Archive for November, 2008
Sometimes I get inspired and creative when I’m hungry, and think up meals I would like to have based on meals I’ve already eaten.
A month or two ago I was treated by the b-fri’s company to a high end meal at Mr. A’s…one of the fanciest restaurants in San Diego. It even has a dress code! Because it’s so high end, I knew they would be able to accommodate me, but I didn’t know they would go out of their way to treat me like the vegan princess I am…har har. Seriously though, they managed to make a really tasty meal for me that involved mini stuffed peppers and vegan pesto.
For some reason this made me think up an Indian influced meal:
Lentil curry stuffed bell peppers over curried mashed potatoes – with a drizzle of cilantro sauce.
Making the curry took a while, but the end results were SO worth the time. I’ve noticed that homemade Indian food (by non-Indians, at least) doesn’t seem to taste like the food you’d get at an Indian restaurant for the most part, but this curry did! So I have to thank Emma Maher for this recipe. As usual, I made some changes, like substituting red lentils for brown, and using only one tablespoon of curry paste (I used red thai curry paste) because otherwise it would have been too spicy for a wuss like me. I also couldn’t find any canned tomato puree in my local grocery, so I used a can of diced tomatoes instead. Oh, and the final touch…a couple handfuls of roasted pistachios (nutmeats!) for added texture, protein and scrumptiousness.
This meal really built up my cooking character because I actually managed to muti-task. While I was chopping up veggies I had 6 russet potatoes boiling for the mashers, to which I added, once cooked and drained, about a teaspoon of curry powder and a heaping teaspoon of turmeric, along with enough Earth Balance and soy creamer to make a creamy consistency. They also needed a bit more salt and some freshly ground pepper.
Once the curry was done, I washed and cored four red bell peppers (though I think this recipe could easily feed six). I then filled the peppers with curry and put them in a cake pan to bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
While baking, I made a sauce which didn’t turn out quite the way I planned since I used too much oil. I took half a bunch of cilantro and blended it up with olive oil, a little bit of peanut oil (the flavor of which tends to overpower) half a juicy lime’s worth of juice and a light yellow chili.The lighter they are, the less spicy! I also seeded the chili completely, but I don’t think that was necessary. I’d leave some seeds in there next time. The best part about this sauce was the lime juice, since you couldn’t really taste the cilantro, so my suggestion: less oil, more lime! There is a ton of sauce left with which I’m planning to add a bunch of garlic to and use as a tofu marinade.
The meal was a big success! I even invited people over to share it who loved it, which is such a gratifying feeling. Each item tasted great on its own, but they banded together to form Super Meal! Now I’ve got to figure out a sequel…
This weekend we went up to San Luis Obispo to see an Opera Mike’s sister, Angela Cadelago was in. She played the lead in the Marriage of Figaro really beautifully! If you get a chance, see something she’s in; she performs all around California and sometimes elsewhere in the country.
Since Mike’s whole family came to see the Opera we ended up eating at a couple of places that hardly had anything for me to eat. In fact, there were no options with any sort of protein in them. So here’s what I ate Saturday and Sunday morning:
A smoothie, trail mix and a roll for breakfast/lunch,
An avocado, sprout, lettuce and tomato sandwich and a huge basket of fries for dinner,
and a huge plate of home fries and fruit for breakfast the next morning.
As you can see, I managed ok, but I was really looking forward to making up for the lack of a complete nutritional meal by eating somewhere good for dinner on Sunday. Let me tell you, I am one lucky girl! Sunday evening we ended up in LA, 15 minutes away from Madeleine Vegan Bistro – a fancy and expensive, but oh so delicious eatery. I’d been there once before for brunch and was excited for the next time I could come back.
The highlight of both meals was this appetizer:
Not a great picture, but don’t let that turn you off of the deliciousness! The menu description is as follows: Red beet tartare
Warm tofu cheese crouton, English cucumber, balsamic glace
The “warm tofu cheese crouton” actually tastes like lightly breaded and panfried goat cheese! I could probably eat twenty of them in a row and still crave more the next day. All the flavors went perfectly together.
Our four (yes 4!) course meal
French onion soup (with croutons and soy cheese)
Red beet tartare/Mac and Cheese
- The cheese sauce was the perfect texture/consistency, though the flavors left something to be desired. Definitely a nice try at the comfort food!
Grilled lemon-rosemary seitan
Asparagus crepe, zucchini sauté, brown rice cake, lemon-rosemary vinaigrette
Chicken fried seitan, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry relish, coconut yams, stuffing, brussel sprouts
(I should mention their homemade seitan might not be to everyone’s liking. Though the flavor is delicious, the texture is on the spongier side, which I happen to love)
Bananas foster split
Vanilla ice crème, hot fudge, caramel, whipped crème
(Those with nut allergies beware – the ice cream and whipped crème are cashew based.
They also have a perfectly executed chocolate souffle, but I had that last time so I decided to try something different…)
My mouth is watering writing this. I wanna go again! (and again and again…)