Monthly Archives: June 2009

Europe Part II: Greece Grub!

First day in Athens! At Diavlos. See, you really can find vegan food wherever you go.

On a serious note, I have to say how happy I was to find some whole grains after all the white bread and pasta in Italy. However, I’m also dying to make fun of this menu! “Vegetarian Propositions?” HAHAHA. Like, “we propose that you order this?…” Also, “Non alterated soya.” Just really funny.

Soya Kembap, with tomato-mushroom sauce & brown rice. The sauce was deliciously spiked with cinnamon!

Healthy Food Vegetarian Fast Food in Athens–not the best name, but their food was ridiculously yummy, and we went there for my 21st birthday dinner, so I’ll give them a break. ;)

Lemony-Dill Brown Rice. I loved this!

Another delicious rice dish.

Beans! No description necessary, except, what a pretty color!

They’re big on soya chunks in Athens, I guess! These were better than the ones at Diavlos though.

And perhaps the best part: Vegan Carrot-Sesame-Raisin Cake. This was perfect–just hippy enough and not too sweet, but good enough for dessert. We bought a couple of these to go too!

But if you thought the restaurant’s food looked amazing, they have the most amazing vegan-friendly health food store EVER! Imagine every single wall of a store looking just like this one. Full of goodies such as kamut breadsticks, vegan halva sweetened with grape juice and raisins, chocolate quinoa muesli, and oh so much more. I may or may not have boughten a small village’s worth of carob products: Carob Syrup Waffles, Carob Tahini, and Carob Hazlenut Spread!

These are powdered non-dairy milks for traveling. If they weren’t all like 17 euro, I would have bought one. Just look at the variety–almond, soy, hazlenut, chestnut, quinoa, walnut, sesame…

Beautiful Raspberry Salad from 1800 in Santorini (It looks like a flower!) This slow food restaurant is legendary on the island, and it’s easy to see why. They were really great about my being vegan.

Pesto Pasta with Roasted Nuts at 1800. They even checked that the pasta was egg-free for me! Also, this dish has inspired me to top pasta with mixed roasted nuts more often!

Yes, if you ever go to Greece you will indeed find yourself faced with many a cucumber-tomato salad, which admittedly, can get a little dull. But if you’re lucky enough to find one with some extra pizazz, like this cucumber-tomato salad laced with fresh mint, you really have no right to complain. I’d like to make this at home. It’s summer on a plate.

Here’s an automatically-vegan-no-matter-where-you-order-it dish Greece is famous for: fava beans! Pureed into a dip and topped with caramelized onions! It tastes kind of like lentils…

Just a fruit and tropical muesli bowl topped with almond milk, nothing special. The special part is the view in the background–what we saw from the patio of our Santorini hotel room!

Finally, this is a meal that I made with fresh ingredients in the kitchen of our hotel room in Santorini. Homemade pasta we bought in Tuscany with tomatoes, spinach, garlic, bell peppers, gigantes (beans), and fresh herbs! My family loved it, but I thought I could have done better. Still…it was pretty and, more importantly, cheap! :)

If you’re still unconvinced that vegans can eat just as freaking well as omnis abroad, then go play in traffic.

I’m just kidding, but seriously.

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Europe Part I: Italian Eats

Freaking finally, right? It only took me a month.

First night in Rome. Pizza Marinara with extra vegetables. Nice and simple, so the tomato and oregano can really shine.

The Beehive. Organic Vegetarian B&B and restaurant in Rome.

No fixed portion sizes or prices. The restaurant looked like a normal house. You just sit down in the kitchen, tell the chef exactly what you want, and he makes it fresh right in front of you.

A delicious mixed salad. Simple, but a welcome relief to the not so vegan-friendly Roman carb fest.

The meze platter my mom and I split, including vegan burger patties and special hummus.

A nice cafe in Montepulciano, a medieval hill town in Tuscany, This was the raw zucchini salad.

The best spinach ever. Just dressed with REAL olive oil and the biggest-ass pine nuts ever.

Lampone-Rosmarino (Raspberry-Rosemary) Gelato from the Pluripremiata Gelatería–Gelato World Champions, 2006-07 and 2008-09–in San Gimgiano.

Potato-Rosemary Focaccia in Cinque Terre.

I know this is an absolutely horrible photo, but it’s RICE MILK GELATO in Lago Orta, Italy! I almost had a seizure when the guy told me it was vegan. So much better than fruit/sorbet gelato.

Stay tuned for Part II: Greece soon!

Mexican Tofu Omelet!

I finally got around to making Vegan Brunch‘s Tofu Omelet this morning! It’s funny because Bianca just posted about how I encouraged her to make the Tomato-Rosemary Scones, and I knew I had to make Tofu Omelets ASAP after seeing her post on them. She went a more traditional route with a spinach, mushroom, and mozzarella Teese filling, but I decided to flaunt my Southwestern AZ pride by filling mine with the Rancheros Sauce and Beans (from the Polenta Rancheros recipe), and topping them with Fried Plantains and Trader Joe’s Spicy, Smoky Peach Salsa.

The Rancheros Beans recipe is very forgiving (as I’ve found most of Isa’s recipes to be–it’s definitely the mark of a good cookbook!). Instead of 2 cans of black beans, I used 1 can of pinto beans and one can of vegetarian refried beans. Plus, I subbed a half can of fire-roasted tomatoes combined with a whole pureed tomato and some garlic chipotle salsa in order to “make” a 15 oz can of tomato, sauce. Haha, so ghetto.

And, I’m not gonna lie, I was definitely worried that the omelets wouldn’t stay together. The directions are so detailed, and there seems like so many places you can go wrong (and I used Mori-Nu silken tofu when she explicitly tells you not to do so). But, miraculously, they somehow came out perfectly. I ended up with fluffy yet firm, lightly browned, beautiful vegan omelets. And, Bianca’s right–Isa IS a genius for unleashing the eggy powers of black salt (kala namak)! It really works! As good as this omelet was, I can’t wait to make one with more standard, less intensely-flavored filling/toppings so that the “egginess” can shine through even more!

Messy, half-eaten money shot. ¡Arriba!

Love you, Isa.

Carob Chip Cookie Dough Oat Bran

So I have to thank Ruby Red Vegan and Curly Top for my delicious breakfast this morning! Peanut Butter Carob Chip Cookie Dough Oat Bran! I know the name is the mouthful, but didn’t you know that complicated recipe titles make the food taste better? Well, you should.

I followed Ruby Red’s recipe for the most part, but I left out the date because I didn’t need the extra sweetness since I used VitaSoy Light Vanilla instead of unsweetened soy milk, and I used pecans instead of walnuts because I like them better (and I take an omega-3 supplement, so I don’t always have to be eating walnuts, flax, and hemp! Though I do love them all, don’t worry!).

Finally–and perhaps the most exciting alteration to the recipe that I made–I used Pbu instead of peanut butter. If you click the Curly Top link above, you’ll see that “Pbu” is the name of her “light peanut butter” she invented that only has 60ish calories per 2 Tbs serving instead of 190 (OMG, I KNOW!). All you have to do is mix 2 parts almond milk to 1 part PB, add a little salt (I think this is key so as to boost the peanutty flavor that is so often accompanied by saltiness), and some cinnamon if you wish (I think it adds a nice dimension, so I would go for it).

I know that sometimes–believe me, I LOVE peanut butter, I know–only real, unadulterated, full-fat, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth PB will do, but when you just want to add a substantial kick of PB flavor to a breakfast, I think Pbu is a great way to go! I got to put double the amount of Pbu into my oat bran than Ruby Red did PB, for less than 1/3 of the calories! And, because there was more of it, its flavor was better able to permeate the whole bowl despite the fact that it was “diluted,” as it were. I think Pbu would be great in place of syrup on waffles/pancakes, as a topping for fruit salads, a filling for crepes, or as a fancy mix-in for soy yogurt bowls, oatmeal, and oat bran, as I used it here!

So what are you waiting for? Go make some! And experiment with different non-dairy milks and nut butters too!

Soup à la Pumpkin

A.k.a. Soup à la Lazy. :)

I was exhausted after work today, so I wasn’t up for any laborious dinner preparations. I had half a can of leftover pumpkin from the tofu scramble I made yesterday, so I decided to use that and make some soup. Luckily, I have a copy of Happy Herbivore’s e-Cookbook, Pudge-Free Holidays, in which there’s not only a pumpkin soup recipe, but a full list of variations of said recipe! I kind of made a cross between the Pumpkin Curry Soup and the Pumpkin Gingerbread Soup (I used curry, cinnamon, and cloves). I topped the bowl with some Trader Joe’s plantain chips–have you tried these things?!–and dried cranberries, for a truly festive meal that took less than 5 minutes to prepare.

I don’t have permission to publish the recipe, but it’s definitely something that anyone could make if they wanted to purge their fridge/pantry! All you have to do is heat some canned pumpkin, liquid (broth/non-dairy milk), maple syrup, salt, and spices of choice over medium heat until warmed through. Could gourmet be any easier?

P.S. I need to get a new backdrop, don’t I? ;)

Falafels, Cumin-Roasted Vegetable Salad and Pumpkin Tofu Scramble

We needed lunch for our hike yesterday, so I made “Lightened-Up” Falafels from The Everyday Vegan. I’ve made these before, and I love them! They’re fat-free besides the tiny amount of oil you “fry” them in, and they’re chock-full of fresh herbs–parsley and coriander to be exact. I made the Tahini-Tamari Sauce to go with them, as Dreena suggests, and we had them in Trader Joe’s whole wheat pita with spinach and tomatoes while we lounged creekside!

I also made the Cumin-Roasted Vegetable Salad from The Angelica Home Kitchen cookbook, subbing eggplant for the fennel (EW FENNEL EW). It was such a simple recipe, but it really was delicious. Toasting your own cumin seeds makes all the difference.

My dad’s exact words were, “hiking lunches are a completely different experience with Nora…” :)

For dinner tonight, I was craving something exotic. I know this is random, but I wanted Celine’s Pumpkin Tofu Scramble!

Oh, I adore this dish so much. I added a pinch of cinnamon, some soy milk (for extra creaminess and to deglaze the pan), and a lot of vegetables–zucchini, bell pepper, and green bean–and served it over Trader Joe’s Sprouted Wheat Berry Toast with a tiny drizzle of maple syrup. It totally hit the spot! Seriously, guys, make this scramble if you want a nice change from your typical noochy one (although there is some nooch in here!)

Happy Father’s Day!

This post is dedicated to my pops. He may seem like a nerdy geography professor at first glance–and he is–but he’s actually more like Indiana Jones. Or at least that’s the running joke in our family since my dad’s such a fun, outdoorsy guy and, c’mon, what grown man doesn’t like being compared to good ‘ol Indie? ;)

To celebrate this momentous day, my family (and my best friend’s dad) went on a hike near Sedona to a little swimming hole. We had a great time, and there is really no better way to recognize Father’s Day for my dad than to do a little trailblazin’. If you didn’t believe my claim that he’s a veritable adventurer, here’s some proof:

My dad’s mantra is “All things in moderation”–believe me, he makes sure to mention it every day–so I’ll keep the sappiness in check, but I definitely have to say, I love you, dad! You’re my favorite person to kick back with, whether we’re doing crossword puzzles or cooking together, and you’re pretty much the only one in the family who listens to my vegan rants! (I appreciate it!) I know we often compare you to Jeff Probst, Bob Saget, and the dad in Calvin & Hobbes, but don’t worry–your Indiana resemblance trumps them all!