The Wild Cow

 

 The other night, my friend Emily and I went for dinner at a local vegetarian restaurant called The Wild Cow. This is a fairly new restaurant in historic East Nashville. It is a cafe style restaurant (you order at the counter) but the food was brought out to our table which was very nice. The staff was very welcoming as we entered, we were greeting by 3 different employees, and told to review the menu and feel free to ask any questions.

  A copy of their menu can be seen here. 

  Everything looked so delicious; Emily and I decided to order 2 different things and split them. Emily ordered the Veggie Quinoa Bowl. It was grilled vegetables (broccoli, onion, carrots, and cabbage) over organic quinoa (which is a grain similar to rice or cous cous) with your choice of sauce (we got the green goddess dressing). That dish was a lot of food, and only $7.50. I ordered a sandwich called The Prince Fielder. It came with marinated and grilled tempeh or tofu (we ordered tofu), avocado, tomato, sprouts, cucumbers, shredded carrots, onions, vegan mayo, and spicy mustard on a toasted wheat roll. It also came with a choice of side item, so we got the hummus of the day (greek style), with tortilla chips. The sandwich was slightly bigger than a subway sandwich, and the hummus portion was large; a good amount of food for the $8.50 I paid for it. Unfortunately I must have been too excited to remember to take some pictures of our food. But hopefully the descriptions will get the point across. 

  The lady who took our order brought our food out, and was nice enough to bring us some plates for sharing. The food was delicious and so filling. We had to force ourselves to finish everything. Additionally, I noticed they had a wide selection of organic wine, beer, hard cider, and juices that I would love to try. The environment was very relaxed and the staff was so friendly. I cannot wait to go back and try more off their delicious menu.

   I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone in or around the Nashville area. More information can be found at www.thewildcow.com 


Penne Primavera

This recipe is from a book that my best friend gave me, a la Rachael Ray! It was surprisingly quick and easy to make, and not too heavy. The perfect springtime pasta meal.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups broccoli florets, separated into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 small zucchini or yellow squash, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or stock
  • 1/2 cup half and half or light cream
  • A handful grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Romano cheese
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound penne rigate cooked al dente (about 8 minutes

Slice and prepare all vegetables.

Place prepared vegetables in a deep skillet or pan with the cup of water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce heat to low. Steam vegetables for 3 minutes or until tender. Drain water and return vegetables to pan. Cover and set aside. 

After this step is when I began cooking the penne. For sauce, melt butter into oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and saute for 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and cook 1 minute more. Whisk in broth and bring to a simmer to thicken. Whisk in half and half and bring sauce back to a bubble. Reduce heat to low and let simmer 4 or 5 minutes.

This is when I chopped the fresh thyme.

Stir in cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and thyme.

Stir well and add vegetables and drained penne noodles. Toss and serve!


Black Bean Soup

This is my aunt’s recipe for black bean soup. It is quick, easy, low in fat, and delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 a large white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 cans black beans
  • 1 can vegetable broth
  • 2 cans stewed tomatoes (mexican style)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Shredded cheese and sour cream for topping

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add minced garlic and simmer 5 more minutes or until onions begin to brown and become tender. 

Add the black beans (with the liquid) and vegetable broth. Using a spoon, smash some of the black beans against the bottom and side of the pan. 

Turn up heat and bring to a simmer. Add stewed tomatoes. Add all remaining ingredients.

Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 10 minutes. 

Spoon out and top with shredded cheese and sour cream.

Enjoy!


Vegetarian Chili

Feel free to modify this recipe to suit your own tastes; this is the one I have personally perfected to suit mine.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Celery stalks
  • One half medium sized white onion
  • 1/2 cup peeled and sliced carrots (OR you can cheat like I did this time and buy them in a can)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • Two fresh Roma tomatoes
  • Half a bell pepper 
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 cup water or vegetable stock
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans stewed tomatoes
  • 3 cans chili beans
  • 2 cans red kidney beans
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin 
  • Chili toppings of your preference (Cheese, crackers, fritos, sour cream, etc)

Chop celery stalks, onion, carrots, and bell pepper into small pieces. In a large pan heat olive oil over medium heat, add the fresh veggies, frozen corn, salt, and onion powder. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Chop and add the tomatoes. Add water or vegetable stock and continue to simmer for 10 more minutes. 

Turn the heat to medium-high and add the canned tomatoes. Simmer 5 minutes.

Add the beans, chili powder, red pepper, and cumin. Bring to a simmer and then reduce to low heat. Let the chili simmer for about 20 minutes (or until all of your fresh veggies are tender).

Dish it out and top with your favorite chili toppings.

Enjoy! 


Pirogi

A friend of my mom posted this recipe on her facebook. I had never made pirogi before, so I thought it would be the perfect recipe to try out: 

Pirogi ( makes 50)

1 cup flour

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoon cold water

Butter for serving

Mix flour, egg, salt together. Add enough water to make medium soft dough. Knead well, then roll thin (like kolachi dough). Cut into squares. Place teaspoon of filling in center of each square and fold over to make triangles. Pinch edges well to keep filling from escaping.

Cook in boiling salted water until pirogi rise to the top of the water. Then cook 5 minutes longer. Drain. In the meantime, cook butter in small saucepan until it melts, then turns golden brown and has nutty aroma. Serve pirogi hot drizzled with the browned butter.

Cheese Filling

1/2 cup dry cottage cheese or farmers’ cheese

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon butter softened

Pinch of salt

Combine ingredients and mix thoroughly.  (Dry cottage cheese is available at specialty cheese shops and some markets)

Potato Filling

1 large potato, peeled and cut in chunks

1 tablespoon butter

salt

Cook potato in pot of boiling salted water until tender (20-30 minutes). Drain, mash. Melt butter as above. Stir butter into potato.

Each filling above makes enough to fill 50 pirogi

Since the potato filling takes the longest, I decided to start with it so that the potatoes could boil while I worked on the dough. 

I left the skin on my potato, in order to preserve some of the nutrients in it

After that was chopped and boiling, I made the dough. In hindsight I would have made the cheese filling first, or just read a magazine while the potatoes boiled. Because the dough got more difficult to work with the longer it sat there. 

You can tell that I used wheat flour instead of regular flour. It took forever to roll it out thin enough. And even then I only had about 35 squares. I used a cheese sauce packet to make the cheese filling, rather than the dry cottage cheese. It worked pretty well but I may try something else next time. Then it was time to drain the potatoes. 

Again, next time I will do all of this first, and then let the potato filling cool in the fridge for 15 or 20 minutes. The hot filling was causing the dough to break apart, I ended up cooling it in my freezer because I was having so much trouble filling them! I wasnt sure how big to make them, but I figured they should be a good size if they are to hold a whole teaspoon of filling. 

I dropped them into boiling water and they only took about 8 minutes to cook (3 to float to the top, plus 5). While they were boiling I browned the butter. 

Per the recipes instructions, I drained the perogi and drizzled them with the butter (I actually used a soy butter for all this!). 

The end result were hot, filling, and delicious cheese/potato dumpling-like pirogi. The best ones were the ones where I mixed the cheese and potato filling. I think next time I will mix these fillings in the bowl together. 

I hope someone out there will try this recipe and let me know how it goes. I hear there are tons of different types of fillings for pirogi. If you know any good vegetarian ones, let me know! 


“Why did you become a vegetarian?”

   A question I get asked time and time again. Its not that I get tired of answering it, but more that the answer is not really all that exciting. I didn’t join PETA (I still wear leather shoes), I don’t cry every time someone kills a spider, and I still occasionally miss the taste of grilled chicken or blackened trout. My reason is really very simple; I wanted to become more conscious of my diet in relation to my health. I quit eating meat in March of 2010, after I read too many facts about the disgusting amount of hormones and steroids we feed our bodies every time we eat meat. I know there are companies that provide cleaner meat products that claim to be steroid free, but I also read a lot on the how so many companies can manipulate these results. I am not claiming that this is true, but it can easily be done. 

   Our bodies are not designed to digest meat. Digestion begins as soon as you take a bite, human saliva is alkaline saliva, which cannot break down meats. Animals, however, have acid saliva which is perfect for the job. Its true that we do have a small amount of hydrochloric acid in our stomachs, but carnivorous animals have 10 times the amount that we do. They can digest meat so much faster because they were designed to do so; They have a faster metabolism and shorter digestive tract. When humans eat meat it will sit rotting in our stomachs for a long time, because it is so hard for us to digest. It can ferment in our intestines and colons, which can cause numerous health risks and issues. 

   These facts and more are what lead me to begin my meatless journey. It started as a temporary idea, because after all my newfound knowledge I could not look at meat without being grossed out. Slowly though, vegetarianism has integrated its way into my daily life. Here I will be posting and sharing recipes (and testing them out), as well as reviewing local restaurants on occasion to share my experience with their vegetarian and healthy food options, and how accommodating they are to those health-conscious customers with special diets. If you know any good recipes I should check out - please share!