|Photo | Drew Lazor|
PETA's VegCooking blog recently rounded up their picks for the best faux meatballs in the nation, and Gianna's (507 S. Sixth St.) earned a slot for its "Haastile" meatball sub with sautï¿½ed onions, peppers and mushrooms. A solid pick, but we should also give a nod to the kofta sub at Govinda's (pictured above), which helped us through the hallucinatory vision quest that was The Week Without Meat.
|Photo | James Saul
On a tip from Miss Rachel's Pantry, we discovered that you can find homemade vegan donuts 20 minutes down the White Horse Pike (or a 15-minute walk from Lindenwold Speedline) in scenic South Jersey.
|Photo | James Saul
Jack's Donuts (503 White Horse Pike, Laurel Springs, N.J., 856-627-0431) is a charming greasy spoon with homemade donuts that just so happen to be dairy-free (save for chocolate). The Apple Crumb (pictured) doubles as an insane trip through an orchard of the mind. My partner says she hasn't eaten a donut like this since she went vegan seven years ago, and it takes me back to that fateful box of Little Debbie's Donut Sticks that kicked off my more conversion. Other donuts on deck include vanilla creme (yes, they are vegan!), pumpkin spice and jelly.
|Photo | James Saul|
Jack's also serves up traditional diner farem like omelettes and sandwiches with home fries and endless coffee. It's the kind of place where friends of all eating persuasions can gather 'round the counter and rap over Sunday breakfast. Do it now, while dipping the pumpkin spice in your coffee is seasonally appropriate, and you can still catch some of that Garden State foliage on your trip down Route 30.
|Photo l Michael Persico|
|Homemade gnocchi with pesto, spinach and Parmigiano|
Eating a bowl of fluffy gnocchi, simply sauced with pesto or sage in brown butter,ï¿½ is the equivalent of falling into a soft feather bed.ï¿½ Easy to do and easy to enjoy, but to actually make that feather bed you've got to kill a whole lot of geese and get pretty messy.ï¿½ The analogous pitfalls and time requirements of hand-making pasta has kept me from attempting those feathery pillows until now, when I went on the hunt for the Ultimate Gnocchi Recipe.ï¿½ Prescriptions for perfect pasta abound on the Web; the Food Network came up high offering versions from Emeril Lagasse (who starts with mashed potatoes) and Mario Batali (who has you par-cook the things and hold them in oil until service). ï¿½ï¿½ Further research turned up dozens of other, slightly less corporate sources.
The first method that stood out came from Anna Maria Volpi, a native of Italy who provides step-by-step instructions (with photos) for classic Gnocchi Patate.ï¿½ Her version is as traditional as it gets, boiling the potatoes in their skins and incorporating only flour and salt into the dough (the egg is optional) to create a super-light and incidentally vegan dumpling.
Executing Volpi's recipe resulted in puffed, airy dumplings that came at the expense of a difficut-to-work, crumbly dough.ï¿½ These boiled potato, egg-free vegan gnocchi worked best when cut intoï¿½ 1" pieces from a 3/4" rolled dowel of dough.
The second recipe worth using originates at The Italian Dish, a blog devoted to simple recipe/photo guides to classic Italian preparations.ï¿½ The Italian Dish bakes their Russet potatoes instead of boiling, mixing drier riced potatoes with eggs and flour. This egg-enriched dough held together better and was easier to work with.ï¿½ The gnocchi were also stiffer and took to their sautï¿½ without tearing, without sacrificing the fluff and bite of a quality gnoccho (singluar of gnocchi).
Gnocchi made in a large batch can be frozen and used later, by placing freshly cut gnocchi on a floured cloth on a baking sheet and freezing for 20 minutes.ï¿½ Partially frozen gnocchi can then be transferred to a freezer bag and stored for up to one month.ï¿½ To serve, add gnocchi straight from the freezer to vigorously boiling water until they float.ï¿½ Add gnocchi to sautï¿½ pan containing warmed sauce of your choice; toss to combine sauce with gnocchi.ï¿½ Serve hot, immediately.
To make successful vegan, traditional gnocchi, follow Anna Maria Volpi's technique, which can be modified by using baked potatoes instead of boiled.ï¿½ Bake the 2 lbs. of Russet potatoes for 65 minutes in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven, then proceed with the recipe as usual, omitting eggs.
To make successful egg and potato gnocchi, follow The Italian Dish's recipe.ï¿½ Bake 1.5 lbs. of Russet potatoes in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 65 minutes, until tender to the fork.ï¿½ Be cautious peeling potatoes of their skin; steam released from under the skin can burn you badly.
"Carnivores, please see other menu!" advises a note at the top of Arbol Cafï¿½'s new all-veg selection. The Paraguayan eatery (209 Poplar St., 215-923-3150), we which just "Where'd We Eat"-ed yesterday, rolled this entirely separate menu out about two weeks back, and it's no one-dish-and-done situation ï¿½ there are entire hot and cold sandwich selections, plus salads, potato dishes and "tortillas Paraguaya," rice, onion and cheese patties bound with milk, egg and flour and stuffed with veggies (kinda like a quesadilla).
Full menu after the jump.
|Click to enlarge|
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
We ran into the ladies of the forthcoming Sweet Freedom Bakery at last week's Appetite for Awareness event, and they were kind enough to share some details about their in-the-works storefront at 1424 South. Heather Esposito (right) and her partner Allison Lubert, both of whom are holistic health counselors, are targeting Nov. 1 to open their bakery, which'll specialize in vegan goods produced without using (ready?) gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, wheat, peanuts, soy, casein or refined sugar. Esposito, who has food sensitivities herself, knew of very few retail resources in the area for those with similar dietary restrictions, motivating her and Lubert to tackle this project. Their product line will include cookies, cupcakes, cakes, pizzelles, loaves and muffins, and they'll do tea and coffee, as well.
Help! Suggestions for romantic Philly restaurant (a proposal is involved) for two vegetarians (not me!). Doesn't have to be all veg rest.
So how about it, y'all? Where are some good Philly spots that are both romantic AND vegetarian-friendly? Note that the proposal is not actually taking place at the restaurant ï¿½ this'll be a post-"YES!" meal for the happy veggie couple, but it still needs that ambience. A few places off the top ï¿½ Cochon is quite romantic (and, as we told you recently, can accommodate vegetarians). Mi Lah could be an option. And while this may be a slightly obvious pick, how could you possibly go wrong with Horizons?
Kelly White profiled Landers' all-vegan baking business for CP back in 2007.
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
Chef Gene Giuffi just launched his new menu for fall at Cochon (801 E. Passyunk Ave.), and it's no surprise that it's meaty as hell. (Check it out in full after the jump.) St. Canut Farm Porcelet? Berkshire pork stew? Roasted lamb? Housemade pate? Yesyesyesyes. This is the hearty stuff Giuffi's known for, and he does a hell of a job. But we couldn't help but notice a little addendum on the bottom of this new lineup ï¿½ "vegetarian option upon request."
Gene's wife Amy, who runs the front of the house, says that she's encountered more than a few vegetarians who are hesitant to dine at their BYO based on its reputation for meaty goodness. But the team's more than happy to accommodate vegetarians with off-the-menu dishes ï¿½ all you gotta do is ask. Recently, Gene has prepared stuff like root vegetable pot pie, wild mushrooms in puffed pastry and house-made gnocchi with a chanterelle/royal trumpet mushroom ragout, slow-roasted tomatoes and gorgonzola black truffle sauce (!). For pescetarians, there are regular seafood options, too.
"Also, the butternut squash soup is 100 percent vegetarian," adds Amy. "Though Gene sometimes garnishes it with some meat, so vegetarians should definitely inform their server first."
Butternut Squash Soup $7
Escargots ï¿½ shiitake mushrooms, tomato confit, Pernod-garlic butter $12
Baby Spinach Salad ï¿½ spicy walnuts, pears, sun-dried cherries, violet-mustard vinaigrette $10
Warm Romaine Salad ï¿½ lardons, caramelized onions, poached egg, chicken liver vinaigrette $8
Charcuterie Plate ï¿½ housemade pï¿½tï¿½, rillettes, cured meats, pickled tomato-cornichon salad $14
Crispy Chicken Livers ï¿½ balsamic vinegar reduction, spiced walnuts, sun-dried cherries $9
P.E.I. Mussels ï¿½ tomato-leek saffron broth, aioli, grilled baguette $11
Crispy Calamari ï¿½ fennel slaw, roasted pepper emulsion $10
St. Canut Farm Porcelet ï¿½ wild mushroom risotto, juniper oil $28
Roasted Berkshire Pork Belly ï¿½ Lentils DuPuy, charred Brussels sprouts, bacon aioli $22
Cochonï¿½s Choucroute Garni ï¿½ housemade sausages, pork ribs, cured loin, herbed-dumplings $25
Berkshire Pork Stew ï¿½ pork cheek, pearl onions, baby turnips, parsley potatoes, spicy tomato sauce $20
Pan-seared Duck Breast ï¿½ garlic sausage-white bean cassoulet, haricots verts, five-spice sauce $26
Roasted Lamb ï¿½ poached egg, shallot confit mashed potatoes, sautï¿½ed spinach, rosemary jus $23
Roasted Organic Chicken Breast ï¿½ potato gratin, haricots verts, Riesling-mustard sauce $22
Seared Scallops ï¿½ gnocchi, sweet peas, slow-roasted tomatoes, truffle butter sauce $26
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
This simple, filling soup is like the edible translation of a crispy fall day.ï¿½ In addition to being inexpensive and healthy, my vegan version omits all of the butter and cream that make restaurant versions delicious but fatty.
I tested two methods of roasting the butternut squash: peeling the whole squash and cutting it into chunks before roasting, and slicing the unpeeled squash in half and roasting it cut-side up, both in a 400 degree oven.ï¿½ The peel-and-chunk method emerged as the winner for both speed (the chunks of squash roasted twice as fast as the squash halves) and ease (scooping flaming hot squash into a stockpot without bringing the tough skin along for the ride was painful and annoying).
You will need a blender or food processor for the recipe; I also pressed my pureed soup through a mesh strainer to further refine the texture.
Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
serves four to six
Go Get This:
Two medium-sized butternut squash
Several glugs extra-virgin olive oil
One large red onion or two medium onions
Three stalks celery
1 tbsp. Salt
Smoked black pepper to taste
Nutmeg to taste
1 tsp. garam masala or curry spice
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
16 oz. vegetable stock
Thyme, for garnish
Now Do This:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
With a vegetable peeler, peel the skin off the squashes.ï¿½ Slice each squash in half lengthways.ï¿½ Scoop out and discard squash guts and seeds.
Cut squash into 1-inch chunks and lay in a single layer in a metal or glass baking dish.ï¿½ Pour a glug of olive oil over squash chunks.ï¿½ Season generously with salt, smoked black pepper and nutmeg. Stir everything around to coat.
Place uncovered dish in oven.ï¿½ Roast 25-35 minutes, until squash is tender. It will give easily when pierced with a fork when it is done.
When squash has been in oven for about fifteen minutes, peel and chop your onion and carrot.ï¿½ Chop the celery, discarding the leaves and tough white root ends.
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat another few glugs of olive oil overï¿½ medium-high heat.ï¿½ When oil is hot and shimmering, add onions, carrot and celery to pot.ï¿½ Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and slightly colored.ï¿½ Reduce heat to low.
Once squash is cooked, add it and all its oil to the stockpot.ï¿½ Turn heat up.ï¿½ Add garam masala, cider vinegar and vegetable stock.ï¿½ Use a potato masher to break squash down.ï¿½ Bring the whole thing up to the boil and let it boil for a minute.
Turn heat off under pot.
Carefully (this is HOT) and working in batches, add mixture to a food processor or blender.ï¿½ If you have an immersion or stick blender, you can use it right in the pot.ï¿½ Puree mixture until smooth.
Place a mesh strainer or china cap over a large metal or glass bowl or pot.ï¿½ Working in batches, press the puree through the strainer with the back of a wooden spoon.ï¿½ Set solids left in the strainer aside; they can be used to enrich mashed veggies or pasta sauce.
Taste your strained soup for seasoning; add more salt, pepper, garam masala or vinegar to taste.ï¿½ Serve hot, garnished with stripped thyme leaves.
|Summer in a jar|
I have posted my dear, genius friend Janina Larenas' recipes and techniques on Meal Ticket before.ï¿½ Her slow-cooked seitan and veggie stew and resourceful method for vegetable stock are the products of her lifelong vegetarian status and insatiable culinary curiosity.ï¿½ Sadly for us in Philly, Janina has returned to her native Santa Cruz, California -- but she is still sharing her experiments with us through her blog, Bramblings.
The week's feature is an exhaustively detailed foray into canning tomatoes.ï¿½ Janina is in her third year of canning 40 lbs. of the rosy beauties to have on hand all winter long, and has finally worked out the bugs in the canning process.ï¿½ If you have ever been interested in canning, but were afraid of explosions, botulism or scalding water, check out Janina's photo essay and video, along with step-by-step instructions for canning summer's bounty.
You can do it.
- barstool scientist
- Brew Revue
- Chef Salad
- Dirty Dishes
- Don't Front
- Eat This Immediately
- Field Trip
- Food and Art
- Food and Holidays
- Food and Movies
- Food and Music
- Food and Politics
- Food and Sports
- Food and Web
- Food Blogs
- Food Books
- Food Events
- Food News
- Food TV
- Happy Hour Hopper
- In Print
- Meal Ticket
- Menu Time
- Not So Quickfire
- Notes from the Weekend
- On Wheels
- Patio Drinking
- Philly Beer Week 2010
- Private Chef POV
- Product Placement
- Snack Time
- Stiff Drank
- Ticket Stubs
- Top Chef
- Weekly Candy
- Weird Regional Foods
- We're Here to Help
- Where'd We Eat?
- Drew Lazor's Ill-Advised Rant Factory
- Ill-Advised Ranting
- The Week Without Meat
- Philly Beer Week 2009
- Real Big
- Where'd I Eat Last Night?
- Top Chef Masters
- The Good Word
- Next Iron Chef
- Arterial Terrorism
- Food and Radio