I'm not really sure how to begin to describe the past week. So much has happened... I guess I'll just start at the beginning.
Bob and I found an apartment in Atlanta! Woot! It's a quaint little place in a nice, quiet part of town, within walking distance of a commuter rail station, and we can have a dog in our new place! This last part is the most exciting of all... we have wanted to rescue a dog for so long but the place we are in now does not allow anything with fur. We'll be moving in mid-July.
While we were in Atlanta, we ate out to celebrate my finishing school. Thanks to Happy Cow, we found this place called Soul Vegetarian--a 100% vegan restaurant not far from where we will live. It was kind of a hole-in-the-wall sort of restaurant, but the food was amazing.
We started with onion rings--one of my all-time favorite vices, which I only eat about once or twice a year.
Bob's entrée was called the Jerusalem Rice Dish--a smoky, earthy flavored veggie stew served over rice. It contained what the restaurant calls "kalebone"--basically their own seitan recipe. It was served with a spicy ginger sauce.
I went with a salad platter, which was a sampling of three of their salad entrées. Carrot salad, bean curd salad, and "egg"less salad are what you see here, with a side of creamy roasted garlic dressing and a slice of cornbread. My favorite was the carrot salad--it was savory and mildly sweet, with a hint of cinnamon and clove.
When we saw banana split on the dessert menu, there was no way we could pass it up. Bob and I split this huge creation, made of three scoops of soy ice cream (two scoops of vanilla bean and one of butter pecan), a carob hot fudge sauce, and sprinkled with chopped almonds. Wow... Bob declared Soul Vegetarian his new favorite restaurant. As our first experience at a vegan restaurant, it certainly did not disappoint.
My friend Abby and I have been studying together every free minute this week for our exams, and cooking when we couldn't take it anymore. Thursday and Friday we tried two different pasta dinners:
Thursday was the Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto from VWaV. It was delicious... but I thought it was extremely ugly. I won't tell you what it reminded me of, but I doctored this photo a lot so that I felt okay about putting it on my blog. We served it with sautéed mushrooms and a mixed greens salad.
Friday we turned to Vive Le Vegan! and made the Roasted Red Pepper Cannellini Bean Sauce. This recipe was much more photo-worthy, and as far as taste goes, I enjoyed this one more as well... though Abby and Bob both preferred the pesto. What can I say? They were both so good.
We served the cannellini bean pasta with roasted mushrooms and asparagus.
Now, the best news of all. Yesterday, I officially received my masters degree! Woot woot!
My parents and Bob's parents came into town to go to the ceremony, and we had a little "reception" at my place afterward. The menu included:
Coconut-Lime Cookies from Vive! This was my first run on these cookies, and mmm... So soft and chewy.
Pineapple coffee cake from Susan's Fatfree Vegan Blog. This was a first as well, but I've seen it on many, many blogs and it seemed like a hit. It was! My mom loved it and asked for the recipe. By the end of the party, the coffee cake and the cookies were all gone--thank goodness.
A quick "egg"less salad that I made when I realized that we didn't have much real food in the house... Tofu, red peppers, celery, onions, lemon juice, paprika, turmeric, kelp granules, salt, and pepper. It was actually quite good, especially for a last minute creation. Bob and his mother loved it especially.
And finally, a fruit tray consisting of strawberries, blueberries, and red grapes. All organic, and beautifully arranged by Abby, who has quite the talent for entertaining.
Beyond graduating and new homes and pasta parties, I have a couple more things to show you from the past few days. When we went to Atlanta, we stopped by a farmer's market where we bought a huge box of mangos for $4.50. I love when mangos come in season. I remembered seeing a recipe on Vicki's old blog, many months ago, and have thought about it ever since. Unfortunately, mangos were no longer affordable and so I just filed it away, vowing to make it as soon as mangos became available again. Finally...
Sweet potato fries with mango dipping sauce. The recipe is pretty simple: 1 finely chopped mango, 1/4 cup Nayonaise, and 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce. Oh my goodness, how delicious! It has a nice zing to it, which pairs well with sweet potatoes and with mangos... I love the combination of sweet and spicy. Thanks, Vicki!
And for those of you who remember my leftover bharli mirchi filling, you will be glad to know that I used it up to make samosas. I used the samosa dough recipe from VWaV, subbing in whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose.
I made up a quick coconut-lime sauce inspired somewhat by Isa's Coconut-Mint Chutney recipe on the page following the samosas. It was sweet, again the perfect complement to the spicy samosas. These were good--I am sure the crust would have been flakier if I had used the white flour as I was supposed to, but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make. Bob could not get enough of these! I feel so good when my food gets gobbled up like that.
With that, I sign off for the next couple of weeks. Bob and I are leaving tomorrow to go on a mission trip to South Dakota--where he and I are in charge of food for the entire team. We have a nutritious, delicious, and inexpensive menu planned, and I will fill you in when I get back! I won't have Internet access, but I look forward to catching up with you all when I have the chance. Take care!