Sunday, May 27, 2012

Maybe Tater?

I gave myself a challenge for the 3 day weekend: make a vegan "top the tater" substitute. It's a Minnesota picnic staple with the cool, refreshing sour cream/cream cheese and chives. What I made isn't up to par, but it was closer than I thought I'd get on my first try. I think I over onion/garlic'd the dip, so you may want to cut back and season to taste. Also, I refused to add sugar, but I think "top the tater" has some. I think using a vidalia onion might carry the sweet and mellow out the onion flavor too. Most everyone I've brainstormed with thinks I should use a vegan sour cream in the next batch, but top the tater just seems a little thicker than that to me. Maybe half and half? I'd love help troubleshooting how to make a dead ringer of one of my favorite dishes for summer in Minnesota.

Vegan "Top the Tater" (1st attempt)

1 tub of better than cream cheese (tofu cream cheese)
2 T vegan mayonnaise
1/2 white onion
1 T onion powder
1 T garlic powder
3-4 T chives

Place the onion in a food processor and blend. Add cream cheese and mayo and blend until smooth. Add onion and garlic powder and blend. Pulse in chives. Refrigerate and serve with ripple potato chips (Old Dutch is the classic.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

NYC Eats

It's been awhile, but I'm back! For the last five days, I've been up and down a small section of the Eastern seaboard (NYC and Boston) catching up with good friends and soaking in city life. My friend moved to NYC in November and upon visiting him I noticed a couple changes in his mindset about food: 1) if the food isn't good, don't eat it because NYC is full of good eats; and 2) a willingness to go way outside his comfort zone (so much so, in fact, we learned 2 out of 3 vegan food experiences were "actually pretty good.")

Here's some of the top eats during my NYC visit:

Champ's Drunken Cowgirl
A fun kitch diner near my friend's apartment serving all vegan options. Is it just me or does the texas toast and daiya cheese make this dish cartoonish? It was ridiculously good regardless. Oh, and I guess I was only a few days late in a star sighting at Champ's. Anne Hathaway is a big fan.

Hangawi's Tofu Kimchi Hot Pot
Kimchi is so good - salty sour with a little kick of heat. Add it to a boiling hot bowl of flavorful broth, mushrooms, tofu and dumplings and call me happy. Ask me to take off my shoes at the door and relax in a quite serene space after a morning of walking around busy NYC and you're mine forever.

Red Bamboo's BBQ Buffalo "Chick'n" Wings
The only thing better than these delectable monster-size vegan chick'n wings was catching up with two college friends who now live in NYC. Friends and wings alike were sweet with a slight spicy edge to them. Must be what life in the big city does to you.

Dun-well Donuts' PB&J and German Chocolate donuts
OMG. Please franchise to University and Hamline in St. Paul. Actually, now that I think about what donuts this good that close to me would mean, stay in NYC. Delicious vegan donuts and superb coffee. Our local vegan donut cooperative should apprentice with the folks at Dunwell. So good.