Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Maimonide of Brooklyn

It's been a few months since I heard about this new all-vegan restaurant in walking distance from our apartment, called Maimonide of Brooklyn. I'd heard it was a casual spot, but not much else about it, and the website is maddeningly cryptic, revealing only video of a not particularly picturesque stretch of Atlantic Avenue and absolutely nothing about the food. So I wasn't in much of a hurry to check it out. I mean, I'm always intrigued about new vegan places to try out, but this one seemed to be going out of its way to stay under the radar.

Well I finally made it by this past weekend, and Maimonide, or M.O.B., is my newest favorite restaurant in town. The food was incredibly fresh and imaginative, and I can't believe this place has been hiding under my nose all this time. It is certainly worth a trek out to Brooklyn if you're not already in the neighborhood.

Our visit started out with some beverages and a complimentary nibble of these housemade cinnamon rolls. Wonderfully fresh, moist, and dusted with cinnamon sugar. These certainly whetted our appetite and left us wanting for more.

We got one of the brunch specials, which was a homemade sweet potato "sausage" served atop yellow grits with a side of kale. The sausages were smoky, savory, and a surprise. It had been a long time since I'd tasted vegan sausages that weren't soy or seitan-based. Everything was so well seasoned and flavorful, it felt light and healthy but not like "health food," if you know what I mean.

We also tried one of the MOB's - the house specialty. An MOB is described on the menu as "a secret house baked dough made with locally grown and milled organic flour shaped like the arches of the Brooklyn Bridge and topped with fruits, vegetables and seasoning that is wholesome for your body!" I ordered the "Smiley," topped with cherry tomato marinara sauce, marinated tofu, picholine olives, oregano, and wild arugula. It was so fantastic. Totally fresh with all the bright flavors of a pizza, but none of the heaviness or greasiness. Even the arugula was lightly dressed, and it was such a great combination of ingredients. Just delicious.

Luckily though we still had room for dessert. We ordered a strawberry shortcake - a daily special, not on the regular menu although I hope it will be in the future. The coconut whipped cream tasted of lemon and vanilla, between two shortbread cakes, topped with strawberries in a sauce dotted with balsamic and a light chiffonade of fresh basil. Heavenly! 

I'm so excited about this new place and we will certainly be back to M.O.B. soon to sample some more items from their menu. Definitely check this place out soon!

Maimonide of Brooklyn
525 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Friday, May 25, 2012

It's Easy Being Cheesy!

I wanted to share my latest obsession with you - Punk Rawk Labs Nut Milk Cheese. So far, I have to say that this is the best spreadable vegan cheese I have ever tasted! Punk Rawk Labs is a small living foods company based in Minneapolis, offering kale chips and nut milk cheeses. Their cheeses are available for order online at Vegan Essentials, and at a very limited number of retail outlets around the country. If you're in NY, you can find it at Live Live and Organic and at the One Lucky Duck Chelsea Market location.

I tried both the plain Cashew cheese and the Herb Macadamia cheese. Both are delicious and have a soft, spreadable texture that is perfect for bread or crackers, but I especially liked the herb flavor. Because they follow a process similar to making dairy cheese, I found that it had a nice, familiar tangy quality. It's subtle, but satisfying. And definitely addictive. I could have easily finished the whole container, but at $10 a pop, I was trying to ration it out. It's worth the splurge, I assure you.

This cheese definitely makes an elegant and tasty addition to any vegan cheese platter, like you see here, along with our other favorite, Dr. Cow's raw nut milk cheese. All you need is some vegan wine to go with and you'll have yourself a party!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Cookbook Review: Chloe's Kitchen

Please forgive my absence. I have truly missed cooking and blogging but my schedule right now with the baby is tough, to say the least. It's hard to find foodie inspiration when you are exhausted all the time, and don't have time to cook even when you want to. I didn't expect it to be easy, but new motherhood is a hell of a lot harder than I even expected. Which is not to say that it is without its blissful moments, because there are many, but it's hard. We're slowly creeping towards something resembling a routine, but most days dinner involves heating up something fast and easy. Hopefully fresh. Often not. I'm not proud of it, but right now food has gone from something creative to merely fuel to get me through the day. If I want to cook something more complicated, I generally need to start in the morning and do steps throughout the day when I have a chance, in order to finally eat around 8pm, before collapsing into bed and praying that the baby lets me get at least a few uninterrupted hours of sleep...

I have made a concerted effort to try out some recipes from Chloe Coscarelli's new cookbook, Chloe's Kitchen. She made all us vegans proud when she won Cupcake Wars, but even before then I was a huge fan of her website and blog. Her recipes are all winning, scoring huge points in taste and also ease for a busy home cook.

One of my favorite recipes is her super easy to make Avocado Pesto Pasta, which is also included in her book, and she has several more easy to make pasta recipes that are equally fresh, healthy, and delicious, like this Orecchiette in No-Cook Spinach Sauce. It couldn't be easier to make. I just tossed some frozen peas and green beans in with the boiling pasta water, and the sauce was near-instant and made great use of my new Vitamix. It's simply a bunch of baby spinach, garlic, olive oil, water, a little lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Tossed with the warm pasta, it was simple and bursting with fresh, clean flavor.

Another dish I enjoyed was the Mongolian BBQ Seitan, another easy dish that was completely packed with flavor. The seitan, shiitake mushrooms, and snow peas were seasoned with fresh ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, and it all came together effortlessly with a sweet, spicy, tangy sauce made of hoisin, soy, agave, lemon juice, and chili-garlic sauce. Delicious.

And while I haven't had time yet to try making Chloe's award winning cupcakes, I did try out this BBQ Pineapple Pizza. Topped with BBQ baked tofu, caramelized onions, pineapple, and cilantro, this pizza was just bursting with zesty flavors and totally satisfying. It involved a few more steps than the typical recipe in Chloe's book, but this hearty and original pizza was worth the extra effort. I cheated and used a store-bought crust, as well as store-bought bbq sauce. You can make your own if you want, but I'm tired.

There are many more recipes flagged in Chloe's book that I want to try when I have a bit more time, like the aforementioned award-winning cupcakes, molten lava cakes, and Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Rolls. I've loved every recipe of hers that I've tried, and I think you will too!