Saturday Night Salsa Chick’n

Some of you folks know that I’m in grad school. What you don’t know is that Mr. Artichoke is now also in grad school as of this semester. That now means more nights spent at home to study and get homework done. 
As I type this post, Artie’s working on his first major paper for his Human Behavior course. He’s been working so hard on it that I’ve decided to make dinner. 
Since we can’t do anything fun tonight, like go salsa dancing, I whipped up my own bit of fun by making a vegan salsa chicken dish! I must have done a pretty darn good job, because Artie took a long enough break to literally lick his plate clean. He even did a little wiggle in delight as he went for seconds. 
It’s a pretty simple dish to put together, using a package of gardein chick’n scallopini, some homemade taco seasoning, veggies, salsa, cheese and sour cream. Piled up in a baking dish, the aroma from the oven was awesome, especially from the blend of the taco seasoning and salsa. To add, I highly recommended a squirt of fresh lime juice just to bring all of the flavors together. On top of a bed of rice and topped with crumbled tortilla chips, this chicken is just rockin’, especially the veggies and salsa actually create a nice little gravy to drizzle on top. So you get a nice combo of textures in every bite.
Saturday Night Salsa Chick’n (Good on Any Night You Feel Like Dancing)
Source: Mac’s Dancing in the Kitchen
Serves 2-4
Ingredients:
  • 1 pkg. gardein chick’n scallopini, thawed
  • 1-2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/2 c. salsa
  • 1/2 c. shredded vegan cheese (ex. Daiya Cheddar Shreds)
  • 2-4 Tbsp. vegan sour cream, lime juice, chopped fresh cilantro, crumbled tortilla chips for serving, optional

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Sprinkle both sides of each chick’n filet with taco seasoning. Set aside
  3. Lightly use cooking spray in saucepan and heat. Saute garlic until lightly brown. Add onions and peppers. Turn down heat to medium-low and cover pan with lid. Sweat vegetables for approximately 5 minutes
  4. Pour veggies into a 9×5 baking dish. Top with chick’n filets and spoon over the salsa. Cover dish with foil, and bake in oven for 30 minutes
  5. Remove foil and sprinkle cheese. Bake for another 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, switch oven to broil and cook for another 3-5 minutes
  6. Serve and top with sour cream, lime juice, chopped fresh cilantro and/or tortilla chip crumbles

Hope you try this recipe. I promise, it will get you dancing in the kitchen and at the dinner table! Be sure you play some Celia Cruz to set the mood!

Pure Food and Wine – New York, New York

Having just gotten over a really nasty cold, I was looking forward to a great day far away from the sick bed and downing medicine. Artie and I went into Manhattan for our first totally raw dining experience at Pure Food and Wine in Gramercy on Saturday afternoon. It was not only eye-opening, but one of the most delicious meal we’ve ever had in this little town of ours.

We were excited to check out the menu and make our choices. I knew I wanted a juice with my meal, as I’ve been on a juicing kick as of late. So, I went for the Hot Pink (beets, pears, pineapple and ginger) and ordered the Spicy Thai Lettuce Wraps. Artie was torn between the Pumpkinseed and Herb Salad and the Tomato and Zucchini Lasagna. After checking in with our waitress (super nice and knowledgeable), she suggested the lasagna as being the “signature” dish. Of course, that sealed it for Artie and that’s what he ordered.

With everything being raw, you know it has to be fresh. What we received on our plate went well beyond our expectations of freshness and clean eating. Our food actually came out pretty quickly (bonus of not cooking the meal, I guess). The presentation was simply beautiful from the literal hot pink color of the juice to the amazing balanced tower of the lasagna and the brightness of the wraps. Almost too good to eat, our stomachs made us do just that!

As you can see from the photos above, we devoured our food. I will say that I got full 1/2 way through, partly from having the juice. So, Artie had to help me out a bit. He happily obliged, as everything was so delicious. Artie actually said “This is one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life.” That coming from him was major, as he’s the son of a chef.

The lasagna tasted better than some baked lasagnas I’ve had in Little Italy or on Arthur Avenue. The Spicy Thai Lettuce Wraps (sprouts, cabbage, cashews mango and fresh herbs wrapped in collard leaves and served with a tamarind sauce) were simply stunning and refreshing. What I think made both dishes was how simple they were yet so nicely intricate in flavor.

With surprisingly full bellies, we just had to have dessert. Earlier in the day, we had tweeted about our trip to Pure and nicely enough we were pointed to the Mallomar and sundaes. No way were we going to finish a sundae. So Artie who loved Mallomars as a kid ordered one for himself. Then, I ordered the fig bar, and his eyes widened. Needless to say when both arrived, we were like 2 happy little kids. In so many words, our treats were shared, eaten and then gone.

Our time at Pure Food and Wine was just great. From our lovely waitress to the inviting decor to our yummy eats, everything was wonderful. I cannot say enough how impressed we were. What is “eating raw?” I do not profess to know, but I know now that it’s definitely more than eating a salad.

I cannot say if I would ever venture down a solely raw path. However, if I can eat like we ate at Pure, I’d totally not be opposed. Not to mention, Artie can live on the lasagna everyday, if he was “forced” to do so.

We plan to be back soon and will bring a friend or relative or both next time!

Pure Food and Wine
54 Irving Place
New York, NY 10003
212-477-1010

Avocado Chicken-Less Salad

For the first time ever, I made something other than guacamole with avocados. Since we had gotten a few on a sale at the supermarket, I wanted to come up with something creative and healthy. What came to mind was a avocado mayonnaise (vegan, of course) to go into a vegan “chicken” salad. It was pretty quick and easy, and tasted good too, especially Wasa Crisps (Light Rye…yum!) or on a bed of lettuce with some grape tomatoes.

I happen to use Trader Joe’s Chicken-Less Strips for this recipe, but you can use your favorite vegan chicken.

Mac’s Yummy Chunky Avocado Chicken-Less Salad
Source: Mac Making Something Other Than Guacamole
Serves: 3

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg. Trader Joe’s Chicken-less Strips, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1/2 medium avocado, pitted and scooped
  • 2 Tbsp. Earth Balance Mindful Mayo Spread
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup(s) raw carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 cup(s) raw celery, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp dried cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp sliced almonds
  • 1/4 tsp paprika

Directions:

  1. Prepare Chicken-Less Strips according to package instructions. Set aside*
  2. In a small bowl mix together avocado, mayo, mustard and balsamic vinegar until smooth 
  3. Stir in garlic powder and black pepper 
  4. Pour mayo mixture into a larger bowl 
  5. Fold in celery, carrot, cranberries, almonds and chicken until well coated 
  6. Sprinkle paprika before serving

Note: If using something other than Trader Joe’s Chicken-Less Strips, be sure to cut “chicken” into chunks or shred for the texture you want

Food for Lovers Queso Was Made for Us! LOVE LOVE LOVE!

First things first. a big thanks to Vegan Bodego for introducing us to Food for Lovers Queso! O-M-G! Every single time we buy a jar, it’s gone…lickety-split.
Being vegan, you get exposed to a new host of great food and products. So when people ask us crazy things like “Don’t you miss (fill in the blank with animal/animal product),” we get a kick out of it and the reaction when we say “No.” You learn more about the foods you eat and find some great combinations that you’d never thought you’d try and actually like. You also can find great alternatives to traditional treats and some traditional store-shelf goods are actually vegan themselves.
Now back to the Queso and why this stuff is awesome. Nachos with queso is one of the bestest things ever! Mac’s tried making vegan queso in the past using spicy vegan cheese with salsa, but it never came out how she liked it. Now, finding Queso, not only is it delicious but Mac doesn’t have to have that sad face when her recipe attempt doesn’t work out as she likes.
Food for Lovers Queso tastes like the “real” stuff. Our omnivore peeps think it is the “real” stuff. It’s that darn good. There’s a nice amount of heat, sweet and cheesy goodness. Perfect for nachos, salads, veggie dogs and burgers, honestly, we would put it on everything, if Mac didn’t have some level of restraint. It’s way better than that cheese food and watery average-shelf salsa mix you see in commercials. 
Now writing this, the craving for nachos is kicking up. So we’re going to end this post before we start eating it right out of the jar with a spoon!
For more info on Food for Lovers and their Queso, check out http://foodforlovers.com/

It’s been a while… & Introducing Sacha Vida

We know! We know! We know! We’ve neglected our lovely blog for about 2 months. Bad Mac and Artie, right? But you know how it goes when “real life” (whatever that means) gets in the way. Armed with new jobs and Artie now also in school (2 working Grad students + 2 cats = Crazy Times) So we’re back…with a vengeance? 🙂 


Thanks for the great gift bag, Sacha Vida! 

Anyway, we’ve been meaning to share a great product with you called Sacha Vida! Having been introduced to these guys at the NYC Green Holiday Festival back in December (they also hooked us up with tix to the event – THANKS AGAIN!), we were intrigued by these special seeds from the Peruvian Amazon called sacha inchi. We learned a thing or two about these seeds, which look like mega-sized coffee beans, that impressed us: 
  1. They’re high in digestive proteins and fatty acids like Omega 3
  2. They’re natural antioxidants (Great source for Vitamins A and E)
  3. They’re chock full of fiber and mineral
  4. They have a unique but darn good earthy flavor
  5. There are a lot of healthy benefits including boosting brain activity and can help to regular blood sugars
  6. They’re VEGAN…duh!
  7. They make chocolate-covered sacha inchi seeds that Mac LOVES!
Having sampled the oil, we have to say that it would be great to use in a salad dressing or any dish, replacing walnut oil or even olive oil. It’s not too strong, but really unique. We both really enjoyed it and should probably get some oil soon!
Now, knowing a couple of our artisan friends, we have to wonder can this be used to make soaps or to use as a conditioner, like olive oil. Hmm, that should be interesting.
If you want more info on Sacha Vida, check out their website at www.sachavida.com. The site has a lot of great info on the sachi inchi seeds and their products.