Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Puerto Rican Goodness in Seattle

La Isla Seattle made a good first impression of Puerto Rican food.  Their menu had a number of interesting vegan options.  I was unsure about what was vegan and asked the waitress who was happy to guide me through the vegan options. 

I decided the Ensalada de Jason and the Sopas de Lentejas.  The salad was served with healthy looking greens and mango with garlic vinaigrette, which was probably the best vinaigrette I've ever tasted.  My soup complemented the salad nicely, a medley of red lentil in a thick broth with vegetables, served on a bed of rice.

Chili, Cornbread and Roasted Veggies

I've made this chili and cornbread a number of times now and have been meaning to share it with blog readers for quite some time.  It is usually devoured Justify Fullbefore I have a chance to take pictures.

The Chili:
Olive Oil
1 medium onion (chopped finely)
3 large carrots (peeled and chopped)

Spice measurements are approximate- throw in what feels right and taste the chili throughout:
2tsp cumin
1 tblc chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
salt and pepper- to taste
cayenne- a few dashes...or more

1/4 lb mushrooms, I prefer button (stemmed and quartered)
4 c. squash (steamed-until partially cooked, peeled and cubed)
Zucchini (finely chopped)
Tempeh (about 14 oz.)
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (or equivalent raw)
Beans about 2 cups cooked or 1 can (I like to use black or kidney)
Brown Sugar

To prep the tempeh:
In a saute pan, bring about an inch of water to a boil.  Slice the tempeh so it keeps its length but its thickness is reduced by 1/2.  Saute slices on each side for 10 minutes.  Let cool, cube and set aside.

Heat oil over medium heat.  
Add onions and saute until translucent.  
Add spices and saute for about 1 minute more.  
Add carrots and saute for about 5 minutes.  
Add tempeh, zucchini, squash and mushrooms and saute about 5 minutes more before adding all other ingredients.  
Bring to a boil and cover.  Reduce heat and simmer for about an hour.  
Sometimes I like to add a little brown rice that has already been cooked a few minutes before serving.
The chili is really good topped with slices of avocado and chopped cilantro.

1 c. cornmeal
1 c. flour (white, wheat or a mixture of both)
1/3 c sugar (more or less, depending on preferred sweetness) 
1 tbl baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbl ground flax (or enerG egg replacer)
3 tbl water
1 c. nondairy milk (or water)
1/3 c. apple sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly oil a medium baking pan, about 9 by 9 inches.  
In medium bowl, combine dry ingredients and set aside.  In another bowl combine flax and water.  Then stir in other wet ingredients.  Combine thoroughly with dry ingredients and poor into oiled pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

(The applesauce in this recipe allows for the omission of oil)  The result is fluffy and most.  I like using the flax because it gives the cornbread a hint of nuttiness.

Java Bean

If you are in Seattle, you should go to Java Bean right now.  Really.  A quirky, overpriced coffee shop with really good espresso and thick soy foam.  And mole lattes:

Ballard: 5819 24th Avenue NW
Seattle, Wa

Ps-The employees have some pretty spectacular dreads.

Nothing but love from the Blossoming Lotus

I had dinner at the Blossoming Lotus  recently to celebrate the birthday of a loved one.  The food pics I took were limited as I've already written about the vast majority of what we ordered.  Yes, exploring new vegan dishes is always exciting but you have to honor your favorites at least once in a while.  

We brought our own cake but ordered soft serve to complement it.

White cake and coconut frosting adapted from Pillsbury Cook Book
Vanilla softserve with cone pieces*

*They were all out of cones.  I think I prefer it this way.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Let them eat cake

MMM.  I do not think the description 'cake' or even 'ice cream cake' does justice to this concoction.  Rather its like a flow of molten chocolate cooled by delicate mint ice cream on a bed of chocolate cookies.  I guess maybe you can get a sense of all that through 'ice cream pie'.   Needless to say, it was delicious, really unhealthy and hard to stop eating.
To make this ↑:

Ingredients (use vegan versions)
About 16 Oreos
1/4 cup margarine, melted
Chocolate Fudge

Remove ice cream from freezer before starting
Smash oreos until finely crushed: putting them in a bag and using a rolling pin works well
Combine smashed oreos with margarine and mix thoroughly 
Put margarine and oreo mixture into 9 inch pie plate and press against bottom and sides to make a crust
Cover the crust with ice cream until it meets the top edges of the pie plate (the ice cream can be compacted)
You can either pour on fudge now or heat it and do it right before serving

Store pie in freezer until ready to serve