31 January 2011

Cool Basil-WDM

We headed to Cool Basil a little while ago for Boston's dad's birthday. Cool Basil is always a great choice for vegetarians as they let us crazies get tofu or extra veggies instead of meat.

And of course, my fortune in their fantastic little rolls rather than the normal Fortune Cookies!

24 January 2011

Home Cooking-Couscous Stuffed Tomatoes & Poached Pears

It was back to home cooking again in Des Moines.

I've made stuffed peppers and tomatoes before, but I didn't have any rice on hand (what? no rice? what kind of household do I keep?!?). However, I did have some couscous, think, think, think: Couscous Stuffed Tomatoes!

I got some onions and garlic going in a tad bit of butter and got the couscous started. Cut out the inside of the tomatoes. Original plan was to put the tomato back in, but Boston said nope, too much tomato taste (I'll have to do that another time when she's not eating).

Mixed the onion and garlic in with the couscous and stuffed it in! Sprinkled a little goat cheese on top and popped it in the oven. Boston got some of her favorite french cut green beens going and...plate (I'm not a chef eh? I don't have to have fancy platings!)
Before we got to eating, I started some red wine in a saucepan and popped my peeled pears in.
Got to eating-YUM! But then again, what, topped with goat cheese, isn't good?

The pears took a LONG time! I grabbed the pears at the store which had the free sample and turns out that wasn't a good choice. They were fancy Asian pears-good for munching, not so great for cooking. They stayed firm even after 45 minutes of cooking. Next time, get some Anjou pears. But it was good nonetheless. Obviously, lack of plate picture means I ate too quickly. (Or I'd just been waiting for an hour for a pear and got too impatient!)

What do you stuff tomatoes/peppers with?

17 January 2011

Home Baking-Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Well, you can't eat out vegetarian all the time, so sometimes, I'll have to write about the home cooking/baking I've done.

My friend, ├ža va aller, whom I met in France, received Mastering the Art of French Cooking for Christmas. It was decided that of course we should work on some of Julia's recipies! But...problem: Julia is not very veggie friendly in the main course food area. So, off to desserts we went! We found a recipie that was a Tarte Tatin, but a variation on the original with cream and egg forming a sort of custard over the apples. We've eaten many a Tarte Tatin in our days, but never this version, so let's give it a shot!

We were lacking in the special tarte pan, so a pie pan will do right? We're not rich here! That's why we are home cooking!

Here are some photos of the during and (amazingly delicious) finished product:

Ritual Cafe-Downtown DSM

My partner (Code name Boston) officially "retired" on Friday! (Well, quit her job to go back to school, but we'll call it retirement) So we had to have a celebratory lunch!

Ritual Cafe is, as far as I know, the only exclusively vegan and vegetarian restaurant/coffee shop in Des Moines. I love to go there to relax, read and have some great food. They do not have wifi, so if you are planning on doing some work, make sure you don't need internet. Other coffee shops have the 1 person, 1 computer look, but Ritual is great because people are, ah! actually talking to each other! Plus they support the LGBT community in Des Moines, bring in great musicians, and like I said before, have some great food! and on to it:

We went in at lunch time looking for some good sandwiches and we got it! I ordered the Tomato and Basil Panini and Boston got the Grilled Veggies and Mozzarella Panini. Both were delicious, but I honestly think her's was better! They did something like soak the foccacia bread in some awesome balsamic vinegar giving it just a fantastic taste. We also split one of the Hemp-nut Chocolate Chip cookies, but that was devoured to quickly to take a photo.

Boston says "it was really tasty"

Great experience, great food, GO! (plus there are great coffee drinks, we didn't have any this time, but try the Mayan Mocha!)

06 January 2011

Flour-Downtown DSM

Today I had the pleasure of having lunch with an old friend who I do not get to see as often as I'd like.

When I told her about the new restaurants (she has a young baby, lunch in the big city isn't high on the to-do list :) Proof opened a couple of years ago) by Carly Groben in downtown, she got excited about Flour and off we went!

Arriving in Flour at 12:30, it was pretty busy. The setup of the restaurant is large tables and benches, so you grab a spot when you can next to strangers (new friends!).

At the counter, you can see all of the freshly made pizzas and the azucar breads. When I've done previous reading about the restaurant, there has always been a veggie pizza option, but when I walked in, there was not (by the end of the meal, there was a blue cheese pizza option though). Mushroom Pepperoni, BBQ Chicken, Clams and (something...). Slightly disappointed, I moved over to the azucar breads. One option was the slightly sweet bread topped with hummous, cucumbers, roasted red peppers, brie cheese and some hearty leafy green lettuce. Yum!

I was so glad that there wasn't a veggie pizza because I otherwise would have skipped over the azucar breads!

We managed to find some seats (and a spot for the 8mos old in a highchair-so happy they had one!). Wait was pretty short and food was out. Delicious! The slight sweetness of the bread worked great with the hummous and brie. There was plenty of food, but I wonder if I should have gotten a salad. I'm on a lettuce kick right now.

I wish I'd taken a picture, because I'm not sure that bread is the right word. Imagine a long ciabatta bread and the stuff piled on top. It wasn't a sandwich and yet, not really a pizza.

Overall, I give Flour a big yes! I bet if I had waited, they could have given me a veggie pizza, but I was very happy with my bread. I also must say they were great with the little one; granted, she is wonderful (no crying or screaming) but everyone was all smiles and helpful with the highchair which made lunch a lot easier!

04 January 2011

A Vegetarian? In Des Moines?

I live in a land of pork chops (seriously, do you know how many events centered around meat from a pig there are in this town??), steak, and occasionally, rabbit, on menus. But I became a vegetarian years ago.

I'm on a search for the best vegetarian food in Des Moines, with some of my own creations thrown in. I'm not a food critic, but I do eat thoughtfully.

Let's get eating!