Vedge is getting a lot of love this week, and deservedly so! Those of us who loved Horizons were shocked to see it close, and waited for what with baited breath for Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby’s new downtown vegan project. Tucked into the former Deux Cheminées, Vedge is Horizon’s more sophisticated sister – better dressed, streamlined, and with an eye for detail. I’ve yet to formally dine at Vedge, but I have enjoyed multiple happy hours at their marble bar – I’m obsessed with the Engine Room sparkling shiraz they serve at $5 a glass. Unfortunately, I sat at the darker end of the bar on an earlier darkening evening the night I took photos – apologies for the odd photo quality!
The gentleman and I were en route to the Opera, and some bites were in order. The wedge fry arrives in an order of 3, so be prepared to split that third wedge. Crispy-edged perfection with a charred onion dip and porcini salt, but certainly a “small plate.” As was the roasted cauliflower the bartender claimed receives raves. Stand mediterannean style with a tahini sauce – tasty, but nothing surprising. Since I last popped in a few weeks ago, Vedge has updated their happy hour menu for spring. I’m particularly excited to try the shishito peppers and the peel & eat fried lupini beans from their “small plates” dinner menu.
In general, and especially in the summer, when I have all the goodness of fresh vegetables from my CSA and garden, I aim for 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. I know that sounds insane, but the latest dietary guideline call for 5-13 servings a day. I feel like 10 is a great goal, and if I’m I’m cooking for myself, it’s not that hard to do.
Lots of people squeeze in extra servings through juicing. While I like juice and juicing, I want to make sure to get the benefits of all that healthy fiber, too. I aim for 1-3 fruit servings for breakfast, and then 3-4 veggie servings for lunch, another fruit in the afternoon, and a few more veggies for dinner! The above collection of salads is what I had for lunch today:
1 small zuchini, julienned
1 small summer squash, juilienned
about 10 tiny heirloom tomatoes, halved
with red wine vinegar, olive oil and sea salt
a pile of pickled red cabbage salad from Hummus
a pile of red beet salad from Hummus (a local Mediterranean take-out spot)
The best thing about this collection of salads (besides the taste) is all the different colors (and vitamins and minerals) and flavors. And let me tell you, it’s taking me forever to eat!
I introduced my roommate to quinoa, and to these little quinoa patties for “Super Natural Everyday,” just a few weeks ago, and man, is he obsessed. So obsessed that there is always quinoa in the refrigerator, that he has ordered quinoa in bulk, and that these little patties make an appearance at least once a week. It’s true, they’re so delicious its hard NOT to make them all the time.
This recipe is a great way to use left-over quinoa, so make a double-batch next time and leave the rest in the fridge for later in the week. Salt, a beaten egg, garlic, and any kind of chopped vegetables that you have around (I think the above patties have lots of brussel sprouts in them), squeezed all together and fried in a skillet. Thought the cookbook calls these a “snack,” we’re more likely to make them larger, burger-size, and eat them alongside a fresh salad for lunch or a quick dinner. They would also be great as a veggie burger, but with the complete protein/carbohydrate package of quinoa, you don’t really need the bun!
Fresh is an incredible small chain of vegan restaurants in Toronto, Canada. While they do offer dairy products as a “side” item, everything on the expansive menu – salads, wraps, soups, “bowls” and burgers is made from fresh, vegan ingredients and loads of vegetables. Fresh also features a full juice and smoothy bar with enough options to fill half of the expansive menu. And, if you’re the sort of person who likes take-out, we offer a 15% discount to customers who bring in their own bottles or bags for takeout orders. In general, I had a hard time choosing what to eat – I’m just not used to having so many wonderful vegetarian options.
Pictured above is the green goddess bowl on brown basmati rice: steamed bok choy, kale, swiss chard & broccoli with grilled tempeh, pickled ginger, toasted sunflower seeds, tahini sauce, toasted nori & ginger tamari sauce. Just the perfect amount of crunchy, hearty and savory, I love the bowl.
I paired the goddess bowl with a sweet ginger tea to fight the cool and rainy Toronto weather. The only question is, how do we get a Fresh in Philadelphia?
Sometimes you want to cook something, and you have a fridge full of vegetables, and you have to figure out how to combine your craving with your desire to use everything up before your next CSA delivery. That how this dish was born. A basic gratin, (cream, milk, cheese) with turnips, savoy cabbage, and amazing fractal-style cauliflower. Between the layers of vegetable I added dollops of cream cheese, and topped the entire thing with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs made from leftover herb and cornmeal rolls. It. Was. Delicious.
You can decide exactly how healthy (or unhealthy) you’d like to make this comfort food.
1. Choose any combination of starchy winter vegetables. In the gratin above I used red turnips, savoy cabbage, and what I like to call fractal cauliflower.
2. Place the chopped and sliced vegetables in a gratin dish. Salt and pepper each layer. At this point you can add cheese between layers, if you’d like. The above gratin uses cream cheese.
3. Fill the gratin dish 3/4 of the way with a cream, milk, or a combination of the two. Add herbs to the dairy before you pour it over the vegetables.
4. Top with grated parmesan, and some sort of breadcrumbs
5. Bake in a 350 degree over for 35 – 40 minutes. For the first 20 minutes cover the dish with tin foil, and remove the foil for the second 15 – 20 minutes.
6. When the vegetables are baked through and the breadcrumbs are toasted brown, the gratin is done. Enjoy!