Love. Restaurant Review – Morimoto Phila. – Quality Time

Friday – Love.
I wanted to talk about my weekend a bit. Schools out for summer so the children spent the week visiting family which meant Seth and I had Friday night all to ourselves. The perfect night for a Date night!
fullsizerender_3
Relationship Advice
To my fellow readers continue to date your spouse, significant other, husband/wife or partner. Don’t allow your life and relationships to become stagnant or stale. Don’t settle for the monotony of the day to day. You and your relationship(s) are better than just ‘going through the motions.’ Keep that passion that brought you together. I love my husband intensely everything about him – his great mind and intellect, smile, friendship, his heart, I love the way he looks at me, love our conversation. We have Passion. Loyalty. Trust. Devotion. Friendship etc. 🙂 Okay okay I’ll spare you all of my mushy loving thoughts about my hubby. Before we go get a room…I’ll just get back to my original thoughts as I’m googly eyed and can easily get lost in my thoughts. So please go out on Dates, Flirt, show affection towards each other, talk – it’s so important to converse with one another keep an open dialogue, Respect Each Other. Love each other the same way you have since day one.
img_20150626_211717301a

img_4280_2
So about Friday night…
It’s nice to live so close to a big city, Philadelphia, if you’ve read my ‘Cheesesteak’ post than you’ve already read some things about the great city of brotherly love. My husband and I love dining in the city. There’s something about dressing to the ‘nines’ and going out that excites me. The ambiance and great service of an upscale restaurant along with good company and good vegan food, its perfection. Yes good Vegan Food – it’s wonderful that most of the more upscale restaurants very easily accommodate a vegan diet these days. A quick ‘shout out’ to R2L one of my favs – 500 feet above the city on the 37th floor of Two Liberty place boasts an amazing view of the city, love it at night. Or how about Vedge – Upscale and all Vegan – I love beautiful food.
Restaurant Review – Morimoto: 723 Chestnut St. Philadelphia. PA 19107
This Friday night we dined at Morimoto. Yes, that would be Iron Chef Morimoto’s restaurant. 🙂 This restaurant has an open atmosphere, it didn’t exactly have that intimate feel but still has the ambient lighting. Speaking of lighting… the table light seemed a bit phallic-like or more similar to a vibrator.. :-/ (sorry for the honesty) but in hindsight I’m sure the idea was to maybe express something similar to an adult lava lamp. The waves along the walls had an oceanic feel, which paired well with the Japanese menu. Contemporary and sleek with Stephen Starr’s name written all over it. We love and have eaten at most of Stephen Starr’s restaurants. While at Morimoto’s we sampled several items from the menu – I always get multiple items to provide a proper and fair review upon my first time visiting, plus I love vegan food!
Hot Appetizer: “Edamame – Fresh Soybeans with Sea Salt” (Pictured below)
IMG_6790a
Noodles: “Cha-Soba – Chilled Green Tea noodles with chopped scallions, fresh wasabi and dashi-shoyu sauce for dipping.”
Soup: “Yasai Ramen – Vegetarian broth, rice noodle, Japanese vegetables.” Our server was gracious enough to let us know that one of the components of the soup (eggplant) was fried in the same fryer with the fish. We opted to have ours without the eggplant.
(Pictured below)
IMG_6793 Entrée: “Ishi Yaki Bop – Rice dish prepared at our table in a hot river stone bowl” – we subbed the meat protein with tofu. (Pictured below)
IMG_6796 (2)
Vegetarian Rolls: Seasonal Vegetable Maki.

Overall each dish was seasoned perfectly, the flavors were fresh and bold – the veggies and ginger really popped. The portions served were very filling and the presentations were beautiful. All the moving parts of the restaurant from the host to the server were cohesive. The service was superb and I will definitely dine here again.

Saturday
My cousin celebrated her 30th Anniversary on Saturday, so beautiful. I love to see the longevity and pure happiness. Her eyes still light up when she talks about her husband still. 🙂

Sunday
With the kids back home – we missed them dearly so we spent some quality time together this day. I love making a big breakfast – I made cinnamon toast. 🙂 We enjoy playing family games together Jasmine chose Scattegories. I always get very competitive against Seth especially. He’s so damn smart and kicked our arse of course. So afterwards I challenged him to a game of cards, I always beat him at cards. Hehe.
IMG_6851

Advertisements

Fried Hearts of Palm Nuggets

Fried Hearts of Palm Nuggets
(Serves 2) – Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free
IMG_6766

IMG_6744
See the wet can? You should always rinse/clean the tops of your cans before opening them. My aunt taught me that when I was a little girl helping out in the kitchen one day. I was so young when she taught me this lesson, as I proceeded to open the can straight from the pantry that day. Oops I was maybe 8?  I never forgot that lesson all these years. She showed me the dust on top and further explained how dirt, bugs, insects etc. can come in contact or sit on top of the can on the shelves at the store or in transit for example. No one wants that getting in your canned veggies if the lid drops in accidently. I thought about this today, in fact, I think of her every time I open a can. Every single time if you can believe it. She has passed away, I miss her dearly and think of her often.
This can today was dusty! Back of the pantry almost forgot it was back there dusty. :-/ The children are visiting family and with just hubby and I, I did not feel up to going to the store. I had Quinoa, Black Beans and Spinach working and just wanted something else to pair with it so I came up with this recipe. A great sauce that would go great with this is my Russian Sauce. Enjoy!

My Titi (Aunt) and I – Miss you.
MG950123

Ingredients:
1 (14oz Can) Hearts of Palm
Wet:
2 Tbsp Potato Starch
½ Tsp Sea Salt
1 Tsp Sriracha
¼ Cup Water

Dry:
¼ Cup Coconut Flour
½ Tsp Sea Salt
¼ Tsp Cayenne Pepper

Oil for Frying – (I used ¼ – ½ Cup Canola Oil)

Directions:
-Slice Hearts of Palm in three pieces or quarter.
-Whisk together wet ingredients to combine.
IMG_6751
-Stir in Hearts of Palm pieces to coat in wet mixture for a few minutes.
IMG_6753
Meanwhile, stir together dry ingredients to combine.
IMG_6756
-Heat oil over medium-low. -Remove pieces to drain then toss in dry mixture.
IMG_6759

-Fry for a couple minutes on each side.
IMG_6764-NOTE: Be sure your oil is not too hot and/or you don’t leave pieces in too long as they will burn very quickly, coconut flour is unforgiving that way.

Hearts of Palm Nuggets

  • Servings: 2 ~ Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Credit: https://veganrescue.com/

Ingredients:
1 (14oz Can) Hearts of Palm
Wet:
2 Tbsp Potato Starch
½ Tsp Sea Salt
1 Tsp Sriracha
¼ Cup Water

Dry:
¼ Cup Coconut Flour
½ Tsp Sea Salt
¼ Tsp Cayenne Pepper

Oil for Frying – (I used ¼ – ½ Cup Canola Oil)

Directions: -Slice Hearts of Palm in three pieces or quarter. -Whisk together wet ingredients to combine. -Stir in Hearts of Palm pieces to coat in wet mixture for a few minutes. Meanwhile, stir together dry ingredients to combine. -Heat oil over medium-low. -Remove pieces to drain then toss in dry mixture. -Fry for a couple minutes on each side. -NOTE: Be sure your oil is not too hot and/or you don’t leave pieces in too long as they will burn.

Ultimate Eggplant Parmigiana (Parmesan)

Ultimate Eggplant Parmigiana (Parmesan)
(Serves 4) – Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free
IMG_6729

Italian has always been a comfort food for me. Pasta and creamy sauces warm and yummy, its right up my alley. This unclassic classic is absolutely delicate and light. This healthier version is not breaded, not fried or greasy and once layered with the sauces it is ultimately creamy and delicious. Need a Father’s Day dinner idea…this is a must try. Enjoy!

Eggplant Ingredients:
(Makes 12 Slices)
1 Eggplant, sliced
1 Tsp Sea Salt
½ Tsp Ground Pepper
1 Tsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:
-Preheat oven 500 degrees.
-Brush/Rub one side of Eggplant with Olive oil Salt and Pepper.
-Brush/Rub the opposite side with Balsamic Vinegar.
IMG_6633
-Bake in oven for 10 minutes. Remove from Oven and set aside. Blend up Vegan Parm mixture.
IMG_6639
-Flip Eggplant and top with ‘Parmesan’ mixture; add back to oven for another 5 minutes.
-Remove and set aside until you’re ready for assembly.

‘Parmesan’ Topping:
(Makes about ½ Cup)
½ Cup Raw Walnuts
1 ½ Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
¼ Tsp Sea Salt
½ Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Tsp Balsamic Vinegar
IMG_6654

Directions: Combine all ingredients and set aside. Do not over blend – mixture should be crumbly. Tip: – use milling blade or pulse in food processor.
IMG_6652

White Sauce “Cheese” Ingredients:
(Makes about 1 ½ Cup)
1 (15oz can) Cannellini Beans
1 Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1/3 Cup Raw Walnuts
1 Tsp Sea Salt
½ Cup Hot Water
2 Tsp Sriracha
IMG_6642

Directions: Blend all ingredients in high-speed blender for about a minute and set aside. Blend until smooth.

Spinach Basil Sauce:
(Makes about ½ Cup)
8 Basil Leaves
1 Handful Fresh Baby Spinach (abt 2 cups)
¼ Cup Raw Walnuts
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Tsp Salt
¼ Tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
IMG_6682 (2)

Directions: Blend all ingredients in high-speed blender and set aside. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Marinara Sauce or use any Pasta Sauce (another recipe here):
1 Small Yellow Onion, chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
¼-½ Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (depending on heat preference)
½ Tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
½ Tsp Salt
1 (28oz Can) Crushed Tomatoes
1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tsp Oregano
Handful of Fresh Basil, chiffonade
IMG_6662

Directions for the above ingredients:
-Heat Olive oil in pan over medium-low heat. Add Onions, Salt, Pepper and Red Pepper flakes and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add Garlic cloves and continue cooking for another minute.
-Add Crushed Tomatoes, Tomato Paste and Sugar, stir and reduce heat to simmer for about 30 minutes.
IMG_6638
You’ve all seen “Goodfellas” right…now “make sure you don’t let the sauce stick – keep stirring it.” 🙂
-Stir in fresh basil last before serving and layering.

This Recipe utilizes (1) Package of Angel Hair Pasta (may use Gluten-Free). Prepare the pasta according to package – boil in salted water for 4-5 minutes until al dente. Drain and toss in pan with olive oil to coat.

Layer from Bottom to Top – or any order that you choose: Pasta ~ Marinara Sauce ~ Eggplant ~ Cheese Sauce ~ Spinach/Basil Sauce ~ Eggplant ~ Cheese Sauce ~ Top with Marinara – Repeat last three layers depending on preference.
IMG_6712


IMG_6714


IMG_6736

-Dig In!-
IMG_6742

Ultimate Eggplant Parmigiana (Parmesan)

  • Servings: 4 ~ Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

Eggplant Ingredients:
(Makes 12 Slices)
1 Eggplant, sliced
1 Tsp Sea Salt
½ Tsp Ground Pepper
1 Tsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:
-Preheat oven 500 degrees.
-Brush/Rub one side of Eggplant with Olive oil Salt and Pepper.
-Brush/Rub the opposite side with Balsamic Vinegar.
-Bake in oven for 10 minutes. Remove from Oven and set aside. Blend up Vegan Parm mixture.
-Flip Eggplant and top with ‘Parmesan’ mixture; add back to oven for another 5 minutes.
-Remove and set aside until you’re ready for assembly.

‘Parmesan’ Topping:
(Makes about ½ Cup)
½ Cup Raw Walnuts
1 ½ Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
¼ Tsp Sea Salt
½ Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Tsp Balsamic Vinegar

Directions: Combine all ingredients and set aside. Do not over blend – mixture should be crumbly. Tip: – use milling blade or pulse in food processor.

White Sauce “Cheese” Ingredients:
(Makes about 1 ½ Cup)
1 (15oz can) Cannellini Beans
1 Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1/3 Cup Raw Walnuts
1 Tsp Sea Salt
½ Cup Hot Water
2 Tsp Sriracha

Directions: Blend all ingredients in high-speed blender for about a minute and set aside. Blend until smooth.

Spinach Basil Sauce:
(Makes about ½ Cup)
8 Basil Leaves
1 Handful Fresh Baby Spinach (abt 2 cups)
¼ Cup Raw Walnuts
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Tsp Salt
¼ Tsp Fresh Ground Pepper

Directions: Blend all ingredients in high-speed blender and set aside. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Marinara Sauce or use any Pasta Sauce (another recipe here):
1 Small Yellow Onion, chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
¼-½ Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (depending on heat preference)
½ Tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
½ Tsp Salt
1 (28oz Can) Crushed Tomatoes
1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tsp Oregano
Handful of Fresh Basil, chiffonade

Directions for the above ingredients:
-Heat Olive oil in pan over medium-low heat. Add Onions, Salt, Pepper and Red Pepper flakes and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add Garlic cloves and continue cooking for another minute.
-Add Crushed Tomatoes, Tomato Paste and Sugar, stir and reduce heat to simmer for about 30 minutes.
You’ve all seen “Goodfellas” right…now “make sure you don’t let the sauce stick – keep stirring it.” 🙂
-Stir in fresh basil last before serving and layering.

This Recipe utilizes (1) Package of Angel Hair Pasta (may use Gluten-Free). Prepare the pasta according to package – boil in salted water for 4-5 minutes until al dente. Drain and toss in pan with olive oil to coat.

Layer from Bottom to Top – or any order that you choose: Pasta ~ Marinara Sauce ~ Eggplant ~ Cheese Sauce ~ Spinach/Basil Sauce ~ Eggplant ~ Cheese Sauce ~ Top with Marinara – Repeat last three layers depending on preference.

Kale & Quinoa Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing

Kale & Quinoa Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette
(Serves 2-4) – Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free
IMG_6575

Kale is nutrient dense and it is loaded with tons a good stuff. It’s no surprise that it’s considered a Super Food. Packed with Vitamin K, A, C, B6, Lutein and one cup boasts about 3 grams of protein and fiber. Excellent calcium and iron absorption also. I know I mentioned the power of spinach and Popeye yesterday, but imagine the strength he would’ve had if he ate kale instead, wow! It could’ve change the world, hehe.
Some additional ideas or variations of this salad: swap the dried cherries with cranberries or use an apple instead of a pear. Also, if the dressing is too tart or acidic add some sugar or additional Agave. Soak your peanuts, enjoy them raw or swap with chopped walnuts. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 Pieces Lacinato Kale, rinsed, stems removed and chopped
4 Pieces of Curly Kale, rinsed, stems removed and chopped
2 Tbsp Capers
½ Pear, julienned
½ Cup prepared Red Quinoa
¼ Cup Raw Peanuts
½ Cup Dried Cherries
½ Tsp Sea Salt
½ Tsp fresh Ground Pepper

Curly Kale – Washed, Dried, Chopped
IMG_6607
IMG_6608
IMG_6610

Dressing (Makes about 1 ½ Cups)
6oz Fresh Raspberries
¼ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
¼ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
Juice of 1 Lemon
3 Tbsp Blue Agave Nectar
½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:
For Dressing – Combine all ingredients in high speed blender (I used a Nutribullet).
For salad – rinse and drain chopped kale, I used my salad spinner.
IMG_6603 (2)

Lacinato Kale – Wash, Dried, Chopped
IMG_6612

IMG_6614

IMG_6616
Combine all ingredients and toss together with ½ cup of prepared Raspberry dressing. Refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes for flavors to combine. Enjoy!

Kale & Quinoa Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 2-4 ~ Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Credit: https://veganrescue.com/

Ingredients:

3 Pieces Lacinato Kale, rinsed, stems removed and chopped
4 Pieces of Curly Kale, rinsed, stems removed and chopped
2 Tbsp Capers
½ Pear, julienned
½ Cup prepared Red Quinoa
¼ Cup Raw Peanuts
½ Cup Dried Cherries
½ Tsp Sea Salt
½ Tsp fresh Ground Pepper

Dressing (Makes about 1 ½ Cups)
6oz Fresh Raspberries
¼ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
¼ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
Juice of 1 Lemon
3 Tbsp Blue Agave Nectar
½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:
For Dressing – Combine all ingredients in high speed blender (I used a Nutribullet). For salad – rinse and drain chopped kale, I used my salad spinner.
Combine all ingredients and toss together with ½ cup of prepared Raspberry dressing. Refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes for flavors to combine. Enjoy!

Warm Mushroom and Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinegar Dressing

Warm Mushroom and Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinegar Dressing
(Serving 2-4) – Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free
IMG_6539

Mushrooms! I love Spinach too! It’s funny when I think back to my childhood I remember the typical stuff like certain movies, t.v. and video games. It’s interesting how veggies were marketed to us in a roundabout way back then. Obviously times have now changed with all the commercials and advertising (especially here in the U.S.). I’m unclear as to what the true message is these days…junk, soda, greasy, cheesy, crust filled, all you can eat, candy etc. I think I read somewhere that 70% of the commercials on children t.v. channels are all junk foods. It’s no surprise the increase in obesity, diabetes heart diseases, cancer etc. in this country. Now when I was growing up I remember Spinach and Mushrooms the key ingredients in this dish which are both very nutritious. Remember Super Mario Bros. and Mushroom world. Mushrooms would allow me to double in size and strength or take an extra hit. Having strength to break bricks. Then there is Popeye whether the original intention was to boast the health benefits of spinach and maybe it wasn’t, the reality is we viewed Popeye as having incredible strength and abilities after eating a can of the stuff. The best part is…it really is a super food and nutritiously good for you. Vitamin A, K, B6, Iron etc. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
¼ Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1-2 Garlic Cloves, minced
5oz Shiitake Mushrooms, sliced
3.5oz Bunapi Mushrooms (White Beech), ends removed
7 Whole White Button Mushrooms, quartered
6 Whole Baby Bella Mushrooms, quartered
¼ Tsp Sea Salt
3 Handfuls Fresh Baby Spinach (abt 4 Cups)
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
½ Tbsp Blue Agave Nectar
1 Tsp Horseradish Mustard or Dijon

Directions: 
-In sauté pan heat 2 Tbsp Olive Oil over medium-low heat, add Crushed Red Pepper Flakes and Garlic for about 2 minutes.
IMG_6528
-Remove Garlic-Red Pepper Oil and pour into a bowl, set aside.
-Back to empty pan – heat over medium and add mushrooms in batches. I started with Shiitake about 2-3 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from pan and set aside.
-Add quartered (larger pieces I cut down further) Baby Bella / Button mushrooms and ¼ Tsp Sea Salt and sauté for about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and add with Shiitake.
-To pan add 1 Tbsp Olive Oil and sauté Bunapi Mushrooms for about 5 minutes. They should pick up some nice color from the pan/prior ingredients. Remove and add with other mushrooms.
IMG_6532 (2)
-Back to pan add fresh Spinach and warm through until slightly wilted. Remove from pan and add with mushrooms, the spinach will continue to warm through with mushrooms.

For Dressing: -To bowl with Olive Oil, Garlic and crushed Red Pepper Flakes add: Balsamic Vinegar, Agave Nectar and Mustard – whisk together to combine. Toss all ingredients together to combine. Let stand for about 5-10 minutes before serving and enjoy!

Note from the past: Be sure to divide mushrooms and cook in multiple batches. If you throw all the mushrooms in the pan together at once they will get watery and steam up instead. You don’t want to over stir or season yet. You’ll want mushrooms to release their own natural moisture and sizzle into a golden color.

Warm Mushroom and Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinegar Dressing

  • Servings: 2-4 ~ Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
¼ Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1-2 Garlic Cloves, minced
5oz Shiitake Mushrooms, sliced
3.5oz Bunapi Mushrooms (White Beech), ends removed
7 Whole White Button Mushrooms, quartered
6 Whole Baby Bella Mushrooms, quartered
¼ Tsp Sea Salt
3 Handfuls Fresh Baby Spinach (abt 4 Cups)
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
½ Tbsp Blue Agave Nectar
1 Tsp Horseradish Mustard or Dijon

Directions: 
-In sauté pan heat 2 Tbsp Olive Oil over medium-low heat, add Crushed Red Pepper Flakes and Garlic for about 2 minutes.
-Remove Garlic-Red Pepper Oil and pour into a bowl, set aside.
-Back to empty pan – heat over medium and add mushrooms in batches. I started with Shiitake about 2-3 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from pan and set aside.
-Add quartered (larger pieces I cut down further) Baby Bella / Button mushrooms and ¼ Tsp Sea Salt and sauté for about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and add with Shiitake.
-To pan add 1 Tbsp Olive Oil and sauté Bunapi Mushrooms for about 5 minutes. They should pick up some nice color from the pan/prior ingredients. Remove and add with other mushrooms.
-Back to pan add fresh Spinach and warm through until slightly wilted. Remove from pan and add with mushrooms, the spinach will continue to warm through with mushrooms.

For Dressing: -To bowl with Olive Oil, Garlic and crushed Red Pepper Flakes add: Balsamic Vinegar, Agave Nectar and Mustard – whisk together to combine. Toss all ingredients together to combine. Let stand for about 5-10 minutes before serving and enjoy!

Note from the past: Be sure to divide mushrooms and cook in multiple batches. If you throw all the mushrooms in the pan together at once they will get watery and steam up instead. You don’t want to over stir or season yet. You’ll want mushrooms to release their own natural moisture and sizzle into a golden color.

The Joker’s Formula

I love these beans!

IMG_20150614_202148

I’ve been out of touch for at least a week yikes! Sorry about that my computer is fried, literally. I’ll be hopefully back up and running soon, I have some delicious recipes that I’ve been working on, can’t wait to share my mushroom salad. But guess what? I didn’t have to cook tonight!

It seems I’m a creature of habit and routine, so when my computer crashed naturally it felt like I was immobilized. On the contrary my hubby always blogs right from his phone. So I’m trying that just for today. Excuse the camera phone photo of my husband’s amazing beans. He makes the best crockpot beans ever! Sorry I don’t have a recipe to share… he won’t even give up his secret recipe to me. 🙂

In lieu of a recipe, I’ll reblog his post from today and I’m included a pic too. Check it out!

_20150613_224157

By the way did I mention these beans were delicious! Beans are so good for you too. Packed with Fiber, Protein, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, etc. They were so creamy. I kept going back for more.