Sunday, August 24, 2008

on a short hiatus

Veggies need vacation too. Just giving my readers a heads up that I won't be updating The Friendly Veg for the rest of August, as I'll be on a much needed vacation. Okay, so I won't be crying a river over being away and not updating anything, but I promise I'll be back soon with yummy in-denial-that-summer-is-over recipes, like blueberry pie and melon with mint and mozzarella. Enjoy the rest of August and have a great Labor Day!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Vegetarian Center's Archive Sale

Just reposting some info I received on the VivaVeggie listserv- this coming Saturday in Union Square, the organization will be selling archived issues of vegetarian magazines and literature, as well as DVDs, books and educational materials... allow me to encourage everyone to go check it out, there might be some great vegan & vegetarian cookbooks for you to peruse, and get inspired like I do!

I've copied and pasted the post below:



Veggie Center archives blowout sale...

(Truth-be-told. ...MOST WILL BE ABSOLUTELY COMPLETELY FREE !)

Saturday, August 23. 2008
11 a.m. to 7 p.m
.

Union Square
near the subway kiosk close to Gandhi Park
(across the street from Whole Foods)

VivaVegie will have a table set up throughout the day with a massive
selection of vegan books, magazines, DVDs, newsletters, and outreach
educational materials.

We're going to pile it high... All that good stuff.

So get out your sun screen, and join us for the great unloading. You
see, folks, we have just so much space in our office, and we have to
clear some of it out from time to time.

Special gems to look for:

- All back issues of The VivaVine, including 2 full sets (50 issues),
that is, every issue! ($150 per set)
- 30 vintage back-issues of Vegetarian Times... going back to the
70's! ($5 ea.)
- 35 back issues of Veg-News, including some classic issues before
their design make-over... (free)
- Back issues of vintage issues of "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian"
(pamphlet)
- 5 copies of the inaugural issue of The VivaVine (1991 / $25 ea.)
- Classic newsletters from vegan organizations. ..from the early years (free)
- Back magazine issues from Vegan Outreach, F.A.R.M., United Poultry
Concerns
, PeTA .... and on an on (free)

and so much more...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Gazpacho


The perfect cooldown meal for the summer comes in the form of a warming, winter favorite- a big bowl of soup. Gazpacho, a chilled tomato-based soup from Spain, is not only refreshing, but super simple. Because really, who wants to be slaving over a stove during the summer? I sure don't... I also don't have air conditioning in my place either, (no, I'm not crazy, I'm just trying to be eco-friendly!) so the only heat I want is the heat coming from the jalapenos I put in the gazpacho!

The Whats:

* 1 medium red onion, diced
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 medium bell pepper, diced
* 2 beefsteak tomatoes, roughly chopped
* 2 medium cucumbers, peeled and diced
* 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
* 1/4 cup packed mint leaves, roughly chopped
* 1 tbsp. cilantro
* 1/4 cup tomato paste
* 2 tbsp. lemon juice
* 1/4 white wine vinegar
* 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (you can omit this if you're looking to cut down on oils & fat)
* 2 quarts of tomato juice


The Hows:

1) In a large pot or bowl, mix together chopped vegetables with mint, cilantro, garlic, lemon juice, tomato paste, white wine vinegar, and olive oil. Stir in tomato juice.

2) Cover bowl or pot and leave soup in the refrigerator to marinate overnight. Stir soup before serving, and garnish with bread cubes or crostini.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Blossom

A few posts ago, I referenced a Chow.com article that explored vegan restaurants trying to cater to the omnivorous set by creating a more sophisticated atmosphere rather than the hippie, college-y vibe that most veg places radiate. Alas, they should've included Blossom Vegan Restaurant in Chelsea- with its warm interior, formal dark wood furniture, candles, and an organic wine list, Blossom feels more like a place where you'd take your date for a good steak.

But don't be fooled. This place has some fabulous vegan options, and not just the usual Asian-themed standbys that you get at most other veg restaurants. Though I love most varieties of Asian cuisines, I also love trying new dishes, and let's face it, how many curries or tofu & noodle dishes can you have on the regular? Blossom features some of the heartier items you might find at any other non-veg resto- seitan scaloppini, cashew ravioli, a phyllo roulade, as well as classics like stuffed portobellos, Thai-style tofu, and a variety of salads.

To start, we split the seitan satay skewers- grilled until slightly crispy, these bits of gluten-y goodness were slathered in a delicious peanut satay sauce with just a hint of curry, and served with whole wheat noodles. My friend had a savory port-wine seitan cutlets, while I decided on the vegan version of Feijoadinha, a Brazilian dish, made with tempeh, squash, and black beans in a smoky, spicy sauce. Our seitan and tempeh were cooked perfectly, and we were completely satisfied by the well-portioned, flavorful dishes... with just enough room for dessert. And whether your dinner companions are vegan or not, vegan neopolitan ice cream is a great way to end dinner on an August evening. Even better, of course, when you're dining with a close friend who I'm proud to say is celebrating a recent conversion to veganism! Congrats chica!


Blossom, 187 Ninth Avenue, between 21st and 22nd Street, 212-627-1144

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cannellini Salad



I bring my lunch to work almost every day. Not only does it save money, but I'll always know exactly what I'm putting into my body, and there's never a question of how vegetarian or vegan my lunch is. As I rummaged through my cabinets on Thursday night, pondering my crazy Friday work schedule and what would pack a protein boost for a busy day, I decided on my fave canned standby- cannellini beans. I love my salad greens, but a regular salad just wouldn't be satisfying enough. This salad can be quickly assembled and customized to your taste- I chose to season this salad with sage, but basil, rosemary, or whatever herbs you love best can easily be added instead.

This recipe makes 2 servings; just put the cannellini salad in a to-go bowl, and you've got lunch for two days. If you want it to go even further, you can toss the salad with some warm whole wheat pasta!

The Whats:

* 1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
* 2 plum tomatoes, diced
* 1/2 bell pepper, diced
* 1/2 red onion, diced
* 1 tbsp. olive oil
* 1 tbsp. lemon juice
* 1 tsp. rubbed sage
* salt & pepper to taste

The Hows:

1) In a large bowl, mix together cannellini beans, tomatoes, pepper, and onion. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, sage, salt, and pepper; mix until the beans and veggies are coated. Chill for an hour before serving.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Spice Market

And for the grande finale of summer 2008 Restaurant Week, we dined at one of Jean-Georges' many creations, Spice Market. A late dinner with great friends before a party definitely made for one fabulous Friday night.

The entirety of the Meatpacking District, in my opinion, is just pure hype- do we really care where the bridge & tunnel crew is swarming to get into, or where they're (window) shopping? But in a neighborhood of seen & be seen, Spice Market gets high marks for not only good food, but for some standout, Southeast Asian ambiance- very sexy. Though we had to wait at the dimly lit bar for our table, it was well worth that wait!

All dishes are served family style, though the portions weren't as large as Asia de Cuba's- and with a four course Restaurant Week menu, this was fine by us! In addition, our appetizers and entrees all arrived at different times, so my hungry friends and I were quite happy the larger portions could all be shared.

Upon request, I was able to substitute everything on the prix fixe menu with vegetarian options; our accommodating waiter explained that the spring rolls contained shrimp, and the avocado salad was made with fish sauce, and I could instead choose crispy mushroom rolls, a generous market salad with radishes, tomatoes and sesame vinaigrette, and their Spicy Shanghai noodles with tofu. Score! The mushroom rolls were good, not the best rolls I've had, but very good nonetheless; I thought the same of the market salad. My noodles, though not as spicy as I would've liked, were full of flavor, and I'll be honest- I'm always thrilled by the mere sight of tofu on the menu of any fine dining establishment, so I considered my world rocked. Even more exciting? The creamy ginger ice cream for dessert- it might've been the best ice cream I've had, with a strong, fresh ginger flavor that wasn't overwhelmingly sweet, nor overwhelmingly spicy.

Spice Market has earned a spot in my top ten favorite NYC restaurants. And for those of you, especially my fellow vegetarians, who missed 2008 Restaurant Week, don't be discouraged from coming here; with a number of inexpensive vegetarian options, you can kick off your own fabulous night in the Meatpacking District. Because really, those model-types swarming around Gansevoort probably don't appreciate good food, or any food, anyway.


Spice Market, 403 W. 13th Street, at Ninth Avenue, 212-675-2322