Sunday, July 21, 2013

Restaurant Review: Füd

813 W. 17th Street. Kansas City. MO. 64108.
Since becoming vegan, Jason and I have cooked most of our meals at home. I knew Kansas City had some veg restaurants, but frankly, I thought they were going to be really weird. Even though I've been vegan for almost four months now, the picture in my head was that they would be "stereotypical vegan." You know, the menu is comprised solely of tofu, everything is really mushy, has no flavor, and comes with a side of grass and other unappealing foliage. I should have known better. 

Despite this horrible image I had in my head, Saturday night we headed to Füd. This local vegan dining establishment focuses on organic food, sustainable practices, and having the lowest possible carbon footprint. So all in all, you can feel really good about eating at Füd. On a sidenote, they only accept cash and checks, glad we saw that before leaving the house.

Now let's talk about the food. I was shocked to find such a diverse menu with a plethora of different options. I settled on the Rainbow Salad from the Living Fresh Food portion of the menu. A living rainbow of greens, avocado, apple, carrot, squash, cucumber, bell pepper, parmesan seed, nuts and house dressing. This was, hands down, the best salad I've had in my entire life (Jason agreed). I'm not sure what they put in their house dressing, but they should bottle and sell it. Vegan or not, you can't go wrong with this for a meal.
Rainbow Salad
Jason ordered the Jack Reuben from the Hot Fresh Food portion of the menu. Panini style jack fruit spiced and stacked with garlic sweed cheese, thrillanaise, and sauerkraut on rye. If you're like me, you're thinking...what is thrillanaise...and sweed cheese...? The menu is sprinkled with these words that are probably not in Webster's dictionary. But don't worry or focus on that too much. I don't know what they mean either. All you need to know is that it's a reuben sandwich. And it's good.
Jack Reuben
Although we were sufficiently full, we pushed on and ordered dessert: cashew soft serve ice cream sundae topped with raw chocolate sauce, raw superfood caramel sauce, goji berries, cacao nibs, blueberries, and pecans. I'm telling you right now, I would go back to Füd for the dessert alone, it was that good. Just looking at the picture of the sundae is making my mouth water. Everyone. Must. Try. This.
Cashew Ice Cream Sundae
So in summation, we had an incredible dinner experience and Füd far exceeded our expectations. I highly encourage everyone to give this restaurant a try, I think you'll walk away full and completely satisfied.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Oh, Paneer.

Let me tell you about the most amazing cheese in the world; it’s called paneer. I've heard people refer to it as “Indian cottage cheese,” which I feel is a little misleading. I think it is more like a cross between mozzarella and feta. It’s got some give to it, yet it doesn't quite stretch like mozzarella nor crumble like feta. It truly is in a league of its own. You can buy it at an Indian market – it comes in blocks or smaller cubes, and full fat or reduced fat varieties. If you are a cheese lover who has yet to discover paneer in all of its glory, get on it ASAP! Don’t let the tragedy continue.

Jason’s mom introduced me to this little piece of heaven over a year ago. And I was spoiled because it was homemade, can’t beat that! Palak Paneer (spinach and cheese) became a fast favorite of mine. Since going vegan, I have been in a state of mourning because I thought I would never be able to eat it again. Then, lo and behold, one of my co-workers suggested that I replace the paneer in the recipe with tofu. Brilliant! And so I did. The verdict? It’s a win!

 Here is my veganized recipe for Palak Paneer; the original recipe credit goes to Jason’s mom.

Tofu Marinade:
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
12 ounces (1 block) firm, pressed tofu

Other Ingredients:
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
½ inch ginger root, chopped finely
Chilies, to taste, optional (if you like it spicy, use thai chilies)
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
16-20 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
Salt, to taste
½ cup plain coconut yogurt

In a bowl, mix together turmeric, chili powder, salt, and canola oil. Drop in the tofu cubes and gently toss, taking care not to break the cubes. Let marinade (10 minutes is fine).

Place a large skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, pour the tofu and marinade into the pan. Fry the tofu cubes, lightly browning each side. Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside.

Using the same pan, add the onion, ginger, garlic, and chili (if using). Sauté the mixture until it’s evenly toffee-colored, which should take about 15 minutes. If the mixture is drying out and burning, add a couple of tablespoons of water.

Add the garam masala, coriander, and cumin. If you haven’t already, sprinkle a little water to keep the spices from burning. Cook, stirring often for 3-5 minutes.

Add the thawed spinach to the onion mixture and stir well. Add a little salt. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the yogurt a little bit at a time, stirring to incorporate. Once the yogurt is well mixed into the spinach, add the tofu. Put the pan back on the heat, cover, and cook until everything is warmed through, about 5 minutes.

*Basmati Rice*Dal*Roti*Vegan Palak Paneer*

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Adventure Continues...

Hi everyone, I apologize for the hiatus. Life has been pretty busy over the last month. I left my company of six years and am on a new adventure! I'm working in an entirely different industry which is proving to be challenging yet exhilarating. I'm surrounded by people who are passionate about what we do, and I feel completely re-energized. I’m thrilled to be part of such an incredible organization. Thanks to my dream team for inspiring me to take a risk and make a change (Jason, DRob, Chrissy, and Abby)! Dare to Dream is right!

Starting at a new job while being vegan for only a short time had me a little nervous. What if there’s a welcome lunch? What if it’s at KFC? What if they order in pizza? Am I going to have to sit there awkwardly and not eat anything? Very quickly upon my arrival, my questions were answered and my fears calmed. I tipped the scale. With me in the group, the vegetarians outnumber the meat eaters! I no longer have to worry about team outings, events, etc. There are always several delicious and healthy veg-friendly options.

My second week on the job, my team had a Western Indian food day (several of my co-workers are from India). They brought in something called missal for us to enjoy. And enjoy it I did!!!

Traditionally, missal is served as a snack. It consists of lentils cooked in aromatic spices, then layered with chopped onion, tomato, cilantro, chutney, roasted peanuts, and what Jason and I call “Indian crunch.” To me, it seems like the perfect Super Bowl party or potluck food. How easy to keep the lentils in the crock pot then let everyone assemble it in their bowl like chili. I’ll have to get the recipe.

Speaking of recipes, G and J Indian recipes coming soon! And they’re legit.