I’ve been on a short retreat to Santa Fe, after burying my father last week. The hostess of the house we are staying at left the current weekly arts and entertainment papers for us to peruse. We found an advertisement for an establishment that only opened last winter.
Momo & and Co is nestled in Downtown Santa Fe, up the street from some of the more popular eateries. We were excited because they promised 100% gluten free and mostly vegan food. We trekked down there in the late morning to see what would inspire us. Immediately I loved the feel of the place. Painted in bright colors, with local art on the wall, and a play space for kids that included a “kitchen.” The woman behind the counter was ready to take our order and answer the inevitable pesky questions. “What kind of chocolate do you use?” “Everything is gluten free?” “What about Daiya cheese as an alternative on the sandwiches.” Gaia patiently answered these questions and more, even the ones about the artwork.
The space had a remarkable feel. Calm and peaceful. Not what you would expect in a pastry shop that just survived a weekend morning rush.
We ordered The Brass Monkey, a concoction of gluten free and vegan waffle with bananas, chocolate sauce, almond butter and walnuts.When it was delivered to the table I was instantly in love. Eye-to-stomach sorta thing.
Eating this waffle was even better than I imagined. If you ever thought a GF vegan waffle must be dense and unflavorful, think again. It was fluffy and soft, with a delicate balance between the almond and chocolate sauce. It was not overly sugary (I mean the kind that makes your teeth ache), nor was it too salty. It was waffley goodness that compared to the best conventional waffle. We split the one waffle, and half way through I was wishing I had my own.
I look forward to my next trip to Santa Fe, and eating another Brass Monkey.
The last time I looked in on Vegweb, it was still in the old format, tables, boxes and such. I wondered to myself, when will they update? Granted this was two months ago.
Today I went searching for an Eggplant Casserole, and of course, I was taken to Vegweb, and I found a satisfying and beautiful revamp of the Site. They seem to have fixed 98% of my complaints about the site, search functions, catagories, community. I am really excited to see one of the oldest user sites for vegans modernized (yes, vegweb IS older then the PPK).
Kudos goes to Colleen Holland and Laura Beck for taking the reins and making the changes. It is no small feat taking a very large website and changing it. Thanks gals for making it fun, interesting, and pretty!
Are you following the Kitchen Shaman on Facebook yet? I usually post photos of my food over there first and I always put a direct link to all blog posts so you’ll know when there’s something new to read. I also provide links to other food blogs, videos, news and information, as well as notices about local events. And that’s where I announce upcoming cooking classes and demos.
There’s a great website out there called Everyday Dish TV, run by Julie Hasson, author of “Vegan Diner”. They post recipe videos on a regular basis. This is the latest one, Pumpkin Spice Bars, by Sarah Matheny, author of “Peas and Thank You”. And it’s also gluten free. Once I procure Xantham gum, I’m going to make it myself. They look delicious.
If you are a fan of eggplant, like I am, this traditional Indian dish will satisfy the cravings on any given day. Easy to make, it is a winner at the table every time. Make sure to check your pantry for the essential spices, turmeric, cumin, asefoetida (hing), and coriander.
Credit for this recipe goes to Manjula’s Kitchen. I’ve altered a few things, but the flavors remain the same.
Roast the eggplant, either on the grill or in the oven, until the skin starts to blacken (approximately 35-40 minutes). You want the eggplant to be soft and squishy on the inside, but still able to peel away from the flesh.
Let cool and then peel off the skin. Chop into small pieces and set aside.
While the eggplant is cooking, blend tomatoes, ginger and green chili in a blender.
Heat the oil in a saucepan on medium high, and stir fry the red bell pepper for a minute. Remove the bell pepper from the pan and set aside.Put the pan back on the heat.
Add the cumin and asafoetida in the same saucepan you used for the bell pepper. After the seeds crack add the tomato puree, coriander powder, turmeric, red chili powder, and salt. Cook without stirring for a few minutes until the oil starts separating from the puree.
Add the eggplant and cook on medium heat. Keep stirring and mashing the eggplant as it cooks.
Remove from heat and add the bell pepper, fresh cilantro, and Garam Masala to the eggplant. Mix gently.
Serve hot with basmati rice, and pickled condiments.
Lately I’ve been on a kick with making Veggie, or Eggplant Towers. Don’t ask me why, it just came to me. I used to make them when I worked in Banquets a few years back, but I lacked the level of inspiration I have now. Inspiration led me to add Quinoa and Daiya Mozzerella style Cheese. Try these with your favorite Salad, or serve them as the vegetable side with an entree like Orange Glazed Tofu, or Southwest Tofu Sticks (Recipe is coming, I promise).
Play with Your Food: Eggplant & Zucchini Towers with Quinoa and Peppers
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Yield: 4 each
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 Zucchini, sliced and roasted
1 Yellow squash, sliced and roasted
2 Eggplant, sliced and roasted
2 Red pepper roasted, peeled and cut into strips
2 Green pepper, roasted, peeled and cut into strips
2 Poblano/Pasilla pepper, roasted, peeled and cut into strips
1 package Daiya Mozzerella Style Cheese
Rinse and drain 1/4 cup quinoa seed. Bring to a boil 1/2 cup water. Add the quinoa, cook until quinoa opens up and is a bit sticky, about 15 minutes. (It's good if it's like sushi rice).
Pre-heat oven on Broil. Prepare all the vegetables. You want to cut them thick. 1/2 an inch is good. I usually get three slices per squash. and 4 out of the eggplant.
Coat with a little oil, assemble onto a baking tray (sheet pan). Roast until the peppers blister, the squash looks squishy, and the eggplant takes on a little brown color. It might be necessary to remove each vegetable type separately.
Cool the ingredients down.
To Assemble: Use eggplant as the base, then quinoa, then peppers, then the zucchini. I use two eggplants, with the squash in the middle. Add the mozzerella style cheese on the layer above the zucchini, and then put some on top of the last eggplant to give it that "broiled" look. Cook in the broiler for 5-7 minutes, or until the "cheese" browns!
Serve with a red pepper couli, or butternut squash puree.
The buzz words are local, fresh, and seasonal. Food that is grown in your own backyard. I have a fantasy that someday I can grow the food I cook. But alas, there are reasons for divisional labor in our society. It takes as much time to take care of the crops as it does to cook.
Enter the Farmer’s Market, a Vegan Chef’s paradise. There is seasonally fresh, locally grown produce, (and other products) ripe for the picking. I visit about once a month. I’ve changed where I go due to proximity, variety, and quality of produce. There’s still about five farmer’s markets I haven’t visited in the Valley of the Sun, but I’m working on it.
The last trip yielded very fresh, lovely cucumbers, round squash, and tasty herbs. I love going and talking to the farmers, and the makers of the food. For a Chef, it is a hands on, tactile experience I appreciate. Our society is so very removed from the actual production of our food. The markets give a wonderful opportunity to get in there and talk to the folks who make the food we eat. As a Chef Instructor, it’s great to stand in front of the class and let them know that the food they are eating came from locally sourced farms.
It’s not always possible, but when you can support your local farmer’s markets, and local grocers. It’s better for the local economy, and for you.
Heat up a skillet and add the sunflower oil. When the oil is hot, throw in the spinach. You may have to add the spinach a little at time if your pan isn’t big enough. Don’t worry the spinach will cook down making room for more. Toss in the garlic, and mix. Keep stirring so you don’t burn the spinach. Remove from heat once all the spinach is cooked. Add a little salt and pepper.
Cut the potatoes into wedges and season with rosemary, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Lay the potatoes out on a sheet pan sprayed with pan coating, and cook in a 400 degree oven for 15-17 minutes, or until the potatoes are crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle.