Veg Veggie Burger

There’s nothing better than a quiet afternoon after the hustle and bustle of an afternoon at the hostel. I grabbed my book, sunnies (as they call them here in South Africa), and spent a quiet afternoon at Rick’s Cafe, sipping wine and eating my delicious veggie burger. Life is good. *sigh.

Happy Vegetarian Monday!

veggie_burgerveggie_burger-2veggie_burger-4DANI

Falooda so gooda!

Falooda is nectar served in a glass made by gods. Its creamy ice cream scoop surrounded by multi-colored rosewater goodness was made for sipping on a hot day— and any day for that matter. I had the great fortune to try it at a Cape Malay restaurant in Bo-Kapp, Cape Town this week.

Bo-Kapp is an awesome little district in Cape Town, where all the buildings are painting bright colors. It’s a Muslim district, and one of my friends who was walking around the district alone had the unfortunate experience of wandering into a restaurant where the owner promptly asked her where her man was. Fortunately as a group (with two men) we were able to forgo that experience.

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Falooda is typically a South Asian drink with Persian roots. It’s made with rose syrup, milk, tapioca pearls and ice cream. If you’d like to try your hand at it, here’s a recipe!

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falooda

falooda_cape_malay-4Thanks to Kevin for the photos!

Ethiopian Honey Wine

I’ve been traveling in Ethiopia for the past week or so, and have been offered more meat to consume than humanly possible. So it’s time for a Veggie Monday post! Meet Tej (pronounced Taaj), an Ethiopian traditional wine.

Tej is a locally brewed honey wine. In the past, families used to brew this themselves in their homes. It’s served in really neat class beakers, giving the feel of a chemistry set. It has a slightly bitter aftertaste, but is great fun to sit with friends and drink it (particularly since it’s very strong…)

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Enjoying the Tej while overlooking a lovely garden in Addis.

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The glass beaker’s lovely form.

And who knew!? There’s actually a video for how to make Tej on YouTube.

Greetings from Africa!

DANI

lemon soufflés with raspberry sauce

Happy Vegetarian Monday!

The following recipe is probably more suited for summertime, but it’s equally good in the dead of winter. Surprisingly easy, too – I’ve been scared of soufflés, hearing they fall and are ruined quite easily, but these were fairly easy to make and they turned out beautifully: light, fluffy, and delicious.

the INGREDIENTS:

for the raspberry sauce:

8 oz. frozen raspberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp lemon juice

for the ramekins:

2 to 3 tbsp butter, softened
3 to 4 tbsp granulated sugar

for the lemon pastry cream:

4 large egg yolks
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp table salt
1/2 oz. (1 tbsp) butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

for the meringue:

8 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 oz (1/4 cup) confectioners’ sugar

the RECIPE:

  1. Make the raspberry sauce first – you can simmer it while you make the lemon pastry cream and meringue. Combine the raspberries, lemon juice, corn starch, and sugar into a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened. The original recipe called for it to cook for only 1-2 minutes; I cooked mine down for 20 or so. Either way, it’ll turn out well.
  2. Get the ramekins ready! Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter the inside of eight 6oz ramekins (or six slightly bigger ones). Coat the insides with sugar, knocking out any excess.
  3. Make the pastry cream. Whisk together the egg yolks, milk, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, and salt in a saucepan. Over medium heat, whisk until the mixture starts bubbling. This should take about 5 minutes – don’t worry if it’s still lumpy. Continue simmering and whisking until the mixture is smooth and thick, about 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla until smooth. Take your saucepan and place it in a larger bowl full of ice water, and whisk often until the mixture is cooled to room temperature.
  4. Begin making the meringue while the pasty cream is cooling. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with a hand mixer (or in a stand mixer) on high speed until foamy. This should take 30-45 seconds. Add the cream of tartar while mixing, and continue beating until the bubbles become smaller and the whites start to form soft peaks, which should happen after another 30-60 seconds. With the beater still running, start adding the confectioners sugar 1 tbsp at a time and continue beating until the egg whites start forming glossy, pointed, stiff peaks when you remove the beater. This should take an additional 30 seconds or so. After this, if your egg whites still aren’t forming stiff peaks, finish whisking by hand to avoid over-beating. Stir the pastry cream with a silicone spatula to loosen it, then stir in a third of the meringue until combined. Gently fold in another third of the meringue by starting at the edge of the bowl and slowly bringing the spatula up through the middle of the pastry cream and then back to the edge of the bowl, rotating the bowl and repeating this motion until the meringue is mostly incorporated. It’s okay if there are a few white streaks at this point. Add the remaining meringue and fold until just combined, leaving no white streaks visible.
  5. Assemble soufflés. Divide the soufflé mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins. Put the ramekins on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center of a soufflé comes out with just the tip still wet. Serve immediately with the sauce.

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Great Sage.

I have been wanting to go to Great Sage, a vegan restaurant in Clarksville, for a long time. The menu looks delicious, and it’s not apparent it is, in fact, a vegan restaurant until you read it on the inside of the menu sitting in the place. (Unless you go on their website, because it says VEGAN RESTAURANT in a giant banner across the page.)

The food was delicious, please admire the wealth of food I ordered with my Mom one lovely lunch outing. Although the atmosphere was a bit snooty, the food was definitely worth it. I can’t wait to go back to try one of their green lentil and butternut squash burgers.

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Spring Rolls

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Chai Latte with choice of soy, rice, or coconut milk

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Raw Falafel

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Samosas!

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grilled tofu with rosemary and juniper berries.

Our dad is THE grill king.

charlie_bradfordHe is the owner (and co-builder) of a 14 foot long stainless steel grill, capable of roasting a whole pig on one side while a multitude of hamburgers and hot dogs sizzle on the other.

charlie_bradford_grillHe makes a beef tenderloin so juicy and succulent, the aroma alone is enough to make a grown man weep. He was commissioned to make it for our cousin’s rehearsal dinner, and the smell wafting from the grill caused a minor stampede and a small child was trampled.

[slight exaggeration]

Our family went to North Carolina for our dad’s birthday this year, and he decided to make this scrumptious, wonderful, amazing tenderloin (although the grill down there isn’t nearly as amazing as his 14 foot-er). Unfortunately … Dani and I weren’t eating meat. We were (justifiably) sad about it, but we knew there must be an answer. The solution? From Dani’s clever brain, it emerged: take the tenderloin rub and, instead of putting it on beef, put it on tofu. Pure genius.

To make Dani’s mouth-watering grilled tofu, you will need:

  • 1 package of firm tofu, cut into cubes
  • olive oil
  • several garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • juniper berries
  • fresh rosemary
  • kosher salt
  • tin foil and a grill

It’s really simple to make! Once your tofu is cut into cubes and dried (lay it out flat on paper towels and let sit for 10 minutes or so), lay the cubes onto a layer of tin foil, leaving enough foil to fold over and use as a cover when grilling. Brush the cubes with olive oil. Distribute the garlic evenly over the tofu cubes. Sprinkle with salt, fresh rosemary, and juniper berries. Fold the foil over and crimp all the edges. Put the entire foil package onto the grill for 15-20 minutes, checking occasionally. The end result?

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It was fantastic. Try it – you’ll see! Happy Vegetarian Monday!

veggies & starches.

Happy Vegetarian Monday!

I have a bowl of healthy things on my table, and I’m going to make something out of them tonight for dinner. What, I don’t know. I hope everyone has tasty and healthy dinner plans tonight! And if you don’t … that’s okay, too. I love junk food. Especially hot dogs. Worst vegetarian ever.

butternut_squash_onions_yams_photoHave a wonderful Monday, everybody! Happy Veteran’s Day!

the senoritas

The Tofu World Record

While dining at Kobe one evening with friends, I asked a simple question. Instead of the chicken, steak, shrimp, shrimp and steak, or chicken and shrimp, would it be possible to get just tofu? There was only one vegetarian option on the menu: tofu with assorted vegetables. Since the entree already came with a side of vegetables, rice, noodles, soup, and salad, I didn’t want too much food. Just tofu would be fine.

It was apparently a tricky question. It created a stir among the staff, having to check in with the kitchen to see if this was possible. When our chef came out, he dumped an enormous pile of what looked like portobello mushrooms on the grill. It wasn’t. It was my tofu.

Please not how the heads of the two diners in the back are equally proportionate to the amount of tofu. The tofu would have fed at least 8 people comfortably. Easy. And to add crazy upon crazy, the chef didn’t seem to get the joke. He kept repeating, “But you wanted just tofu, right?” It was so comical, everyone at our table was laughing and making jokes about it.

Keep in mind, this is not a regular dinner plate. It’s about twice the size of a normal one. It was an enormous pile of tofu that everyone at our table could not have finished. But there was more.

Unceremoniously, because there was no extra room on the plate because of the tofu, the chef then dropped an enormous pile of noodles on top of the tofu. So my plate became a watering hole of Japanese Steakhouse cuisine. A mixed salad of noodles, fried rice, and tofu. A trough for my dining pleasure.

I had 2 take home containers, completely stuffed, from this dining experience— which was nice for leftovers. But seriously, who could possibly eat that much food?

Mochi Magic

For those of you trying to eat healthier, there’s an amazing substance I just discovered called Mochi (pronounced mow-chee). Made out of brown rice and water, it’s an great alternative to nutrition-less, processed white flour. Instead of making waffles out of a bunch of ingredients, including sugar and oil, try Mochi and experience its magic and whole grain serving. So far, I’ve only experimented using it for waffles, but apparently there are many other possibilities. Observe its power:

1. Place strips of Mochi (sliced lengthwise and vertically) into the waffle maker.

2. Come back- and it’s a waffle!

3. Put some vegan butter and maple syrup (or berries) on that bad boy and you’ve got an awesome breakfast!

Photos by Matthew Bokan, who was rewarded with a Mochi waffle for his time.