What I Ate Wednesday: In the Womb of Greek Hospitality

Hey guys, sorry I missed you last week!! Tuesday I took the train to Chicago to visit my friend Christina and her husband Tony. I don’t know about everyone else, but here in the Midwest there’s been a terrible cold going around (I managed to get it twice in a month). Poor Christina got it, so we spent most of our time hanging out at home – AKA The Womb of Greek Hospitality – drinking tea around the kitchen table or curled up on the couch watching movies about chefs on Netflix! I also may have made Christina watch Pee Wee’s Big Adventure with me – I LOVE that movie 😀 And we spent tons of time cooking. I didn’t quite get pictures of everything, but I’ll try to fill in the blanks.

What I Ate Wednesday: Fresh Jackfruit | Orthodox and Vegan
I have the hardest time sleeping the night before I travel, so I basically took a short nap around 3am. The train left here at 6, and I slept most of the way. Then after a tour of Christina’s new home, we both took a very, very long and wonderful nap. Afterwards, I had my first visit to a Cermak Fresh Market and also found fresh jackfruit for the first time ever! Sure looks weird!

The white stringy part didn’t have much flavor, but the yellowy part around the seeds tasted a little bit like pineapple.

What I Ate Wednesday: Palestinian Cabbage Salad | Orthodox and Vegan
A few things I put together with Christina instructing me, like this cabbage salad. It’s basically just cabbage, tons of fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and sumac. Actually maybe that’s exactly what it is, I can’t remember.

2016-12-21-w-bbq-jackfruit-cabbage-salad-min
So, I butchered the jackfruit (vegan appropriation at work) and ended up cooking it down in BBQ sauce. I cooked it for a few hours until it was very tender. We basically made American dakos, placing a rusk in the bottom of the bowl with a layer of cabbage salad on it, then a layer of BBQ jackfruit, topped with avocado.

I also boiled and peeled the jackfruit seeds and sauteed them in oil with salt and garlic. They’re very starchy and make a good snack, but I’m not sure if it’s worth the effort. They’re super slippery, and the peel is hard like plastic. If they don’t split on their own during boiling, it can be tricky getting the peel off. And if you accidentally leave a bit on and try to eat, it’s pretty unpleasant. But I’m glad we at least tried it. I normally buy canned jackfruit in brine, and it already has the seeds removed.

What I Ate Wednesday: Cretan Salad | Orthodox and Vegan
I think this salad is actually what we ate on the first night. Christina had a Cretan salad at a Greek restaurant during a recent trip to Astoria and wanted to recreate it. She told me exactly what to put in, and it turned out wonderfully.

There’s leaf lettuce, lots of cilantro, capers, tomatoes, cucumber, fresh garlic and lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. In place of feta we had a cashew cheese (it was a soft cheese and sort of melted into the salad when we tossed it, but it gave it a great flavor), and we added a dollop of kalamata olive spread when we made dakos.

Somehow I didn’t get a picture of the chili we ate for at least one meal each day. I love having leftover chili because it’s one of those things that just tastes better and better after it chills in the fridge. I could’ve eaten it for a week.

What I Ate Wednesday: Greek Boiled Beets | Orthodox and Vegan
Whenever I get a combo platter at Little Africa, I’m the one who ends up eating all the beets. Sure, beets taste a little like dirt, but in a good way. These were boiled, and I don’t think much of anything was added to them besides maybe some oil and salt. I ate a huge bowl full.

What I Ate Wednesday: Vegan Seitan Ribs | Orthodox and Vegan
On the last day of my visit I made ribs using vital wheat gluten, also known as seitan. I’ve made them before with another recipe, and I think these were not as good – but once you cover something in BBQ sauce, it’s hard to go wrong. This was my first time having access to a grill pan, it was really fun to use.

What I Ate Wednesday: Kale Chips | Orthodox and Vegan
I also made a couple batches of kale chips and experimented with seasoning them in different ways. Salted, Salt & Black Pepper, Salt & Garlic with Nooch, and Oregano & Garlic…with a pinch of salt. We ate these with the ribs.

Not pictured is the steaming hot bowl of fava we also had with this meal. They were on the soupy side, which was the perfect thing to eat before going out into the freezing cold to catch the train back.

What are you eating to keep warm this winter?

What I Ate Wednesday: Takeout and Baking

Hello there, friends, and welcome to the latest edition of What I Ate Wednesday! Last week I was very busy baking!!I tried a new recipe, an old family recipe, a just-throw-in-whatever-you-have recipe, and a brand new item from my favorite non-authentic pizzeria. Are you excited to hear more? GREAT. Read on.

Pan Pizza from Papa John's | Orthodox and Vegan
So, Papa John’s started selling pan pizza a few months ago, but they never updated their website’s nutrition guide with the ingredients. I emailed the manager from the local franchise, and last week he was *finally* able to confirm the new crust and sauce are vegan. There was a special going, any two pizzas with three toppings for $20, so I got a pan pizza and a regular XL pizza – that was enough to feed me three times, and I still put two meals’ worth in the freezer! By the way, the sauce on the pan pizza is excellent. I’ll do a guide for ordering vegan at Papa John’s in the near future.

Cabbage & Potato Bake | Orthodox and Vegan
I think I made this on Friday because it’s an oil-free dish. I lined the pan with leaves of cabbage, then filled it with chopped cabbage, onions, fresh garlic, diced potatoes, and chopped mushrooms. I covered it with tahini sauce, and seasoned it with salt and pepper. Then I covered it in foil and baked it until the potatoes were tender, removed the foil and continued baking until it browned. The tahini sauce thickened up and it was creamy and delicious.

St. Demetrios Cake | Orthodox and Vegan
St. Demetrios is special to me, and I wanted to make a special cake for his feast day on October 26. I need to tweak the recipe a little before I share it, but I can tell you it is flavored with lemon and blueberry. It wasn’t bad for the first try, and I think I’ll knock it out next time.

Syrian Bread | Orthodox and Vegan
And I also spent half a day baking Syrian bread with Tete. Since I had only made it once before, about 15 years ago, I had to be more of a watcher than a participant, but I think she might let me touch the dough next time 🙂 It’s actually pretty much the same exact dough recipe I use for spinach pies, the trick is making it into perfectly shaped beautiful loaves that are just the right thickness, and lightly browned on top. Someone requested this recipe two years ago. I’m really sorry it’s taken so long, but if you’re still around, I’ll probably be ready to post it sometime during the Nativity Fast.

What have you guys been eating this week?

What I Ate Wednesday: Fried Chick’n, Candy Bars

Welcome to another What I Ate Wednesday! I had a very good week of cooking real meals for myself, got to attend a vegan potluck, and forgot to cancel my Doorganics delivery which means…I have lots of fresh produce I *must* eat 🙂 And so far I’m having fun with it, but I also sneaked in a few snacks because I’m a junk food junkie.

What I Ate Wednesday: Ritter Sport Chocolate Covered Marzipan | Orthodox and Vegan
This Ritter Sport candy bar is actually from a couple weeks ago, but I was bad last week and didn’t post at all. I had to share it because I want the world to know sweet almond paste covered in dark chocolate is wonderful.

What I Ate Wednesday: Tahini Quesadillas | Orthodox and Vegan
I made these oil free quesadillas for a fasting day. Very simple – two corn tortillas with tahini spread on one and refried beans on the other, and thinly sliced onion in the middle. Season if you wish. Just heat them in a skillet over medium low heat on both sides, no oil necessary. I dipped them in a store bought taco sauce.

What I Ate Wednesday: Fried Chick'n & Mashed Potatoes | Orthodox and Vegan
I experimented with vital wheat gluten one day and made these chicken-style cutlets, dredged them in seasoned flour, and pan-fried them. I looked all over for the recipe today and can’t find it – which would’ve been fine because I didn’t like it all that well, but I repurposed the cutlets later in the week and they were delicious. I’ll have to get something together for you all later. (And yes, those are my old school headphones, and yes I do actually write things down with pen and paper!)

What I Ate Wednesday: Ethiopian Combo Platter | Orthodox and Vegan
Friday my mom and I had a very long day, and we decided to end it with the All You Can Eat special at Little Africa, our favorite Ethiopian restaurant. It was all we hoped it would be.

What I Ate Wednesday: Vegan Potluck | Orthodox and Vegan
Sunday I went to a vegan potluck hosted by a rare In Real Life vegan Orthodox friend. I repurposed my cutlets for this occasion by cubing them, and marinating them in Creamy Italian dressing for one day before dredging them in the seasoned flour and pan-frying them. IT WAS SO MUCH BETTER!!! I served the chick’n with faux spanakorizo (I forgot to buy spinach, so it was just rice with onions and a massive amount of dill, with salt, pepper, and a touch of garlic. And a lot of olive oil).
There was also a veggie stirfry, sweet potatoes, and mac n cheez. And plenty of wine. It was a good night.

Doorganics Delivers Organic Produce to Your Door | Orthodox and Vegan
Monday I got my Doorganics delivery. Not too exciting when you see it like this, but…

What I Ate Wednesday: Potato & Mushroom Tacos | Orthodox and Vegan
that night I used some of the potatoes, mushrooms, and fresh garlic to make tacos! They have refried beans smeared on the inside to hold everything together.

What I Ate Wednesday: Braised Carrots with Pasta | Orthodox and Vegan
Last night I braised all the carrots in margarine with a little plain unsweetened almond milk and a sprinkling of salt, and served them (to myself) on a bed of pasta with cabbage. I sauteed the cabbage in olive oil with salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, and basil until it was tender. I added angel hair pasta, and just enough plain unsweetened almond milk to cover it. It thickened up nicely without any added flour.

What I Ate Wednesday: Thumbs Up Candy Bar (Tastes Like Butterfinger!!!) | Orthodox and Vegan
And finally, after dinner I treated myself to the Thumbs Up candy car I bought at Food Fight! Grocery in Portland. You’ll notice the wrapper reads, “crunchy, peanut-buttery” as in Crispety, Crunchety, Peanut Buttery BUTTERFINGER! This is Butterfinger’s slightly smaller, more expensive hipster vegan cousin. Did I mention Butterfinger was my favorite candy bar when I was a kid? Well it was. And Go Max Go makes a bunch of other knock-off candy bars, too – check them out at Vegan Essentials.

What are you guys eating this week? Let me know in the comments!