that I can’t wait to try either. Check them out here. Everyone devoured this dip! Thank you, Pamela!

We also had a seitan stew and the low fat chocolate bundt cake from V’con for our Christmas Eve dinner with the family. Good food, easy to take.

Christmas isn’t about the loot, but it is about thinking of others. Our family was more supportive than ever of the vegan thing this year and I am very appreciative. We got a gift certificate to Vegiterranean, to Allison’s Gourmet and some super cool measuring cups and spoons. Everyone was so thoughtful and very understanding. We try to get cool gifts for everyone, too, because that is where the real fun lies, but somehow we usually feel we kind of miss the mark. There is always next year. If we start thinking (really hard) in January, maybe we can come up with something great for them. But honestly, if we did come up with a brilliant idea, I know we wouldn’t want to wait to give it to them.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas!