Sunday, December 27, 2015

Dining Out in Paris - Bob's Kitchen

Avocado Lemon Tartine on a Bagel - Bob's Kitchen

Vegan Blog Breakfast at Bob's Kitchen in Paris
Inside Bob's Kitchen
Before it gets too delayed and my dining memories fade I want to share a review of Bob's Kitchen, a healthy restaurant that I visited during my late spring trip to Paris this year. Bob's Kitchen is one of five businesses run by the same company called Bob's Food Etc., it includes a juice bar, bake shop, catering, and pressed juices in addition to this kitchen. I found my way there early in the day and when I arrived I was the only customer, which is quite the opposite of what reviews on Yelp say. I was not used to the late morning start that Parisians are accustomed to, but lucky for me this place opens at 8:00am.  It tends to be very loud and crowded in the later hours in this very casual, small restaurant. I was greeted in English and shown the menus on the wall to order my breakfast. It seemed like more of counter service setup with small tables to dine at versus table service. 

Bob's Kitchen in Paris

Vegan Smoothie Bob's Kitchen in Paris

For breakfast, I paired a Vegan Matcha Protein Smoothie with an Avocado Lemon Tartine, otherwise known as an open-faced sandwich topped with spreadable ingredients. Maybe I've become a spoiled New Yorker after the last couple years, but this was not a bagel I'd go writing home about. It was dry, hard and since I typically go for more savory flavors like an everything bagel, it was too bland. It reminded me of a grocery store Thomas' brand bagel, not very impressive. The French have perfected their bread, but bagels they should leave to the Americans! The avocado topping was plain and simple avocado slices with a tiny bit of lemon juice with sea salt. Again critiquing as a New Yorker with access to about ten restaurants who've all perfected avocado toast (hello, Cafe Gitane!) I would say this didn't stack up, but it was one of the few places I could find healthier meal options. My Matcha Protein Smoothie was creamy and delicious, definitely worth the price.

Karlie Kloss Fan of Paris Restaurant Bob's Kitchen
Karlie Kloss is a fan!
In order to have a healthy breakfast for the next day I walked by again that same afternoon to pick up something I could store in my mini-fridge back at my hotel. I grabbed a premade Chia Pudding with berries. It wasn't very sweet or flavorful, but I was glad to have the wholesome ingredients versus a big baguette and coffee and my only alternative. I loved Paris and if I return I would visit Bob's again for their healthy dishes and give some of the lunch dishes and salads a try. As a final note I should mention that it's gotten a supermodel stamp of approval, I noticed a Karlie Kloss' autographed photo at the register! 

Vegan Crumble, Seasonal Fruit, Chia Pudding To Go

Cold Pressed Juices, Paris at Bob's Ktichen
Cold Pressed Juices

Bob's Kitchen
74 Rue des Gravilliers
Paris, France 3

Friday, November 20, 2015

Dining In - New York-Style Crumb Cake

Veega Blog, Vegan New York-Style Crumb Cake - Chloe's Vegan Desserts
New York-Style Crumb Cake - Chloe's Vegan Desserts

In honor of the place I now call home, I made this recipe for New York-Style Crumb Cake. It was very simple to prepare, in fact more time was spent baking it than making it! The smell that filled my kitchen was an intoxicating buttery, cinnamon scent and if this had been a batch of cookies you can be sure they'd have been gobbled up. Sadly I had to leave the cake untouched so my boyfriend could bring it to his office for a potluck. Verdict from the group was the now common disbelief that it was vegan, meant as a compliment of course! I made this once before with the help of my mom for a Sunday breakfast and it was delicious; sweet with a balance of salt throughout, a moist cake layer covered with a divine buttery crunch. This beats anything premade sitting on a grocery store shelf and I bet it could hold its own against a traditional New York Style-Crumb Cake! You can find the full recipe from Chloe's Vegan Desserts (buy your copy here). 

Crumb Topping:
1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup vegan margarine, melted

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar, for garnish

To Prepare the Crumb Topping:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a 8-inch square pan.

In a medium bowl, prepare crumble by first combining flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon. Then pour on the melted margarine and use two forks to toss the mixture together. You don't want to stir and combine it too much so the tossing method helps to keep it a crumble. 

Veega Blog
Chloe's Vegan Dessert New York Style Crumb Cake
turns into this!

To Prepare the Cake:

In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. 

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together almond milk, canola oil, vanilla extract and apple cider vinegar.

Pour wet mixture over dry and stir together to combine, but don't overmix the batter. 

Veega Blog New York-Style Crumb Cake Desserts

Pour batter into the pan evenly. Sprinkle crumb topping over the batter to cover completely. 

Bake for about 40 minutes. I checked mine a couple of minutes early using a toothpick and noticed it was done. 

Allow to cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar (now doesn't that look like something from an Entenmann's box!?) then cut into squares to serve!

Vegan Blog Veega - New York-Style Crumb Cake
Freshly Baked Crumb Cake

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Dining In - Cinnamon Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan Cinnamon Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies - Chloe's Kitchen
Cinnamon Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies - Chloe's Kitchen

'Tis the season for cookies! Here is another delicious, easy recipe. It's a little more indulgent and gourmet than your basic chocolate chip cookie and won't please most kids, nor is it recommended you give them to youngsters, given the heaping tablespoons of espresso powder blended into them. These don't include some of the common baked good ingredients like oil or vanilla or even much white sugar, but they have a richness from the margarine and generous amount of chocolate chips, and if you flatten them they are crispy, reminding me of Tate's Cookies (not vegan, but famous for that thin, crisp texture). 

This recipe comes from the vegan baking queen Chloe Coscarelli and was included in her first cookbook, Chloe's Kitchen. I made these a few years ago when I started cooking my way through that book (posts of those cooking experiences here). She shared this recipe with a handful of online publications so you can also find it here, here, and here. I was excited to see that this cookie recipe has come to life in Chloe's new restaurant in NYC called by CHLOE (my post on that here), where she displays stacks of these huge, flattened crispy delights next to the registers. 

Ferrara Instand Espresso Coffee, Veega BlogMakes about 24 medium-large cookies

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegan margarine (Earth Balance)
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet diary-free chocolate chips (I used Trader Joe's brand)
1/4 cup granulated sugar for coating
Vegan Chocolate Chips

To Prepare Cinnamon Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Prepare two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

In a separate larger bowl, use a stand or hand mixer to beat the margarine and espresso powder together. Next add in powdered sugar slowly, then add brown sugar and continue to blend with mixer until well combined. Add flour mixture to this about 1/2 cup at a time. Batter will be on the drier side and thick. If batter seems too dry and hard to stir add 1 tablespoon of water. 

Using large spoon or spatula fold in chocolate chips. 

Scoop about two tablespoons of batter onto prepared baking sheets leaving at least one inch between cookies, as they will expand. Press down on each one to flatten the cookie for a crispier finish. Sprinkle granulated sugar on top. 

Vegan Cinnamon Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the edges start to turn a golden brown. Let cookies cool completely (otherwise they will fall apart!) and then remove from sheet and serve!

Cinnamon Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies - Vegan Veega

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Dining In - Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies - Post Punk Kitchen Vegan Recipe
Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies - Post Punk Kitchen

I love the fall! I enjoy the change of the season into more mild weather with crisp, cool air and brightly colored leaves...whenever I can find them in the concrete jungle, that is! It's also the return of one of my favorite fruits, pumpkin. Feeling festive for the week leading up to Halloween, I decided to make these Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies to bring into work. I did a quick search online to find a vegan recipe and recognized the credible source PPK (or Post Punk Kitchen, an online vegan cooking and baking community), so I went with the first recipe I looked at. This was made by Isa Chandra, posted back in 2008! You can see the full recipe here, as well. It's a versatile recipe that you can change to your liking (gluten-free, chocolate chips instead of raisins, add ginger, etc.), as demonstrated by the many comments below it.

Sadly I couldn't get the baking times quite right so my first batch was slightly dark and the final batch was a little too soft, but those that I gave a chance to rest to cook more on the baking sheet came out just right. I preferred these over traditional Oatmeal Raisin cookies! They had the subtle sweet pumpkin flavor and a nice chewy texture with some of the sugar caramelizing in the cooking process. The chopped walnuts gave a light nutty, buttery taste to the cookies that balanced out the sweetness and brought in some healthy fats and fiber. 

Vegan Blog Bob's Red Mills Instant Rolled OatsPumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
2 cups flour
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup raisins

Trader Joe's Organic Pumpkiin Vegan Blog VeegaVegan Blog Veega Molasses Bottle

Vegan Recipe Blog Dry Ingredients for Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
Dry Ingredients for Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
To Prepare Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies:

Grease two large baking sheets with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a medium bowl sift together flour, rolled oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

In a separate large bowl, mix together sugar, oil, molasses, pumpkin, vanilla extract and flaxseed. Stir until well combined. Add dry ingredient mixture in 1/3 of it at a time, by folding into the batter. Finally, fold in raisins and walnuts. 

Use a tablespoon or large spoon to scoop out batter onto baking sheet. Leave about an inch between cookies. Flatten cookies with a fork (this got a little too sticky for me to do easily) or use your palm to gently flatten each cookie. 

Bake cookies for 15 minutes and if using both levels of your oven at the same time, switch the sheets halfway through baking time. 

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookie Batter Veega PPK
Batter Without Walnuts & Raisins
Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool completely. I even put them in the fridge to firm them up quickly. 

Share with friends and family and enjoy the fall flavors!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Dining Out in Paris - Sol Semilla

Vegan Dish of the Day - Sol Semilla
Assiette du Jour (Dish of the Day) - Sol Semilla

This is another postponed recount of my vegan tour of Paris (see my earlier post on the delicious Hank Burger here). I walked across the city to visit Sol Semilla for dinner and it was well worth it! I spotted the brightly colored cafe, which also houses a small market for their selection of supplements and organic food products. The website is dedicated to these "Superaliments" that you can also purchase online. I was warmly greeted (despite its Spanish name and location within a French city, in English, which was a relief as a typical language-deficient American). I took a seat at the window for prime people-watching while dining alone. 

Menu boards inside with the WiFi password, of course!


The Green Detox Juice in Paris Blog
The Green Detox Juice - Sol Semilla
My ordering decision was very easy because the menu is short, but my meal definitely didn't lack variety. I ordered the Dish of the Day which included about six different tasty, nicely seasoned vegan side dishes made with chickpeas, beets, potatoes, brown rice, homemade hummus, and garnished with greens and apples. I appreciated that the ingredients were all whole vegetables and grains, no processed soy products here. They had various vinegars and oil on the table to dress the dish. For a beverage I opted for a green juice and skipped the full meal option which also included a dessert, since I was already feeling full from my colorful plate. My juice was the Green Detox, apple juice mixed with chlorella, a vibrant green algae in the form of powder. 

Vegan Food in Paris Veega blog Sol Semilla

I would visit Sol Semilla again. The food was nourishing, fresh, and reminded me of a home-cooked meal, something I was craving given my longer than usual travels in Europe. It was a bit pricey (15.50 Euros for the dish alone, plus a couple more for the juice), but I was happy to spend it given my options in this city. 

Sol Semilla
23 Rue des Vinaigriers
75010 Paris, France

Sol Semilla Restaurant, Cafe in Paris (Vegan-Friendly)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Dining In - Curry Mustard Seitan with Yellow Rice (Vegan Version of Chicken Kitchen Chop-Chop® and Pollo Tropical TropiChops®)

Vegan Curry Mustard Seitan with Yellow Rice Veega
Curry Mustard Seitan with Yellow Rice

This is a first for this blog, but I am finally posting a recipe that was not prepared by me! My loving and skilled non-vegan boyfriend did all the cooking on this one. It's also an original recipe, handcrafted by him! The photo doesn't do it any justice - it was a knockout.

The inspiration for this dish came from a homemade dinner he cooked just a couple of nights earlier, a non-vegan copycat version of his favorite meal in Miami, where he lived for many years...Chicken Kitchen's Chop Chop dish. The original dish consists of chopped chicken breast, yellow rice, and an addictive curry mustard sauce (you could drink this stuff it's so good). He was so proud of his work in recreating a dish he never thought he would get to enjoy up north so he wanted me to enjoy it, too!

It was adapted from the non-vegan version he created for himself - recipes for that can be found here.  I totally gorged on this, it was tasty!

Serves 2 (really hungry people!) to 4

Yellow Rice

1 cup yellow rice
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable broth (we used, organic, low sodium)
2 tablespoons Earth Balance margarine 
1/2 packet of Goya Sazón with Azafrán seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt (or skip if trying to keep the sodium down)

Curry Mustard Sauce

4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (we used Whole Foods brand)
1 tablespoon non-dairy creamer (try Silk or So Delicious brands)
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons yellow mustard

Vegan "Chicken"

Seitan strips or Chickenless Strips (from Trader Joe's)
1 teaspoon salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Seitan, Vegan Mayo & Vegetable Broth

 Yellow Rice Veega
To Prepare Yellow Rice:

In a medium pot, bring water, broth, seasoning, margarine, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. 
Add rice and stir. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Remove from heat and leave covered when the rice is tender.

To Prepare Curry Mustard Sauce:

Vegan Curry Mustard Sauce from Chicken Kitchen  
Combine all ingredients in medium bowl and use a whisk to blend. Stir vigorously until well combined. Add more or less water depending on how thick you want your sauce.

To Prepare Vegan Chicken:

In a medium frying pan, heat oil on medium-low heat and then add your choice of vegan protein.

Sprinkle on salt and pepper and allow to warm for approximately 5 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure the vegan protein heats evenly and does not burn.

To Prepare Dish:

Start with a portion of yellow rice,  layer on a helping of vegan protein (in this case chopped seitan), and pour a generous amount of curry mustard sauce on top. Serve and enjoy a Miami tradition!

From Veega Blog Vegan Chicken  Kitchen Chop Chop!
Vegan Chicken Kitchen Chop Chop!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dining Out in Paris - Hank Vegan Burger

Vegan Burger in Paris Hank on Veega Blog
Le Petit Menu with La Catcheuse Burger - Hank

Hank Vegan Burger in Paris, France
This is a long overdue review from my weekend trip to Paris this May. I was inspired to post it because my parents just embarked on a journey through France. Better late than never! If you find yourself wandering around Paris (I highly recommend you do) make a turn down this side street and grab yourself a delicious vegan burger at Hank.

Even with all my vegan research, I didn't know about Hank until a friend in London mentioned it to me. She had just been with her vegan friend and said it was delicious. It's an all vegan, quick service, burger joint near Notre Dame. It's very small and mainly serves take out (or "take away" as they call it there), but I still dined in at the small tables.

Le Petit Menu with La Catcheuse Burger - Hank Vegan Veega Paris
Le Petit Menu (Combo Meal) - Hank

I ordered a combo meal, Le Petit Menu because after walking all of Paris I felt I earned myself some fries, too. They offer about 4 or 5 different burger flavors combinations with the option to make the bun gluten-free and add vegan cheese. I chose the La Catcheuse burger with alfalfa sprouts and mustard sauce, with fries and a light, refreshing carbonated beverage I had never tried before called Bionade Fair-Cola. I was eating my lunch at 4pm so I wolfed this down, but that was also because it was so tasty! The sauce on the burger, a mustard vegan mayonnaise was creamy and savory. The bun was toasted and the patty was filling. I also liked the thick cut, organic, Belgian French Fries and the Homemade Vegan Mayonnaise available on each table, not that I  needed that, but I wasn't holding back for this meal! 

Fries from Hank Vegan Burger
I found enough willpower to skip dessert but they did have 3 options when I was there, a large chocolate chip cookie, a carrot cake, and the special of the day, a chocolate mousse.

Hank Vegan Burger
55 Rue de Archives
75003 Paris, France

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