Lunch at Shish

I’d been more or less following the Engine 2 plan for the last three months or so. Because I’d already been eating vegan, that part of the plan wasn’t so tough for me. But it turns out that going without added fats is really tough. You can’t really eat out. Or at least you can’t really eat any cooked food out. And that’s really limiting.

I’ve since abandoned the Engine 2 business, so I’ve been able to enjoy some of my favorite restaurants again. Yesterday, after handing out leaflets for Compassionate Action for Animals, I dropped by Shish in St. Paul for a late lunch. They serve what I’m pretty sure is my favorite falafel in the Twin Cities. And it’s vegan!

Falafel at Shish: Falafel, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, hummus and tahini sauce served in a pita

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Because I’m a sucker for fresh veggies, I typically order a side salad as an accompaniment. The whole meal runs right around ten bucks.

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Oh, and I have to confess to feeling a lot better since I abandoned the Engine 2 thing.

Big Hot Mess o’ Greens

My favorite way to do up greens lately is fairly straightforward and really tasty. My preference is for collard greens, though dinosaur kale works well too. Use your biggest pan to cook this—break out the wok if you have one. That way you’ll be able to cook lots of greens without any winding up on the stovetop.

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Big Hot Mess o’ Greens

Ingredients:

  • Canola oil
  • Three or four cloves of garlic, minced
  • A big pinch of red chili flakes
  • One big bunch of collard greens (or dinosaur kale), chopped (stems and all)
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke (I prefer hickory)
  • 1 tsp Tamari (I use the reduced sodium variety)

Method:

  1. Get the wok really hot
  2. Add a little oil
  3. Add the garlic and chili flakes and stir for just a bit (be careful not to let the garlic burn)
  4. Add the greens and stir occasionally for five to ten minutes, or until the greens are done to your liking
  5. Stir in the liquid smoke and tamari
  6. Enjoy with some really good whole grain bread (Rustica makes a great miche that pairs well with this—you can find it at the Mississippi Market)

Another Trip to Heartland

I decided I’d take M out for dinner tonight, so I made reservations at Heartland in downtown St. Paul. I let them know when I called that we were vegan and they told me they’d have no trouble accommodating us.

When we arrived, our server let us know what was vegan on the menu and what could be made vegan. We opted for the three course tasting menu, and here’s what we got.

Amuse-Bouche: Pickled mushroom and chard with curried mustard and a crouton.

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First Course: Frisee with peas, fingerling potatoes, and a romesco sauce.

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Second Course: Gnocchi with spring vegetables.

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Third Course: Raspberry sorbet with caramel glass.

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This restaurant is outstanding. I don’t know of another upscale restaurant in the Twin Cities that caters so well to folks who only eat plants.

Vegan Donuts

For a sweet treat after breakfast, help yourself to a tasty vegan donut.

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Here were the ones we had to choose from: powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and chocolate sprinkle, almond, and chai donuts from The Donut Cooperative in Minneapolis. Delicious!

Tofu Ranchero

On Sunday I decided I’d try my hand at some vegan Mexican food. I began in the morning with plates of Tofu Ranchero for M and I.

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Scrambled Tofu:

Ingredients

  • One package of extra firm tofu
  • One onion, diced
  • Four cloves of garlic, minced
  • Canola oil
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • One tsp turmeric
  • One tsp cumin
  • One poblano pepper, chopped
  • One anaheim pepper, chopped
  • One tbsp tamari

Method

  • Sauté the onions, garlic, and chiles in a little canola oil for five minutes or so over medium high heat
  • Crumble the tofu into the pan and sauté for ten minutes or so
  • Add the cumin, turmeric, and nutritional yeast and cook for another five minutes or so
  • Finish with the tamari

Ranchero Sauce (adapted from Bayless’ Authentic Mexican):

Ingredients

  • A 28oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • One onion, quartered
  • Four cloves of garlic
  • Three serrano peppers
  • One tsp ancho chile powder
  • Canola oil

Method

  • Put all the ingredients except for the canola oil into a food processor and process till the sauce is relatively smooth
  • Add a little canola oil to a hot skillet
  • Pour the puree into the skillet and sauté over medium high heat for five minutes or so
  • Salt to taste

Putting It All Together:

  • Line a plate with some warmed corn tortillas
  • Top with some scrambled tofu
  • Top the tofu with some ranchero sauce
  • Top the ranchero sauce with some diced onions and cilantro
  • Enjoy!

Vegan Pizza!

Tonight for dinner we were feeling a little lazy, so we ordered pizza from Pizza Luce in St. Paul. And since we couldn’t decide on one particular pie (they have so many tasty vegan options), we opted for two small pies. Here’s what we got:

The Rustler, with mock duck, pineapple, banana peppers, red onion, rinotta, tomato sauce, and barbecue sauce.

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And The Lil’ Gracie, with vegan veggie ball crumbles, a muffuletta olive mixture, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, and vegan cheese with red sauce.

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M liked the rustler better, but I was a fan of both. We had no trouble polishing off both small pizzas!