Posts Tagged ‘Vegetarian’

Review: Elizabeth’s Gone Raw-some!

July 18, 2011

We’ve had a long haiatus here at Matzo and Rice. To kick off a (hopeful) return to posting glory, we have a guest post from one of my friends. Caroline, a long-time vegetarian, provides her R-awesome review of Elizabeth’s Gone Raw!

Caroline: When I first became a vegetarian almost 23 years ago, vegetarians were lucky if a restaurant had a Garden burger on the menu. Nowadays, not only do many places serve their own veggie burgers, but DC has a high-end restaurant serving raw vegan food. I am not a vegan in daily practice, and I am not interested in the raw food diet craze, but I do love to eat vegan whenever I can. And an upscale vegan dining experience? Where do I sign up?!?  The answer, of course, is Elizabeth’s Gone Raw. (Review, pictures, and the word “hooha” after the bump!)

An example of the delights at EGR. (C) Elizabeth's Gone Raw Website



Easy Gnocchi

January 14, 2011

I think I loved gnocchi the moment I tasted my first little potato pillow. I’d been craving potato dumplings. Back in my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, there was this little restaurant downtown on State Street that sold pelmeni, or Russian dumplings. Some were filled with ground sirloin, and others were filled with potato. Covered with dusting of curry powder and squirts of spicy-sweet Srichara, it was perfect for lunch, dinner, or after a night out at the bars.

But then I moved away to Tucson, Arizona (and sadly, the restaurant eventually closed so when I go home it is no more) and I wasn’t sure where I’d get my fix. Of course I attempted to make pelmeni myself, but I was still growing as a cook then and it turned out pretty disastrous. Before I boiled them the dumplings were about the size of a Superball. Neat little balls of dough filled with mashed potato season and salted. But a few minutes in a boiling water caused them to go supernova. The potato burst out of the dough. The dough quadrupled in size and suddenly I was faced with a pot full of potato bits and doughballs the size of baseballs. I still ate it of course, but needless to say, it wasn’t the same.

Easy gnocchi

This gnocchi is seriously easy to make, especially if you use potato flakes...yes, potato flakes.

Enter Trader Joe’s. Enter gnocchi.

I spotted them in the freezer section (they’ve recently been vacuum-sealed and moved to the past section) and seeing “potato” and “dumpling,” I went in for it. They were pelmeni, but that day another food love affair began. I served them with curry powder and Sriacha. I combined them with kielbasa and vegetables.  Just last night, I cooked them up and served them with a Boursin garlic cheese sauce with grilled portobella mushrooms.

But last night’s dish didn’t involve Trader Joe’s. I’ve gone rogue, you see. I make my own gnocchi now.

In June of 2009 my boyfriend and I went to Rome. On our last night there, my boyfriend’s brother and his girlfriend (who were living in Trastevere at the time) took us for one last great roman meal. We went to the a restaurant in Rome’s Jewish ghetto, a wonderful, dreamy place called Il Giardino Romano where I watched a man peeling crate after crateful of fresh artichokes (we ordered fried artichoke hearts for an appetizer) while we waited for our meal.

I ordered the gnocchi in a fontina sauce, and the first bite I won’t ever forget. Soft. Pillowy. Delicious. Sorry, TJ’s, I love you, but you just don’t compare. Homemade gnocchi, friends, that what I bit into.


Restaurant Review: Rasika

November 6, 2009

Last restaurant week, my husband and I ate a little too much. I know that doesn’t mean much, coming from a food blogger, but it’s true. We went to Capital Grille for lunch exactly 6 hours before going to Rasika. For the most part, our food was delicious, but after Cap Grille’s steak and crab & lobster burger for lunch, we had to take most of our Rasika meal home. On the plus side, I can vouch for it being excellent the next day, naan included!


Delicious texture but a little salty.



August 26, 2009

I’m often amazed at the vast number of foods and dishes I have never ever tried or tasted until recently, and I’ve eaten my fair share of “unusual” foods (bird’s nest soup, jellied eels, thousand year old duck eggs, and haggis). I page through my cooking magazines, and I can almost see the thought bubble appearing over my head that spells out “W-T-F”? But W-T-F in a good way. As in, “O-M-G, I must try this, though first thing first–what the heck is a xuxu, and where can I find it?” Like that. (By the way? Xuxu is the Brazilian name for the chayote, which still makes me ask the question, what is a chayote?)


Tabbouleh: Now with more decorative lettuce!

But this post isn’t about xuxus or chayotes or whatever you want to call them. It’s about tabbouleh.

The first time I had tabbouleh was about three months ago. At a clothes swap party my friend was hosting, including amongst the delicious spread of food was a container of store-bought tabbouleh. “It looks like salsa,” I said, “Middle Eastern salsa.” And yes, that is incredibly reductive, so to be less reductive, more specifically, it is a Levantine Arab salad mad primarily with parsley, mint, tomatoes, onions, and bulgur wheat. It is also an awesome word to say, like “marsupial” or “onomatopoeia.” And it’s also delicious, but I say that pretty much about every single dish I blog about here, because why would I blog about something that was a epic disaster?


Spicy Tofu and Pepper Stir-fry

May 19, 2009

I have to give my boyfriend loads of credit for making me a healthier eater. If not for him, I would probably not think about my calorie content as much. I wouldn’t make as conscientious an effort to eat vegetarian. If it happened, it would probably be by happenstance. For instance, as I write this, I am eating a Chipotle steak burrito bowl. I am tempted to eat the whole thing, but I’m distracted by my Twix bar and a bag of sour cream and onion chips. Granted, I don’t eat like this every day, but I don’t like to deny myself, but I also wasn’t the type to want to expand my cooking repertoire to involve a lot of vegetarian dishes simply because they were vegetarian.

Healthy and quick: thats two wins in my book!

Healthy and quick: that's two wins in my book!

This spicy tofu and pepper dish is a relatively easy stirfry, and it’s a fast one, too. I like my food just a little spicy, but if you really like it spicy, add more Sriracha to taste, but that stuff is hot, so be careful! If you want to temper the hotness, you can also try adding in some red pepper flakes.

I know there’s some sort of general wisdom out there that tofu can be gross or tasteless, but it’s all about prepping the tofu to give it flavor, to provide it the best possible texture. This recipe has both. The marinating gives the tofu a deeper flavor. The slight pan frying firms it up and gives it a nice texture that’s not at all slimy or unappetizing. Top it off with a sauce and vegetables, and it’s good times for everyone. Even for carnivores and omnivores like myself.


Asparagus and Mushroom Tarts

April 30, 2009

In the last week I’ve had what I’ve considered three incidents of cooking failure. On Sunday  night I slow cooked a bit of ham I carved off a larger hock I’d squirreled away in the fridge shortly after Easter since it was still on sale, but it was drier than I would have liked and the honey glaze I used was too sweet. Then Tuesday night, after seeing a recipe for Thai spicy peanut and chicken noodles I thought, YUM! I loosely followed the recipe I found, but what resulted looked better than it tasted. No depth of flavor. Too much peanut butteriness. To compensate for that, I thought, I will go for a tried-and-true standard for lunch: the quiche. Maybe it was a bad idea to use the ham for Sunday in the quiche, but I thought, c’mon, how can I quiche fail? Well…it can. Even my boyfriend said it wasn’t quite up to snuff, and except for about 2 occasions in the last 3 years, he usually gives my meals the thumbs up.

A puff pastry tart with shitake mushrooms, asparagus, cheese, and shredded rotisserie chicken.

A puff pastry tart with shitake mushrooms, asparagus, cheese, and shredded rotisserie chicken.

And, so to bolster my self confidence one more, I thought I’d come back to the blog and post about a recipe that succeeded! I present to you the asparagus and mushroom tart, which I made for a quick dinner on several occasions and then made again for Easter as a sort of appetizer to share.


Portobello Mushroom Sandwich

January 30, 2009

I’m not really one for new years resolutions, but I tend to half-heartedly make a few here and there with the beginning of each year. There are your tried and true ones: lose weight (15lbs, which had been 10lbs before the holidays), read more, write more, exercise more often. I’ve also included in that list, “slow down.” I have a tendency to move fast (to compensate for my lack of height) which often leads me to getting caught on doorknobs, tripping on whatever is on the ground, (or on the ground itself), falling into walls, or running into people who don’t realize that yes, I am going to take that corner that hard and that fast (I’m talking about walking here, though I did recently have a unfortunate run-in with a curb that exploded my tire).

But that’s neither here-nor-there. I have another grand old resolution that many other people have: Eat healthier.

A portobello mushroom sandwich with the works.

A portobello mushroom sandwich with the works.

My boyfriend has been periodically trying to convince me to go vegetarian (not that he is, but since I prepare most of the food, me going vegetarian would mean that he would also go vegetarian), but my food-loving self can’t give up the variety of foods and flavors that does include meat. But eating MORE vegetarian is not only healthy, it’s also cheaper and a lot more environmentally sustainable, something I’ve also been meaning to work toward in this new year.

So what helps is finding really delicious vegetarian recipes that I crave constantly, and for me and the boyfriend, this portbello mushroom sandwich is #1 with a bullet.


Late Summer Tomato Soup

January 13, 2009

I love a good summer soup. I realize, this is a bit mistimed, but a good recipe can’t wait. This Epicurious recipe is best made in season, but push comes to shove, you can do this mostly frozen and off peak. I originally made this at the end of the summer, when La Grande Supermercado had Roma tomatoes for 49 cents per pound. Yes, you read that correctly.  We were eating them like apples.

I’m a notorious substituter, so my notes are below. If you want the real recipe, filled with Romano and fava beans, large tomatoes, parsley, and fresh squid, please visit the original recipe. I only had canned squid, which is a very poor substitution. Frankly, this made an amazing vegetarian soup and would go beautifully with or without fresh squid.


Matzo’s Birthday Brunch Spectacular

January 3, 2009

Rice: A few Sundays ago, Matzo celebrated her 28th birthday in brunchtacular style. A potluck-style brunch, guests brought their dishes to share. I brought a vegetarian quiche and some biscuits and gravy, the remnants of which you can see in the next picture.

Hunger aftermath!

The brunch spread: Hunger aftermath!

Crunchy apples for all!


Okra Potato Curry

November 30, 2008

Okra was always this weird veggie that we didn’t get a lot growing up in Chicago. It’s not like we didn’t get it, we just didn’t use it much. My mom would put it in gumbo, but that’s about it. I always liked it, but thought it was just for certain types of food. I really got into it when I moved south of the Mason-Dixon line.

I adapted the Cookshelf: Indian recipe for Okra Curry for this recipe.  I like my additions better, but the original recipe is a little less intense. My adapted recipe is below.

Potato Okra Curry
1 lb Okra
1 lb Potatoes (I used red)
Hot curry powder, to taste (Original recipe called for 2 curry leaves only)
Sweet curry powder, to taste
Garam masala, to taste
2 medium onions, sliced
3 cayenne peppers (or hot pepper of your choosing), diced
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
2 tbs lemon or lime juice
Fresh cilantro leaves (more…)