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Aug 29, 2014
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Meatless Mondays

Meatless Monday: Navratan Korma

Monday, August 25th, 2014

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This delicious Mughlai dish gets the name navratan, meaning “nine gems,” from its nine different veggies, fruit and nuts. Potatoes, French beans, carrots, green peas, cauliflower and bell pepper are parboiled to hold their texture and  crunchy cashews fried for a deep nutty flavor. But this dish really starts to sing when you toast the spices, perfuming your kitchen with heavenly aromas of garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, red chile powder and garam masala. The whole dish comes together with a few tablespoons of rich cream and sweet, plump raisins. Serve with warm naan or basmati rice for a hearty, veg-filled Meatless Monday. Get the recipe here, and learn more about curries here.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: Cucumber Avocado Soup

Monday, August 18th, 2014

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On warm summer days, we’re just not up to making elaborate dishes. We need simple, refreshing flavors with little to no cooking involved. This Cucumber Avocado Soup is dual purpose: it fulfills our no-cook, Meatless Monday mandate, and it tackles up the overabundance of cucumbers currently swarming all over our gardens.

All you need is a cucumber, an avocado, some fresh mint, green onion and a jalapeno for kick. Blend it together with buttermilk and ice cold water until you achieve the perfect consistency and chill. At dinnertime, just pour it into a bowl, grab a spoon and kick back and relax. Get the recipe here.

-photo by Laura Miller

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Udon Noodles at Bobo Noodle House

Monday, August 11th, 2014

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The vegetarian entrees may be few at Bobo Noodle House, but we could easily see ourselves slurping down a bowl of Vegetarian Udon every Meatless Monday. Handfuls of crunchy shredded carrots, edamame, bell peppers, onions and greens are seared in a wok before taking a tumble in a bed of springy udon noodles. The vegetables hold their crunch against the toothsome noodles, and the smoky seared flavor pops against the thick, savory sauce.

The hearty bowl can easily satisfy one hungry vegetarian, but we made it a meal for two, adding a starter and a side. The Vegetarian Pot Stickers hold a spoonful of bright spinach, crunchy cabbage, crisp carrots and tofu, all sealed in a pan-fried wonton. Dip them in a sesame soy sauce and try your best to share. A cool, refreshing side of Spicy Cucumber Salad rounds out the meal; long, thin strands of shredded cucumber hold their distinct crunch in a chili sauce that caught us by surprise between bites.

We finished our meal – though we barely had room for one more bite – with Bobo’s sesame ball, a table tennis ball-sized orb studded with sesame seeds and filled with thick red bean paste. This savory pop-able is complimentary with each entree.

-photo by Michelle Volanksy

Meatless Monday: Daikon, Apple and Edamame Slaw

Monday, August 4th, 2014

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We can only take so much dressing-soaked cabbage at our picnics and barbecues. Shake up your dinner with a cool, refreshing summertime twist on slaw. Inspired by Diane Morgan’s recipe for daikon and apple slaw in Roots: The Definitive Compendium with more than 225 Recipes, we went a step further, turning her creative dish into a spicy meatless main event. We love this crunchy, flavorful slaw atop pulled pork, but make an extra big batch and scoop in into cereal bowls for a light, refreshing vegetarian meal tonight — no cooking required. Get the recipe for Daikon, Apple and Edamame Slaw here.

-photo by Greg Rannells

Meatless Monday: Smoked Portobello Sandwich at Sugarfire Smoke House

Monday, July 28th, 2014

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Frequenting a barbecue joint and attempting to eat meatless can seem like an exercise in futility. But if there’s ever a time to start murmuring your vegetarian hosannas, it’s while tucking in to the smoked portobello sandwich at Sugarfire Smoke House. The lone meatless entree on the menu, the sandwich at first feels a little like a sheepish afterthought, something the kitchen came up after realizing how much meat it puts in everything. But take a bite and be changed.

It’s not far off the mark to call this a spiffed-up fungiform Big Mac; according to head pitmaster Casey Jovick, that’s more or less what Sugarfire is reaching for. Two balsamic-marinated, smoked portobello are layered between a double-decker bun fresh from Fazio’s Bakery on The Hill. Huge marinated onions, shredded lettuce and sliced pickles are stuffed in between, and slices of American cheese laid over the mushrooms melt and mingle with the house-made “special sauce,” Sugarfire’s knockout take on Thousand Island dressing.

A squirt of any of the house’s menu of bottled sauces would be worth your while, but the coffee barbecue sauce is your best bet. It complements the sandwich’s sharp, vinegary tones with the sweet, earthy notes of coffee. The whole affair is a hot mess – bread, mushroom and fixings toppling everywhere – but catch it all in your tray, wipe your fingers with a paper towel, and scoop up the remnants with a fork.

With a bit of luck, you’ll find crazy corn on the menu, one of several daily rotating side options displayed on butcher paper. The side usually makes a weekly appearance and slings together corn, Sugarfire’s house rub, five cheeses, green chiles, masa and other ingredients (sometimes sausage; vegetarians, keep a watchful eye out) for a piquant, Southwestern-style side. You never knew the meat-free masses could be so at home in the land of barbecue.

 

 

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Tuna Salad

Monday, July 21st, 2014

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Like so many culinary “aha” moments, the idea for the base of this recipe came to me during what I like to call a “college kitchen” day. I needed something for lunch but hadn’t gone grocery shopping in more than a week. My ingredient options were either in can form or sitting in the freezer in unmarked plastic bags (with an ominous layer of ice, I might add).

I opted out of rediscovering the frozen tundra of past cooking adventures and stood in the pantry, staring at the shelves, willing something to jump into my hands and reveal a brilliant plan. After several scans, I settled on a can of garbanzo beans, thinking I’d whip up some hummus. Then I remembered our food processor went kaput earlier that week. Drat.

Undeterred, I decided it was nothing my good ol’ potato masher couldn’t handle, so I set to work draining the beans and adding some salt, pepper, garlic powder and olive oil to get things going. About halfway through the mashing process, I realized I had the beginning of tuna salad.

Find out how Beth Styles went from half-smashed beans to a spot-on vegetarian version of this picnic staple here, and get the recipe here.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

 

Meatless Monday: Seitan Gyro at Frida’s Deli

Monday, July 14th, 2014

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Since I went vegetarian seven years ago, I’ve been on the hunt for an authentic-tasting, satisfying meat-free gyro. I grew up eating my grandmother’s Greek food, but my picky childhood palate limited me to french fries, chicken fingers and pasta Alfredo. I only became adventurous enough to try a traditional gyro – sliced meat, tomatoes and onions slathered in thick, tangy tzatziki – just one year before I chose to eschew meat altogether. Now that I’m vegan to boot, finding a delicious substitute is harder still, but Frida’s Deli helped me take one step closer to veggie gyro nirvana.

Frida’s vegan seitan gyro comes in a warmed pita (not oiled and grilled like many traditional sandwiches – it’s a health-conscious restaurant after all) with plenty of crunchy lettuce, tomatoes and red onions. A hefty handful of shredded, chicken-style seitan serves as the gyro “meat,” dotted with flavorful dried oregano and other herbs. Everything is tossed in a light “tzatziki” sauce, which is tough to get right without thick Greek yogurt. Since Frida’s vegan tzatziki is a little on the thin side, I recommend slathering your pita with the side of hummus, adding moisture and an extra hit of flavor for a satisfying vegan meal.

Meatless Monday: Summer Lasagna

Monday, July 7th, 2014

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Lasagna has something for everyone. Cheese. Starch. More cheese. But vegetarian lasagna? Well that’s usually just Mom’s recipe without the meat. Bo-ring. (Nothing against your mom. She’s lovely.) Since it’s too hot to turn on the oven and my farmers market produce overfloweth, it’s time to find a new twist on this old favorite.

Ready for a vegetarian lasagna that doesn’t require gallons of tomato sauce or even pasta? Click here for the recipe and click here to read more about how a friend’s love affair with polenta inspired Kellie Hynes to create this vibrant vegetarian dish.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: Joanie’s Pizzeria’s Favorite Veggie

Monday, June 30th, 2014

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A veggie pizza might sound like a humdrum solution for a Meatless Monday, but not when it’s Joanie’s Pizzeria’s Favorite Veggie. This specialty pie from the Soulard pizza joint bursts with the bright flavors of colorful, fresh produce. Summer squash, spinach, mushrooms, yellow onions and roasted garlic all claim space on this pie, and a light tomato sauce walks a balanced line between acid and sugar. Watery vegetables like spinach can easily turn a thin crust into goo, but not here. Ours was toothsome from edge to center, and it took four Sauce staffers less than five minutes to devour all 16 inches of it. Next time, we’re ordering two.

 

 

Meatless Monday: Vegan Jackfruit Carnitas

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

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Barbecue season is upon us, which means meat, meat and more meat … and leaves poor vegetarians and vegans to make a meal with some sorry sides. Fear not; it’s jackfruit to the rescue.

Looking at a fresh jackfruit, you wouldn’t expect it to inspire anything. In fact, if one snuck into your house, you’d probably whack it with a baseball bat. A fresh jackfruit is humongous, oblong and yellowish green. Like an 80-pound alien booger with tumors. But the inside, ah, the inside of this gentle giant is interesting. Crack open a jackfruit and you’ll find pale yellow, fibrous flesh that vaguely resembles a pineapple. With tumors – er, seeds. OK, the jackfruit is not going to win any beauty prizes, but those fibers and seeds are where the magic happens. They soak up the flavors of the sauce you cook them in. And, yes, when you tear it up, braised jackfruit has the exact look and mouth feel of pulled pork.

Read more about the weird, wonderful powers of jackfruit here, and get the recipe for Vegan Jackfruit Carnitas here.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

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