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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Jason's Hummus Recipe

Here's my hummus "recipe":

--two cans o' garbanzos
--couple of scoops of tahini
--generous olive oil
--generous salt
--pinch of cumin
--couple dollops of crushed garlic (the stuff in the jar or the fresh stuff sauteed for 30 seconds) juice o' half of lemon (elminate from some speciality hummae) blend it all together in a food processor. Add a pinch of water if it is too thick. Serve with good pita from north market or aladdins.

A few Variations:

1) Replace one can chickpeas with black beans. Add more cumin, cilantro, and hot pepper.
2) Blend in fresh basil...kick up the olive oil.
3) Blend in roasted red peppers...kick up the garlic (jarred ones work fine...wash well)
4) Blend in pitted calamata olives with a pinch of juice.
5) Replace one can chickpeas with avocado, replace lemon with lime, add some cilantro, cumin, and hotspice.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Elusive Asparagus Soup

A few weeks ago Jason and I tasted a creamy vegan asparagus soup at D-fly, so I've been looking for recipes. There's a good version in Eating Well, using Yukon Gold potatoes to create the creamy consistency. However, the recipe is not vegetarian (chicken stock and prosciutto), so I challenge Jason to adapt it...with vegetable stock and shiitake mushrooms, perhaps?

Japanese Oriental Restaurant

Here's one I forgot for the list of top 17: Japanese Oriental Restaurant on High just north of campus. (We went there for Dingo's post-defense lunch). Okay, so the name is strange and the sushi is not nearly as good as Restaurant Japan (though it's certainly the best sushi close to campus...better than bento). They do, however, have a truly excellent dol sot bi bim bap (available with or without meat) that comes with five lovely (mostly pickled) sides. If you get the vegetarian version, make sure you tell them you still want the egg (unless you're vegan, of course). They also have a superb fried stuffed tofu appetizer that is better than the similar dish at Haiku. And, the price is right...

Spice Bar and Lounge

So-So Mojitos
Yuppies as bland as the food
Meat in "veggie" dish

"Spice is bland..." says Ben

And I must agree! Last night I had a little soiree to celebrate my transistion from Ms. Dingo to Dr. Dingo (trans is the new post) at the new, hip, and trendy bar Spice. I have to say, other than hip and trendy, Spice offers very little more. For the most part, if you can get your waitress' attention, the drinks were too sweet, not very strong or tasty, and OVER-PRICED! In fact, I do not even think that their signature drinks are made with topshelf liquor although they are priced as though they should be.

Anne and I split the beef carpaccio and the mini-- ie four pieces of silver dollar-sized bread pieces--bread plate. The Beef was pretty good but again kinda pricey for what it was. As for the bread, it came with some infused olive oil and pesto (so 1999). Because Anne and I are allergic to some nuts, we asked what the pesto had in it. The waitress said she did not know and when we asked her to check she simply said, "it is probably pinenuts" and never did ask the chef for us. She simply brought out the plate and put it in front of us. So to say the least, the service was terrible too! I am pretty sure the place is not hip and trendy enough to survive if one of us landed on the floor chocking with anaphalatic shock due to an avoidable allergic reaction to their food. Also, our waitresses had all 10-15 of us on the same tab! At the end of the night, she simply brought out a long bill of all our food and drinks and expected us to drunkenly figure out how to add up what we had plus tip. Here is a little tip, each time a new member arrives at a table, the waitress should ask the customer if he/she wants to start a tab!

But on a more positive note, Spice's patio is lovely. There are very few places in Columbus where one can drink and dine outside. I would have preferred that Spice play moody jazz in place of the mono-beat "techno" they had going and hey, what is with the TV projected on the brick wall or the TVs in the cabanas? Come on people, if you're gonna watch TV stay home!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Pung Mei (Spring of China)

Beef with snow pea pods
Spicy red bits - nice touch!
Fortune was so-so.

Avocado Lime Ice Cream (and Cabernet Franc)

Two recent discoveries:

1) Jeni's ice cream has a new limited time only flavor: avocado lime. Yum! It is made up of 2/3 real avovados! Get it while it lasts.

2) If you are at the Burgundy Room, try the Hahn Estates cabernet franc. It's a really superb wine for 20 dollars a bottle! They also have desserts that combine Jenni's ice cream with Pistachio pastry. Heaven. Now, I just need to get Burgundy Room to serve real Spanish Tapas, rather than overpriced nouveau bistro cuisine on small plates. And, after that, they need to hire an acoustic engineer to fix the incredibe noise level. Then, and only then, will they make my list of top 17 restaurants :).

Asiago Wild Mushroom Grit Souffle

This is the first of many oft-requested recipes that I will be posting in the coming year. I should note that I learned how to cook from the Grandma Palmeri "a heap of this, a pinch of that" school. My recipes aren't great examples of technical writing, but hopefully they will inspire ya'll to play and reinvent...

Ingredients:

1 cup quick (five minute) grits
1/2 cup white wine (think cheap trader joes)
1/2 cup water
3 cups plain soy milk
5 eggs (free range organic)
1/2 stick salted (happy organic cow) butter
1 package dried wild mushrooms (available in the produce section of giant eagle in vic village)
3 tablespoons sour cream (I recommend the Salvadoran stuff from Las Maravillas market on fifth ave next to Victorian's)
10 (or more) oz shredded Asiago cheese.
A good amount of salt, pepper, and powdered garlic.

Procedures:

1) Bring water and wine to a boil, turn off heat, and add dried mushrooms for 30 minutes.
2) Add soy milk to water/wine/mushroom mixture and bring to a boil.
3) Turn down to just below boiling point and slowly stir in quick grits, butter, sour cream, salt, pepper, and garlic. (Keep stirring for five minutes. You know the grits are done when they become hard to stir and when they taste good!)
4) Let the grits cool for five minutes or so and then put them in a food processor with the five eggs. Blend well until the eggs are mixed and mushrooms have been pulverized.
5) Transfer the mixture to an oiled casserole dish and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes. (The grits should puff up and brown on top).
6) Let cool for at least one hour before serving (or accept that they won't hang together well when warm).

Fellow foodie moves west.... soon

I would like to add a couple of tasty Columbus spots I am going to miss when I move to the "belly button" of the USofA, Columbia Missouri. Jason, you forgot the little olive nuggets of joy from the bread bakery in the Northmarket! Also, what about all of "Plaza Asia?" You cannot beat being able to much on a sweet Chinese bun stuffed with bean paste, savory Indian cuisine, salty spicy tofu or shrimp, sweet potato tempura roles, while purchasing your paratha or sushi grade tuna for your next meal at home. Also we love the slightly greasy (although good hangover medicine) breakfasts at Easy Street in German village as well as the pineapple vodka shots at Cap City Diner (which is really not a diner at all).

As you can see, I love to eat so if any fellow foodies can tell me about the local flavor of Columbia, MO please let me know!

and now we have corn flakes

yay, foodies unite!

maybe eventually digital vittles will have sections such as bakeries, sushi, faux meat, etc. speaking of which, the latest issue of chow magazine has a really interesting piece on fake meat, its origins, and how the latest incarnation is more junk food faux meat items, like chicken nuggets and corndogs (which i happen to love with a tot or two) or fried faux meat in restaurants, like sweet and sour chicken at golden era in sf. anyway, here's a bit from the article:

"Products that mimic the texture and taste of meat (sort of) have been around for ages and were originally an outgrowth of Buddhist culture. In order to wean new monks off meat and to promote vegetarianism among their flock, Chinese Buddhist monasteries offered foods that simulated the texture and flavor of meat but carried only the sins of the faux flesh...Soy foods and mock meats were introduced to America through a combination of Henry Ford's obsession with soy and John Harvey Kellogg's mania for health...[Kellogg] wanted to provide Americans with a simple way of embracing vegetarianism. He first set his sights on eliminating meat from the breakfast table, creating the first breakfast cereal."

Let's Get This Party Started

Welcome new members! It's time to start posting recipes, restaurant reviews, and grocery shopping tips. If you would like to invite more people, just let me know. I am also looking for volunteers to work with me on customizing the template.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Jason's Top 17 Columbus Restaurants

In no particular order:

1) Dragonfly (Nouveau vegan delight...my personal fave)
2) Northstar (Local organic yumminess)
3) Blue Nile (Ethiopian)
4) Benevolence (Vegetarian soup/salad)
5) Jenni's Ice Cream (World's best..I'm not kidding)
6) Restaurant Japan (Rockin' good sushi..by the far the best in town)
7) Joy Village (Good chinese for sharing)
8) Sher-e-Punjab (North Indian)
9) Betty's (Happy hour or late night food)
10) Happy Greek (Try the skordalia)
11) Vietnamese stall in the North Market (Can't remember the name)
12) 1001 Nights (Falafel and hookah)
13) Mariachi's Mexican Restaurant (Way out off 161 but worth it)
14) Pistachio (Bakery)
15) Korean Restaurant (At corner of Lane and High..scary on the outside / tasty and attractive on the inside)
16) Network (Sushi and more)
17) Alana's (inventive and fun)