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Revival Kitchen – a reconnecting

revival-kitchen-logo-e1439827160748-300x246We are born with a connection to where we live that is lost the moment we are fed our first bottled formula. The arrowroot in our first Gerber teething biscuit, that might have been grown in the West Indies, may not be unhealthy but certainly isn’t of our native land. It takes packaging and extensive (and expensive) shipping to get the first juice boxes into our young hands. As I shared in I’m Not Vegan (and neither are you), where and how our food is produced can be more important than what we choose to eat. We are still vegan for anyone wondering if this is to justify a personal change.

When we choose to eat mindfully, we draw our focus closer to home and connect with what is native. Doing so is how we found Revival Kitchen in Reedsville, PA. This blog has always focused on what is (or has been) available in Central Pennsylvania and Revival Kitchen is a way for us to reconnect with what is dear to us. It provides thoughtful dining with a focus on local and seasonal foods from our native land.

The head chef and owner have close and regular communication with local farmers to plan seasonal menus. We hesitated to visit because we could not see anything of the menu that was vegan. I am very shy about asking for modifications or special dishes to be made for us (why our Pennsytucky Veggie Awards were based on regular menu items with no modifications). What changed our minds was an organized group vegan dinner at Revival Kitchen where we had a chance to talk with the Owner Liz Hoffner who assured me that, with a small advanced notice, Chef Quintin Wicks could accommodate us regularly! License to ask for “special” with reasonable notice opened up our world to reconnecting with seasonal and local dining!

Since then, we have dined at Revival Kitchen multiple times. We have taken family and friends who are omnivorous and they enjoyed everything they were served. They told us the gnocchi was done perfectly. The locally raised and butchered beef thrilled and satisfied one of the (self described) pickiest eaters I have ever known. We have all raved about the Coffee Roasted Beets that rightfully won the Sixth Annual Golden Basket Award this year. revival1

Chef Q knows how to celebrate food for what it is with complimentary flavors, textures and impeccable plating. When your dish is set before you, it is a feast for the eyes that prepares you for the ultimate dining experience. Imagine colorful pressed melon bars that have been infused with wine and, in pure Central PA style, topped with a little sea salt. Caramelized grill marks on veggies that are charming with their root ends still recognizable make you stop to appreciate the local foods you are about to eat. Autumnal squash never gets boring at Revival Kitchen, perfect cubes of golden butteriness or wafer thin circles of delicata squash play with your eyes before treating your palate. Forget the tired old plank of zucchini, here you will be served with small lozenges of the squash that are immediately recognizable by allowing a section of their vibrant emerald skin on. Recently, we were overjoyed to be reintroduced to a vegetable we hadn’t had since we were kids; Salsify (oyster plant) was feature along with carrots and sweet potatoes! What a memory it brought back with the slightly slippery mouth-feel and it’s nuttiness complimented with a bit of truffle oil – delightful!

Creatively crafted, local, seasonal food make this restaurant great but what makes it stellar is the staff. Every member of the waitstaff is knowledgeable about the menu. If they ever have a doubt if something is vegan or not, they have no qualms about checking with the kitchen and don’t make you feel like it was an imposition to ask. When your meal is served, they describe what you are about to enjoy in a way you are grateful for. It is like being given a map to an amazing land and you are encouraged to enjoy the journey at your own pace.revival2

Wine pairings are not in print with menu selections but the wait staff can give suggestions if asked. Better yet, talk to the staff at the Seven Mountain Wine Cellars wine bar and get a few tastings. They are experts in all of the wines as well as knowledgeable of the current food menu and will be eager to make suggestions for pairings. There are also non-alcoholic beverage choices or bring your own beer/cocktails (no outside wine).

The interior of the Revival Kitchen is welcoming and its location on Main Street in Reedsville is crucial. It is the lovely young plant that is lucky enough to get a toehold in the sunlight that opened up when the Black Horse Tavern burned down in 2011. How Main Street Reedsville is changing is like polishing off a tarnished kettle you had forgotten about. It is just as charming as it was on the shelf but remembering it useful for making a hot cup of tea is a mindful reconnecting of what is right in front of you.

Deep Dish Pi

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BrusselsI had only ever had Chicago-style deep dish pizza once and decided to make a vegan version for Pi Day. I used a layer of roasted Brussels Sprouts and pistachio nuts over a bottom later of Daiya and it turned out really well. I don’t consider it pizza but it was a very hearty Deep Dish Pi.

The crust is key, so I will detail that.

Ingredients:
Less that 1/2 C fine yellow corn meal
1 C (plus enough to round out the measurement of the cornmeal so a total1 1 1/2C) All Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
1 1/4 teaspoon active yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3/14 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons mix of olive oil and canola oil
1/2 warm water

Directions:
Combine dry ingredients. Mix in water and all but 1 teaspoon oil. Lightly knead to get the gluten working for a pizza dough consistency. This will be an oily dough but drizzle a glass bowl with the remaining oil. Place dough ball in bowl and turn it over once to coat before covering bowl and placing in a warm place to rise for 2 hours (punching down and kneading once an hour in.)

This dough makes one 9″ deep dish pi. Remember to press up the sides of the well oiled pan, layer in cheese type products first and tomatoes last. Bake 45 minutes at 415°

This isn’t the kind of pie you fold over and eat with one hand and although you can easily pick it up and admire the golden bottom, you will want to enjoy the flaky crust and fillings with a fork.Pi

Vegan Muffaletta

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MuffalettaGet some of your favorite tofurkey sandwich slices, layer them with some different daiya slices and top with a salad of giardiniera, chopped celery, olives, capers good olive oil and oregano. All the ingredients are piled in a dense yet crusty Italian bread, I chose an olive bread.

The Magic of Giving

To quote an old English Wiccan, “Magic is the art of getting results.” For years we have been working hard through social media, visiting restaurants, word of mouth and through international – local organizations to encourage more vegan options in restaurants. The annual Pennsyltucky Veggie Awards were easy to share because there were so few choices. Each of those special veggie options needed to be celebrated and as years went on there were more and more.2015-10-15 12.20.40

Fast forward a few years and we honestly can not keep up with all of the vegan options in Central PA! We still travel, are vegan and love to eat but just cannot get to every place in our region that has great veggie food within the year. We hope it is the energy we have given to encourage and educate that has paid off. Good magic we will call it.

With that, let us pass along a local restaurant that is worth mentioning in St. Mary’s, PA, New Horizons Healthy Foods. Back in October, when we thought we would still be able to judge every veggie burger in central PA, we stopped in and enjoyed a vegan Bacon Cheeseburger that was divine. It was a huge quinoa patty topped with lettuces, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, vegainaise, a dairy free cheese and coconut bacon and was served on a house made raw carrot bread. This is just a sample of all the amazing foods we have eaten this past year in our region!2015-10-19 16.31.50

Because New Horizons Healthy Foods is also a store, I wanted to make sure to purchase some of the coconut bacon. It was delicious and I hadn’t bought any in quite a while. I was shocked to find that it too was made in house.

Here is the best thing of all, they shared the recipe! So from New Horizons Healthy Foods to us to you. Happy vegan eating in central PA and everywhere. When you give, sometimes you magically get back in return!2015-11-06 13.18.45

I’m Not Vegan (and Neither are You)

The one thing that running/jogging does for me is allow me time to think. It is time I can get away from the lure of the computer, cell phone, the responsibilities of keeping a house, maintaining a property or other life’s duties. Running is “me time” and the random things that come to my mind have frequently become posts on our running blog, See Jain Run.

As I ran on the shoulder of the road the one day I came upon a patch of motor oil that I hopped over to avoid. I avoided it mainly not knowing if I might slip in it and my quick reaction made me chuckle. I had acted as though I was avoiding stepping into dog waste or onto a dead animal or something dangerous. My free associating then took me to, “Well you wouldn’t want to step in oil, you are vegan and the dinosaurs died for that you know.”

That really got me thinking; no one in our modern day society is really vegan then. Anyone who uses fossil fuels, directly or indirectly can’t call themselves vegan. I mean I don’t drive, never have but I take the bus. So what if I choose only to ride my bike? What about my bike tires? Running shoes? Sure they might not have leather uppers but what about the plastics they are made out of?

Think about pre-packaged foods. Those seaweed snacks that come on those non-resealable plastic bags with a plastic tie so they don’t get crushed and a desiccant so they don’t dry out can not be good for the environment. I don’t live anywhere near seaweed so they had to be produced and shipped from quite a distance. Many vegans eat Sabra hummus as a staple, even packing the small prepackaged containers in their family’s lunch boxes. A lot of places aren’t set up for recycling those plastics and if they are how many people bring them home to recycle?

I think being a caring role model in life that is mindful and does a greater service to the earth and all living things than being a strict vegan who is obnoxious. Those who lead by sincere examples in their own lives have a stronger positive influence than those who stuff images of brutalized animals into peoples faces (at vegetarian festivals for Goddess-sake). Eat local and don’t shove it in other’s faces. I can think of some thoughtful life-long hunters who are more mindful and have a better impact on this planet than so many of the Johnny-come-lately-vegan-for-a-year individuals who set bad examples and waste so much of the planets resources in pre-packged nibbles.

I can tell you this through my own personal experiences, people have to be open to ideas to accept them so why not share what is important in a thoughtful way. Education is important but having a vegan potluck following movies that “educate” about animal brutality or ill health and gruesome imagery is so unthoughtful. My failures were on a much less graphic scale but they did touch people in negative ways. I sat with factory farming brochures and all I got were arguments. I asked family members not to give our young son hunting or fishing themed toys and clothes as gifts and alienated many of them. A gift is a gift, I didn’t have to be obnoxious.

Nothing about this has a positive impact.

Nothing about this has a positive impact.

Being mindful is key in my opinion. I have had more influence and the positive ripples have gone much farther just by leading a mindful vegan life. I have had people tell me that they had never met such a pleasant vegan before in their lives because I didn’t look down on them nor preach to them about my life choices. They ask me if it ok to order meat in front of me and who am I to tell them not? I was an ominvore – vegetarian once too. Having someone tell me that a head of lettuce might scream when it gets eaten is just as cruel as ranting about the plight of calves raised for veal and de-beaked chickens. All that ever got me was arguments and teasing and changed me from a confidant young woman into an introvert for living what I believed was an ethical way.

Being “tolerant” is also no way to be; live with genuine compassion and acceptance. If there are cruel, harsh or imposing individuals around you, excuse yourself. You don’t need to have your buttons pushed to make you feel like you have to hop on (or off) any bandwagon. You don’t have to defend what is or isn’t on your supper plate and you don’t have to go hug the living animals that were saved from being eaten. Talk about awkward. Just eat your yams and help muck out a stall later. Photos at animal sanctuaries are pure self promotion (why do you think they are called “selfies”).

It’s no wonder so many of the chefs on popular cooking shows “hate vegans.” I am tired of making trouble in other people’s homes or restaurants so I eat before I go usually. Yes, that means that there is dealing with not eating when others are but the only other option is the rude “bring your own” food. Like someone’s cooking won’t be good enough.

The next time you hear of someone leading a one wo/man mission trying to draw attention to raise awareness or money, ask yourself if it is really benefiting the larger cause. Attention seeking brings negative attention too. Live by example, give to your favorite charity, don’t wear animal products and don’t advertise it. Most of all, don’t go for a run.

So, yes, I am still vegan – or not, depending on if you ask the dinosaurs or the bug I swallowed while running.

Vegan Deviled “Eggs”

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Oh yes, they are! DevVeg2

Some might ask, “Why veganize something as odd as a hard-cooked chicken hen’s egg that has been fancied up with spices?” In a word, nostalgia. Not many current day vegans were raised as vegan let alone vegetarian. That’s right, sentimental memories of meals spent with those we love on holidays. Remembering family picnics or the way my Dad slurped in a deviled eggs so fast it disappeared before our eyes in an instant is why I chose to try a vegan deviled egg recipe. I have to say I did very little to Maresa’s vegan deviled egg recipe from Lagusta’s Luscious! but am writing out my exact modifications below.

We tried 4 different modifications on the yolk mixture, some that compared the Just Mayo by Hampton Creek to Veganaise. We thought the Veganaise was a little less salty and decided on a tofu and chestnut mixture as opposed to Maresa’s just tofu version. We haven’t had eggs in years but these brought back clear memories and were a very pleasing appetizer.


Vegan Deviled Eggs

makes 24 traditional sized pieces

Ingredients
The Whites:
2 Cups unsweetened coconut milk
2 t agar powder
1/4 t Kala Namak (Indian black salt) – NO SUBSTITUTIONS

The Yellows:
12 oz. extra firm tofuDevVeg3
4 oz. cooked and peeled chestnuts (about 6)
4 T Vegenaise (Nayonaise is too sweet and Just Mayo was a little too salty)
1/4 C vegetable oil
2 t prepared yellow mustard
1 T prepared horseradish
1 t kosher salt
¾ t Kala Namak (Indian black salt) – NO SUBSTITUTIONS
1 t turmeric
black pepper to taste
paprika to top
parsley to garnish

Directions
The Whites:
DevVeg4Bring all ingredients to a boil, whisking all the time. Pour into egg shaped (or similar sized) molds and refrigerate until set up (~ 30 minutes). When the whites are set, use a melon-baller to scoop a bit out. This is where you will fill it with the yellows.

The Yellows:
Put all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth. I suggest scraping down the sides and as much as you can around the bottom a couple of times and blending again since you want to get the chestnuts as fine as possible.

Finish the pieces off by either spooning or piping the yellows into the hollow of the whites and heaping it up a bit. Sprinkle on a little paprika and place some parsley around the pieces on a decorative plate. Any extra yellow can be served on the side with crudités.DevVeg1

Vegan Corned Beef and Cabbage

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I remember one year on St. Pats that it was so warm we cooked outside. This year we still have snow on the ground and I thought I would try a more traditionally flavored recipe of Corned Beef and Cabbage and using another new seitan product.
Vegan Corned Beef and Cabbage

IngredientsCBC_ingr
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 large onion, cut into wedges
1/2 medium head of cabbage, sliced into 3/4″ strips
4 carrots cut into 2″ pieces, quartering the thickest ones
4 small potatoes cut into wedges
4 stalks of celery cut on an angle into pieces, mince any leaves
1 large apple cored and cut into pieces the same size as the potato wedges
3 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbsp. sharp hot mustard
1 tsp. mild horseradish
2 Tbsp. malt vinegar
Some pickling spices in a muslin sack (a couple whole cloves, some whole all spice and a couple bay leaves)
8 oz. prepared seitan, sliced (I used and like Sweet Earth)
2 1/2 Tbsp. flour
1/3 cup water
2 Tbs. dry red wine
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Directions
• Preheat the oven to 200°F.
• Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions until just starting to brown, then add the rest of the vegetables, 1 cup of the vegetable broth, mustard, horseradish, pickling spices in tied sack and vinegar then simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
• Add the seitan, then simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 more minutes. Remove the vegetables and seitan to a serving dish with a slotted spoon and keep them warm in the oven.
•Mix the flour with the water and wine, add to the pot with 2 cups of the broth (keep spice sack in at this point), and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove spice sack and pour the gravy over the cabbage mixture in the serving dish. Garnish with the parsley and serve.CBC

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