Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rutabegorz, Garlic Bread, Dal Palak, Mexi-Curry Salad, and Oats

So when I put off blogging it adds up. But the good news is, there's lots of really great stuff in this blog post! So enjoy...

After work the other day we went to a restaurant in Orange, CA called Rutabegorz. Their menu is HUGE! It will take you forever to decide what to get, but luckily for vegans, you have my suggestions right here. All three of these dishes are vegan. There are many other vegan options on the menu too.

Rutabegorz Website (with locations)

Cool Flip Book Rutabegorz Menu

I got the Dala Salad with Mediterranean dressing ($4.75) and a cup of their Killer Chili NO CHEESE ($3.25). All of their salad bowls are humungous, and delicious, and there are PLENTY of vegan choices, not only in salads, but on the whole menu. Also, the waitress was very knowledgeable, nice, and helpful when it came to ordering vegan things, and the menu has clearly labeled vegetarian options. This is the most inexpensive salad on the menu and it was extremely filling.

Jane got the Quinoa tacos, one of the weekly specials. They are vegan. You might have to ask for no cheese, I don't remember. Just be sure to consult with your waitress before ordering. You get two tacos for the special.

It's funny about the word "Quinoa". Before this week I had never heard that word, but, as you will see later in this post, it came up twice for me this week! Quinoa is a grain-like crop grown for it's edible seeds. It is also really hard to find in a regular grocery store. In fact, I didn't find it. But it is extremely healthy! I will keep looking.

Two more cool facts about Rutabegorz: Their women's restroom won Best Restaurant Restroom in OC Weekly, and it is in an old house, which is adorable!!! This is probably one of my favorite restaurants of all time now. And affordable too! I'd definitely go back regularly and grab a huge salad bowl any time!

Garlic bread
One night this week Patrick and I had spaghetti for dinner. He made garlic bread, and I wanted some too. So I invented this little concoction. Corn tortilla with vegan mozzarella spread on it, sprinkle on some freshly chopped garlic cloves and garlic power, put it on a metal pan and put in oven on high heat (broil) for about 7 minutes. I didn't really time it though, so keep a close eye on it. At that high of heat it doesn't need very long. It came out very crunchy, and the sensation of gooey, melty cheese is not something a vegan has very often. It was awesome, and I made it again a few nights later :)

Dal Palak
This was EPIC! This recipe I followed for a vegan Indian dish called Dal Palak says "Very Simple Dal Palak" HAHA... okay this was probably the most effort I have ever put into cooking a single dish EVER. It was SO worth it though!

Dal Palak Recipe

My notes on the above recipe:
-I halved the recipe, but if I had it to do all over again I wouldn't. It seems like a TON of food when you are making it, and I wanted to have lots of leftovers to eat all week since it took me so much time and effort to make, but it really doesn't make as much as you think it is going to while you are preparing it. It gets a lot smaller during the 45 minute simmering phase. So if you are like me and you don't usually put an hour plus into making food, then make this whole recipe and you'll have a lot more for later.

-Words I had to look up prior to shopping for this recipe:
Coriander: It is the same thing as cilantro. In the UK they call it Coriander and in the US they called it Cilantro. I couldn't find it as a spice, so I bought the actual green leafy cilantro in the vegetable section of the super market. You need a very tiny amount. It was near the parsley.
Garam Masala: This is some kind of mixture of Indian spices. I think you just have to look it up and make your own combination of spices. I just used cinnamon for the full amount that the recipe calls for. It worked wonderfully. And was a very simple solution to this complication.
Scallions- They are those skinny stick shaped onions with small white-ish bulbs at the bottom. They are chopped up and used for garnish. You don't NEED them for the recipe, but I like the little bit of crunchiness they add to the mostly mushy dish. You don't add them until the very end.

-And my last tip is to make sure you chop, dice, and prepare all of your ingredients and be very well organized with bowls and plates nearby the big pot on the stove BEFORE you begin cooking ANYTHING. Once you get going on this one it's go-go-go! So be ready to put everything in the pot, following the timing in the recipe of course.

Crying while cutting onions. Patrick couldn't believe that this actually happens! haha

Spices from left to right on plates: Scallions on red plate, spinach, ginger, garlic, and cilantro on black plate, cinnamon, chili powder, and salt. Chop your garlic and ginger and cilantro before starting to cook. I didn't. Mistake. I ended up just chopping really quickly right before throwing them in the pot.

Other ingredients. Diced tomatoes (make sure not to drain, the juice is necessary in the pot), onions and mushrooms in red bowl, potatoes in black bowl, and lentils. I didn't find red lentils, but these worked just fine.

Onions and mushrooms cooking:

A little later, everything in the pot, about to put water in and simmer for 45 minutes.

All done! It will be much prettier when I plate it with some rice, or put it in a pita pocket. It is ridiculously delicious, and the whole house smelled amazing!

Mexi-Curry Salad
While I was waiting the 45 minutes for the Dal Palak to cook, I made myself an EPIC salad to eat for dinner that night. (The Dal Palak was for later in the week).

Recipe for Mexi-Curry Salad

My notes on the above recipe:
-This is when the word "Quinoa" popped up again. I didn't find it in the store, so I didn't use it. Apparently you had to cook it and let it cool before putting it in the salad, which is way too much effort for me after making Dal Palak, so it wasn't a salad ruiner by not having it. No big deal.

-The store only had red, white, and brown onions, no red... so I got brown. The cheapest ones. Still, no big deal. Still delicious.

-I didn't use a jalapeno in the dressing.

-I used regular salt instead of sea salt. Simply because I already had regular salt in the house and didn't want to buy sea salt, but I'm sure it would be awesome.

Other than that, just chop it up, mix it up, and enjoy!!

Pretty layers:

Pretty dressing:

All mixed up!

Homemade Oatmeal
So my friend Jane had been telling me I should just get a big canister of oats and make my own oatmeal instead of buying the pre-packaged, pre-flavored bags. I had stuck to the bags before because I am usually on a time crunch in the morning, and they are so easy. But I decided to go for the canister finally. It is much more cost-effective. So today was my first morning making homemade oatmeal. 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of oats, and then I sprinkled on some cinnamon and a tiny bit of maple syrup, microwave for 2 minutes. It was still quick, easy, delicious, and healthier! Thanks Jane! :)

Well I'm off to grab some Mexi-Curry Salad before work. St. Patrick's Day is this Saturday and we are having a POTLUCK! So come back some time next week, because I'm sure I will be blogging about that epic meal :)

Happy Eating!

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