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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Road Trip to Colorado

We just got back home from our road trip to Colorado. We had a great trip! It's about a 20 hour drive from Birmingham so we split it up into to days. The first night we stopped in Kansas City. KC was nice it had some very modern architecture and was larger than I imagined. We had dinner at a vegetarian restaurant called Fud. It is a small place in a cute neighborhood and it is cash only.
It is always exciting when we can go to a vegetarian restaurant because it is nice to have choices and be able to order anything on the menu. Fud has a large menu and it was hard to decide but we settled on the Jalapeno Fritters as a appetizer, The Smoke Stack sandwich, and the Jack BBQ sandwich.

Everything was amazing! We really hope we get to go back sometime soon. This was the first time we had jack fruit and just amazed by the taste and texture they were able to create with it. 

The second day was spent driving through Kansas which is pretty flat and open with long stretches of nothing except fields of crops, lots of wheat, fields of cattle, and fields of very large windmills.  
As we drove into Colorado's front range the mountains came into view. We ran into a little traffic near Bolder but not a bad drive that day.
We spent one night in Bolder checked out a few breweries and had a late dinner at Leaf. We were totally in heaven marveling at the fact that we were able to have dinner at vegetarian restaurants two nights in a row on our road trip. Leaf was a lot fancier than Fud and we both chose to do the three course option. For the first course we picked a Basil Gnocchi and Mushroom Pate. Sorry the photos are a little dark because we ate outside on the patio enjoying the nice weather.
For the main course we had a mushroom polenta dish that was on the daily special and the Smoked Beet Fettuccine with crispy cauliflower.
Then for dessert a Vegan Apple Crisp and Vegan Carrot Cake.
Then we spent most of the rest of the week in the Rocky Mountain National Park. We did a lot of hiking and went elk watching. The higher elevations did make hiking a little more challenging. A few of the hikes we picked only had a modest elevation gain of 500 feet but at 10,000 feet it was much different than the elevation we are used to in Birmingham which is only around 600 feet. Here are a few pictures from the park. I will try to post a few more hiking photos later.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Birmingham Restaurant Week

It's Birmingham Restaurant Week and today we had lunch at The Pantry in Mountain Brook. They have a $15 lunch and few veggie options.  For the appetizer Erin tried the Figs on Toast and I tried the Coddled and Swaddled which is a poached local duck egg in a nest of microgreens.
The Figs on Toast with rose-lemon ricotta cheese from Stone Hollow Farmstead.
I love microgreens. The apps were a great start and may have been the stars of the meal. For the main we both had the one vegan option the Pintos and Pot Liquor.
Then for desert I had the vegan Raw Mocha Fudge and Erin had the Goat Cheesecake.
We both love The Pantry and the fresh veggie options they serve from Stone Hollow Farmstead. It's a really cute little place. We recommend it for Bham Restaurant Week or any time. If you are looking for other veg restaurant week options it looks like The Grill at Iron City also has some good options.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Arugula & Tomato Sandwich

For these simple vegan sandwiches we used:
  • Ciabatta rolls
  • Arugula
  • Sliced Tomato 
  • Broccoli Sprouts
  • Chopped Basil 
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Light Olive Oil
First we used a mortar and pestle to to combine the fresh basil with maybe a tea spoon of olive oil and then we mixed it in with the mustard. Spread liberally on the sliced ciabatta rolls.

Then layer on arugula, tomato, and spouts. We ate these with some grapes for a simple and fresh lunch.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Fresh Pea Salad

We were excited to find fresh peas at Pepper Place farmers market this weekend but when we got home with them we were unsure what to do with them. When I searched pea salad on Pinterest all that really came up was peas covered in mayonnaise and that's not what I was looking for so we just put this together with what we had on hand. 

For this salad we used:
  • fresh peas
  • spicy lettuce mix
  • radishes
  • juice of one lemon
  • fresh mint
  • fresh basil 
  • olive oil
  • salt and peppper
We blanched the peas by cooking in boiling water for just one minute and then rinsed in cold water. The dressing for the salad was simply a little olive oil, lemon juice, chopped mint and basil from the garden, and a dash of salt and pepper.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Spring ramps from the famers market

Saturday morning we went to Pepper Place farmers Market downtown.  This was the second weekend of the season but we weren't able to go on the opening Saturday morning. We were so happy to see a great variety of spring produce. We bought a bunch of different things but what I was most excited to see was the ramps. They have a short growing season but the farmer we bought them from said he should have them again next week.

I posted this photo on twitter last night so I wanted to share what we ended up cooking with them. We modified a risotto recipe we found on Food52. Here is a link to that recipe The only thing we changed was we used butter rather than olive oil and we left out the peas because I didn't want to use frozen peas when I had these beautiful fresh ramps and asparagus. This is our finished risotto.
We also recently planted our container garden on the back deck. I decided to try to do weekly photo updates on Pinterest so if you are interested in that you can follow along on this board:

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dinner at Cashew in Chattanooga

We drove up to Tennessee for the weekend and Cashew was having a four course southern themed dinner Saturday night. Cashew is great vegan cafe in Chattanooga. It is in Coolidge park on the Northshore. We have been there a few times before for lunch and we ordered from them for Thanksgiving this past year. I have never had anything from Cashew I didn't enjoy and this night was no different.  It was a four course meal that they started off with Pimento cheese made from cashews.
The second course was a salad with tofu "blue cheese" crumbles. I have never had vegan blue cheese before and have no idea how them made it but it was really good.
The main course was southern fried tofu with cornbread, lima beans, and smoky collard greens. The fried tofu was served with the dipping sauce that reminded me of a creamy honey mustard. Sometimes I don't always love tofu but this was good. The greens and lima beans were the best part of this plate.
The last course was key lime pie but I didn't get a photo of it because it disappeared rather quickly. Overall everything was great it was just too much food! The serving sizes were very generous.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Killer Baked Potato

One of my favorite things to eat growing up was a killer tater from Dixie BBQ. My friends and I would walk down Boyscout road to their trailer in Middle Valley and order these with all the fixins and sides. This is my vegetarian version loaded up with seitan.

 For the seitan I am useing the same recipe I use for my BBQ Seitan but just adding more sauce. Check out the link to the origianal recipe if you want to see the drier ribs version.

To make the seitan:

 "dry ingredients"
  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbls chickpea or soy flour 
  • 1 tbls dried minced onion 
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika 
  • 1 tsp onion powder 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder 
     "wet ingredients"
  • 1 cup water 
  • 2 tbls vegetable oil
  • 2 tbls Liquid Aminos "or soy sauce"
  • 1 tbls liquid smoke
  • BBQ sauce of your choice
  • Baked potatos
  • chopped green onions
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • sour cream

Pre-heat oven to 350. Mix all the wet and dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix together by hand and knead for a few minutes. Cover 8X8 baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray. Add the seitan and smooth flat, then bake for 35 to 45 minutes depending on thickness. After it has baked allow it to cool to touch and then cut into bite size pieces with a bread knife. This can be done ahead of time. We often bake the seitan the day before and then just cut it up and use the day of. For this recipe.  I like to really drench the seitan in bbq sauce to make sure it is really well coated. To bake the potatoes first poke a few small holes in them with a fork and then rub with olive oil and salt. Bake at 375 for one hour. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack with a tray below to catch any drippings. Just cut open and top with whatever you like. We used a little cheddar cheese, sour cream, and green onions.