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Sunday, January 29, 2006

side salad rhapsody

Do we really need an entry about Benevolence? I hope so, because we're getting one.

I finally (after months of telling him how great this place was) took Ryan to Benevolence for lunch today. Words cannot describe how nice it was to eat something fresh and healthy after our winter of pasta and curry.

I had the tomato bisque, which was ok. Tomatoes. Water. Seasoning. The usual. My sandwich was a bit better. I got the cucumber and tomato sandwich, which is cucumber, tomato, dill, lettuce, sprouts, and tons of cream cheese. I think it was the cream cheese that reduced my usual "man, I love this place" to a moderate "that was a nice lunch."

Ryan got a baked tofu sandwich, which he is telling me now (and told me then with some frequency) was fantastic. It was baked tofu on their fantastic bread with sprouts, lettuce, and some kind of dressing. He also had a side salad that was the most impressive lettuce based dish that either of us had seen in a long time. I cannot stress this enough: if you go to Benevolence, do not be fooled by the mildly named "side salad." It is unlike any other side salad you have ever had, and it will ruin you for all others. Lettuce, sprouts, grated carrot, tomato, sunflower seeds, and vegan bacon bits. Yum.

So, in conclusion: it's still good. Visit often.

In second conclusion: I have no clue how to end these things.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Ben's favorite pad thai

This is a staple in our house - what it lacks in authenticity, it makes up for in super-deliciousness.

Ingredients
1/4 c rice vinegar
2 tbsp. chili sauce ( I use about 1.5 tbsp. Sriracha, .5 tbsp. El Yucateco green)
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. peanut butter (natural unsweetened)
1 dash soy sauce
6 oz. rice noodles
1/2 lb. diced cooked chicken, shrimp or tofu
2-3 green onions, cut into 1/4 inch bits
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c mung bean sprouts
1 handful of peanuts, chopped
1/2 lime

Preparation
Cook noodles in boiling salted water for about 5 minutes. Drain, rinse and set aside. Whisk the first five ingredients together and set aside.

Heat wok or large frying pan on medium heat with a little oil. Add eggs and stir until done. Move to the side and add green onions and meat or tofu to the center (I add another dash or two of soy sauce at this point, too).

Stir fry for 3-4 minutes until meat is heated through and onions soften slightly. Mix the egg back in and add noodles to pan (you can run them under cold water for a few seconds to seperate them if they're stuck together). Mix well.

Add sauce mixture to pan and mix to coat noodles. Let simmer 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Once sauce is absorbed, add bean sprouts and peanuts. Toss to combine.

Squeeze the lime over mixture right before serving (and garnish with a few lime wedges, if you're fancy).