Tag Archives: Peanut Sauce

Vegan Across Missouri

I’m not naming any names, but a New York Times correspondent who called the Midwest a “vegetarian wasteland” was dead wrong, as exemplified by my recent road trip across the beautiful state of Missouri.  Before leaving Kansas City I had a lovely brunch with my Dad at Succotash.  I ordered the Vegan Kitchen Sink, a hearty hodgepodge of home fries, grilled portabellos, fresh spinach, the titular succotash, lima bean hummus, and fresh tomato slices.  This was the perfect thing before hitting the road: fresh but filling.

I also ordered coffee WITH soy milk!  And a fresh juice.  I chose the Ninja Sunrise: beets, carrots, ginger, and grapefruit.  Yum.

Dad was happy with their omnivorous options, but local vegans flock here.  I can’t wait to go back and try the vegan pancakes.  This former bar has a quirky charm with lots of local art on the walls.

That meal kept me satisfied for some time, but I did decide to stop at the halfway point of my trip for a sandwich and coffee.  Thanks to Google I had found Main Squeeze Natural Foods Cafe in Columbia, MO.

This is an all-vegetarian cafe with tons of vegan and gluten-free options.

I went with the TLT (tempeh, lettuce, and tomato).  It was nothing fancy but hit the spot.

Although the service could have been friendlier, this was a cute cafe with local art on the walls as well.  My favorite part was this weird cat guy photo montage.

I also got a yummy iced coffee with soy milk at Lakota coffee shop next door.  When I arrived in St. Louis I attended the bachelorette party of a good friend, and I was delighted to find that the hostess (who works in catering) had made special food for me!  There was a cheeseless pizza with lots of yummy veggies, including eggplant, zucchini, and roasted garlic.

She also made vegan brownies for dessert and vegan muffins for breakfast!  I loved what she said when I thanked her, “It wasn’t any extra trouble, especially since non-vegans can eat vegan food too!”  God bless her.

The next night we ate at a Vietnamese restaurant in St. Louis, called The Orient (the groom’s fave).  I ordered Tofu Spring Rolls:

…and also Lemongrass Tofu:

What I loved about this place was that the tofu was nice and crispy.

The same lady who hosted the bachelorette party also catered the wedding and made sure that I had a vegan meal of yummy pasta primavera!

There was a lot leftover too, which I took for the trip home.  It’s not hard at all to eat vegan in Missouri, especially when you have thoughtful friends like I do.

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Highlights from Noor’s Visit

Have I mentioned that my BF is an amazing chef?  He cooked a ton of delicious food for me and my friends over the past 10 days.  He’s back in San Francisco now, and I miss him terribly, but at least I have a full fridge.  I drowned my sorrows in a big bowl of leftover curry this evening.

One evening I came home from class to a delicious meal of wild rice pilaf, Brussels sprouts with chestnuts, and grilled portabellos.  Yum.  This photo was taken at night, so it really doesn’t do the meal justice.

On another evening, he cooked an elaborate Asian meal for my BFF, my Dad and myself.

Clockwise from bottom: deep-fried, tempura-battered walnuts (!) with sweet-and-sour dipping sauce, deep-fried emping (pounded nut chips) with Major Grey’s chutney, shrimp chips (not vegan but that’s okay), salad (iceberg lettuce, cucumbers and bean sprouts), peanut sauce for the salad, and veggie curry (with bamboo shoots, okra, sugar-snap peas, and baby corn, served with jasmine rice).  Yum.

  Here’s a much better picture of the curry and salad, taken the next day.  Confession time: a LOT of the photos on this blog are photos of leftovers at lunchtime the next day, because food photographs MUCH more beautifully in daylight.

Last night we met up with our friends Troy and Sarah, who suggested dinner at The Farmhouse:

http://www.eatatthefarmhouse.com/

This is an absolutely lovely little restaurant that focuses on fresh, local ingredients and sustainable practices.  The vibe isn’t too hippie, though.  It apparently appeals just as much to omnivorous gourmands as to vegans.  I ordered the Vegetable Wellington, which was a light, flaky pastry, filled with zucchini, mushrooms, fresh black-eyed peas and other goodies.  It was served with flavorful balsamic glazed onions and a smooth carrot coulis.

We sat on the patio and enjoyed a perfect fall evening, enhanced by comfort foods and good live jazz.  It’s funny how sometimes I don’t discover the gems in my own city until I have an out-of-town guest.

Peanut Sauce!

Last week for Wednesday night dinner, my BFF suggested stir fry.  I picked up a clam-shell package of fresh, pre-chopped stir-fry veggies from Trader Joe’s for just $3.99.  She brought over rice noodles and tofu.  This gave me an excuse to try out our friend Maria’s peanut sauce recipe, which she had made for us when we visited her in Denver.  It was super easy and delicious:

Maria’s Peanut Sauce

  • 3/4 cup quality natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup boiling water (or to taste, depending on how thick/thin you want it)
  • 3 tbsp. rice wine or cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. freshly peeled and minced ginger (although I often make mine without)
  • 1 tbsp. freshly peeled and minced garlic (or more, if you’re a garlic fiend like me)
  • 2 tsp. red chile flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder (or, if it’s handy, finely-chopped cilantro)

“Just mix ’em all together!  No cooking required! (Although for my tofu stir-fry recipe, I like to let the tofu/veggies sit with the sauce in a heated pan, just so the flavors mix up.)”

I used candied ginger, because that was just what I had.  I left out the coriander, because I seem to be out of it, and I at least doubled the water.

Obviously, peanut butter is one of the cheapest sources of protein, and it’s something that I ALWAYS have in the house, so this recipe could really come in handy in a pinch.  Thanks, Maria!