Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mom and Dad's culinary tour, Twinkie Cupcakes, Rue Cler

So my parents made arrangements to come down this weekend, and we had a blast.
First order ofbusiness was Duncan (and technically Joe) from HNMTF's joint birthday, which happened to be the same day my parents came to town. Ever the troupers, Mom and Dad helped me bake cupcakes to Duncan'sspecifications, and herequested, and Iquote "strawberry those twinkie things, with the coconut, you know?"
Well, I do know. I can only imagine he's thinking about snowballs. And who, as a 10 year old, did not love snowballs. So I set to work. For the base, we made a hearty yellow cupcake. We let the cupcakes set while we had dinner at Dale's on 9th street. My parents did the chicken tikka, but I went old school with Channa Masala. I have to say, I know it's easy to make, but I'm a whore for someone else making me Channa Masala. When we got home, I whipped up a fresh tofu strawberry mousse (to be injected) and lastly, a lightly coconut flavored buttercream, then dyed some flaked coconut pink, rolled the cakes and garnished with strawberry slivers. The cupcakes (all 24) were eaten that night. Score!
The next day, we got up reasonably early and had lunch at the Thai Cafe down the street. I tried their eggplant red curry lunch special for the first time. It is definitely an acquired taste-- the texture of rice noodles in a curry sauce somehow feels wrong to me. My folks ended up going salad and salmon routes. They enjoyed it.
That afternoon we went and saw The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin's Facebook creation myth, which I thought was enjoyable, maybe not as good as his TV shows (although did anyone else see a hellofalot of Matt Albie happening in the "Mark Zuckerberg"?). A lot of other people hated it, but the opening scene's breakneck, trademark Sorkin dialogue had me from the get go. Monday night we hit up Sage Veg Cafe in Chapel Hill. They have added their Sabzhi to the regular menu now! Sabzhi is an herb stew flavored with dried lemon and containing beans, lentils and some sort of meat (traditionally lamb, but in the case of a vegetarian cafe, tempeh). It is served over rice and SO good. That's really all I can say about it. After dinner, we settled into a quick game of the awesome scrabble, then rest.
On Tuesday, we did a little furniture browsing, having gotten a jump on the day. We headed to Classic Treasures, Once and Again and Habitat to see if anyone had a decent small sized desk for me to work at. We found a beautiful used pedestal desk with an espresso stain that fits in very nicely. We hit up Mint for lunch,because my dad wanted to try it. We all know I would kill for some Lime & Basil Summer rolls in my life on the daily. The vegan offerings were pretty slim at the Mint Buffet, but I like lentil soup and love pakoras, so it ended up alright.

We saw Secretariat that afternoon, wandered around the mall and play
ed a little scrabble before the big event: Rue Cler. Oh, can I sing the praises of Rue Cler? I can, but first I will relay a story to you. I've been to Rue Cler before. I've had french fries and a mixed green salad. I've never thought of it in any particular way except a place I don't really eat but that seems pretty popular. When we showed up, with a reservation that I had confirmed twice, we had to wait. Like, a long time. They told me this was because someone wrote the reservation wrong in the book, but finally we were sat. I was kind of annoyed by the waiting ordeal, since my folks had been nice enough to concede to me which "fancy" restaurant we would go to (my dad loves Nana's and the Fairview) and this was not helping the Rue Cler case.

Fortunately, we were given a table and we immediately ordered drinks-- Shiraz for the folks and
a Triangle Imperial Amber for me, which is now my favorite Triangle Beer, but could be because I'm just on a huge Amber kick. The nice thing about the vegan prix fixe meal was that my parents were sort of able to eat parallel to me. My father ordered the regular frisee salad and my frisee salad with homemade vegan bacon, fries and vegan cheese (I am gonna call it out, omfg FYH!) croutons with a roasted shallot vinaigrette was THE BOMB. It was so good. I like salad, but this outdid salad. My dad even tried to convince me that his non-vegan frisee salad was actually the vegan one because mine looked better.

Next course was a remoulette (I think) basically a sweet-ish vegetable paste served with sesame crackers and an arugula salad. I liked this course a lot, flavor-wise, but I feel like its analogue, a pate dish, made more sense, since pate is rich and hard to eat in large amounts, whereas this stuff should've been given to me in a pint tub with a spoon.

Last course was a house made lentil sausage with a spinach and (very large, forgotten name) bean ragout. This was the course that astounded me. Mainly because, frankly, NOBODY else stepped up and made a protein. And these guys did. While the seitan texture wasn't perfect, the flavor was so good that it didn't matter at all. The proportions of the dish were right on. Just the right amount of spicy sausage for a forkful of soothing ragout. To be truthful, that ragout could easily have been a meal on its own, but the added protein made it feel like it was special and for us, not just a tossed together veggie plate of random sides.

After dinner my parents retired to the hotel to get ready to leave in the AM and I hit quiz. All in all, I think Rue Cler may have won my heart (and votes) tonight with their salad and main course. Oh, and their lighting is the jam.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

BCVC: Vin Rouge and Dos Perros, ALSO a trip to KY!

BCVC Updates for those who value my opinion!
I hit up Vin Rouge a while back but have just not gotten around to blogging it, although that is no reflection on the quality of VR's offerings. I met Anne Gomez (of noisy-proggers Cantwell Gomez and Jordan) to try the Ratatouille ravioli and have drinks. We sat at the bar and the bartender was very nice and helpful (he checked on the ingredients in the bread and olive tapenade oil). The beer list at Vin Rouge is kind of awful, but their wine list looked pretty impressive, so I can't fault a restaurant called Red Wine for having a lot of wine and not a lot of beer. So, I ordered bourbon!

Anyway, the ravioli came out, and it was wonderful. Three vegetables in an extremely light, delicate, almost translucent pasta shell, surrounded by a pesto and carrot sauce. Due to a camera malfunction, I do not have a photo! It is a truly tasty little dish though, and I recommend saving some bread to sop up the rest of those sauces.

Pink Flag took a trip to Lexington KY last weekend, and stopped on the way in Charleston WV. I think it is the only big city in the state, and it's not really a big city at all. However, if you're a pastoral camping type, I think WV might be your new favorite state in the union. Trees and
mountains oh my. Anyway, we tried to go to an Indian place that was closed and ended up at BlueGrass Kitchen (courtesy of Happy Cow). Bluegrass Kitchen was really cute; kind of hippy atmosphere, playing Bjork. Dork and I each ordered the veggie burger. Mine came without a bun, since there were no vegan breads available, but it was still pretty darn tasty. Also, the fries tasted EXACTLY like what I remember Burger King fries to taste like. Sick confirmed that they did taste like BK fries.

Dork had the flu, and 16+ hours in the car with its uncirculating air etc meant that we all got Dork's disease. Fortunately for me, I have the secret of Persia in my pocket! I recently bought the Sage cookbook and whipped up a HUGE batch of Osh, which I have had for like, every meal since.

I wanted to try the pot pie, too, in the slowly coldening air. Fortunately, this time I called Nosh and they confirmed that they DO NOT have the pot pie for lunch, which means, friendly vegans, there is no lunch offering at Nosh.

We hit Dos Perros got hit up last Thursday. I ordered a rye beer. We had the tamale to start and it was
wonderful. Really creamy, small bits of delight soy nuggets that weren't overpowering. The Pipia Rojo was an incredible sauce, and the rice and beans were amazing. The only problem was that the delight nuggets overpowered the sauce. The next time, I got it "gluten free" style, with sweet potato instead of delight nuggets and, keep in mind that I despise sweet potatoes, it was AMAZING. It was also huge-- I got two whole meals out of it each time I went. As a sidebar, I'd never been to Dos Perros before and the food was really good; I think I might head back if they have vegan friendly food on their regular menu as well.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

BCVC: Caffe Beyu and Nosh

Dork and I were really excited to try the Nosh specials, but apparently they do not serve any of them at lunch, so sorry Nosh, you're getting skipped. I am not going back again after waiting in line for 15 minutes and getting nothing.

While I am wary of any place that misspells the word "cafe," I felt compelled to check out the 3 course meal at Caffe Beyu for BCVC. Dork and I headed over there on Friday for some eats.

We went in and were seated at a teensy tiny table, but whatever, I'm not looking to put together a puzzle, I just want to eat. They do have Brooklyn Brown on tap, which is a surefire way to my heart (I <3 Brooklyn Brewery!). Dork ordered a Mocha Stout from French Broad, and we each ordered the 3 course prix fixe.
The Gumbo, which was the draw for me, was tasty if a little bit thin. I suspect that it will be too spicy for some tastes, but for me it was welcome and lovely. The chunks of mushroom really made it for me. Dork was not quite so impressed, but I think her standards are higher, her being from LA and all.

The entree was made up of baked apples and sweet potatoes, a walnut-craisin wild rice blend, a couple of baked artichokes and bathed in a balsamic reduction. If that sounds like it would be overly sweet, it is. Aside from the fact that I just straight up don't like sweet potatoes (Dork got to eat most of mine), the balsamic acidity did not help to cut the sweetness but rather compounded it. Then, the rice was interspersed with craisins (more sweetness). The artichoke, however, tasted great with the balsamic reduction and the rice. I appreciated the effort (it was pretty) but the chef just sort of...missed. Some kind of protein with some reduction of one of the sweet ingredients could have made this dish stellar instead of just okay.
The last dish was an avocado chocolate pudding, and it was the winner. The chocolate was rich and tasty and the raspberry sauce hidden at the bottom of the martini glass cut the chocolate nicely. The pudding was topped with coconut cream and mint, which offered another good complement to the richness. As we were getting ready to leave, we saw Eleni and Rob (Beloved Binge) and they mentioned they were coming from Rue Cler and hitting Beyu for dessert. If I were a little bit more of a chocolate fan, I would do the same. However, I recommend all chocoholic vegans to hit Beyu for that pudding because it's a fancy little treat.

I would like to shout out our server. I don't remember her name but she was really great; enthusiastic about the menu (especially hyped about the vegan challenge), made sure to drop off voting cards, explained all of the dishes and was friendly and attentive. Caffe Beyu, she is turning 21 this month, and was working Oct 8. Someone buy that lady a beverage!

On the flipside, when we were seated, we were told that we would not be charged an "entertainment fee" unless we stayed for more than 40 minutes. Considering that our food took more than 40 minutes to come out (and nobody can reasonably expect someone to down 3 courses in less than 40, including ordering) I think it's kind of shitty that we were charged for the entertainment, which honestly, detracted from my experience. I mean, I love live entertainment. I like going to rock shows or even having a live pianist at a nice restaurant. We were seated close to the jazz band and I had a half stack turned up to volume 7 during a dinner conversation. I don't want to eat dinner at a concert. That's why pretty much every venue that is worth its salt DOESNT sell food. I'm just griping, it was only $3, but it was just added to my bill and I would've been happier sitting further away from the band and actually able to talk to my dining companion. Just sayin'.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Eating Cabbage, eating at work.

So I worked on Saturday Night (Oct 2) and even though BCVC went into effect 10/1, the kick off party was 10/3, so as a sort of pre-kick off present, Chef Micah at the Federal let me try the BCVC pakoras a day early. The pakoras are really tasty, although Micah and I had a lengthy debate about what a pakora implies-- for me it is veggies rolled around in chickpea flour and deep fried. Later in the week, he conceded and now we have an agreement on delicious pakora goodness.So the pakoras at the Federal have received some heat from taste testers for their price. Theywere recently made cheaper, so nowthey are $9. We have also sold out of them pretty much every night they run, and I know for a fact that many of the people ordering them and enjoying them are not vegan, so get your butts over here, vegans! The chutneys are the star of the dish obviously. Micah put them in "stoplight" colors. Red is bombay red chutney, and the spiciest. Yellow is mango chutney and is milder. Green is a macadamia mint chutney and is more of a creamy sauce than a spicy chutney. You have to keep in mind that I am a huge whore for spicy food, though. I paired the Pakoras with the French Broad Rye Hopper (no longer on draft) but think the Great Divide Hoss Rye Lager would be a good complement (I like the flavor of rye with the mace and curry flavors). Now that the pakoras are priced at $9, I think they're areasonable dish (they're much higher class than your traditional curry house pakoras). I know that I may seem biased because I work at the Fed and am friends with Micah, but I am mostly friends with him because HE COOKS AMAZING VEGAN FOOD. Trust me, it was our bond during a trying time.

The Federal also is offering lime shortbread cookies that I got to go the other night. They are okay. I like shortbread cookies as much as the next person, but they're shortbread cookies.

I've also been trying to figure out new ways to use cabbage,
since it's cheap and all this eating out is not great for my budget (even more since when I'm eating, I want to drink something that is better than PBR). So anyway, I've been basically just stirfrying with tofu, eating it raw, puttin it on sandwiches. Does anyone have any good ideas for cabbage, the world's possibly most boring vegetable? I'm sick of using it as filler for soups (kinda too sweer) and if I make one more cabbage tofu scramble, I think the vegan police are gonna come pick me up. For the love of Isa Chandra, help!

Speaking of Isa Chandra, the kind of meh sandwich options got me thinking about my "ultimate" sandwich. Obviously, the "ultimate" is a toss up of the trifecta: Blossom Southern Seitan, Candle Cafe Cajun Seitan and Red Bamboo Soul Chicken. Yes, I know this is 3 versions of the same sandwich. It's SO GOOD. Honorable mention goes to anything faking a chicken parm or meatball sub. But, the other old standby of all vegan restaurants is, of course, the tofu club. Everyone has his or her version, and now kids, beer as vegan has one too!

Beer is Vegan Tofu Club Sammy
rye sourdough bread
marinated broiled tofu (Vcon recipe this time)
sliced roma tomato
mixed baby salad greens
lightlife smart bacon
celery salt (it's my secret ingredient).

The key is fresh bread, not overtoasting and stacking perfectly. Obviously, it's not the best sandwich I've ever made, (I think next time, I'd go with the lightlife tempeh bacon, sacrificing crunch for taste).

I'm also still working on a veggie burger recipe to be revealed at some point later in the year. It is still a trainwreck, though. Ideally, I'm looking for a grillable patty, instead of a fryer. We shall see! :)

Friday, October 1, 2010


One of the greatest ideas to hit the city of Durham since the now-defunct but still beloved Soul Good: The Bull City Vegan Challenge. My friends Eleni (a tireless vegan crusader responsible for the documentary film Seeing Through The Fence as well as tons of vegan outreach) and Shirle' (a personal chef and shameless vegan sympathizer, responsible for the awesomeness that is the vegan brunch!) had an idea to challenge a whole bunch of local restaurants to run a vegan item for one month. They'd tell vegans and foodies about it. The public would vote.
The ladies got together and posted photos of all of the competing dishes. Some of them look fantastic. Some of them are going to get their asses handed to them. (Note to chefs for future reference: seriously, don't ever give a vegan "salad" as an option when you're trying to impress us; we eat a lot of salad. it's not special food. Ditto "vegetable plates." You can make a vegetable plate, but if you call it that, it just sounds uninspired.) Follow BCVC on twitter to get updates and such. And if you're a vegan who was planning to come to Durham ever, come to Durham in October! It'll be FUN!

And today, the competition begins. I actually kind of forgot that it was the 1st, but then I remembered after I had already agreed to go to Parker and Otis for lunch/dinner. I went in and ordered the challenge. I also got a Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray (because I have NY homesickness).

It should be mentioned that P&O is a lunch option for me most of the time because the #14 (white bean spread, onion, avocado, tomato and sprouts on sunflower) is vegan if you switch the sunflower bread for sourdough and pay a $2 surcharge to get a side salad instead of the slaw (ps P&O-- this is bullshit. you should just give people a non-mayotastic salad for free).

The special (which is like #49 or something crazy!) is made up of an artichoke spread (tastes like bean paste with artichoke processed in), carrots, roasted red peppers, red onions, spinach
on a panini pressed wheat and served with a sweet corn, grape tomato and red onion salad. First thought: this salad should be part of the regular menu. I know I've already griped about it, but I will continue to do so because I hope that Parker and Otis's owners (who seem cool and nice) will read this and consider offering some option besides cole slaw! The corn salad was really nice (I love corn though). The sandwich was good. The artichoke spread was tangy and tasty. However, there were some problems. The red peppers were a little too slimy and caused the sandwich to drip when I ate it, then comingled with the paste and caused it to slide out of the sandwich. I liked that there was spinach, a good choice of green that isn't distractingly crunchy, tough or bitter, but bitter enough to stand up to the strange flavor of artichoke. Ultimately, my trouble with the sandwich was balance. The artichoke is good, but I think it overpowered all the other stuff in there. The reason it's not getting my vote for the win? Because #14 is better. And on the menu all the time. And for that, P&O, I salute you.


Overall, I'd recommend hitting up Parker & Otis this month to let them know that we vegans appreciate their support and trying the sandwich-- if you're more of a fan of red peppers than I am, you might be more partial. They also have the best coffee in town (Seriously, their iced coffee is the jam) and a very healthy selection of upscale/gourmet foodstuffs and products, as well as a decent beer selection. Their porch is a nice place to waste an afternoon reading the paper, and either sandwich (although #14 gets the BIV stamp of approval) will satiate your hunger and probably force you to finish it even though you're not really hungry anymore :).

*it is also Vegan Month Of Food (vegan mofo!) I think? Every october, right? Vegans out there in veganbloggerland?

So in celebration of the (3rd) vegan mofo in which BIV has sort of participated, here's a recipe for my delicious brussels sprouts. Even brussels sprouts haters can get down with it. It's also fast, which is one of my favorite things about it.

You will need:
a bag of brussels sprouts (like 15-20, or more, or less, whatever!)
3 cloves garlic
~1 tsp rosemary
~1 tsp oregano
~2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Set your oven to 400 and let it preheat. In the meantime, clean your sprouts. To clean, I chop off the bottom and then peel away the outermost layer that's wilty or spotty or whatever. It will come right off once you've chopped the little root part off. Then cut in half lengthwise and drop into a bowl. After you've chopped all of them and dropped in the bowl, mince your garlic as small as you can get it (I find doing the chef knife smash 2-3 times, then finely chopping leaves you with the sort of chunky paste type thing you want). Drop your garlic in with the sprouts. Drizzle with oil. Rub the rosemary and oregano between your hands to break it up (I use fresh herbs at the end of their growing season. If using dry herbs, this works best. If using super fresh herbs, you may need to chop a little). Use water to get the remaining off your hands. Add salt and pepper (I use about 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper, but it's yr call-- taste and make sure it's salty enough!). Mix the bowl all together. Cover a cookie sheet in foil, then dump the sprouts and their herby garlic juice on it. Spread them so they're not all touching, but they don't have to be all face down or anything. Pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes (depends on size of sprouts). They'll get all caramelized and burnt at the tips and where there's large amounts of garlic and aromatic and awesome in the middles. Trust me. Oh, and if you're feeling cheeky, try adding some balsamic instead of water and cutting back the salt. Happy sprouting.

Monday, August 9, 2010

On another note

I love this movie a lot and just noticed that it is on Hulu.

Just something to pass the time, dear readers.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Baked Ziti & Indian Food, or why I should just give up on Tofu Saag

Recently, due to the heat wave and other weird psychosomatic stuff, I have had a crazy craving for Indian food. I'm admittedly not the greatest Indian chef...I tend to burn my spices, be heavy handed with the pepper and then sort of sob through my meal. I have been on the road to getting my balances right (don't get me started on the great onion puree debacle of '04) and feel like I'm starting to get there, especially with my favorite dish of all time: Channa Masala.

My Channa Masala recipe is pretty simple:
~ 1 1/2 cups dried chick peas, soaked overnight, then boiled 1 hour in salt water, dump water, simmer another 2-3 hours in new water.
1/4 c curry powder from indian store (get the kind that has turmeric and coriander towards the top of the ingredients. I am not a fan of garam masala, I find it to be too clove and cardamom heavy).
1/4 c cilantro
1 yellow onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, diced fine
1 1/2 tsp minced ginger
3-4 Tbsp tomato paste
1-2 fresh vine ripe tomatoes
olive oil
salt and pepper

Get your chickpeas going in advance. Without the soak, you'll just have to cook them longer (and vegan rumor has it they cause more gas), but leave at least 4-5 hours to get them tender as you want them. Ghee is not in my vocabularly, so I start off with olive oil. Into the olive oil, toss your onion and get it going. When it is just starting to turn translucent, add the garlic and ginger. About a minute after, get the curry powder in to toast a little. Quickly add the tomato paste when the powder starts to change color. Chickpeas and enough water to thin out the sauce so it can really get around the chickpeas. Over the next 20 minutes, cook the sauce down over a simmer until the sauce is once again thicker. Add cilantro and fresh chopped tomato just before serving, so they have time to heat to the temperature of the dish but not actually cook through. I pulled out the Channa masala twice, once for my dear friend Jeremy's going away dinner (at which he brought me some fantastic Russian Vodka) and again the next week for my friends the Machete Archive, who hung out.

The tofu saag I attempted was lousy. Used a garlic/onion/curry base, then added tofu sour cream the first time (nope!), cream chz the second (nope!) and diced tofu both times (not bad but still, not there. Any suggestions on the Saag situation, appreciated.

Let's end this post on a happy note: I attempted this baked ziti recipe, subbing ziti for penne, ricotta cheese for my tofu ricotta (viewable in my mega thanksgiving post) and mozzarella for daiya. And parmesan for more mozzarella, which was a bad call, since it was a little too much daiya at the top. It is possible. The ziti came out looking fantastic and getting destroyed by roommates and me in a manner of about 36 hours.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Pineapple Cake, Butternut Squash again and Lime & Basil

I haven't got much to say about my attempt to make this
cake, except that I used fresh pineapple. It came out pretty good. I guess my number one wish regarding this cake was that the cake itself was a little more pineapple-y. I also wished for a moister cake. Th
is had more the consistency of coffee cake, which is probably apparent from the photograph of the crumbled piece of cake I cut off.

I also returned to Butternut Squash in Chapel Hill with Dork. We ordered the fried tofu to start with, which was tasty. She got a club sandwich and I got a the hemp burger. I was not overly impressed with either sandwich, particularly the burger which was like, three inches in diameter and absolutely drowning in the bread and the amount of mustard on that bun. I think stir fry is the way to go there. We got a chocolate cake for dessert and it was pretty but I've reached a point where I'm off chocolate for good, I think.

Across the street from the shopping center that holds Butternut Squash is probably my favorite Chapel Hill restaurant at the moment: Lime & Basil.
LnB is a vietnamese/pan asian restaurant with a focus on the awesome. I usually just order starters (one or two) and can make a whole meal out of them. This most recent trip, I was with my parents who encouraged me to just order a whole bunch of things I'd hoped to try. Pictured are the fried veggie spring rolls, tofu summer rolls, tofu curry and the edge of my coconut juice. Not pictured is the tofu summer salad. The food is always pretty good, filling and light. I was not particularly taken with the curry, but I'm not a fan of potato in curry in general. Overall I'd recommend the place for a casual lunch or dinner. It's by no means fancy but definitely well priced and accommodating.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Durham Garden Center SALE

Locals to the Triangle: do you have space in your garden?

I just got an email that Durham Garden Center is literally giving away tomatoes. I can verify this. They have several varieties: large cherry, sweet 100, lemon boy (yellow), cherokee, german...I have about 12 new tomato plants now. Yes, 100% free. They also have watermelons and

They're also running a sale on most annuals, herbs and vegetables for buy one get one free, so I picked up some herbs (peppermint, mint chocolate, ginger mint, cilantro) and some new guinea impatiens. Hooray. Get over there while the getting's good!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

40 46 Days of Raw: Day 46 (The end!)

I woke up as early as possible, drank some grapefruit juice and started my lessons. A coworker agreed to swap shifts with me at the bar so I could start at 4, definitely getting off by midnight. After finishing lessons at 2:30, I scooted over to my fav local bakery, Guglhupf, and bought some pain paysan (house sourdough, 25% rye, 75% wheat). At home, I rolled some cukes and avocado together in nori and scarfed it, then headed into work.

All I have to say about work today was that I can't stand basketball.

Fortunately, I got off around 10:30 due to the pacified masses, came home, took a shower and Sicka and I headed back to the bar to wait on midnight.

12:00 am was a Makers, a Bells two-hearted and a ripped off piece of pain paysan. All guests agreed that pain paysan is effing delicious.

By 12:45 I was pretty wrecked from my two drinks. Miss Steve got me a PBR which I nursed until about 2am, then Sicka drove me home. At home, I decided that my other long-lost friend, pasta, shouldn't have to wait. I tossed some tofu macaroni and broccoli in a pot, then melted down some daiya with silk and makeshifted a mac and cheese. While it cooked, I had part of a Snicker Dude from Liz Lovely. Sick and I also sampled a little bit of bread which was...obviously not quite right. I think I made it through about 1/4 of the mac and daiya before my stomach protested and I had to stop and go to bed. Which is cool.

This morning, my head and tummy reminded me at 7:45 that I have NOT drank, eaten that much salt, or wheat, or processed stuff in over 6 weeks. I pounded water like it was my job. Then passed back out for 5 more hours.

Now, I have to say that my head feels surprisingly okay and my stomach is as good as can be expected.

Reflections on Raw Life:
-Eating raw is pretty rad. You can eat pretty much until you are stuffed and not feel guilty about anything you put in your body.
-Once you purge all the processed stuff, you feel pretty good.
-Your environmental impact can be pretty much negligible, especially during farmer's market season.
-Save money! No more processed stuff! If you avoid all the raw "treats" like cookies, crawkers and so on, think about the cost of eating a banana and a salad every day. Probably 6-10 dollars.

I'm considering picking a day of the week to be 100% raw overall, and then try to do 50-60% the rest of the time. But man, raw recipes, aside from drinks, probably will be few and far between, because I like raw fruits and veggies just the way they are :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

40 46 Days of Raw: Day 45

A good day...

I bought a pineapple and cut it up, and got inspired.

I call it a Pink Escape (Pink Pina Colada)

~Waste parts of 1 pineapple (the tough ring in the center, the shavings with some of the brown holes around the outside, but not the skin. Eat the rest of the pineapple as you ordinarily would...)
(OR) appx 1 1/2 c pineapple.
~1 medium to large banana
~Appx 1 Cup Coconut water
~1/2 c strawberries

Blend until smooth. Drink with umbrella. :)

This was probably the first drink I ever made that I would rate a 10 on drinkability. I pounded these in like, 20 minutes then immediately regretted it.

at work, I snacked on the rest of the pineapple that I didn't use for the pina colada. Work was nuts, but it was all good, made decent money and still got out by about 12:30. Finished off the pineapple with some Chia. Those who like shakes...MAKE A PINK ESCAPE. It's delicious!

Failure of the evening: baking bread for tomorrow. Using the "getting started" guide recipe from the vitamixI ground up some white wheat berries, made the yeast, mixed the dough and then tried to "knead" in the vitamix...which didn't work, either because the dough was too watery or because it was too hot. But nothing came together, and after about 10 cycles of "kneading" I gave up and baked it as it was. It didn't rise when I proofed it. Boo hiss. Anyone got any advice on vitamix bread baking?

Friday, April 2, 2010

40 46 Days of Raw: Day 44, or Urumbo

So, today marked the slump. Urumbo was described to me as Shona (a Zimbabwe and South/East African language) for "the troubles." I think they meant it more in the way the Irish say "the troubles," but I'm taking both, man, because I am seriously facing my worst time right now, on the last mile. Number one, my brain is all over the place.

Got up this morning (had the day off) after getting a wonderfully unfulfilling 5 hours of sleep only to find out that my hairdresser is sick and couldn't come. I then failed to accomplish the one thing I was supposed to do today besides get my hair cut. But y'all don't want to hear me gripe, so let's talk food, gardens and veg*n, shall we?

After my stop at the bank, I hit up whole foods and picked up some snacky-poo for myself. I lazied out and got some pre-made guacamole (made in store, the only kind I find bearable as far as premade guacs) and seedless cukes to dip in the guac. I cut the bad boy up and had a mighty filling lunch, then set about my major task for the day, gardening.

As you can see, I got my garden turned over and some of my crops held over from last year (lavender and rosemary) and my bulbs are coming up and making life a delight, particularly on the walkway up to the front door, which is lined with Daffodils and paperwhites, creating a beautiful stink of spring and a splash of color, too. The paperwhite smell, for those unfamiliar, is most similar probably to the Easter Lily (one of my students just gave me a plant for the holiday, it is living in my room), in that it's pervasive, somewhat treacly but overall pleasant.

I believe I mentioned that I'd put in two raspberry bushes last Thursday and over the weekend, they really took! The foliage increased, the plants seem to be in good shape. Granted, the bushes I planted this week were a little more robust straight from the store, but I think you can still see the difference (newbie plants are the two on the left, week-olds on the right). So, if you, like me, have soil that's full of clay and essentially destroys anything but the heartiest of plants (seriously, my lawn is half dead because my yard is totally overtaken by trees, ivy and crabgrass). I also put down a couple of fig tree-lets (that are literally 6" tall right now and absolutely darling).

The real challenge of the day was that my vegessentials order came in today and the temptation to eat something, anything out of that box of joy was great. There were the cookies. There was pasta. There was chocolate and there was fake cheese. There were 3 fake meats I am really excited to try. There are 2 more days. I'm trying, and everyone says they're proud right now but I am JONESING for some processed wheat with partially hydrogenated soy involved. It's taking a lot of will power to pour myself a bowl of Chia with fresh cut strawberries with local honey* or pour myself a glass of grapefruit juice and a handful of cashews (that was dinner and evening snack respectively) instead of just going downstairs and tearing through a frozen bagel. I've had NY bagels in my freezer since early march =/. /rant

Anyway, I'm getting my plans together for the rest of the garden. I just found out that planting basil and rosemary side by side is bad news, so I think the rosemary side of the garden will be for brassicas, since I recently learned that rosemary and basil hate each other and battle it out underground, as do their counterparts. For those unaware, rosemary is a good compliment to things like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. Rosemary and the brassicas should be kept away from tomatoes, peppers, basil, oregano and carrots, apparently. Oregano is also supposedly good for cukes. As far as eye-candy to help yr dirt candy, the 3 big reccs are geraniums, marigolds and borage (new to me this year, but I'll sniff some out).

Any gardening tips out there in the blog world? I've had a heck of a time keeping my brassicas alive, hopefully this year with the division they'll at least get a fighting chance to battle it out with the evil squirrels (seriously, I've had squirrels eating my cucumber stalks before they even reach a decent size through like, 3 attempts last year. I don't want to sprout my seeds only to see them become very expensive sprout feed for squirrels.

Gosh, there I go again. Just trying to resist Liz Lovely's cookies. Til tomorrow, kids.

*Yes, I know honey is not considered vegan. NC has one of the highest number of indigenous flora of any state in the US. People who never had allergies move here and are debilitated by sinus pressure, snotties, sneezies and so forth. I try to work about 1 tsp of local honey into my daily diet at the beginning of the season and have just had some slight itchy eyes. Plus, I'd totally eat a bee, or a wasp. It is one of my secret desires to get a fig that has eaten a wasp. You can fight me on this, but honey (and, for that matter, insect byproduct in general) is not something I get up in arms about. Obvs, when I find out if things are truly vegan for YOU all (like beer) I get that info to pass along, because we all draw our line in the sand in different places. :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

40 46 Days of Raw: Day 42-23

Oh, some crappy days. Something I ate on Monday really didn't agree with me. I've narrowed it down to the almond butter from Mara Natha (a company I don't really like much to begin with) or the raw crackers =/. Either way, I was in severe intestinal distress for most of Tuesday (and believe me, it's not fun having tummy cramps and having absolutely no appetite when you're a waitress and have to be around food all night). I packed myself another arugula salad w/ strawberry vinaigrette, but ended up just eating a little bit of kimchi, a pickle and some grapes and strawberries that my co-worker Kat (who had mentioned that she thought bringing fruit habitually over candy was a good idea) brought for all of us. Day 42: Bust.

Day 43 was busy, but strangely so. Wednesdays are my double days. I managed to get out of work at the Fed fairly early and head to whole foods Chapel hill to pick up some pineapple and kombucha for a snack. Then, only one of my lessons showed up. The whole day. I finally got back home at about 7, where I worked on LAM! LAM! 2.0 until 8, when we left to play a show at Craig's House in Durham with Just Friends (Ex Fake Accents/Puberty) and So Cow, who were both rad. So Cow are on tour from Ireland and if you dig the Beach Boys, Hefner, or twee pop in general, you should check their schedule and see if they'll be near you. It'd be, as they say, "grand." We got home from the show at 4am, when I realized I'd consumed all of, oh, about 150 calories and promptly shoved an avocado down my throat. So, two days where I probably coulda eaten a little more.

I won't lie, these extra six days are really starting to wear on me. I placed an order from Veganessentials of shit that is sure to make me sick as a dog on Easter Sunday. I HATE having to choose a vegan online shop. Did anyone else notice that Cosmo's seems to have an exclusive on the reduced fat vegenaise (PS OMFG reduced fat vegenaise!)? While VE has all the Larsen stuff (which makes sense, I suppose). Either way, my list of stuff due to arrive on Day 44 is as follows:
Daiya Shredded Vegan Cheese - Cheddar
Daiya Shredded Vegan Cheese - Italian
Organic Cowgirl Veggie Steaks by Viana
Organic Chickin Fillets by Viana
Seven Grain Crispy "Chicken" Tenders by Gardein
Match Meat Vegan Meat Alternatives - Crab
Vegan Sliced Baked Ham by Pure Vegetarian
Liz Lovely Artisan Cookies - Goats A' Grazin'
Liz Lovely Artisan Cookies - Snicker Dudes
Organic Tofu Elbow Macaroni
Bow Wow Bon Bons Truffles by Rescue Chocolate (SIDEBAR: these profit animals, choose these as yr truffles!)

So I can't wait for this stuff to come! :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

40 46 Days of Raw: Day 41

So, first day of raw extension...I was kind of a heifer. Lunch was guacamole with cauliflower and some raw crackers. I also picked up some almond butter (raw) and some Ezekiel sprouted grain tortillas, which I'm debating eating. Instead, I made chia with almond butter and bananas for a snack, then fixed myself a dinner of an arugula salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, walnuts and avocado with strawberry vinaigrette (my single fav thing to eat with arugula).

Strawberry vinaigrette
1/3 C olive oil
2/3 C strawberries (4-8 fresh strawberries, depending on size)
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp crushed dried mint
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp agave nectar
pinch pepper

Blend until the consistency of salad dressing. Keeps in the fridge for up to a week.

Oh yeah, my pickles came out again and I noshed on them! :)

One other purchase I made, that led to a realization: black cherry juice (the cheapest unpasteurized juice they had), is gross. I think I have to come to terms with the fact that I don't like cherry juice. Something in it makes me gag. So there.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

40 46 Days of Raw: Day 38-40

Man, the past couple of days have been KILLER.

On Friday, I was able to accomplish a *little,* although my Weds and Thurs shenanigans sure didn't help my energy level. First thing in the morning, my dad called asking me how to use the "juicer" and what recipes I could give him for "juicing." When he says "juicer," he means the vitamix. I keep telling him to just kind of experiment but he wants recipes (from books) so I'm just making stuff up to give him. Sometimes they're mediocre, sometimes better. Day 38 was a decent smoothie, but I wouldn't go out of the way to call it mind-blowing or anything. Good nutritional value, if nothing else!

So here's my Day 38 smoothie:
1/2 C almond milk
1/2 C water
1 banana
1/4 head cabbage
1 vine ripe tomato
1/2 c mixed berries
(you can add 1 tbsp maca powder)

I also polished off my cookies before heading to work. For a work snack, I packed a handful of almonds and a handful of cashews. When I arrived, I found a pleasant surprise: fresh fruit! Where I work, the security guy/backwait, Jim, often brings in candy for the waitstaff. Sometimes it is movie candy like whoppers, mike and ikes, dots, skittles and reeses pieces, sometimes it's fancy fare like chocolate dipped pretzels, truffles, jordan almonds etc. This week, he said he checked the schedule and saw I was working and brought in strawberries, blackberries and green grapes. Another server on shift mentioned that it would be great if we did it every week, so we were having healthy snacks instead of scarfing down 800 empty calories every night. Time will tell!

It was a rough night at the bar. A popular local fellow got married and the bar filled to the brim with people who had already had quite a few drinks. This resulted in two bar fights, several spilled and dropped drinks and a lot of running around and headache. It was sort of exhausting.

When I came home I ate my snack as well as some chia, knowing I'd have a rough day Saturday, and oh, how Saturday delivered.

Day 39:
9:15 am I arrive at the studio to wait on my lessons. I taught from 9:45 until 11, then had a break in which I scooted to buy some sheet music for my 12:30 student, as well as pick up a snack at Trader Joe's of a Cherry Pie Larabar and some pineapple slices. I spied a new "healthy" fast food place called Evos that I may or may not try. Their menu looks kind of meh.

Of course, my 12:30 didn't show up, so I waited around until 1:30 for my next lessons, then finally got out at 3:15, headed back to Durham and quickly assembled some pickles (ready on Monday) and chopped up half a cabbage, a tomato, an avocado, a cucumber and poured vinaigrette over it. Unfortunately, by the time I finished chopping, I had to be at work, so into the tupperware it went.

I scarfed it down in fits through the night, which was also ridiculously busy, then finally got to go home and immediately spooned some chia goodness into a bowl with almond milk and a banana. By 2:15 am I was losing consciousness. That's what 14 hours of work will do though!

Day 40:
Well, when I started this, I thought today was Easter and I'd be enjoying some delicious bagels and rye bread and maybe a veggie burger or some hummus. Oh, so I was wrong.

Taught this morning...but was late. I was totally knackered from last night. I had to drive to Raleigh, so I stopped in at Earth Fare on my way back. Earth fare, my beloved. I picked up some Raw Crackers from the Raw Bakery. They are exactly what I remember raw crackers being like...sort of the analogue of Road's End Mac and Chreese. They have most of the attributes I miss in crackers...crunchiness, saltiness...but then weird things I don't want or need (like a sort of fatty oily flavor, a crumbliness from being made of seeds). I am still grateful for their existence and will eat them with guac as soon as I can get to it. I also put away another one of those Raw Organic bars for some energy while I prepped myself a raw sushi salad...I'm working out a dressing recipe which I'll share as soon as it's good enough *to* share. It was tasty but a little salty and definitely too thick to be a dressing.

Friday, March 26, 2010

40 46 Days of Raw: Day 37

So I retried almond milk now that I got a nut milk bag and I can say with authority: NEVER MAKE ALMOND MILK WITHOUT A MILK BAG. It's ridiculous. Wonderful.

Not wanting to waste almond meal, I pulled together a quick recipe for raw cookies.

Raw Thumbprint Dough Cookies
~1 cup (the leftover from making almond milk) almond meal (still wet is ok!)
1 tsp maca powder
1 tsp raw cacao nibs
1 banana, mashed
1/2 tsp psyllium husk
1/2 c mulberries
8-10 raspberries
agave nectar/maple syrup/honey

Mash almond meal with banana, maca, and psillium. Add cacao nibs and mulberries, mix well, then form into balls. Press into small discs, place a dot of syrup on top to hold a raspberry in place (a little syrup on top too if you like) then enjoy! :)

I also made some chia gel with coconut water instead of regular water to make a sort of chia "jello." For lunch, I polished off the rest of my Go Raw granola with some almond milk and some white Chia. Obviously, I got a few fun things in the mail yesterday, one of which was chia. Chia is a south american seed, a big component in "chia goodness" and has a light, nutty flavor on its own and a tapioca-like consistency. I've been eating the Chia Goodness cereal, but also dropping chia seeds into other food. Aside from being very filling, it also has lots of soluble fiber, water (from the absorption) and beneficial fats. I also got some psyllium husk powder which I'm going to try and get into my body to promote that soluble fiber stuff. Lastly, I ordered some maca powder and cacao nibs.

Me and Mississippi played tennis on what was a beautiful day (intermittent winds, 78 degrees, sunny). Then I came home and planted some raspberry bushes. For dinner, I made raw spaghetti with sauce. I processed some sun dried tomatoes and walnuts into the sauce, but for some reason really wasn't feeling it, so I mixed up an alfalfa sprout, tomato and avocado salad with some balsamic vinaigrette and ate that.

I went to see Free Electric State and Veelee at Tir Na Nog in Raleigh. I have not seen either band since last year, and while both were good, I was straight blown away by Veelee's somewhat anthropological approach to music. From Ginger's drumming paraphernalia (maracas, noisemakers etc) to Matt's almost digeridoo pedaltones, to the wordless vocalizing that permeates so many of their songs. I can't really describe the music except that it is turquoise and entrancing.

Listened to some of our new tracks on the way home, discussed the new Ted Leo and Titus Andronicus. Ate a grapefruit, passed out. A good day.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

40 46 Days of Raw: Day 36 was an interesting day. As you all probably know, Wednesday is sort of my personal "hell day," in that I work 11 til about 3 at the Fed, then go directly to my first of seven lessons at the studio, then drive direct from Chapel Hill back to the dirty D for some pubquiz, my respite and joy for the day.

Restaurant job was good (and I made some decent scratch) but failed to pack any food besides a banana and was worried that I was going to have to wait until 8 to sneak into whole foods and grab something or worse, order a salad for dinner...but I had a cancellation and was saved. At whole foods, I picked up some kombucha, fruit salad, kimchi and a Raw Organic Food bar...the fiber one. Apparently, the chocolatey ones are only 80% raw (then why do you call yourself raw, food bar?), and the only one that is seemingly totally raw is this "generic" fiber food bar. It tastes like every power bar I've ever eaten in my entire life and that is to say: edible, but sort of disgusting. Kind of what I imagine soylent green would taste like. After I opened up the kimchi, someone made a comment that it "smelled like cabbage" in the studio, at which I giggled since I'm totally becoming creepy smelly food person as a raw foodie, more so than I ever was as a regular vegan...and as a regular vegan I was creeped out by most smelly foods that did not involve garlic (yes, that includes peanut butter, yes, peanut butter kind of creeps me out).

I ran home, packed some of my homebrew kimchi up for my friend Mississippi Steve and skeedaddled over to pubquiz. He and my buddy Rusty both enjoyed it, so again, kudos, Yummy Vegan Dinners, for posting an idiot proof recipe. While Steve and Rust ate the kimchi, our team totally ate it at pubquiz. We headed over to Whiskey for our friend Jay from Red Collar's birthday. One bar turned into another when we popped back to the fed for a very late dinner and lo and behold, there was John Edwards. Yes, the senator who cheated on his cancer ridden wife with like, everyone PLUS a documentary film maker. He was chatting up two age-inappropriate girls who left in a hurry and about 40 seconds later, he was out the door. Beth commented that it was weird that nobody had bothered him and we all decided that it was likely because nobody who drinks at the fed actually gives a shit about John Edwards. Although I will say that he looked rather thin and pretty dapper. Sort of like one of those aging 80s icons (there's one in particular in my mind but I can't think of him, so I'm just going to give you Don Johnson, who is a fine approximation).

And suddenly we were on our way to Teasers.

For those of you unfamiliar with Durham, Teasers is the "nice" stripclub in Durham. We've also got the slightly less-nice Diamond Girls, then the out and out sketchy Quality Bathhouse and Cabaret Royale. Don't mistake these for the whorehouses (Tomcats and whatever the hell that place is on Rigsbee). For those of you unfamiliar with me, check my goodreads. Sex work (and stripping in particular) is a pet passion of mine as a regretfully not-women's studies major in college. I think my life might've been different if I spent about 60 hours a week in college talking about gender instead of just the 20 I spent working at the Women's Center. Man, I worked at a women's center in college, I *am* a cliche.

It was a pretty hilarious evening, given that Rust was our strip club ambassador, helping us see how to tip correctly, what you can buy with a dollar etc. A lot of funny things were said and done. A few highlights:

Goth-y dancer: Come on man you're gonna get me in trouble.
Jay: How do you know I'm not a high roller?
Rust: The HIGH ROLLER in a denim jacket!
(everyone laughs)
Rust: He likes to play it down.

Jay (re John Edwards): Motherfucking white wine.
(ed note: Jay took serious issue with John Edwards' decision to drink white wine as opposed to beer, liquor or red wine. This was said about 16 times over the course of the night.)

Otty: Jay, we've never shared music, but we shared many nipples tonight.

Justine, the very nice stripper: Never bite a nipple in motion.

Creepy Strip Club Regular waiting outside after the club is closed: Y'all take your demented selves out of here. My dick is hard, now move on.

After all that, I came home, fixed myself some chia goodness with raspberries and attempted to make guac using a storebought salsa called fresh cuts, which was VILE and caused me to waste an avocado, I fell asleep. Thanks for joining the adventures.

Oh and I decided to go to 9pm Holy Saturday. :) So it'll be 46 days of Raw from now on.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

40 Days of Raw: Day 34/Day 35

So, not a lot of "news" going on. It's finally officially spring. My bulbs are coming up (see the paperwhite and hyacinth) and so I hit home depot to get myself some new garden stakes, a huge shovel and scoped the veggies for this year. I'm hoping to plant some berry bushes (Anyone have any advice?) as well as tomatoes, cukes, zuccs, and leafies (I've had shit luck with all roughage that aren't herbs) as well as the possibility of an apple or pear tree, and some impatiens.

Eating-wise, it was a pretty bland day. I spent the morning in the recording studio, so had a banana and some kombucha, then hit the grocery store, where I picked up some stuff and ended up punking out and just making broc and guac. Later that evening, I mixed up some chia goodness and tossed some raspberries in with it. I also cut up a mango and it was divine!

Day 35:
Today, I busted out my spiralizer and made some yellow squash pasta. For the haters, I took a picture of the amount of waste. Given the amount of pasta I got (about 3 cups) from one squash, I don't think the waste was excessive. I made a raw tomato sauce of:

2 roma tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1/8 red onion
1 tbsp "italian spices" (basil, oregano, thyme, parsley)
salt to taste'

I realized after the fact that a lot of recipes call for sun dried tomatoes, but I am not a huge fan of them, so I skipped on them. I thought the sauce turned out pretty good (if a little watery and garlicky). Maybe next time I'll try tossing a sun dried tomato in as well.

Sadly, the mac cheese was kind of vile. I don't know what all those people were talking about. I had my roommate try it too and she said that it "tasted like a nut cheese would taste, I guess." It had the consistency of tofutti but none of the yumminess. So it's in the fridge but will probably transfer to the trash by the end of the week.

I've also snacked on an avocado and am fixing a snack of chia and strawberries for work. I also made a really sweet little bevvy (mashed strawberries, coconut water and some filtered water) while I sat in the sunroom with the pups and watched drag race. I can't wait for it to be smoking hot outside! :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

40 Days of Raw: Day 33

Day 33: This afternoon, I made a snack of Go Raw Granola with Almond Milk and a canteloupe and sat down to watch the new phenomenon, Me and My Dick!

I've included the first number (the entire play is available on youtube, just let it play in sequence), and I have to say, it's pretty hilarious.

I also pulled together some radish and cabbage slaw for dinner (nothing to write home about, though) as well as some chia and strawberries. The Mac Cheese doesn't seem to be fermenting at the rate described, but the whey has the right scent at least. I'll keep you posted. Apparently this recipe has won all kinds of awards and things, but right now it tastes exactly the same as it did when I pulled it out. Wait and see, I guess.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

40 Days of Raw: Day 32

So, an immensely busy day...

Woke up and went to teach. Several lesson cancellations today gave me 40 minutes to hit Whole Foods and grab a salad and some Vitacoco. After work, I went to Bed Bath to get some Cheesecloth so I could strain out my almond milk and get to work on some Mac Cheese from Really Really Raw Food. It's "maturing" right now.

Last night, Pink Flag played at the Local 506 with Pariah Piranha, 8" Betsy (with whom we'll be releasing a 7") and Athens Boys Choir, who was really funny.

Rob from the Dirty Little Heaters let me onto a little secret; Med Deli in Chapel Hill now has free pickles at their condiment bar, so we got a little snack and ate tons of pickles. So, Triangle-ites, be warned, there are pickles, but when I'm in the hood, there will be none!

I also made a chia snack when I came home, then settled into bed before getting up again this AM.

40 Days of Raw: Day 31

Today I got up, hit the studio, ran home, took a shower and then had to go to work. Of course, today was the day we ran a veggie BLT =/. Packed some Go Raw granola (which is pretty decent as a snack, but I would still suggest Chia over it for breakfast), and a pepper. We served seaweed salad tonight, which was tempting but I'm not sure if it's raw or safe so I skipped it. On arrival at home, me and the pups had dinner. They got kibble, I got a perfectly supple and ripe avocado. Hooray.

Sorry for the lame post, I'm exhausted.


Friday, March 19, 2010

40 Days of Raw: Day 29-30

Man, so I realized I screwed up my lent count...apparently 40 days goes to Palm Sunday, not Easter Sunday. Me being an idiot, I've been doing the 47 day count for, well, my whole life. It's either me or my mom for teaching me that it goes through to Easter. Anyway, commenters, your choice. 47 days? Or just 40?

Day 29: A day of discovery.

Ch-ch-ch-chia! Oh man, so I bought this "Chia Goodness" and finally, a sect of vegan food whose product names match their actual contents (Raw Crunch, Chia opposed to Leahey Valley's Vegan and Delicious which should really be questionable and vile). I fixed myself a bowl of this delicious treat with some fresh strawberries, almond milk and agave nectar. I've illustrated several different preparations. I tend to like the 2 TB chia breakfast to 4TB almond milk and 2 TB water, sitting for about 30 minutes to get super gelatinous. It really does taste like cream of wheat!

I also marinated some cabbage and broccoli in balsamic vinaigrette overnight. It made a great salad, but it was a little lousy for snacking in a service job, where I was constantly worried I had broccoli in my teeth :).

Day 30: Boring but delicious
Breakfast of Chia and strawberries
Lunch of an arugula, strawberries, walnuts and vinaigrette. Really pretty and quite tasty too!
Snack of a raw crunch bar.
Dinner of Red pepper and chia with banana, as well as some kombucha.

I have two insanely busy days ahead of me, so it'll probably be another dull combo post, but please readers, weigh in and let me know how to approach this! I've really actually enjoyed being raw now that I've gotten into the swing of things (although I am still fiending for bread!) and am considering doing one 100% raw day per week when I can really focus on the technique and then incorporating at least 1 raw meal per day into my regular diet. Maybe more!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

40 Days of Raw: Days 25-28

Day 25:
Headed into Manhattan for a "day o fun" following our tepid show in the bronx. We hunted for basses for Dork at Southside, Ludlow and First Flight. Thing I never knew: guitar shops that are pretty cool for guitars tend to stock only 8-10 basses at a time. Bleh. Sick got pancakes at Clinton St. Baking Company and said they were quite tasty. I talked Dork into getting the Soul Chicken sandwich at Red Bamboo (Since my last trip, it has haunted me in a way no sandwich has haunted me since the Cajun Seitan at Candle Cafe). She thoroughly enjoyed it. I hit up Quintessence and ordered the chips and dip (and oh, holy joy, having the mouth feel of something resembling a complex carb again was wonderful!) as well as the malai kofta, which I wolfed down directly after the guac and salsa. I also stopped off at One Lucky Duck, Pure food and wine's take out joint. I got a raw lasagna as well as a tira misu and a mallomar.

Here's where it gets itchy. On the drive back, I started to feel sick. Pungently sick to my stomach. At home, the girls ordered in NY pizza and I poked at my lasagna. It was totally unappealing since my stomach felt like it had been stabbed. I ended up eating the desserts (bless my sweet tooth) which were totally delicious. I got sick that night and was not right in the stomach until...well, I'm still working on it. I curled up in my mom's bed and drank water and hoped it would be over soon. I can only assume one of two things happened:

1 - I was allergic to a crucial ingredient in the malai kofta. I am slightly allergic to carrots, but not enough to cause that much distress without eating a whole bag of them.

2 - There was too much oil or something I am no longer used to eating in the meal.

I think 2 is more likely, since the thing I found least appealing about the faux lasagna was the overly generous cashew ricotta. I actually ended up eating just the zucchini, tomato and tomato sauce out of the layers and leaving the rest picked at, then moved onto a salad.

Day 26:
Woke up, still sick to the stomach. Watched Sick and Dork eat NY bagels. My mom packed a whole bunch up, which are now sitting in my freezer along with the whole foods veggie burgers for Easter. Yay bagels! I had a couple of pickles and a banana for breakfast, a banana for lunch, a banana for dinner (bananas are supposed to be binding). I drank kombucha as well, hoping to give my flora a fighting chance. The girls stopped off at Pat's for some cheesesteaks. Last time I was in town, I hit up Giana's for what was probably my first and last vegan cheesesteak.

On the way into Philly, we were stuck for about 2 hours in Camden, NJ because the road looked like the pictures I've added. No, that's not a lake, that's Hwy 30. We got to the Terrordome and played with some amazing bands, like Big Attack, The Teenage Whore Moans (it was unfortunately their last show, but they were GREAT!) and Joe Jack Talcum (dead milkmen omfG!). The show was really cool and we were happy to have a good night. We drove about 4 1/2 hours home before things started getting bad, so we pulled over, slept an hour until I peed in my pants a little then got back on the road. Home in Durham by 9:30am.

Day 27:
Still, sadly, not totally right in the stomach, I reached for another banana in the morning and then slept most of the day away. Finally at around 6, I got up the strength to attempt to put some real food in me. I did asparagus, two ways.

Way 1: Creamy asparagus soup, from Goneraw. I actually was not overly impressed by this recipe. Too much lime and just a somehow.

Way 2: Noochy spars
This worked much better for me. I ran the asparagus under hot tap water (about 115*) for about a minute until they turned a little greener, then diced 'em up fine with some radishes. I poured some homemade balsamic vinaigrette over the top then sprinkled with some homemade parma. Can you say good? It was!

After getting a taste of parma again, I also pulled together some grated zucchini "pasta" with some evoo and parma to try and recreate a favorite comfort food (spinach noodles with margarine and parma. so simple, so tasty). It didn't quite hit the same high as my noochy spars, but it was pretty good.

Day 28:
Today, I was a bum and used more produce my mom gave me. Made a banana, flax seed and agave pudding for bfast, then snacked on an apple, some almonds, a yellow pepper and have some cut up broccoli sitting next to me now that might get bumped until the morning. So, until then...thanks for watching, bloggers. Someone asked me tonight what my first food out of the gate will be when I am done with my 100% raw challenge. Any suggestions? Those bagels in my freezer seem like a pretty good call right now...but even more so, I'm craving some Daiya (to be reviewed very soon...not enough testing completed!)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

40 Days of Raw: Days 21-24

Haikus for the tour days

Day 21:
on the precipice
no groceries, I rely
on the salad bar
(romaine, cabbage, broccoli, beets, peppers, strawberries, cukes)

Day 22:
pretty much the same
as day 21 foodwise
but with raw crunch bar

Day 23:
Yabba pot is whack
except their salad dressing
which I hope was raw
(for all the pontificating the Yabba Pot website does, or used to do, since it appears to be down now, I was shocked that they didn't have a SINGLE raw item on the menu and had to ask for a salad)

Day 24:
Getting by on juice
my mom stocked the fridge for me
oh, produce delight!
(and my dad bought the awesome veggie burgers from Whole Foods Manhasset which is so sad for me :()


By the way, my band, Pink Flag is on tour which means limited time on the internet and also a lot less food. We practiced for our tour with The Shakes and Astronomers at a secret Chapel Hill show, and since, we've been to Wilmington NC and played with Cheap Girls; Arbutus, MD where we played and had a slumber party with the ADORABLE and totally worth checking out Math the Band; and played Bronx NY tonight on a last minute show with Empire, Two O'Clock Courage, The Kezners, Smile Why Not and Soho Violet.

Tomorrow I plan to hit Quintessence and/or Angelica Kitchen and/or Pure Food and wine OR SOMETHING YOU RECOMMEND. I also found out today that I've been cheating a little by drinking Odwalla smoothies, which I realized today are "flash pasteurized"...whoops. However, besides bananas and apples, they're pretty much the best calorie food I can get at rest stops. We're also going bassssss shopping! Yay!

I'll probably wait to update again until I get home from tour on Sunday. Still looking for NYC and Philly recs :)


Monday, March 8, 2010

40 Days of Raw: Day 17-20...halfway! Need recs for tour!

Day 17 - Friday...oh man, I made a gross smoothie. I used the acai juice, thinking it would be good in a smoothie. Boy, was I ever wrong. So, I ended up pretty much wasting a
1 banana, 1/2 c strawberries, more spinach, a carrot, celery, a clementine and a pear to make something I essentially had to choke down. I thought it would be more fruit-punch like. Amazon cherries are no fun at all. :( The rest of the day, I had a snack of avocado and mulberries, which are so cute together!

Day 18 - Saturday. My first Mishap with the vitamix.
I forgot to pack breakfast, so ended up having to wait until 3:30 to get food. The good news? I successfully pulled off a runny ice cream. The bad news, when I tried to pour it into a glass, a HUGE chunk of ice cream came out, tipped the glass and painted my floor, baseboard and a little bit of the cabinetry. The grout is now a resonant blue. I also snacked out on a mango. At Broad Street Cafe in Durham, I ordered a house salad. I have a small bone to pick with like, every restaurant in the world: if you describe your salad as fresh green, garden, "mixed veggies" or even "lettuce, tomato, onion and crutons"...WHERE DOES THE CHEESE COME FROM? I don't understand why you'd put cheese on a salad that is supposedly comprised of veggies, with absolutely no mention of it. I don't like sending food back. I work in a restaurant. You need to tell your customers what's true though!

So I washed the vitamix and used it to chop radishes, carrots and celery, then mixed that slaw with my kimchi to ease the spice a little. It worked and was quite tasty. My dog's ball also fell into the kimchi bowl, which was adorably heartbreaking (she's obsessive) because she'd put it in her mouth, drop it and run, then slink back to it, stare for a while, then try again. It was darling, you have to believe me.

Day 19 - Sunday. Yet ANOTHER Kombucha mishap. I'm starting to think these bottles are structurally unsound. So my entire food intake for the day was a Go Raw bar, some cashews and a grapefruit. I really need to make another batch of pickles. I won't lie, it was a bad day for eating.

Day 20 - A good smoothie! Mix of the following:
1/2 c almonds
1/4 c cashews
handful flax seeds
1/2 c blackberries
1/2 c tomatoes
1 red pear
1 grapefruit
1/2 c spinach
1 c water

So I'm sipping on that. I've found that I'm grazing more now that I've gotten into the groove. I'm packing some cashews, almonds and mulberries from The Raw Choice (I used to get pick up food when they had a lifestyle was SO good. If you're out there, TRC, start doing raw cooking classes and demos again!), as well as some radishes for the later in the shift boredom eating.

Sorry about the delay in posting, by the way, but expect some more delays, since my band is going on TOUR! We are hitting up Wilmington, NC; Baltimore, MD; New York, NY; and Philadelphia, PA. Any suggestions you have for places in those cities (I've heard Yabba Pot in MD is good, and will likely be trying Angelica Kitchen's raw selections unless I'm told otherwise), please let me know!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

40 Days of Raw: Day 15 and 16 a new toy!

So I got up today and packed some fruit, stepped outside for work and lo and behold, my VITAMIX had arrived. I raced through my lessons, so excited about my vitamix. First thing...I cleaned it. Yep, I'm a nerd.

Then I got to business. First things first, sweet sweet almond milk. They recommend filtering with cloth, which I didn't do. The milk is, admittedly, a little grainy, but a little fiber never hurt anybody. I then attempted to make the ice cream recipe using:
1/2 c blueberries
1/2 c bananas and mango
1/4 c strawberries
1/4 c blackberries
1 c almond milk
1/2 c spinach

Let me say, FAIL. However, I did end up with a big fat smoothie dinner, which I quickly downed. Later that night, I also wrapped some avocado in nori for an evening sushi snack, as well as noshing on the avocado spinach dip (which I can't wait to attempt in my vitamix for an even creamier smoother greatness). For the record, Dork tried that spinach dip and said "This is how raw hummus should taste." And I agree. Fuck raw hummus. There, I said it.

This morning, I attempted another green smoothie this time containing:
1 whole grapefruit
1 whole cucumber
1 c almond milk
1/2 c frozen banana and mango
1 handful flax seeds
1/2 c blueberries
5 strawberries

This smoothie was not really as tasty as yesterday's, probably because I used 2 very large, bitter fruits for this drink. I'm going to drag it along to work with me and hope for the best. I'm also planning to pack a raw crunch bar for the fatigue. I'm really looking forward to trying to make ice cream again, as well as some cashew butter!

So, anybody got any great recipes for a new vitamix owner? Man, when raw is over, I'm gonna make some soup! It's gonna be so RAD.

Days 15 and 16: yay getting calories. I've lost about 7 pounds since the start of this experiment (2 weeks ago). It's not that I don't want to drop some weight, but I am worried that it is more starvation method than healthy stuff. I've started doing at home bodyweight exercise to attempt to preserve my muscles. :)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

40 Days of Raw: Day 13 & 14

Guys, I'm not going to lie, day 13 was a doozy. My roommate bought some sourdough bread which tempted me the whole morning. I fixed myself a bowl of ultra spicy kimchi and tried mixing it with the raw hummus I made, which essentially rendered both elements totally unappetizing, so I ended up just swishing it around in my bowl and not eating it. I didn't include a picture because it looks grody. So naturally, when I got to work there was an amazing vegetarian (easily veganized) dish on the specials and I also sold about 15 orders of the hummus plate (which is my staple meal on shift). The scent of hummus and warm pita was kind of overwhelming.

I left work and ran to the Local 506 to catch Pretty and Nice, who stayed over. They were quite enamored with my homemade fermented veggies as well as my darling puppies. Having essentially not eaten all day, I cut up some celery into the kimchi, which helped ease some of the spice. I think next time I'll try cutting radish into it. We stayed up way too late and were planning to try and get up and maybe hit Elmo's diner this morning like we did last time, but work and tour schedule interfered. Alas. Anyway, if you've never heard them, check them out. I believe you can (with some ease) find and download the song Tora Tora Tora, which is pretty rad and the reason I ended up buying their cool, off-kilter pop album.

Day 14: dippy.

Today I set aside about an hour to go to the store, since all I had to eat were pickles, kimchi and that hummus. Of course, I was famished by the time I arrived, wandered the aisles in a stupor and ended up leaving the store with half the ingredients actually required to make pretty much anything worth a damn. Fortunately, I'm crafty. For late lunch I whipped up a Broc and Guac-- avo diluted by peas after I read this scary article on which decries the high fat diets of many raw foodists and blames fatigue and illness on them (I have been tired! I do need energy! This made me feel like I was reading an infomercial.). It was SO delicious.

I hung out with some friends and slowly but surely my blood glucose dropped and dropped to the point that I got a bit of a headache, got giddy and then got a BAD headache. Having not eaten in almost 10 hours, I took my food processor into the basement when I got home and made the creamed spinach dip from while pounding coconut water to try and bring some quick sugar into my blood stream. Can I tell you something? This dip rocks. It ROCKS. It is awesome. When I am no longer raw, I'm gonna buy some rye bread, spread this all over it and refuse to leave the house until it's all gone. Either way, it's still pretty good with cauliflower. :)

Days 13 & 14: Not my best. But stickin to it.