Not Just Tofu

Archive for November, 2010|Monthly archive page

Restaurant: IMHOTEP’S

In Local Eats, New York, Restaurant Experience on November 28, 2010 at 12:59 am

 You probably are wondering why my restaurant reviews outside of NJ are in Brooklyn?  My in-laws live in Brooklyn, so I have become comfortable in that neck of the woods. 

“IMHOTEP’S” is a vegan restaurant and health food store with West Indian roots.  It is set up like Boston Market with the food already prepared, all you have to do is choose which meal you would like.  After speaking with the owner, I disclosed that “IMHOTEP’S” stands for “He Who Comes With Blessings.”

 So let’s rate IMHOTEP’S.

Appearance: misleading – it does not look like a restaurant.  The front of the establishment is a store which sells vegetarian products.  Prepared foods are served in the back.

Food: There is a variety of dishes.  The most interesting were the mock chicken drumsticks which were made of a soy product formed around a thin wooden rod.  The mock drumstick came fried or bbq’d.  Other dishes included a veggie chunk stew, rice and peas and stewed squash.  They also serve homemade vegan cakes.  The day I visited, they were serving carrot cake.  I love carrot cake, but not vegan carrot cake.  I always find it dry and this version was no different. I tried a few spoonfuls of the meal and gave the rest to Alvin, not to say that is wasn’t good it just wasn’t for me. 

Cost: affordable – I bought a complete meal for $8.00. 

Overall review:  An occassional vegetarian as myself may find this type of vegan fare daunting.  I think that I may have mentioned that I am not a lover of mock meats and they serve more than I like.  I prefer my vegetarian food to be light and fresh.  IMHOTEP’S serves comfort style food that sticks to the bones.  If you are a vegan…this is heaven.  If you are me…it is a new experience worth having.

IMHOTEP’S

734 Nostrand Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11216

718.493.2395

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Article: Thanksgiving

In Editorial on November 27, 2010 at 11:29 pm

This Thanksgiving was a bit of a challenge for me because I did not cook.  Last Sunday, I unfortunately fell victim to Bell’s Palsy.  For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is a paralysis of one side of your face.  So after suffering from a great headache earlier that day, I couldn’t blink my right eye.  Minutes after that discovery, Alvin whisked me off to the emergency room.  After 2 anxiety attacks and a cat scan, I was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy. 

With a leaning face, I sat on the side lines while Alvin took over Thanksgiving dinner.  We were able to have really good food but no vegetarian stars.  With no vegetarian star on the table, I started to wonder what do other vegetarians have on their Thanksgiving table?  What do my readers eat instead of turkey?  Are you guys eating “Tofurkey” (I got a free one from my grocery store)? Are you guys making mock turkey loaf?  Do you even try to imitate a turkey or do you turn to filling vegetables?  Alvin is a pescatarian so we had salmon on our tables, but you purist wouldn’t bother with that. 

With 2 more holidays around the corner, I want to redeem myself.  Unfortunately my taste buds have been altered due to this condition and will probably cause some other challenges but I am willing to try.  Over the next few weeks,  I want to invent or test new dishes that will out shine your Mom’s turkey, or your Grandma’s ham.   It may be challenging, but  it is possible.  Are you hungry?

Recipe: Vegetarian Curry Patties

In Recipe, sides on November 18, 2010 at 10:37 pm

I think that I have mentioned that I am a “Jamerican” which is a person who is born in America but raised by Jamaicans as a Jamaican.  Every country has street food.; In the Jamaica there is jerk chicken and beef patties.  Fortunately Bergen County has a large population of West Indian, especially Jamaican, restaurants. I think we are second to Chinese food when it comes to take out.  The only problem is that not every Jamaican restaurant makes or sells a quality vegetarian patty.  A lot of the time, a vegetarian patty is made with cabbage but every now and again you can get a soy patty which is Alvin’s preferred choice.  So you know what that means; I had to find a way to make it at home.  This recipe is quick, easy and tastey.  Enjoy!

  Ingredients

  • 1 Package of Frozen Empanada Shells, thawed
  • 1 cup of Texturized Vegetable Protein, soaked and drained
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp of West Indian Curry
  • 1 tbsp of no salt seasoning
  • 1/2 tbsp of seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1/2 of dry thyme or 1 tsp of fresh thyme
  • 1 Cup of water
  • 2 tsp of olive oil
  • 1 pinch of granulated sugar
  • Butter flavored cooking spray

Note: Empanada skins are found in the freezer section with the Spanish products.  I prefer the Goya brand.  If you can’t find them use refrigerated biscuit do not Pillsbury pie dough because it is made with lard.

Tools:

  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • measuring spoon
  • Frying Pan
  • Spatula
  • Cookie Sheet

Directions

  1. Warm oil in a shallow frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Saute the diced onions and minced garlic in the oil. 
  3.  Add the curry powder to the onion mixture and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in the texturized vegetable protein till the curry coats the granules.
  5. Season the mixture with seasoning salt, no salt seasoning, onions powder, garlic powder, sugar and thyme.
  6. Stir in 1 cup of water and cook coverd till the water is absorbed.Once the meat mixture is cooked through, let cool for 10 minutes.
  7. Fill one side of each empanada shell with 2 spoonfuls of the meat mixture.
  8. Wet the edges with water and seal.
  9. Pinch the edges with prongs of a fork.
  10. Bake empanadas for 15 minutes on a greased baking sheet.
  11. Last five minutes of baking, spray with butter flavored cooking spray or brush with melted butter.

Footnote:  For a crispy texture, you can shallow fry them for 2 -3 minutes on each side

Restaurant: Evergreen

In Englewood, Local Eats, Restaurant Experience on November 17, 2010 at 3:55 am

Most think that Greenline on Palisade Avenue in Englewood, NJ is the only place where a person can get fresh food fast.  Contrary to popular belief Evergreen has been offering fresh quality food in Englewood since 1995.  Evergreen’s logo is Fine Fresh Foods & Juice Bar.  I first learned of Evergreen while temping at a local communications company in 2000.  It wasn’t till visiting my favorite chocolatier, Matisse that I remembered this popular lunch spot.  Since then, everytime I want to treat myself to a $10 lunch, this is were I go.

What should vegetarians and meat-eaters order at Evergreen?  The roast vegetable foccacia with fresh Mozzarella cheese and Balsamic vinegar is the best vegetarian sandwich I have ever eaten.  For $6.50 you can have a quality sandwich that will fill you up without a doubt.  The sandwich consist of roasted onions, peppers, mushrooms and eggplant drizzled with quality Balsamic vinegar.  For a while, I haven’t been enjoying lunch because my taste buds where tired of the same hum drum options, but this has changed my mind about lunch. 

There are many vegetarian options like the Pesto Grilled Vegetable Panini, Veggie Burgers, Hummus Pitawich and of course salads.  I want to say that the next time I go to Evergreen I will try one of the other vegetarian options available to me, but just thinking about that sandwich makes me want one. The Capri which is a focaccia sandwich made with homemade Mozzarella cheese, house marinated sun dried tomatoes and fresh basil leaves with Balsamic vinagrette does sound tempting; it all depends on how I feel.

The other aspect of Evergreen that I am ready to try is the juice bar. They can boast that they are the only juice bar in Englewood.  They offer everything from organic wheat grass shots to strawberry and banana smoothies.  The drinks range from $2 for a fresh homeade lemonade to $6 for “Totally Green” (a combination of green apples, spinach, celery and cucumber juice).  Evergreen is more than sandwiches and salads they offer homemade Mozzarella cheese, sesame noodles and fruit salads.  They alsooffer catering packages for your next office party or get together. 

Evergreen is located at 260 Grand Avenue, Englewood, NJ and for more information visit them online at  www.evergreenfinefreshfoods.com

Article: Can I Be Honest?

In Uncategorized on November 10, 2010 at 4:07 am

I don’t know if you noticed, but I haven’t been keeping up my postings.  Trust me, my intention were to keep providing you with information as long as you would provide me with your attention.  I have to be honest October was a rough month for me.  I suffered from a respitory infection for over 4 weeks.  It was not until this week that I was able to go up the stairs a work without needing my inhaler.  If you recall, I was not able to host the open house appreciation event in October and unfortunately I will not be able to host one in November. 

Another obstacle that prevents me from posting is motherhood.  I am a mother of 2 boys that take up a lot of my time

Recharging in Philadelphia

 so by bedtime I am exhausted.  I don’t know how mothers who work full time jobs, keep up with the demands of kids and for that I applaud you.  My children are semi-vegetarian but don’t like meat substitutes or most vegetables which cause my cooking time to triple because I cook 2-3 menus every other night.  My saving grace is Thursday night pizza night where I can make 2 pizza’s and everyone is happy. 

I love blogging!!! I love sharing my accomplishments and information, especially because that is what I needed when I started cooking vegetarian.  I took a mini-vacation this past weekend and recharged my battery to serve Not Just Tofu the way it was intended.   So at 10:51 on November 9th, I re-commit to the blog and its audience that I will try to post at least 2 times a week.  If you are just looking for one of my recipes, I am starting to build a recipe library at www.allrecipes.com. So far I have posted 3 recipes by Sandra Calderon, please check it out.  If you just want some of my restaurant reviews, please check my at www.Yelp.com under Sandra Calderon. I just started posting on the Yelp but thought it might be could for those who don’t know about Not Just Tofu.  I am also building a Not Just Tofu page on Facebook, so please become a friend.

What do you have to look forward to this month?  Vegetarian recipes for holiday entertaining and products that will help you celebrate your first turkey-less holiday.   So that’s it; I am healthy and ready to share, teach and answer your questions.

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