The French Market in Ogilvie Transportation Center attempts to create a quaint European market vibe, but it still feels like you are in a commuter train station. There are fruit and vegetable stands, bakeries, a wine store and several lunch spots. One of these lunch spots is Raw, a creatively named restaurant that only serves raw food.* Some of the food at Raw is delicious and it’s hard to believe it’s raw. Other items make me want to vomit. For that reason, I am hesitant to try new things. They frequently offer samples, so that’s a good way to test things out before you spend $15 on a lunch that ultimately ends up in the trash.
Today I had court in Chicago, so I stopped by the French Market to pick up lunch. I decided a to try a kale salad. A salad is always raw, so it was a pretty safe bet.
It was a very good salad. I’ve never had raw kale before, but it wasn’t too coarse. There was just the right amount of dressing and the sunflower & pumpkin seeds were a nice touch. However, I was not a fan of the gojiberries (even though I love them in Clif nectar bars) and the avocado was not quite ripe.
Raw is nice to visit every month or so, but I cannot get on the raw food bandwagon. I just love hot food too much to give it up, especially in the winter. Eating raw food does feel very healthy though, even when you are eating a lemon bar.
* After reading its website, I learned that R.A.W. stands for Raising Awareness Worldwide.
Vegetarian Times was my number one resource when I became a vegetarian in 1997. I was a subscriber for several years until it became a hassle to veganize half the recipes in the magazine. VT does have a large online database of vegan recipes, but the magazine is not worth the subscription fee. I receive the vegan recipe email alert and I “like” them on Facebook, so I see many delicious recipes pop up in my feed. One of these was Soba Noodle Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing.
Peanut butter is one of those amazing foods that tastes great in sweet and savory dishes (and, of course, just on its own!) I didn’t have soba noodles so I used a generic “oriental noodle” that H has probably had for a decade (but at least it didn’t have a 2007 expiration date like the buckwheat noodles did). The noodles stuck together too much, so soba noodles probably would have been better. I added tofu for some extra protein and some sriracha sauce for a little spicy kick. Very tasty!
The main reason it took me so long to make the switch from vegetarian to vegan is that I LOVE pizza. Yummy, stretchy delicious cheese. But no matter how delicious it might be, I would just have to remind myself that a cow suffered greatly to provide me with that cheese and it probably contained blood and pus and tons of chemicals. Gross.
I heard about Daiya this summer in VegNews. It was a vegan cheez that melted, stretched and tasted like cheese! So many blogs raved about it. I had to try this cheez! Of course, this is not a product that can be purchased in Woodstock, so I researched where I could find it. Whole Foods sells it, so if I traveled into the city I could pick some up. It was also available at a small health food store in Rockford. The next time I was in court in Rockford, I would check it out. (Nice little store: Choices Natural Market)
Quick review: it does not taste like cheese.
It really doesn’t melt very well. I just sprinkle it on, because too much of it is really gross. However, when it’s in something, like this pesto, you can’t tell. The recipe is a celebrity chef recipe from the Daiya website (here).
The cheddar is better than the mozzarella in my opinion. I made some nachos early this fall that were pretty good. When it’s mixed in with other things, it works. As a pizza topping, it’s not believable.
College Football, veggie burgers & beer.
Recipe from FFV.
I wish I made the relish, because ketchup did not go with these. I also think I needed to drain the eggplant more, they were a little watered down. Ultimately, it did not matter because Alabama came back after a disappointing loss against LSU and beat Mississippi State 30-10. RTR!
H was on call this weekend and worked late tonight, so I heated up some leftovers and watched old Harry Potter movies in preparation for next week’s Part 1 of the Deathly Hallows.
Lentils and spinach is my easy go-to recipe for leftovers. I can make a big batch of it and eat if for lunch all week.
- 1 bag of lentils or split peas
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 3-4 cloves of garlic minced
- garam masala
- salt & pepper
- frozen spinach
Even when I follow a recipe, I am not exact on the spices. It’s even worse when I’m creating my own dish. I add something and taste it and add more if necessary or add something else if it’s too much. I need to get better about measuring.
Make lentils according to package. Saute onions and garlic and add cumin during the last minute. After lentils are done, stir in the onion and garlic and add other spices and about half to 2/3 of the bag of frozen spinach.
One of the few good things about living in Woodstock is Expressly Leslie. For some unknown reason, there is a vegetarian restaurant here and it is always busy! I am honestly shocked that it is still open, because usually if something is good, it goes out of business in approximately 4.667 weeks. Meanwhile, restaurants that serve canned and frozen food do quite well. The Woodstock palate is not very sophisticated.
I left my quiche on the kitchen counter today and took that as a sign that I needed to buy lunch. I always say I will try something new, but the only things I ever get are the lentil soup or the eggplant pocket. This eggplant is amazingly delicious.
Expressly Leslie also knows what a vegan is! They’ve added tags to the menu to indicate what is vegan. The eggplant pocket on the menu is not vegan if you get it with the cucumber salad, but they substituted the cucumber salad with a cucumber tahini salad topping. It also comes with some hot sauce.
Finally, for dessert there are vegan cookies from Jaci’s Cookies!
- 2 hour 20 minute wait on a Tuesday night!!
- it serves two bean dishes, but neither is vegetarian
- amazing margaritas!
- the best blackened portobello mushrooms ever
- fun colorful decor
- the rice was kind of sweet. it was weird.
- guacamole did not live up to the unrealistic expectations I had for it
My brother-in-law was in Chicago for work this week, so H & I went down to meet him. We picked Frontera Grill because it is supposed to be phenomenal. H went to a drug rep dinner here and has raved about it since then. We knew the wait would be bad, but we figured we’d just hang out in the bar with some drinks and chat. Margaritas were good and once we managed to snag a spot at the bar, we ordered some guacamole and chips. Guacamole is one of my most favorite foods and I love ordering it at fancy Mexican restaurants. I really expected this to be the best guacamole that I’ve ever eaten. It was not. It was good though and we were pretty hungry, so it went fast.
We finally got a table and ordered immediately (we picked out what we wanted at the bar). There was a 9:30 train back to the ‘burbs and we were cutting it very close. The waiter said he would hurry to order, but his estimated 15 minutes didn’t happen and H had to leave because he was on stroke call. He agreed to pick me up in Crystal Lake, which is the last stop for the 10:30 train and I’d bring his food with me. Shortly after he left, our food came. I proceeded to stuff my face with portobello mushroom tacos and more guacamole. The tortillas were good and the the mushrooms were delicious. The only thing that was off was the rice.
There were two vegetarian options. I got the Tacos al Carbon: wood-grilled mushrooms sliced and served with roasted pepper rajas, two salsas,
frijoles charros (sub rice), guacamole and homemade tortillas. The other was Pozole Verde Vegetariano: robust braise of pozole corn, pumpkinseeds, tomatillos, and local fall vegetables. Classic crunchy garnishes (Napa cabbage, radish, onion, cilantro), Mexican oregano, plantain tostada, lime. The menu changes every few weeks, which is good for vegetarians if there is only one or two options.
I own every Isa Chandra Moskowitz cookbook, but this is the only hardcover one I have. It makes cooking from here feel fancier. There are some good recipes in here (an amazing pesto!), but honestly, it’s not my favorite cookbook. Also, there are a lot of mistakes. The person who proofread this book should find a new line of work.
On Sunday evening I made the Chickpea cutlets with mustard sauce and lemony roasted potatoes. It was good, but not that impressive. The preparation time-deliciousness ratio was unbalanced. The potatoes were uncooperative and I got tired of trying to flip them. I’m pretty sure my right hand got a little sunburned (ovenburned?) when I was trying to stir them up. They are on the greasy side. The lemon flavor is subtle, but I’m not convinced that lemon and potatoes go together. I will not be making this recipe again.
I’ve been wanting to make the chickpea cutlets for a long time. The picture in the cookbook looks amazing and I’ve read blog posts praising this recipe. I had high expectations for these cutlets and they did not deliver. It might be my fault. I started off by making these, when I should have started with the potatoes. The cutlets sat uncooked for maybe an hour. Perhaps that is bad for chickpea cutlets. I’ll give this recipe another shot now that I know how to time everything.
The mustard sauce was the best part of the meal. I love dijon mustard. I could eat it straight out of the bottle. I ran out of garlic on this recipe and was a little short on the lemon juice after the lemony roasted potatoes, but it was still good. I used one clove instead of three and added some garlic salt. The recipe tells you to mix cornstarch with vegetable broth and set aside. The mixture is never mentioned again. I added it with the mustard and that seemed to work.
I have a love/hate relationship with brunch. I love it because it offers so many tasty options and includes sweat and savory items. I hate it because I can never decide what to order; it’s so hard to make up my mind whether I want something savory or sweet.
My sister bought Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan Brunch for my birthday last year.
Today I made Mushroom, Leek & White Bean Pie and Tempeh Sausage Pastry Puffs. The crust and puff pastry were purchased from the grocery store, so that saved a lot of time. I’ve made the classic broccoli Quiche before, which looks prettier, but the mushroom, leek & white bean pie is tastier. It calls for 3 cups of leeks. When I was picking out leeks at the grocery store, I had no I idea how many leeks equal three cups. Probably about 6, but I guessed four. I had a little over 2 cups of leeks, but it still came out well.
The sausage is time-consuming. Mainly because the tempeh needs to marinate for an hour. I did not read ahead, which meant we had brunch at 2 p.m. Jewel only had Pepperidge Farms pastry shells, which is the brand that Isa recommends. Unfortunately, it contains only six shells in a box. The recipe has you cutting up the pastry into 18 squares, so I now I have a ton of leftover sausage filling. Anyway, I used the shells and tried to get as much filling balanced in the middle as possible. They came out beautifully. The flaky crust was delicious and the sausage filling is the best homemade sausage recipe I’ve made.