Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dim Sum

I took a bunch pictures of the food we ate on Saturday, and then the internet refused to work! So that's why I'm posting them today.

I fasted through Friday night to Saturday morning for my latest blood test. As I mentioned before, I hate blood tests and needles, so the prospect of going to have labwork done while on an empty stomach never makes for a great morning. And then -- the lab technician could not draw the blood from me! I have tiny veins, and this has happened to me before. Apparently, they didn't have any of the butterflies necessary to draw my blood. So I have to go back next week or the week after that. Yuck.

So to make myself feel better, my husband and I went to the Hot Metal Diner, which is a bit of a motorcycle-riding-gathering place, because there are always a ton of Harley Davidsons parked outside. But it's also got a nice family-friendly vibe to it, and the food is always good. This was my first time there as a vegan. Diners can be a little hard for vegans, but I asked a few questions and ordered from the offering of sides. I got a gigantic bowl of oatmeal (they make their oatmeal with water, not milk, yay!) and dry toast with orange marmalade. It may not sound like the most exciting breakfast in the world, but it was good, and just what my hungry, anxious self needed.

Lunch was at the East End Co-op, the local Pittsburgh Co-op. I love, love, love the Co-op. Not only do they have a vegetarian cafe/hot bar with a good number of vegan options, but they also have products like Frontier Bac'Uns Vegetarian Bits.

I forsee tofu-based "egg salad" sandwiches in the future!

The Co-op also has a wonderful variety of prepared meals, including my new favorite weekend lunch: peanut butter tempeh wraps. A creamy peanut butter sauce, tempeh, spinach and carrots in a chipotle tortilla wrap. You really can't go wrong with that.

And then baked goods! There is an entire rack of homemade baked goods, many of them labelled Vegan! Every time we go to the Co-op, I mention to my husband that I want to try one someday. Yesterday he turned and said to me, "Why not try one today?"

I don't really need any more encouragement than that. I had to decide between pumpkin bread, peanut butter cookies, and gingerbread bread, but finally chose the banana bread. I served it to myself on my monkey plate for dessert-- I thought it made sense!
It was nutty and moist, all the things you want in a good banana bread.

Dinner was inspired by the April 2010 issue of Vegetarian Times' section about dim sum. The basic premise is: dumplings are really difficult and time-consuming to make, and there are already a lot of great prepared varieties out there, so why bother? Instead, make a few homemade sauces and side dishes, and perhaps a dessert or two.

I decided on sauce: ginger-scallion. Like a lot of recipes I find in The Vegetarian Times, it needed tweaking to fit a vegan's diet, but this wasn't very hard. The recipe called for honey, but I substituted brown rice syrup instead. The other ingredients were scallions, fresh ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame seeds. Here is a picture of the sauce, served in individual ramekins, with a picture of the salads we also ate:

Instead of making a second sauce, I was lazy and bought this:
Trader Joe's sweet chili sauce. What would I do without a Trader Joe's in my life?

And finally, a picture of the dumplings, not homemade, but still lovely just the same.

It was all great! The scallion-ginger sauce was amazing, and quite easy to whip up. And the sweet chili sauce was a nice complement in flavors.

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