All the world is nuts about
What's in The Nut Gourmet
Instead of our usual guest essay that graces this page, we decided to take our readers on a restaurant cruise around Los Angeles where they could vicariously experience some vegetarian and vegetarian friendly restaurants. We asked several of our local restaurants if they would share some of their favorite recipes with our readers. To our delight and your good fortune they agreed.
By preparing these unique recipes in your own kitchen, you could be transported to a dining experience at REAL FOOD DAILY, NATIVE FOODS, P.F. CHANG'S CHINA BISTRO, and FOLLOW YOUR HEART.
REAL FOOD DAILY opened its first location in Santa Monica in 1993 and treats its numerous loyal customers to tasty, organic, vegan specialties for lunch and dinner seven days a week in a unique multi-leveled dining atmosphere. Owner Ann Gentry opened a second restaurant in West Hollywood two and a half years ago where hungry devotees become part of the bustling scenery while waiting patiently for an open table. Ann eagerly shares five of her restaurant's recipes, a hearty Red Bean, Squash and Okra Stew with all the trimmings (Skillet Corn Bread, Scallion Butter, and Garlicky Greens) and a delectable Sweet Potato Pie, If you haven't been to Real Food Daily yet, enjoy a great meal at the following locations:
Santa Monica: 514 Santa Monica Blvd. Phone: 310-451-7544
West Hollywood: 414 North La Cienega Blvd. Phone: 310-289-9910
RED BEAN, SQUASH AND OKRA STEW
This slow-simmering stew makes a satisfying meal served with Skillet Corn Bread, Scallion Butter, and Garlicky Greens.
3 cups (717 ml) dried red beans
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced one-half inch thick to yield 3 cups
2 large carrots, diced one-half inch thick to yield 1 cup
4 stalks of celery, diced one-half inch thick to yield 1 cup
2 small butternut squashes, skinned and diced three-quarters inch thick to yield 3 cups.
1 small red pepper, diced one-half inch thick to yield 1 cup
1 small green pepper, diced one-half inch thick to yield 1 cup
1/4 jalepeno pepper, minced
1/4 cup (59 ml) garlic, minced
4 cups okra, (960 ml) diced into1/2 cubes - when not available substitute zucchini
1 tablespoon chili powder
3 tablespoons dried sage
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 teaspoon chili flakes
2 cups (480 ml) canned whole tomatoes with juice
1 can tomato paste
2 cups (480 ml) water or vegetable stock
1/4 cup (59 ml) tamari
1 cup (237 ml) cilantro, minced
- Clean and rinse beans.
- In a small pot place beans and bay leaf.
- Add enough water to cover the beans by one-inch (2.5 cm). Cover and simmer for 35 minutes. Beans will not be done, but will complete cooking in the stew.
- In a large stockpot, heat oil, onions and carrots. Sauté for five minutes.
- Add celery, squash, bell peppers, jalapenos and garlic. Sauté for five minutes.
- Add okra, spices, salt, and tomato paste.
- In a food processor, blend whole tomatoes with their juice, and add to the pot.
- Add the beans, bean cooking juice, and the water or vegetable stock. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add tamari and cilantro. Serve hot.
SKILLET CORN BREAD WITH SCALLION BUTTER
- Preheat oven to 400° (Gas Mark 6).
- Sift dry ingredients (except salt) into a large bowl and mix well. In a separate bowl combine soymilk, oil, salt and syrup. Blend well. Combine wet and dry ingredients, and mix only until blended.
- Heat oil in an 11-inch (28 cm) round cast-iron skillet until it starts to smoke. Add batter and bake approximately 40 minutes, or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean.
Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree. Refrigerate for about two to three hours before serving.
- De-vein the kale and collard greens. Cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) pieces. In a steamer basket steam greens for about 2 minutes.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil, add onions, garlic and sea salt.
- Sauté for 5 minutes or until the onions are well cooked.
- Add tamari.
- Add the cooked greens; toss with the onions and garlic.
- Sauté for 3 minutes. Serve hot.
SWEET POTATO PIE
With holiday time nearing, your vegan guests can enjoy this version of a traditional sweet potato pie without dairy, eggs and sugar. The roasted and glazed pecans are incorporated for a final gourmet touch.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas mark 4).
- Place sweet potatoes in a large pot of water and simmer until very tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well, Mash with a potato masher or puree in a food processor for a few minutes.
- Add oranges, spices, vanilla, maple syrup and dissolved kuzu. Set aside.
- To make the pie crust, combine the oat flour, whole-wheat pastry flour and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together oil, maple syrup and water. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until well combined. With moistened fingertips, pat the oat mixture into an oiled 9-inch (23 cm) pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Pour sweet potato filling into the baked crust. Leave enough room for the pecan topping. Set aside.
- Scatter the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted.
- Combine barley malt and maple syrup and douse over pecans so they are shiny but not drenched. Place pecans mosaic-fashion on top of pie filling.
- Bake the pie for 40 minutes, or until topping is bubbling and caramelized and the crust is brown at the edges. Cool pie before slicing.
YIELDS: 9 one-inch (2.5 cm) slices
PREP TIME: 45 minutes
COOK TIME: 40 minutes
NATIVE FOODS, whose theme is "Don't panic! It's organic!", began its first venture in Palm Springs in 1993. Palm Desert's good fortune began when owners Tanya Petrovna and Ray White opened a second location in 1996. Now their Westwood restaurant, opened in 1999, enjoys a bustling clientele daily for their innovative dishes served at lunch and dinner.
Located close to the University of California at Los Angeles, the restaurant serves an enthusiastic college crowd and employs equally enthusiastic restaurant personnel. With tables practically shoulder to shoulder, diners become friendly very quickly and are eager to recommend their favorite dishes. Below readers can enjoy Chef Tanya's recipes for a Simple Marinara and Native Eggplant Rollatini with Tofu Ricotta.
Palm Springs: Smoke Tree Village, 1775 E. Palm Canyon Dr. Phone: 760-416-0070
Palm Desert: 73-890 El Paseo Phone: 760-836-9396
Westwood: 11110 1/2 Gayley Ave. Phone: 310-209-1055
- In saucepan sauté garlic in olive oil until lightly browned, add crushed tomatoes, salt and pepper and let simmer ten minutes on low.
- Turn off heat and stir in fresh basil. Voila!
NATIVE EGGPLANT ROLLATINI WITH TOFU RICOTTA
- Slice ends off eggplants and then slice lengthwise (the long way) in quarter-inch slices.
- Lightly salt both sides and place in colander to drain about 10 to15 minutes.
- Prepare Tofu Ricotta while eggplant is draining.
- Pat eggplant slices dry, and heat 2-3 Tb. of oil in saute pan until hot but not smoking. Add eggplant slices and lightly brown on each side.
- Place on plate when done and let slightly cool.
- Put about two tablespoons of Tofu Ricotta on one end of eggplant slice and then rollup.
- Place in baking dish, drizzle with a little Simple Marinara, cover and bake at 350 (Gas Mark 4) for 25 minutes.
- Should be soft and delicate when done.
- Serve over rice or pasta topped with Simple Marinara and a fresh vegetable garnish. Steamed broccoli and sliced carrot pieces look great for color and are GOOD FOR
VARIATION: Sauté some tempeh, season, and chop in 1/2 inch cubes and put 2 to 3 cubes in each eggplant roll.
- Drain water from tofu, then crumble in bowl.
- Add all other ingredients and mix well with large spoon until mixture resembles a ricotta texture.
P.F. CHANG'S CHINA BISTRO at last count owns and operates 52 locations across the country. Because of the restaurants' popularity, patrons know they must wait for a table any time they come for lunch or dinner. Until 2001, it was a restaurant that had very few offerings for vegetarians, but that has changed dramatically. Owner Rick Federico introduced four new vegetarian dishes on the lunch menu that can also be ordered for dinner. They use a vegetarian oyster sauce made from a mushroom base that contains no oysters. The sugar in the recipes can be substituted with evaporated cane juice, and except for the sugar in the vegetarian oyster sauce, the dishes can be made vegan. Below are two of these specialties you can enjoy at home:
Los Angeles: Beverly Center, 121 N. La Cienega Blvd, #117 Phone: 310-854-6467
Santa Monica: 326 Wilshire Blvd. Phone: 310-395-1912
Woodland Hills: The Promenade, 21821 Oxnard St. Phone: 818-340-0491
This simple stir-fry of Chinese longbeans in a vegetarian oyster sauce is true to the spirit of Chinese Buddhist cuisine, hence the name "Temple Longbeans."
Pressed five-spice tofu, vacuum-packed and with the consistency of a firm cheese, is sold in the refrigerator cases of many Asian groceries. If you cannot find it or the fragrant Chinese yellow chives, simply double the amount of longbeans. Tasty string beans can also be substituted for the longbeans.
- Separately blanch the longbeans and carrots until tender-crisp in unsalted boiling water. Drain and rush under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain again.
- Combine the temple sauce ingredients, tasting to adjust the soy sauce and sugar to your liking.
- Heat a wok or wide skillet over high heat until hot. Add the canola oil, swirl to glaze the pan, then add the longbeans, carrots and tofu, and stir-fry until hot, about 2 minutes. Stir the sauce, add it to the pan, and bring it to a simmer. Stir the cornstarch mixture to recombine and slowly add it to the simmering sauce, stirring until the sauce turns glossy, about 10 seconds. Be careful to only add as much of the cornstarch mixture as you need to achieve the desired consistency. Remember you can always add more, but if you add to much it will be thick and goopy. Shower in the chives, stir to blend, then turn off the heat. Add the sesame oil, toss to mix, and serve.
Borrowing the flavors of South East Asia, this is a delicious stir-fry of vegetables available year-round. Use a milder or hotter curry powder to vary the spice.
For a really saucy dish to serve over rice or noodles, double the sauce ingredients and the cornstarch mixture.
- Separately blanch the broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and sugar snap peas until tender-crisp in plain boiling water. Drain and flush with cold water to stop the cooking. Drain again.
- Combine the coconut-curry sauce ingredients. Taste and adjust the sugar to your liking.
- Heat a wok or wide skillet over high heat until hot. Add the canola oil, swirl to glaze the pan, then add the onions and bell pepper. Stir-fry until tender-crisp, 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir until hot, a few minutes more. Add the blanched vegetables and toss to mix.
- Stir the sauce and add it to the pan. Bring to a simmer, tossing to combine.
- Stir the cornstarch mixture to recombine and add it to the pan. Stir until the sauce turns glossy, about 10 seconds (a bit longer if you're doubling the sauce).
Serve with rice, noodles, or a warm loaf of bread.
*Look for Chaokah brand, sold in Asian groceries. Be sure to stir well to incorporate the solids before using.
FOLLOW YOUR HEART 's inception in 1970 consisted of a small vegetarian lunch counter tucked into a corner of a natural foods store. Because of its success, Follow Your Heart soon took over the store. By 1976 they outgrew their space and moved to their present location in Canoga Park, taking over a meat market. Their little lunch counter has become a popular 50-seat restaurant that includes a lunch counter and a small patio as well. They provide the community a complete natural foods market that offers produce, shelf items, supplements, juice machines, and a few funky items such as window crystals, scented candles, and books on tarot.
The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and is renowned for their outstanding soups, offering some vegetarian and some vegan selections that are included in their book Follow Your Heart's Vegetarian Soup Cookbook available at the market. They offer two vegan soup recipes that are steadfast favorites, Popeye's Swee'pea with Olive Oyl and Minestrone. The Minestrone contains honey that can be substituted with Sucanat or maple syrup:
Canoga Park: 21825 Sherman Way Phone: 818-348-3240
POPEYE'S SWEE'PEA WITH OLIVE OYL
This soup contains all of Popeye's favorites - peas sweetened with yams ("I yam what I yam") olive oil, and, of course, spinach.
- In a 6 or 8-quart pot (6 or 8 liter), bring to a boil: water, split peas, onion, yam, celery, and olive oil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 30 minutes.
- Add spinach, garlic, and basil. Bring again to a boil; reduce heat the simmer, covered, about 25 35 minutes, or until split peas have dissolved to form a thick broth. Stir occasionally.
- Add fresh or frozen peas and tamari. Add molasses and Spike to taste, and simmer 5
minutes, until peas are tender and flavors well blended. Serve. Makes 4 1/2 to 5 (4 1/2 to 5 liters) quarts. Cooking time 1 1/4 hours.
Enjoy our vegetarian version of this classic Italian soup.
- Bring to a boil: 2 C. (480 ml) water, tomato puree, olive oil, celery, onion, thyme, and bay leaves. Simmer, covered, 1/2 hour.
- Add eggplant, carrots, oregano, parsley, basil, and garlic, and simmer, covered, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add zucchini and broccoli, and simmer 10 or 15 minutes, or until tender. Stir occasionally.
- Add tamari, vinegar, honey, garbanzos, Spike, and salt. Add water if a thinner soup is desired. Adjust seasonings to taste. Add macaroni or shells, and simmer over low heat for about10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until nice and hot. Serve.
NOTE: The taste of fresh tomatoes is important to this soup. If fresh tomatoes are out of season, however, you can make puree by blending canned whole or chopped tomatoes in blender to make 3 quarts.
*To Cook Garbanzo Beans:
Soak beans for 6 hours or overnight in plenty of cold water. Drain off soaking water. Place beans in a saucepan with fresh water to cover. Bring to a boil; add 1 teaspoon salt. (Adding salt at this point usually keeps the skins from coming off the beans, thus they are more attractive.) Lower heat and simmer, covered, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until tender. Check water level occasionally and add more if necessary. During last 15 minutes of cooking add 2 tablespoons tamari (or salt, to taste), to make beans more flavorful. The tamari also gives the beans a nice color.
Click here for past Words from Other Birds Articles