Saturday, May 15, 2010

Vegan Red Beans and Rice

I have never made red beans and rice before and I got a craving so I looked in my pantry and created this recipe.

I found a can of Aduki red beans, which I’ve never eaten before so I figured I’d try them and they are awesome.

 For the Hot sauce I used garlic style Pain is good hot sauce, with this VERY little goes a long way. It is knock your socks off spicy and the flavor can easily overpower anything.

This dish may not look pretty but it was definitely tasty and I will be making this again! Oh and just because it is Vegan doesn't mean its not good. It just means that there is no animal products in it including dairy and egg. This is a really good meal if you are a Vegan and like southwest style meals because it provides a complete protein (beans and rice).

1 28 oz can of organic diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can of organic beans
1 cup of organic Brown rice
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp minced dried onion
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp dried oregano (I didn’t have cilantro)
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 few dashes of hot sauce
S&P to taste

First cook your rice according to the packaged directions. Then in a medium pot put your tomatoes herbs and spices and simmer for about 10 minutes stirring every once in awhile. Then add your beans and simmer for another 10-15 minutes or until your rice is done.

Britt's Graduation Cake

My idea was to make a graduation hat cake. Originally it was supposed to be chocolate cake with peanut butter icing and a chocolate ganache to finish it off so it looked black. The bottom of the hat was a Bundt cake and the top was a square 8” Pyrex. I had made the cake after work and after reading that her school colors were gold and maroon I decided I could get away without the ganache since the cake and icing took so long for me to make and put together. When I got home from work the next day the icing on the bundt cake had completely fallen into the middle because the cake was on my kitchen table and in the sun. I also used all natural PB so it didn’t have anything besides peanuts in it so it’s runnier than regular PB. Unfortunately, I do not have another place to put cakes so I will have to remember this for next time. Then when I drove the cake up to my parents the Bundt cake had cracked. I didn’t even attempt to fix it since Erie is a 6 hour drive and it was quite sunny out the day we drove up. When we arrived in Erie the cake was a complete mess. I attempted to fix it with more icing but the cake was just to moist and started to come apart even more. Lessen learned unless you own a van that is flat and have a cool place to store cakes do not attempt to make a cake and transport it 7.5 hours. Also, next time I would use a drier cake that would stand up to the icing. But that’s not the end of the story. I bought natural food dies to pipe Congrats Britt on the cake but I couldn’t get it red enough. So basically everything was a disaster with the cake. I was really upset but you’ve got to roll with the punches, especially when it comes to cooking and baking. Plus it still tasted great so that’s all that really matters anyway!

Here is a picture of what the top was supposed to look like minus the Congrats Britt.

 The tassel is Twizzlers pull and peel.

For the cake and the icing I made 1.5 of the recipe so I would have enough batter for both the Bundt and the Pyrex.

But here is the original recipe. I would suggest making this with two rounds or a 9x13.

My Mom’s Dark Chocolate Cake

2 cups flour (I used organic unbleached)
½ cup cocoa (I used Ghirardelli)
1 ¾ cup sugar
1 tbsp baking soda
1 cup strong boiling coffee (I used a freeze dried organic instant Mount Hagen which is available at whole foods)
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup sour milk (add 1 tbsp of white vinegar to 1 Cup of milk, let stand 5 minutes)
2/3 cup canola or vegetable oil (I used canola)

Grease and Flour 2 9” cake pans (or do yourself a favor and get the spray. I like spectrum canola oil spray for baking) Sift together dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add egg, milk, oil and coffee to dry ingredients. Beat until batter is moist and well blended. Batter will be thin. (Note: be careful because it’s like trying to put soup into the oven so it is easy to spill) Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Obviously if you are using a 9x13 you will have to bake it much longer. This is the moistest and richest chocolate cake I’ve ever had. I’m forever grateful to my mother for sharing her recipe. You can use any of your favorite icings on this cake too.

Brittany’s Grandma Counterman’s Peanut Butter Icing

1 lb powdered sugar sifted (I used organic)
1 tsp vanilla
½ stick of butter
½ cup of vegetable shortening (I used spectrum organic)
¾ cup of Peanut butter

Add all ingredients together and mix well. Then add a little bit of milk at a time to get your desired consistency.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Blue Sky Cafe

So I cannot say enough about this place! I absolutely love it and will find any excuse to eat here I guess I’ve been eating here for over a year. I wish I knew about it when I went to Lehigh because I would have eaten there everyday! I remember it used to be a vegan place called the green café but I believe that was back when I was a freshman and sophomore in college because we used to order vegan food for bands that played at Lehigh. It is definitely my favorite restaurant in Bethlehem and I wish I lived closer. I particularly love Jon Solomon’s Veggie Stir. It’s my favorite thing for breakfast period and I can’t help but getting it every time I go there. It is tomato, onion, asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli and Asiago cheese over home fries, and you can get it with our without scrambled eggs. I don’t know what it is about this dish but it all goes so well together. It is perfectly seasoned and it has so much flavor. I don’t even miss bacon when I eat this! They have a ton of options and all of them sound amazing so you can’t go wrong eating here. Some items from the past that were also yummy: sweet potato black been chipotle soup, a pumpkin pancake, and the frittata with Portobello mushrooms, shallot, garlic and green pepper with Fontina cheese. Unfortunatly the soup and the pancakes were specials so you cannot always get them.

For the table, we ordered the special, lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry maple syrup. They were absolutely fantastic! They were the best pancakes I have ever had in my life. They were still light and fluffy with the ricotta, which is really surprising since ricotta can really weigh food down. I loved how you could taste the lemon and ricotta but the flavor wasn’t too overpowering. The blueberry maple syrup even had real blueberries in it! It was a hit with the whole table, even my dad! I suggest trying one of the specials, especially if they have a pancake special!

 Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberry Maple Syrup

My dad got his old stand-by 2 eggs over easy, with scrapple and home fries, but this time I convinced him to get rye toast instead of white. Their rye toast is wonderful and some of the best rye outside of a Jewish deli that I’ve had.

2 eggs over easy with scapple, home fries, and rye bread

My mom got my favorite, the Jon Solomon’s Veggie Stir and it was wonderful as always
 John Solomon's Veggie Stir

This time I broke out of my box and tried the Fried Egg Rueben, which the waitress suggested. It was wonderful and a great substitute Rueben for a girl who adored Rueben’s before becoming meat-free. First of all it is on my favorite rye bread (you can’t go wrong there) then it is topped with sauerkraut (I love sauerkraut, I’m actually obsessed), Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island. The Fried egg wasn’t a lifeless fried egg that you get at your local bagel joint. The yolk was still soft and a little runny so when you bit into it the flavor just burst into your mouth. Who knew a Fried Egg Rueben would make me forget that I didn’t order the Veggie Stir? I thought I would have been envious of my mom’s dish but it was worth switching from my norm. I will warn you, it’s a bit difficult to eat because the egg likes to slide off along with the cheese, dressing and kraut, yes I know normal Rueben’s slide too, but this is actually a lot worse then the slipping and sliding you normally get with a regular Rueben.

Fried Egg Reuben with home fries

I really wish I lived closer because I would eat here all of the time, but hopefully my schedule clears up enough where I will have time to visit Blue Sky more frequently. There are some other breakfast and lunch items that I’m dying to try and I would love to go there for dinner (they only have dinner every Friday and Saturday night). You will definitely see more blogs about this place in the future.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


On Friday night we met up with some great friends in West Chester. We decided to walk the streets to find some food and drinks and we stumbled on a place Janelle really wanted to try called Teca. It is an awesome Italian style tapas bar. We started the evening at the bar since we were waiting for a table outside and caught up with each other. I had Prosecco, Mionetto, IL Prosecco Veneto, Italy (oh how I love restaurants with websites) it was good, but Dom had the Sauvignon Blanc, Nobilo Marlborough, New Zealand 2008 and it was delicious. When we sat down to eat we actually ordered a bottle of the Sauv Blanc for the whole table since we all enjoyed it. To start out our waiter brought us a cheese plate: Parmigiano Reggiano, Formaggio di Capra (goat cheese), and another cheese that I cannot remember, a meat plate: Prosciutto (air-cured ham), Soppressata (dry cured seasoned salami), and Bresaola (air-cured filet mignon), a bowl of assorted olives, roasted red peppers with some long hots, and Olive Ascolane (gorgonzola and prosciutto stuffed breaded olives). While eating our appetizers the owner came to our table and recommend we try Gewurztraminer, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Lis Neris “Confini” Friuli 2006. It was one of the best wines I’ve ever had, it was just amazing. I actually wish I had a glass in front of me right now. For our main course Domenick and Bill both decided on one of the specials of the night, which was a 4 cheese risotto with sweet Italian sausage. They said it was “ok” and Bill added that Janelle’s risotto is much better (I’m looking forward to trying it). Janelle and I decided to split at bunch of the small plates. We had house salad, it was nice but there’s not much you can say about salad, grilled langoustines, they were more work than they were worth, sesame crusted seared Ahi tuna over arugula, definitely my favorite dish of the night, and last but not least spinach stuffed gnocchi in a gorgonzola cream sauce. If you go here you need to get the gnocchi, they are amazing. Obviously I didn’t keep to a vegetarian menu for the night but there were plenty of options. They also have a ton of other small plates, bruschette, and panini. I just had to have the tuna! Once again I really wish I used my camera, but with a few drinks in me I’m not sure how well they would have turned out anyway. It was definitely a delicious meal and great time with friends. I look forward to going here again and trying new places in West Chester.


One of the favorite nights in the Addesi household is taco night! Bean tacos for me and meat tacos for Dom. This time it is pinto bean tacos for me and chicken tacos for Dom. I have to start out by saying that I appreciate the American cooks that gave us shortcuts to meals but when trying to eat healthy and trying to control fat, salt, and not using msg, really limits my use of shortcuts. Most everyone I know browns their meat, adds a packet of taco seasoning and water and then voila, instant tacos. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing, but since we love tacos, I don’t want us to have to put all of the sodium and other additives in our bodies. I even tried switching to natural packets, but they still contain some weird ingredients. It is so easy to make your own seasonings at home that I rarely use a seasoning from a packet or bottle unless it’s Omaha because Dom loves it.

Anyway, earlier in the week I picked up a rotisserie chicken for Dom at the grocery store, which is a good meal itself and I can use the chicken for different meals all week long. Chicken tacos are a good way to use up the dark meat for households that don’t like it, because the chicken picks up the flavor of the spices.

Chicken Tacos

4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne (I would use less if you don’t like it spicy)
1/2 tsp marjoram (can use oregano)
½ tsp paprika
1 ½ tsp of cumin (can use coriander too)
Also if you do not have fresh onion or garlic use ½ tsp of garlic and onion powder.

½ a shredded rotisserie chicken white and dark meat
½ the seasoning (add more or less depending on the desired spice level)
Some of the juice from the rotisserie chicken
¼-1/2 cup of water or chicken stock
A few tbs of grated onion probably a ¼ of an onion grated
3 cloves of garlic (this added a lot of spice)
S & P

First shred your chicken, this will take a while if you are doing it from a whole rotisserie chicken. Then add your chicken, the seasoning, grated onion, grated garlic, chicken juice, and S&P. For the onion I like to use a box grater on a fine setting to get a sort of onion mush. This adds a lot of moisture to the chicken. I used a microplane to grate the garlic right over the chicken. If you do not have time for this step, add onion powder and garlic powder to the seasoning mixture. You will also need to add a bit of water with to the pan, just enough for the chicken to moisten and absorb the seasoning. I added a ¼ cup but then I had to add more because the chicken and spices absorbed the water. You do not want this mixture to be soupy but you also don’t want dry chicken because that’s never good. Cook this until the onions and garlic are cooked and the seasoning is absorbed.

Bean Tacos

1 can of your favorite beans (I used pinto)
¼ of the seasoning mixture (I made a lot less beans than I did chicken)
¼ cup of water
About 2 tbs of grated onion
1 clove of garlic

Simmer your beans with the onion, garlic, seasoning, S&P, and water.

For both tacos:
Chop up fresh tomatoes, romaine lettuce or your favorite lettuce, and cilantro (if you have it). I also shred my own cheese because it’s fresher than buying bagged cheese and its melts so beautifully if you shred it right over the hot meat or beans using a microplane. You can add any of your favorite toppings: sour cream, guacamole, hot sauce, salsa or anything you like to these tacos.

To assemble, warm your tortillas either on the stovetop or in the microwave, or if you are using crunchy corn tortillas skip this step. Add your guac or sour cream which almost acts like glue, then your meat or beans, then cheese so the warm meat/beans will melt the cheese, then lettuce and tomatoes. Top with your favorite topping. If you do not have tomatoes a good organic salsa, a fresh salsa, or Pico de gallo will work perfectly. If using salsa or Pico I would cut down the amount of onion and garlic in the meat/bean mixture.

If you are making these for 2, you will definitely have leftovers but tacos are great left over! You can even turn them into a taco salad the next night.

Tacos are the perfect way to get creative. You can use any of your favorite meats, cheese, veggies and toppings to create your perfect taco!

Here is a list of my favorite tortillas:

Food for Life Ezekial 4:9 Flourless sprouted grain tortillas (found in the freezer section)
Food for Life sprouted corn tortillas (found in the freezer section)
Food for Life hard corn tortillas (I’ve only found these in wegmans)
Whole foods organic traditional tortillas

For these tacos I used Food for Life sprouted corn tortillas.


So I’ve been going to Nadia for over 2 years. It is a cute French-Thai place in Lansdale and probably the best restaurant in Lansdale. The reason I love this restaurant is that they make all of my old favorite’s that I used to get with chicken vegetarian for me. On a side note, I really need to start taking pictures when I go out, especially places like this since their food is beautiful.

Nadia is especially great for lunch. You get soup and salad or appetizer and an entrée for less than $9. I always get the lemongrass soup. It is spicy, but has a unique broth that I have never tasted before. Now I get the tofu lemongrass soup, but the chicken lemongrass soup was always good too. I like to get this soup when I have a cold because it really opens up my sinuses.  I had the coconut soup, but that only comes in chicken. It was very tasty.  Domenick always gets the silver soup and he loves it. He says it’s like an Asian chicken noodle soup. As for the apps I normally get the spring rolls (they are vegetarian) and honestly the best spring rolls that I have ever had.  I have tried the crab dumplings and the shrimp corn cake. They were both good but didn’t even come close to touching the spring roll.  I have also tried the Bangkok salad. It is romaine with veggies and a Thai peanut dressing, it is amazing! My favorite item on the menu used to be the Pad See You, which I would recommend to anyone who has never had Thai food. It is actually Dom’s favorite and my moms too. I have also tried the pineapple fried rice and it is very good. For some reason I prefer my Pad Thai from a place in Bethlehem, but Nadia makes a good version.  Mostly when I go to Nadia, it is because I am craving their curry. I have had the Masaman Curry which has carrots and potatoes in a peanut curry (yum), the red curry with basil and veggies (my old favorite) and green curry with basil and veggies (my new favorite). Their curries are all rich and delicious from the coconut milk and very filling. They always offer to make it with tofu for me, but I just ask for extra veggies instead of meat or tofu. I’m not a huge fan of tofu, plus I’m allergic to soy so I limit the amount I eat. I normally eat about ½ my curry and take it home so that I can get dessert. I love their sweet mango with sticky rice. I have no idea how they make their sticky rice but I would be willing to guess that they use coconut milk which give it sweetness. It is also topped with toasted sesame seeds and whipped cream. They always have the freshest, best tasting mangos out there. It’s too big to eat on your own especially after eating their food, so I would suggest splitting it with 2-3 people because the rice really fills you up. Nadia offers a wide variety of meat dishes, including duck, seafood dishes, and vegetarian dishes, so the whole family will be happy.