There exists this magical place in the City of Chicago that is an old authority on all tasty things vegan and vegetarian. A land of mouth watering vegan shakes, buffalo “wings,” seitan steaks, and the best vegan rueben I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. This place is called The Chicago Diner. You might have heard of it. Maybe not. Either way, it’s good and if you’re ever in the windy city you should check it out.
There’s this burger on the menu that is my younger sister Sindha’s favorite burger called the Buddha’s Karma burger. Last time I was at The Chicago Diner I wanted to order the Karma burger to rub it in my poor studying-abroad-in-Paris sister’s face but to my horror, they had taken it off the menu! What to do?! Well I ordered a vegan Dagwood sandwich instead and it was pretty darn good so that was alright.
I probably could have lived without the Karma Burger in my life. Yes it would have been a sadder existence, but it wasn’t necessarily my go-to menu item (mainly because I make a point of ordering different things every time as much as possible!). Sindha on the other hand, could not have carried on life as usual without this burger making a regular appearance in her life. So I did what any perfect sister would do, and I tried to bring the burger home!
I knew it was a sweet potato curry burger with a tofu and brown rice base which I was pretty sure I could make a decent ode to. One of the key things about this burger that made it such a great item to order was the “karmic realignment sauce” aka a pineapple mango coconut sauce. It was the perfect pairing. Do I need to explain why? Maybe. But I shouldn’t have to. It just made for the ideal balance of spices and flavors, sweet, tangy, nutty. You know. So, I didn’t make it a sauce to pair with but instead a roasted pineapple and mango salsa. It’s also pretty darn good. I suppose if you wanted it to be a sauce you could just take an immersion blender or food processor and puree it at the end. That’d work.
So Sindha, this one’s for you girl.
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Posted in dessert, tagged earl grey, lemon, pound cake, vegan on February 27, 2012 |
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Monday morning I woke up 2 hours before my alarm went off with a hankering for some cake. My stomach was grumbling and I could not fall back asleep. I had a decision to make. Should I (a) get ready and go to work early or (b) bake a cake? Clearly, I was not about to go to work early. Who even does that? So instead I baked a breakfast cake and watched the sunrise over Lake Michigan from my living room window.
The thought that came to my mind: earl grey paired with refreshing lemon in a moist delicate pound cake. Lately I’ve been enjoying the Teavana Earl Grey Creme tea that my mom gave me for Christmas. I can’t get enough of the stuff. Smooth flavors of vanilla and citrus bergamot. Thoughts of this tea are forever dancing around in my head–probably why I’ve been wanting to bake a cake with earl grey flavors for the past couple of months.
The results of the cake were stunning. The texture of the cake was oh-so-perfect with a practically melt-in-your-mouth crumb. The flavors were a perfect pairing (well duh, it’s not like I came up with that idea… thank you, England). The earl grey tea is the focus of this cake and there is a subtle zesty lemony aftertaste. The cake rose up higher than my loaf pan during baking and had a nice crispy edge on top, just like a cupcake or muffin.
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I am about to share one of the most delicious recipes in the world with you.
I went to Hungary 3 summers ago on a backpacking trip with my best friend. It was about three weeks into our trip and we both had just come down with this nasty stuffy cold. After trying to search the pharmacies for a good decongestant (and failing) we spent our time taking short walks, drinking lots of juice and relaxing and rejuvenating in the famous Budapest Széchenyi Baths, and finding ourselves underground in these weird caves under Buda Castle (seriously though, what were those things?!).
I have fond memories of Budapest but food isn’t one of them. Not that I had bad food there, just that it was normal travel food, and I didn’t get to try any veggie versions of the local specialties! A lot of the vegetarian restaurants were closed while we were there and our colds prevented us from going on grand adventures just for a delicious bite to eat.
Three years ago for thanksgiving I came across this recipe of a seitan and mushrooms stew in one of my favorite cookbooks, Professional Vegetarian Cooking, and decided to make it for our giant crowd of almost 30 people. It was one of the most delicious things I had ever eaten. Since then I have re-made it a few times. I’ve served it to almost 50 people over time, both carnivores and vegetarians. Every time I get some of the best feedback I ever get on food.
The stew is richly and simply flavored with the natural vegetable flavors of mushrooms, red bell peppers and onion, of which are deepened by the warm notes of a nice pinot noir. Add some smoothness with cashew cream making all the flavors blend together in a velvety manner and just pop in your mouth.
The seitan in this dish is cooked directly in the broth and wine, resulting in some of the best textured seitan I’ve ever eaten. It also takes on the color of the red wine, giving it an eerily similar look to beef. Not sure how I feel about that, but the flavor the wine imparts on the seitan is delicious, so I’ll take the color.
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I never really watch sports on TV. While I enjoy going to the occasional game it’s never really been one of my bigger interests. I will make the exception on occasion and did so a couple of months back and went to a friend’s place for a game. I actually think I ended up leaving before the beginning of the game, but before I left I ate some of the most delectable vegan spinach and artichoke dip.
I knew I had to have this dip recipe for myself. So I did. And I’ve made it several times tweaking a little here and there (it always comes out delicious). Once I even made it for a party and then “forgot” to bring it so I could save most of it for myself.
I made it again for the super bowl on Sunday. This recipe makes quite a bit of dip, but it was basically all gone by the end of the game. And that’s probably only because I didn’t put out the last quarter cup or so of what was left (shh)…
This is seriously the best spinach and artichoke dip ever. I’ve always liked artichoke and spinach dips at restaurants. But they’re often overly heavy to the point where the flavor almost seems dull. Or the cheesy flavor overpowers the flavors of the vegetables in it. Even so, I was always a fan. But this dip outshines all other spinach artichoke dips of my past. I don’t know if it’s that vegan mayo is superior to the traditional egg-based mayo or if it’s the tangy sun-dried tomatoes or what. But you have to make this. Enough said.
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Posted in appetizer, entree, side dish, tagged chicago, deep dish, giardiniera, pickle, pizza, recipe, vegan on June 20, 2011 |
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Last week, I made these mini-deep dish pizzas for a chicago-themed dinner party. In the chicago deep dish tradition, these little guys were stuffed with cheese and filling and topped with a layer of tomato sauce. They were a huge hit, with people trying to take more than their share, getting into epic battles over the last ones… Okay, I exaggerate, but they really were popular! And I can see why. We had stuffed them with a homemade giardiniera, which is a very popular condiment in Chicago.
These were super easy to make, though I guess a little more work than just making one large pizza, but as an added bonus, they are extremely cute! They make perfect appetizers, side dishes, or snacks. The mini pizzas were so tasty that I had to share them (that is to say, they were so good I had to make them again immediately). (more…)
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