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Your body needs an internal scrub every now and again. Preparing a week’s worth of detox salads means you are eating raw for a good portion of the day. I’ve been experimenting with combining powerfully detoxifying veggies during a pre-summer detox. Shredding all ingredients helps body break food down easily and absorb nutrients swiftly, en masse. Concocting dressings with even more detoxifying ingredients make everything tasty. It is important to include the almonds and sunflower seeds for protein. This will help you feel satisfied.

Last week’s combination:

This week’s combination:
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  • Ripe avocado, olive oil, garlic cloves, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, agave
  • olive oil, lemon juice, ginger, dijon mustard
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It’s a bit of a mystery when an eatery doesn’t have a “for real” website. Yelp reviews (The forced double negative Yelp effect–if someone with bad taste writes a good review, it means it’s really bad.) and a Facebook page reveal very little. Many social media leads stay on the radar, but are too risky an option in the heat of hunger–especially when they’re nowhere near anywhere I usually am. And so, Bushbaby lived on my radar for quite some time, bleeping faintly to the tune of “when I’m in the area.” Well, I finally was!

It was nice to see so much “seitan” in print. It meant real-life wheat gluten… not reheated, processed science meat stuff that some think is the cat’s pajamas. After being greeted by who I assume the owner, the v-word was dropped. He told us about the many vegan options on the food and drink menus, showed us the weekend brunch menu (all veganizable), let us know that they have separate areas in the kitchen for the vegan prep and cooking (If I started a band, I’d call it Dedicated Fryer.), and let us in on the secret that the waffle omnis devour along with their fried chicken is secretly vegan.  Afterward the chat, we ordered drinks. Mine, a creamy root beer, adult version.PicMonkey Collage

I thought I ought to photograph the vegan waffle, though surrounded by dead bird pieces. IMG_7026

My dish, the Satay Seitan Skewers in peanut sauce with brown rice and garlicky kale.Seitan was tender and delicious. But I found myself missing a fresh, sweet note for balance.  Like a pineapple chunk. Yes, that would have been perfect. IMG_7031

Though I try not to judge a dining experience by the dearth of vegan options in the surrounding geographic area, Bushbaby is even more impressive considering. Though the white wave of gentrification is lapping onto Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, Bushbaby keeps it real. I hope that means they’ll be around for awhile?

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Connecticut, New York’s northern neighbor, has plenty of vegan eats to feast upon. It’s an ideal destination for a day trip. I can get to Connecticut without heading far into the New York City area and her more messy crossings. The Throgs Neck Bridge is an easy breeze. A couple of hours later on the I-95 and you feel like you’re very far away, with billboards of diners advertising vegan options. How wonderful. But today, it was Middletown’s ION (It’s Only Natural) for their Southern Plate.DSC_0005

The dish hits all the marks with Southern fried tofu, sauteed garlicky greens, black beans, and a warm piece of cornbread with an aioli. The texture of the tofu was divine. The breading didn’t all fall off the tofu after a bite–they had the perfect texture. But I wished the tofu hadn’t been marinated. The taste of the marinated tofu inside the breading, along with a ton of garlic in the greens, had me seeking refuge in the black beans! It needed something to balance the assertive flavors.DSC_0002

But boy, was it a gorgeous dish!IMG_4874

Next, I got baked. I mean, I went to Get Baked in Windsor, housed in a great, tucked away space that hosts an antiques auction and seasonal pop-ups.  IMG_4876

They have a ton of rotating vegan options. And a very sweet counter woman. IMG_4879

I got a red velvet cupcake, a chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream, and a chocolate shortbread cookie. To go! I ate the red velvet when I got home and thought it spectacular. Sturdy texture but not dry or dense. It was exceptional, texture-wise and taste-wise! Boy, vegan cupcakes have come so far. IMG_4885

The last stop: The Sweet Beet in Granby, a carry-out spot with clean eats and sweet treats. IMG_4888

I picked an assortment of their one-bite cupcakes: chocolate chip, Mexican hot chocolate, toasted coconut, lemon, snicker doodle, and chocolate. Of course the intention was to get them home and share them, but the ride home had me popping open the box several times. I loved that the chocolate had beet in it… and the vanilla tasted like it also had natural goodness inside, not overly sweet in a compensatory fashion. Texture was a bit dry though, as if they weren’t made recently. IMG_4886


They have a selection of pre-made eats. I choose a version of their Mac No Cheese with a cashew cheese sauce. IMG_4890

Thanks for the eats, Connecticut! I’ll be back soon.

When they first opened their doors on 6th avenue in Manhattan, I thought GustOrganics would be a place I’d have an easy time eating at. But I was disappointed looking at the lack of tasty vegan options years ago… It irked me because it contradicted with all their “green” labeling. It was enough to have me dismiss the place entirely. Until I heard they now have a complete vegan menu every Monday! They are participating it Meatless Monday, a plant-based movement many restaurants in far more vegan-friendly cities across the country are embracing. So now, it was time to give them a try.PicMonkey Collage.jpg

But first, some mojitos.IMG_0153

I got the priciest dish on the menu, the Seitan Steak with a garlic baked potato and sweet roasted carrots. Across from me, their baked avocado and sweet potato wedges. PicMonkey Collage2.jpg

I always appreciate a housemade seitan. This was a bit dense but yummy just as well. The sweet carrots were such a great break from the dish’s savoriness. Well done, Gusto! IMG_0158

And I will have a gorgeous (and meatless) night, thank you very much! I’ll be back on some other Monday to support this vegan direction… and, of course, to eat delicious food. IMG_0162

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IMG_6273Ever notice how most good recipes being with olive oil, chopped onion and garlic? It’s like the holy trinity. Ok, maybe not.

DSC_0029Then–beet. Chunks of the magenta gems sweating it out with good company. Since I got a personal sized crock pot for work I’ve been doing exclusively one-pot lunches. This blog has a ton of great recipes. I tweaked it only a little… and I never peel beets. I want all that Earthy richness, minerals and fiber.

DSC_0031A quick puree in the Vitamix.

DSC_0033Add a little tofu sour cream–boom. A week of delicious eating. Beets, I love you.

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Every once and awhile, I splurge one of them fancy pants supper club dinners. And almost alway with fellow veghead CP. We find some justification for the splurge. Maybe there is a birthday that past a few weeks ago. Maybe there is some emotional epiphany that needs a proportionate intake of calories… maybe there is a change in season… or maybe we’re just hungry and we treat ourselves right. Whatever it is, here is Suite threeohsix‘s Chef Daphne’s outstanding prix fixe in her Tribeca kitchen suite.


IMG_5636The menu.

DSC_0005 Course 1: burdock soup + yali pear + upland cress

DSC_0006 Course 2: french toast + dumpling squash custard + maple syrup + garlic scape + pumpkin seed creme

DSC_0008 Course 3: pumpkin ravioli + shaved potato + truffle cream + petite pois + hazelnut breadcrumbs

DSC_0011 Course 4: jade pearl rice + kohlrabi + oyster mushroom + ancho chile + cucumber grape salsa

DSC_0012Sugar cane palate cleanser

DSC_0014 Course 5: lotus seed ice cream + chocolate + quinoa + nasturtium

Paneer is an Indian cheese. Palak Paneer is the spinach and cheese dish I’ve long noticed on Indian menus. I was so excited to see that the amazing blog Olives For Dinner veganized it.

DSC_0002Pressing tofu is step one. I opted for the TofuXpress then a nice press with some paper towels. This is the safest bet in this 3-cat household… the kitchen towel shelf is a cat nap hot spot. Paper towels it is!

DSC_0006“Culturing” coconut milk gives cubed tofu a cheese-like bite. Tofu marinades for a couple of hours.

DSC_0011Fennel seed, garam masala, and curry powder.

DSC_0013Time to make a paste. Onion, ginger and garlic packs the punch.DSC_0015

DSC_0019Big jump here. Everything is simmering together. Looking good!

DSC_0030Delicious Palak Paneer!

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Loving the way I cut last week’s lasagna into four perfect sectors for the week, I wanted to this week’s lunch to also be a visual representation of my count-down to week’s end. Next week is mid-winter recess and I am off. So here it goes, an improvisation of pantry turnover and layered goodness: Mexican Lasagna…
Layer one is creamy polenta, the rest of the box that has been irking me since I used it for a stew a few months back. I boiled it in a slew of vegetable stock powder that is almost done. I chose it as the bottom layer so it can firm up and hold together the innards.

Layer 2 is some black beans, some rinsed canned black beans. Mmm, metallic tasting goodness.

Layer 3 is a spread of some jarred pineapple salsa.

Layer 4 is spiced and grilled onion, garlic and green chilies, diced tomatoes and a bunch of fresh, fragrant cilantro mixed to wilt.

Layer 5 is a cashew sour cream concoction from Vegan Brunch. Yes, I am swearing off the Tofutti.

Layer 6 is more of the grilled mixture, topped with some black olives. Sparingly is how I like my black olives. I often treat them like a bay leaf and remove them during mealtime as they’ve already flavored up the dish to the extent I want.

Finally, Layer 7–another polenta layer, tossed with cilantro, chopped onion and more olives for garnish.

There she is!  7 layer delight.

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I got a TofuXpress for Christmas. Yes, a handy dandy tofu press that squeezes out excess water. No more balancing books on plates and no more slanted bricks of tofu. This heavy duty spring keeps pressing, and pressing hard, as excess water pools above. It’s sturdy and spacious… I shoulda patented it when I first thought of it! Look at it go.
I’m feeling gung-ho about not wasting food. So Thursday, as I ready the apartment for my weekend absence, I steamed the rest of the bok choy stems and a ton of baby carrots I’d never eat. I’m not a fan of raw carrot.
The bok choy leaves I sauteed with some garlic.
The bunch of cilantro got processed in with sunflower seeds to make a delish pesto for my left of noodles.

Here is my lunch, that which would have remain neglected in the fridge in light of a two-day hiatus and subsequent busy work week breathes new life! This turn-over feels good.

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