Roots Juice Bar: Restaurant Discovery

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Roots Juice Bar, 6 third street, Dover NH

Rushing around doing errands one morning, I realized I hadn’t made time for breakfast and I hadn’t even had my first cup of coffee. I had haphazardly planned to stop for a leisurely cup of coffee at the opposite side of town, but I had forgotten my plan after I finished my errands in that area. I was downtown Dover when I was reminded by my complaining stomach how hungry I was, When I saw a restaurant sign of a place I had always thought about stopping at but never seemed to have the time to explore.

It was a restaurant called Roots Juice Bar, a vegan restaurant offering  fresh juices and smoothies, house brewed kombucha, assorted coffees and teas, breakfast, lunch and nibbles. All offerings were vegan. So I decided right then, this would be a good place to take a moment and catch my breath before continuing on with my busy day.

I parked on the street, finding a parking spot only half a block away. When I opened the door and walked inside, I was greeted by a cozy looking and pristinely clean restaurant with a few tables and a nice comfy decor.20170228_125042 The cashier/ordering counter looked inviting and friendly, as was the pleasant looking associate waiting to take my order.The time was 2pm  and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get breakfast; but she assured me they provide breakfast menu items anytime during the day. The restaurant hours are 8am to 4pm, monday through saturday. The kitchen area and food prep area were in full view, directly behind the cashier counter.

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Roots Juice Bar, 6 third street, Dover NH

I ordered a Breakfast Bowl, which was made with quinoa, strawberry, raspberry, cranberries, almond butter, cashew cream, fresh mint and chia seeds, priced at $8.00 a bowl. I ordered a cup of organic coffee with coconut whip, for $3.00. I could see them preparing my order, and it came out and was served to me within a reasonable amount of time. Everyone was friendly and accommodating.

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Quinoa Breakfast Bowl with Berries and Mint

The breakfast bowl was delicious and refreshing, and exactly what I needed on that day. The quinoa was warmed and the berries over the top were cold, and the juxtaposition of the two temperatures was very pleasant. The different textures of quinoa and berries, rounded together with the creamy almond butter and then a pop of flavor as the mint asserted its herbaceous zing, was also very, very pleasant. Very definitely, I found this to be a flavorful surprise.

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Fresh French Pressed Coffee

When my coffee was delivered to me, I was once again, pleasantly surprised. I was expecting a solo cup of coffee, which might have been sitting in a coffee urn for longer than I might imagine, but lo and behold, the server bought out a french press. She had poured me a cup of the fresh, hot coffee and added the coconut whip. Left in the french press, was enough coffee to pour another generous half cup, at least. I was very pleased. The coffee was fresh, hot and delicious.

I was glad I stopped in and broke up my day to finally try a place, I had often seen but hadn’t yet found the time to explore. I will definitely go back and I would wholeheartedly recommend anyone in the area, who is looking for a friendly and healthful place to enjoy a tasty breakfast, lunch or snack, give Roots Juice Bar a try!

Thank you for visiting me today, at Vegan Mami’s good food kitchen. Remember to feed yourself and your loved ones good whole foods that are tasty and attractive. And remember to take the time to treat yourself, and give yourself some rejuvenating time, so you can share more of yourself with those that matter to you the most!

Snow Fungus; The New Superfood?!!

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Welcome to Vegan Mamis Good Food Kitchen! Thank you for stopping by, today. I want to share with you a new item I found while shopping in my local Asian grocery store. It’s called Dried White Fungus. This is how I saw it in the store, on a shelf, nestled in its festive box:

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packaged dried white fungus

It looked like a gift, and I was intrigued. I could tell it was delicate because the package had been designed to guard the delicate little fungi from being crushed. I was drawn to it and decided it would be my next adventure into the culinary unknown.

Later, when I returned home and was able to do my research, I found  snow fungus goes by many names such as: snow fungus, white fungus, silver ear, white jelly mushroom and white wood ear. It’s latin name is Tremella Fuciformis, and it is a mycoparasite which means it isn’t cultivated on wood like oyster mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms and other mushrooms, but it feeds on the mushrooms that are cultivated on wood. (You can learn more about the mushroom world by going to TomVolkFungi.net).

The snow fungus has been used in chinese medicine for centuries and is credited as a beauty enhancer and digestive aid and possibly improving lung immune function. Now I am not a doctor, and I know nothing of these claims, but if you would like to see more information on this type of thing, you can find it at Ping Ming Health- Accupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine  http://www.pingminghealth.com/article/773/white-fungus-and-lung-immune-function

More benefit information is found at  http://www.herbmuseum.ca/content/medicinal-benefits-snow-fungus

But I am learning about this snow fungus because it heightened my curiosity, and I’m always happy to try new foods and discover how I can use them. To begin, I had to reconstitute the dried fungus in water, which involved soaking the yellowish fungus in water for about 2 hours. It grew into a good sized ball and turned a beautiful white color with a soft and yet firm consistency. Before I could cook the snow fungus I turned it over and trimmed off the hard yellowed bits that looked to be part of a stem.

I read quite a few recipes from the internet and they were all a bit different, but the simplest recipe was to boil the fungus with jujubes (which are chinese red dates) and a handful of goji berries, for approximately one hour , or until you feel it is done. This procedure is meant to create a bowl of soup served warm or cold that enhances beauty; and really, who could turn that down? When cooked, the fungus had a crunchy texture that was at the same time, soft and gelatinous. Cooking it made the water thicker and slippery, as though I had mixed an arrowroot slurry into the soup pot. The fungus had no taste. The interest about it was in the texture. I had noticed some recipes called for adding sugar, other recipes added fruits to cook with the fungus, such as peaches or apples to add flavor.

This was not a culinary treasure in the taste department, at least not these recipes, but if one was interested in the purported benefits of the snow fungus, than its not a bad way to get it down. I tried the soup hot and cold, and the texture of the soup hot, was interesting but when I tried it cold, the next day, it was hard to eat until I became used to the extra silky body of the broth and the gelatinous and crunchy texture of the fungus.

 

I was determined to try another recipe, to see if I could make it more enjoyable. This time I made it as part of a stew. In a large pot, I put the snow fungus, torn into pieces, tofu, zucchini, onions, leafy greens, carrots, sweet potato noodles, a couple large spoonfuls kimchi and one green chile pepper. Then I filled the pot with vegetable stock to cover the veggies, and added a spoonful of gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste). Bought everything to boil, and turned to low, covered with a lid and let it simmer for 35 to 40 minutes.

The flavor of the stew was good, and the snow fungus added its magic as it thickened the stew, ever so slightly, giving the stew juices a silky feel. The snow fungus stubbornly retained it’s soft chewy- yet crunchy texture. Although it added no taste, it added an interesting texture to the stew, and was not in the least disagreeable. So this recipe was a yes, and I could see myself making it again.

I have other recipe ideas to try with this beautiful little gem, but I will leave that for another time. I am sure I have not even begun to tap the possibilities. Thank you for visiting with me today, and remember to keep an open mind and try new things, and always

always

always,

feed yourself and your loved ones good foods, real foods, and foods that are as unprocessed as possible.

 

 

Potato and White Bean Cakes

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Potato and White Bean Cake with catsup and white kimchi

Welcome to Mami’s Good Food Kitchen! I will jump right into sharing this recipe in the spirit it was created. When I woke up this morning, I knew what I needed to do. It would be simple and quick with a minimum of fuss but a maximum of flavor. No added oils or sugars and no dairy products. Not a sweet recipe, but a savory recipe; suitable for breakfast or snack, or really any meal at all.

So, here it is!

Potato and White Bean Cake

  • Preheat oven to 425 F
  • Gather Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes soaked in 1/2 cup hot water
  • 10 oz. cooked potato (1 medium and 1 small)
  • 3/4 cup cooked white beans, drained and rinsed (canned is fine)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • sprinkle of cayenne pepper (to add just a spark of heat)
  • 3 Tbsp of the sundried tomato soaking water
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • salt to taste (if you cook no salt, then omit the salt)
  • panko crumbs or bread crumbs

Use cooked potatoes. If you have none on hand and want to cook them quickly, use the microwave and put them on the potato setting. If you don’t use a microwave, cut potatoes small and boil or steam until soft, while getting the rest of the ingredients together.

Then put 1/4 cup, no oil, sun dried tomatoes in a small bowl and pour 1/2 cup hot water over them to rehydrate. Let soak while you collect rest of ingredients.

In medium sized bowl, put 3/4 cup drained, white beans and mash gently with a fork, leaving most in their whole bean shape. Add to this the crushed garlic, minced onion, dried parsley, nutritional yeast, cayenne pepper, ground black pepper and salt, if you are using salt.

Drain sundried tomatoes, saving the liquid, and mince, or chop fine the reconstituted tomato, and add to the bowl. When the potatoes have cooled off enough to handle, mash them lightly and add the potatoes to the bowl. I left the skins on, to add extra fiber to the cakes.

Now mix all ingredients using your hands or a bean masher. A potato masher would work, too, but don’t mash too much, you still want texture, in your potato cake. Add the three tablespoons of the (saved) sundried tomato water and mix into potato bean mixture. You will be able to form mixture into patties. Make 5 or 6 patties, depending on the size you would like.

Once formed, you can pat panko bread crumbs on each side of the patty, and place on parchment paper sheet or silpat liner. I place this on top of my pizza stone which has been heating up with the oven. I find this helps me to crisp up the cakes and gives them a pleasing texture.

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4 cakes with 3 fun croquette shapes

Bake them in the oven, 425F for 15 minutes, turn them over and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, keeping watch not to burn, but cooking until golden brown and crispy.

These cakes could be pan fried if you wanted to use a non stick pan.

Use whatever condiment you enjoy and you will be rewarded with a tasty and satisfying base for any meal. I enjoyed them at breakfast with catsup and white kimchi, but I could easily see them being enjoyed covered  with a  tomato sauce and served with a salad, or as a snack with a no-cheese sauce for dipping!

Enjoy!

Remember to feed yourself and your loved ones good food, as unprocessed as possible. Eat like it matters; because it really does!

 

What, No Turkey!?!

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Roasted Pumpkin with Stuffing

Welcome to Mami’s Good Food Kitchen!Pull up a chair and have a cup of tea, while we have a little chat.

Thanksgiving is coming up and I’m sure you’ve seen all the advertisements suggesting you order your turkey early, or the advertisements telling you of the best places to go to get the best prices on your Thanksgiving centerpiece. Or maybe you’ve endured the countless requests to donate turkeys, or money for turkeys for people who are having trouble making ends meet or even putting food on the table. All presented with the unspoken and underlying belief that Thanksgiving is all about the Turkey. And it has been all about the turkey, since the first pilgrims celebrated the Harvest Festival in 1621. Or should I say, it has become all about the Turkey. People stress themselves out looking for the perfect turkey to cook in their oven in the most perfect way. Buying such a huge bird that it could easily feed many more than  actually expected for dinner. I know, I know, it’s about the leftovers.

Maybe its because I’ve always been such a rebel. Always fighting against tradition or always fighting against what I’m expected or supposed to do. Or maybe its because I think outside of the box, but in anycase, I’m going to share with you what is important for me on Thanksgiving and why I say,”forget the turkey- It’s still Thanksgiving!”

Let the turkey live! I choose not to eat animals because I believe the animal protein is harder for my body to digest, and I believe as long as there are other means to get our protein, we shouldn’t be needing to kill animals to be healthy and fed. So, what does Thanksgiving mean to me? It is a festival or celebration about life and the abundance in our lives. A time to come together with others with love and gratefulness. It’s about being kind and counting our many blessings. A time for examining the past year and remembering and cherishing memories made this year and in years past. And Thanksgiving is about sharing. Sharing with those in need and sharing with those we love. Sharing things we are all grateful for, and for sharing a meal that nourishes our souls and bodies and celebrates our abundance.

For my centerpiece this year, I will have a roasted pumpkin filled with stuffing. Slow roasted and toasty with the crunchy part of the stuffing some people love to munch on and the soft stuffing which has cooked into a savory soft bread pudding texture inside of the pumpkin. The bonus is the pumpkin flesh that becomes soft and melty and compliments the stuffing and the flavor of the Bell’s Stuffing Seasoning.

To begin, I prepare my ingredients.

  • 1 carrot, chopped fine
  • 3 baby onions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins (or black raisins, or cranberries)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Now it’s time to cut open and clean out that pumpkin! You can do it!

Now for the rest of the ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tsp Bell’s Seasoning (mixture of Rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, marjoram)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 3 cups of dried cubed stuffing (could make your own if you don’t want packaged)

and for the stock:

  • 2 1/2 Tbsp  no-chicken stock powder
  • 2 Tbsp Earth Balance (can be omitted if following a no fat diet)
  • 2 cups water

Next step is to water saute the onions, carrots and celery. When they have softened, you can add in the seasonings (Bell’s Seasoning, thyme, garlic powder and white pepper). While you are sauteing the veggies, put 2 cups water into small saucepan and place on stove. Turn to high and heat water, when it reaches a boil, whisk in the non-chicken stock powder, and the Earth Balance, if you are using it.

The next step is to add the bread crumbs to the saute pan with the veggies and seasoning. Stir until all is combined. Then take the saucepan holding the stock mixture and pour about 3/4 of stock mixture into bread cube mixture. Mix all together and add more stock if you like your stuffing moister.20161111_164022

And finally, you can spoon the stuffing into the emptied pumpkin, filling it all the way, and even mounding it, to ensure the crunchy bits that will form on the top. Also wrap the lid in aluminum foil, so it doesn’t burn while the rest of the pumpkin is baking. Any leftover stuffing you can spoon into a loaf pan (I used a glass one here), and bake it with the pumpkin, spreading it thin if you like it crunchy, or putting it in a smaller ovenproof container if you want it softer.

Bake in a preheated oven, 375 degrees fahrenheit, for approximately 50 to 60 minutes. Keep checking in the oven when you reach 50 minutes, the pumpkin will tell you when it’s done, it will be soft when poked with a fork, and the stuffing should look crunchy and browned, but not too dark…20161111_20155820161111_180436

Maybe mine came out a little too brown. I’ll remember, next time.

But it was good. Very good. I served it with mashed potatoes and gravy, and a big, green salad. I could imagine for Thanksgiving dinner, I would add more of the usual fixings, like green beans, or broccoli or cranberry sauce…you can add whatever else you would like on your menu.

Another change one could make, would be to change the squash out. The Pumpkin was good, but Buttercup Squash or Red Kuri Squash, or Kabocha, which are all squashes in the Hubbard Squash family,  would also work very well in this recipe for taste and for appearance. They are also pretty winter squashes and their taste is deeper and sweeter, with a silky texture. I always like to say, recipes are not rules, but merely guidelines and you should make things the way you know you will like them.

Thank you for visiting me today, at Vegan Mamis Good Food Kitchen. I hope you enjoyed today’s recipe and our talk about what Thanksgiving means to me. Let me know what you are Thankful for this year, and how you will celebrate this beautiful holiday. Take care and remember to feed yourself and your loved ones real food, good food, made with love, to keep everyone healthy and fed!

Easy Chickpea Frittata

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Chickpea Frittata with potato and onion

Today for lunch, we had a simple and filling meal. Chickpea frittata filled with caramelized onions and potatoes, served with hot sauce, and steamed broccoli. It was reminiscent of before we became plant-based, and I would make us my version of  Italian Frittata, or Spanish Tortilla, made rich and delicious with eggs and cheese.

I had heard of using Besan, or Chickpea flour as an egg substitute and although I didn’t expect it to taste just like eggs or have the same texture, I thought it would be at best, an interesting experiment.

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Chickpea flour and batter

Besan, ground chickpeas made into flour, is commonly used in Asian countries  such as India and Pakistan. It is a good source of Protein,  Potassium, Calcium, Iron, Vitamin B-6 and Magnesium. Because I believe in the whole-plant foods philosophy of eating, I would normally eat the chickpeas in there unground, whole form. But once in a while, you’ve got to answer that basic instinct that says “hey, I’d like some comfort food here, today!” And the rain was beating down on the roof, and the weather felt cold and showed no promise of letting up, so I thought today would be the perfect day to give this a try.

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Onions and Potatoes

I began by peeling and slicing one large yellow onion and two medium-sized potatoes. The onions were sauteed in water, to which I added a splash of white wine vinegar. I let them cook slowly in a non-stick pan while I  boiled the potatoes in a separate pot, stirring the onions occasionally to make sure they didn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. After they were cooked, I set them aside as I got the batter ready.

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Chickpea flour batter

Next I measured out one cup chickpea flour and poured it into a medium-sized bowl. In this bowl I also added:

  • 2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 tsp Black Salt
  • 1/2 tsp White Pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

The black salt is used to flavor the batter as an egg, due to its eggy aroma. So, if you don’t have black salt, or don’t want to use salt, simply don’t put it in. Same with the pepper. If you prefer black pepper, or don’t want to use it, it’s optional. Put together the ingredients however it pleases you. Add 1 cup cold water, and whisk ingredients until well combined and there are no lumps. Set batter aside.

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Cooking in pan!

Heat a nonstick skillet. If you are cooking low or no fat, Just be warned that the frittata may stick a bit, but if you are skeptical of your pan, I would just put a dime-sized drizzle of whatever oil you like to use and spread it around the entire pan with a spatula. I was afraid at first the whole thing would stick in the pan, and I tried to turn the frittata too soon and it did look like it was going to stick in the skillet. I let it cook longer, and when I did invert it onto the cutting board, it hesitated for just a second or two until gravity coaxed it to let go of the skillet.

So, once heated, arrange the cooked potatoes in the pan first. Then layer the cooked onions on top of the potatoes. Than take your bowl of batter and pour that over the entire contents of the skillet. It may look to you that you should have more batter to cover the potatoes and onions generously, but I just barely had enough, and after it was done cooking, I realized it was the perfect amount of batter to hold everything together.

Cover the skillet with a lid, and let it cook slowly, on medium low for 12 to 15 minutes. Now comes the hardest part of all (and I didn’t get a picture because I don’t have enough arms to hold my camera and flip the tortilla). Uncover the skillet and remove from the burner. Take a wooden cutting board and place on top of the skillet. The board has to be big enough to hold the frittata. Using pot holders or kitchen towels, pick up the skillet by the handle with one hand, the other hand you will have on top of the cutting board. Flip quickly, so that you end up with the skillet on top and the cutting board on the bottom. Place the cutting board on the counter top right next to you. If you didn’t hear the thump of the frittata releasing, gently knock on the bottom of the skillet. You may need to knock a few times but you should hear it release onto the board.

Gently slide the frittata back into the skillet, and continue to cook on low, another 10 minutes, uncovered.

When 10 minutes are up, turn off the stove and put cutting board on top of skillet, again. Using the same technique as you used for the first flip over, flip the frittata onto the cutting board, but this time, take skillet away as soon as frittata is on the cutting board, cut as desired, either in squares or wedges, and serve.

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Finished Frittata

I served our frittata with steamed broccoli and hot sauce. It was very tasty and satisfying. It was comforting and although it wouldn’t fool anyone into thinking they were eating eggs and cheese, the frittata was very flavorful and nutritious and definitely something I would cook again. My husband also liked it, and was pleasantly surprised with the familiarity of it.

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Frittata with hot sauce

Thank you for visiting me at Vegan Mami’s Good Food Kitchen, where I like to serve food that nurtures the body and brings love to your heart. Take good care of yourself and your loved ones, remember to eat real foods in their whole forms, as often as possible. Your health depends on it!