Monday, August 31, 2009

My "New" Mandoline Slicer

Two weeks ago, a coworker of mine transferred from our D.C. office to our L.A. office. Over a couple of drinks (alright, a LOT of drinks) on her last day in DC, she was telling me how she hated the process of packing and moving. In response, I jokingly remarked: "Well, at least you don't have to pack the mandoline slicer that you said you were going to give me."

When I returned home from Nashville on Friday, I was greeted with a package sent from her. The package contained her old mandoline slicer! And here's my favorite part: she packed the slicer using pages torn from the escort and "massage" sections of the L.A. adult-oriented "entertainment" weekly, LA XPress. Hilarious!

She told me she was getting a new mandoline slicer - the one made by (I believe) OXO. The slicer she sent to me is made by Bron. What I like about the Bron slicer is that it's made of stainless steel and individual parts can be replaced. So, if the central cutting plate becomes dull, you can replace just that part, rather than having to toss the entire slicer.

The disadvantage with the Bron, though, is that it's noticeably heavier and larger than the OXO slicer. Also, you have to be more careful when washing the Bron slicer, because the cutters are not readily removable. Finally, the Bron slicer requires a bit more effort to adjust for particular cuts.

All in all, though, the Bron slicer works great! I plan on making a vegetable tian this week using the slicer.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pita Pocket Sandwich at Hotel Restaurant

Right now, I'm in Nashville. But I wanted to write about a nice vegetarian meal I had at my hotel in Naples on Monday.

For lunch on Monday at the hotel restaurant, I ordered a pita pocket sandwich, stuffed with cucumbers, red and yellow tomatoes, sprouts, avocado, and portobello mushrooms, accompanied by a simple side salad (spring mix) and curly fries.

For $12. And this was the least expensive item on the menu.

I wonder if this beach-front hotel jacks up its restaurant prices during peak winter season? During the off-season, room rates at this hotel are a steal. There are very few people staying at this hotel right now. I was so tempted on Monday afternoon to go lay out on the sand. Unfortunately, I had work that needed to get done in preparation for Tuesday's full schedule.

I did manage, though, to get to the beach at around 9 p.m., where I sat on the sand drinking a couple of glasses of wine and listening to the waves crashing. Very relaxing.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes Over Pasta

I spent all of last week in Hazard, KY, to finish up the work that I wasn't able to complete during my first trip there earlier this month. Hence, the lack of any posts last week.

Today, I'm in Naples, FL, for work. Tomorrow, I fly to Nashville, where I will be working the remainder of the week. If you have any restaurant recommendations in either city, please let me know.

I wish I could say that with all this traveling I'm having fun, in a jet setting, supermodel sort of way. I'm not. Maybe if I could envision, say, Gisele, flying coach on Southwest, I might feel differently. (Have seats in coach gotten smaller over the years, or have I just gotten bigger?) In actuality, I find the process of flying to be very tiresome.

Anyways, back to food.

At Trader Joe's this past weekend, I came across cartons of colorful heirloom cherry tomatoes. I bought two cartons of tomatoes and decided to use them to make a quick and simple dinner on Saturday night. Yum!

Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes Over Pasta
Serves approximately 4

16 ounces pasta (I used pappardelle)

2 pounds (2 cartons) heirloom cherry tomatoes

1/8 - 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Basil leaves, torn

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Slice the tomatoes in half and toss them in 1/8 to 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add salt and pepper, and roast the tomatoes in the oven on a foil-lined baking sheet for about for about 20 minutes.

About 10 minutes into the roasting process, bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Before removing the tomatoes out of the oven, drop the pasta into the hot water and cook according to the directions on the package.
Take the tomatoes out of the oven when they become soft, but not mushy. Set the tomatoes aside.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 3 minutes until softened. Add the tomatoes and turn the heat down to low. Add the basil leaves and, if necessary, additional salt and pepper.

When the pasta is done cooking, drain the pasta thoroughly. Spoon the tomatoes over the pasta and serve.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Just Saw the Film, "I Love You, Man."

Felt like a Judd Apatow film (Knocked up, Pineapple Express, Talladega Nights, Superbad), even though it wasn't a Judd Apatow film.

It was painful to watch, sort of like watching episodes of The Office. Still, though, I laughed my ass off throughout the entire film.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cobb Salad

Another entree salad this week.

I mentioned two weeks ago that I had a cobb salad (minus the bacon) during the Drinking Liberally happy hour held that week at Capital City Brewing Company in Arlington, Virginia.

I decided to try making a cobb salad, or at least my version of a cobb salad, for dinner last night.

For a bacon substitute, I cut Lightlife brand's smokey tempeh strips into small pieces and sauteed them in some canola oil until they were crispy around the edges.

I arranged the defrosted sweet corn, "bacon" bits, chopped boiled eggs, diced tomatoes, diced avocados, black olives, and some crumbled blue cheese on top of a bed of romaine lettuce that I had tossed in some store-bought blue cheese dressing.

Easy. Filling. And very delicious!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Vegan Jambalaya

I really liked this dish, which is my vegan adaptation of a Rachel Ray recipe.

My partner, on the other hand, did not like the Tofurkey brand sausages that I had used in place of the andouille. I thought the sausages tasted pretty good, much to my surprise.

The next time I make this dish, though, I'll probably add more vegetables, for example, squash and eggplant, and substitute tempeh for the Tofurkey brand sausages.

I pretty much followed Rachel Ray's recipe as written, except that I did use more cayenne pepper than called for. I also used vegetable broth and vegan worcestershire sauce and, of course, omitted the shrimp and chicken.

And, yes, the entire dish took less than 30 minutes to prepare!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Voting Still Open for Sexiest Vegetarians Over 50 Contest

Image from Peta

You can still vote for Peta's Sexiest Vegetarians Over 50.

I've already cast my vote for Julian, age 51 (veg for 33 years), from Framingham, MA. Nice smile, nice bod. It's all working for me.

As for the female contestants, I've cast my vote for Mimi, age 70 (veg for 40 years).

Monday, August 10, 2009

Nicoise Salad

In my last real food post - which would have been about two weeks ago - I mentioned that I wanted to start making entree salads during weeknights.

After practically living at Applebee's during a 6-day business trip I took last week to Hazard, Kentucky, I was looking forward to making something that was healthful and refreshing upon my return.

On Saturday, I found the following recipe for a nicoise salad from the cookbook,
The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters. I pretty much followed the recipe, as written. I did, of course, omit the anchovies.

This attractive looking salad was simple to make and was very delicious. It totally hit the spot.

Nicoise Salad

Serves approximately 3-4

3/4 pound ripe tomatoes, sliced into small wedges and seasoned with salt
1/4 pound of green beans, trimmed, and blanched in boiling water until tender

1 red bell pepper, seeded, and cut into strips

1 large cucumber, chopped
large eggs, boiled, and sliced into quarters
1 p
ackage arugula


1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste

1 garlic glove, minced

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

5 basil leaves, chopped

Whisk together the dressing ingredients.

Toss the green beans, bell peppers, and cucumbers in 3/4 of the dressing.

Toss the tomato wedges in the remaining 1/4 of the dressing.

Arrange the green beans, bell peppers, and cucumbers on top of the bed of arugula.

Garnish the salad with the tomatoes and eggs, and serve (preferably with a glass or two of white wine).

Sunday, August 9, 2009

New single from Pink

While I was driving around doing my grocery shopping errands this afternoon, I heard this song, "Please Don't Leave Me," on the car radio from singer-songwriter Pink, who also happens to be a vegetarian. Love it!

In fact, I really can't think of a song from Pink that I've disliked since her 2002 CD, Missundazstood.

Hope you enjoy.

P.S. Food posts will resume tomorrow.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Blogging from Hazard, KY

"Appetizer @ Applebee's" by wEnDeLicious

All of the insane hours I've been putting into work these past few weeks is about to be put to the test this Wednesday in Hazard, Ky.

Speaking of which, my coworker and I arrived in Hazard on Sunday night. What I like about our hotel is that it shares a parking lot with a grocery store. (The grocery store has a fairly decent vegetarian section.) What I dislike about our hotel is that the only game in town for prepared foods is, yep, you guessed it, Applebee's, which has an extremely limited (no entrees) vegetarian selection.

I actually had the artichoke dip appetizer (shown above) for lunch today. I also had Applebee's last night and earlier this evening for dinner. For dinner this evening, I had the "veggie patch" pizza and deep fried mozzarella cheese sticks. It was just, eh.

While I normally don't cook while on business travel, I would make an exception in this case. Unfortunately, my hotel room is not outfitted with a stove and refrigerator.

Tomorrow, my coworker and I are going to check out a Mexican restaurant in the next town over. Hopefully, the food there will be better because my stomach is feeling a bit blah from tonight's dinner.