Egyptian Eats

February 16th, 2011

I was in Egypt about a month and a half ago. The regime change and protests had not yet begun. The National Museum in Cairo was not yet looted and I had no problems taking clichéd pyramid photos with thousands of other tourists. As with every trip I take, I was there mostly for the food. Of course the four thousand year old history and culture had some sway as well. My trip lasted 10 days and I spent time in Cairo, Aswan, and Luxor. What follows is an account of my favorite Egyptian eats. Feast your eyes on this!

 

*I should note my mom was worried about my plans to visit. By this point in my travelling career my mom has gotten the idea that most countries I go to have revolutions soon after I leave… so far she’s right. Apologies for the stress mom!

 

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Wood-fired Egyptian flat bread

 

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Woman making bread

 

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Kushari from Abou Tarek. Yep, Anthony Bourdain went here and so did I.

 

(Youtube footage of Tony at Abou Tarek)

 

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Rows of spices at the markets

 

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Sweet potato (or yam, I’ve forgotten) fresh from the cart at the market

 

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Tea with mint (Shai)

 

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Me enjoying Shai

 

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Nubian aged cheese and molasses with flat bread. I have to say I HATED the cheese but the molasses made up for it.

 

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My BIRTHDAY cake. This is the first time I celebrated my birthday outside of the states and the fact that I still ate cake thrilled me

 

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Zalabia- warm fried dough soaked in honey. If there were a perfume that smelled like this dessert, I’d wear it.

 

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Buffet of appetizers including tahini, olives, cucumber salad, garlic dip (? didn’t catch the name), hummus and probably a couple other things I’ve forgotten.

 

Full yet?

Teddy B

Trace at the W

February 7th, 2011

I feel like my culinary experience at Trace in the new W Hotel downtown can best be described in two words.

 

Drinks
&
Desserts

 

These are my favorite two items I’ve had there. Yes, dinner is amazing. Yes, appetizers where fantastic as well. If I went back though, it would definitely be for their unique, fun cocktails and desserts.

 

My first taste of Trace was this cocktail:

 

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A black pepper strawberry martini with basil leaf garnish. This is the first cocktail that got me starting to think about cocktails in a new way. So much so, that I ended up infusing my own vodkas and making my own cocktails at my super bowl party (but that’s another story all together). The warmth of the pepper did not over power the subtle strawberry and the aroma of the basil on top just sold the whole thing.

 

And just like that it was time for my second cocktail

 

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A cucumber and jalapeño cocktail. This drink snuck up on me and hit me in the back of my throat; in a good way.

 

Dessert time!

 

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Sour cherry sorbet w chocolate stout cake. I should mention that I’m biased with anything stout based but my favorite part of the dessert was the sour cherry sorbet.

 

Other pluses of my visit include 1) GREAT service 2)Warm cozy yet modern atmosphere

 

Cons:
1) PRICEY. Cocktails average 10 bucks a pop and entrees are 20-30. This is NOT a place you could/would go to weekly basis but a place you save for special occasions.
2) No happy hour specials. I REALLY wish they had a fun happy hour. I would go often if they did.

 

For now Trace will be a place to have one drink to start the night and then head out some place down town.

 

Teddy B

Homemade Tofu Feta

January 18th, 2011

I made a bit of a boo boo this week and bought far too much tofu. When I say too much tofu I mean about 4 containers of tofu; don’t ask, I went the the grocers several times and forgot what I had bought. The only solution to this non-dilemma is tofu feta!
Ingredients for this simple feta:

 

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1 block of tofu

 

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3 T White Miso
1/4- 1/2 cup Olive Oil (now is the time to use your best oil)

 

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Herbs including: 2 T Oregano, 2 T Basil, 1 T Black peppercorns (optional), 1/2 T red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup Ume Vinegar
And a jar of some sort

 

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Mix all the herbs, miso, and ume in the jar into a paste. Crumble the tofu into the jar and coat everything by stirring with a spoon or shaking the jar. Pour in the Olive oil and let to seep down through the coated tofu.

 

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Place in your fridge and forget about it for a few days but eat within a month. I plan on having some pasta and salads with it. Hopefully I’ll have my pasta machine soon so I can make some ravioli with it! But be wary of the whole peppercorns in there, pick them out before serving.

 

Teddy B

Vegan Peanut Butter Oat Cookies With Chocolate Chips

January 10th, 2011

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I have a new all time favorite cookie recipe. I’m happy to report that I properly measured and wrote down every ingredient. 3 friends have sampled them thus far and we all agreed it’s a great cookie.
I hope everyone tries these.

 

Vegan peanut butter oat cookies with dark chocolate chips

 

1/2 cup natural PB
1/4 cup maple syrup (grade A or B)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons oil
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
dark chocolate chips (as many as you’d like!)

 

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine PB, maple, brown sugar, oil and vanilla in a bowl. Wisk well to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated. In a separate bowl combine flour, oats and baking soda. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and fold together Adding the chocolate chips once the mixture comes together.
Measure tablespoon sized cookies and place onto lined baking sheet. These cookies do not spread. How they go into the oven is very close to what they look like when they come out. Therefore, I pressed them flat with a fork. Bake for 7-10 minutes and allow to cool before eating

 

Happy eating. I’m off to eat more of these cookies :-)

 

Teddy B

Vegan Trailer Counter Culture

January 7th, 2011

I’ve been meaning to try this trailer for months. An all vegan trailer? How could I NOT try it?

 

What I sampled:

 

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The BBQ Jackfruit

 

 

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The Philly Seitan with Cashew Cheese

 

 

1st- I love that this place is very reasonably priced. The sandwiches are 6 bucks a pop and you definitely get your moneys worth.

 

Out of the two, I preferred the BBQ. The sauce was spicy and I enjoyed the lightly grilled onion and pickle on top. Be warned though, if you are adverse to spicy at all, this is not for you. The Philly seitan was well seasoned though the cashew topping would have been better replaced w vegan cheese. When I eat a Philly I’m not looking for healthy; I want greasy cheezy goodness. That being said, I still liked it.

 

I’m looking forward to going back and trying other, new menu items.

 

Teddy

Counter Culture:
Website: http://www.countercultureaustin.com/

Tofutti Cheesecake Recipe

January 5th, 2011

This is another long overdue post. I made this peanut butter cheesecake with a dark chocolate almond crust over 3 months ago and I’m still tempted to create it again. In fact, when I tweeted about it I had a LOT of buzz (even the LA times said something- woah! that made me feel special). What really made me happy was my friend liking it so much that she ate it with her hands on the way to the airport then said i tricked her when she found out it was vegan lol.
Tofutti was nice enough to send me some vouchers so I would test out their products. I have used Tofutti quite a few times in recipes and really like their Cuties but I have to say this is NOT a healthy recipe that should be eaten often. It’s great for potlucks and holidays or special occasions, just like any other rich dessert.

 

I know you are tired of my talk and want photos…

 

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the whole gooey cheesecake

 

 

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See? The texture is nice

 

 

My recipe is a mini cheesecake because it’s just me eating it and i didn’t need to eat a WHOLE cheesecake. I think you’ll have to multiply it by at least 3 to make it into a large, family-sized cheesecake. Also, I decided to make this no-bake but you CAN bake it if you’d like. I was just impatient and it looked so darn good, why wait?

 

Tofutti Peanut Butter Cheesecake:

 

4 oz tofutti cream cheese
1/2 cup of sugar
1/8 cup “milk” (I used coconut)
1/4 cup self-ground chunky peanut butter (you can use your fav nut butter)

 

Blend all ingredients together (a mixing bowl is fine- food processor not needed but can be used)

 

The crust is similar to a raw date crust, I just added some melted chocolate (the measurements are for this small recipe so remember to multiply this to family sized as well!)

 

1/2 cup Pitted Dates
1 cup Blanched almonds
1 tsp vanilla
About 2 Tablespoons melted chocolate (instead of water to make the mixture moist)

 

Blend all items together in a food processor. If the mixture is dry I recommend adding some of your milk. Let the whole cheesecake chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

 

There ya have it. Enjoy!
Teddy

New Year Black Eyed Peas

January 4th, 2011

Where HAVE you been Teddy? Answer: traveling, living life and not worrying so much about blogging. In the last 2 months I’ve visited Egypt, England, and California for the holidays. With all that going on I have to be honest and say I didn’t even WANT to blog (though I’ve still maintained the habit of photographing most of the meals I eat).

 

Therefore, it’s a new year and time for a new post.

 

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I love making beans from scratch. It’s super easy and they taste far superior to the canned ones you buy in the grocery store. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve bought my fair share of canned beans for quick veg friendly meals or apps; however, in an ideal world, I’d make them from scratch all the time. Anywho, since the new year is a special occasion I went all out and made a batch of black eyed peas with sweet potatoes.

 

Traditionally, in the southern states, blacked eyed peas are made with pork and collard greens for good luck on the first of the year (the beans are considered lucky and the collards represent dollar bills). You know me, I have to mix things up. I took out the pork and collards but left in all the luck of the beans.

 

Black Eyed Peas with Sweet potatoe
1 cup dried black eye peas
1 yellow onion (chopped)
3-4 cups of water
1 sweet potato (washed and cut into small chunks)
1 Tablespoon smoked sea salt (regular salt is fine too)
1-3 Tablespoons cilantro (depending on your taste)
1 green onion chopped for garnish (optional)

 

* I made my beans in a pressure cooker but you can do this in a large pot, just increase the boiling time for the beans to at least 1 hour.

 

Place the beans, onion and the water in the pressure cooker (do not add salt until you add other ingredients) and bring to pressure. Let the beans cook at full pressure for 20-30 minutes. Bring the pressure down and add in the sweet potato, salt, and cilantro. Let the mixture simmer for an additional 20 minutes until the sweet potato is soft.

 

Serve over rice, polenta, in a tortilla or any way you fancy. I like mine with white rice and topped with green onion (perhaps avocado too)

 

Do yourself a favor and eat your way to luck this week! :-)

Teddy

Fall Spiced Poached Pears

October 20th, 2010

I’ve talked about poaching pears before.  It was a LONG time ago and pear season is here so I think a reminder is necessary.  I think the process can be broken down into three basic steps.

 

 

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1) Wash, cut in half and “gut” your pear. You can remove the skins but since my pears are organic, I left the skin on.

 

 

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2) Place the pears into a pot and cover with liquid and boil with a lid for about 45 minutes.  This is 1/3 red wine, 1/3 water, and 1/3 apple juice (pure juice not from concentrate).  Measuring is NOT required, just be sure they are mostly covered.  You may also add any whole spices you’d like.  This has a cinnamon stick some cloves and cardamom.

 

 

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3) When a fork can cut through them they are done. You now have poached pears.

 

 

Now that was a BASIC recipe. You can thicken some of the poaching liquid into a sauce as well. Simply remove your whole spices, turn the heat to medium high and let the liquid reduce to half of it’s post poaching volume. Add one to two teaspoons thickener (I used arrow root but you can also use kuzu or cornstarch) and wisk.  The mixture should slightly thicken after a couple of minutes and now you’re done.

 

Pretty easy right?

 

Try it out.  It’s a nice, healthy dessert that impresses the socks off of people.

 

 

Teddy

Photo Series: Grandma makes me pie

October 10th, 2010

Over a month ago I was lucky enough to visit my family in upstate NY. I spent most of my childhood summers there and my favorite memory is, of course, food based- my grandma’s custard pies. I’ve actually talked about this pie several times. Though I’ve taken photos of grandma making it before, I like how these turned out better.

 

 

I just wanted to share them because they make me smile :)

 

*Note, I purposely blurred the recipe card.  This one is staying a family secret.  I need to teach it to some else at some point tho haha.

 

 

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The recipe

 

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The mixing

 

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The measuring

 

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The pre-heating

 

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The washing

 

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The chopping

 

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The pouring

 

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The prepping

 

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The baking

 

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The cleaning

 

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The EATING!

 

 

Yea, that’s all really.  Have a nice night.  Coming back at you with a real recipe post next time.

Pumpkin Garam Masala Soup

October 7th, 2010

I posted this picture of soup on my twitter and facebook fan page and I got great feedback based on the picture alone. I thought I’d share the simple recipe for it. I post pictures on twitter of my meals quite often and if you ever want the recipes (as rough as they may be) just let me know!

 

 

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The pumpkin and garam masala went SO well together. Most people associate the spices in garam masala (cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves…) with fall and pumpkins anyway so I’ve been itching to try to make this. Yesterday, by a stroke of good luck (for me), I found a mis-priced whole organic roasting pumpkin. It was only $1.69 for this pumpkin, I think it was supposed to be $1.69 per POUND. What a deal right? I couldn’t pass that up.

 

After I got home, I split it in half, scooped out the guts and placed it in a 350 degree oven for about 30-45 minutes.  It’ll look like this when it’s done:

 

 

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I also suggest cooking it in a dish with a lip because they release juice as they’re baking.  Allow to cool then remove the now leather-like skin.

 

You’ll end up with a large bowl of ready to use pumpkin:

 

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This is a LOT of pumpkin.  I saved and roasted the seeds as well, for snacking, of course.

 

 

ALL of this is optional.  Roasting a pumpkin is a plain pain for some. I’m a weirdo who LOVES to do it myself. If you use pumpkin puree, be sure to use UNSWEETED or unflavored puree and you’ll need MUCH less water than I did (probably 1/2 the water).  This can be made with butternut  or kabocha squash chunks too.

 

Yields two 1 cup servings:

 

1 1/2 cups pumpkin (chunks)

1/2 a sweet yellow onion

1 Tablespoon Garam Masala (more or less based on your taste)

about 2 cups water (or enough to cover your chucks of squash)

1 Tablespoon sweet white miso (diluted in water)

Sauté the onions in a small amount of oil until they become soft. Add in the Garam Masala and coat the onions in it.  Add in the pumpkin chunks (squash chunks or your puree) and the water (MUCH less if using puree) then the diluted miso mixture.  Cook on a medium/low heat until the mixture barely begins to boil. Remove from heat and blend with a food processor, blender, immersion blender or a food mill. You can strain it but I don’t. Then, EAT.

 

 

Easy-peasy. 5 bucks says you can do it.

 

Teddy