Thursday, May 31, 2012

Spinach, Corn, and Potato Enchiladas with Galaxy Vegan Shreds

I was in the mood for something hearty and I had a brand new bag of Galaxy Nutritional Foods Vegan Shreds - Mexican Style just waiting to be opened. Put those two things together and you get delicious, hearty spinach, corn, and potato enchiladas!  This is a pretty simple recipe, but be aware that it takes some time as you will need to bake the potatoes for an hour before beginning the recipe. Please read my note about the new vegan shreds at the end of the recipe as well as it is super exciting to have a new great-tasting vegan cheese shred on the market!

Spinach, Corn, and Potato Enchiladas
Serves 16

Ingredients for Enchiladas
  • 2 large baking potatoes
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (frozen works fine)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 10 oz spinach leaves, shredded or whole
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 16 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 bag Galaxy Vegan Mexican Style Shreds
  • Sliced jalapenos
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Enchilada sauce (recipe below)
Ingredients for Enchilada Sauce
  • 8 T chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 T flour
  • 2 14 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water

Preheat the oven to 375-degrees. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until tender when pierced with a knife - about 1 hour.

While waiting for the potatoes to bake, prepare the enchilada sauce. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a small bowl. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the tomato sauce, water, and spice mix and stir until combined. Heat, stirring regularly, for about 45 minutes or until the potatoes are done.

Once the potatoes are done, remove from oven, let cool, then dice. Reduce the oven temperature to 350-degrees.

In a saute pan, combine the potatoes, corn, bell pepper, and onion.

Add 1.5 cups of enchilada sauce and 1/2 of the spinach. Mix well.

Cover and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 7 minutes. Stir every few minutes. Once spinach is wilted, add the other 1/2 of spinach and repeat. Cook for another 7 minutes. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Pour about 1/3 cup enchilada sauce into two 9 x 13 inch baking dishes to cover the bottom.

In a wide pan (larger than an enchilada) over medium heat, warm the remaining enchilada sauce. Dip one tortilla into the warm sauce, allowing it to warm just enough to become pliable. Then, place it in the prepared baking dish and spoon 1/16 of potato mixture along its center. Roll it up and arrange in the dish, seam side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

Pour any remaining sauce in the pan over the enchiladas, then sprinkle with cheese.

Bake until heated through for 20 minutes, then increase heat to 425-degrees and cook another 10 minutes to melt the cheese. Let cool, then serve. Garnish with jalapenos and fresh cilantro, if desired.

A note about Galaxy Nutritional Foods Vegan Shreds
In a world where most vegans nowadays know Daiya as the standard vegan shred, there is now a new player in town. Move over Daiya, there is room for one more!  Introducing Galaxy Nutritional Foods Vegan Shreds - Mexican Style.

These shreds are an incredible improvement over the vegan cheeses they've been making for years. After over one year of formulation, this cheese tastes delicious and melts well too. The shreds are dairy-, casein-, soy-, and gluten-free so individuals with these allergies can enjoy them too!  They are also preservative free and made from non-genetically modified (Non-GMO) ingredients. And for those of you watching your cholesterol, as with any vegan product, they are cholesterol-free. Give them a try!  I love having a couple choices for great vegan shreds now!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Bombay Club, DC

From the same family of restaurants as 701, The Oval Room, and Rasika comes The Bombay Club. But, this is not a new restaurant -- it has been around for many, many years. As a traditional upscale Indian restaurant downtown located away from the trendier areas, I think this restaurant tends to be forgotten, but, I, for one, have always enjoyed the ambiance, cuisine, and service.

My friend and I went to The Bombay Club on a weekday afternoon for lunch. Our reservation was for 11:45 a.m. and it appeared that we opened the place up. When you first walk in, you see a small bar. To the right is the formal dining area decorated with muted colors, traditional paintings, and wooden furniture. The last time I came here, there was a pianist playing in the dining area as well, but I guess you don't get that for a weekday lunch. Shucks.

We were seated towards the middle of the restaurant. The host and servers were all dressed in black suits with white shirts -- very traditional. I started off by ordering the fresh juice of the day, which was a pineapple, apple, concord grape mix. It was very nice.

They have a nice selection of vegan food. For my appetizer, I ordered the crispy arugula-spinach chaat. This flash-fried mixture of spinach and arugula was complemented by raw onions and tomatoes and topped with a tamarind-date chutney. It was delicious.

For my entree, I went with the traditional Gobi Matar, which was a spicy mix of cauliflower and peas with ginger, onion, and cumin. I also had an order of the basmati rice, which is extra, by the way, and it was great. The dish was incredibly spicy and flavorful - I loved it.

When the bill came, my friend was a bit surprised to find that it was $65 for lunch for the two of us, which included drinks, appetizers, rice, and entrees so it is pretty pricey. That aside, the servers were very attentive, the food was great, and I absolutely love the ambiance. I think it is more of a dinner restaurant though and would recommend it as a romantic date-night spot. The live music they play at night is a really nice touch.

Bombay Club
815 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 659-5012

Bombay Club on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 28, 2012

SoL Cuisine - Mushroom Rice Burgers

SoL Cuisine has been around since 1980, but I had never heard of them before now. Perhaps that is because they don't have much distribution in the DC area. I discovered them at a food show, then once I started seeking their products out, I found them hard to find. They specialize in vegetarian products made of soy. Some are vegan, but I'm pretty sure that some are not. I picked up the Mushroom Rice Burgers at Roots, a grocery store located in Maryland.

The mushroom rice burgers are some of the most natural burgers I've ever had in that they are mostly vegetables with rice. I really don't like the burgers that are designed to make you think they are meat. Yuck. These burgers are like the opposite of that. Made of portobello and button mushrooms, onions, carrots, red and green bell peppers, black olives, dried potatoes, soy, and garlic along with brown rice and other flavors, these burgers are definitely good for you. They are super low in fat and calories at only 90 calories and 1.5 grams of fat each.

We prepared them on our grill pan and put them on whole wheat buns with vegan mayo, sauteed mushrooms, red onions, red leaf lettuce, and ketchup.

Unfortunately, though, I felt like they were lacking in taste.  There wasn't anything displeasing about the flavor -- there just wasn't much flavor. With all of our toppings, it tasted fine, but if you just ate a piece of the burger alone, you wouldn't taste much. That was a bit disappointing. I'm hoping their other products are better as I bought a few others.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Soba Noodles

Soba noodles are Japanese noodles made from buckwheat that are the same shape of spaghetti, but much heartier. These soba noodles from the Candle 79 Cookbook are particularly flavorful because of the toasted sesame oil and red pepper flakes. I paired them with the Nori- and Sesame-Crusted Seitan, but they'd go well with any Asian dish.

Soba Noodles
Serves 4-6

  • 1/2 pound soba noodles
  • 2 T grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp chopped garlic
  • 6 scallions, white and green parts, minced
  • 2 T tamari (soy sauce)
  • 3/4 to 1.5 tsp red pepper flakes (I used 1.5 tsp)
  • 1 T white sesame seeds

In a large pot, bring about 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

In a large saute pan, heat the grapeseed and sesame oils over medium heat. Add the garlic and scallions and saute for 2 minutes.

Add the tamari, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, and soba noodles.

Cook, tossing constantly, for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until well mixed. Serve warm.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Soul Vegetarian's Exodus, DC

UPDATE: This restaurant has permanently closed.

As one of just a handful of vegan restaurants in DC, you'd think I'd frequent Soul Vegetarian's Exodus more often. Unfortunately, though, I don't make it out to the Shaw area on Georgia Avenue very often. It had been at least a year since I was last here and I was excited to see what they'd be serving up at Soul Veg.

Soul Vegetarian is a nationwide chain of independently run restaurants by members of a religious cult, but don't let that turn you off. The food is generally very good and it is interesting to seek these restaurants out in different cities as they all offer different menu items.

As soon as I saw it, I realized that it was the same Soul Vegetarian I always remembered with its old-school green awning and white brick storefront. When I walked in, I was greeted by a friendly woman behind the counter. Their menu, which isn't currently posted on their website, changes daily. They offer a variety of entrees and vegetables hot-bar style. I ordered the two entree and one vegetable combo for $12.20. For my entrees, I chose the lasagna and mac and cheese and for my vegetable, I ordered broccoli. That day they also had pepper steak, a stew, and many other veggies. It all looked so good that it made it very hard to choose!

Although there is some seating on the second floor, I decided to take my meal to go. It took all of my control to wait to eat this until I got home and when I arrived, I immediately dug in. The lasagna was layered with noodles, spinach, mushrooms, onions, faux meat crumbles and tons of vegan cheese. It was really good, but incredibly filling and a bit too salty.

The steamed broccoli was good. And, then there was the mac and cheese. I've tasted a lot of vegan mac and cheeses in my life, but this one still has my vote for the best vegan mac and cheese in the country. I asked the lady what kind of cheese it was and she told me she was new and didn't know, but it was soy-based and vegan. It is just so incredibly creamy and delicious. I need to get this recipe!  I ended up eating all of it and feeling sick afterwards - it was just a bit too much vegan cheese. I would recommend not eating a two entree plus one vegetable plate all in one sitting. Perhaps you should try ordering the one entree plus two vegetable combo instead so you don't feel sick afterwards as they will give you a lot of food and then you are forced to exercise control -- something we all sometimes lack.

Despite the lack of fully vegan restaurants in DC, I'm proud to say that we still have the best mac and cheese. If you are visiting DC, I highly recommend trying it. This is a mac and cheese worth waiting for!

Soul Vegetarian's Exodus
2606 Georgia Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 328-7685

Soul Vegetarian's Exodus on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Field Roast Sandwich with Miso Mayo

How do you make a simple sandwich into something exciting? It is all about the spread, well and the filling. Field Roast makes some of the best, if not the best, faux meat products out there and I absolutely love their deli slices. Add Miso Mayo, a miso-based mayonnaise, to the mix and you have a deliciously perfect sandwich.

Miso Mayo is made with expeller-pressed canola oil, miso, cider vinegar, tamari, and onion. It is a rich, thick spread that adds a hint of miso to anything you add it to. This stuff is so good, I add it to everything.

The Field Roast Lentil Sage deli slices have a better texture than any other vegan deli slices I've ever had. They aren't rubbery like some other brands and they have a delicious taste to them. They are made with vital wheat gluten, expeller pressed safflower oil, carrots, lentils, irish moss, spices and rubbed sage. You can find them pretty much everywhere nowadays.

Field Roast Sandwich with Miso Mayo
Serves 4

  • One loaf fresh seeded bread (I used local Roots Bakeshop Harvest Bread)
  • So Good! Miso Mayo original flavor
  • Field Roast deli slices lentil sage flavor
  • Red leaf lettuce

Just slice two pieces of bread and spread Miso Mayo on one side.

Then place 2 slices of Field Roast folded over and top with lettuce.

Repeat for other sandwiches.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Flackers - Flaxseed Crackers NEW Flavors

Think super thick, crunchy, fresh, flax seed crackers loaded with flavor and nutrition -- that's Flackers by Doctor in the Kitchen. Developed by Allison Levitt, M.D., a holistic medical doctor, and Donn Kelly, a seasoned food marketer, they set out to create raw snacks that would be high in Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber to support optimal health. I first found them in Chicago (see previous review here), but now they are available in DC and I'm just giddy over it.

I ran into Donn and Allison at a food expo and they gave me samples of their new flavors -- Sun-Ripened Tomato & Basil and Cinnamon & Currants. And I was introduced to their new packaging, which highlights the fresh ingredients they use in a much more colorful box! Not to mention that now they come in resealable bags, which makes eating just a few that much easier!

The new flavors were as good as I expected. The sun-ripened tomato and basil had bits of tomatoes and basil throughout and though I gobbled them up with hummus pretty quickly, they'd make great appetizers topped with vegan sliced cheese, tomatoes, and basil. Yum!

My favorite one was the cinnamon & currants though. These were delicious - a great breakfast cracker to take to places where you are sure there will be no vegan options.

I topped mine with this awesome raw cashew cacao hempspread by Wilderness Poets -- the combo was mind-blowing. Think raw cacao spread on cinnamon flax seed crackers with currants mixed in -- soooo good.

Flackers are great for so many reasons, but most importantly, they are so thick that you can use them for dipping, top them with fresh spreads or veggies for appetizers, or just eat them right out of the box. To get some for yourself, click here.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

It's My First Anniversary!

Guess what today is? It's the first anniversary of my blog, which makes it my blogiversary! It was exactly one year ago today when I embarked on a foodie tour of New York City and decided to chronicle the trip on this blog. Once I started, I couldn't stop! I am so thankful for everyone who has taken the time to read my reviews and try my recipes. Here is a roundup of some of my favorite posts of the year:



Food Products (not chocolate)




     Special Events

    Thank you, again, to all of my readers!  I look forward to another year of providing you with sound nutritional information along with reviews of products and restaurants! Please leave me a comment below and let me know what your favorite posts were and what you'd like to see more of this year!

    Friday, May 18, 2012

    Vegan Brunch at Muse - May 2012 - Giveaway Winner!

    The lucky winner of a complementary brunch for two! Just kidding! Actually, the winner is....[drum roll, please] Erica Meier, the Executive Director of Compassion Over Killing!  

    I know what you are thinking, but I swear this drawing wasn't rigged. She won fair and square by a random drawing in the same way that people win all of my drawings. That said, she is definitely one of the most deserving of this prize as she dedicates her life to fighting for animal welfare and animal rights with Compassion Over Killing, one of my all-time favorite non-profits!

    Thank you to everyone who entered the drawing. I still hope you will join me [and Erica] this Sunday, May 20 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for a spectacular vegan brunch at  Todd Gray's Muse at the Corcoran.

    Through this process I asked everyone which menu item sounded the most appetizing and the votes were as follows:
    • 1st: Bananas foster vegan pancakes with carmelized baby banana
    • 2nd: Roasted mushroom and black walnut pate with toasted baguette
    • 3rd: 3-way tie for the Grilled polenta with asparagus sauce; Smoked tempeh and roasted garlic cassoulet; and Pineapple and strawberry salad with basil coulis

    One more exciting announcement: if you didn't win this month, don't worry - you'll have another chance next month as I'll be holding another giveaway for the vegan brunch in June so stay tuned!

    Muse at the Corcoran
    500 Seventeenth Street NW
    Washington, DC 20006