vegetable diaries

Archive for August, 2009

oh my dal- recipe

Posted by vegetablediaries on August 28, 2009

oh my dal with cilantro flower garnish

oh my dal with cilantro flower garnish

there are countless ways to prepare the indian classic, dal. however this recipe is simple and delicious, and only takes under 30 minutes from start to finish if you use a pressure cooker. i use a futura five liter pressure cooker and love it. you also won’t need a pantry full of spices; although this recipe is flavourful, it only contains a handful of ingredients. feel free to use any lentils you prefer. i used a combination of four of my favourite lentils and was quite pleased with the results. dal is something i subsist on daily and i encourage you to use this method when you’re looking for something fast, fresh and tasty! as an added bonus it’s also incredibly nutritious. serve this with chapati (indian griddle bread), rice or quinoa, or eat it like a soup. enjoy!

Oh My Dal

1/4 cup split urad dal
1/4 cup whole moong dal
1/4 cup masoor dal
1/4 cup toor dal
2 or 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, crushed (i use a microplane grater)
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 serrano chilies, sliced (if you like more heat, add more)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro

dry lentils- urad, whole moong, toor, and masoor

dry lentils- split urad, whole moong, masoor, and toor

Sort through the dry lentils and pick out any stones or debris, then rinse well and set aside. Heat the pressure cooker on a medium flame and add the olive oil. Once the pan is hot add the cumin seeds and cook until fragrant, about two minutes. Add the ginger, garlic and chiles and cook for about one minute. Then add the turmeric and cook for one minute. Add the lentils and roast them with the spices for a few minutes.

roasting lentils in the pressure cooker

roasting lentils in the pressure cooker

Next add the salt and 4 1/2 cups of water. Stir to combine, then seal the lid and adjust the flame to medium-high. When the pressure cooker starts to whistle, lower the flame and cook for 10 minutes. Let the pressure come down before opening the lid, then add the fresh tomatoes and cilantro…and eat! (about 6-8 servings)

oh my dal!

oh my dal!

Posted in gluten-free-friendly, indian, recipes, vegan | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

world food cafe 2 by chris & carolyn caldicott

Posted by vegetablediaries on August 26, 2009

marinated butternut squash & sweet peppers with hot tomato sauce- world food cafe 2 recipe

marinated butternut squash & sweet peppers with hot tomato sauce- world food cafe 2 recipe

well, i have been doing more garden-sitting and recently harvested butternut squash, bell peppers and tomatoes… with a few snips from the thyme shrub. i’ve been trying to use my cookbooks more and i found this great caribbean recipe from -world food cafe 2- by chris and carolyn caldicott. i also have their first cookbook, -world food cafe- and love it. the caldicotts are husband and wife globetrotters with voracious appetites! their cookbooks are filled with interesting vegetarian/vegan recipes from their excursions, with stellar photography by chris. their recipes span from cambodia, thailand, malaysia, north africa, sub-saharan africa, pakistan, india, maldives, sri lanka, french polynesia, central america, italy, and the caribbean! they also own the london eatery, -world food cafe-. because i had everything fresh from the garden i thought i would try out the recipe: marinated butternut squash and sweet peppers with hot tomato sauce. i’ve never made a caribbean dish, so i was curious to try something new. this is a fantastic summer meal! i strayed from the recipe and didn’t use the okra in the sauce because i didn’t have any on hand, and i also added 1 package of tempeh to the butternut squash and peppers. the lime and thyme really shine through and make this so refreshing on a hot day. i used a broiler to cook the vegetables and tempeh, but you can also cook it on the barbecue. here is the recipe:

Marinated Butternut Squash and Sweet Peppers with Hot Tomato Sauce from -World Food Cafe 2-

1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks (3 1/2–4 cups)
2 large red onions, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
3 red peppers, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch squares

For the marinade:
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon soy sauce (i used wheat-free tamari)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons honey (i used maple syrup)

For the tomato sauce:
2 tablespoons sunflower oil (i used olive oil)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2–1 Scotch bonnet chile, seeded and finely chopped (if unavailable, use another small hot chile)
4 ounces okra pods (about 16–18 okra), chopped in 1/2-inch rings
14 ounces ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks (2–2 1/2 cups)
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon lime juice
salt and black pepper, to taste

Parboil the squash in a saucepan of boiling water until it is just starting to soften but is still firm. Drain and place in a large bowl with the onions, peppers, and marinade ingredients. Stir well to coat all the vegetables with the marinade and set to one side for 1 hour.

Meanwhile make the tomato sauce. Heat the sunflower oil in a saucepan. When hot, add the onion, garlic, chile, and okra, and gently fry until soft. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, and lime juice, and bring to a boil; cover the pan and simmer until the sauce has reduced and oil returns. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Skewer the onions, peppers, and butternut squash and cook either on the barbecue or under a hot broiler until brown on all sides. Any remaining marinade can be added to the tomato sauce and heated through. Serve the skewers topped with the sauce, with rice on the side.

Enjoy!

-world food cafe 2- cookbook

-world food cafe 2- cookbook

Posted in caribbean, cookbooks, gluten-free-friendly, recipes, vegan-friendly | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

vegan soul kitchen by bryant terry

Posted by vegetablediaries on August 21, 2009

crisp green beans with roasted shallots and walnuts- vegan soul kitchen recipe

crisp green beans with roasted shallots and walnuts- vegan soul kitchen recipe

i’m garden-sitting at the moment and yesterday i harvested a mother-load of green beans, amongst other things. as such, i wanted to do something out of my ordinary and have been meaning to try some recipes from the -vegan soul kitchen- cookbook by bryant terry. i found this tasty recipe: crisp green beans with roasted shallots and walnuts! it was perfect because i had everything fresh from the garden and it’s simple and easy to make. the beans are coated with a delicious lemon, thyme, dijon mustard vinaigrette. wow, this dressing has so much zing and the toasted walnuts add just the right touch. i didn’t have shallots on hand, so i used little pearl onions from the garden and it worked out great. this is a perfect summer salad or side dish to any meal.

vegan soul kitchen cookbook

vegan soul kitchen cookbook

i’m really excited to make more recipes from -vegan soul kitchen- and i highly recommend the book! for more information you can go here.

Posted in cookbooks, gluten-free-friendly, vegan | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

cha-ya vegetarian japanese restaurant

Posted by vegetablediaries on August 19, 2009

senroppon salad (shredded salad) at cha-ya, san francisco

senroppon salad (shredded salad) at cha-ya, san francisco

i visited cha-ya’s san francisco location and was more than pleasantly surprised. first off, you should believe the rumours that cha-ya gets crazy busy, but i visited during lunch and it wasn’t too bad. i didn’t even have to wait for a table.. maybe it was an off-day.  i ordered the senroppon salad, which is so lovely you don’t even want to eat it! there is shredded daikon, turnip, cucumber, carrots, tofu, radishes, soybeans, sprouts, and pine nuts, all topped with a soy-vinaigrette dressing. YUM. everything is really affordable, but just remember it is cash only. it’s also all vegan.

vegan roll at cha-ya

vegan roll at cha-ya

hello vegan roll. these sushi rolls are massive! there is asparagus, tofu, cucumber, broccoli, pickled burdock, and shiitake all waiting for you. i must have looked funny mooshing it all into my mouth; however, i enjoyed it and i can’t wait to go back for more!

i don’t have a photo, but the vegan chocolate cake is amazing!

thank you, cha-ya for existing.

Cha-Ya Vegetarian Japanese Restaurant
762 Valencia St
(between 18th St & 19th St)
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 252-7825

p.s. there is another cha-ya location in berkeley.

Posted in japanese, sf bay area, vegan | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

sweet basil thai cuisine

Posted by vegetablediaries on August 17, 2009

sweet basil thai cuisine

sweet basil thai cuisine

sweet basil will knock your socks off with their thai spice. when i first ordered the lunch special (above) i ordered it “very spicy” and almost died. they do not mess around with their thai chilies, and if you like it spicy you are in luck. if you don’t need too much spice then go ahead and order it “not too spicy” and you will be quite pleased. i love spicy food but its nice to be able to control it… so, i usually just ask for the hot sauce if i want it to be more spicy.

i really enjoy sweet basil. the lunch specials are so affordable, delicious and filling.. and it’s located on solano avenue, with all of the nice shops and the xocolate bar is right across the street! for lunch i like to order the green curry with drunken tofu and brown rice combination. all for $9.50! i’ve also tried the basil eggplant, which is outstanding! the staff are very accommodating if you have any food sensitivities. enjoy!

Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine
1736 Solano Ave
(between Ensenada Ave & Tulare Ave)
Berkeley, CA 94707
(510) 527-8611

Posted in gluten-free-friendly, sf bay area, thai, vegan-friendly | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

caracas arepa bar

Posted by vegetablediaries on August 16, 2009

caracas east village location

caracas east village location

ed: i haven’t been able to confirm with Caracas if they use milk in the arepa dough, however someone left a comment saying that there is milk in the dough. when i visited Caracas they told me that the arepa dough is vegan and i have eaten there on numerous occasions thinking that it my meal was dairy-free. i’m still going to keep this post up, but i can’t confirm whether or not Caracas is vegan-friendly. sorry, vegans!

intimate seating, hooray! although it can be difficult to get a table at Caracas it is definitely worth the wait. this teeny tiny venezuelan restaurant with locations in manhattan and brooklyn serve up homestyle arepas that will make you swoon! apreas are spongey little fried rounds made from corn flour. it’s similar to a pita pocket but the texture and taste are quite unique. most of the menu contains meat and/or dairy but i tried the la jardinera, which is an arepa filled with grilled eggplants, sun-dried tomatoes and caramelized onions, sans the cheese. i’ve also tried the mixed greens salad, which is huge and filling. the guacamole is good, too. the staff are very accommodating should you have any dietary restrictions.  i recommend getting one arepa and a salad, and if you’re really feeling hungry then get two. when they serve you your arepa your first instinct will be to devour it instantly, but be warned that these suckers are steaming hot! you’ll have to wait a few minutes before you can really get into it, but once you do you’ll be covered in arepas and just go with it. its such a fun and messy meal, quite comforting. don’t forget to try the secret hot sauce!

p.s. there is a take-out location next door if you are in a hurry and need an arepa fix.

Caracas Arepa Bar
93 1/2 E 7th St
New York, NY 10009
(212) 529-2314
www.caracasarepabar.com


Posted in gluten-free-friendly, new york city, venezuelan | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

razan organic kitchen

Posted by vegetablediaries on August 12, 2009

mediterranean platter from razan

mediterranean platter from razan

i had eaten at razan organic kitchen many times before i tried the mediterranean platter and was already in wow-mode, but after trying the mediterranean platter i was hooked! this is a great meal for lunch or dinner, however i prefer it for lunch because it holds me over all day long with no hunger pangs to speak of. it’s also very affordable! let me break this down for you: hummus, tabbouleh, falafel, dolmas, salad and tahini dressing, brown rice, whole wheat pita, and unlimited hot & mild salsas! i also love their egyptian and lebanese wraps. it’s so incredibly fresh at razan and there are numerous things to choose from: salads, wraps, burritos, and platters. the portions are giant size, so be prepared to eat it all, share, or take home. the owner is very nice and will smile at you more if you finish your meal.

Razan Organic Kitchen
2119 Kittredge St
(between Fulton St & Shattuck Ave)
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 486-0449
razanorganickitchen.com

Posted in gluten-free-friendly, mediterranean, mexican, sf bay area, vegan-friendly | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

the xocolate bar

Posted by vegetablediaries on August 4, 2009

the xocolate bar

the xocolate bar

my sweet tooth is on a rampage this week, and i have been thinking about these yummy chocolates from the xocolate bar in berkeley. as their website states, they are drop-dead delicious, and they are made without preservatives, artificial flavors, high-fructose corn syrup, or trans fats. they also offer many vegan chocolates! the flavors and shapes are quite unique; i tried a few of the vegan ones: tamarind-mango, blackcurrant, cacao nib, and coconut. i enjoyed the cacoa nib and coconut the best. they are almost too pretty to eat!

the xocolate bar chocolates

the xocolate bar chocolates

if you can’t make it to the berkeley location you can order chocolates on their website. gelato is also available for the non-vegans.

The Xocolate Bar
1709 Solano Ave
Berkeley, CA 94707
510.525.XOCO
http://www.TheXocolateBar.com

Posted in gluten-free-friendly, sf bay area, vegan-friendly | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

babycakes NYC.. and soon to be in LA

Posted by vegetablediaries on August 3, 2009

babycakes nyc bakery

babycakes nyc bakery

i ate all of my babycakes before i could take a picture… but! here are a few photos of the bakery. for those of you who haven’t met a babycake, well, they are one of the most delectable, toothsome, baked treats i have ever tried. they also happen to be refined sugar-free, gluten-free, wheat-free, soy-free, casein-free, egg-free, vegan, and kosher! so, there is something for everyone. and don’t let all those allergy-free warnings scare you… these are some serious sweets. i love the cinnamon toastie and lemon poppyseed teacakes. the agave brownies are also outstanding! the owner, erin mckenna recently published a babycakes nyc cookbook and it has been so fun to play with. i encourage everyone to try. gluten-free baking can be really tricky but its definitely worth the results!

oh! los angeles will soon be in luck! babycakes nyc is coming to downtown LA. you can read more here: http://vegnews.com/web/articles/food.do

babycakes nyc bakery

babycakes nyc bakery

cute t-shirts for sale

babycakes nyc t-shirts

babycakes nyc t-shirts

not everything is gluten-free, so inquire which products are safe to eat if you have any gluten or wheat sensitivities.

http://www.babycakesnyc.com/

Posted in gluten-free-friendly, los angeles, new york city, vegan, vegan bakery | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

dinner at millennium mishmash

Posted by vegetablediaries on August 1, 2009

indian spiced grilled portobello mushroom at millennium

indian spiced grilled portobello mushroom at millennium

the number of amazing restaurants is endless in the bay area, and i give to you millennium! here are some photos taken at millennium over the last few months. i think the food can speak for itself..

vietnamese style scallion & mung bean sprout crepe at millennium

vietnamese style scallion & mung bean sprout crepe at millennium

mmm..

blackberry glazed smoked tempeh at millennium

blackberry glazed smoked tempeh at millennium

this dark chocolate “cheese” cake was insanely good. let me describe it for you: cocoa nib-brownie crust, conocado chocolate cream, caramel ice cream, blackberry coulis.

dark chocolate "cheese" cake at millennium

dark chocolate "cheese" cake at millennium

the almond shortcake was my favourite and i came back a few more times just for this: ginger-coconut cream, seasonal berries & stone fruit, lemongrass scented aprium-blackberry sorbet, thai basil creme anglaise!

almond shortcake at millennium

almond shortcake at millennium

here is my friend’s rice pudding timbale, which is saffron scented rice pudding, strawberry-mango-serrano chutney, mango sorbet, and coconut almond tuile.

my friend's millennium dessert.. so pretty

my friend's millennium dessert.. so pretty

millennium's sorbet sampler!

millennium's sorbet sampler!

many dollars have gone into this millennium photo shoot but it was a pleasure to dine in this vegan wonderland.

http://www.millenniumrestaurant.com/

Posted in gluten-free-friendly, sf bay area, vegan | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

 
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