Friday, September 18, 2009

The Rebellion: Vegan Pizza in South Denver

Last week, we made a trip down to Denver to pick up a newly refinished record cabinet. What started out as a quick trip to get the furniture turned into a group of us trying out a new pizza place I discovered online, getting the cabinet, shopping at the fanciest Goodwill I've ever seen, a stop at the punk rock flea market, and hanging out at Suburban Home Records to celebrate their 14th anniversary (check out the Drunk Dial hotline). It was a lovely day and it was made all the more lovely by the discovery of decent vegan pizza in the Denver area (City O' City just isn't my speed).

We ordered an extra large Hawaiian pizza, onion rings, and bread sticks for around $22. The Hawaiian pizza had wonderful sauce, FYH cheese, Yves Canadian Bacon, and pineapple. The crust was perfect, neither thick nor thin, and they put on just the right amount of cheese. I've often found the cheese to be the deal breaker in vegan pizza. Either there's too much and it acquires a weird consistency or there's too little and and you might as well just throw some veggies on top of a piece of bread. But, not at The Rebellion:
Plus, you have to love a storefront that looks like the van from the A Team:
And, on top of all that, we have our own special parking:
It's like a little slice of vegan heaven in the midst of South Denver. Unfortunately, it's take-out only right now, so unless you live in the neighborhood, you have to find somewhere else to eat. but, there just so happens to be a park around the corner and several lovely thrift stores and mid-century modern consignment stores down the street. I might have found my favorite 6 block area in Denver.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Taco Salad: Comfort Food in a Bowl

One of the most comforting meals that I grew up with is taco salad. Now, admittedly, it had a far racier (ahem) name when I was growing up, but I blame it on the lack of political correctness that defined much of the late 70's and 80's. Despite such a questionable history, though, when burritos weren't on the menu--a rarity indeed--taco salad was. In hindsight, I recognize that this salad is just a deconstructed, dressed-up version of the burritos my mom so frequently served, but there's something about Fritos that changes this dish into something spectacular. My mom served her burrito filling over Fritos and topped it with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. Mine is served on top of a bed of chopped Romaine hearts, a layer of Fritos, and topped with chipotle ranch and cilantro (and, usually, fresh diced tomatoes). Josh texted me the other day when he took leftovers to say that he thinks this might be his favorite food ever.

I concur.

Taco Salad Filling
1 block of tempeh (crumbled in the food processor)
1/2 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 small zucchini, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1-ish cups of water
1 heaping tbsp. chili powder (I sometimes add more depending on the strength of the chili powder)
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
1/2 tsp. hot paprika
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 can of refried beans

In a small bowl, mix together spices. Set aside. Next, in a soup pan or large skillet, saute onion, pepper, and zucchini in a little bit of oil over medium high heat until onion turns translucent and all the veggies are beginning to brown. Add tempeh and saute until it too browns a little. Add spices and saute for a minute more, then add water and scrape any cooked on spices off the bottom of the pan. Turn heat down to medium-low. Add tomatoes and corn. Cook until the mixture starts to thicken and the water is mostly cooked off. Stir in refried beans and heat through.

Serve over romaine and Fritos and top with whatever you like. This is particularly good with chipotle ranch, but salsa and guacamole are delicious toppers to.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

660 Curries: Sweet and Sour Chickpeas

To say that we have a lot of cookbooks is an understatement. Granted, I think we're still at the point where the majority of them are ones that Josh brought into the relationship, but I've quickly added to the collection (not at all unlike the kitchen appliance situation around here, but that's another story...) and it's now on the verge of outgrowing the full-size bookshelf that is designated as the cooking shelf. I get excited about every new cookbook, but rarely do I get as excited as I am about the latest addition to the collection: 660 Curries. Rhaghavan Iyer explains the history of curries, dispels misconceptions, spells out the main components of curries, and tells a little story or background to go with each of the recipes. It's a huge tome, with over half it's length dedicated to vegetable and legume curries. It's also a truly engaging book, one I've already found myself sitting down to read with a cup of coffee. And, in these dicey economic times, it's nice to have so many recipes at my fingertips that rely on such cheap and delicious ingredients. Case in point: Sweet and Sour Chickpeas. not only did this recipe make use of a pantry ingredient that I've had and not used for too long (tamarind concentrate), but I had every ingredient in my cupboards. The layers of flavors were divine and the spicy cardamom flavor of this curry went really well with the box of TJ's corn bread that's been sitting in my pantry for too long. I'm really, really looking forward to exploring a couple hundred more curries. At least.