Monday, July 31, 2006

Willy's and sweet potato salad

My first vegan weekend was an absolute whirlwind. We spent a lot of time visiting family, which meant eating on the fly. It seems like such a long time since I cooked in my own kitchen! On Saturday I made a quick taco salad, minus the tortilla. I crumbled a block of tofu and cooked it with tomato sauce, chili powder, cayenne pepper, garlic and onion powder, cumin, lime juice, and oregano, and just let it cook down until a lot of the liquid cooked out. Then I served it on a bed of greenleaf lettuce with some black beans (the canned variety this time), black olives, cucumber, fresh cilantro, onion, and some of Bob's aunt's homemade salsa (we were borrowing her kitchen at the time). I wish I had taken a picture but I didn't have my camera with me. And Bob already ate all the leftovers. But next time I will. It came out very well.

Yesterday was just a day of madness. We drove from Athens to Atlanta to spend the day with Bob's other aunt and her family; we stopped at Earth Fare on our way out and had plates from their hot bar for lunch. We went with his aunt and uncle to the Carlos Museum at Emory University, and I had a nice time there. They had a Greco-Roman art display as well as an Ancient American exhibit. There were some cool artifacts. But by far the most interesting sight was the Ancient Egyptian exhibit, which featured actual mummies in their original caskets, wooden and painted with pigments that have apparently held up over thousands of years. Amazing. In the gift shop I found a book called Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green To Me, a book of environmental politics. It looked very current and in-depth. Unfortunately, I could not spare the cash. I'll look for it at the library when I get back to school. Anybody out there heard of it/read it?

I drove in to work from Athens this morning, so of course I didn't have time to think about packing a lunch. But in the food court downstairs from the office has a restaurant called Willy's, which is very similar to Moe's. I was able to get a lovely salad, again tortilla-less, that was entirely vegan once I requested that they leave off the cheese. It had black beans and marinated tofu, and the entire veggie works--complete with jalapeños and spicy chipotle salsa. It was more than I like to spend for lunch, at about $6.50, but quite healthy and satisfying.

I never really had dinner--we had a get-together after work where I snacked on a few chips and salsa, and on my way home I stopped at Whole Foods where I sampled some fruit. So when I got home I was not really hungry. But to have for lunch this week, I made some sweet potato salad, inspired by the (expensive) variety I saw at Whole Foods in the fresh foods section.

Sweet Potato Salad

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cubed, and boiled until fork tender
1/4 Vidalia onion, sautéed in a bit of water to soften
Garlic powder
Freshly ground black pepper

Mix all of the above in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together:
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Juice of 1/2 lime
1.5 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Pour dressing over the potatoes and toss everything to coat. Finally, add some snipped chives and toss again.

It came out pretty well; perhaps a bit too much vinegar, but otherwise I'm quite happy with it. If I were in my own kitchen, I would have used fresh chives and fresh garlic... But for just the rest of this week, I will have to live with what I can find around here. How happy I will be this weekend, when I'm back at home to stay! Posted by Picasa


KleoPatra said...

That's so cool, Laura. I can't wait to see what other great stuff you cook up and create!!

Melody said...

Love sweet potato salad.. (just don't even mix it with asparagus! I made that mistake)..

The salads sound great.. it's wonderful you can get decent vegan food out there now.

Urban Vegan said...

congrats on your first vegan weekend! it only gets easier and more fulfilling.

kaivegan said...

Your blog's name is really, really cool!

I also meant to ask you if I could republish your "Why vegan?" post on my blog. (with proper credit, of course!)


laura jesser said...

Thanks for all your encouragement, guys! It's hard to feel alone in something when there are so many cool people out there cheering you on!

Melody, that's funny about the sweet potatoes with asparagus--thanks for the warning because I probably would try it otherwise!

Kai, you can certainly use my "Why vegan?" post!

funwithyourfood said...

Wow welcome to the vegan blogging world. I'm only a wannabe myself. I'm excited to here about your journey :)
It's nice to 'meet' you


Aarwenn said...

I ALREADY posted your "why vegan" post on the veganfreaks blog and totally forgot to ask. Sorry. But I gave credit to you! :) Also, I've learned the same lesson about apple cider vinegar...a little goes a LONG way.