raw

six main restaurant / who says connecticut can’t be hip and vegan?

Posted on

Six Main in Chester, CT
who knew you could find a vegetarian oasis in connecticut?

In case you didn’t know, Connecticut has a lot to offer i.e. spectacular foliage, prep schools, lyme disease, ESPN, insurance, Martha Stewart, oversized luxury SUV monsters, the praying mantis, and women with 90’s Hillary Clinton haircuts and cashmere sweater sets. Alas, we are a diverse state, but until recently have failed at providing the ever growing non-hippie-private-school-educated-pseudo-gluten-free-vegetarians with plant-based restaurants. Enter Six Main, a wholly vegetarian and mostly vegan restaurant in the heart of Chester, which nearly suffers from the too quaint town syndrome, but saves itself by lacking a Life is Good store and fudge shop. See my thoughts on quaint towns here.

Inside this converted savings bank is a chic, white-linens-and-dark-wood-with-the-good-wine-glasses-and-small-menu kind of restaurant that takes the hip from hippie and does away with the extra letters. Although I love nothing more than the smell of patchouli and wheatgrass and a server wearing a shirt that says “I’m not a nugget”, there is a time and place for veg chic. New York has always been the go to mecca for high end vegan dining, but with Six Main on the map, Connecticut’s veg options are shifting from  miso soup and veggie burgers to beet tartare and kimchee fried rice tempeh satay. I’ll take one of each, thank you.

feeling sophisticated with my glass of sauvignon blanc despite my jeans & oversized sweatshirt ensemble
feeling sophisticated with my glass of sauvignon blanc despite my gorgeous oversized sweatshirt ensemble

 

quite possible the best gluten free focaccia bread I've ever tasted, paired with a delicious tapenade
quite possible the best gluten free focaccia bread I’ve ever tasted, paired with a delicious tapenade

 

roasted squash & arugula salad with toasted pumpkin seeds
roasted squash & arugula salad with toasted pumpkin seeds

 

new england chopped kale salad with peppercorn dressing, avocado and pear
new england chopped kale salad with peppercorn dressing, avocado and pear

 

barbecued portobello and kimchee raw korean tacos
barbecued portobello and kimchee grilled korean tacos

 

kimchee fried rice nut butter tempeh satay with pineapple salsa
kimchee fried rice tempeh satay with pineapple salsa

 

sundried tomato and flax raw tostada with cashew crema, guacamole & salsa
sundried tomato and flax raw tostada with cashew crema, guacamole & salsa

 

 

2 vegans eating through england

Posted on Updated on

So Tom is from England. And lucky for him because his ridiculously cute accent is a huge part of why we started dating. And lucky for me, he turned out to be way more than just a cute accent. Yes, we frolic with unicorns, eat tempeh till our stomachs expand past the confines of our pants, and rant about the inadequacies of the dreaded “steamed vegetable plate” at restaurants. “Yes we are vegan, no we don’t eat fish, yes we eat a lot.” So you can imagine my initial fears of dining out in dreary old England. Translation: brownish, meat and potato type dishes with a fear of greens and names that sound more like bands than meals i.e. spotted dick, bangers and mash, toad in a hole, and bubble and squeak. Armed with a stash of granola and Vega bars, I timidly arrived in London, only to find the weather bright and sunny, and the food delicious! Now my stereotypical idea of England has vanished into the Thames as quickly as a cygnet diving for fish, and I am already craving a full english breakfast, vegan style of course. Below are some of the culinary delights we enjoyed during our stay.

the most amazing full english breakfast at Windy Stores Cafe in Whitstable
the most amazing full english breakfast at Windy Stores Cafe in Whitstable
baked beans, lightly sauteed local veggies, homemade focaccia bread, hummus, and salad!
baked beans, lightly sauteed local veggies, homemade focaccia bread, hummus, and salad!
what my cafe would look like if I had one... Windy Stores in Whitstable, one block from the beach
what my cafe would look like if I had one…
Windy Stores in Whitstable, one block from the beach
hooray for vegetarian pubs!
hooray for vegetarian pubs!
warm pita with tabouli and chunky garlic hummus
warm pita with tabouli and chunky garlic hummus at Coach & Horses
rawesome beet ravioli with cashew cheese and arugula salad at Coach & Horses in London
rawesome beet ravioli with cashew cheese and arugula salad at Coach & Horses in London
thai curry delivered via chicken at Thai Orchid in Maidenhead
thai curry delivered via cute chicken at Thai Orchid in Maidenhead
chickpea burger, cress salad, avocado & tomato salad, lentil pomegranate salad, tofu stirfry & baked beans!
chickpea burger, cress salad, avocado & tomato salad, lentil pomegranate salad, tofu stirfry & baked beans!
beautiful home cooked meal by our friend Jean in Penn
beautiful home cooked meal by our dear friend Jean in Penn
summer risotto at Aubergine restaurant, perched on the river Thames in Marlow
summer risotto at Aubergine restaurant, perched on the river Thames in Marlow
fresh and full of micro greens!
risotto fresh and full of micro greens!
portobello salad at Aubergine
portobello salad at Aubergine
lightly battered summer vegetables and roasted red pepper sauce at Bel & Dragon pub in Cookham
lightly battered summer vegetables with roasted red pepper sauce at Bel & Dragon pub in Cookham

what you actually need in your kitchen / rawesome sour cream

Posted on

DSC_0032When I see dust-laden piles of paper on a desk, random crap pushed into dark corners, or tchotchkes lining a window sill, a feverish desire overcomes me. My pupils dilate, my heart whooshes blood into my eager hands, and I try my best to suppress the urge to tear through it all. Because this typically occurs in other people’s homes…and you can’t just reorganize someone else’s stuff. That would be weird. In my own space, however, I can sort and clean until I fall into a heap on the couch after deciding what to do with my old textbooks. And I can donate knick knacks with maniacal glee. Translation: miniature statues of animals, crocheted pillows with written sentiments, headlamps (really…), stationary with my name etched across in whimsical floral-accented cursive, geodes and other earthen matter, ill fitting too small clothing, key chains or lanyards, and scrub brushes painted to resemble creepy clown-faced women. I do have my fair share of bric-a-brac (aka unicorns of various shapes and sizes, perhaps a wooden cat, and yes, a faery with wire wings), but I arrange these items with an eye for minimalism, and the same holds true for my kitchen…

When you get married, you are allowed to sign up for a registry, and with this right bubbles up an insane need for useless items…because you can, and because your mother said “every wife should have one of these _____(enter unnecessary item here). Translation: a molcajete (because a regular old mixing bowl just ain’t good enough), overpriced formal china (for all those 12 person dinner parties that you never have), silver flatware (because the advent of no need to polish stainless steel is an insult to grandmothers everywhere), 12 piece knife block set (because you need 12 different knives to chop an onion), a tortilla warmer (just.stop.now.), a slate cheese board (negative. and you should stop eating cheese anyway), and a rooster shaped timer (this is also a tchotchke).

So, to help brides and grooms to be with their kitchen registries, and in fact, to anyone wanting advice on what to put in their kitchen, I have compiled a list of necessary items here.

Now that you’re armed with the tools to make you a kick-ass vegan chef, why not wow your friends with rawesome sour cream? Serve with chips and salsa for a Mexican-inspired taste explosion without the nasty dairy.

DSC_0034Rawesome Sour Cream 

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for an hour or overnight

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon onion powder

1-2 shakes of garlic powder

Large pinch of sea salt

Enough fresh water to facilitate blending (less than 1/4 cup)

Drain soaked cashews and rinse with cold water. Add them to your blender along with all of the other ingredients. Start on low variable speed and increase to high, pureeing until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Chill in refrigerator before eating. Serve with chips (I highly recommend these) or add to tacos, burritos, or anything else calling for sour cream. Makes enough for 4 unicorns celebrating cinco de mayo with their molcajete and tortilla warmer. DSC_0031

shaving for spring / rawesome lemon bars

Posted on

DSC_0337Ah, spring. The time of year when the earth thaws, becomes a mud-luscious wonderland, and bursts with an infinitely varied and beautiful bounty of flowers and food. Oh, yeah…and I have to shave my legs again. Shaving is an odd sort of thing to do. I’ve spent hours debating with fellow earthlings the absurdities of razoring off thousands of little hairs every day for the sake of being feminine or accepted or female or whatever. Newsflash to the male population: women have hair…LIKE ALL OVER THEIR BODY. Crazy, right? We aren’t hairless chihuahuas with pink nails and floral aromas wafting from every orifice like you may have previously believed. The whole advent of shaving was more to do with preventing the spread of disease than aesthetics. But now that we all bathe like crazy and spray the earth with poisons, we are more likely to contract a form of cancer than an infestation of lice. I’m not saying that I never shave, but I don’t like it. Not one bit. And I think we should start a revolution and all be furry beasts together. Amen.

So instead of shaving your legs today, why not use that extra ten minutes to whip up this lovely recipe for rawesome lemon bars? Bursting with lemony goodness and a creamy filling that tastes downright sinful, you will be happy to indulge in this treat while wearing a very long skirt. Hippie.

DSC_0332Rawesome Lemon Bars

For the crust:

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup melted refined coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon coconut nectar

Large pinch of sea salt

For the filling:

1 1/4 cups raw pine nuts, soaked for at least an hour but preferably several

1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/3-1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup coconut nectar

1/4 cup refined coconut oil

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DSC_0345Gently toast almonds or almond flour in a dry skillet over a low flame until fragrant. Combine crust ingredients in a mixing bowl, then press into square cake pan or pan of choosing. Add the filling ingredients to a high speed blender and puree on high until smooth and whipped. Chill filling in the fridge for 30 minutes, then pour into square pan. Top with more zest, then cover and place in fridge. Tastes best when allowed to chill for an hour or so. Makes enough for 8 unicorns with shaving nicks down their legs.

Toast is loving this dreamy lemon bar
Toast is loving this dreamy lemon bar

DSC_0348

babies! / baby spinach salad with creamy cashew dill dressing

Posted on Updated on

DSC_0227Now I will talk about something that I have no business talking about: babies! The reason I don’t? Well, I don’t have a child myself, nor am I expecting one, but they’re an ever increasing familiarity in my life these days. At first, I’ll admit, babies used to scare me. Translation: they are impossibly small, warm, and they smell differently, not to mention they are mostly hairless and may cry out, poop or cry at any given moment; none of which I am equipped to prevent or stop. How is that not terrifying? But lately I have been channeling my inner, mature adult self, urging her to claim bravery in the face of the small human child. I am even brave enough to say that I want my own little hairless being, but it still makes me uneasy to even utter the words. Why? I have no idea, considering that, let’s be honest, our only real purpose on this little planet is to reproduce and secure our continuing existence and domination over other beings, especially furry ones. In fact, when I begin to mull this over I can’t believe how separated we have become from our instinctual natures and basic needs and wants. But don’t worry, I’m not going to get all philosophical on you because all you really want to know is how to make this kick ass recipe for spinach salad with creamy dressing, right?

But before I do, I need to clarify why the word “baby” even popped into my head. A brilliant and talented friend of mine recently started a farm-to-table style gourmet baby food company in Boston called Lovage (that’s an herb if you didn’t know). Her yummy blends are artfully simple and packed full of the natural brilliance of vegetables and fruits – no alterations required to be nutritional powerhouses for your small furless one. If you live in Boston or the Boston area, be sure to check out her company! Feed your baby locally sourced and locally made fresh food! Hooray! You will also find my recipe for spinach and pear salad with cashew dill dressing on her monthly newsletter, along with everything to do with preparing for and raising an eco baby, just the way mother nature intended.

DSC_0233Baby Spinach Salad with Creamy Cashew Dill Dressing

For the salad:

5 handfuls of baby spinach

3 radishes, ends removed & chopped

1 avocado, pitted & chopped

1 pear, cored & sliced

1 handful of raw walnuts, toasted

Freshly cracked black pepper & sea salt to taste

For the dressing:

1 cup raw cashews, preferably soaked overnight or for at least an hour

½ cup water

Juice of ½ lemon

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

¼ cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

1 T raw coconut nectar or unrefined sweetener of choice

1 small clove of peeled garlic

2 tsp onion powder

1 small handful of fresh dill

Large pinch of sea salt

Drain and rinse soaked cashews under cold water. In a high speed blender, add all dressing ingredients. Puree on high until velvety smooth. To toast walnuts, crumble them in your hand and toss in a dry skillet over a low flame. Cook until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with sea salt and set aside. To assemble dish, toss salad ingredients with dressing and top with toasted walnuts. Makes enough salad for 2-4 furry unicorn babes.

Tip: use extra dressing as a dip for crudité or as a delicious spread on toasted bread and sandwiches!DSC_0223

DSC_0237

DSC_0240