Eat food

Gardens and farmers’ markets are in full swing, and, oh, the fabulous food we eat!

Some recent combos:

Stir fry with basic homemade teriyaki sauce (used fresh ginger and garlic instead of powdered) with snow peas*, broccoli*, black beans**, and edamame.  Minimal cooking keeps the snow peas nice and crunchy!

Mixed green salad* (arugula, spinach, tatsoi, red leaf lettuce) with radish*, hard boiled egg**, green onions**, and sunflower seeds.

Curry with napa cabbage**, snow peas*, rutabaga*, and yellow squash*.

We used coconut milk and red curry paste (both NOT local!) for the curry.  The chef tossed some onion and garlic in there, too.

Strawberry salad

Mixed greens*, sliced strawberries**, goat cheese**, olive oil, and our special balsamic vinegar.  Simple and delicious — good balsamic is the key!

*From the garden.

** Locally grown/raised.

If you go to KC MO

An equally appropriate title would read, “Go, go to KC MO,” because we enjoyed a wonderful extended weekend in Kansas City.  We dined at some known favorite restaurants and discovered some exciting new dining destinations.

We stayed in the County Club Plaza (or simply, The Plaza) area of Kansas City.  The upside?  Many restaurants and stores within walking distance.  The downside?  Most of those restaurants (and stores), were chain-type establishments (with the exception of Eden Alley).  Not very exciting for these foodies.

With the exceptions of Eden Alley and Füd, all of the restaurants I mention offer both vegetarian and meat options.

Oldies but goodies*

 We started our gustatory adventures at Eden Alley, a vegetarian and vegan restaurant that also uses many local ingredients.  My sister ordered a pineapple bruschetta that was the star of the meal (one of the daily specials, I believe).  I selected the egg salad on greens — it was only okay, definitely not the best egg salad ever.  From past visits, some of the menu stars include the sweet potato burrito and the spinach and mushroom loaf.

For dinner Thursday evening, we hit up Bluebird Bistro.  They focus on local ingredients, with food for vegetarians and carnivores alike.  They make everything from scratch, including ketchup.  Check out their eight for $8 menu served until 8pm, Monday through Friday.  Both the vegetarian shepherd’s pie and the baked egg dish from the $8 menu were fantastic!

We picked Bluebird Bistro knowing that we would return 24-hours later for my brother-in-law’s rehearsal dinner.  Twice in one weekend?  No problem.

*None of these restaurants are all that “old,” but we visited them on past trips.
New finds

Thanks to an insider tip (only illegal in stock trading, not restaurant selection), we discovered You Say Tomato, our Friday lunch destination.  Again, focus on high-quality, fresh, local, made-from-scratch foods.   Due to different eating schedules, our party of four managed to eat lunch here twice in one day.  By the time we returned for Sunday brunch, we were regulars.  If you pick one meal to eat here, go for the Sunday brunch (menu changes weekly).  Leek and mushroom galette — yum!
We really liked the idea of walking to dinner on Saturday night, but after a bit of foot scouting, we remained nonplussed by the options in The Plaza.  (Eden Alley was closed for a private party.)  Instead, we followed a tip from our friends at You Say Tomato and headed over to The Westside Local.  Perfect choice!  Again, a strong commitment to local, made-from-scratch deliciousness!  I ate the first French fries I’ve had in quite awhile, dipped in homemade ketchup, of course 🙂
Saving for later

We saved a few places to explore on our next visit to KC MO: Füd (we think this is pronounced “food”), Room 39, Cafe Seed, and Chez Elle.
The Westside Local, Füd, Bluebird Bistro, and Chez Elle create a cluster of fabulous food options at the intersection of Summit Street and 17th Street.  Our ideal return trip includes finding a bed and breakfast somewhere in this neighborhood (any recommendations?).  We plan to travel to Kansas City on Amtrak, bicycles in tow, so we can explore the culinary delights of Kansas City using our favorite form of transportation.

Eating beetles

I love eating beetles!

And by beetles, I mean beets, of course.  I’m not sure why I’ve taken to calling them that, but I find it amusing.

Matthew bought these at the farmers’ market on Saturday — our first of the season.  The beets in our garden aren’t this big yet.

Roasted Beets

Wash beets thoroughly.  If they’re fairly small (and sometimes even if they’re big) you can skip peeling them.  (My sister taught me this.)  Cut them into small chunks.  Toss with a bit of olive oil and salt.  Spread in a single layer on a baking dish.  Roast for 45-60 minutes at 325-400 degrees F, stirring occasionally.

Delicious on salad with poppy seed dressing (recipe here), onions, toasted pecans, and goat cheese.  Other serving suggestions: serve the roasted beets as a side dish or toss with pasta.

Black-eyed peas

So, back on the first of the year, I wrote a post about a new soup I planned to make.  I said I would post the recipe here if it turned out well, and, nudged by the fact that I made it again last night, I’m finally getting around to it.   Black-eyed peas and kale form the base for this simple, delicious, and healthy soup.

Click here for the recipe for “Southern New Year’s Day Soup” from Vegetarian Times.  A few notes on my adaptations:

  • I used onions instead of leeks both times.  I’m sure leeks would be good, but they’re not something we keep around.
  • I used a liberal amount of garlic (shocker, I know!).
  • The recipe calls for dried black-eyed peas and never tells you to cook them.  If you start with dry peas, you need to soak and cook them just like you would any dried bean (although I think they cook faster than other types of dried beans).  Otherwise, if you can find them, you can start with canned black-eyed peas.
  • I used water and the cooking liquid from the peas, along with a bit of extra poultry seasoning, instead of the quart of vegetable broth.
  • The soup is good both with or without the pasta.  If you add pasta, cook it separately and add it to just the portion that you will be eating at that meal, otherwise it will get soggy.
  • As before, both the peas and the kale were locally grown 🙂