This recipe is one of those vegan recipes you can put in front of any carnivore with no need to specify. Not because it tastes like meat, but because it is gosh darn delicious!
A vegetarian friend told us about Vegucated, a documentary that made him turn vegan. We put off watching the documentary, knowing that it would motivate us to make the switch, too. After we finally watched it, Jon and I looked at each other and said, “We have to, right?” I won’t go into detail, but I will tell you that if you are an animal lover, then even cheese is not really that cool. Animal cruelty aside, don’t even talk about global warming if you eat meat. The amount of energy it takes to make meat, from the water and petroleum based fertilizers to grow the animal feed through processing the final “product” is astounding. Why can’t we just live in ignorant bliss?
So now we are vegans! (That was a sarcastic exclamation point.) Well we are vegan-ish; we are not perfect. It’s been difficult to retrain our brains but we are surviving and Jon is really a vegan whiz chef. The idea to make these Baja Style Oyster Mushroom Tacos just popped into his head. As a tough fish taco critic, I think these are a lot better than fish tacos. And that isn’t the vegan talking.
Baja Style Oyster Mushroom Tacos
• Make a beer batter with some flour and beer, salt and pepper. The batter should be the consistency of thick pancake batter and not too watery. Coat oyster mushrooms in the batter and deep fry in vegetable oil. Season with salt and pepper.
• Top with chipotle mayo, which can be easily made by mixing some mayonaise or veganaise with canned chipotle peppers or chipotle sauce in adobo.
• Top with corn salsa, made with chopped red onions, red peppers, corn, tomato, cilantro and lime.
• Top with fresh shredded red cabbage.
• Serve on your choice of corn or flour tortilla.
WEDNESDAY 5/8 * Let’s Build A Garden For Greenpoint @ Diamond Bar (43 Franklin St) 7-10pm, FREE, Join the 61 Franklin St Garden for a fundraiser to build a community garden, bring donations - including tools, 20% of the bar sales donated, RSVP ♫ YVLTRS / Black Salad / Del Guapo @ Big Snow (89 Varet St) 8pm, $7, RSVP
* Brooklyn Brewery Night @ Barcade (388 Union Ave) Starting at 4pm, Celebrate Brooklyn Brewery’s 25th Birthday with a very special tap lineup, RSVP ♦ Q and Y: A Brief Comedy About Death@ Silent Barn (603 Bushwick Ave) 8pm, $8, Play written and directed by Theresa Buchheister, after/during the show you can drink, get haircuts, buy records, look at art, hang out in the garden, make out in the corner!RSVP ♫ Height / Eze Jackson / Handjob Academy / Zebra Baby @ Death by Audio (49 S.2nd St) 8pm, $7, More Info
♦ Greenpoint Gallery Night @Various Galleries, 6-9pm, FREE, As art fairs bustle away at opposite ends of the East River, over a dozen galleries open their doors, After party 9pm at Coco 66, RSVP, download map HERE ♦ Portals: A Series @ The One Well (165 Greenpoint Ave), 7-10pm, FREE, The One Well & HollyBear present a collection of mixed media works for your viewing pleasure, More Info ☺An Evening of Music & Comedy @ Death by Audio (49 S.2nd St) 8pm, $10, Comedians Chris Gethard & Dave Hill, music by Shellshag / Swearin’ / Black Wine, RSVP ♫ Heaven / Tennis System / Nightmare Air / Dead Leaf Echo @ Union Pool (484 Union) 8pm, $8, RSVP
SATURDAY 5/11 *Greenpoint Earth Day 2013 Festival @ McCarren Park (766 Lorimer St) 11am-5pm, FREE, Recycle your electronic waste, eco-friendly and educational displays, health & wellness tips & demos, arts & crafts, children’s activities, live music, More Info • Vegan Shop Up @ Pine Box Rock Shop (12 Grattan St) Noon-6pm, FREE, Vegan Shop-Up is NYC’s only all vegan pop-up market featuring the best small businesses around, More Info • Public Walk Up Paddling @ Broadway Stages Boatyard (49 Ash St) Noon-4:30pm, FREE, Short Canoe & Kayak paddles in Creek, More Info ♦ 2013 Arts Happening Series: A Guest In The Cavern @ Northside Town Hall (132 Wythe Ave) 6-10pm, FREE, A multi-media installation by Jesse Gelaznik, featuring video art by Rachel Blackwell, Dirty Churches will perform Music for Mirrors, RSVP • 5 Boros Basketball Fundraiser @American Legion 1771 (519 Leonard St) 7-11pm, $30, Great food, Live entertainment and dancing plus raffles! More Info ♫ Twin Sister / Empress Of / RElyse @ Silent Barn (603 Bushwick Ave) 8pm, $10, RSVP ♫ Charlie Nieland / Oh Halo / Hard Plastic Buttons @ Bar Matchless (577 Manhattan Ave) 8pm, $8, RSVP ♥ Collateral Glamage @ Legion (790 Metropolitan) 9-4am, FREE, favorite local bands and dj’s for this monthly all night dance party, rock and roll, cheap drinks! RSVP
SUNDAY 5/12 • Roots 66 @ Coco66 (66 Greenpoint Ave) 4-11pm, DJs Autovac & Subtexture will be spinning Roots, Rockers and Rocksteady, happy hour until 8pm, RSVP • Greenpointers Terrarium Class with Claire @ Diamond Bar (43 Franklin St) 5-7pm, $50, all supplies are provided to make a gorgeous terrarium to take home, plus a Sly Fox beer! Buy Tix ♫Marissa Nadler/Guy Blakeslee/Jozef van Wissem @Saint Vitus (1120 Manhattan Ave) 8pm, $12, RSVP
MONDAY 5/13 •Bad Movie Brooklyn presents They Live @ Berry Park (4 Berry St) 8pm, FREE, a fun, totally kickass John Carpenter flick packed with social commentary that’s just as relevant today as it was in 1988, RSVP ☺Broken Comedy @ Bar Matchless (577 Manhattan Ave) 8:30pm, FREE, Tevor Noah / George Gordon / Danny Kallas / Rob O’Reilly, More Info
TUESDAY 5/14 * Bootleg Cinema – The Great Silence w/live set by Morricone Youth @ Brooklyn Rod & Gun (59 Kent Ave) 8pm, One of the best and most unusual spaghetti Westerns ever made accompanied by a live musical performance, RSVP
* Greenpointers’ Pick ♫ Music ♥ Pheremones likely ♦ Art Event ☺ Comedy Event # Foodie Event
Whether you want to indulge in the nutty delights of the very best amateur vegan bakers in town or you want to show off your advantageous vegan recipe to the world, head to The Bell House on Sunday, February 10 for the first Vegan Bake-Off, presented by the skint. The event is open to 15-20 everyday bakers who’ve got the baked goods to compete for the title of The Bestest, as voted for by judges and attendees. From cookies and mini-cupcakes, to pastries, tarts, brownies, fudges and bars, the Vegan Bake-Off is sure to be a sweet, sweet sugar high.
Tickets $12 advance / $15 day of to eat and vote (includes a free raffle ticket)
Free to compete
Don’t be fooled by the scary vegan word, because food is food and we all love eating. Especially at a restaurant when someone else is doing the cooking. Being a health-conscious vegan eater with a boyfriend who will eat anything, going out and grubbing out is something we DO. I’ve gathered together the best vegan meals in Greenpoint; even though there are definitely more than just five.
1. Paulie Gee’s (60 Greenpoint Ave)
With a separate vegan menu, and one cozy dining space, you are sure to enjoy one of the most delicious pizza joints in all of New York City. Five white pies and a red pie with tons of toppings start at $10 and go up to $18. They even have homemade vegan sausage! I have to say the “Vegan Greenpointer” with the lemon juice is my personal favorite. Lemon on everything!
2. Spritzenhaus (33.33 Nassau Ave)
You can’t miss this giant beer garden featuring tons of beers on tap and a list of German bratwursts. The most unsuspecting thing on the menu is a vegan brat! A specialty locally sourced vegan brat with apple wood sage and a balsamic reduction on a pretzel bun topped with a heavy helping of peppers and onions, this brat will blow your mind, for only $11. In fact, my meat guru boyfriend prefers this vegan brat to some of the more game-y ones. Don’t forget to get a side of the Belgian fries and try the surplus of mustards they offer.
3. Greenpoint Heights (278 Nassau Ave)
The most talked about new hangout in “this side” of Greenpoint, you all know how awesome Greenpoint Heights is. The chill, unpretentious vibes, matched with the incredible food and drinks, this spot is my jam. Elizabeth is one amazing chef, concocting some serious tacos. The vegan options include a sweet plantain taco and a black bean taco. Mango salsa, guacamole, and fried shallots are a few of the yummy toppings. Other favorites include the banging chips & guac as well as the kale salad (without the cheese of course.) Tacos are $4 each but $3 on Thursdays!
4. Café Royal (195 Nassau Ave)
A coffee shop by day, and a gourmet kitchen by night! One vegan special this café features for dinner is the quinoa plate. Quinoa with sautéed tofu, kale, corn, and roasted tomatoes and pine nuts, topped with some pesto. This healthy dish is a hearty helping that includes a side salad and toast for only 11 bucks. It is one of those dishes that is so good (and easy) that when you try to do it yourself, you can’t even come close. Chef Juan is the master of this bad boy.
5. No Name Bar (597 Manhattan Ave)
No name, no website, no press. But, I couldn’t refuse. This hidden spot in the middle of everything is also featuring a secret Thai kitchen with a badass woman chef. The sprawling backyard is where the kitchen is tucked away and it features a couple vegan options. One is the homemade veggie dumpling noodle soup with bok choi for $9. Spruce that baby up with some chili paste, and this big serving of hot soup with scrumptious dumplings is the perfect soup for a cold day.
While shopping at the Farmer’s Market, I cannot resist fresh eggplants! There is nothing better than to simply slice and fry an eggplant and eat it, soggy with olive oil, on a piece of Italian Bread. When I fry it in little chunks, it’s perfect on red sauce with spaghetti.
When I see these little itty bitty purple eggplants, I have a mental freak out. My Japanese friends taught me the simplest and easiest way to prepare them. Continue reading →
Fava beans are the most delicious bean to eat, but the biggest pain in the ass to peel. It is a two step process. First you take them out of the shell, then you have to remove the skin. But it is well worth it for my favorite summer pasta dish. Here is 20 Seconds Fava Pasta, a time lapse video I created to illustrate the process in music video form. Fava beans are only available fresh at the local farmers markets for a limited time so scoop them up before the season is over!
After you have shelled the fava beans, sautee some garlic, onions and bay leaf in olive oil. Add some chopped fresh tomatoes, then the fava beans. Cover with water and simmer until the beans are soft. Boil your spaghetti and combine with the fava sauce. Top with grated cheese and fresh ground pepper. Fresh herbs like oregano or thyme are lovely, too. Enjoy!
Our friend and local shop owner of The One Well, Kerry Jones is hosting and preparing dinner for a new Brooklyn supper club this Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at Ran Tea House (269 Kent Ave). The menu promises to be “decadent yet nutritious” with “high vibrational, living dishes that nourish the body and elevate the mood.” Sexy. Buy tickets here. BYOB.
I love go-to recipes that are as easy as cutting out them of the newspaper. Growing up we always ate NY Times Stew, which was a stew recipe my Grandfather found in the 60s, which is still a weekly Sunday dinner item my Mom makes. Recently I came across this NY Times Southwest Sweet Potato Salad recipe and it’s now in the weekly meal rotation.
Any great recipe can be made with substitutions. It would be too complicated explain why, but we had 50lb of brussels sprouts and carrots that we were inventing ways to eat before they rotted. Instead of using roasted sweet potatoes in this recipe, I substituted roasted brussels sprouts and carrots and it was just as good, if not better! This is a salad that is hearty and you don’t get bored in the middle of eating it. Plus it is so easy to make!
Southwest Carrot & Brussels Sprouts Salad
Roast a bunch of carrots & brussels sprouts (or peeled sweet potatoes) in a pan coated in olive oil, salt and pepper at 425 degrees until tender. Set aside to cool.
Chop a red onion, a red pepper and a bunch of cilantro.
In a blender combine a few jalapeños, 1-2 limes, a few garlic cloves, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
In a big bowl combine the chopped red onions, red peppers, cilantro and roasted brussels sprouts and carrots, along with a can of drained black beans.
I love meat and don’t feel guilty about eating it. I also love my body and the planet and know that too much of a delicious thing is never good, so I focus on the vegetables in my life. When I do cook meat, I know that the outrageously priced meat I can’t afford is raised ethically, sustainably and locally, and because it’s so pricey I don’t prepare it very often.
But when I go out to eat I feel like I have a deep obligation to order meat, rationalizing that I never make it at home. Why would I make a burger when I can get my favorite burger (with truffle fries) from Five Leaves? Or Chicken Fried Steak from Roebling? Or whatever they scribble down at Diner? The problem here is I usually miss out on fantastic vegetable dishes.
It would be nice to know that when I eat meat out (and veggies), they hold up to my own kitchen standards, especially since the prices always do! That is what I like about Clean Plates Brooklyn: A Guide to the Healthiest Tastiest and Most Sustainable Restaurants. It explicitly says “For Vegetarians and Carnivores” on the cover! Eating meat can be healthy and sustainable, even eating meat out, and now I have a decent pocket guide for Brooklyn.
I don’t know about you but I have eaten at some downright gross vegetarian restaurants, where it seems like they are playing food dress-up rather than serving me a wholesome meal. Just because it’s vegetarian doesn’t mean it’s good for you and Clean Plates recognizes this.
In order to pass the rigorous Clean Plates screening process too much soy or fake meat products are disqualifications. They won me over with that. Too much frying also gets penalized, (sad face) as well as too much dairy, veal and foie gras.
Flipping through I was happy to find that some of my favorite restaurants in Brooklyn made the cut: Five Leaves, Eat, Roebling Tea Room, Urban Rustic, Rye, Diner, Egg, Farm on Adderley, Northeast Kingdom, Vinegar Hill House, Buttermilk Channel, Roberta’s, Best Pizza and Prime Meats. I cannot wait to try Beer Table, Momo Sushi Shack, Masten Lake, Al Di La and I am definitely ordering a meatball hero from Best Pizza next time I am all the way over in Williamsburg.
I was disappointed to see that only three of our Greenpoint restaurants made it: Eat, Five Leaves and Manhattan Inn (where I’ve only eaten grilled cheese late night with sloppy cocktails.) This is the first edition, so let’s hope we get a few more in there for 2013! Perhaps even some Polish restaurants will get reviewed.
I appreciate nutritionist/author Jared Koch’s passionate “how-to” approach to healthy eating, with the first 70 pages of his book dedicated to the subject. I learned so many interesting food facts, like lemons actually have an alkalizing effect on your body and vegetable raised without pesticides must develop their own defense systems which benefits our immune systems. I always thought juicing was a bad way to eat a good thing because so much seems lost in the process, but while you lose out on the fiber it’s a really efficient way of getting nutrients into our systems without our teeth and our digestive tracts doing a ton of work. Shame on me for not knowing that although al dente pasta is obviously tastier, it’s healthier because it doesn’t spike your blood sugar level. As far as meat goes, game meat is uber healthy since it eats a varied diet and is less likely to be diseased, while organ meat is the healthiest part of the animal, rather than a steak, which is a muscle. Go liver and hearts!
The second half of the book is dedicated to in-depth reviews from well established food critics (some Brooklyn food critics), all of whom must give each restaurant a thumbs up in order for it to pass the Clean Plates test. Here is where we get the mouthwatering descriptions and a good idea about the vibe of each place. These writers do a good job focusing not only on the taste but the experience, which is such a big part of any good meal, especially a restaurant experience. And while I disagree with the “spotty” service at Five Leaves (they can do no wrong in my eyes) I appreciate how honest and informed about food the reviews are. There is a lot of, “instead of this” it would have been better “like this,” which shows an intense understanding of food preparation and flavor combinations.
Where the reviews are most successful is encouraging me to eat my vegetables. For example, when eat at Egg (which raises money for the Soup Kitchen and the Automotive High School), I only order the heart attack on a plate breakfasts, “a side of bacon with my bacon, please,” but next time I will order the highly recommended “bountiful and tasty” simple salad or the “firm, juicy, flavorful” kale. Clean Plates opens up my eyes to the healthy and delicious vegetable dishes I normally gloss over because I am trying to do my eating meat out justice.
I am glad I have a copy of Clean Plate Brooklyn because when I am in that frustrating “where should we eat?” fog, I can flip through and find something healthy. While a lot of our great Greenpoint establishments aren’t featured, there are many recommended restaurants in Williamsburg and Bushwick, if I want to venture that far! And I suspect by next year, more Greenpoint spots will make the cut.
When I was lucky enough to attend the Paulie Gee Christmas party and have dinner with the man himself, I was able to use the skills I learned in my interviewing class to find out how he made his delicious red pasta sauce. (note: this is not the sauce he uses on his pizza.)
“Oh man! This is so good. How do you make this?”
“Are these San Marzano tomatoes?”
“I can’t tell you.”
“Paulie, Come on. I need to know what kind of tomatoes these are.”
“It’s a secret.”
“You have to tell me!”
(My interview method is called: The Whiny Interrogation.)
As I rolled my eyes and grumbled and complained, he explained the simple recipe. It was the easiest sauce I’ve ever made, and maybe one of the most delicious in its simplicity.
The key here is vidalia onions, the ones that look squashed. They are so sweet and mild you can eat them raw. (Paulie can’t.)
Sautee one chopped vidalia onion with a few cloves of garlic (Paulie doesn’t use garlic, I did.) in olive oil. (I added red chili flakes, too.) Transfer to a bowl. Over that add a generous amount of fresh basil leaves, which steam from the heat and release a lot of flavor. Then add your tomatoes – I used 2 cans of San Marzano whole tomatoes, which I find to be superior to other canned tomatoes found in the grocery store. I used a food mill to crush them and remove the seeds.
Leave the bowl covered on the counter overnight, and depending on whether you want the onion and basil in there, you can put it all through the food mill again before you make your pasta.
What I love about making this sauce is all the other dishes besides pasta I can make with it.
One of the most simple dishes I make is cauliflower stewed in tomato sauce. In a pot, saute garlic and olive oil and red pepper flakes. Add enough sauce to cover the bottom of the pot, then add pieces of cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper. Add some tomato sauce over the cauliflower and some water to the bottom of the pot. Cover and let it steam for 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. At the end, add some grated Parmesan cheese. This can be eaten on its own or, if cooked down a lot, can be used atop pasta.
Another great way to use the sauce is to stew greens with beans. I love white beans with escarole and chick peas with spinach. I like to make this even more oniony, so I saute more onions with garlic and, of course, red pepper flakes. Then I add a can of beans. Once those cook down for a few minutes add your green. Season with salt and pepper. This is one of my accidentally vegan dishes. After I cook it, I say, “and it’s vegan, too!” I’m not vegan, but I have friends who are.
The next day I love to poach an egg in tomato sauce. This is so easy. In a small pot, pour in some sauce and let it heat up a bit. Crack an egg in, season the yolk with salt and pepper and cover. Lower the heat and after 5 minutes you have a warm delicious saucy egg that is great topped with cheese and served with Italian bread. You can poke it to see how runny or firm it is.
And if you do happen to use the food mill to remove the tomato seeds and the onions bits, you can use that to top pizza or bruschetta! There are five ways to use the sauce right there!