Pasta! Since I’m vegan and gluten-free, I couldn’t go to a regular Italian or a noodle shop while I was in Japan. Believe or not, it was very challenging to find a gluten-free noodle in any form in a grocery store. It was even harder in a restaurant. So, the first thing that I made after I came back home in NYC was pesto spaghetti with sautéed broccoli rabe. I used gluten-free Barilla spaghetti. I think Barilla makes the best dried gluten-free pasta. It’s too bad, they don’t make organic versions.
Rum Raisin Bread
I made this sweet bread because butternut squash season is over. I love butternut squash bread. You just have to roast butternut squash first, so that it takes twice cooking. When I roast vegetables in fall or winter, I throw extra butternut squash in it just for this bread or butternut squash pancakes which are equally awesome. I call this sweet bread Rum Raisin, but this time it was Sherry Raisin Bread. You have to soak dried fruits in liquor for at least 2 weeks before you bake this bread. Rum, sherry, and brandy all work well.
3/4 cup rum soaked dried fruits/nuts mix (Use any of following: raisins, apricots, cherries, cranberries, almonds, walnuts, pecans. Roughly chop nuts before soak.)
2 cups GF flour mix
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp flax seeds
1 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sunflower oil (or Earth Balance, peanut oil or Canola oil)
1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a small bowl, mix flax seeds and 4 Tbsp water. Set it aside.
- In a big bowl, mix oil, apple sauce, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.
- Add flax seeds and rum soaked dried fruits/nuts to the big bowl. Mix.
- Add GF flour mix, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the big bowl. Do this in 2 batches.
- Bake in an oven at 350 ºF for 40-60 minutes until done. Test with a bamboo stick. Stab the bread in the middle with a bamboo stick and when it comes out clean, it is done.
*This bread tastes better next day or a few days later. It lasts well, but if you can’t finish it within a week, slice the rest, wrap well with a foil and put it in a refrigerator. When you are ready to eat, take a slice out, toast it, and eat it.
Magic Mushroom Pizza (the left half)
After a movie, we were walking home, and I saw Viva Herbal Pizzeria still open. I wanted to try this joint, but I simply didn’t remember where they were although I walked in front of them many times. Their shop is small and so quietly exists. M was like “Really? Do you want to eat now?” It was late, 10:30 p.m. I said “yes.” When we saw the many vegan choices they had, we were excited. When we got our choices heated up, we both said we can’t finish the piece, we have to take the half to go. But after one bite, we became quiet. I was so happy with my Magic Mushroom slice (1/4 of the medium size pie), that I gave M only a bite to taste. He did the same. We both finished our slice with no problem. There were 2 NYU students group eating before us and they were satisfied with their meals as well. They asked if they deliver to the W 4th Street dormitory. Magic Mushroom Pizza was ratatouille on a spelt crust. Their pizzas are all vegetarian, but some of them use mozzarella, some are totally vegan, some are gluten free. Something for everyone. Yum yum.
I found my favorite vegetarian soup in my hood! I went to Lan Cafe last night with a couple of friends. I wanted to try this restaurant for a while by now, but since their business hours are rather sporadic, I could not manage to do so until last night. Why didn’t I try harder sooner?! Food was fantastic! Their dishes are more like snacks, I mean their portions are smaller and light. Thus you would want to order 2 dishes per person, if you were a hungry pig like me. We ordered a green salad with avocado, a papaya salad, a lemongrass seitan over vermicelli, 2 Vietnamese Pho, and 2 Vietnamese Pancakes for 4 people. And I had a space left for a desert. We all loved everything we ate. They are a truly family run business ans under-staffed, so the service can be slow, but it is worthy it. 🙂
Sticky Rice Mountains
I so wanted to go to this thai restaurant, Zabb Elee in East Village and I wanted it to be my favorite in my hood because I read so many good reviews about their food. Oh, how much I was disappointed, I can’t tell you. We ordered Pad Ped Proam (Vegetarian Duck, Thai eggplant, pepper, ginger with spicy curry), Pukk Boong Fal Dang (Sauteed morning glory with fresh chili), and sticky rice. The only thing we could find not to have any meat in it in the menu. Both dishes were very sauce heavy, too salty and too sweet. Everything was soaked dead in the strong sauce, and it became just texture in the sauce. Sticky rice was fine. We three people all said we would never go back there again.
Chestnut Cream Cake at Panya
Because of this bad dinner, I had to have a confirmed good desert. We headed for a Japanese bakery, Panya. I had my favorite, chestnut cream cake of course. I know, I know, it’s not a vegan bakery, but I needed something good to eat before I go to bed tonight. Otherwise I would be too mad.
This is the first time I actually liked buckwheat pancakes. They usually come out dry, but this version is moist and fluffy. Although I love to drench pancakes into maple syrup, this version is sweet enough to eat without it.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup buckwheat (soaked in plenty of water for 2 hours or preferably over night), 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup sorghum flour, 1 t baking power, 1 t baking soda, 1 T flax seeds (grind), 1/2 t salt, 1 t stevia powder (optional), 2 T sunflower oil (or another quiet vegetable oil such as canola oil), 4 oz apple sauce, 1 cup soy milk , 1/2 t vanilla extract, 1/2 cup blueberries (frozen is okay)
- In a small bowl, mix flax seeds with soy milk.
- In a big bowl, mix all the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, mix apple sauce, oil, vanilla extract, drained buckwheat, blueberries, and the flax seed soy milk.
- Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients’ bowl. Mix.
- Heat a frying pan at medium heat. Coat with vegetable oil. Drop a heaping table spoon full of batter for each pancake.
- When the edge looks getting dry, flip with a spatula. Cook a few more minutes until it’s done.
Lemon Oat Bar
Moist, chewy and lemony oat bars. They are a great breakfast-on-the-go.
Ingredients: 2 lemons (for zest and juice), 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1 and 1/2 cup of flour (I mixed sorghum flour, millet (finely grind) and rice flour for 1:1:1 ratio. Ground oats are good, too), 1/2 cup sproutable buckwheat, 1 and 1/2 cup shredded coconut, 1/2 cup apple sauce, 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey, 4 T coconut oil or earth balance, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1/2 cup roughly chopped nuts (walnut, almond, pistachio, cashew or peanut), 1 t salt, 1 t baking powder, 3 T chia seeds, 1/2 cup almond milk (or soy milk)
- In a small bowl, mix buckwheat and plenty of water to cover. Let it sit at least 2 hours. Overnight is fine as well.
- In a small bowl, mix chia seeds and almond milk. Stir well and let it sit.
- In a big bowl, mix all flour, oats, coconuts, cranberries, nuts, salt, baking power and lemon zest.
- Melt coconut oil or earth balance. (I put it in a oven safe cup and toast in a toaster oven since I don’t believe in microwave ovens.)
- In a medium bowl, mix apple sauce, maple syrup (or honey), lemon juice, soaked chia seeds, and drained and washed buckwheat.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry bowl. Mix well.
- Grease a baking pan with a high heat vegetable oil. Spread the batter. Smooth out with a spatula. Sprinkle coconuts over it, if you desire.
- Bake at 350º for 20 minutes.
- Let it cool to touch in the pan. Cut into squares.