Saturday, March 31, 2007


When I saw spinach on sale at the grocery store yesterday, I knew immediately what I'd be having for dinner tonight: Spanish Braised Spinach with Chickpeas. This is my very favorite spinach recipe (and I love spinach), and one of my favorite things to eat, period. I'm not going to say it's the most photogenic dish, but it's bursting with flavor, so I hope you'll give it a try. I adapted the recipe from a (omnivorous) cooking magazine that I really enjoy, Fine Cooking. I veganized it and reduced the fat. I know it looks like it has a lot of oil, but I've found that's the least you can use and still get crisp, golden toast (if you don't use enough oil you get dry, burnt toast). For the bread, I just use what I have on hand...anything from sourdough to baguette. I usually just eat this on its own, but I'm sure it would make a good side dish for a protein like tofu or seitan. Bon apetite!

Spanish Braised Spinach With Chickpeas (serves 3 as a main or 6 as a side dish)

20 oz fresh spinach
1 can (15 1/2 oz) of chickpeas, or use cooked
2 tblsp olive oil
6 large cloves garlic
1 cup water
3 slices regular sized bread, or 6 slices of baguette
1 scant tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
2 tblsp vinegar
1 tblsp water
salt and peper

Wash and trim the spinach, and corsely slice. Set aside. Cut three of the garlic cloves in half/thirds, depending on side, and chop the remaining three. In a skillet, heat the olive oil on medium-high until quite hot. Put the bread and garlic slices in the hot oil (the oil needs to be hot, or else the bread will just absorb all the oil). Cook until the bread is golden brown, and then flip over. Do the same with the garlic. You want bread that is a deep gold on both sides, and soft garlic. This usually takes 5-6 minutes. Lift the garlic and bread out of the pan.

Put the chopped garlic and the cumin in the pan, and sautee for about 30 seconds. Add the spinach in baches until it is wilted. Add the cup of water and the chickpeas, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, chop the bread into small cubes. Set one slice aside. Mash 2 (or 4) of the slices of bread in a bowl with the garlic, a tablespoon of water, and the vinegar. Add to the chickpeas. Simmer until most of the water is evaporated. Check for seasonings. Sprinkle the remaining bread cubes over the top as a garnish.

Friday, March 30, 2007

ole ole

Today was burrito night in Chez Village Vegan. Mmmm. I absolutely love burritos. Actually, I pretty much love all Mexican food. Fortunately it's fairly easy to veganize. Burritos are great because you can just kind of throw together a filling of stuff you need to use up, and it always tastes good. Tonight's edition had a yummy black bean-chipotle filling. I have a can of chipotles I'm trying to use up. I sauteed an onion with a little bit of garlic, and then added two chopped chipotles and a little bit of adobo sauce. After that was cooked I added almost a whole can of black beans, and pureed that with my much loved immersion blender. Then I added the rest of the beans, a little bit of corn, and some chopped cilantro. You can't really see it in the picture, but I sprinkled some pepitas on top of the filling, which gave it a little crunch and tasted good.

I made plantains for the first time tonight! I always loved them in restaurants, but I never tried making them at home before. Well, I see lots of plantains in my future. Tonight I sauteed them in a tiny bit of earth balance, and then sprinked brown sugar on them until it melted. Simple and quite nice.

Served with some fresh salsa on the side, this was a tasty, pretty well rounded meal. Another veggie probably wouldn't have hurt, but oh well. (Did I really eat that whole plate?!?!)

Spinach was on sale at the grocery store today, so I think I'm going to make my most favorite ever spinach dish tomorrow. Oh, and to round out the whole Spanish thing, tonight I finally saw a film, Volver, by my favorite director, Pedro Almodovar, that I've been wanting to see forever. It was worth the wait! It was quite different that Almodovar's previous films, which was interesting. And the cinematography was beautiful.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

the subcontinent

I've always wanted to go to India. Or Nepal. Or Bhutan. One of these countries. Of course, the first things that come to mind when I think of the great sub-continent are magical pictures of piles of spices, intricately woven saris, piles of new fruits, vegetables, or teas, all the bright colors... I hope that some day I will be able to go to India, and see those very things, but at the same time I don't want to be one of those horrible tourists who go and rave about the Taj-Mahal picture of "India" that they get. I wonder what it would be like to live in a place, which, from a material point of view, at any rate, is less "fortunate" than the country where I live. While it wouldn't be pleasant, I hope that some day I will be able to see this side of the country, too.

Anyway, on to a much more tasty topic: Indian food! On Monday I made a big batch of Mutter Paneer, a delicious Punjabi dish. My "paneer" was really tofu, and I think it worked quite well. Paneer is a firm, rather bland cheese, somewhat similar in texture and even taste to fresh tofu, so I'd say this substitution was a sucess. It's Wednesday, and I'm just finishing up the left overs. Here we have rice, the mutter paneer, with a bold stripe of fresh corriander chutney down the middle. Mmmm.

On Saturday I'm supposed to bring a dessert to someone's house, and I can't decide if I should make something decadent and chocolate-y (pie, cake...), a carrot cake, or something with apples (pie, crisp..). What do you think? I'd like it to look impressive, but I don't want to spend a fortune!

Monday, March 26, 2007


Hello, and welcome to the Village Vegan! As you may have guessed, I live in New York City. I'm a student at Barnard College, which is part of Columbia University. (Since I'm a student, you'll have to excuse the less-than-beautiful dishes you'll be seeing in my photos!) I've been a foodie since age six, when my mom started teaching me too cook. I love planning and cooking healthy vegan meals-- I find it a creative and relaxing process. I'm especially fond of Asian foods.

I'm always complaining about how I have to eat alone, but now that I have this blog, I won't be, will I? :-) Also, I don't know a single other vegan in real life, so I'm hoping to get involved in a vegan community, even if it's "only" online.

I've been reading a number of inspiring vegan blogs for some time now, and it recently dawned on me that I could start a blog too. So that's what I'm doing. Hopefully I'll be posting my recipes and pictures and adventures with food, veganism, and things that come up in daily life. I've never blogged before, and I'm looking forward to it. Will I ramble? Will I express myself the way I'd like to0? Will it be as fun as I imagine it to be? Will I figure out how to make my blog look pretty? Will this blog inspire me to continue comping up with new, creative recipes?

Most of the time, New York is a wonderful place to be vegan. We have lots of good vegan restaurants (or so I'm told-- I've actually never been to one!) and I'm always discovering new grocery stores to discover new vegan foods. Unfortunately, the prices at some of these stores aren't always so great. But yesterday I discovered a wonderful, inexpensive place that I'd like to share with you: the
4th Street Food Coop. Unlike some coops, you don't have to be a memeber to shop here, though only members get a discount. But honestly, it's a bargain even without a discount. Look at what I bought yesterday:

Organic cocoa powder, baking powder, organic whole wheat pastry flour, organic chickpeas, and organic kiwis....all for just $3.92! The ww pastry flour was only $0.50/lb...I couldn't believe it! You should check this place out too.

Well, that's all for tonight. Hopefully, some more interesting, colorful posts will be following soon.