Category Archives: Appetizer

Vegan Banh Mi Chay from Bánh Mì San Marcos

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese Sandwich

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese Sandwich

When I die, my last meal request would likely be a vegan Banh Mi sandwich. In particular, a vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese sandwich! It even sounds great! Say it out loud! Bánh Mì! — pronounced “Bon Mee”.

I’ve always loved Vietnamese food. Their combinations of spicy and salty, with a touch of sweet and sour, produce that perfect umami flavor perfection that I love so much. Only Thai food rivals the joys of umami and would be a close 2nd for a death bed meal, but a Banh Mi Chay is really my last wish.

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese Sandwiches

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese Sandwiches

Sure, you can make your own Bánh Mì at home, but they are so inexpensive that I just prefer to let the experts make them and buy Banh Mi from a restaurant, street food cart, or food truck.

One of our favorite places in San Diego is Banh Mi San Marcos. They make these giant Banh Mi sandwiches and it is family owned and operated. The secret to a great Banh Mi is extremely fresh ingredients, especially the French baguette used for the bread, and Banh Mi San Marcos gets it right every time.

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese Banh Mi San Marcos

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Sandwich from Banh Mi San Marcos

We order the Banh Mi Chay fried tofu sandwich without mayo and add Vegenaise ourselves in place of the mayonnaise. It comes with the traditional ingredients of cucumber, jalapeño, pickled carrots and daikon, with cilantro, and we like to add Sriracha or chili garlic sauce to each bite. Some Vietnamese restaurants use fish sauce with their tofu or on the sandwiches, so be sure to ask about that to make it vegan. Bánh Mì San Marcos does not use fish sauce on the Bánh Mì Chay. Yay!

Banh Mi San Marcos Menu

Banh Mi San Marcos Menu

Banh Mi San Marcos is located at 706 Rancho Sante Fe Road San Marcos, CA 92078. You can phone 760-599-0177. They don’t have a website, but I’ve included a picture of their menu, which also shows their hours. They are closed on Sundays.

They have some of the best Banh Mi Vietnamese sandwiches I have ever tasted, and I’ve had many. Give them a try or search your local area for a restaurant that serves the Banh Mi Chay fried tofu sandwich. If you’ve never had one then you are missing out on true delight. Do not deprive yourself. Go now! It may very well end up being your death bed last meal request, too.

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Sandwich

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Sandwich

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese Sandwich with Sriracha

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese Sandwich with Sriracha

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Funky Vegan Masoor Red Lentil Dahl Recipe With Chili Peppers

Funky Vegan Masoor Red Lentil Dahl Recipe

Funky Vegan Masoor Red Lentil Dahl

Funky Vegan Masoor Red Lentil Dahl Recipe With Chili Peppers

Ahhh! Good old Indian comfort food at it’s finest. I like to make it spicy with chili peppers, but it really isn’t too hot because of the quantity of Red Lentil Dahl you’re making. Believe it or not, I add more chilies to my personal bowl when I eat it. So, don’t be afraid to give it a try. Chili peppers have a lot of vitamin C in them and supposedly can help keep your arteries unclogged, among other health benefits. You can always use less if you would prefer.

What makes it funky? I like to add a touch of pickle juice, but if you don’t have any on hand you can substitute lemon juice. Serve over brown basmati rice or some boiled potatoes. It is really simple to make and delicious. This makes about 4-1/2 to 5 quarts, so you will have plenty of leftovers, or it will serve quite a few people with the basmati rice or potatoes. Garnish with a bit of fresh cilantro.

Masoor Dahl - Funky Vegan Style

Masoor Dahl - Funky Vegan Style

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients:

4 cups red lentils
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 head of garlic, finely chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
2 serrano peppers, finely chopped
2 Thai chili peppers, finely chopped
2 tablespoons turmeric
2 tablespoons Indian curry powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 cup pickle juice or juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon sea salt
1-1/2 (10 ounce) cans of Rotel Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
11 cups of water

Instructions:

1. In a 6 quart stock pot, add garlic, onion, celery, extra virgin olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Sauté over high heat 3 minutes and then add turmeric and curry powder and sauté 1 more minute.

2. Add water, red lentils, jalapeno peppers, serrano peppers, Thai chili peppers, cumin, pickle juice, Rotel Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, ginger, black pepper, and the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt.

3. Bring to a boil and then simmer on medium heat for 35-40 minutes, Stirring occasionally to make sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pot.

4. Remove from heat and let stand for 5-10 minutes, then serve.

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Funky Vegan Split Pea Soup

Vegan icon avatar symbolI’ve been flirting with and have been mostly vegan for a while. However, this blog post marks my commitment to going vegan full-time. I am happy about this decision and hope to share lots of yummy vegan foodie stuff with you all. I promise to break out my real camera instead of using the lower quality iPhone camera soon.

Funkinutt McFly's Funky Vegan Split Pea Soup

Funkinutt McFly's Funky Vegan Split Pea Soup

So, I was hungry for some hearty soup and looked around the kitchen and it turned out I had everything needed to make Funky Vegan Split Pea Soup. Usually it seems like I have to run to the store for one or two items, but I got lucky. It is one of my personal favorites and it pleases my lady (always a plus). It is also very economical to make, but does take some time.

What makes my recipe Funky? This stuff:

San Marcos Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce FunkyI add a wee-bit of curry powder and some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to give it that little extra something something! Sounds exciting, hunh? It takes a lot of frequent stirring and tender love, but it is well worth the flavor. It’s even better the next day. It can be served as an appetizer or a main course. Serves 10-20. Let’s get going.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 70-90 minutes
Total Time: About 2 hours

Ingredients:

4 cups of dried split peas
1 gallon of water (4 quarts)
1 head of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 large onion,  diced
6 stalks of celery,  diced
4 medium carrots, diced
4 medium russet potatoes,  diced
1 cube vegetable bouillon
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried tarragon
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon curry powder
3 bay leaves
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce,  finely chopped
20 dashes Tabasco brand pepper sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon Cavender’s Greek seasoning

Directions:

1. In a 6 quart stock pot, add garlic, onion, celery, carrots, extra virgin olive oil, curry powder, thyme, bay leaves, vegetable bouillon, and Cavender’s Greek seasoning. Sauté over high heat 4 minutes.

2. Add peas, water, potatoes, cumin, tarragon, and 1/2 each of the salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce. Stir well. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove lid and reduce heat slightly and continue to let boil for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Reduce heat to slightly higher than medium and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until peas break down and fall apart; approximately 40-50 minutes.

4. Remove from heat. Add chipotle peppers. Stir well and taste. Add remaining salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce to taste. Let soup cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil over the soup and French or sourdough bread on the side.

Funky Vegan Split Pea Soup Ingredients

Funky Vegan Split Pea Soup Ingredients

Funky Vegan Split Pea Soup Saute

Funky Vegan Split Pea Soup Saute

Funky Vegan Split Pea Soup All In The Pot

All In The Pot

Funky Vegan Split Pea Soup Cooling

Done and Cooling

Funky Vegan Split Pea Soup Serving

Serve and Eat!

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New Stuffs: Tabasco Buffalo Style Hot Sauce

New Stuffs: Tabasco Buffalo Style Hot SauceBookmark and Share

I have been a great fan of McIlhenny Company‘s Tabasco® Brand products for many years and have always wanted to visit Avery Island, LA to take a tour of the birthplace of their lovely and peppery elixir. I have been known to use the original Tabasco Sauce so much that my father bought me a gallon jug of it once for Christmas. It is a staple ingredient in my kitchen and something of a secret ingredient because it adds flavor and I use it in such a way (sometimes) that people don’t always notice it, they just say “Wow, that’s yummy!” And, I also own a Tabasco necktie.

Recently they introduced their Tabasco Brand Buffalo Style Hot Sauce to the world and I am looking forward to trying it out, soon. The heat level ranges from 300-900 Scoville Heat Units (SHUs), which you can see in the chart is much milder than most of their other sauces and is considerably less heat than I usually require. So, I’m thinking I will have to spice it up some.

Tabasco-Sauce-Scoville-Heat-Chart

Tabasco Sauce Rules! I could eat it on Ice Cream.

I love that Tabasco keeps their ingredients simple and natural. Tabasco Brand Buffalo Style Hot Sauce has red cayenne pepper, salt, water, distilled vinegar and garlic listed as the ingredients. Did you say garlic? I love anything with GARLIC in it. But, wait! It only comes in 5-oz. bottles? What? Really? There is no way that would last for even a dozen or two chicken wings. I truly hope they will come out with a 12 ounce version. Seriously now.

The sauce is described as thicker than their other sauces, is cayenne-based, and is not just for wings, but could be used in a variety of ways; including as a dipping sauce, on burgers or sandwiches, on the BBQ or grill, or to add some zing to a baked potato, or anything else for that matter. Tabasco already has several recipes available.

Try it for FREE! …well, sort of kind of free…

Tabasco Buffalo Style Hot Sauce Horns Get A Free BottleAt the time of this writing, it is not available in stores yet. Boo hoo hoo. The good news? It is available online at the Tabasco Country Store. Want to try it out for FREE? Well, sorta kinda free. They are including one FREE 5-oz. bottle of Tabasco Brand Buffalo Style Hot Sauce with any online order. Just enter code BUF on the shopping cart page when you place your order. If you happen to be in the food-service industry you should be able to get it in bulk (case of 12) from your vendor.

Tabasco Buffalo Style Hot Sauce Love in a BottleAnother good tip for those who love their Tabasco Sauce: GET a COUPON for money off of your next bottle.

One last caveat. No, it does not come with the cool bottle top with buffalo horns shown in the main picture for this article. But, it should and I am going to write them and let them know. I would buy it simply for that and just recycle the bottle for Tabasco Sauce!

Oh – maybe one more caveat. You may also want to see the video for the Guinness Book of World Records winner for Most Tabasco Sauce Drank In 30 Seconds. Think you can beat it? I think I can. I’ve always wanted to set a World Record. I think I have a strategy. Hmm.

Remember. Eat like a God!

The TABASCO® marks, bottle and label designs are registered trademarks and service marks exclusively of McIlhenny Company, Avery Island, Louisiana 70513. Images are also from the McIlhenny Company – one of which was slightly modified for this article by the writer for visual purposes.

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Nicolas Alziari Olive Oil & Cilantro Shrimp Recipe

Nicolas Alziari Olive Oil Cilantro Shrimp

Nicolas Alziari Olive Oil & Cilantro Shrimp Recipe Bookmark and Share

*Note: This post was created prior to me becoming a full-time vegan.

Several years ago, at a Williams-Sonoma store, I tasted this extra virgin olive oil that haunted me for years to come. It was so delicious and buttery, with an exquisite flavor that I’ve never tasted before, or since. It was rather expensive and I could not afford it at the time. When I eventually went back to get some, they no longer carried it and nobody knew the name of the brand I was talking about. I was heartbroken. Over time, I searched high and low, only remembering the basics of what the can looked like, and after 7 long years I finally found it. Sweet relief! And, now I share it with you.

Nicolas Alziari Extra Virgin Olive Oil is from Nice, France and made from the first cold pressing of select nicoise olives. Nicolas Alziari has been in business since 1868 and their oil is stone ground. The olive oil is sweet and fruity, with a silky smooth buttery finish. Most of it never makes it out of France, and therefore it is difficult to find. Nicolas Alziari Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the best olive oil in the world. It is best used raw as a finishing oil drizzled over vegetables, fish or meats, or in salad dressings. It is also quite nice on poultry or seafood, like scallops or shrimp. Below is a simple recipe for a quick appetizer called Cilantro Shrimp using this liquid gold.

Cilantro Shrimp Recipe

Serves 2-3

24 medium cooked shrimp (boiled, grilled, or any method)
1/2 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce
cracked black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons of Nicolas Alziari Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Place cooked and peeled, preferably cool (room temperature) shrimp on a plate. Sprinkle Tabasco sauce and black pepper over shrimp. Drizzle Nicolas Alziari Extra Virgin Olive Oil onto the shrimp. Top with chopped cilantro and serve.

My father was kind enough to get me a 1/2 liter can of this olive oil (thanks Pops). I found it online at Formaggio Kitchen. They also sell 1 liter cans. If you get really serious you can purchase it in bulk from Nicolas Alziari directly. This really is the best olive oil I have ever tasted. I hope you enjoy.

Nicolas Alziari Olive Oil - Best Olive Oil In The WorldNicolas Alziari Extra Virgin Olive Oil Tabasco Shrimp

Eat like a God!

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Cassées des Baux Olives

cassees des baux olives

Cassées des Baux Olives Bookmark and Share

Ok. I have tried many olives, but these are the BEST olives EVER! Cassées des Baux Olives are very rare, hard to find, and worth every penny. If in my life I can get a full food service bucket of these, at a wholesale price, it would be better than winning the lottery. Only one place has them online that I know of: Formaggio Kitchen (thank you), and sometimes they are out of stock (keep checking). Waste no time. You must try these. If you get some lemme know, because I’m coming over for dinner!

Country of Origin: France

Region: Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Cassées des Baux (unpasteurized) from Grossane or Salonenque olives – one of the few AOC olives, it is produced in the vallée des Baux, in France’s main olive and olive oil producing area: Provence. Cassées des Baux olives are cracked and cured with fennel (fennel seed, fennel flowers, and fennel stalks). They are a nice fleshy olive with a great buttery, fennel flavor.

via Formaggio Kitchen | Olives & Antipasti | Cassées des Baux Olives (unpasteurized).

Eat like a God!

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