Soshoku (simple diet? Lean diet?)

Soshoku

Bean Salsa, Yuzu Sesame Tempeh, Hijiki (seaweed) Salad, Steamed Cauliflower with yuzu dressing, Brown Rice

This is my version of Shojin Ryori (simple vegan meal for monks). I was inspired by bean salsa that I had over the weekend. His version had a lot more ingredients than what I did here and more soupy. Mine became more like salad than salsa. Hijiki salad is not vegan because I used fish-kombu broth to cook with. I could have used shiitake mushroom-kombu broth to be true vegan. The Japanese broth is pretty much the only cheating that I do. Shiitake mushroom-kombu broth is good, but not the same. If you can’t find yuzu juice, substitute with lime juice or lemon juice. But use less if you are using lemon juice, because yuzu is more subtle than lemon.

Bean Salsa:

1 ear of fresh sweet corn (scrape kernels off with a knife)
1 cup cooked beans (azuki beans and pinto beans used here)
3 scallion stalks (chop small)
1/4 red onion (small dice)

One or All of followings:
1 avocado (1/2″ cubes)
2″ cucumber (1/2″ cubes)
1 tomato (1/2″ cubes)
1/2 bell pepper (1/2″ cubes)

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Lime juice
1 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt

Cut up vegetables all about 1/2″ cubes. Mix them with beans, corn, and spices. Let it sit at least for 10 minutes.

Yuzu Sesame Tempeh:

1 block tempeh (1/2″ thick slice)
2 Tbsp yuzu juice
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp hot sesame oil
2 tsp maple syrup

Soak temper slices in the marinade for at least 1 hour. You can leave them over night.

Bake, panfry, or broil them for 10 minutes or so until they become golden brown.

Cauliflower:

1 head cauliflower
2 Tbsp yuzu juice
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbs maple syrup

Break cauliflower into florets. Steam them just enough about 1 minute.

Mix the yuzu dressing. Drizzle over the steamed cauliflower.

 

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Vedge: the best vegan restaurant in Philly

I went to visit my childhood friend in Philadelphia. She was dying to take me to Vedge, the best vegan restaurant in Philly. Since none of her family members were vegan or vegetarian including herself, she didn’t have much chance to go there. Another friend of mine who lives in New York City cherished Vedge. She is not vegan, either. My verdict? Yes, I agree with them absolutely. I didn’t even have to visit other so called vegan restaurants in Philly. Another one, V Street, is created by the same chefs from Vedge any way. However since V Street has more ethnic influenced menus, I’m going to visit them next time when I’m in Philadelphia.

Everything I ate at Vedge was absolutely delicious. Their dishes are very creative and labor of love. You don’t want to cook them at home. Too much effort. Each dish requires multiple steps if they were not complicated. Vedge is a fancy tapas bar/restaurant. Each dish is small and bit too salty to eat by itself. But if you pair them up with a drink, it is fabulous. I can not drink! Too bad. I had to drink 3 glasses of water with this meal.

Vedge-appetisers

Our choice of appetizers at Vedge

Vedge appetizers: Salt Roasted Gold Beets with smoked tofu, capers, dill, avocado,”pastrami”; Asparagus in peapod dashi with yukon gold noodles; Nebrodini Mushrooms as “fazzoletti” basil, roasted tomato.

Dished we ordered were all delicious and quite creative. Asparagus was not what I expected though. I’m trying to pick one favorite among these, but I can’t. Mushroom noodles with grape roasted tomatoes was one of the best Italian appetizers that I ever tasted. But the best creativity reward goes to the Salt Roasted Gold Beets. The naming is not quite right, because beet is not the main in this dish. Smoked tofu and avocado had the equal impact.

Eggplant Brociole: smoked eggplant, italian salsa verde, cured olive

Eggplant Braciole: smoked eggplant, italian salsa verde, cured olive

This one was a home-run. It looks like a sausage, but it melts in your mouth! I was curious what else was in it because the description on the menu was not everything that I as tasting. It turned out that roasted cauliflower and tons of awesome olive oil were mixed in it. Over all, Vedge uses a lot of high quality olive oil. I mean a lot. My stomach had a slight bloating 10 minutes after I ate. My friend suggested that it was because we ate late. She could get us only a 9:30 p.m. reservation. The reservation on a Friday night was tough. At the last minute, they awarded us 9 o’clock reservation, but by the time our order was in, it was 9:30 p.m. any way. And I don’t remember how long it took for the first course to arrive. I ate after 9 p.m. for 2 weeks while I was in Spain and I was fine with it, so I doubt it was because of the lateness made my stomach bloat. I can not eat that much of oil at once, even if it’s a high quality olive oil.

Vedge-Miso Grilled Tofu

Miso Grilled Tofu: edamame puree, roasted miso, yuba crackling, sea bean

Very good, but compared to the eggplant, this was ordinary goodness. The miso dressing was special. We were all puzzled by sea beans. We asked about them. We googled them. We were still mystified by them.

Vedge-maitake

Sheared Maitake Mushroom: celery root fritter, smoked leek lemoulade

Maitake mushrooms are yummy just by quickly cooked with olive oil any way. So yes, once again, this was very good dish, but not in comparison to the eggplant dish.

Vedge-desserts

Dessert: Chocolate Bar and Sour Cherry Cheesecake

Chocolate Bar: elderflower caramel pecans, blackberry jam, lavender ice cream
Sour Cherry Cheesecake: moroccan mint pesto, halva ice cream, za’atar candied pistachios

Chocolate Bar is not gluten free, so that I could not taste it. I tasted the sour cherry cheesecake (minus crust) and the nut icecream. Creamy, sweet and tart, cold, lovely.

My boyfriend said that if they could do vegan desserts well, they are the top notch vegan restaurant. For me, I don’t expect them to do desserts well, but definitely if they can do a gluten free vegan dessert well, I will give them another star. Vedge has one gluten free dessert, but we opted out because when we saw sour cherry on the dessert menu, we had to have it.

 

GF Oatmeal Raisin Chocolatechip Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolatechip Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolatechip Cookies

I’m posting this recipe before I forget. I thought this recipe was already on my blog long time ago, but it was not. These oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies can be hearty snack or desert. Or a on-the-go breakfast. Enjoy.

Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup gluten free flour mix or ground oats
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
1/4 cup earth balance or nut butter
1 cup vegan milk
3 Tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 small banana
1/2 cup raisin
1 oz dark chocolate chip (or chop dark chocolate bar, about 1/4 cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

  1. Soak ground flax seeds and chia seeds in nut milk. Set it on a side.
  2. Heat oven at 350 ºF.
  3. In a big bowl, cream earth balance with a spatula. Mash a banana. Add mashed banana, maple syrup, vanilla, and soaked flax seeds + chia seeds. Mix well.
  4. Add flour or ground oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon. Mix well.
  5. Add raisin, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and chocolate chips.
  6. With a big spoon, scoop up dough and roll it into a golf ball size. Place the ball on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Flatten it with a palm of your hand. Repeat until all the dough is gone.
  7. Bake them at 350 ºF for 20 minutes until they become golden brown.
  8. Let them cool off for 10 minutes before remove from the baking sheet.

 

 

Carrot Soup & Avocado Toasts = A Perfect Light Lunch

This carrot soup is quick to make if you have vegetable broth already made. I used a vegetable broth in a bag this time to make this soup. The result was delicious. Sometimes you need to take a short cut.

Carrot Soup

Carrot Soup

Ingredients (makes 4 cups):
3/4 lb carrots
1 small potato
1 small yellow onion
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper to taste

  1. Chop carrots, onion, and potato into big chunks.
  2. Put everything in a big enough pot. Bring it to boil.
  3. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes or until everything becomes soft.
  4. Take the bay leaf out. Let it cool little bit. Blend it until it becomes smooth.

 

Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast

These lovely green toasts will make up the other half of your lunch.

Ingredients (makes 2 toasts):
1/2 ripe avocado
2 slices of your choice of bread
10 grape tomatoes
2-3 tsp lemon juice or lime juice
1 tsp cumin
sea salt and black pepper to taste
a dash of cayenne

  1. Mash avocado. Mix with all the spices and lemon juice.
  2. Halve grape tomatoes.
  3. Toast the bread.
  4. Spread avocado on the toasts. Sprinkle halved grape tomatoes on top.

Tough Choices for Vegana+sin Gluten in Barcelona, Spain

Alright. I knew it would be tough to be a vegan and gluten free in Spain. But Boy, YES, it was really really tough. There are plentiful beautiful vegetables and fruits at local vegetable stands, and they are not expensive. 2 big bundles of baby green asparagus was 3 euros. I walked onto an organic farmer’s market by Ave. del Paral-lel on the last day there. It was Saturday. There were a few green produce vendors and their produce was flying. There was a preserve shop where I really wanted to buy a jar of preserves, but couldn’t find the one I liked.

Yet, to find a pure vegetable dish in a restaurant was a mission impossible. The common vegetable dishes you can find in a restaurant there were potatoes and pimientos. Once at a tapas bar in a mercat, I saw green asparagus and I had them. They were fine, but 12.60 euros for 6 green asparaguses was ummm, a bit too much. Especially when you can have a complete meal with vine and dessert costs the same or less.

There are a handful of vegetarian restaurants in Barcelona, and most of their dishes are pretty good, but if you can’t eat gluten/eggs/cheese, well, then your choices would become half. Here are my favorite dishes that I had at Sésamo, one of the top 10 vegetarian restaurants in Barcelona.

Cauliflower Bomb at Sésamo

cauliflowerBomb

This was totally a cauliflower bomb. I forgot its real name. Roasted whole head of cauliflower with tahini sauce and pesto sauce drizzled over it. I didn’t think I could finish this only with another person, but of course I did.

Killer Desserts at Sésamo

deserts

Dark Chocolate Fondue with fresh fruits, Mango/avocado/chia seeds pudding, and chocolate caramel truffles. I know caramel is not vegan, but when I saw them, I had to try one. The pudding was good and interesting, but the dark chocolate fondue was absolutely my fave. I licked the glass.

Green Peas with Romaine Lettuce and Mint

Greenpeas

I love sweetness of fresh green peas. They seem to be too good to be pureed to become a soup. This is a quick green side dish. I saw the recipe accompanying pork chop and mushed potato on the New York Times long long time ago.  For here, of course, the recipe is modified to be vegan. I also added mushrooms for more flavor, but they are optional. This is very good.

Ingredients (makes enough side dish for 4-5 people):
1 lb shelled green peas (fresh or frozen)
1/2 head romaine lettuce
1/4 cup packed thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup  thinly sliced mushrooms (any kind, optional)
1 Tbs  earth balance
1/2-1  tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 cup vegetable broth or water

Instruction:

  1. Thaw green peas if you are using frozen. This is not necessary, but helps to shorten the cooking time. Chop romaine lettuce in 1/2″ strip. Thinly slice mushrooms. Chop yellow onion. Thinly slice mint leaves.
  2. Heat a large skillet/frying pan medium hi. Melt earth balance.
  3. Sautée onion and mushroom for 5 minutes or until they become tender.
  4. Add green peas, mint, romaine, thyme, salt and pepper. Sautée until romaine welts for about 1 minute.
  5. Pour vegetable broth or water. Let it simmer for 2 minutes or until everything becomes soft.

BBQ Bean Plate

BBQbeans

OMG! This was so good and so easy. And can be quick, too, if you have a pressure cooker. The BBQbean recipe came from the Thug Kitchen. I didn’t bother to make Baked Spanish Rice. I had roasted kabocha pumpkin and steamed sweet potato that I incorporated here. An awesome recipe. A can of chipotle pepper in adobo sauce is used, which is kind of cheating, but hey, it’s a secret that everybody knows.

Ingredients for BBQ Bean:
1/2 yellow onion
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 head of garlic
4 chipotle peppers and 1 Tbsp sauce (or 5 Tbsp chipotle sauce)
1/4 cup water or vegetable broth
2 Tbsp orange juice
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp molasses
1 tsp tamari
3 cups cooked pinto beans

Ingredients to make a plate:
1 cup cooked brown rice/serving
1/2 avocado/serving
1/4 cup salsa (tomato salsa/grilled peach salsa/mango salsa)/serving
1 or more of following;
3 slices of roasted pumpkin or squash
1/2 roasted or steamed sweet potato (sliced)
a few leaves kale (stems removed, and steamed for 1 minute)

  1. Chop onion roughly. Peel and crash garlic cloves. Put all of BBQ beans ingredients except beans in a blender or a food processor, and run it until the sauce becomes smooth.
  2. Heat the sauce in a medium pan until it becomes bubbly. Add cooked pinto beans. Cook additional 5-10 minutes.
  3. Pile each ingredient on a plate. Enjoy!