Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bad Blogger

I apologize for the delays in posts. 
Do I have an excuse ... yes. 

I was in Costa Rica! 

Rain-forests, sloths, monkeys, surfing (it's harder than it looks) and the never ending meal of rice and beans (most of the time ... don't even get me started on "sachipapas")

Quick news ...
before I left I made some more cupcakes for Mazag Cafe, and some "cock-cakes": cupcakes + cocktails for my dear friends graduation party. 

Now that I'm back I will let you know on June 1st, I am starting a 28 day cleanse ( no refined or processed foods, no alcohol, no caffeine, plus the usual no meat no dairy of coarse ....). I'm excited but I know that it will be very challenging! My co-workers at Whole Foods are teaming up with me and we're going to all set our own bar. 

Do any readers want to join?? It doesn't have to be all of the above, but maybe just refined sugars? or flours? I'll be more than happy to provide recipes, support, and give you a link to the blog that we'll be using for our Whole Food team members. 

Almond cupcakes with chocolate ganache and coconut topping

The cockcakes - Black and Tan on left ='s chocolate stout cake with coffee icing and ganache and Mojito on right ='s rum lime cupcake with mint icing and candied ginger!

All the cakes (from front to back): Mojito, Black and Tan, Strawberry Daquiri, Pina-Colada! 

Giant Avocado Stand in Costa Rica. SOO good!

Typical Breakfast - Rice and beans, fixings, and fruit shake!

Thanks for reading!!


Monday, May 10, 2010

Tis the Season

The season is spring, the taste is spring rolls.
They're fresh, crisp, light - put together with some awesome peanut sauce - and you've got a meal baby. Zip. Zap. Zop.

Philly Spring Rolls

-rice papers (found in your local asian market)
-shredded carrots
-thai basil
-sesame oil
-bean sprouts

There's usually directions on rice papers, but on the ones we picked up there wasn't. No big deal. There super easy. Just heat up some water, dip the paper in for about 5-10 seconds, lay on a plate, fill with the ingredients and bam.
I like to saute the tofu with garlic and sesame oil.

Peanut Dipping Sauce
-1 can coconut milk
-1/2 cup peanut butter
-1/2 cup soy sauce
-dash of cayenne (if you're into it ....)

Blend all together! (Go Go Vita-mix)


Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Vegan Fiesta

Yesterday, as you may all know, was the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. In honor of our mexican friends victorious battle against the french in 1862, my good friend Andrew and I got down and dirty with Terry Hope Romero's new book, Viva Vegan.

Andrew, another amazing vegan chef/baker, recently just bought Terry's new book and has been raving about it ever since. So, naturally, after looking over it at brief hang-out sessions, it was time to see what all the hype was about!

We decided to make her rendition of empanadas with delicious red seitan, shitake mushrooms, olives, and raisins. To go with this we made some killa five-layer vegan dip, and margarita cup-cakes to finish the night off!

pre-cooking, a margarita on the roof! 

Vegan Cupcakes to follow .... from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

Up close and personal... btw, these were soooo delicious! 

The empanada dough, the recipe said to chill it over night or at least 4 hours, us not having looked at the recipe in advanced thought an hour would suffice ... and that it did!! 

The Filling = red seitan, shitake mushrooms, potatoes, onion, garlic, paprika, liquid smoke, cayenne, oregano, salt, and raisins, and olives. YUM!!!! 

The Magic happening!! Here's Andrew and myself filling and folding ... 

Pinching with a fork for that perfect look.... 

Right before going into the oven, brushed with silk creamer

Fresh out of the oven, crisp and delicious

Inside view!

The spread: Vegan 5-layer dip = (from bottom up) refried black beans, tofutti sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and daiya cheddar cheese. Empanadas and cupcakes! WHOO HOO

Andrew, my partner in crime and one of my favorite philadelphian's. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Viva La Vita-Mix

My life has been forever changed....ever since it came in to it.
With it's shiny red base, tall sleek sturdy torso, and that rubbery tight fitting head with that adorable little tamper popping out.
Vita-Mix, how I've dreamed of owning one of these machines for oh-so long. Then it happened. The world finally answered my prayers and a stork dropped one on our doorstep (for a pretty penny). It's so beautiful. We are so proud.

OK, seriously, this machine is a MONSTER! It's insane! It does everything, and I mean everything! 
Here's what I've made so far ... (and many of these many times over)

-Smoothies GALORE (with kale, swiss chard, and collards!! + fruit of coarse, but I'm talking the whole fruit ... skin no problem, seeds forget about 'em, cores - bring it. )
-Almond Milk
-Almond Butter (all kinds of nut butter)
-Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
-Vanilla Frappe
-Pineapple Sorbet
-Peanut Butter Banana Milk Shakes
-Peanut Coconut Thai Dipping Sauce
-Chipotle Mayo (this was banging, the recipe to come! but most importantly, no veganaise added!)
-Grapefruit Juice
-Orange Juice
-Tomato Black Bean Soup (oh and the vita-mix heats the soup up too! No stove top baby!)

It kneads your bread. It boils your water. It wipes your ass.

I haven't stopped talking about it since I got it.
I'm hooked.

My Baby with some Green Smoothie left in him!

Green Smoothie = Kale, Chard, Flax Seed, Bee Pollen, Cantaloupe, Pineapple, Banana, and OJ. 

Monday, May 3, 2010

Restaurant Review: Philly's "Thoreau"

Thoreau, needs to get a little closer to nature. Yes, their food is amazing, the vegan options absolutely splendid, however, on a scale of 1 - 10, I'd have to say a 7. Was it the wait staff. . . No. Was it the food. . . No. Was it the atmosphere. . . Yes. If I went back, it would be take-out only. Apparently they are setting up a bomb outside seating area, but for now, I wouldn't go back and sit in the stale, crammed dining room.
The color of the walls reminded me of a new born baby's room. There's no style, no feeling. The walls are pastel, the tables are covered in white linen, and the wait staff all dressed in black?

Anyways, like I said early, the food ... incredible.
My friend Amy and I went there the other weekend. We decided to get a salad, appetizer, and entree - all to share.
Here's what we started with:

Green Curry Mango Summer Rolls
Grilled julienned carrots and parsnips in green curry glaze with fresh mango in rice paper wrapper. Served with arugula-ruby red salad, dipping oils, and grapefruit garnish!

These were super refreshing and really light. I could've have eaten 10 more and called it a night. 

Watercress and frisse with maple pecans, jullienned Anjou pears and ricotta salata in chile lime vinaigrette. Served with roasted glazed carrots and beets.

Glazed carrots and beets got us. What they failed to mention on the menu was the avocado!  ... could it look anymore perfect?? 


Indian inspired khorma of red lentils, butternut squash and leeks in mild house curry. Topped with mango papaya relish and savory hush puppy corn fritters. 

This stuck out for a number of reasons ... 1. I love indian food 2. khorma's .. yes please 3. Hush puppy corn fritters? A southern spin in lieu of the traditional naan, which was an incredible match!

oh .. and I did I mention dessert ... 

Hazelnut Toffee Basket
Chocolate buttercream mousse, bruleed bananas, hazelnut oatmeal tuille cookie.
THIS IS VEGAN! So amazing. I've never had caramelized banana's before .. oh wait I mean bruleed banana's.. totally rocked my world! Mixed with mousse, mint, whole hazelnuts, and that amazing oatmeal tuille cookies. Oh and the presentation, A+.