Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Review: Asian Fusion

Thanks again to Book Publishing Company for sending me a review copy of "Asian Fusion: A Culinary Odyssey of Vegan Recipes". If you want to win some awesome books during their Live Delicious, Eat Vegan campaign, click here!

The Book: "Asian Fusion: A Culinary Odyssey of Vegan Recipes" by Chat Mingkwan.

What a great idea for a book! I love Asian food, and often, it can be veganized easily. This book covers various parts of Asia, from Burma to Vietnam:

Sri Lanka

The first part of the book explains all the "special ingredients" used, like bean sauce/paste, herbs like galangal and fenugreek, Asian vegetables, and rices. Once again, you really need to have access to an Asian supermarket if you're going to follow these recipes exactly. I did, however, leave some out, as I just didn't have them.

The first recipe I made was the Tomato Salad, which was delicious! Very refreshing on a hot summer day (ok, it's already hot down here where I live) and I actually had all of the ingredients. Here is the recipe, with permission from Book Publishing Company:

Tomato Salad
Chung Sik Faan ke Sa Leut (from China)

3 large, rip tomatoes
3 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion, both green and white parts
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar, more or less to taste
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Slice the tomatoes thinly and arrange them on a serving platter. Refrigerate to chill.

To make the dressing, combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix well. To serve, sprinkle the dressing evenly over the tomatoes.

The next recipe I made was also from China: Fried Rice with Vegetable Fu Yang. I always have cooked brown rice around, so this was a great way to use it.I left out vegetables I didn't have and added others I did have. And it seemed to call for this "vegetarian stir fry sauce" but I just couldn't get myself to buy the stuff at the grocery store. There were just too many ingredients and it just didn't look healthy.  So I added in some extra soy sauce. It was very good though and I'd make it again. Pretty simple dish to make.

And the last recipe I made was the Sweet and Sour Plate from Singapore. I happened to have some leftover pineapple so this worked out great. I cut down on the sugar and added too much Sambal Oelek! It was quite spicy, so I had to serve it over brown rice. S didn't like all the pineapple (but he really doesn't like this kind of "sweet and sour" dish). So maybe next time I'll puree the pineapple first, so you don't get all the extra sweetness in each bite. Again, I added the vegetables I had and omitted the ones I didn't have.

I'm excited to try some of the other recipes in this book. I do see that it does call for a lot of sugar and that "vegetarian stir fry sauce". I'll probably end up omitting the latter and really cutting down on the sugar part. I will have to see what I can get at my Asian supermarket. Not sure they have kaffir lime leaves, fresh curry leaves, abalone and oyster mushrooms, or fresh lemongrass.......

Overall, it's a great book if you want to cook up some good Asian food, vegan style. There are tons of different types of recipes to choose from. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure 90% of the recipes call for sugar. But, you can probably leave it out or replace it with something else. So go on over to Book Publishing Company and order yourself a copy! And don't forget to enter to win some cool free books too :)

......On another note, I still need your help on my upcoming trip. I need as many suggestions (foodwise) as you can give me, either on the places I'm going, or stuff to bring with me, so please check out my trip post and help a girl out!

Eat smart,

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Two cute videos I couldn't resist

Here's a live stream of an eagles nest in New Jersey:

Streaming live video by Ustream

The cutest little bunny video:

ENJOY!! And Happy Easter for those of you that celebrate it.

You can "like" my Facebook page here.
Check out my beer blog here.

Eat smart,

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Two Restaurant Reviews

Last week, we had a concert on the Northshore in Covington, LA. I found a nice little place for us to eat afterwards: Toad Hollow Cafe.  It's right in the center of town and pretty small. They've got just a couple of outdoor tables, but they mostly seat only two and we were four, so we had to sit inside.

They seemed to have some nice vegan options on the menu, including hummus, miso soup, salads, tempeh tacos (w/o sour cream), and a few other items. The full menu is on their website. The tempeh reuben looked good, but I wasn't sure if it was vegan or not (ok, I didn't ask...). I ordered the Asian Salad, which was a pretty basic salad, not particularly Asian at all, outside of the peanuts.  The dressing was good. It was ok. No picture, because my phone took a really fuzzy picture of it (hahaha, it wasn't me, it was the phone!).  S ordered the tempeh tacos:

He liked them a lot.  I thought the tempeh filling was way too salty. But...I really loved the side of black beans and rice! (might just order that next time). I got a bottle of local beer, they had no taps, unfortunately, but it was still good:

And the dessert was to die for! VEGAN CHOCOLATE MOUSSE!! Yup, oh so tasty. I'd go there just for that:

If I were in the area, I'd go back and have that mousse. I may even try something else, like the tempeh reuben, if it's vegan. The service was VERY slow, but it was pretty packed and the town had some big event going on. I'm sure it's not like that normally. The waitress was very friendly, so that helped.

Back in New Orleans, there's a relatively new Ethiopian restaurant in town: Cafe Abyssinia. We went there yesterday. It didn't open until noon, so we walked around for a while. We were the first ones in there and had our choice of tables. It's a pretty small place, and it did fill up by the time we left. There was also only one waitress, but she did an excellent job of taking care of all the tables! And she was very friendly and helpful.

We started by sharing the Beet Salad (vegan), which was delicious!

S and I shared the Veggie Combo (all vegan), which was served atop injera. Some extra injera also came on the side. Really excellent.....albeit a bit oily.

I believe they also have a few vegan definitely check it out if you're in town!

Hope you all had a nice Earth Day can celebrate all year round :)

Eat smart,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Brownies and Roasted Tomatoes, etc.

I've been so behind.  I'm really trying to catch up, but work was so busy for a while and now I finally have some time off to catch up on everything, from cleaning up, to taxes, to my beer blog, to this never ends!

They look good, don't they? They are! I got the recipe here. Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies! I changed it up just a bit by using whole wheat flour, MUCH less sugar, and more applesauce with just a little oil. To me, this was more like half blondie, half brownie because the cookie part was so thick.  Maybe I should've added more liquid so that I could've spread it more easily on top.  Nonetheless, still delicious :) I highly recommend it for that special once-in-a-while dessert (I can't make stuff like this very often, unless I want to put all my weight back on!).

I slow roasted tomatoes! easy and so tasty.  Never done that before.  Here's how:

Take a pound or two of roma tomatoes and slice them in half.  Spray two cookie sheets (or however many you need) with some oil and lay the tomatoes on them, cut side down.  Put a few cloves of garlic in between them and cook in the oven on 250 degrees for around 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  Watch them and make sure they don't burn.  They are absolutely amazing done this way!

They go in like this:

And come out like this:

I had some with a few other roasted veggies alongside this Lemony Yellow Split Pea dish. The split peas were awesome....I cooked them a bit longer, because I like them soft and mushy. But maybe that's just me :) But I actually got the idea from this blog....

Other stuff I've eaten recently.....

Raw Marinara with zucchini/carrot spirals:

A sandwich of my own sprouts, salad, and kale, with sweet pickles and Vegenaise on sprouted grain bread:

Hey, does anyone know of a good "standalone" vegan cheese? One you can just eat a piece of by itself? I like to put Dr. Cow on crackers...I don't think I could eat it by itself though. And I use Daiya, Teese, and Rice Vegan slices to melt onto things.  But I've got nothing to just eat plain, or in a sandwich. Any ideas?

And don't forget to give me your travel ideas on my last blog post!! It's very important.

On another note, if you love beer, please let me know if you'd be interested in this book at all. I'm trying to decide if I should do a giveaway on my beer blog.....if there are enough people that want it.

Eat smart,

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Preparing for an Overseas Trip

Today I need to ask for your help!  I need suggestions for all things travel.  I will be going to these places:




I will be bringing with me some foods that are not too heavy for a suitcase. These are some items I plan on packing:

A small container of nutritional yeast
A few packets of dry soups (miso, etc.) to add hot water to
Maybe a Mrs. Dash (because I love the lemon pepper and it goes on everything!)
Perhaps a little dry quick oats in a container for breakfast (for the plane ride over), with some dried fruit and nuts.
SoyGo packets for when I'm absolutely in need of coffee and have zero access to soymilk.

As for non food items, I will bring a travel coffee mug.  What else should I bring?
I'd like a smallish container to carry around soymilk, keep cold AND that's really leak proof! If you know of one, please let me know. And I mean, really leak proof, as in...if it's on its won't even leak out.

I will have a full kitchen to work with while in Switzerland, so I can shop at the local grocery. I'm sure I can find soymilk in the grocery...but does anyone know if almond milk is at all available yet?

Does anyone know what the airlines offer (American Airlines really) for breakfast?  I will be asking for the vegan option, but I'm not sure they have one for breakfast.  And I know they don't have soymilk on planes (don't know why), so will I be successful when I go to the Starbucks past security, purchase soymilk for my travel container, and bring it on the plane and ask the flight attendants to keep it in the fridge overnight?

Is soymilk a standard at all yet in cafes in Europe? Or will I always have to have a container with me? I asked, and at least the hotel in Belgium has soymilk in their restaurant.  However, in Belgium, it will be more about the beer :)

Traveling through Chicago ORD and London Heathrow. Good food suggestions for those airports are much appreciated. Also if you happen to know if there's a good beer store in the Brussels airport (so I can bring some on the plane, home with me)

If you have suggestions for food items to bring or any other suggestions at all (places to eat, eating in airports, etc...), please leave a comment! Tell your friends...I want as much feedback as possible. I've not been to Europe, while eating a vegan diet, so I don't know how difficult it will be.  

Eat smart,


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