Tuesday I had to take an all day class and then an exam at the health department in downtown Atlanta. It sounds kind of terrible but it was actually pretty informative. And the test was pretty easy. Anyway, we were only going to have an hour break for lunch so I had to figure out ahead of time what to eat. Calabash looked to be a bit too far to walk, so after some googling around I found Negril Caribbean Cafe. Their menu showed some veggie options. Cool!
Naturally, it was raining all day. So I stomped through the rain the 3 or 4 blocks to the restaurant. I asked about vegan options and it was pretty much all the veggie options. Cool! So I got the blackened tofu, peas and rice and green beans. She said the blackened tofu came with sweet and sour sauce. I asked for it on the side. The blackened tofu wasn’t really spicy. At all. So that was kind of odd. But everything was pretty good. The sweet and sour sauce was kind of like asian sweet and sour sauce. It also had a strip each of raw onion, bell pepper and carrot in it. And two tomato chunks. I ended up dumping it on half the rice and half the tofu. I think the green beans were just canned, but they weren’t cooked to death so I was fine with that. They also had some veggie stir fries, a curry and other stuff on the menu I’d like to try.
I almost forgot that I picked up a callaloo patty for later that became part of dinner. The greens had a bit of a kick. Very nice.
Holy crap! That wraps up my 2nd VeganMofo! 31 posts in 31 days. I might be a little blogged out….
This past weekend I missed a quick trip to Asheville because I had to study for an exam on food safety. It’ll be another week before I get the results, but I’m pretty sure I aced it. Kevin was a sweetie and brought me back a box of chocolates from French Broad Chocolates. They’ve been delightful. I’m not sure which is my favorite yet. I guess I’ll just have to keep eating to figure that out. And of course, all of these are vegan.
Fellow vegans, I’m sure you’ve been to many events where you can’t eat most if not all of the food, right? It gets old, doesn’t it? I know I just stopped going to any work events a long time ago because they are completely uninterested in making sure there’s something for vegans to eat. So fuck ‘em.
But this weekend I attended a bachelorette party where EVERYTHING was vegan. How awesome is that? Plus, I didn’t have to cook any of it. See, you can put out an amazing spread without making animals suffer. Warning: there is a sort of naughty dessert towards the bottom. Just don’t scroll all the way down if that’d get you in trouble at work.
veggie dogs in blankets
a shot of the spread
It’s been nice cooking lately instead of going out. While we’re lucky enough to have quite a few vegan options here in Atlanta, there is a ceiling. And sometimes you get tired of eating the same stuff all the time. At least I do.
But when you cook at home, your possibilities are almost endless. The Sweet & Sour Chipotle Tempeh with Sweet Potatoes from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan were another excuse to turn on the oven for an hour. Plus, I don’t cook nearly enough tempeh. I forgot to get pineapple and toyed with the idea of using mandarin orange segments but then just left out the ingredient entirely. The dish did not suffer for it. There was plenty of sauce and plenty of sweet and sour goodness.
Apparently I’ve been revisiting old favorites lately. The piles of Fall squash in the markets always make me think of this dish, Tanya’s Asian Creation from How It All Vegan. Another one that comes together quickly with ingredients that can hang out for a while without going bad. I love to have a few of those up my sleeve for weeks when you don’t really know what you’re doing one night to the next.
This time I used a cute little butternut I had hanging out. Even though it was small, I had extra that I put in the freezer already cubed for later use. Oh, and make the gomashio. It makes the dish and is quick and cheap to make.
If you want to cook something that is about as close to the tastiest Indian food you can get in a restaurant, you’ll want to try these lentils from Dino’s Alternative Vegan cookbook. This is one of those recipes I keep going back to. It’s another one you can whip together with mostly pantry items.
I had a couple of options for something green to eat on the side. Instead of keeping the green beans plain, I used the treatment Dino gives to broccoli and roasted them up in the oven. There might have been just a bit more seasoning than I needed for the amount of green beans I had, but it was amazingly good.
A lovely bean soup from dried beans doesn’t necessarily mean long hours on the stove top. A pressure cooker will deliver it in about 20 minutes. Lentils are even faster. And it makes risotto super easy. No stirring!
When I’m going to cook beans, whether in the slow cooker or the pressure cooker, I plan ahead and put them in to soak in some water at least 8 hours. If I’m not going to use right after soaking, I just stick them in the fridge until I need them.
If you’re looking for a guide to ease you into pressure cookery, Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure is a great choice. And I think most recipes are either vegan or easily vegan. It comes with handy cook time charts for various beans, grains and vegetables so you can speed up your favorite dish once you get comfortable with pressure cooking.
This is the Tarragon Scented White Bean Soup from this book. In this case, navy beans. It made a great weeknight Fall meal.
Confused yet? We have a group that meets once a month, usually for lunch. But this past time, we had dinner. At Loving Hut. We had a nice turn out. You should join us. If you don’t have veg friends, it’s fun to hang out with a bunch of like minded folks. And even if you do, it’s nice to see every once in a while that vegans come from all walks of life.
Now, on to the food. I knew some of the things I liked from the opening day party. Their rice paper rolls were really enjoyable, so I got the basil rolls:
Kevin sneaked in an order for Heavenly Salad. I didn’t complain. I love the Vietnamese flavors in this dish.
This fried tofu also magically appeared on the table. I had a triangle and it was nice. Light crispy panko coating.
Ever since I saw Pho on the menu, I wanted to try it. It was pretty good, but I think I would prefer a more garlicy/gingery broth. This one was more beefy and had a hint of 5 spice powder. I don’t hate it, but it’s not my favorite thing.
Kevin ordered a coffee drink and it came with this lovely strawberry flavored decoration. Not sure how I would feel about strawberry in my coffee, but it sure was pretty.
Something else from the menu that I had my eye on was the rootbeer float. I mean, where can you get a vegan rootbeer float? The rootbeer was really tasty and the ice cream seemed to be standard soy vanilla. One pro tip for you, tell them to hold the ice. It seems unnecessary when you’re dumping ice cream into a cold beverage.
Kevin also ordered the hummingbird cake. If you saw my most from the opening, you’ll know I wasn’t happy with the texture of the hummingbird cake there. It was kind of mushy. This one was much better. It’s still not as good as Lisa’s, but then how could it be?
So, I’m copying people again. But hey, isn’t that what VeganMofo is all about? Well, partly about. Getting yummy new ideas from other people. I impulse bought a delicata squash and needed something to do with it, then I saw this. Perfect! Is there anything more comforting on a cool day than some lovely roasted vegetables? This recipe is pretty simple, but amazingly tasty. For the herb option, I went with rosemary and thyme. To go with it, I made polenta. Creamy polenta, roasty vegetables. Mmmm….
Also, if you haven’t tried delicata squash yet, you must. It’s a great lazy squash because the skin is fairly thin and you don’t have to peel it. See the little striped bits? Tasty!