Springy Soup/Soupy Spring

Last week I made the Double Pea Roasted Pepper Soup from Veganomicon.  I figured it’s spring, so peas are in season, and for some reason I also have a ton of dried split peas lying around. Mostly, I figured it’s freezing and rainy, so soup is good.

First step was to prep the red peppers. Look at these perfect little twins!
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Pre-roasting (cut, seeded, and oiled):
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Doesn’t the one on the top right look like a heart?

Split peas–measured, ready, and waiting:
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Apparently one yellow pea got in there. Didn’t notice that until I just pulled up the picture. Nice.

I didn’t take pictures of the other steps. I think I just really liked the way the peppers and peas looked. Anyway, here is the final product (I think this is about as attractive as pea soup is ever going to look):
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I liked this recipe.  It was a little bland for my taste; the addition of some salt and cayenne pepper helps.   Also, the flavor of the roasted red peppers is more apparent after the soup sits in the fridge for a day or two. It is very filling, which makes it a great lunch-time soup for those on-the-go.  The recipe also makes a LOT, so I froze some of the leftovers for later consumption. Really, that’s all there is to it!

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Not Today, My Good Man, I’m Feeling Saus-y

Yesterday around 2:30, for no reason in particular, I was craving french fries.  The first thing I thought of was the Clover truck and their heavenly rosemary fries.  I hoofed it over to Government Center (knowing that the truck there closes at 3) but alas, the fryers were already off for the day.  Luckily, my salvation lay just across the street, at a little shop called Saus

The Restaurant
Saus is a Belgian-style pommes frites shop, wisely situated in between some of the most famous bars of Boston’s Faneuil Hall neighborhood, and open late.  This type of restaurant is nothing new to me, being a long-time patron of the fabulous, if boringly-named, Pommes Frites of New York City’s Second Avenue (between 7th and St. Marks).  However, Saus is relatively new to Boston, and, as I discovered, many people are not yet aware of it.  So here’s the deal: you order a cone of greasy, salty, thick-cut fries, and choose one or more dipping sauces to accompany it.  In Belgium, as well as at Saus, the sauces are often mayonnaise-based; however, vegan options abound in the form of curry ketchup, truffle ketchup, balsamic ketchup, etc.  The fries at Saus are vegan (I contacted them to check)–they are fried in “a vegetable oil blend,” which includes soybean and safflower oil.

The Order
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Petite Frites with Green Monster sauce (jalapenos, habaneros, fresh cilantro, and garlic)

Verdict
I enjoy Saus very occasionally and usually in the company of others.  Honestly, even the small size is too much for one person as far as the fries go.  They are extremely tasty but also extremely greasy and I always feel slightly nauseated after ingesting them.  In other words, they’re made for sharing.  Regardless, my craving was satisfied by the cone I purchased yesterday, and I think I convinced at least two other people (one who sampled a fry and another who just smelled them) to go and try Saus.
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And…I am probably going to go to the Clover truck today to get rosemary fries anyway.  Wedding diet who?

Almond Joy

I’m talking about the joy that I, as a vegan, derive from seeing new almond-based products cropping up everywhere.  Don’t get me wrong, I love soy.  I also think that a diet too heavy in any one ingredient is not a healthy diet, and I tend to eat a lot of a soy on a daily basis without even trying.  Hence my almond joy.

Most recently, I discovered Amande Almond Milk Yogurt.  I came across these babies in Whole Foods (on sale, no less) two weeks ago, got super-excited, and pulled out my wallet right quick.

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Strawberry and Cherry flavors

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Blueberry and Peach flavors

I really like these.  They are very creamy, decently filling, and subtly sweet (being fruit-sweetened).  And they have little bits of real fruit sprinkled throughout, which taste really fresh and awesome.  The peach one was my favorite, which was a bit surprising because I normally love “red” flavors most.  I’ve been eating these for breakfast a couple times a week and plan to make them a fridge staple going forward.  I really love the texture.  Check it out:
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See the peach pieces in there? Yum!

I guess this product really is pretty new still, because when I Googled it to try and grab a link to share on the blog, I couldn’t find one, just a bunch of reviews, similar to this, from other bloggers and food lovers.   I would definitely recommend checking it out if you haven’t already.

So, confession: this post isn’t all about almond-based products.  Because let’s face it, Almond Joy* is about the almonds but also the coconut.  And with that, I present my latest venture into the world of coconut milk ice cream, Purely Decadent Cookie Dough!
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It’s delicious, of course.  Plenty of big, satisfying chunks of chocolate chip cookie dough do not disappoint.
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*I actually hesitated before naming my post after an actual food product, due to the insane amount of people that have now been directed to this post on my blog by searching “me want honeycomb.”**  For realz.   But in the end my nerdy pride over my own cleverness in coming up with a post  title that could incorporate both almond milk yogurts and coconut milk ice cream won out. 

**They must have been really disappointed.

Ladies Who Lunch

Or, in this case, lady who lunches, I guess.  It’s finals time.  My last finals time ever (hallelujah!).  While the light at the end of the tunnel (I’m done at noon tomorrow!!!) certainly helps, nothing can truly ease the pain and irritation caused by this time of the semester.  Except perhaps some fabulous eats.

For some reason, breakfast is always a chore for me and lunch is kind of take-what-you-get, while dinner is the main event meal of each day.  The last two weeks however have been filled with some of the most delectable lunches I’ve ever had.  I have tons of photos of them so I hope you like photos.

1) Gardein crispy tenders on a whole wheat sandwich thin with honey mustard, and kale and spinach sauteed with garlic and olive oil:
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By the way, this is the kale and spinach in the pan when I first put them in (kale on the right, spinach on the left):
Kale and spinach

And this is after a minute or so…amazing how much spinach wilts down in a hot pan!
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2) Gardein crispy tenders on a whole wheat sandwich thin with barbecue sauce and kale sauteed with garlic:
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3) WildWood southwest flavor sprouted tofu burger on a whole wheat sandwich thin with lettuce, tomato, and avocado, with a side of Sabra roasted pine nut hummus and organic cucumber slices:
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4) WildWood original flavor sprouted tofu burger on a whole wheat sandwich thin with lettuce, tomato, and BBQ sauce, with a garlic dill pickle (because when is a pickle ever not the solution to all your problems?  All this time, I should have been writing “pickle” on my exams when I didn’t know the answer.)
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5) ED&BV Lemon Chickpea Lentil soup with rustic bread and Smart Balance light:
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6) ED&BV Lemon Chickpea Lentil soup with a beet medley (roasted bulbs; stalks and greens sauteed with garlic):
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I had never eaten beet stalks before and let me tell you, they are a delight.

7) Flat bread with Sabra pine nut hummus, cucumber, and tomato, with the fava beans from my last post, sauteed with garlic and olive oil:
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The fava beans were SO GOOD! I wished I had more.

8– Leftover Ancho Lentil mix from this recipe, on a whole wheat sandwich thin, with lettuce and a swirl of dijon mustard, a side of kale sauteed with garlic, and a pickle (duh):
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9) Leftover Ancho Lentil mix on a whole wheat sandwich thin, with lettuce, chopped tomato, and a side of roasted beets:
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I should have had a pickle.

Some of these were repeated one or more times. Ya know…lather, rinse, repeat.  Plus, when something’s this tasty, why change anything about it? I have to say, #3 might have been the best lunch I’ve ever had.  The WildWood southwest flavor is my favorite by far (I’ve also had shiitake and original), and my avocado was heavenly.
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So ripe and creamy.

Also, how much do you love Sabra hummus?  I’m not plugging them for any reason other than that I love them…I mean, look at this perfection:
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I loved this lunch so much that I took a couple extra beauty shots:
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A perfect burger

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MMM sabra sabrosa…sorry it’s a little blurry, I was too hungry to focus, I guess.

The next time I post, it will be posting as a non-law student! Woo!!

Me:  Someone found my blog yesterday by searching for “deformed chocolate chip cookies.”
H:  That’s a funny way to spell delicious.

Unpretty

It’s no secret that I love food.  Nor is it a secret that I sometimes find myself totally in awe of the amazing beauty that occurs in nature.  The vibrant colors, the interesting yet somehow perfectly symmetrical shapes…it really is kind of crazy to think about.

However, just like people, not all foods are naturally beautiful.    Today’s post is dedicated to some of the unpretty members of food society, because they should know that I love them anyway.

First, let’s say hello to fava beans.  Being a huge fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, I’ve eaten favas (or “fool” [ha] as they’re sometimes called) many a time.  But I had never actually cooked them myself until yesterday.  Whole Foods had fresh favas in the pod on sale and I just couldn’t resist.  So I bought them and brought them home.  And found myself looking at this:

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They look like a witch’s fingers. Unpretty.

And they have a weird, soft texture when you hold them.  Also, I had no idea what to do with them.  So I turned to the trusty interwebs and learned that to prepare favas, you must first take them out of the pods.

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Yeah, the inside of the pods is weird and fuzzy.

Then, you parboil them for 3 minutes in a pot of salted water.  After three minutes are up, drain the boiling water and immediately shock the beans by dumping them into a bowl of ice water.  Let them sit for a minute or two.  Then pull them out and slide off their outer coating with ease.  

Here they are with coating still on:
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After pulling off the coating, you are left with this:
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Beautiful, deep, vibrant spring green.  See?  Inner beauty is a real thing. From this point you can either eat them raw, put in a salad, or saute them up with a little salt and garlic and enjoy that way. A+.

Next up is a cherimoya.  A what?!  So, a little backstory…I saw this on the Vegan Favorites blog two days ago and thought three things: 1) what in God’s name is a cherimoya? 2) How cool is it that there are still so many fruits and vegetables in the world that I’ve never even heard of? and 3) Hot damn, that thing looks weird.  It looks like an apple and an artichoke had a deformed baby.  Anyway, in the VF blogpost they described the cherimoya as tasting like a cross between an apple and a banana.  Huh??  Also, they mentioned that it was only available in the Bay area for a very short time each year.  So I’m thinking, well, if ever I do travel to California, I’d like to try this wacky fruit.

Then yesterday I go into Whole Foods and wouldn’t ya know…they’ve got cherimoyas.  And a little placard description that characterizes the taste as being a cross between a pineapple and a banana.  Now my curiosity was really piqued.  And…they were $8.99 a pound.  Eight friggin ninety-nine a pound!  So that, my friends, was my May Whole Foods splurge.

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I brought the fruit home, and took the above photos.  We stared at each other for a few minutes.  Then I went to talk to the interwebs again.  Turns out, this fruit has its own website.  Yup.  Cherimoya.com is a real thing. Unpretty fruit celebrities do exist.

This is the inside:
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UNPRETTY

Unlike the fava beans, the cherimoya is not pretty on the outside or the inside.  Here is the fruit:
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Appearance: yech.

Plus, it’s a huge, messy pain to eat because you need to remove the seeds.  This is the refuse left from me extracting the edible pulp of one fruit:
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Double yech.

But what does it taste like? you ask.  Let’s just say that after I took my first bite I actually laughed out loud.  It tastes like all of the things the descriptions promised, and I also think it tastes like eggnog.  Or, more specifically, it has a creamy texture and faint nutmeg flavor.  I know, weird.  If, like me, you live in a place that maybe once a year gets a shipment of unusual produce from the west coast or some tropical region (my Whole Foods was also selling fresh starfruit and passionfruit yesterday…I have never seen those here before), my advice is to snatch it up.  Trying new things is so much fun, and so worth your time and a few extra nickels.  Who knows, you might just discover that your outsides are cool and your insides are blue…

Yeah, it’s been in my head since I came up with the idea for this title’s post yesterday:

You’re welcome.

Peanut Passion

Well, I knocked out my take-home exam yesterday, so today I’m going to finish my short paper and then get crackin on the long one.  All I really want to do is go for a run and spend the rest of the day drinking margaritas.  At least I have a mini-Cinco de Mayo fiesta with H to look forward to tonight.  I’m making Ancho Lentil Tacos from this recipe, posted Tuesday on the Post Punk Kitchen blog.  My lentils are currently simmering away, which I find very exciting.  We’re also going to have guacamole (duh) and Coronas.  Hooray!

Anyway, I don’t have that much time to post but I was feeling antsy about blogging so I am putting up some pictures of peanutty goodness that I recently enjoyed.

First up is the Love Bowl from Good Karma Café in Red Bank, NJ.  Menu description: Sautéed seasonal greens, brown rice, black beans and your choice of tofu or tempeh. Topped with your choice of sauces: Thai coconut, spicy peanut or sweet mustard sauce.

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I chose tofu with spicy peanut sauce.
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Good Karma is a vegan restaurant with alot of raw options and is close to my parents’ house so I gave it a try when I was visiting them for Passover a couple weeks back.  This thing was really…nourishing.  I mean, it tasted nourishing, if that makes sense.  The greens (I think they were collards) were quite bitter but the tofu and beans balanced it a little.  The sauce was really thick and filling.  Definitely not spicy, and I would have added hot sauce if I could have done so without having to travel past my grandmother’s watchful Passover eyes (tofu, beans, rice, and peanuts are all “kitnyot”…not strictly kosher for passover for many people) to get it!  I also think I would have enjoyed this more if the peanut sauce had been thinned and sweetened with a little agave for a better balance of flavors.  Overall, though, I liked it, and I’m looking forward to visiting Good Karma again next time I’m in NJ and trying some of the other yummy-sounding things on their menu.

Next we have my Easter dinner.  Ha, yes, I’m transitioning from Passover to Easter just like that.  H and I went to his family for dinner on Saturday night of Easter weekend and I was feeling a little awkward beforehand, since at that time I was contending with not only vegan food restrictions but Passover restrictions as well.  Hence, I brought my own dinner.  I felt like maybe this was a dick move, but his family was totally cool with it, and relieved too, I’m sure.  I hate being an inconvenience when other people are going out of their way to be nice and have me over for dinner.   Anyway, it all turned out fine, except that, like a fool, I left my camera at home so I don’t have a picture of the assembled dinner. But here are some of the components of what I ate:

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This is my version of the Maple Ginger Mango Tofu from the Love Veggies and Yoga blog. It is Maple Ginger Peach Tofu, since I used this:
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I sliced the tofu reeeeally thin, as instructed:
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The veggies in the first pic are from the frozen packaged Trader Joe’s “Harvest Hodgepodge” mix.  Genius.  I always have this in my freezer.  I enjoyed the tofu and veggies over rice pad thai noodles, topped with Peanut Passion Sauce from Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan.

This is the sauce:
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It is awesome.  Like, really friggin’ awesome.  I do not make it that often, because it is so high calorie, and H and I are both on the wedding diet so it’s not really a wise thing to keep on hand.  However, a batch of this is incredibly tasty and versatile, as you can use it as a dip for veggies or a spread for sandwiches or a marinade for tofu, etc. etc….or you could do like I do and mix in some coconut milk and then slather it all over some pad thai noodles.  That’s the stuff. I used part of this batch as noodle sauce, and contributed the rest of it as an appetizer (with crudité) for the Easter gathering at H’s house. It was a big hit!

Then I ate the leftovers (noodles, Peanut Passion sauce, veggies, and plain old sauteed tofu, since I finished all the Peach tofu at Easter dinner!) for lunch over the next week:
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With a buttload of chili garlic sauce, obvi:
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Finally, though it’s unrelated, I thought I’d share the fact that last week, the search engine term “me want honeycomb” was used four times to find my blog.  Yeah…I don’t know.

Woo! Much longer post than I’d anticipated writing.  That’s just how these things go!  Back to writing things that are not fun at all…

Indulgence

I know I promised a proper post very soon, and I intend to keep that promise, but it might have to wait until finals are over.  I officially finished law school classes forever last Wednesday, but I am not truly done until May 13th, when I turn in a 30-page paper and take a 3-hour sit-down exam.  Prior to that I have to complete a 7-hour take home exam and turn in another, shorter paper.  So really, I don’t have time to do justice to the post I want to write, which is all about my newest obsession, food trucks.  When I do post it, I hope it’ll be worth the wait!  In addition to my food truck wrap-up, I have a bunch of other stuff to share, as I’ve been eating a lot of really great food.   I feel like I’m finally getting the hang of being vegan on a tight budget and schedule and it feels awesome.  Plus, as the weather gets warmer, I am just feeling good all around…despite finals.  Ha! I will post all of this soon!

In the meantime, I will continue to put up these cute mini-posts in the hopes that they are entertaining and possibly informative.

Right now, I’m going to show you something really friggin amazing.  I bought a pint of Purely Decadent coconut ice cream yesterday at Whole Foods because it was on sale. Plus, the flavor, Mocha Almond Fudge, sounded fabu.
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Oh my sweet Lord.  This is SO. GOOD.

Check out the perfect swirl of fudge in there:
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YUM
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Coco coffee
And yeah…iced coffee with mocha almond fudge ice cream? I went there.  I get to indulge a little during finals, right? 🙂

Also, while I type, these little beauties are roasting away in my oven, making my apartment smell like sweetness and love whilst I study:
Beets!
I can’t stop marveling at how incredibly beautiful these are.  It’s amazing to me that such a vibrant color exists in nature.

I also have their greens waiting for me later.  I would by lying if I said I didn’t eat about a full pound of kale and spinach earlier with lunch, so these don’t stand a chance come dinner time.  I might need a leafy greens intervention soon…
Beet greens

Man I love beets!!!
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Ah-ee-ooooh…killer tofu!!!