Pita Jungle has this amazing dish. (Not all their dishes are amazing BTW, but a few are…) I don’t know why, but the Pita Jungle peeps put this amazing dish on the side items list! Its like they don’t want you to know it is there. So basically it is some cauliflower fried to crispy garlicky brownness and covered in onion strings, pine nuts, and this sauce that will change your life! The sauce is amazing and now that I know how to make it, I have been putting it on top of everything. I would eat an old shoe if it had this sauce on top! The sauce is very basic. It is tahini, some water for thinning, and sriracha (the hot chili sauce.) The ratio might be something like 4 tahinis, 1 water, and 1 sriracha give or take a bit. Thats it for entrance into food heaven! Here are some pics to salivate over. In the pics I was trying to make the cauliflower healthy and steamed, but in fact the fried cauliflower is better! And since I have been putting the sauce on everything, I made pitas with tomatoes and cucumbers and gardein chicken breast fakes and put the sauce all over that delish combo too. Try it. I have already been through 1 jar of tahini this week.
Loving Hut September 19, 2010
There is this all vegan restaurant nearby. An all vegan restaurant with a few twists. Loving Hut. You might need to just visit the place and google “Supreme Master ching Hai” to understand the ambience that comes with this place. I find it very peaceful, clean, and light. And I am always fascinated by (um) the culture that leads to a place like this based on a philosophy like that. (Very mysterious, I know.) The people who work there are always very gracious and full of service. You can check wikipedia if you want the mystery info, I want to talk about the food! This place is set up like a common Chinese of Taiwanese health restaurant. It is not expensive. It is fairly casual but clean and open. The menu’s have pictures and very Asian names. Everything seems like it was translated directly from Chinese. And it is all based on the idea that this food is healthy and cleansing. See when someone in China wants to go out for something healthy and healing (maybe the equivalent of tyring to eat all local or organic) they eat vegan! This idea is pretty lost on Americans, but it makes perfect sense in Asia. So with that understanding you can better prepare for what Loving Hut is all about. This place is interesting, and a field trip worth taking. And the food is all good! At least everything I have had was great. The portions are more appropriately sized and you won’t be spending over 7 dollars for any entree. I suggest it. Here are some pics from our recent trip. (This group was all carnivores (sans myself) and all enjoyed it immensely. In fact the eating location was suggested and chosen by non-veg friends who love this place.) There are Loving Huts all over the world so I hope you get to try one soon.
Cakes and Cupcakes! July 31, 2010
It was my roommate’s birthday today. Tried out some new cakes and cupcakes and got great reviews! No one even knew they were vegan. Except one friend who asked. They were quite tasty!
It was also my brother’s white coat ceremony for medical school. It is the start of a long, hard school road… so they do this graduation like ceremony for the beginning of school. I got to see my wee baby so I was happy. Many pics of her to follow 🙂
So the cakes! I gave Brittany a flavor survey with many options in cakes, fillings, and frostings. From her answers I decided to make a vanilla three layer cake with a strawberry filling and lemon buttercream frosting. Yummers. Key is fresh lemon juice and fresh strawberries. I also made red velvet cupcakes with a twist on the traditional cream cheese frosting. This was cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Very delectable. The chocolate extract I took time hunting down was amazing in this recipe.
For the cake building, I learned a few tricks. The first is to put a thin layer of frosting down before filling so that the filling doesn’t soak into the cake too much. Second, a ring of frosting around the edge of each layer will keep the filling trapped in. Both of these tricks worked quite well. The cake even made a long drive to east mesa without too much damage, though it did have a lean upon arrival.
And these vegan cake recipes are moist and delicious. Both had such a great crumb! All of the recipes (minus variations like cinnamon and created fillings of strawberries) came from my favorite cupcake book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World! I just took cupcake recipes and made one batch for each layer of the 8 inch round cake. I was a bit worried to try this, but it worked great.
Jason’s white coat ceremony and adorable wee baby!
Polenta May 31, 2010
I see Polenta every time I go to Sprouts. There it is, this tube of weird textured yellowness, next to the noodles that I understand and love. So I decided to try it. I like it! It is basically boiled cornmeal with flavorings. I tried microwaving it as the instructions suggested. Then I tried frying it. (By frying I mean spraying a frying pan with spray on oil and cooking it until it has a crispy browned outsides.) Frying was delicious! I then added these fried bits to a basic whole wheat noodles, veggies, and tomato sauce dish I was making. Polenta is tasty when fried and in marinara sauce! Next time I might skip the noodles and make tons of polenta, veggies, and sauce. It is really good. Why have I never been introduced to this before?
Weird tube shaped polenta:
First try (the microwaved version:)
Frying it up (the noodle dish is in the background:)
Tasty little meal:)
I eat some version of a green smoothie on almost every normal day. What I mean by normal is when I am following my normal routine. Not on vacation or staying at someone’s house or something like that! I love it! And it makes me feel great. I put different things in it all the time. Bananas make a great frothy smooth base. I buy them by the bunches and freeze them in bags (unpeeled.) Edamame are flavorless and add great protein. Carrots are good, but too many can have a grittiness. All fruits are delicious. Cucumbers, avocados, tofu, and peas have all been in the blend. Yummr smoothie safe for delicate foreign digestion! (Anyone who has been to Koh San Road in Thailand would probably get that. Yummr smoothies are definitely worth a trip to Thailand!) Now I want a smoothie….. from Thailand.
Copy Cat Couscous May 16, 2010
There is this great hole in the wall/ secret location style Middle Eastern Restaurant that I love in Tempe. It is called the Phoenician. It’s by the Mosque that is off of Mill (to the East) just South of the A mountain. The restaurant owners are so nice and after you eat you can go into the adjoining grocery store and get all sorts of exotic things. There you can also buy ingredients to copy the food you have just consumed in the restaurant. This is just what I did last week. I had some couscous with my falafels in the restaurant. The couscous was a beautiful yellow color with a delightful flavor. I decided this was turmeric and decided to make a turmeric couscous dish with lots of vegetables. It was all a big experiment but I think it turned out great! I boiled a bunch of various vegetables in a pot with vegetable broth, salt, a pinch of curry mix, and a lot of turmeric. Then I added the couscous at the end and took it off the heat. Easiest thing I ever made. It turned out tasty and I think the color makes it very interesting. It tasted pretty close to the restaurant’s dish! Next time I think I would make an even higher veggies to couscous ratio but other than that it was perfect!