Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cooking With Bell Organic

Baked Tofu Smothered in Peanut Sauce with Steamed Vegetables Along with Spicy Peanut Rice and Citrus Collards with Raisins Redux
Organic and Local Vegetables from Bell Organic Farms of Draper and Sandy Utah
      I've had a spring and summer share from Bell Organic of Draper and Sandy, Utah for a few months now. It's been exciting to arrive once a week to see what the farm produced. For the Spring share, it was mostly greens, but with the switch from spring to summer there's been much more variety. One of these was kohlrabi, a german cabbage, that intrigued me, but I was almost ready to choose the easy path and pick beets instead. Instead, I asked David how they could be used and he was very knowledgeable and told me to treat it like a carrot. Simple enough. I threw them in the steamer basket with other veggies from Bell Organic and they came out delicious. Though, I might peel them next time. It's the lemon looking wedge in the lower right hand side of the first picture. I'll try and get a whole picture of one next time they appear in my share. 
Photo from Wikipedia, the stems and the leaves have been trimmed here.
     After weeks of cooking with a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share, this would be my masterpiece with almost all of the veggies coming from my share. Although, it's easier to get to the supermarket and pick out veggies that you need, I like the mystery and the challenge that the having a CSA presents. My mom has also experimented with a CSA so it's been fun to exchange recipes and find out what's she been getting, which is a lot of yellow squash! (If you have any recipes to help her out, let me know.) For Salt Lakers interested in Bell Organic, Salt Lake City Weekly is running a contest to win a free mid-season 9 week share from Bell Organic. Enter HERE.
Peanut Sauce
Lower Fat Peanut Sauce from
     My first introduction to Thai food was fried tofu over peanut sauce. Although, the tofu was unseasoned and flavorless, the peanut sauce held everything together. I can't think of many things better. This version from does have fat in it, of course, but it's a lower fat version than the traditional version. I've tried making this before from a different recipe, but got discouraged. This recipe nails it. Get the recipe HERE.
Citrus Collards with Raisins Redux
Organic and Local Collard Greens from Bell Organic. 
     I love when I see Collards greens in my share because I know I can turn to Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen's Citrus Collard Greens Redux with Raisins. It's the perfect way to cook collards. I do ignore his advice and leave the spines on since I think they're not as tough once you cook them. Plus, the crunch adds a nice touch. Perhaps, one of my favorite ways to cook greens. Maybe one day, I'll experiment with substituting kale and chard for the collards. Find the recipe HERE.
Baked Tofu
Baked, Not Fried Tofu
     Normally, I press and pan fry tofu, but this recipe just calls for vegetable broth and soy sauce. It was one of the easiest ways to cook tofu that I've ever used. I'll probably start cooking tofu this way since I think the results are the same as pan frying without the addition of oil. Find the recipe along with the spicy peanut sauce HERE.
Spicy Peanut Rice Recipe
The Spicy Peanut Rice is on the left.
      I forgot to take a picture of this before I platted so I'll just duplicate the mean picture. This recipe came from the back of a package of Lundberg Organic Brown Rice. I normally buy in bulk, but the sale was too good to pass up. The recipe was an interesting twist of just plain brown rice and complimented the peanut sauce slathered tofu and vegetables perfectly. And you have to smell it cooking in the kitchen. Something, I've been looking for a while now. Though, I think I would try to cook it in my rice cooker next time instead of a pot and might kick up the spice since it like the spice.

Spicy Peanut Rice Recipe (from Lundberg Family Farms):
1 1/2 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Tsp whole cumin seeds
4 Whole cloves
1 Bay leaf
1 Cup of Chopped Onion 
1/4 Tsp of Red Pepper Flakes
2 Cups of Water or Broth (I used water)
1/2 Tsp of Salt
1/3 Cup of Chopped Roasted Peanuts

Heat the olive oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in cumin, cloves and bay leaf. Cook briefly until cummin seeds darken slightly. Add onion, garlic, red pepper. Cook until onion is tender. Stir in rice. Add water and salt. (This is where I would put it in the rice cooker) Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 50 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand; covered, 10 minutes. Fluff with fork. Remove bay leaf and stir in peanuts. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Happy Brett Day!!!

Happy Birthday, Brett!
Brett at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary with Petunia, a rescued turkey.
      Yesterday was Brett's birthday. He's one of the nicest and bestest friends that I know; a friend you're lucky to meet once in a lifetime. Not only is he an award winning home brewer, he is one half of the team behind the awesome site, Plus, he can cook me under the table. Just browse some of his recipes on the site. From Vietnamese Summer Spring Rolls with a Mango Apricot Wheat Dipping Sauce to the alliteration prone Beer Braised Brussels Spouts with Shiitake Bacon and Quinoa Pilaf, Brett showcases his culinary skills (and unlike me he creates his own recipes!).
**UPDATE** Brett is holding a fundraiser on September 8th at The Half Pint from 7-9 p.m. in NYC to benefit Woodstock Animal Sanctuary. 25% of the tab will be donated to the sanctuary and features great beers from Smuttynose Brewery. Get more information HERE. Please help spread the word to make this a success!
 Brett Pretending Someone Is Chasing Him in His First Half Marathon
Or maybe he heard there was a case of Ken Griffy rookie card beer at the finish?
     To demonstrate how nice he is, he asked everyone to forgo presents and instead donate to to his fund raising goal for Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. On World Farm Animal Day, he will be running his first marathon, that's 26.2 miles without anyone or thing chasing you. While I'm not a runner, I did run in the Ching Farm Sanctuary race and did just the 10 K, about 6.2 miles in about an hour and ten minutes. And that's 20 miles shorter than a marathon. I can't even fathom how people run marathons, but the one thing that got me through my race was the pledges friends made. It's like your not doing this alone. Let's help Brett meet his goal of about $1 for every mile he runs and give him the motivation to not only finish his first marathon, but to keep training. Visit his fund rasing page HERE.
Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary
     To give you an idea of where your money will go here is some information about Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit this farm sanctuary. As someone who has been a long time vegan, it was revitalizing to see the chickens run around the field, the sheep casually move away from me as I entered their pen. The pigs soaking up the sun. It's a beatuiful sanctuary, surrounded by the verdant Catskill Mountains in upstate New York, that not only cares for the animals for the rest of their lives, but makes an effort to encourage plant based diets. Two of their most recent arrivals are Philly the Hen and Kayli the Cow, both of whom were rescued from a Halal slaughterhouse in Philadelphia. Well, Kali made an infamous mad dash for freedom wandering through the streets for an hour. You can watch the video HERE. Now these animals will get to live out their lives in peace, surrounded by love. To learn more about Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary and their animals, visit them HERE and learn about some of the animals HERE.
Video of Kayli's Arrival at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Union Street Eats, Welcome To The Neighborhood!

Daiya Pepperjack Quesadilla
Filled with Daiya Pepperjack Cheese, Jalapenos, Seasoned Smart Ground, Topped with Salsa, Guacamole and Ginger Sour Cream
      Not since Cakewalk opened up across the street from my house have I been as excited for a business to open. Filling the need for good, quality vegan Mexican food, Union Street Eats means vegan don't have to settle for rice and beans anymore! Move over Red Iguana and Cafe Rio, hay un nuevo rey en este pueblo! From seitan, tempeh and soyrizo, Union Street Eats shows how good vegan food can be.  

UPDATE: Union Street Eats moved to a new location at 400 South and 200 East at Washington Square Park (Across from the Main SLC Library).UPDATE: Union Street Eats is nominated for best vegan street cart in 2011 Veg News' Veggie Awards. Vote HERE and be entered to win great prizes, like a vegan Caribbean Cruise and a Vitamix Blender. (Voting Closed, Thanks for Voting!)
Union Street Eats
     Not only that but it's the closest to gourmet mexican food without setting foot in a restaurant. The streetcart, located at 300 South and 300 West (on the South East Corner of the intersection, near Pioneer Park) (new location) 400 South 200 East in Washington Square Park (across from the Main SLC Library)  is the brainchild of Larayn and James. Larayn learned her way around the kitchen as a graduate of the venerable Natural Gourmet Institute as well as NYC's Lifethyme. For the last several years, she worked  as the lunch chef at Sage's wowing customers with her daily chef's specials.  Not only known for her culinary skills, Larayn is a pillar of the vegan community. As the founder and long running host of Salt Lake's Vegan Drinks, Larayn has helped build the veggie community. James cut his teeth as a street vendor outside the City Library several years ago. It's his Mexican sojourn that inspired a lot of the recipes featured on the menu. Together, their experiences create a marriage that will cause your taste buds to dance. Plus, they donate 5% of the profits to local farm animal rescue Ching Farm so your conscience and taste buds can be in harmony. Just be sure to get there between 11 am and 2 pm (new hours) 11 am-3:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, including a little earlier for the Farmer's Market. Oh, they also plan on serving from 5-8 pm on Thursdays for the Twilight Concert Series, starting on July 14 for the Explosions in The Sky and No Age Show.
Tacos La Paz
Warm Handmade Corn Tortilla Stuffed with Breaded Citrus-Marinated Tempeh, Topped with Crisp Cabbage,Three-Pepper Bueno Sauce, Lime Wedge and Cilantro
    It's hard to decide what I liked better. It's a toss up between the Tacos La Paz or the Daiya Pepperjack Quesadilla. Well made tempeh melts my heart, but this quesadilla was pure perfection. Hands down the best quesadilla I've ever had. But, I still need to have to have the Tacos Rancheros so perhaps I'll hold judgment until my next visit, which will be soon because the food prices are reasonable with a range of $3 to $6 dollars.
Larayn cooks up the Tacos La Paz while James takes orders.
Toasted White Roll with Refried Beans, White Rice, Tomatoes, Onions, Guacamole, Salsa and Cilantro.
Tacos Soyrizo
Spicy Soyrizo Fried with White Rice, Onions, and Tomatoes, Topped with Sliced Avocado, Ginger Sour Cream and Cilantro
Limon Shaker
     The best part of the Limon Shaker is watching James shake them up. It's like being back in in a speak easy during the roaring twenties. It's refreshing to have a drink made on the spot and not bottled. Nothing taste more like summer and brings back memories of boardwalk strolls with my family.
Freshly Squeezed Lime and Lemon Juice, Sweetened and Shaken with Ice
Creme De Chocolate
Sweet, Spicy and Silky Chocolate Mousse Topped with Silvered Almonds

     It's not secret that I have a sweet tooth, so I had to try their dessert. It's a lightly spiced Mexican chocolate mousse. The spice was subtle at first, but started to sneak up on me. I thought it was the perfect complement to an incredible meal. The best part is that their menu is a work in progress. They have only been open for two weeks and I'm hearing rumors about chef specials, such as a Daiya Cheddar Chipotle Quesadilla. And maybe tepache and horchata in the future. Be sure you're in the loop by following them on facebook. See you on Union Street!

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