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Bacon is NOT Vegetarian

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I can’t make this stuff up.bacon

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Vegan Chili Verde

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1 lb potatoes, cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbps canola oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped small
thinly sliced peppers of choice, seeded and no membrane – I used one green ghost pepper (very spicy), you could use a green bell pepper (mild) or a couple of jalapenos (medium)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
1.5 lbs tomatillos, skin papers removed, washed, chopped into 3/4″ pieces
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced
2 cup vegetable broth (plus 1/3 cup for deglazing)
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro (reserve a bit for garnish)
1/4 cup chopped scallions (reserve a few for garnish)
2 (15-oz) cans of chick peas, drained and rinsed
Juice of 1 lime
Avocado slices for garnish

Place the chopped potatoes in a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Let boil, covered, for a little less than 20 minutes, until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork NOT MUSHY. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and peppers in oil for about 10 minutes, until everything is softened and the onions are slightly browned.
Add the garlic, cumin, basil, and salt. Saute for 1 more minute, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the 1/3 cup broth for deglazing and tomatillos, raise the heat a bit to let the liquid reduce and the tomatillos release their juices, about 5 minutes.IMG_0771
Add the apples, 2 cups vegetable broth, scallions, and 1/2 cup of the cilantro. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to partially puree everything, or transfer half the chili to a food processor and puree, then return to the pot.
Taste for tartness: if bitter, add a teaspoon or two of sugar to level things out. Add the cooked potatoes and the chick peas, simmer for a few more minutes, until everything is heated through.
Add the remaining cilantro (reserve a garnish) and the lime juice. Ladle into bowls, garnish with the avocado and a few chopped scallions and cilantro leaves, and serve.

6 – 8 Servings

Vegan Manicotti Crespelle

Before baking with Miyoko's VeganMozz

Before baking with Miyoko’s VeganMozz

I wanted to try out a new vegan cheese, Miyoko’s Fresh VeganMozz style. I had been inspired to make a crepe style manicotti and used my Pennsyltucky Griddle Crêpe and Tofu Cashew Ricotta recipes.

When I opened the cold block of VeganMozz and nibbled a small piece I was very impressed. I cubed about half of the block and folded it into the Tofu Cashew Ricotta then built the manicottis as I had seen Lidia do on Lidia’s Italy.

Sadly, the new cheese didn’t impress me baked as much as it did cold. It didn’t brown and upon getting hot didn’t get stretchy at all. It just slightly melted and was about the consistency of the Tofu Cashew Ricotta.

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

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