Thursday, July 31, 2008

Japanese Eggplant Parmesan over Wilted Spinach with warm Heirloom Tomatoes in a Shallot & Rose´ Wine sauce

The cute little eggplants and the flavorful heirloom tomatoes are from Whitton Farms. I was immediately inspired when I spotted the Japanese eggplants at Keith & Jill's booth at the Wednesday farmer's market. Usually this type of eggplant is stir-fried in sesame oil or peanut sauce, which is delicious, but TCV wanted to try something different. They are perfect for eggplant parm because they are sweeter than their larger brothers, and they have a less mealy texture.  The texture, when cooked, is smooth and creamy. I sliced them lengthwise, dredged the cut side in flour, then egg, then coated the cut side in a mixture of parmesan cheese and flour. I left the skin side exposed. Then I put them cheese side down on my indoor griddle, and drizzled them with olive oil. Once the cheese has browned you can turn them over and cook them for another few minutes. Then transfer to a sheet pan and keep them warm in the oven until you are ready to serve them.

Italian Sandwich with Olive Dressing

This sandwich can be made with any combination of ingredients. If you have some eggplant, then grill it and throw it on. If you have a few extra tomatoes, then pile 'em up. You get the point. There is no wrong answer here. The key here is the olive dressing. I use green and black olives, onion, pepperoncini peppers, fresh parsley, roasted red peppers, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Roughly chop all ingredients, then add a few dashes of both the oil and the vinegar. Throw in some red pepper flakes and a turn or two of the pepper mill and let it sit in the fridge until you are ready to eat it. Please note: No one, and I mean no one does it better than Fino's. So, if you are in Memphis and you want a good vegetarian Italian sandwich, they are the folks to go see. Ask for extra olive dressing on the sandwich; it is worth it.

Fino's sandwich pictured top left
TCV's sandwiches Below (2)

Egg & Tomato Tower with Yogurt-Cheese & Scallions

Breakfast at TCV's house is usually some combo of three ingredients: tomato, egg, & cheese. This egg sandwich looks fancy and requires the use of a fork, but it tastes the same as slapping a fried egg, tomato, and cheese between a couple of slices of bread. However, if you are having some folks over for brunch this would be a nice thing to set in front of them at your table. All you do is use a cup (like a cookie cutter) to cut out bread rounds.  Then do the same thing with cooked (like an omelette) eggs. Grill the bread rounds in a pan with some butter. Find a tomato that is about the same size as your cut-outs, and slice it up. Get to stackin'. Keep it warm in a low oven. the tomato will keep it from drying out. Top with cheese and scallions. Admire the thing of beauty you just made. Eat it.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Roasted Crispy Poblano Peppers Stuffed with Black Beans, Corn, and Yogurt-Cheese in a Homemade Enchilada Sauce

TCV roasted the poblanos on the grill, then removed the burnt part of the skins. Then used scissors to cut down one side of the pepper so the stem and seeds could be removed. They were stuffed, tied up with butcher's string, rolled in egg & flour, then drizzled with olive oil. They relaxed in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes until they turned golden. After that all that is left to do is to sauce 'em and eat 'em. They are delicious. I like to think of them as little pinatas bursting with vege goodness.

Mini Empanadas stuffed with Potatoes, Sausage, and Pickled Peppers served with Fresh Chimichurri Sauce and a cup of Gazpacho (V)

Chimichurri sauce:
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup looses packed flat leaf parsley
juice from one lemon
salt & pepper
Throw'em all into the mini prep and blend. Drizzle in olive oil until you see a loose consistency develop. Use it to dip Empanadas, or use it as a delicious marinade. Your call.

Sliced Figs on Buttered Whole-Wheat Toast topped with Toasted Almonds and drizzled with Raw Honey

As you can tell TCV is kinda obsessed with good food. It starts early in the morning. I'm not yet fully conscious until the loud buzz from my coffee grinder jolts me from my slumber. Then my brain kicks into gear, scanning the kitchen for something that might be considered breakfast. Yesterday TCV came across fresh figs at the Easy Way produce store on Mt. Moriah. I spotted them in my kitchen this morning sitting on a cutting board, washed and ready. I'm guessing that his is the wife's idea of a request. Made with ripe figs and served with a piping hot cup of coffee, this toast is the perfect breakfast.
Speaking of figs, my brother and his wife have a neighbor that has one of the largest fig trees I have ever seen in my whole life. Luckily the branches of that tree hang over into their yard. So, I climbed up on top of the brick wall that separates the properties and had me a fig feast. I ate every ripe fig within arms reach. I ate them right off the tree. I think I'll make my way over there again tonight and do the same.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Grilled Curried Vegetables on a Pan-Fried Cauliflower Cake, Topped with Yogurt, then drizzled with a Thai-Basil, Cilantro, & Coriander Oil

Thai Basil, Cilantro, & Coriander Oil

1/4 cup (loose packed) fresh Thai basil leaves
1/4 cup (loose packed) fresh cilantro
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp. of dried coriander
1 dash of soy sauce or braggs
1 dash of rice wine vinegar
scant pinch of sugar

Throw everything in the food processor and turn it on. Drizzle in a 1/4 cup of olive oil as it blends. Blend until smooth. Strain. Serve over anything you want to be delicious.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Grilled Satay Tofu with Fresh Cilantro & a Spicy Peanut Sauce served with Cauliflower Risotto and Naan Bread

TCV's Simple Peanut Sauce:

1 big spoonful of peanut butter
1 clove of garlic
juice from one lime
a generous squeeze of sriracha
A few dashes of soy sauce (I use braggs)
a few dashes of sesame oil

everything goes into the food processor. Blend until smooth.

Herb Rolls

Kelly & Michael invited the wife & I over to their house last night for dinner and to watch the season premiere of "Mad Men." We were asked to bring bread, so TCV grabbed some herbs from the garden and whipped up a quick batch of mini rounds to bring to dinner. We get there and say our hellos, then in walks Sherry and Mark. Sherry is Cucina bakery, and she makes some of the most beautiful & delicious breads in town. (Go see her at the farmer's market.) Suddenly,  I want to take my bread and hide it in the garbage can. She was very kind to this novice baker, and had nothing but nice things to say about the bread. 
Sherry brought a wonderful pear, walnut, & goat cheese salad, while our hosts provided a cheese spread so lavish it made me blush, and a vegetarian pasta in red sauce with a toasted bread crumb topping that was delicious. TCV thanks you kindly for your hospitality.

TCV featured Cucina bread in this post right HERE.

Grilled "Chicken" Caesar Salad with Whole Wheat Croutons

One of TCV's favorite fakey meats is Quorn Naked Chick'n Cutlets. Save for bit drier texture, they taste just like chicken. They grill like chicken, and they look like chicken, but they are 

On my version of the Caesar salad, I marinated the naked cutlets in olive oil and lemon juice, then sprinkled them with pepper before throwing them on a screaming hot grill. You just need to get some grill marks on these suckers. Don't burn'em. The dressing is simple: Throw a few cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, a squeeze of vegan mayo, dash of soy sauce, dash of spicy mustard, and the juice from one lemon into a food processor. Turn it on, then drizzle in some olive oil 'till you like the consistency. Throw in salt & pepper and you are done.
Use the dressing you just made to dress some romaine lettuce. Top with croutons, sliced grilled "chicken," and a few shavings from the parmesan block. Admire the work you just did. Eat.

Chili Cheese Fries made with Homemade Red & Black Bean Chili and Oven-Baked Fingerling Potatoes

The Chubby Vegetarian found himself at the LaGaurdia Ariport with an hour to kill before the flight boarded and an rumbling in the stomach that just wouldn't quit. The pickings were slim at the Northwest Airlines' end of the terminal, so we found ourselves sitting at the "Fox Sports" bar surrounded by unhappy air-travelers shoveling unhealthy food into their mouths. I actually saw a guy wince when his server put his plate of nachos in front of him. When in Rome. I ordered a draft beer and some spicy waffle fries. The wife ordered a bowl of meaty chili and a diet coke. We were on vegetarin health-food detox after four days of local, organic, vegan food. I handed the wife a french fry which she dipped into her chili. The beer, chili, and fries did the trick. The rumbling stopped, and TCV was suddenly very, very sleepy.
This experience got TCV to thinking; junk food doesn't have to be junky and delicious bar food can be healthy if it is done right. So, I tossed some fingerlings in less oil than you'd put on a salad and stuck them in a 500 degree convection oven to brown, whipped up some homemade chili that employs chopped mushrooms as a stand in for meat, chopped some onion and picked jalapeno peppers, shredded some low-fat cheddar, returned my seat back to the up-right and locked position, and prepared for culinary take-off. A mound of potatoes topped with chili, cheese, and all of the fixins is a great meal, and prepared this way it'll keep you from having to buy two seats for yourself next time you fly.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Chubby Vegetarian Eats NYC!

Stay Tuned: Lots of editorializing to come.

Zen Palate (v)
663 9th Ave.

Sampler for two:
Taro spring rolls, autumn rolls, sliced tofu, mock duck, tempeh sushi, & yam Fries
The E.T.:
A mix of eggplant, tofu, and lotus nuts in a spicy garlic sauce

Maximum Vegetarian
58 Ave. B at 4th

Buffalo unchicken wings:
Spicy tofu wings served with carrots, celery, and a vegan blue cheese
Fake steak au poivre:
Crispy tofu topped with portobello 'shrooms and au poivre sauce (horseradish) with mashed and sweet potatoes
BBQ plate of the day:
Served with mashed potatoes & gravy and yams
Vanilla bean cheesecake:
Vegan with a graham cracker crust and raspberry puree

154 East 79th Street.

Amuse Bouche:
Mango and onion salsa topped with pistachio cream
Grilled seitan chimichurri:
in a citrus herb marinade
Grilled trumped royale mushrooms & sweet corn:
Sauteed shallots, crispy onion rings, and chipotle aioli
Summer harvest paella:
Valencia rice, summer vegetables, smoked seitan sausage, saffron-red pepper sauce
Sea salad with miso-mirin dressing:
Two types of seaweed and plenty of vegetables
Ice cream & sorbet sampler:
Cherry sorbet, vanilla chocolate chip, caramel pecan

922 7th Ave at 58th

Savory Cheese Muffin
Chocolate Croissant
Organic oatmeal:
with fresh seasonal berries
Two soft boiled eggs and sliced baguette

300 East 12th Street between 1st and 2nd

Curried cashew spread
Raw cashews, chickpeas, curry powder, and miso with crisp crudites
Agrarian Salgado:
Baked rounds of mashed potatoes stuffed with herbed seitan and walnut pesto, and topped with dill sour cream
Tempeh Ruben:
Marinated tempeh, ruby sauerkraut, and Russian dressing
nine pieces of rolled vegetable sushi
Kanten Parfait:
Granola, peaches, lavender, and maple-tofu whip

Coal Brick Oven Pizza!
19 Old Fulton St. (Brooklyn)

Large pizza (18 inches/ 8 slices):
1/2 plain cheese and 1/2 basil and ricotta 
100% awesome

856 8th ave

Slice of cheese (to go)

922 7th Ave. at 58th

Blended smooth and served with fresh baked bread
Curried tofu salad:
Served on fresh bread with cranberry chutney

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fig & Cocoa Glazed Seitan Skewers served with a Purple Potato, Ruby Beet, & Goat Cheese Gratin and Purple Cabbage Slaw

This is BBQ reinvented. At its core this meal is BBQ, potatoes and slaw, but TCV tried to take everything in a slightly different direction. I made the BBQ sauce with Ficoco, a sandwich spread made from fresh figs and cocoa powder. The gratin was inspired by my new fascination with beets. They seem to be everywhere these days, so I'm trying to get right with them. This was the perfect combo of goat cheese, beets and potatoes; sweet, starchy, and earthy. The slaw is my classic vegan slaw made with Purple cabbage, but this time I served it inside of the tiny heads of cabbage I used to make the slaw. I allowed color to guide the making of this meal and I could not have been more pleased with the outcome. This is something I will make again.

Tomato Porn: Gratuitous Photos of Tomatoes

Macerated Tomatoes, Mint, & Lemon Verbena on French Toast with a dollop of Sweetened Yogurt and drizzled with Tomato Syrup

TCV is not really suggesting that you make this dish. It was weird, but good. I was inspired by some sweet corn ice cream that our friend Wendy left for us in our freezer. She housesat for us while we were gone, and we could not be more grateful for that. The ice cream got me thinking about other normally savory things that could make the transition to sweet. Tomatoes! I know you are thinking that TCV does not need to work more tomatoes into the diet, and you are probably right. However, I could not resist trying this once I got the idea. The brain goes through a series of checks as you are eating this dish: 
1. Is this a tomato? Yup. 
2. ...but it is sweet? Yup 
3. Is it good? I dunno. 
4. Do you like it? Yup. 
But, I'd eat a shoe if it were stuffed with tomatoes.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Coming Soon: TCV Hits NYC!

We had this simple dish for dinner tonight after getting home from our vacation in NYC. We had a blast. The food we tried in New York ran the gamut from haute vegan cuisine to the Fox Sports Pub at the LaGuardia airport. Detailed post coming soon, we promise! Thanks to TCV's amazing foresight, there were plenty of vegetables in the freezer, so we had this fried rice while the dogs, also exhausted and happy to be home, dined on stomach-soothing plain white rice. TCV would like to thank the army of people who were looking after said pups, the house, the herbs and hydrangeas, and other general interests of ours so that we could wander back to Memphis with new ideas and dishes inspired by all kinds of New York vegetarian spots. 

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Peach & Blue Cheese Salad in a White Balsamic & Lavender Dressing served with a cup of Saffron-Scented Summer Corn Chowder

This is summer on a plate.

Edible Memphis

Go pick up the new copy of Edible Memphis, a quarterly magazine that celebrates the harvest of the Mid-South. Inside you will find an article by my wife along with pictures and recipes by yours truly, including the Eggplant Rotolo you see pictured in this post. The story is called "Vegetarians & Vice," and it is about an omnivore being married to, and sharing a kitchen with, an herbivore. Yeah, produce is king in TCV's house. That's just the way we do around here. 

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Everything's always better when it is homemade. TCV got a tortilla press a few weeks ago and now the store-bought corn tortillas just won't do. They are so simple to make, and the flavor & texture of fresh tortillas is amazing. In this version of the classic Mexican dish, Huevos Rancheros, cooked onions, tomatoes, and black beans were scattered over the tortillas, then topped with a fried egg and TCV's homemade ranchero sauce. Throw some cilantro, lime, and sour cream over the top of that and you are in for a treat. 

Friday, July 18, 2008

Vegetable, Beans, & Tempeh with a Ginger & Peanut Sauce

Broccolini, Swiss Chard, Speckled Beans, Carrots, Spring Onions, Tempeh, Brown Rice, and Homemade Ginger & Peanut Sauce. Pile it on! It's Good for you.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie with Greek Yogurt & Dutch Process Cocoa

This is one of TCV's favorite things in the whole world, and it is so simple to make. Throw a few frozen bananas into a blender cup along with a small container of greek yogurt, a spoonful of peanut butter, a spoonful of dutch process cocoa, a squeeze of honey and enough milk to get things moving. Blend until smooth. Enjoy. It is your breakfast in a cup. It is the perfect thing after a 5.5 mile trail run, which TCV did this morning. (Just trying to stay on the cute side of chubby.)