Archive | July, 2008

Birthday Dinner at Antipasto’s – Clifton Park, NY

31 Jul

There are a handful of decent vegetarian restaurants in the Albany/Saratoga area, and a lot of places where you can get food that’s suitable for vegetarians and vegans without having to eat a plate of lettuce. But there is one restaurant that makes me happier than anything because they have a huge menu of mostly Italian type foods that are vegetarian or vegan or vegetarian and can be made vegan just by asking. I believe they also offer some meaty things if you’re averse to eating things other than meat but I’ve never been there with a person that’s ordered meat.

Oh yeah, this restaurant is called Antipasto’s, and it’s in Clifton Park, NY. It’s a teeny tiny place that’s hidden by a Price Chopper and a Pizza Hut.

I’ve been going there for my birthday for a few years now, and this year my mommy took me there because she likes their food a whole bunch too. It’s not somewhere I go a lot because the food is a little on the pricey side. But for special things it’s just fine, and they have a great wine list too.

We drove through a crazy thunderstorm to get to the restaurant, but it stopped when we got there. Brian was our server and he’s waited on me there before. He’s a really happy guy, so I was glad to see him. He informed us that the soup of the day was a chilled cantaloupe and peach soup with mango and mint. My jaw dropped. I asked him if there was cream in it and he said no but went in the back to make sure it was vegan. It was, so I ordered a cup of it.

It was really sweet and really fruity and I imagined eating it with waffles.  It’s now my goal to make a chilled canteloupe soup and eat lots of it.

Antipasto’s has a menu of appetizers, salads, vegetarian dishes, pasta dishes with a load of different sauces, and a pizza menu.  I don’t eat pizza very often, unless I’m making it myself.  However, I need some pizza dough practice before my own pizza gets unleashed on the public.  This restaurant knows how to make a cheeseless pizza.  I ordered a four cut Ultimate Cheeseless pizza, which consists of their pizza base, a tomato sauce, roasted eggplant, artichoke hearts, broccoli, white beans, and whole cloves of roasted garlic.

It was dark in there, another storm was coming while we ate.  Of course it held off until we got back into the car, though.

But the pizza.  Gorgeous.  One slice was more than enough for me, and I shared some with my mom and took the rest home with me.  They have a huge list of possible toppings for their pizza, and I would like to try something with eggplant and pine nuts sometime.  Mm!

Revisiting my birthday dinner makes me want to go back there now.  Right now!

– Ellen

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Smoky Split Pea Soup

30 Jul

So I’m back to a scheduled planned out meal thing and I’m making healthy food and kicking ass and being awesome. It’s swell. On Sunday or Monday, depending, I cook up a big cast-iron kettle of soup. This week? Split pea!

I’ve never made split pea soup before. Ever. So I used my brain to imagine up a recipe. It’s loosely based on a potato soup that my grandmother used to make, but with split pea instead of bacon and liquid smoke to add in the smoky flavor. It turned out pretty fantastic.

Ingredients!

1 um bag of split peas – I can’t remember how big it was, but it was one of those small plastic bags of dried you can find at the grocery store

3 potatoes about medium-sized, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 vegetable boullion cube

1 tsp liquid smoke

enough water to cover everything and then a bit more

salt and pepper to taste

Directions!

Okay, that’s not my best ingredient list ever, but I wasn’t tracking my measurements. Basically I chopped everything up, threw it in the kettle with water, added liquid smoke and salt and pepper, and then let it cook over medium heat until all the vegetables were soft. Once that happened, I dumped it into a blender to make it thick. If you want a more brothy soup only blend a cup or two. If you want a thick soup that will turn into something resembling mashed potatoes, blend the whole batch (that’s what I did), but not pureeing it completely. You’ll want the occasional chunk of carrot or celery or potato left in there.

But you probably don’t need too much guidance here. Soup is eee-zeeeee.

-Bret

Black Bean Noodles at Aja Noodles: Fairport, NY

24 Jul

So, pretty regularly I wish I lived in a city or country were there were noodle carts everywhere. I blame all the Chinese and Japanese cinema I watch. Oh, and Blade Runner. So when I drove past this place looking for a restaurant to eat at, I had to go. Had to. Had to. Had to.

The menu was limited but that wasn’t bad. It was what I think they call “Asian fusion” so there were Thai basil noodles and Japanese miso noodles and Chinese black bean noodles (which is what I got) and there were soups and some rice dishes but who goes to a noodle place and doesn’t eat noodles? Sick people. Crazy people!

For eight bucks I got this huge bowl! And they had sriracha at the table so I could spicy it up. It was totally the best.

So the vegetarian and vegan options were kind of limited here. Some dishes just straight-up had fish oil in them and there was no getting it out, and more than a few had egg, but since it was a small menu in the first place and there were still 2-3 noodle dishes to pick from and they all sounded fantastic I wasn’t disappointed.

I’d like to go there when me and Ellen and Molby go to Rochester to see the Melvins which is sooon. I’m order tickets today! Yeah!

-Bret

Fried Eggplant Wrap at Otto Tomotto’s: Victor, NY

23 Jul

For lunch one day me and all the other people I was training with went to Otto Tomotto’s which was this really nice little Italian place. So I wanted to eat vegan so I ordered it without cheese, but I forgot that since the eggplant was fried and breaded there was probably egg in there.

It was really tasty. Fresh green stuff and tomatos and eggplant is always awesome. The dressing was a really simple, tasty balsamic vinaigrette. It hit the spot. Oh and they served it with pasta instead of potato chips! What a great idea!

-Bret

Vegetable Vindaloo at India House: Victor, NY

22 Jul

I’m back from a week of traveling, and boy is my stomach tired. I ate a lot. So much, in fact, that I should maybe lose some weight. I’ve started exercising and paying attention to how much I eat and maybe someday I’ll be skinny again. But anyways, this isn’t a weight loss blog!

When I was in Rochester for a business trip, I found this place called India House near my hotel in Victor. I went there and it was really nice. The dining area was wide open, and get this – the menu had vegetable vindaloo on it. I have only ever seen vindaloo with meat chunks, so I got really excited and ordered it with some guava juice and chapati.

It was mostly cauliflower with some other stuff. Potatoes I think. Anyway, I need to find a recipe for vegetable vindaloo since it had never even occurred to me and I like it so much.

The guava juice was also really, really good. It tasted kind of metallic like it came out of a can, but since I’ve never had guava juice I couldn’t tell you if it’s supposed to taste like that. That wasn’t bad at all, though. It was still tasty.

So yeah, if you know of any good vegetable vindaloo recipes let me know!

-Bret

Chocolate Chip Cookies

17 Jul

Oh Vegan with a Vengeance, I love you so much.

I’ve only made baked things out of this cookbook so far because I’m a fatty that loves cakes and cookies and scones and muffins. Okay I used the Tempeh Reuben recipe as a guide.

Anyway, last night I baked up a batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies and I’ve already had about five of them. They’re pretty super. I’m bringing them to Ithaca with me today to eat on our journey to New Jersey. There are lots of car rides ahead of me today. Chocolate chip cookies make everything better, including cars. I will someday invent a car that runs on chocolate chip cookies. Mark my words.

Anyway, I’ve made vegan cookies before and the dough usually looks like any other cookie dough. But this dough just wasn’t wet and sticky enough. It was pretty crumbly. But I rolled the dough into balls instead of just plopping it on the cookie sheet.

I was a little worried when the first batch went in the oven, but five cookies in my tummy later, I’m almost convinced that they came out awesome.

I might need to eat a few more first.

– Ellen

Waffles

14 Jul

Aw shit yeah. Waffle party.

So I’m trying to terrorize the condiments in my fridge. My housemates and I have stockpiled an amount that is illegal in most countries. I took a whack at the maple syrup with some waffles. Also: vegan.

The Vegan with a Vengeance pancake recipe makes some totally sweet pancakes, and as it turns out it also does double duty as a run of the mill waffle batter. I ate off one batch for a few days. Topped with Earth Balance and bananas. If my stomach were a hot babe, it would totally make out with me.

-Bret

Cauliflower and Potato Curry

9 Jul

So I think Bret’s been eating food.  But he hasn’t been posting and that makes me sad.  EAT SOMETHING, BRET!

I’ve been eating.  A lot.

I made a really simple curry type dinner the other night, because I like making simple curry type dinners.  This one was tomato based rather than creamy coconut milky based.

I made a lot so I would have leftovers to take for lunch during the week.  I tend to bring smelly foods to work but I’m unapologetic when it comes to curry.

Ingredients

2 tsp. olive oil

1 large onion, halved and sliced

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 Tbsp. curry powder (a heaping tablespoon!)

4 cups fresh cauliflower (about a small head)

1 1/2 lb. red potatoes, cubed

1 cup crushed tomatoes

2 tsp. ginger juice

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped and divided

1 cup frozen peas

Directions

Heat the oil in a big pan, and cook the onions until they’re soft.  Add in the curry powder and garlic and cook that until it smells good.  Add in the cauliflower and potatoes and cook that for about five minutes or so.  You’ll want the potatoes to get a little bit softened.  Once they are, add in the crushed tomatoes, ginger juice, water, and half of the cilantro.  Cover the pan and let it simmer for twenty minutes or so until the vegetables are soft.  Taste it and add in more seasonings if you want.  I added black pepper and cayenne to mine.  Stir in the peas and the rest of the cilantro and cook it until the peas are heated through.

Since there’s quite a bit of potato in this I didn’t figure it  needed any rice or anything to eat it with.  But I do like starch so I grabbed one of my wheat tortillas that I happily found do not have animal bits in them to sop up the sauce.

I’m going to suggest using fresh ginger if you can.  I’ve been not buying fresh ginger because I bought a bottle of ginger juice not too long ago and want to finish that up.  It’s really, really not a good substitute for the real thing.

Other than that, yum!

– Ellen

Tempeh Reubens!

7 Jul

Best sandwich ever.  I’ve never had a meat reuben.  But I bet they’re nowhere near as awesome as tempeh reubens.

So Bret came to visit over the weekend and I had foods ready and waiting for him when he got here.  And I really wanted reubens and I knew Bret likes them and I figured if he didn’t want reubens then he could just watch me eating them while making loud chomping noises.  But it turns out Bret really likes reubens a bunch so it worked out super well.

I never make them because it seems like a lot of work.  But really it’s not and I’m just lazy. 

You really just need a marinade for the tempeh.  Mine consisted of this:

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup tamari

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp caraway

2 tsp mustard

1 tsp minced garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

(The marinade was borrowed from The Vegan Cooking School archives)

I cut an 8oz. block of tempeh into six pieces and put it in a roasting pan with the marinade and let it sit for a few minutes while I did some other stuff.  I suppose you could let it sit in the marinade for a longer period of time but I don’t really think it’s necessary.  I baked the tempeh at 400F for about 45 minutes.  Pretty much  just until all the marinade is gone from the pan and it smells real good.

While it was cooking I mixed up some thousand island dressing, which was pretty much equal parts nayonaise, ketchup and sweet relish.

So really the only thing left was assembly.  I bought some awesome rye bread that Heidelberg’s makes.  They make bread out of real bread ingredients, without all sorts of weird preservatives and things.  Good stuff.  I heated up some sauerkraut and sliced up an avocado.

Assembly goes like this: 1 slice bread -> big glop of thousand island -> two pieces of tempeh -> big glop of sauerkraut -> slices of avocado -> another piece of bread.  Cut in half.  Nom nom nom.

I managed to snag a picture of mine before devouring it.

I also made up a bowl of macaroni salad that Bret liked a whole bunch and I liked a whole bunch.  I don’t really remember measurements or anything but it was pasta, nayonaise, apple cider vinegar, salt, sugar, pepper, jalapeno and scallions.  Really simple and so tasty that we ate the rest for breakfast on Sunday.

-Ellen