Sunday, June 13, 2010

Seitan Kibbe with Couscous Pilaf, Sumac Salad, and Avocado-Tahini Dressing

...sadly folks, no recipe, this was prepared for me BUT I figured I'd blog about it to inspire any of you incredible chefs out there!

Currently, I'm in Delafield, Wisconsin, a short drive away from Milwaukee and an even shorter one from Madison.  Last night, my beau and I drove to Milwaukee to meet Jeremy's father and his father's lady friend to listen to some music and grab some dinner.  The restaurant chosen was Roots : a hip, inventive and pricey restaurant, but with excellent food.  Roots is a member of the Slow Food Movement that advocates locally grown foods, the celebration of local cuisine, family farms, and a movement away from fast food among MANY other things (besides, well, eating slower).  Though they still support eating meat, at the very least they're against factory farms.  They're easy to find on the net--check 'em out!

I looked at the menu before I left, and with few but interesting, complex choices, I assumed there wasn't much if any vegan fare.  On the contrary!  When I asked our lovely waitress if either of the two entrees that seemed vegetarian were vegan, she said BOTH were!  She recommended the Seitan Kibbe, and I went for it, choosing to start the night off with a lovely red wine and a house salad.

True to form, the pace of the dinner moved slowly, and we were there for about two to two and a half hours, and had a LOVELY time.  The starters to the dinner were great--rather than bring out bread for the table, the waitress brought us "snacks," three little bowls filled with MORE vegan choices: various pickled vegetables (so yummy and clearly made there, with broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, green beans), chickpea nuts (first time I've had them--loved the texture, would have personally toyed around a bit with the spices and gave them a kick but hey, not everyone likes spicy!) and perfectly popped popcorn!  What healthy treats to bring out beforehand!

The salad I had was seemingly very simple but delectable, with some really fascinating tastes.  Greens can be so complex...

Finally, the Seitan Kibbe entree.  Though I took zero pictures last night (it felt like it would have been rude) I found great pics online quite close to what I actually ate (though of course the presentation at Roots was much fancier, though these photographers did a great job!).

Let's start with the was delicate and light.  However, I have never seen couscous with such large balls (as seen left). But I loved it.  Perfect consistency.

The seitan intrigued me.  I was almost ready to send it back when she set the plate in front of me, it looked SO much like some sort of roast.  By itself, it was good, but not blow-your-mind incredible.  My beau gave it a go and said that it was seasoned well (and knowing my beau, this implies he didn't like the texture).  But for a veg-head like me, the texture is familiar.  And, when I combined all the lovely tastes of the dish--the couscous, the yummy and not overwhelming avocado-tahini sauce featured on the side of the plate and not dressing the dish, the sumac salad which consisted of unknown yet tasty spices flavoring cukes and onions, and the seitan, I was quite, quite pleased.  As you can see above, I'm having difficulty finding an adjective for the concept of lightness and unassuming...ness?  But everything in the dish was simply a team, and nothing overpowered anything else.  

I left the restaurant having had not just food but an experience, so it seems that the Slow Foods Movement achieved it's goal with me last night:).

Now, unfortunately I must include a bit of a caveat.  I left last night satiated but slightly uncomfortable, and as time wore on my digestive system was PISSED.OFF and I won't lie, I looked prego.  I can't help but think it was because I ingested such large, concentrated sources of wheat gluten at one sitting (seitan=vital wheat gluten).  Which makes me wonder if I have a sensitivity to wheat, something I've also wondered in the past.  Either that or it simply was too much gluten at once.  I may have to try an elimination diet....

Keep on keepin' on with grace, peace, love, and wellness:).

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Great and Gentle Beast

Hello all!  I just returned from a lovely vacation to my beau's family's home in Cocoa Beach, Florida, and I must say it was incredible.  Though lounging gets difficult for me (I'm a bit restless and fidgety as a rule, so the concept of a vacation takes a couple days for me to really commit to it and adjust) I fell in love with the beauty of the area.

Along with that, I was blessed to witness so many creatures!  I saw upwards of ten manatees at a crazy close range and got to watch them play and feed and swim for two hours!  I also saw pelicans, a turtle, and a few porpoises VERY close.  Seeing all of these animals not only reinforces my beliefs when it comes to eating humanely, but it puts my actions into a practical realm that I can see.  Being vegan is wonderful, but when you get to witness firsthand animals that are affected (for instance, sea animals affected by overfishing, global warming affecting their habitat, etc) your purpose is renewed.

I looked up manatees (who are veg-eaters too!) online, and thought I would share some information with you all from

West Indian manatees have no natural enemies, and it is believed they can live 60 years or more...A high number of fatalities [aside from natural causes] are from human-related causes. Most human-related manatee fatalities occur from collisions with watercraft. Other causes of human-related manatee mortality include being crushed and/or drowned in canal locks and flood control structures; ingestion of fish hooks, litter, and monofilament line; and entanglement in crab trap lines. Ultimately, loss of habitat is the most serious threat facing the approximately 3,800 manatees in the United States today.

Tragically, of the manatees that I saw, almost all had some sort of scar on their backs, clearly caused by the propellars of boats.  It's tragic.  They do not understand that boats are not friendly creatures, and people are too careless.

Finally, in observing so many majestic creatures in Florida I couldn't help but be sobered by remembering the disastrous oil spill.   Please visit: to see plenty of links that will direct you to sites should you wish to donate your time, energy, and/or money--and please please do!

With a fully belly from a delicious salad of spinach, tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, red onions, and a yummy piece of ezekial bread with hummus on top, I sign off and wish you all wellness, happiness, and peace:).