Archive for August, 2009

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a pretty good and often yummy day.

August 26, 2009

!kao Willie!

To begin, I am really craving pizza right now.

After some twilight zoning, cuddling with the puppy and breakfasting on blueberries and kiwi, I decided that I wanted to whip up something special.

RYE BREAD!

Rye Bread

While I don’t think this  is the prettiest loaf of bread I have ever made, it is/was pretty delicious! I decided to go with this recipe on Simply Recipes. I wasn’t really up for an overnight affair, so I had to seek out a recipe without a starter (one day I will have the patience). This recipe caught my eye because it calls for cocoa! The bread had a lovely chocolatey-brown color due to this surprise addition. It was super moist but still light. I definitely give this recipe a thumbs up!

Caraway seedsrye detailcut rye

Just wanted to include some drool-inducing detail shots!

For lunch, I decided to try my new bag of basmati:

basmati

It was so fluffy! It was also a perfect match for my sauteed, garlicky beet greens!

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All around a very satisfying lunch!

In the evening, I headed west to the Brecht Forum for a library-themed film screening. Really it was two films, Storm Center with Bette Davis and a Resnais film, Toute la Memoire du Monde. Both were really great for different reasons. Storm Center was about a small-town librarian who refuses to remove a book about Communism from the town library. This film is as hokey as it is shockingly direct. Toute la Memoire du Monde is a fantastic short documentary, to be expected from Resnais. I think that I may have liked it so much because it reminded me, for a few reasons, of one of my favorite films of all time, Night Mail. TMM was about Bibliotheque Nationale rather than the British Postal Service (two things I am completely fascinated with) but equally interesting for both content and the documentary style used to depict it. The event itself was really awesome too. It seemed that the majority of people there were professional librarians/archivists and I must say, NY librarians are super, super cool! The Brecht Forum, the host of the event, has a lot of really great free events (including some tomorrow that I will have to fight the urge to attend). Their events are kind of like what the Warhol offers with a lot of themed screenings and such, but their themes are really thoughtful and they are really welcoming! I imagine I will be taking you along on some of their events in the future!

Now to add some more dets about dumplings!

  • My recipe made about 14-6 ‘rogi, so you weren’t too far off!
  • I think this dough is a good base for non-potato ‘rogi. Where there was dill, any other spice could really be substituted. For example, if I were to make fruit ‘rogi, I would probably add cinnamon/nutmeg/spices of this ilk and i might cut the salt with some sugar.
  • I  think some tofu, possibly marinated, mashed in with the potato would also be a nice filling.
  • You mentioned that your ‘rogi came out a little thick on the dough. I was wondering if you did another quick roll after you cut them? I don’t remember if I mentioned that in the recipe…
  • I also think that a different, possibly lighter, sauce might be better on these…

Essentially, I think there are still a lot of kinks to work out in this recipe. I do think that I’m definitely on the path to a framework recipe that you could easily make a ton of different dumplings with though…

Well, I look forward to orientation tomorrow! I hope you have a lovely day!

Until we eat again,

Caitlin

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Are You Proud of Me?

August 24, 2009

Dear Caitlin,

Ta da!

Rogi Close Up

I made pierogi tonight, following your delightful recipe! This was my first time ever attempting the Polish dumplings, and I can’t say they were perfect, but I still had a lot of fun making them and even more fun eating them!

I have more to report on from today, but I’ll start with the rog-sters, since I think they’re the most exciting, and the most photo-filled. Also, maybe you can critique my rogi-making and help me figure out how to improve for next time.

So to begin, I didn’t follow your recipe exactly, as I didn’t have any normal potatoes on hand. I did have, however, a couple of the delicious sweet potatoes I got from the farmers’ market, and I was excited to see how they would taste mashed up and stuck in a pocket of dough. So I set myself to peeling and cubing the two medium sweet potatoes I had left. As it turned out, these two sweet potatoes were in fact not the same kind of sweet potato, so I ended up using one standard Beauregard & Covington (the orange cubes) and one Japanese Kotobuki potato (the white cubes).

Sweet Potatoes

These got boiled and then mixed up with onion, garlic, dill and the other stuff you recommended. I decided to use my food processor because I thought that would give it an easier-to-work-with consistency. Here’s what it came out looking like:

Sweet Potato Mixture

It tasted wonderful! Of course, I am no small fan of mashed sweet potatoes, so my delight should come as no surprise.

Next up was, of course, the dough. This is where I think I started to have some problems. I don’t think I rolled the dough out thin enough, and perhaps the cup I used to make my circles was too small (I used a normal-sized glass tumbler). At any rate, here’s the plate of my dough circles; I got I think 19 in total from your recipe:

Rogi Dough

Next I had to load up these babies, and I had a little trouble here as well. I just wasn’t able to get much filling into these without it smushing out when I tried to seal them. Perhaps this was because of the size of my circles or the thickness of my dough; I don’t know. In the end, I easily had more than half my filling left over (which I happily munched on as I waited for the rogi-bears to cook). Anyway, I pressed on; here are my rog-leaders before they entered the water and oven…

Uncooked Rogi

…and here they are after!

Rogi

Now, as I expected, the dough was a little too thick and the filling was a little too minimal with these guys. Still, I greatly enjoyed my pierogi feast. One more picture:

Rogi Inside

Any tips you can give me for how to improve my pierogi-meisters would be greatly appreciated!

Anyhoo, the rest of the day was also filled with great food, which I’ll briefly report on. First, ever meal I ate today included a side of last night’s cornbread, which is now all gone (Not all my doing! My housemates ate some too!). Breakfast included the rest of my leftover miso soup along with the cornbread, and lunch was a delicious rapini greens salad. So basically, everything I ate today was great, and my tummy is very happy for it!

I also did some food scouting today, checking out a couple of the other health food stores and groceries that I still hadn’t seen, and I was impressed by both of them. First I went to Baldwin Naturals, a cute little store with all sorts of stuff I love, much like Taste of Nature (my other favorite health food store). I probably won’t go there as often, since it’s a little farther away, but I really like the layout and some of their prices are better. And while I was there, I found this awesome agave nectar sweetened ketchup (I wanted to find some to use in VeganDad’s Malaysian Sweet & Sour Tofu recipe)!

Ketchup

The other store I went to was Essence of Life Organics, a larger health food store and grocery. This store was definitely less cute and less organized and kind of a pain to navigate around, but their prices can’t be beat. First, they have the lowest prices on Nature’s Path eco-packs I’ve seen anywhere—$6.99 for a bag like the one below, which I’ve seen go for $10.97 elsewhere!

Mesa Sunrise

They also had good prices for soy and other non-dairy milks, so I decided to pick up a few brands that I’d never tried before (I think you’ve tried Pacific Almond milk—was it O.K.?). Here they are, French side facing:

Milks

Last but not least, they had an amazing deal on pita bread that I just couldn’t pass up: 6 big whole wheat pitas from a local Ontario bakery for just $1.15! Wow!

Pita

So, in conclusion, I wouldn’t be surprised if I came back to this store again.

And that’s all for today. I hope you enjoyed reading about my experiments and expeditions!

Until we eat again,

Willie

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The Run That Never Ends

August 24, 2009

Dear Caitlin,

The thing about running 10.5 miles is that no matter how it takes you to finish it, it really lasts all day. So after coming back from my run yesterday morning (clocking in under 100 minutes!) and showering, I promptly fell asleep for over two hours and then awoke to find myself very hangry. I desperately needed a calorie refill, and quickly when through whatever pre-made things were in the fridge. I quickly devoured two peaches, two bowls worth of miso soup, and the leftover quinoa pesto from last night, but still was not sated. So I ate up the other half of the tomato Ying Ying tofu pack I opened last night and, still hankering for more, finished it all off with a bowl of Nature’s Path cereal. And after all that, I felt adequately replenished, although my legs would remain achy for the rest of the day. Clearly, I need to find a better way to refill after long runs. I’m thinking next time I should try starting with a salad…

Anyway, my afternoon was fairly uneventful after this late lunch, but come evening I decided to ride out to the local Whole Foods to get a glimpse of it and pick up some needed ingredients for tonight’s dinner. The interesting thing about Toronto’s Whole Foods is that it’s on the bottom floor of an indoor shopping complex, so you actually take an escalator down to get to it. It’s crazy! Here are a couple pics:

Whole Foods

Whole Foods 2

Anyway, after picking up what I needed here, I came back and made a three-course meal in an hour and a half, which is very fast for me working alone. And I didn’t even feel like I was rushing! As I think you know, I like cooking to remain as laid back and low stress as possible, which makes me a pretty slow cook most of the time. I’m fine with it, because, since I love to cook, I’m happy to spend more of my time on cooking, but I’m definitely missing having my favorite sous chef close by :( Anyway, here’s what two of last night’s three courses came out looking like:

Dinner

On the left we have Yellow Squash Pesto, prepared using the remainder of last night’s pesto (still sooo good!), and on the right we have my favorite Roasted Rosemary “Pot-shaker” Sweet Potatoes. Here’s a close-up of the taters:

Potatoes

These were most of the sweet potatoes I picked up from the sweet potato farmer at Saturday’s farmers’ market. They were very good themselves, but I actually did not like my chosen preparation for them so much. The potatoes themselves got too soft, and the rosemary didn’t really complement their sweetness that well I thought. But they were still delicious. Here’s what they looked like on the inside:

Potatoes Cut

As you can see, there are two different kinds of sweet potatoes on this plate: Beauregard & Covington (the traditional, reddish-orange skin & orange flesh taters) and O’Henry (yellow skin & flesh). I liked the O’Henry more than the B&C I think, as the latter could have been just a little sweeter in my opinion. My little potato basket was also supposed to come with some Kotobuki, Japanese sweet potatoes, but maybe they’re in with the leftovers. I guess I’ll find out soon!

Now here’s a close-up of dinner’s other course:

Squash Pesto

Nothing too out of the ordinary here, just peeled yellow squash lightly sauteed in olive oil and mixed with last night’s pesto, with pine nuts, nutritional yeast, and panko sprinkled on top. This was very good, as I was expecting. The one problem I had with it, and the one problem with all the squash pastas I’ve tried, is that it was a little watery, especially towards the end. Is there a way to prevent this? Should I pat down the squash before sauteing it? Should I use less oil? Should I just eat it raw? Should I get a spiralizer? I hope you’ll be able to advise me.

Last but not least was the dessert-y course of cornbread, which I had no more room for after those two excellent plates. Here what’s it looked like, though:

Cornbread

I still haven’t tried this yet, but I imagine it will be delicious, and I imagine I probably will try it sometime this morning before I head out for the day.

So that was Sunday! I hope your Monday goes/went well, and I will blog about my own Monday soon!

Until we eat again,

Willie

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An All-Star Day For Blogging

August 22, 2009

Dear Caitlin,

Whoa, I have SOOO much goodness to blog about today—and I already blogged once already this morning! It was a really amazing day filled with some really amazing food, so let’s get right to it!

First off, lunch! After yesterday’s meager food offerings, I was ready for a nice big noon-time meal today. I started it off with a simple bowl of miso soup, following the classic “3 Bowls” recipe:

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Good as always. I was happy with the tofu I picked up yesterday and the white miso I picked up this morning, and also about the fact that I have plenty of this soup left over for me in the fridge!

Along with this I made myself a BIG salad. Like too big. I mean, just check it out:

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If I remember everything correctly, this salad consisted of: kale, rapini greens, plum tomatoes, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, pepitas, an avocado, and Uncle George’s Place’s Variety Blend of sprouts (flax, fenugreek, arugula, mustard, red clover/cabbage, radish, alfafa, lentils—did you even know all those things even had sprouts?). Now, like I said, this salad was too big, so much so that I couldn’t finish the whole thing. I think it was mostly the kale’s fault, though; I didn’t realize how filling raw kale can be! Unfortunately, my inability to finish this deal also owed some to a select few disappointing ingredients, namely, all the ones I bought from the Organics on Bloor shop yesterday: the kale (which just didn’t seem very fresh anymore), tomatoes (half my container had already gone yucky and the half was just so-so), and avocado (completely bland—what a letdown!). So I’m giving Organics on Bloor the big thumbs down. Thankfully, the other ingredients were very satisfying and didn’t ruin my entire salad experience. I’m looking forward to my next salad which will call for no kale and much more rapini.

After lunch, I set off on my afternoon adventure, a charity soccer tournament being held a good 45-minute bike ride away from my place. I enjoyed the ride, although it was more traffic filled than I hoped; I got to bike alongside the water and see the harbor area of Toronto for the first time. I got there a little before 4, and by that time it was already in full swing. There were four fields playing simultaneous 5 vs. 5 matches made up of local soccer enthusiasts. Here are some photos of the action (along with the beautiful Toronto skyline in the background):

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Now although I enjoyed watching these energetic matches, the real reason I went was because I heard a few certain celebrity players would be joining in on the action. At first, I didn’t see anyone and was starting to think that I had either missed them or had read the ad wrong, but then, as the second match was about to begin, I turned my head, and there he was—my middle school hero!

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For those unaware, that man of the left there is Rivers Cuomo, the lead singer of Weezer! And in addition, a total surprise—his allstar teammate, Michael Cera!

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I really couldn’t believe I was seeing these two people that I’ve only known from TV and CDs. And because this whole tournament was a pretty casual affair, I was able to stand literally ten feet away from them! It kind of blew my mind. I decided not to ask for a picture, though, as they had games (and then, later, reporters) to deal with. But here’s a really cute team photo from the end of the game (which, I’ll add, Rivers’ and Michael’s team won!):

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Other notes of interest: Ted Leo, famed indie rock musician, was also originally scheduled to be at this event, but apparently he got stopped at border security and couldn’t make it (or, in addition, open for Pearl Jam the night before!). Also, Rivers Cuomo was there with his Japanese wife and 2-year-old Japanese daughter!! Exciting, eh? ;)

Well, enough about soccer. I biked back home around 7 at night, really eager to get some dinner in me. With all the groceries I had picked up in the past couple days, I was ready to bring forth some kitchen spectacles. And, amazingly, I did! Seriously, this was one of the best dinners I have ever made, enjoyable from start to finish. It started humbly enough…

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This is just sauteed kale, whipped up Dreena style. After my unpleasant kale experience at lunch, I knew that I would need to add some flavor to this kale if I was going to stomach it. This simple preparation involving just sesame oil, Bragg’s, salt and pepper really did the trick. And now all of my less-than-stellar kale is gone. :)

Next up, an irresistible plate of Ying Ying’s tomato flavored tofu:

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I told myself that I would wait and use these tofu packages in sandwiches and salads, but I just couldn’t wait! And I’m glad I didn’t. This tofu is absolutely delectable. You’ll really just have to try it to understand. Don’t worry—I will make sure to facilitate the experience for you.

But it was the main course that really stole the spotlight tonight, what I’m calling “Laurel Wreath” Red Quinoa Pesto!

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Oh my god just thinking about this makes me want to eat it again. It was seriously that good. But perhaps you’re wondering what exactly it is. Fair enough. Here’s the scoop: This inspiration for this dish came courtesy 101 Cookbooks and her recipe for Arugula Pesto Wheat Berries. I was very intrigued by the idea of an arugula-based pesto, and I loved the concept of eating pesto with a grain, so I decided to tweak it a little to make it match my pantry. First, I swapped the wheat berries with red quinoa, my new fav. Second, although I really did want to use arugula, there was none available at the farmers’ market this morning, so I decided to go more traditional and buy a lovely and bountiful bunch of basil being sold at one of the stands. This, I think, was really the key—the basil was just so delicious! If you’re ever going to try this recipe, I think you have to go with freshly picked basil (or arugula, if you can find it). Other than that, I basically followed 101 Cookbook’s instructions. One creative thing she did that really stepped this recipe up in my opinion was to mix a good hunk of the pesto in with the grain, then topping it off with additional pesto to your liking. And because this recipe was just so incredibly delicious (like never-want-to-stop delicious), I’m going to post my slightly tweaked recipe below, in hopes that you will soon try it.

“Laurel Wreath” Red Quinoa Pesto

Ingredients

  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup red quinoa
  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup nutritonal yeast
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • additional basil leaves, pine nuts and nutritional yeast for garnish

Preparation

  1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions, or just cook it in about 3/4 cup simmering water. When done, put in a mixing bowl.
  2. Combine basil leaves, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse until ingredients are well mixed.
  3. With the food processor still running, drizzle in the olive oil.
  4. Take out about a 1/2 cup of the pesto and mix it in with the cooked quinoa.
  5. Serve pesto quinoa mixture with an extra dollop of pesto with additional pine nuts and nutritional yeast sprinkled on top and a laurel wreath of the remaining basil surrounding.

Note: This recipe is written to serve one (fairly hungry) person, but there should be extra pesto left over, which you can enjoy in many other fun ways.

After writing up this recipe, I realized that you’d need a food processor to make it. Sorry! Maybe this will give you an excuse to ask for one?

And that’s all for this very satisfying day. I really don’t know how I’d ever top this tomorrow, so I think I’ll not even try to outdo it and just go for a long run in the morning and make myself feel horrible and achy. Or then again, maybe it’ll go great! We’ll see…

Until we eat again,

Willie


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Crescent Dragonwagon is a Wonderful Woman!

August 22, 2009

Салам!

Last night, my dinner was just too delicious. My last trip to Mr. Kiwi’s left me without any greens! :( This meant no salad for Caitlin… (Apparently, they get fresh shipments on Tuesday and they hadn’t put the fresh greens out yet…) But I did get a nice squash that I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with! So, I decided to consult my new deliciously comforting vegetarian food guru, Crescent Dragonwagon:

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She had a really simple baked squash recipe and an intriguing grits method using a double boiler.

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A dinner this good deserves a close up!

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These grits definitely rival Raymond’s! They were just absolutely perfect! The taste blended perfectly with the sweet and slightly tangy squash! I would highly recommend both recipes and will, without a doubt, make both of these again. I just have to stop myself from making the same meal tonight! So, this may have made 2 large portions… and I may have eaten it all…

To complete the comfort foods round up, I had a brownie (or two) for dessert…

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For these, I used my favorite brownie recipe in the world from The Garden of Vegan. I added a little ground cardamom and it was one of the best choices I think I have ever made in my life. No, seriously. These brownies are so moist and cakey that I might have to eat them with a fork…

Anyway, I am going to have to get to the grocers so I can pick up some greens and avos… I feel like I’m going through withdrawal from green things in my diet…

On a unrelated-to-food note, wikihow had a really fun how to today: How to Understand Canadian Slang. While I knew most of the words and wouldn’t say that they are all uniquely Canadian, some of them are kind of funny. I am also led to wonder if it won’t be long before my fellow New Yorkers will begin to use and understand the phrase timbits intimately. One can only hope.

Until we eat again,

Caitlin

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Exploring Toronto

August 22, 2009

Dear Caitlin,

Friday was a day of much exploration but not much (food) preparation. So unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures or stories to share with you about all the awesome things I ate yesterday (my meals were consisted only of yesterday’s sunflower seed & lentil pate, almond butter, pita bread, baby carrots, and a nice fruit salad David prepared for everyone). However, I do lots to tell about all the places I went and food I bought. So here we go!

There were many things I wanted to do on Friday, and not all of them were food related. My first stop for the day was the local library to get a library card, which I now have! The library (which is very close to my house) is very cute, newly remodeled, but sort of small. It seems like a great place to go and do work or relax, but not the best place to go browsing for books.

Next I decided to ride my bike out to the downtown area to find a souvenir shop, since I thought that’d be the most reliable place to find a Toronto map and a Toronto mug. What I ended up finding was St. Lawrence Markets, a huge warehouse building filled with various vendors and grocers and all sorts of amazing places. Just check out this sign for one of its shops:

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A store devoted entirely to sprouts? Yes, please! I got a really interesting blend of all sorts of sprouts which is going to be great on salads and sandwiches. Also, look at that tofu sign below it—more on that company later!

I did end up getting to the souvenir store eventually, though, and I did find my Toronto map and mug. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any mugs with my desired amount of kitsch, but I still found one that I found very classy and functional:

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After the souvenir shop, I went uptown to the largest branch of the Toronto Public Library, the Toronto Reference Library. This library was enormous and beautiful, but since it’s a reference library, most of the books are not for checkout and only for perusal. Still, it’s an amazing place. Check out this photo:

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After this, I had a little more food shopping to take care. Really, I just wanted to go to a couple of the more nearby grocers and check out their selection. The first place I went to, Taste of Nature, is great little health food store, complete with almost all the pantry things I’d ever need. It was so impressive that I actually went back this (Saturday) morning to get a few things I forgot. The other place I went to, Organics on Bloor, is another small grocery, but this one specializes more in fresh produce. I found it a little too pricey for what it was offering, so I don’t know if I’ll go back.

Now, originally I did plan to have a nice salad for dinner, but one of my roommates asked me to go out to this folk music concert and so I didn’t have time to prepare a real dinner. I was a little bummed at first and not very happy that I’d have to put my salad on hold for the night, but the concert we went to totally made up for all the disappointment I was initially feeling. The show was literally in some dude’s backyard, in a wood shed no bigger than a two-car garage, crammed to the walls with listeners surrounding a quintet of guitars, stand-up bass, banjo, and percussion. The band was completely acoustic—not even any microphones—so the show had the intimacy of a small folk club, but the quiet excitement of a packed room. On top of all this, the band was also really great, very much like Iron & Wine or the more intimate songs of Sufjan Stevens. Since getting into the show was free, I decided to throw some money the band’s way and pick up their CD. I still haven’t had time to give it a listen yet, but their name is The Wilderness of Manitoba. Perhaps they have a website or something you can check out.

The show was continuing with another artist after The Wilderness of Manitoba finished, but I was feeling tired so I decided to head back home and go to bed. The next morning (today), I woke up and got my stuff together to head to a nearby farmers’ market. On my way there I was a little shocked because, after a full day of biking riding around the flat streets of Toronto, I experienced my first Toronto hill! Thankfully the hill was on the ride there and not back, because I sure did load up my backpack with fresh goodies. Here are some photos of the market itself:

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As you can see, it was well vended and well attended (and this was at 9 in the morning!). There were so many wonderful things here. Some of the things I purchased included…

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Ying Ying Soy Food Gourmet Tofu packs! Remember that sign below the sprouts sign from before? These are the same guys. Now normally I don’t go for these pre-flavored tofu packages, but after the vendor gave me a sample, I just couldn’t resist. This is seriously some of the best tofu I’ve ever tasted, and it’s not just the flavorings (although those was superb as well). Also, Ying Ying, besides from being a local Toronto company, makes their own tofu from a local soybean farmer’s crop. If you can’t read the labels, the flavors I ended up choosing were curry, tomato, and sweet & spicy. I’m sure you’ll be seeing these in some meals soon!

Next up, one bag of peaches and one bag of greens, squash and sweet potatoes!

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I can’t really report on how good any of these things are, as I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m looking forward to them. The potatoes came from  an exclusively sweet potato farmer and vendor, so I think these should be interesting!

After the farmers’ market, I did a little more food shopping, going back to Taste of Nature and the local Asian market, which was very impressive. I think I definitely have enough food now to keep me busy for a while. There should be many exciting meals on the way!

Before I sign off, two quick questions: Do you have a good peanut butter sauce recipe? I’d like to make some with udon noodles sometime soon. Also, the local Toronto free city paper, Now Magazine, has an issue this week all about green eating and related topics, and I found how the cover story, The 100 Mile Myth, to be very interesting. It’s a short read and I’d definitely recommend it, although it is a little depressing in how it reminds you just how complex our food buying choices are.

I should be back again today with some reports on all the delicious new food I bought and will be cooking with! Until we eat again,

Willie

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I seem to dine out in sets of three…

August 21, 2009

Jambo Willie!

Since Willie seems to be so anxious for me to do some restaurant reviews, I am writing this tripartite post. Now, only two of these restaurants were explored with Willie, so number three is a wildcard of sorts!

First off, Willie and I spent the day taking in a triple feature of films! First came Ponyo, which was completely adorable, then Julie and Julia, which I liked but didn’t love, and finally, I Love You, Man, which I ADORED. In the meantime, we did work up an appetite, and decided to stop by Angelica Kitchen. (Warning: Flash site)

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As you can see, we ordered a lot of food here. While this wasn’t the most affordable place, it wasn’t outrageuously expensive either. The food was really good, though. Left to Right; Top to Bottom, we had: Chai Tea, Agrarian Salgado, The Nori Maki of the Day, a Tempeh Reuben and “cheesecake.”

The chai was pretty good, but not the best I’ve ever had. Willie ordered another type of tea, called kukicha made from branches, I thought it had a really interesting and rich taste. The Agrarian Salgado was really spectatular! They were mashed potatoes with a dill “sour cream,” basil-walnut pesto and marinated kale. sdnfiknsoabosbdfisfkgdgg… oh, sorry I guess I lost control there thinking about how good they were… Anyway, I can’t remember all the specifics of the Nori Maki, but it was made with Brown Rice, Tempeh and green beans. These were okay, but the wasabi on the side was fantastic. I think it may have been real wasabi, which, as I learned from Alton Brown, is incredibly hard to grow and most of the wasabi you find in stores does not, in fact, come from real wasabi! We decided to order the tempeh reuben because most of the reviews highly recommended it. I wasn’t incredibly impressed, but it was pretty good! Now, on to dessert. This was labelled as a vegan cheesecake, and was some sort of set silken tofu pie. I don’t know if cheesecake was the most appropraite title for this, but it was REALLY good, I mean, assuming you like tofu because it was a pretty strong tofu taste. All around, I don’t think I would I would say this restaurant is a must, but I definitely think it would be worth a stop if you were in the area.

The next day, before Willie had to ride away into the sunset on his megabus, we decided to try out Sacred Chow. We originally were going to try this place on Willie’s last visit, but because of the horrid results of our meal at that vegetarian Indian buffet that from now on shall remain nameless, we had to cancel the trip. This time, thank goodness, the attempt was successful!

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Sacred Chow is a really cute little place that focuses on making tasty food (mostly tapas) that are all organic, locally grown, vegan, fair sourced and/or kosher! They also have tons of soy-free, gluten-free and wheat-free dishes! Okay, so maybe that isn’t everyone’s idea of deliciousness, but the food was really, really good and I think even someone who wasn’t all for vegan cuisine could enjoy the food here. We began with the Gym Body smoothie, which was thick enough to be considered a milkshake and was high on almond an banana flavor. Next came our set of tapas, root vegetable latkes, sunflower-lentil pate and Orange Blackstrap BBQ seitan. The latkes were really peppery, but tasty and they had a nice texture. The star was definitely the date butter they gave us to accompany the latkes! It was so creamy and sweet (but not too sweet!) The lentil pate was probably the best part of the whole meal. It tasted a lot like sunbutter, which, for me, is a great thing! The seitan was pretty good. The BBQ sauce on top was fantastic. It starts out sweet and tangy and hits you with a little heat at the end. For the main event, we had the grilled western tofu with dill-soy mayonaise. As with everything else in this meal, it was quite delicious and the mayo definitely won me over. This is a really great  lunch place, and I can’t wait to check it out for brunch!

The day after Willie and I went our separate ways, I met up with my friend Germaine! Germaine and I have known each other since kindergarten and it was really great seeing her. Originally, we were planning on seeing Regina Spektor at the Union Square Barnes & Noble, but it was so ridiculously crowded we bailed before she even hit the stage and decided to get something to eat. We stopped in at this little place called Pita Hut in Chelsea.

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I got a creamscicle smoothie (that’s right, I finally got my creamscicle fix!) and an Athenian pita (I think that’s what it was called…). The pita was really good, but I didn’t feel like it was particularly special. I guess it is nice to enjoy food out at a restaurant and be able to duplicate it fairly easily at home though. The food was affordable, but the smoothies run for a pretty steep sum. Though expensive, the smoothie was absolutely delicious, thick and yogurty. The staff was really nice and accomodating too. I can’t remember exactly what Germaine got, but I tried it and it was really good. It was some sort of pita salad with caramelized onions on top (maybe she will be able to remind me…) She also got a smoothie, a blueberry smoothie that was really rich and fresh tasting. If you have a couple bucks to spare, I would definitely recommend these smoothies! :)

Well, thanks for bearing with me and I hope this review was helpful!

Until we eat again, or on another time,

Caitlin :P

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