Tag Archives: Vegan Curry

Another Absolutely Wonderful Trip to San Francisco

First of all, I would like to point out that this blog is now one year old!  Woo hoo!  Thank you to all of my readers and supporters over the last year!

Now, down to business…photos from California!  Breakfast on the first day was a hearty veggie curry pastie from John Campbell’s Irish Bakery on Geary Street.  Yum.  Granted, this was probably not 100% vegan, but it was vegetarian and savory, and perfect for eating in Noor’s Land Rover on the way to Peet’s Coffee, which has the best coffee EVER (+ 2 vegan cookie options!)

For dinner one night we headed across the Bay Bridge to Oakland to eat at the incomparable Zaki Kabob House.  Noor really wanted to take me there, because he noticed that the menu has a whole column of vegan dishes!  It was hard to choose!  As an appetizer we shared the Mashweeya salad: tender roasted eggplant, fresh tomatoes, crisp red onions, lots of garlic, and good olive oil.

For my entree I ordered the Zaki Mediterranean Plate so that I could try a little bit of everything.  It had hummus, baba ghanouj, dolmas, falafels, and unlimited pita bread.

They provided complimentary fresh mint tea, and I also ordered a Jerusalem Mint Lemonade, which was SUPER minty: the perfect way to wash down a delicious meal.

This is a wonderful family-owned restaurant with a lot of integrity, definitely a new favorite.  The other purpose for our Oakland trip was a stop at Fenton’s Creamery, where Noor did get me to sample their heavenly Toasted Almond ice cream, but even there I did manage to find a vegan option in the raspberry sorbet.

All of their treats are freshly made by hand.  This was a far cry from the hard-frozen sorbets at the supermarket.  It was soft, flavorful, and not too sweet.  I know that Oakland gets a bad rap, but I had a great time there!

The next day I took the bus downtown by myself because Noor had to work.  At SFMOMA I got to see a work by one of my favorite artists.  Here I am in front of Janine Antoni’s Lick and Lather.  In this piece she cast self-portrait busts in both chocolate and lard.  Then she slowly erased her identity by licking the chocolate and washing with the soap.

After working up an appetite by looking at art, I really wanted to eat at The Plant, having read about it on Amber Shea’s Almost Vegan blog.  However, I got there and found that it is closed on Saturdays!    The location in the Financial District is only open Monday through Friday.  Oh well.  I wandered a bit and then headed over to the Ferry Building.

The Ferry Building is host to an upscale (and fairly pricy) farmers’ market, but it was winding down for the day.  I did find some wonderful food from The Slanted Door at their to-go window, called Out the Door.  I ordered the Vegetarian Curry and Iced Tea and walked outside and found a bench.  This was my lunch:

This was where I ate my lunch:

…and this was my dining companion:

Not bad, huh?  The curry was lovely.  It was a Vietnamese curry: not heavily seasoned, but hearty.  With potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and broccoli, it was almost like a good stew.

In addition to trying some great new places, I also got to enjoy some old favorites.  On Sunday morning/afternoon we had brunch at La Palma Mexicatessan while listening to the church bells.  I got the Vegetarian Burrito (no sour cream or cheese) again, but this time I tried the tomato-basil tortilla (last time I had the spinach tortilla).  Yum.  Here it is untouched but already bursting at the seams with goodness:

…and here it is after I destroyed half of it.  Noor also got me some chips and guacamole and vegetarian sweet corn tamales to take back to his place (because he knows the way to my heart)

They accidentally gave us the cinnamon tamales, but they were good!

We also went down to San Jose to visit our good friend Scott, and, of course, we hit up Falafel’s Drive-In.  I had the Falafel Sandwich again, and it was awesome again!

In San Jose I also got to say hi to our friend Jane’s chickens. These are some happy chickens.

This one thinks she’s a cat and roams around the house looking for spiders under the furniture.

Needless to say, I felt no qualms about eating some eggs from THESE chickens!  Thank you, Jane, for the wonderful eggs!  Look at how pretty the colors were:

Noor made me another potato omelet, which I devoured!


I think the steam was fogging up my camera lens here, and I was too hungry to care, but you can still tell how rich and yellow the egg yolks were: not at all like the ones from the store.

Noor also made VEGAN CHILI for me!  Yeah!  It had black beans, quinoa, Morningstar crumbles, tomato paste, and onions, and was well seasoned with chili powder and cumin.  It was thicker than what I usually make.  In fact, the texture was downright meaty!

On my last day we got breakfast at the farmers’ market in the parking lot of the mall by his apartment.  I love that you can’t swing a dead cat in San Francisco (not that a vegan would ever do that) without hitting a farmers’ market.  It was a foggy, misty morning: very pretty but no good for taking pictures.  We got a nice loaf of French bread, and then we happened upon a hummus stand.  The hummus guy was a very good salesman.  He let us try all of the flavors, including yummy Artichoke, Tomato-Basil, and Avocado-Cilantro.  He explained that their hummus has a super creamy texture with half the oil and tahini of traditional hummus, thanks to a special blade for blending it smoothly.  It was super yummy and only 250 calories per tub.  We chose the Cilantro-Jalapeno Hummus and also the Italian Caponata (a yummy eggplant-tomato-olive spread).

After putting a big dent in our bread and spreads we also each had a piece of bread with some off-brand Nutella that happens to be vegan as our “breakfast dessert.”  Then we headed over to Peet’s to wash down a fabulous breakfast with the BEST coffee.

What a great trip!  I can’t wait to go back and get some more of that hummus!  I love that I’ve spent enough time in San Francisco now to have old favorite restaurants but that I also had the chance to find some new favorites.  I also love it when my BF cooks for me.  I’ll have to make him a nice meal when he visits me in KC next month.  If you were a (mostly) vegan cooking for a confirmed omnivore, what would you make?

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Good Dinners with Good Friends

The other night I had dinner with my awesome neighbor across the hall.  We went with a curry theme.  I made lentil curry; she made potato curry and rice.  It was all delicious!

Potato Curry on left; Lentil Curry on Right

In all honesty, my lentil curry was a mish-mash of whatever I had in my kitchen.  My much-anticipated first paycheck of the semester still doesn’t come for a few more days, but that doesn’t mean I can’t eat well!

I started by heating:

  • 1 tablespoon of oil

and then sauteeing:

  • 1 tablespoon of red curry paste
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, minced
  • about a dozen grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 carrot, cubed
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup red lentils

Then I added:

  • 1 can coconut milk (14 ounces?)
  • 1/2 cup water

I brought that to a simmer, lowered the heat, covered it, and cooked it for about 20 minutes.  Then I stirred in:

  • about 2 cups baby kale (spinach or other greens would be good here)

 

  • 1 tablespoon of oil: $0.05
  • 1 tablespoon of red curry paste: $0.17
  • 1 onion, chopped: $0.25
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped: $0.10
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, minced: $0.25
  • about a dozen grape tomatoes, halved: $o.99
  • 1 carrot, cubed: $0.08
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped: $1.26
  • 1 cup red lentils: $0.35
  • 1 can coconut milk (14 ounces?): $1.29

=$4.79/about 6 servings

=$0.80/serving!

We were also lucky enough to enjoy a big bottle of Boulevard Brewing and Christopher Elbow’s limited-edition Chocolate Ale!  This stuff is like gold in Kansas City right now.  The demand has been making national headlines:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/nationnow/2012/02/chocolate-beer-kansas-city-.html

Some people don’t think it’s worth the hype.  I do.  It’s rich and fragrant and complex.  It held up beautifully to our curry and paired nicely with fresh blackberries for dessert.  I’m lucky to have a Dad with connections in the Kansas City food/beverage scene.  Thanks, Dad!

Over the weekend I had also had dinner with a dear friend from graduate school.  We went to Marrakech Cafe, a new-ish local Moroccan place that I’ve meaning to try.  It lived up to its good reputation.  The decor was exotic and ornate:

The staff kept the sweet mint tea flowing, which was comforting on a drizzly winter night.  They didn’t have a whole lot of vegetarian options.  In fact, the menu as a whole is short and focused.  But the Vegetarian Couscous was quite nice.  It was fluffy, well seasoned and topped with plenty of chickpeas, squash, cabbage, and carrots:

Check it out if you’re in Kansas City:

http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/34/1560139/restaurant/Westport/Marrakech-Cafe-Kansas-City

Another Visit to San Francisco

I just got back from another trip to San Francisco to visit my boyfriend.  As always, I had some wonderful food, although we spent most of the time relaxing and watching movies (Lord of the Rings marathon!)

When I arrived, he took me to Don Pico’s, a fun Mexican restaurant.  The guacamole was stellar.  It had an earthy spice I couldn’t quite pinpoint.  I thought it might be cumin or coriander.  Noor thought it might be nutmeg or mace.  I talked to my friend Kate when I got back, and she said that people sometimes add turmeric to guacamole.  I think that’s it, but I’ll have to do some experimenting at home to be sure.

They had a few vegetarian entrees.  I chose the grilled vegetable paella.  It was delicious and a very generous portion!  I especially liked the addition of black olives.

The decor was really fun too.  Almost everything in the restaurant is an antique, including paintings from the movie Citizen Kane.  Also, there was a lady singing bossa nova classics, which enhanced the ambience.

The next afternoon we went down to the Mission district to make a stop at La Palma Mexicatessan.  It was a beautifully warm day, and were thirsty, so Noor suggested a visit to St. Francis Soda Fountain.  It was a fun spot, and I was pleasantly surprised to find vegan milkshakes on the menu, made with soy gelato!  Yum!  I chose chocolate.

This place also had neat antique decor.

La Palma actually had the sweet corn tamales this time, so I finally got to try them, and they did not disappoint!

We went back to Ton Kiang for their fantastic dim sum.  Of course, I had the pea shoots again.  I also had some shrimp dumplings.  As Noor always points out, he eats more vegetarian fare when I’m around, so if I eat a few shrimp, it’s okay because it all balances out.  Speaking of which, I got a sweet phone call from his Mom, who has been inspired to eat vegetarian a few days a week now!

At Ton Kiang they had these really cute fruit salad cups this time.  We had to get one, mostly for the photo opportunity because we loved the presentation.  It was really good, fresh fruit too, better than what we can get in the Midwest this time of year.

Before dropping me off at the airport, Noor took me to an Indian buffet called Great India.  The lentil-rice soup, aloo matter, and dal were really good.

Now I’m home for a while.  School starts tomorrow, so the sandwich challenge is back on!

 

 

Chickpeas in Tomato Sauce

This is one of my favorite “pantry recipes.”  Actually, it’s one of my all-time favorite recipes period.  It’s insanely easy, cheap, nutritious, and delicious.

…another great recipe from my friend Brandon, although he said I shouldn’t credit him; he got it from a cookbook called Everything Vegetarian.  Here it is, as transcribed by Brandon:

Chickpeas in tomato Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons peanut or safflower oil
  • 1 tablespoons cumin seeds (i used 2 teaspoons of powder cause i was seedless)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced into half moons (whatever, tastes the same no matter how you slice it)
  • 1 medium can 15-20 oz. tomatoes, crushed or diced
  • salt and black pepper (oops i forgot the pepper)
  • 2 cans (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • chopped cilantro (optional garnish, its better with it)

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over med. heat. add cumin seeds and cook for 1 minute, or just add powder. Stir in the ginger, crushed red pepper, and onions, cook until onions are soft, about 5ish minutes, add tomatoes and cook for 5 more minutes, until nice and saucy. hahah, saucy.

OK, so then you can season with salt and pepper, but i think i forgot this and it still tasted good…..add chickpeas and cook for 5 minutes more. garnish with cilantro. yummies.

yeah this seriously takes 15 minutes.
serve with rice or naan. or both. or neither.
He later added that you can serve it over fresh greens if you’re on a carb-restricted diet.

I have discovered that I prefer to use 2 cans of tomatoes.  Plus, I like to add some curry powder.

The leftovers are even better, and they freeze well.  I was heating some up at work yesterday, and one of my co-workers said it smelled really good.

  • 2 tablespoons peanut or safflower oil: $0.05
  • 1 tablespoons cumin seeds: $0.25
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder: $0.25
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger: $0.25
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes: $0.01
  • 1 large onion: $0.25
  • 1 28-oz. tomatoes, crushed: $1.99
  • 2 cans (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed: $1.78

=$4.63/6 servings

=$0.77/serving

$0.89/serving with brown rice

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.

Another Creation from Leftovers

Coconut-Curry Tempeh

A little bit of creativity can go a long way in saving money, because you don’t ever want to let leftover ingredients go to waste.  I combined the 1/2 package of tempeh left from my Tempeh with 40 Cloves of Garlic and the 1/2 can of coconut milk left after making the frosting for my Easter carrot cake with some other things I had lying around the kitchen in order to make a nice, comforting Tempeh Curry.

I started by sauteeing 1/2 onion (sliced) in a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan.  Then I threw in a chopped clove of garlic and a teaspoon of dried crushed red pepper.  I cooked that for about a minute, then added 1/4 pound cubed tempeh.  I cooked the tempeh on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned.  Meanwhile, I cooked a potato in the microwave (stabbed a bunch of holes in it with a fork, then nuked it for about 3 minutes), let it cool a little, cubed it, then threw it into the pan.  I let that cook for a minute, then I dumped 1/2 can of coconut milk and 1 can of crushed tomatoes into the pan, along with 2 tablespoons of good quality curry powder and salt/pepper to taste.  I let that all simmer for about 10 minutes, adjusted the seasoning, and then served it on top of some leftover brown rice, garnished with a whole bunch of fresh cilantro.  Yum.

  • 1/2 onion: $0.40
  • tablespoon of oil: $0.05
  • clove of garlic: $0.05
  • crushed red pepper: $0.02
  • 1/4 pound cubed tempeh: $1.35
  • potato: $0.83
  • 1/2 can of coconut milk: $0.65
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes: $1.20
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder: $0.10
  • fresh cilantro: $0.25

Total: $4.90

This made 2 very hearty servings for me, which comes to…

$2.45/serving

Have you ever used leftover ingredients in a creative way?  Please share your ideas in the comments.