Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Weekend visit to Georgia, Tennessee & Washington

I spent last weekend in Georgia with my BFF as we had our high school reunion to go to...I won't tell you how many years ;)
I was also luckily enough to spend a few hours in Seattle as part of a stopover.

I flew with Alaska Airlines and they had a snack option called the Mediterranean Tapas which was advertised as GF, vegan and kosher. I was a bit skeptical of a couple items (the hummus and dark chocolate) once I purchased as they contained regular sugar so I will update when I hear back from those companies. But it was still nice to see them trying!!!




In Atlanta, GA we went to a divine restaurant called Cafe Sunflower. Don't let the name fool you, this is no cafe, it's vegan fine dining! It was a little bit pricey but the food and atmosphere was great. I had the Spicy Pad Thai Noodles and my friend had the Orzo Eggplant Lasagna. We shared a chocolate torte for dessert, it was the only GF cake. Definitely a great place for a romantic date :)






In Dalton, GA I found some great vegan products in the Kroger which had a terrific health/vegan/allergy section.

I had never heard of Bai 5 drinks before but they are vegan and very tasty. They do use Stevia as their sweetener though so it has that Stevia after taste!


These are a couple of Amy's vegan/GF meals that I found in the frozen health section. Pretty tasty!




We ate at the Fuji Steak & Sushi Restaurant. They have a few vegan sushi (nori) rolls and obviously vegetable tempura is you're not allergic to gluten but I had the tofu & vegetable teppanyaki (hibachi) as the rest of the family was doing that. The tofu was deep fried and delicious AND gluten free! I made the waiter show me the packet for the ingredients LOL

We did a little lunch trip to Chattanooga, TN to Coolidge Park to look around the cute shops and ate at Cashew Plant Based Vegan Cafe. The food was amazing, the prices very reasonable and the cafe itself was cute as a button.



I had the Hummus and Roast Vegetable Wrap and my friend had the Chipotle BBQ Burger (which was not GF) and I got a side of their cashew cheese which was SOOOO good!



At the front of the cafe they sold vegan bakery goods (many of which were GF) and vegan jerky! I got a jelly donut and some teriyaki jerky which was the only GF one. I really couldn't recommend this place highly enough!



On my way back to SLC I had a few hours stopover in Seattle, WA so I decided to get the light rail and see the Pike Markets and the Space Needle. What a beautiful city! Reminded me so much of my beloved hometown Sydney, Australia...*sniff, sniff*.





Right next to the Pike Market place was the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and to my delight they had a little vegan section at the front counter! The only thing that was GF was the chocolate covered marzipan but being half Hungarian I love marzipan so I was all over that!



The Seattle/Tacoma Airport was so cute, they had such a clean pretty food court complete with trees and talented live musicians! I got some vegan sushi at Maki of Japan in the Central Terminal food court.


I was surprised to see a Butter London store in the airport too! They are a UK brand of vegan nail polish. The store at the airport also had a salon where they do manicures and pedicures and it's the only Butter London salon in the USA apparently! They had the entire range of nail polishes too which was very exciting to me but unfortunately I was only a budget and couldn't get any. Butter London is great but not cheap!


Deep Fried Vegan Spring/Egg Rolls

This is a delicious filling for vegan spring/egg rolls adapted from a recipe on Jamie Oliver's page. I used rice paper rolls from the Asian market that were are made for deep frying but if you're not gluten free you can just use spring roll/wonton wrappers.



Deep Fried Vegan Spring/Egg Rolls

Ingredients

40g dried Asian mushro, I assume he means shiitake (I used button mushrooms, sliced and sautéed)
50g vermicelli noodles
200g Chinese cabbage, finely sliced
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
3 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger , peeled and grated
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 large bunch of Thai basil, roughly chopped
1large bunch of coriander/cilantro, roughly chopped
20ml sesame oil
75g beansprouts
3 Tbls toasted peanuts, crushed
2 Tbls reduced-salt soy sauce (I used Tamari wheat free)
2 Tbls oyster sauce
1 Tbls cornflour
16 large spring roll wrappers , thawed if frozen (I got 12 using the rice paper wrappers)
1 Tbls Chinese five spice powder
1 litre groundnut oil for frying


Method

Put your mushrooms in a medium-sized bowl, cover with hot water and leave for 10 minutes, or until soft.
Meanwhile, place the noodles in a large bowl, cover with boiling water and leave for 1 minute. Drain, rinse under cold water, then set aside.
For the filling, put the cabbage, carrot, white part of the spring onion, ginger, chilli and herbs in a large bowl along with the rice noodles.
Add the sesame oil, beansprouts, peanuts, Chinese five spice, soy and oyster sauces, and mix well. When they’re ready, drain the mushrooms, then chop them and stir into the filling.
Season to taste.


In a small bowl, blend the cornflour and 2 tablespoons of cold water.
Next, lay one spring-roll wrapper, smooth-side down, on a clean surface as a diamond shape, with one corner pointing down towards you.
Place another wrapper on top (the extra thickness will stop the rolls from breaking open while cooking).
**Because I used the rice paper rolls I only used one layer and rolled them like you would for fresh spring rolls and only used one layer.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of the filling on the bottom corner of the double wrapper.
Brush each corner with the cornflour mixture, then start rolling up from the bottom.
When the filling is covered, pull the corners in from each side (to seal the ends as you go).
Continue rolling until the filling is tightly covered, then press to seal the top corner.
Lay the finished roll on a large baking tray and cover with a damp tea towel.


Put oil onto a high heat while you're wrapping the rolls.
Continue until you’ve filled all the wrappers.
Turn the oil heat down to a medium heat.
To check whether the oil is ready, drop in a piece of filling; it should sizzle and start to turn golden. In small batches, carefully lower the spring rolls into the oil and deep-fry for 2–3 minutes, or until golden brown.
I got about 4 at once but mine were big, wonton wrappers are much smaller rolls.
Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
Serve with your favourite dipping sauce. I used sweet chilli and a combination of satay with hoisin.



Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Homemade Dill Pickles

You can can these to make their shelf life longer but I just used the easiest method, just make sure to eat them within a few weeks...definitely not an issue in our house!
Original recipe from The Kitchn. Make sure you sterilize your jars first - wash in hot soapy water then rinse and place in the oven on 400F for 10-20 minutes. Lids can go in the last few minutes, if you put them in the whole time the rubber will burn.


Homemade Dill Pickles
Makes 2 pint jars

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds Kirby or Persian cucumbers
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 tsp dill seed
2 tsp pickling spice
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons pickling or kosher salt


Method

Wash and dry the cucumbers.
Trim away the blossom end of the cucumber.
Leave the pickles whole, cut them into spears, or slice them into coins, as preferred.
Add the spices to the jars: Divide the garlic, dill seed, and red pepper flakes (if using) between the pint jars.
Pack the pickles into the jars, trim the ends if they stand more than 1/2 inch below the top of the jar. Pack them in as tightly as you can without smashing the cucumbers.
Combine the vinegar, water, and salt in a small sauce pan over high heat.
Bring to a rolling boil.
Pour the brine over the pickles, filling each jar to within 1/2-inch of the top.
Gently tap the jars against the counter a few times to remove all the air bubbles.
Top off with more pickling brine if necessary.
Once cooler place the lids over the jars and screw on the rings until tight.
Leave until cooled and store the pickles in the fridge.
The pickles will improve with flavor as they age — try to wait at least 48 hours before cracking them open.


Optional — For longer storage, place the jars in a boiling pot of water.
When the water comes back to a boil, set the timer for 5 minutes and remove the jars immediately. Make sure the lids pop down; if they do not, refrigerate those pickles and eat them first.
Let the jars cool to room temperature.
If you processed the jars, they can be stored on the shelf.
Canned pickles will keep for at least a year on the shelf and for several weeks in the refrigerator once opened; refrigerator pickles will keep for several weeks.