Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Simple Little Dinner

If you're looking from something quick and easy, but makes a beautiful presentation, these two dishes are just what you've been waiting for.
For the first - a savory, spicy little dish packed with protein, dice up a small yellow onion, 2 little peppers (seeds removed!) chipotle, jalapeño...your should choice based on the spice-level you prefer, and sautée that all together until the onions start to turn golden.

Toss in a small, diced, seeded tomato, 2 cans of organic black beans (drained) and 1/4 of vegetable stock.  
Cool until warm throughout, season to taste with kosher salt, and transfer to a baking dish. Top with shredded vegan cheese, and let that bake at 350 until the cheese is good and melted.  Serve immediately!
Next, fill a big, round bowl with shredded romaine. Rather than tossing in your favorite ingredients, place them on top in a colorful pinwheel like my friend, Beth, did.  Fresh corn kernels, diced red pepper, crisp green peas, diced cucumber - while this also has garbanzo beans, carrots and tortilla strips, you could do black olives, sundried tomatoes, celery, hearts of palm...anything you choose! Just leave the dressing on the side, or use the flavorful bean dish to serve as the dressing for you.  Of course, you can always add a margarita and some guacamole to round out a fuller meal. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

David Burke's Fabrick


Every month or so I meet two of my best, lifetime friends for dinner in Manhattan.  It is the easiest place to meet, kind of a middle place for us all. As you'd imagine, meeting so often means not eating in the same restaurant all the time so we don't get bored with our meals. Since NYC has so many restaurants to offer, it's fun to mix it up and try new places.

For my friend Rachel's birthday we went to David Burke's Fabrick - an incredible restaurant in the Archer Hotel in the West 40's.  I am the only vegan among us, and I am always pleasantly surprised when restaurants that are mainstream are so accommodating.  The Assistant Executive Chef came to the table to meet me and tell me how thrilled he was to be challenged to make fabulous vegan food, beyond the pale of salads and cooked vegetables - and that was before he knew I was a blogger!

This menu boasted a million options for me, even if they had to be modified slightly.

In the "Mostly Veg" category they offered:

Rosemary flatbread with sea salt and olive oil
Mixed olives with marcona almonds
Roasted mushroom flatbread (leave off the cheese)
Kale and escarole salad with shaved baby vegetables in a citrus vinaigrette
Market salad with romaine and arugula, tahini honey dressing (I know some vegans will not eat honey,) crispy chick peas, olives, tomato and Persian cucumber (hold the feta)
Sweet pea mushroom pasta (hold the ricotta salata) with sundried tomato and calabrian chili
Roasted cauliflower steak with lemon farro and exotic aromatics

In the "Sides" category they serve:

Roasted summer squash, spring mushrooms, quinoa and green beans, chickpea fries, jar of house made pickles, and french fries.

I selected guacamole with house made plantain and tortilla chips - the vegan alternative they made for me in place of the avocado panna cotta and the chickpea fries - all of which we shared. Both were good but those fries were out of this world! Flavorful, a bit salty with a creamy texture...incredible!

The cauliflower steak, my entree, was spectacular. It was tasty, filling, and savory with the sweeter farro...I would go back for it anytime.

If you're in the mood for a cocktail, the names alone will intrigue:

Tequila Mocking Bird...Va Va Boom... Blonde Ambition... Blackberry Lime Rickey 

Fabrick is a sure "not to be missed" addition to your personal dining out guide. You'll thank me for recommending it to you.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Campagna




This is not the start of a joke, but what do you get when Chef Michael White, and the Altamarea Group, partner with actor and Bedford Post Inn owner, Richard Gere? Campagna. My new absolute, hands down favorite place to dine in Westchester, New York.  

“We are delighted to open Campagna in the Fall season and deepen our presence at the Bedford Post Inn. We thank Richard Gere for the confidence entrusted to us and look forward to welcoming guests and being part of the Bedford community", said Altamarea Group CEO Ahmass Fakahany.
 
We at the Bedford Post are more than pleased, we are delighted to welcome Campagna to our inn. I have enormous respect for Michael White and Ahmass Fakahany and know they will take the whole Bedford Post experience to extraordinary new heights.   What a wonderful addition to our community to have these world-class restauranteurs with us,” said property owner Richard Gere.

The setting is beautiful and peaceful, and the food and drink are spectacular!  My cocktails - one before dinner and one during (and I was not driving) - were also flavorful, custom creations of the bartender.  My friend enjoyed his appropriately named cocktail: Pretty Woman (get it?)

I need to tell you this is NOT a vegan restaurant, but everyone was so accommodating!  While my other guests enjoyed an heirloom tomato tart with stracciatella, mine was a stunning plate of toasty, warm tomatoes with carmelized onions.  I had warm olives, with a bit of spicy heat, and got the manchego cheese on the side for everyone else.  For my entree, while they would have made me a custom pasta, I had the outrageously crispy potatoes with capers and variety of cooked summer squash.  Other menu items include lots of grilled meats and fish, a variety of homemade pastas, and other creative definitely not plant-based dishes for the carnivores or pescetarians who may be dining with you.

If you live in or near Northern Westchester, this needs to be your new dining destination.  We were there on such a lovely summer night, that we got to dine al fresco.  If you get there before the snow finds its way back to the East Coast, maybe you can too!  If you have even more time, the Inn itself is a wonderful escape...it is definitely worth investigating for a weekend away.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Sangri-aahh


I have to admit that, while I love entertaining, once my son leaves for camp each summer, I seem to shut down the kitchen.  Eating out, weekends away, even take out - those three options trump cooking for 95% of the 7 weeks he's not here.  Last night was an exception, as my friend and her husband recently left the city for the 'burbs, so I invited them for dinner.  My vegan cooking contributions were that amazing avocado pesto linguini recipe I shared earlier this week, a salad, and roasted cauliflower.  I also decided to opt for sangria over wine or my usual go-to: a tequila cocktail.

For some reason, the few times I order sangria, I always choose red, but when I stopped into this cute wine store in Salisbury, Connecticut last weekend, I was inspired to go with white.  The proprietor looked up a recipe for me, and I chose to modify it (as I do most recipes.)  My creation was not only beautiful, as you can see, but delicious, and I am making more for tonight when I head to a friend's house for a Mexican-themed dinner party! 

You will need the following:
1 bottle spanish white wine (ask your local store for a great selection)
1 bottle club soda
2 shots brandy
1 shot peach schnaps
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime sliced
1/2 granny smith apple, thinly sliced
1/2 nectarine, thinly sliced
1/2 c raspberries

Mix all together and chill in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours before serving.  Place a nectarine slice, some apple and a couple of raspberries into each glass, and then mix the sangria well again before pouring in the liquid.  Keep the limes and lemons in the pitcher...the other fruits can be eaten at the bottom of each glass.  As a side, tonight I am cooking one more thing: vegan black beans with sauteed, diced yellow onion, jalapeno and a small tomato, topped with a little melted vegan cheese...just give me some guacamole and some more of this sangria and it will be a perfect meal!


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Fabulous VegNews Recipe!

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Avocado Pesto Pasta
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Our Favorite Avocado Pesto Pasta
This month, vegan cookbook darling Chloe Coscarelli opens her first restaurant in New York City, and to celebrate we’re offering her delectable avocado pesto pasta recipe. The green fruit offers a rich, velvety texture to a dish that comes together in less time than it takes to boil water. Whip up this VegNews staff favorite for a simple and flavorful summer meal, and to go gluten-free, substitute brown rice pasta.
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Serves 6
What You Need:
1 pound dried linguini
1 bunch basil leaves (about 2½ ounces)
½ cup pine nuts
2 ripe avocados, pitted and peeled
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
½ cup olive oil
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
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What You Do:

1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add pasta and cook to package directions. While pasta cooks, in a food processor, blend basil, pine nuts, avocados, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Drain pasta. In a large serving bowl, toss pesto with hot, freshly cooked pasta and garnish each serving with a basil leaf. For an extra touch of color and flavor, top pasta with sun-dried tomatoes. 
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More Food from VegNews!
>> Chloe's Seasonal Berry Cobbler
>> Three Steps to Smoothie Success
>> Coffee Chip Frozen Yogurt
>> Vegan-Friendly Fine Dining
>> Chloe's Favorite Cooking Substitutes
>> Make Your Favorite Sweets Vegan
>> No Need for Omega-3 Supplements
>> Grilled Veggie Pizza
>> Grapefruit & Cranberry Cocktail
>> Veganizing India
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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Oak Room

I love Boston and thankfully, with a sister who lives there and a job that funds research there, I get to visit rather often.
Last night there was a threat of thunderstorms and I was having drinks and dinner with my sister and a friend, so rather than hop from place to place and risk getting soaked, we headed to Oak at the Fairmont Copley. Once inside, we knew this was the place to stay.
Vaulted ceiling, classic and stunning decor, a beautifully appointed bar, a cocktail list that was unique and a mile long, and a menu that looked promising and tasted even better than we'd hoped!

We started with an order of hot bread with pretzel salt and honey. (I am a vegan who eats honey though I know many don't.) The dough is baked right into a skillet and then drizzled and sprinkled...it was melt-in-your-mouth amazing.
We followed that with an order of spicy, roasted shishito peppers. Super flavorful with just the right amount of heat, and plenty for the three of us to share.
While the salads looked good, we knew their pizza dough stood a good chance of being fabulous after that skillet bread, so they made me a custom vegan pizza with marinara, fresh basil and thinly sliced zucchini. It was worth the indulgence! Super thin crust and bursting with flavor.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Hair of the (Vegan) Dog


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It's summer so I'm thinking about beachtime and pool time and parties and picnics and fireworks and lazy summer Sundays...


How better than to kick off a slow weekend morning than with a delicious brunch and a refreshing cocktail.  Maybe a mimosa?  Or, better yet, a Bloody Mary?  You know some mornings it's what your body is craving after a long night out with friends.

McClure's, better known for it's pickles, makes a fabulous Bloody Mary mix, and this baby has a kick!

McClure's writes "made with our spicy pickle brine, tomato paste, fresh pressed cucumber juice and other fresh ingredients, our Bloody Mary mix is spicy and undoubtedly McClure's.  Drink it as a vegetable juice cocktail or with your favorite vodka."  The best part is that this is anchovy-free ~ hello vegan beauty!

Toss in a couple of olives and a celery stick and you're good to go with a cocktail you and your guests will love.  But yeah, you'd better like spice.  It might be a good idea to pick up some chips and guacamole to accompany this baby!