The Flaming Ice Cube

Terra's Birthday, 2012

A student in my office had been enthusiastically recommending the Flaming Ice Cube for weeks, so we decided to enjoy my birthday lunch at their Cleveland location.

The Flaming Ice Cube is a vegan restaurant in Cleveland’s Public Square, with another location Boardman. Mister had the TLT (Tempeh, Lettuce, and Tomato), while I had the Hula Burger. Both sandwiches came with a pickle and a side dish. It was all delicious! The Hula Burger featured grilled pineapples that really made it special. My side dish was an apples and barley salad, while he had the black bean salsa (not spicy). I didn’t love the hot chocolate (it’s hard to beat my Dark Chocolate Almond Milk), but the chocolate peanut butter bar I grabbed for dessert kept me going through the afternoon. The menu has such variety, and it’s so refreshing to know that we can eat anything we want!

Lunch at the Flaming Ice Cube

The Flaming Ice Cube was was written up in VegNews magazine as having the fourth best veggie burger in the country!

I would definitely recommend The Flaming Ice Cube to both vegans and non. The food is so delicious and interesting. (And it doesn’t taste too healthy.) Check out their menu… I’m sure you’ll find something!

The Flaming Ice Cube

Costa Rica – Food

Beans and rice. Or rice and beans. I’m not poking fun. We had rice and bean for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They were usually accompanied by vegetables or sweets, and they were always delicious. I love rice and beans! Good thing it’s part of the staple diet of Costa Rica. They’re easy to customize for taste and diet.

Dinner

The first night we arrived, the waiter at the hotel restaurant discovered that we’re “vegetarian” (despite the numerous times I said vegan) and he presented the most wonderful special for dinner. We each had 1/2 avocado topped with hearts of palm, tomatoes, sweet red peppers, bean sprouts, and a vinaigrette. That might be the best thing we’ve ever eaten. Ever.

Dinner

I enjoyed a delicious fruit smoothie every chance I could get it. Sweet local fruit? You bet!

Mango smoothie

Breakfast every day included rice and beans, granola, fruit, and toast. There was no non-dairy milk for the granola, so  I just poured it on my jelly-smeared toast. OMG. Heaven! We were always a little rushed in the morning, but that’s a good thing because I might have eaten a plate full of everything in the buffet.

breakfast

Wow. Have you ever had fried plantains? We hadn’t. Man, those are delicious! It’s like a sweet, warm banana. And you can eat it for dinner. Or breakfast. Or lunch. (That’s a fried plantain in the photo above.)

We also met yucca. Yucca is grown in Costa Rica and it’s basically like a dry potato. You can eat it with beans and rice!

Costa Rica

Of course, sometimes all that we could eat was salad, but even that was beautiful and featured new and interesting vegetables.

Costa Rica

Wikipedia has a good summary of the agriculture of Costa Rica. We learned a lot about how the food is grown. More about that in a future post on “lessons learned.” Needless to say, I’m conflicted about my love of bananas, mangoes, coconut, etc., after seeing what the plantations do to this beautiful country. I felt good about eating the fruit when it was “local,” but what about when I’m back in the states?

Virtual Vegan Potluck: Cheesy Oozy Guacamole Bean Dip

It’s Virtual Vegan Potluck day! What a really fantastic idea. More than 65 bloggers have come together to make vegan food to share at a virtual vegan potluck. Feast your eyes on delicious, plant-based, and healthy appetizers, beverages, salads, breads, mains, sides, soups, and desserts. I’m sure you’ll find some good food to “sample” and I think we’ll all leave with new blogger-friends and recipes. (If you want to start at the beginning, head over to Vegan Bloggers Unite!)

I made Cheesy Oozy Guacamole Bean Dip from The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone. We invited Britt and her husband to come help us eat it because, if left unattended, I will eat this whole thing myself. All of it. And then my pants don’t fit for a week. Trust me. It’s happened.

Fortunately, they came and we all enjoyed some fantastic food. Feast your eyes on this fresh produce, beans, and all-around deliciousness.

Tomatoes and avocados

All the ingredients. I love how fresh this recipe is.

Avocados

The dip, constructed

Finally, I get to eat it!

Cheesy Oozy Guacamole Bean Dip
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
  • 3 large avocados
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 12-16 oz. nondairy sour cream
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives, or more if you like
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 package Daiya shredded vegan cheddar cheese (her recipe calls for 2 cups, but I’m over cheese, so I don’t need that much)

The original recipe calls for a few more spicy ingredients that I don’t include. Even though I think Alicia Silverstone and I are kindred spirits, I don’t have permission to post this recipe, so I’m going to send you to Oprah’s site for the full recipe. Also, Alicia and Laura Linney made a video about making this dip and it’s super cute. (Be sure to come back for the rest of the Virtual Vegan Potluck!)

Go forward to Veg Hot Pot
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Go back to iatelunch
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Start at the beginning, Vegan Bloggers Unite!

Recipe Friday: Virtual Vegan Potluck is tomorrow

On Saturday, May 12, terra not terror will be participating in a world-wide, plant-based virtual potluck. How fun is that?!

Ann over at An Unrefined Vegan came up with the idea of bloggers hosting a virtual vegan potluck. We’ll all make a dish, post photos and recipes, and our readers can “sample” all the dishes as they scroll through the blogs. Check back tomorrow morning to see what I’ve made, feast with your eyes, and to find some favorite new bloggers to follow.

Vegan Iron Chef

Vegan Iron Chef at Who's Your MamaThree student teams from The University of Akron (I’m so proud!) competed in the Vegan Iron Chef at Kent State University today. There were plenty of fresh and spicy scents and samples to go around.

Turnout was pretty good. And everyone enjoyed the rice salad, featuring Forbidden Rice, and cellophane noodles with sesame seeds and red onions. Tasty samples!

There was a good discussion about the importance of eating local food and supporting CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), and farmer’s markets. All the chefs used local or organic ingredients, many of which came from the Rootstown farm.

Ramps and morels

At the professional competition, Don King showed off his recently collected ramps and morels (right). Check out his blog, Don the Mushroom Hunter.

We didn’t stick around for the professional competition, but the excitement and positive energy inspired me to look into entering the competition next year.

Vegan Iron Chef

First place among the student competition went to team 1, who made an Indian dish with rice, lentils, and butternut squash with a pea, carrot-ginger, tomato raw cocktail. (right, below)

Vegan Iron Chef at Who's Your Mama

UA’s Garde Manger Club will post all the recipes from the student competition on their Facebook page. I can’t wait to try some of these recipes.

Team 3 took 2nd place with their vegan gyro made with cauliflower, chickpea patties, homemade pitas, and an avocado tzatziki. Yum!

Vegan Iron Chef

It was a hot competition, and team 2 took 3rd place with a smoky Asian tempeh, eggplant, and rice dish.

Sadly, none of the student chefs were vegan, and only a few of the professional chefs were vegan, though there were some vegetarians in the chef group. But, we were happy to see such a lively, positive, and encouraging crowd for this event. We found the dishes a little over-spiced, but the students probably knew they were appealing to a crowd of meat eaters. They knew their audience.

The presentations were all interesting and fun. The student teams had to use

  • local or organic ingredients
  • the mystery ingredient, which was green garlic
  • a raw dish

Each team prepared their dishes for five judges, and at least 30 samples for the crowd (my favorite part!). Two lucky judges were chosen from the crowd, and they judged each dish based on

  • flavor
  • presentation
  • use of local or organic produce
  • originality
  • use of raw ingredients

It was fun to see them calmly and expertly preparing their dishes, and then rushing to “plate” them for the judges. We were so impressed by the student teams. I hope they will continue cooking vegan dishes for themselves and others.

“Who’s Your Mama?” kicks off with Vegan Iron Chef

Kent State University, home of the “Who’s Your Mama?” week-long Earth Day and Environmental Film festival, will host its 4th Vegan Iron Chef competition this Sunday, April 22, from noon to 5pm in the KSU Student Center, 2nd floor dining center. Witness professional teams and student teams compete for the Vegan Iron Chef, and enjoy vegan samples. What else?

  • Garde Mange fruit and vegetable carving display by students from The University of Akron
  • Ice carving by Kent State University’s John Goehler
  • Music by Zach

Full details here, including profiles of the competing chefs. It’s open to the public. (Yay!)

The “Who’s Your Mama?” Earth Day party just keeps getting better every year. The festival officially opens with the Vegan Iron Chef on Sunday, followed by films and food demos throughout the week, and ends with the block party on Saturday, April 28, featuring cool bands, cultural events, animals, exhibits, and more.

Have you ever seen a cooler name for an Earth Day festival?

Recipe Friday: Yummy Vegetable Fajitas

What do you get when the store finally has not only decent sized zucchinis and squash, but also at a decent price? Vegetable fajitas!

I am a huge Mexican food fan myself and when your husband tells you that the meal you made is almost as good as the meal we get at the local restaurant we frequent, it’s a big deal!

Vegetable Fajitas

  • 1 medium size sq20120416-160548.jpguash
  • 1 medium size zucchini
  • 1/2 medium size onion
  • 1 pepper of your choice ( I used green because it was on sale)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • olive oil (enough to get your veggies to start cooking)
  • salsa of your choice
  • tortilla wrap of your choice

Seasoning Mix

  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp raw sugar
  • 1 vegetable boullion cube
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

20120416-160756.jpg

Directions

  1. Cut veggies into bite size pieces
  2. Start cooking rice
  3. Add a little bit of oil to a skillet and saute veggies with the seasoning mix added until veggies are soft
  4. Warm up up an ungreased skillet on medium to medium-low then place your tortillas on there until they are soft.. careful not to burn them
  5. Mix your rice and veggies, place mix on your tortillas, and add some extra salsa if you like
  6. Feel free to add beans to this recipe too!
  7. Enjoy 🙂

Recipe Friday: Mujaddara

Since I have crazy heartburn that is brought on by things as mild as toast or oatmeal, I felt that I probably should avoid the sloppy lentils we planned to make today (with tomatoes and peppers – ouch!). Still craving lentils, I decided to go with the tamer, yet still delicious, mujaddara.

Mujaddara is a traditional Lebanese dish made with lentils, caramelized onions, and rice. And gomasio. That’s it! It’s so simple, satisfying, and healthy.

Mujaddara

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 1/2 cup onion, sliced
  • 1 cup lentils
  • herbs and spices, to taste

1. Cook the rice according to directions. (I prefer brown rice, but white rice is quicker.)

2. Meanwhile, caramelize the onions in a deep skillet. Add the lentils and stir to warm them. Add 2 cups of water and cook on medium low until the water is absorbed, about 45 minutes.

3. Combine rice and lentils. Add herbs and spices or raisins and a healthy sprinkling of gomasio. Traditionally, mujaddara can be made with cumin, coriander, mint, or cinnamon. You could also use bulgur instead of rice.

We found the recipe in Vegan Lunchbox Around the World, but the recipe above is heavily modified and is the one we enjoyed for dinner this week.

More mujaddara recipes

Recipe Friday: Gomasio

sesame seedsGomasio is basically a condiment made of sesame seeds and salt. And it just makes everything taste better. It’s part of a macrobiotic (or superhero) diet because it’s better than salt alone as it adds some healthful nutrients.

Nutrition and You explains sesame seeds:

Its oil seeds are sources for some phyto-nutrients such as omega-6 fatty acids, flavonoid phenolic anti-oxidants, vitamins and dietary fiber with potent anti-cancer as well as health promoting properties.

You can buy gomasio (gə-mosh-ee-o) at the store, but why not make it yourself? It’s super cheap and easy to make. We always have a jar of fresh gomasio on our table to top our dinners.

Gomasio
(I have a small mortar and pestle, so this is 1/2 the normal recipe.)

  • 3 TBSP sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt

1. Toast the salt in a dry skillet. Transfer toasted salt to a suribachi or mortar and pestle and grind into a fine powder.

2. Toast the sesame seeds in the same dry skillet until they’re a nice toasty color. Transfer the seeds to the suribachi or mortar and pestle and grind together with the salt.

Store it in a jar. It lasts about 1-2 weeks. Put it on everything besides sweets.
Try it. You’ll love it!

Vegan beer

Guest post written by Terra’s husband. He enjoys a good beer and decided to look into how beer is made, to be sure it is in line with his vegan values.

MmmmmmmmmWhat’s a beer? Nothing more than water, malt, hops and yeast, right? Well, some beers might be a little more complicated, with sprinkles of jazzy ingredients here and there.

Not all beers are vegan because of the finings (substances used in brewing to alter taste or clear the mix up). Finings turn the yeast into a gelatinous gunk that can then be separated from the beer and make the beer look nice and clear, instead of ghost-like yeasty clouds. Isinglass is fish bladder, not very vegan.

Any more, isinglass is not widely used in beers. For the most part, isinglass is used primarily in the production of cask-conditioned beers. Many stouts, like Guinness, use isinglass.

Take Fuller’s for instance. Fuller’s London Pride was my first beer in London–we landed, raced to a brew pub and then stood, able as a zombie, in the back of some theatre to watch the Lion King musical. Though I doubt you’ll ever find it in the states, Fuller’s Oak Aged Ale is a cask-conditioned beer.

Of course, the other un-vegan-friendly beer ingredient is honey. One of our most popular regional beers Great Lakes Christmas Ale is sadly not vegan because of its honey content. Thankfully, however, all other Great Lakes brews are vegan.

Given their very complicated styles, Akron Hoppin’ Frog has me wondering. Any good insight out there?