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Posts tagged ‘Vegan’

Not So Plump Dumpling

Dumplings with Winter Farmer's Market Veggies (and Siracha of Course)

Everyone loves a good dumpling, but if you’re just ordering from the Chinese place around the corner, chances are their veggie dumplings will be made with thick dough, and filled with little more than cabbage. This appitizer is suprisingly easy to make at home with store-bought wonton wrappers, and it’s possible you can even have a healthy, flavor-filled batch ready before take out could arrive at your door.

You can get pretty creative with how you stuff your dumplings, just decide if the ingredients need to be cooked prior to filling (steaming only takes about 5 minutes, and you want the filling to be soft… so if it won’t be soft (or for a protein, cooked) in 5 minutes give it a quick saute), and then give them a quick chop in the food processor. Even in the winter you can find amazing greens and root vegetables that are in season, and incredibly nutritious (and of course, delicious).

For my dumplings I used some of the amazing produce I got yesterday at the Union Square Farmer’s Market. I got Shiitake and Pioppini Mushrooms from John D. Madura Farm. The Pioppini have a great peppery flavor, and are an excellent addition to stir-frys as well.

Shiitake and Pioppini Mushrooms from John D. Madura Farms at the Union Square Greenmarket

I also diced, and sautéed some Sweet Potato. I also quickly sautéed the Baby Bok Choy, even though it was super tender, I just wanted to make sure the bottoms of the leaves had no crunch in the dumpling.

Baby Bok Choy

While the ingredients cooked, I made a sauce based on a Mark Bittman recipe for Steamed Shrimp and Cilantro Shu Mai . A simple mixture of Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Rice Wine, Scallions, and Fresh Ginger this sauce will hold the ingredients together in the dumpling, as well as serve as a dipping sauce later.

I gave the cooked ingredients a quick pulse in the food processor along with a few tablespoons of the sauce.

Fill the won-ton wrappers with about a teaspoon of the mixture. Moisten the edges with water, fold in half to make a triangle, and crimp the edges just like a pie crust. To make a Shu-Mai shape, just gather the edges around the center instead of folding, pleating the edges, but leaving some filling exposed.

Steam for about 5 minutes (until wrapper is completely tender), or give a quick pan sear like I did.

For Sauce:

1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1 T Rice Wine
1 T Sesame oil
1 T Minced Ginger (or more… to taste)*
1/4 Cup Chopped Scallions (White only)

*To peel ginger try using a spoon, much easier!

Candle Cafe: Vegan Farm to Table on the Upper East Side

Soba Noodle Salad with sprouts, shiitakes, edamame, carrots, daikon, snap peas, red cabbage, and sesame seeds with a creamy wasabi dressing

Sandwiched between Le Steak on one end of the block, and J.G. Melon (home to arguably the best burgers in Manhattan) on the other, is the Candle Cafe one of my favorite vegan restaurants in the city. The cafe is always very crowded, and pretty noisy (the constantly running juicer in front of the restaurant accounts for most of this), but the healthy, tasty dishes in this casual dining spot are well worth a few minute wait.

There is one menu for both lunch and dinner that changes seasonally at this farm-to-table restaurant, but some items are staples year round like the delicious Mezze Plate with hummus, quinoa tabouli, olives, warm parata bread and homemade wonderfully tart and sweet lemon-date chutney. Daily specials are always offered, including one or more soups, a salad, and a wrap (these specials are updated everyday on the website if you’re ordering take-out or delivery).

BBQ Tempeh & Sweet Potato Sandwich with wilted kale, grilled red onion, and a shallot sage aioli

There is a great selection of salads ranging from a vegan take on the classic caesar salad, to Asian-inspired flavors in the Soba Noodle Salad pictured at the beginning of the post. There are also several sandwiches, including my favorite, the BBQ Tempeh and Sweet Potato Sandwich. This savory sandwich is served warm, and has a great blend of texture and flavor. The shallot sage aioli complements without overpowering, and I always find myself using all of it, probably counteracting anything that was healthy about the dish.

Heartier entrees such as a stir fry, veggie lasagna, and pomegranate Grilled Tofu with garlic-shallot-potato mash, sautéed greens and crispy sage with roasted vegetable gravy and parsley oil are available and are all priced under $20.

The juice bar also serves up several different varieties of fresh juices and smoothies which are available to-go. Wine and beer is served at the cafe as well.

While this type of cuisine is not for everyone, even many skeptical friends of mine have really enjoyed the creative use of vegetarian proteins. The chefs have done an amazing job of giving the soy products on the menu texture and flavor beyond your average tofu– but the veggie-centric selection may be a bit daunting for a date with your burger-loving boyfriend (right Annie and Billy?) The smell of wheat-grass and ginger when you enter may turn some off from the start.

If you are interested in the Candle Cafe’s cuisine but are looking for a more upscale dining experience, try their sister restaurant Candle 79 just around the corner. Worlds apart from the bright lights, chatter, close tables, and hum of the juicer, Candle 79 offers a quiet, elegant atmosphere, with many more menu choices (still 100% vegan).

Candle Cafe
1307 Third Ave (Between 74th & 75th st)
(212) 472-0970

Candle 79
154 e. 79th st (at Lexington)
(212) 537-7179

Upper East Green Eats

Vegan Friendly Steam-Table and Mezze Buffet at the Green Bean Cafe

Every morning on my walk to work, I pass Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, and even Subway (now offering a breakfast menu). I walk into my healthcare job and see co-workers and patients with pastries, bacon egg and cheeses, buttered rolls, and sugar-filled juices and drinks. What ever happened to breakfast being the most important meal of the day?

For those of us in the neighborhood, who are starved for time, and something nutritious for breakfast, check out the Green Bean Cafe on 75th and York. Opening at 7am and delivering free of charge (within a 7 block radius) this tiny eatery offers a great variety of healthy breakfast (and lunch) options.

The Green Bean Cafe (75th and York Ave) photo:beangonegreen.com

Organic smoothies ($4.50-$7.00) like the Jolly Green Giant (Apple, Banana, Pineapple, Kale, and Spinach–blended) to the Golden Ticket (Banana, Pineapple, Peach, Mango, Coconut water, Raw chocolate powder) there are delicious combos full of fresh fruit and other add-ins (bee pollen, spirulina, flax seed, whey or hemp protein, and many more) that will keep your energy level up for hours.

Organic Juices are also offered, and they have a great variety of both fruit and vegetable blends, as well as pre-bottled fresh squeezed OJ for those who need something to grab-and-go.

Also ready-made are Brown Egg Wraps with organic eggs, peppers, potato, onion, diaya cheddar, and salsa– a nutritious alternative to that Egg McMuffin, or Sausage Egg and Cheese, and just as fast.

My favorite are the amazing Fresh Baked Muffins, most are gluten-free, dairy-free, or completely vegan. Just $2.50 each, there is a great selection (Banana Choc. Chip, Carrot Raisin, Blueberry Crumb, Raspberry Almond), and if you get there early enough they will still be warm.

They also have house-made Raw Maple Granola served with fruit and nut milk for $5.50 and Organic Hot Oatmeal ($2.00).

The space is very small, and often crowded, but cozy, warm and welcoming even in a rush. I love getting a muffin and coffee there in the morning, or grabbing a Avocado and Tempeh BLT ($6.75) for lunch.

View the entire menu here. And make sure you stop in the Green Bean Cafe next time you’re on the Upper East Side for fresh healthy food, and something a little more unique for breakfast and lunch in a neighborhood of bagels and toss-your-own salad bars.

Inside the Green Bean Cafe (photo:yelp.com)