Thursday, July 28, 2011

London Bridge Is Falling Down...

 "The internet isn't rubbish, you're rubbish!" Stef said jokingly to her mom. We had just finished having homemade scones that she made and we we're sitting around the table checking our e-mails and chatting in the dining room. In that room there are many windows where you can see their beautiful garden that surrounds their home. The sun was shining brightly that day. The scones were so delicious. She served them with mascarpone cheese and jams. She made us earl grey tea with a little milk to go with it. I felt so blessed! I'm actually drinking some earl grey right now as I type this. We stayed with this lovely family for 4 days. It made our stay in London so special! 
 We shopped, drank tea, saw Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, London Bridge, Tower of London, London Bridge experience, and other fun things. I found it very easy to get vegetarian food at most places. They had a lot of fresh sandwiches, juices, salads, pastas, curries, etc. It was wonderful! 
One of my favorite places was Food For Thought
We walked down into the cozy, narrow basement. It was very unique. The menu wasn't real big but I already couldn't decide between a few of the options. We finally agreed to share two meals so that way we could get a taste of both. The food was already made in warmers. They scooped the dishes onto plates and added all these different sides to both. It was more than enough food at a great price. The seating was real interesting. They told us if you see an open seat you are welcome to take it. So you could end up sitting with strangers, which I think is neat. The food was so good! I would highly recommend it! They also have a cookbook to purchase. I wish I would have bought it! :(
We found a vegan restaurant in Camden Town called InSpiral Lounge. It's a very creative and artistic looking place from the inside out. They have everything from breakfast to dinner, coffee to juices, desserts to snacks. When we were there it was very busy and had a hard time finding a seat. We realized later that if that's the case, we should do what we saw locals doing: get it to-go and sit by the water on a moped seat! 
View from the moped seat
We both got the same dish and sides: Spinach & nutmeg gnocchi with potatoes, steamed greens and creamy cauliflower. Yummy!! I wish I could have tried other things. Everything looked so good! Camden is a great place to find unique items. The atmosphere is artsy with a twist of grunge. I've been warned to be aware of pick pockets and scams. Just a heads up.
Another day we went to the Borough Market which I LOVED!! It was so fun to walk around and try fresh breads and spreads, cheeses, buy local organic goodies like cupcakes, veggies, fruits, and whatever else you can think of practically! I love how people in London were sitting around picnicking on the sidewalks and enjoying conversation and good food. 

The Last place I would like to highlight is a cute little Creperie stand in Camden Town. It's called Artisans Crepier and it was the best Nutella crepe I ever had! The guy who served us was so nice and made the whole experience fun! He says what makes his so good is that he makes them with love. 
 London was one of my favorite cities in Europe we visited. I did a lot of research before leaving and would love to give tips and suggestions to anyone with questions. I found it very easy to be a vegetarian and find plenty of delicious food to eat! I also was able to find some cool places I want to visit again. 

"Mind the gap!"

Chef Teebs

Monday, July 11, 2011

A European Adventure?

Hey everybody!

I'm leaving today to go to Europe with my best friend for the adventure of a lifetime. I won't be able to post for about 2 1/2 weeks. If you would be interested in tuning into my adventure you can follow me on Twitter.com/chefteebs. I will be posting pics and foods I'm eating as much as I can! I also have a facebook page I will try to update if I can, see it here.

See you soon,

Goodbye! Au Revoir! Ciao! Adios!

Chef Teebs

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fourth of July: Celebrating the freedom we've been given!

The fourth of July is an awesome time to reflect on our freedom. I love to walk outside and smell my neighbors Barbecuing, fireworks blasting off all day and night, families gathered, flags waving in the air, sno-cones, cotton candy, loud live music, corn on the cob, kids riding bikes, and most of all people remembering the price that was paid for our freedom. I hope we as Americans honor the military who served and are currently serving for our country. We are blessed more than we know. 
This year I marinated lots of veggies overnight to grill the next day. They were very flavorful and yummy. We also had vegan tex-mex dip, grilled bbq tempeh, corn on the cob, rice with fresh garden basil and banana pudding for dessert. Yum. 
Our lovely herb garden!
Marinated veggies overnight
Vegetable Marinade

1/3 C. soy sauce
1/4 C. packed brown sugar
1/3 C. rice vinegar
1/4 C. corn oil
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
4 t. fresh ginger, finely grated
1 t. hot sesame oil or chili oil (I used regular sesame oil)
1 T. sesame seeds

Add ingredients to bag; seal and shake to mix. Fill bag with sliced veggies, whatever kind you like. I used broccoli, eggplant, yellow squash, slices of potatoes (boiled to tender), and yellow peppers. Refrigerate and marinate 1-3 hours or overnight, if you have time. It does taste better. Turn bag occasionally. 

To cook: Heat up grill. Lightly coat a grill pan with cooking spray. Add veggies to pan and grill until browned, turning after a few minutes. You may need to lower or raise temperature depending on how they are cooking. Sometimes they seem to burn so fast! If you would like, you can use a brush to coat the veggies as they cook. The marinade is kinda runny so just dip a brush in the bag and carefully coat the veggies, trying not to burn your arm. :)
Remove carefully from grill with hot pad and place in a pretty bowl. Serve with rice.

After dinner we went to the park to see what all the commotion was about. We all got a sno-cone and listened to a local band cover popular music like the Rolling Stones, The Beatles,.. not my preferred celebration music. But it was fun. 
I hope you all had a safe and wonderful fourth of July! God bless our troops! 

Love,

Chef Teebs

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Tofu Steaks with Red Pepper-Walnut Sauce and Saffron Potatoes

With all the fresh herbs in our yard, I thought it would be a perfect time to make this recipe. It's loaded with flavor and simply unique. Ever have someone over for dinner and wish to impress them/convert them to a plant-based diet? Haha. I think this vibrant-colored dish bursting with flavor will do just the trick. Muwahahahaa!! *mischievously taps fingers together* Maybe not, but it sure is delicious. I served this with italian bread and saffron potatoes. I've been wanting to make a recipe with saffron to honor a request. These potatoes looked delicious to me. The flavors all went so well together. Try it for yourself. I made the tofu steaks vegan but the original recipe is from Cooking Light.

Tofu Steaks with Red Pepper-Walnut Sauce (vegan)
     serves 4

1 14 oz pkg water-packed extra-firm tofu
1/4 C. fresh basil, finely chopped
2-4 T. water
2 T. fresh parsley, chopped
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. crushed red pepper
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 C. flour
3 "eggs" worth of egg replacer, mixed according to box
3/4 C. panko (or any breadcrumbs)
2 T. olive oil
3 T. chopped walnuts, toasted
2 red bell peppers, roasted (or a 12 oz jar)
  
Roast peppers and set aside. (See instructions here on how to roast peppers.)
Meanwhile, Cut tofu crosswise into 4 slices. Place slices on paper plate lined with several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels. Let stand 30 minutes, pressing down occasionally. 

Make marinade:In a large ziplock bag, combine basil, water, parsley, thyme, vinegar, dijon mustard, salt, red pepper and garlic. Add tofu and seal. Marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning bag occasionally. 

Set 3 shallow dishes on the counter. In the first, add flour. In the second, "egg"s mixed well with a fork. And panko in the third dish. 

Remove tofu from marinade, reserving remaining marinade. Working with one piece of tofu at a time, dredge tofu in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in "egg", coating well and allowing excess to drip off. Coat tofu completely with panko, pressing lightly to adhere. Set aside. Repeat procedure with remaining tofu. 

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add tofu to pan; reduce heat to medium; and cook for 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan and keep warm.

Combine remaining marinade, walnuts, and bell peppers in a blender; process until fairly smooth. (I like a little texture, you can make it as smooth as  you prefer.) Pour mixture into a pan til heated through, about 2 minutes. Serve with tofu. 
The tofu and the sauce was delicious! The leftover sauce would be tasty on a grilled veggie sandwich or in a pasta. After I blended the sauce in the food processor, I opened the lid and boom! The fresh garden herbs, walnuts, garlic, roasted pepper.. ahh.. the flavors all came bursting out like a beautiful melody, perfectly in harmony.. Now for the potatoes!

My sister asked me to make a recipe using saffron. I've never used it and always wanted to. I picked an $8 bottle up at whole foods, pulled out the tiny tiny bag that contained a few pinches of saffron and decided I better find a recipe. I found a recipe online and used it as a guide. I thought it would be perfect with this dinner. See what you think.
Saffron Potatoes

5-6 russet potatoes
4-6 sprigs of saffron
olive oil 
sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

Preheat oven 425.
Wash potatoes and cut in fourths. Place in a large saucepan and fill it with enough water to cover the potatoes. Add saffron and bring to a boil. Cook potatoes until just tender. About 5 minutes or so. 

While potatoes are cooking, Line a baking sheet with foil. When potatoes are tender, drain and lightly shake, removing access water. Dump potatoes on sheet and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and combine. Bake until nice and crispy, about 30-40 mins. 





 So crisp yet tender in the center...Perfect! It was fun using a new spice. If you have any suggestions for interesting spices or recipes, let me know! 

God's blessings to you,

Chef Teebs