OMGinger

I have always enjoyed the taste of fresh ginger but lately my taste for it has grown into a passionate love.  When I make a recipe calling for minced or grated fresh ginger, I find myself adding a little more than instructed.  Fortunately, H loves ginger too!  He always comments on it when I make stir fry, a dish which, for me, is not complete without fresh ginger thrown in.

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Aside from the bright, sweet, slightly spicy flavor, I love ginger for its versatility.  It sparkles in foods both savory and sweet.  It also boasts a number of incredible health benefits.  Consider this description, excerpted from the World’s Healthiest Foods database:

“Historically, ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. In herbal medicine, ginger is regarded as an excellent carminative (a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance which relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract). Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects.”  Read more about ginger here.

For our holiday party this past year, I baked Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting, from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (my go-to dessert book, obviously).

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Here they are, served alongside a little vegan nog (check out the reflection!).  Can you say decadence?

I loved these!!  While they were a little on the spicy side for the kids that stopped by the party, they were well-received by the adults.  And they looked beautiful, if I may say.

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Also, a week or two ago I had the most incredible Thai dish from Lanna Thai, a diner right down the road from my office.  First of all, yes, it’s a Thai diner. The place is adorable.  It’s got maybe 5-6 tables and some stools at a counter, metal siding, the works.  But it’s Thai!!

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Second, they have great lunch specials, with excellent portion sizes and a good number of veggie options.  Third, the food is outstanding.  I have tried their Tofu Prik Pow, a perfectly sweet and spicy veggie and pineapple concoction, as well as their Tofu Red Curry (the control dish by which I judge all Thai eateries!), which was sweet and creamy with perfectly cooked vegetables. My favorite yet, however, was the Tofu Pad King, the ginger dish.

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This was SO GOOD.  A world of flavor, perfect texture to everything…I can’t say enough good things about this and I kind of wish I were eating it right now.  I thought I had a bunch more menu items I was going to try from Lanna but I might just be stuck on Pad King from here on out…

P.S. – Look at what came in the mail today!!Om Nom Nom Sampler photo iphone004_zps647c77dc.jpg

It’s the six-cookie sampler pack made by Om Nom Nom Cookies that I recently bought from Vegan Cuts!!  Clockwise from top left: Spicy Mexican Snickerdoodle, Ultimate Peanut Butter, Gluten-free Chocolate Chip, Orange-Zested Chocolate Chip, Cranberry-Walnut Oatmeal, and Red Velvet.  Of course, there is no gingerbread flavor so I really have no excuse for including these in this post other than my sheer excitement.  I don’t even know where to start!

Thank God I’m training for a race right now.

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Peace

Something horrible just happened.

After a half hour of perusing the outrageously beautiful Olives for Dinner blog, and after coming across at least three recipes that use Butler Soy Curls, I realized that I have never actually had these, nor have I ever noticed them for sale.  So my first step was to Google the product, visit the Butler Foods website all happy-go-lucky, and click on the link for “Where to Buy.”

And wouldn’t you know, there is only one place in the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts where you can purchase Soy Curls.  And that place is was Peace O’ Pie.

I am not really exaggerating when I say that a little part of me died when Peace O’ Pie closed a few weeks ago. And I think I’m justified in feeling that the memory of my favorite vegan eatery deserves a post of its own.

When I lived in Brighton, I visited PoP multiple times per month, despite my tight student budget.  The delicious comfort food and opportunity to support an entirely vegan business was worth it.  Particularly when I was studying for the bar exam, PoP was a godsend, even more so on Sundays when I would go in and just completely load up on their brunch buffet. Some examples:

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Mac and cheese, french toast, tofu scramble, and a veggie-potato hash

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Tempeh & broccoli mac, curry and black bean tofu scramble, roasted red and sweet potatoes, and sauteed rainbow chard (told you I would load up)

Click through for even more brunch food porn.

After moving out of the city, I was not able to go as frequently, but whenever I could I would willingly put in a couple of hours of  MBTA hell to travel out to my favorite corner of Allston (recently commemorated in PPK’s Top 100 of 2012, thank you very much!) and pick up a couple of slices and a sandwich for later.

On Sundays between April and August, H and I play in a co-ed softball league, and our team’s post-game hangout spot is a bar in Allston called The Draft, which is just a block or two away from Peace O’ Pie’s former location.  So during the season, while my team chowed down on chicken wings, I was able to walk down the street and pick up my own “wings” (tofu bites), some pizza, or a sandwich, then walk back and rejoin my team.
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Buffalo Tofu Bites with Garlic Aioli

The Draft, being an incredibly awesome establishment, never cared that I brought my own food in, and most weekends the employees would eagerly look forward to seeing what kind of delicious vegan concoction I would show up with.  The most memorable time was in Summer 2010 when I came with slices of mac n’ cheez pizza (made with mac left over from brunch, no doubt).  I thought our waitress’s eyes were going to pop out of her head!
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Peace O’ Pie’s closing is really a terrible loss for the vegan community in Boston and beyond.  And so, now that I am super-depressed, how about I post the 8767856 pictures that I have stockpiled over the years depicting their incredibly tasty, creative, and lovingly-made food.  Enjoy, and if you can, raise a glass to Peace O’ Pie, and to all of the beloved veg places in your life–don’t ever take them for granted!

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Tofu Parm

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Buffalo Chik’n Pie

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BBQ Chik’n Pie

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Cinnamon Roll (holy hell I will miss these)

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Cheesy Bread (better than anything you ever got from Domino’s)

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An amazing Slice of the Day with Tofu Ricotta, Kalamata Olives, and Sundried Tomatoes

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Take-out box for slices

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Slices of the Day. The one on the left was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted–-roasted garlic oil, Daiya mozzarella, and artichokes. Amazing.

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ULTIMATE PIG-OUT: cheesy bread and tofu bites!

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A slice of leftover “Hawaiian” that I ate with sauteed spinach

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Closeup of a huge chunk of tempeh bacon on a slice…I think there was leftover black bean tofu scramble on this slice too. Incredible.

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A Slice of the Day incorporating a two-cheese blend, roasted potato wedges, and jalapenos

Now I need a cookie.