Launching Your Thanksgiving Feast

With Thanksgiving one week away, there is still plenty of time to deliberate over the menu.  One thing is for sure, though, and that is that I’ll be serving soup as a warming and tantalizing opener at our Autumnal Feast.

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Landing on Latin American/ Vegan in Park Slope

Welcome to Java Nooryani, vegan enthusiast in Brooklyn. Java moved to NYC from LA to study literature at NYU. After being a vegetarian for 10 years, she shifted to adopt veganism. She shops NYC farmers’ markets for the freshest local ingredients and celebrates the many veg-friendly offerings in her new borough. Like many Kosher Like Me followers, Java is on the lookout for veg based dishes wherever she goes.

Here’s Java’s take on The V-Spot in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Park Slope is considered one of Brooklyn’s best residential neighborhoods to live in but it’s also just a great place to dine out. Its bustling 5th Ave block, just south of the Atlantic-Barclays Center and terminal, offers diners a large variety of eating options. Amidst this non-residential/business heavy block, I discovered The V-Spot—an all vegan Latin American restaurant. V-Spot provides healthy and animal-friendly alternatives to many dishes that traditionally contain meat and diary.

My roommate K and I went into V-Spot Thursday night for an early dinner. The vibe inside was friendly and relaxed; the staff was accommodating and attentive and the ambience was casual and cozy. K has a few food allergies and was happy to be in a restaurant with helpful servers and gluten-free options. Scanning the menu, we were excited to find so many items that catered not only to our respective diets but also our individual tastes.

Having grown up in Los Angeles, I have a taste for fresh Latin food—specifically vegetarian burritos—so I was eager to see if V-Spot’s burrito would meet my veggie Angeleno standards.

Short answer: it did.

Before totally devouring my burrito, I also enjoyed some of the kale tostadas and tofu scramble empanadas. The tostadas were light and crunchy, with fresh kale, ripe avocados, black beans, and just a touch of salsa and vegan parmesan (Daiya brand cheese).

The empanadas were a heartier affair, filled with scrambled tofu, assorted veggies, tempeh bacon, and Daiya cheddar cheese. Everything inside the empanadas were seasoned well and evenly cooked but the best part of the dish was the flour pastry itself. Golden brown and striking a flaky-soft balance, V-Spot’s empanadas are deliciously filling without being too heavy or greasy.

But the V-Spot burrito was definitely my favorite dish of the night. I love a basic burrito and V-Spot offered that and a little bit more. The burrito was filled with black beans, brown rice, fresh guacamole & salsa, vegan sour cream, and something I had never eaten before: vegan carne molida.

Although I’m not a huge fan of mock meat, I decided to try V-Spot’s homemade seiten ground beef. I was happy that I didn’t take the option to substitute it out; it was a softly-chewy and salty surprise! The burrito was reminiscent of the non-vegan burritos of my Southern California childhood but without the heaviness.

My favorite ingredients in the burrito were the brown rice and black beans, which K also ordered as a side. It may sound simple, but good rice and beans goes a long way with Latin food lovers like me. With a savory aroma of spices and herbs, V-Spot’s version of the Latin staple is sure to win you over too.

Caribbean Brown Rice

2 generous servings

Caribbean Brown Rice

Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup chopped red pepers
  • ½ cup chopped green peppers
  • ½ cup chopped red onions
  • ¼ cup chopped carrots
  • ¼ cup green peas
  • ¾ cup of corn
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ¼ cup of cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 t of store-bought sofrito*
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In one pot, combine tomato paste, cumin, paprika, corn, carrots, and peas with 4 cups of water and boil at low to medium heat
  2. In large saucepan on medium heat, sauté peppers, garlic, and onions in canola oil, with salt and pepper until onions are soft.
  3. Add the rice and sofrito to the sauted vegetables and stir for about 5 minutes
  4. Combine everything in one pot, add cilantro, and cook till all water is absorbed
  5. Turn stove off and keep lid on pot for about 15 minutes to let everything meld together before serving

Notes

*Sofrito is at the heart of many Latin dishes. It is super easy to make and I haven't found a kosher product yet. Try this easy recipe:

Seed 1 each green and red pepper and pulse to chop with 1 tomato, 1 onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1 c. cilantro leaves and 1/2 c. flat leaf parsley. Adjust flavors to your liking.

Rice recipe courtesy of V-Spot, Brooklyn

http://kosherlikeme.com/on-the-road/landing-on-latin-american-vegan-in-park-slope

Dining after Sunset in Orange County, CA.


Sunset along Orange County’s coastline is an event worth celebrating. After the sun dips below the horizon, casting its glorious technicolored drama on the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean, you’ll start looking for places to eat dinner.  Check out some of these veg  friendly spots for your evening meal between Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, CA.

Highlights for your apres- sunset meal range from vegan to veg friendly. I avoided the fish themed places, as I was already teetering on the brink of OD’ing on my daily dose of fish tacos.

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Celebrating Autumn’s Bounty

It’s time to exhale deeply as we approach the joyful holiday of Sukkot. We are in the homestretch of the fall holiday series and the tenor has shifted to lighthearted celebration.

Sukkot  punctuates the final harvest of the agricultural season with eight days and nights of celebration and shared meals with family and friends.

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Impossible to Resist Honey Cake

 

photo courtesy of RED BEE HONEY

I tried to avoid this. Really, I did.

I wracked my brain, rustled through my ever expanding kosher cookbook collection and finally through up my hands and yielded to Melissa Roberts, my go-to recipe writer, for a traditional Rosh Hashanah recipe with a twist.

Like you, I was thinking, aren’t there enough honey cake recipes out there, already?

Maybe so, but I’m feeling sentimental about honey cake and here’s why.

I clearly remember the first time I fell for it.  D. brought S. home from Boston to share Rosh Hashanah with us. I could see that their love was deep and for real.
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Radical Roots and Chef Cassandra Purdy

Some days I’m pressed for time and speed shop through my farmers’ market, stopping only long enough to grab the goods and move on.  On more leisurely days, I meander from farmer to chef, getting the juice on what’s growing and cooking. Continue reading

Hamantaschen: Delicious No Matter How You Spell It

Hamantaschen are delectable, triangular filled cookies eaten on the holiday of Purim.

While some think that these tasty folded treats resemble little hats, they are referred to as Oznei Haman in Hebrew and Orecchie d’Aman in Italian, in both cases meaning Haman’s EARS, not hats! Continue reading

Blossom Keeps Me Coming Back For More

Naysayers may ask, “If it is vegan, what is there to eat, really?!” 
Think vegan is bland and limited in choices?  Think again.
Blossom has been on the  NYC restaurant scene since 2005. I have trouble imagining the dining landscape without it.  There are a number of great (yes, I said it) vegan restaurants in NYC and I count Blossom as one of them.

As one who avoids all animal products that are not kosher, I relish having an entire menu to choose from. Yup. It is like a celebration and I get a little giddy when the entire menu is fair game for me. No need to ask tons of prying questions here. Continue reading

Poached Pears The Easy Way

Here is a reliably tasty recipe for luscious and elegant poached pears.
This recipe came to me via my friend Elise, blogger at Much Ado About Stuffing.
 She is a fearless kosher cook with an endless array of great recipes up her sleeve.
I love this recipe because it is not hugely decadent but it’s still packed with flavor. It is super flexible, especially when it comes to adding a topping after the pears come out of the oven. Continue reading