Happy New Year! It’s good to start a new year off with a lesson. Today I learned that the Park Slope Farmer’s Market isn’t run by Grow NYC, the organization that runs most of the markets around the city. Instead, the market is run by Down to Earth Markets, which may explain the wide variety of vendors other than farm stands. One of those vendors is Brooklyn Bean, which sells a variety of beans grown in the Northeast. They also sell products made with those beans, and on a cold winter day a few weeks ago they were selling their vegetarian chili. Full of chunks of squash, Brussels sprouts, and tons of beans, the most surprising thing for me was that the chili was thickened with quinoa. The chili is vegan, unless (like me) you get it topped with cheese, creme fraiche, and pomegranate seeds (well of course the pomegranate seeds are vegan). It’s just slight spicy, and the perfect pick me up for this snowy weather.
Brooklyn Bean — Park Slope Farmer’s Market (5th Ave & 4th St, Sundays)
It’s fitting that my final post of 2013 is also the 100th post here on Brooklyn Vegetarian. I ate a lot of great food this year, and below are some of my favorites. I look forward to sharing more with you in 2014!
Favorite Danish: Runner & Stone
“Runner & Stone, the new bakery and restaurant in Gowanus, has the best cheese danish I’ve had outside of Denmark, hands down.”
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Until recently I had a pretty low opinion of Thistle Hill Tavern. A few years ago I had a lousy veggie burger there, and then I had a brunch so terrible that I didn’t even want to write about it. So I wrote it off and didn’t think about going back. But those experiences happened before Dale Talde became a partner in the restaurant. I had joined my friends Matt & Phaedra at Thistle Hill for cocktails a few times since Talde’s takeover, and they were very good, but I still couldn’t bring myself to eat there. But a few weeks ago we stopped in around 11pm, and I was hungry. There were a few vegetarian items on the menu, but one side dish in particular called out to me: buffalo cauliflower. Matt highly recommended it, and I can see why. The blanched cauliflower was drenched in buffalo-style hot sauce; tangy, salty, and really spicy. And the crumbles of salty, creamy blue cheese just added to the flavor overload. Thistle Hill Tavern’s kitchen is open until midnight, so it’s a perfect spot for a late night meal with some killer cocktails — I particularly recommend the Howard Hughes.
Thistle Hill Tavern — 441 Seventh Avenue
Until just an few years ago, I thought that split-pea soup was made with regular green peas that had been… split. I didn’t give much thought to how they were split; maybe they were mashed up, maybe they just split when they got cooked in the soup. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there is a specific legume known as the split-pea. I found a bag of them at my local bodega; dried they resemble lentils, and like lentils they are a great source of protein. Also, like lentils, they’re small and flat enough that they don’t require any soaking before cooking. The other night I made a pot of simple split-pea and vegetable soup. Here’s how I did it:
In a large pot I put a cup of dried split-peas and covered them with about 4 cups of water. I covered the pot abnd brought it to a boil. When it came to a boil I lowered the heat to a simmer and removed the lid. The directions on the package of split-peas said they needed to cook for about an hour, so I set a timer. Meanwhile I prepared the vegetables: carrots, celery root, onions, celery, parsnips, and cabbage; I chopped them into rough chunks. I also chopped up some dill and some parsley. After the split-peas had cooked for about half an hour I added the vegetables to the pot, along with a splash of olive oil, some salt, and some black pepper. I cooked it all together for the last half hour. During the cooking process the split-peas break down a bit, adding adding the signature color, texture, and flavor to the broth.
Posted in cooking
Tagged cooking, soup
On the first really cold day in November I found myself way down at the south end of Park Slope around lunch time. I stopped by Korzo, the Eastern European bar and restaurant on 5th Ave, for some hearty fare to warm me up. There were lots of things on the menu I wanted to try, but with Thanksgivukkah right around the corner there was only one thing I couldn’t pass up: apple-raisin potato latkes, topped with mushrooms, zucchini, and creme fraiche. The latkes were crunchy on the outside, moist and chewy on the inside. The mushroom-zucchini-onion topping bordered on too salty, but it was tempered by the sweetness of the apple chunks and raisins and rounded out by the richness of the creme fraiche (flecked with dill). Washed down with a tall glass of Köstritzer Schwarzbier, it was the perfect lunch for a cold and windy day.
Korzo — 667 5th Ave
I had first heard about Foodswings, another vegan diner in Williamsburg, way back in 2011, when I covered the First Annual Vegetarian Festival for SE:NY. I kind of forgot about it for a while, but then I read a story on Super Vegan about how Foodswings was for sale. The article mentions that the current owners of Foodswings are the owners of Lucky 13, a horror movie/metal bar here in Park Slope, a place I’ve been several times but had no idea had any vegan connection. I decided I had to check out Foodswings, so back in September I paid them a visit. The menu, like at Champs, is fairly extensive and has a lot of traditional diner food (that happens to be vegan). I settled on the Chik’n Parm, made with breaded mock chicken and covered in tomato sauce a vegan mozzarella “cheese.” Although I enjoyed the fries quite a bit, the sauce was under-seasoned and as a whole the dish was underwhelming. I enjoyed the ambiance of the restaurant; there are quotes painted on the walls from luminaries like Albert Einstein advocating a vegetarian diet. Too bad the food didn’t live up to my expectations.
Foodswings — 295 Grand St
The first time I had vareniki was at Karloff, for the first ever post on this very blog. They were delicious, but I haven’t come across them since. Cut to late September, when I made a trip to Brighton Beach to try the Georgian Bread place everyone raves about. To my dismay, the bread place was closed. So that the trip wouldn’t be a total waste, I decided to head to Brighton Bazaar (no trip to Brighton beach should be without a visit). On my way down Coney Island Ave I passed by Cafe Glechik, and promptly decided to stop there for a meal, having heard good things about this Ukranian eatery. There’s not a lot of vegetarian food on the menu but there are vareniki — small boiled dumplings — that come with a variety of veggie fillings. I ordered the ones filled with potato and mushroom, which came topped with fried onions and mushrooms and an optional side of sour cream. Although the vareniki at Karloff were better, these were still quite good; thick dumpling skins gave way to a smooth, flavorful interior. The fried onion topping added a nice textural contrast, and the sour cream was a creamy acidic counterpoint to it all. I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to try the Georgian bread, but Cafe Glechik was a nice consolation prize.
Cafe Glechik — 3159 Coney Island Ave