April 16, 2018

Kati Vegan Thai and The Cookie Counter ice cream shop

Two vegan food bloggers go out to dinner.

In my last post about Seattle Vegfest, I mentioned that my husband and I attended a cooking demo by cookbook author and blogger, Hannah Kaminsky, and we three later went out to dinner together. We've been blog friends for a long time, and it was wonderful getting to spend real-life time together.

When we went to pick up Hannah from her air B&B, we were startled to find it located in the middle of the steepest, most alarmingly vertical city street we've ever seen in Seattle. It was so steep that my husband, who was driving, refused to drive down it, so we parked at the cross street at the top, and carefully walked down to meet her. I kind of wanted to drive down the slope just to see what it felt like, but I had to settle for walking. I imagine on snowy or icy days, people who live on the block don't bother to get out of bed. In nice weather, if you wanted some exercise, you could just walk up and down the street a couple of times and call it a day. Lovely house, though, and good views!

We had picked a restaurant relatively close by in South Lake Union called, Kati Vegan Thai. It's always a treat to go to a restaurant that's 100% vegan where you don't have to negotiate the vegan options. My husband and I had been there twice before and enjoyed it, and I already knew they had lots of gluten-free dishes. In addition to having good food, it's a pleasant, quiet place where it's possible to have a conversation as well as dinner. My friend Kati recently dined there, and said she was told by the owner that 'Kati', pronounced Kah tee in Thai, means coconut milk. The food at Kati Vegan Thai isn't exotic, heavily sauced and intensely spiced — it's fresh , simple, delicious food.

According to their Web site, "Making it ‘easy’ is keeping things simple, getting it right, and doing it fast. It’s about picking the best ingredients at the open air market every afternoon. It is trusting in technique over ‘secret sauces’. It’s about channeling natural flavor combinations instead of eclectic fusions and rare ingredients from afar. Says Fon, 'Perfect does not have to be complicated!' We believe in honesty and respect for ourselves and our customers. Kati specializes in healthful and flavorful cuisine made with plant-based ingredients. We choose fresh ingredients with only as much cooking oil as needed. We also want to live in a clean and sustainable world, and choose biodegradable products."

We ordered four dishes —


larb makua, a “sautéed eggplant salad with mushrooms, toasted rice, diced green onions & cilantro;”



tom yum, “the classic sour and spicy herbal soup;"



old-style pad Thai, "a uniquely delicious pad Thai found only at Kati;” and pad pak, “broccoli, cauliflower, napa cabbage, and carrots stir-fried in mild garlic sauce.” I forgot to take a photo of the pad pak, the last dish to arrive at the table. Guess I was too busy eating by the time it appeared. I enjoyed all four dishes!

After dinner we began talking about vegan desserts, with an emphasis on ice cream, a subject dear to Hannah's heart. We decided to travel to the Greenwood neighborhood for scoops of ice cream at the Cookie Counter, an all-vegan ice cream parlor and bakery. The Cookie Counter started as a vegan ice cream truck, then crowd-funded into an adorable little shop where they make and sell delicious coconut milk-based ice cream. It was close to closing time when we arrived but there were still lots of people enjoying ice cream, and more people arriving. Ken got a scoop of chocolate in a waffle cone, I got a scoop of mint chip in a cake cone and Hannah got a scoop of mint chip with a chocolate shell in a waffle bowl. I didn't notice the waffle bowls or I would have gotten one, too! Next time.

Once again I neglected my blogger duty to photograph all food I encounter, but Hannah saved the day by capturing an ice cream moment.

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In other news, if you have any interest in entering a vegan recipe contest, read the notice below. There are lots of good prizes!

Call for vegan recipe submissions opens in April with $1,000 as grand prize

DENVER, CO - Kroger’s Live Naturally magazine, along with Kroger’s organic line Simple Truth, are partnering with celebrities and brands within the plant-based market to offer a recipe contest offering $1,000 as the grand prize. A call for recipe submissions began on April 3, 2018 and ends on July 15, 2018.

World-renowned vegan chef and 2017 Vegetarian Hall of Fame Inductee Mark Reinfeld of Vegan Fusion and The Doctor & The Chef created the contest to encourage creativity and create awareness of plant-based cuisine. Celebrity judge Ellie Krieger will help choose the winners. Ellie is the host and executive producer of the new cooking series “Ellie’s Real Good Food” and is well-known from her hit Food Network show.

One winner for the grand prize will be announced on August 15, 2018. Runner-up prizes will include, but are not limited to, the following:

Vitamix Blender
Kroger Simple Truth Goodie Bags & Coupons
Signed copy of Healing the Vegan Way cookbook by Mark Reinfeld
Signed copy of You Have It Made: Delicious, Healthy Do-Ahead Meals cookbook by Ellie Krieger
Vegan Fusion Academy & Vegetarian Times Online Course
The Doctor & The Chef One-Year Vegan Wellness Online Membership
Copies of various plant-based cookbooks from award-winning authors and chefs
Additional prizes from national brands and sponsors
And more...

For contest rules, a complete list of prizes and to submit your recipe, visit www.LiveNaturallyMagazine.com/RecipeContest/.

April 10, 2018

Seattle Vegfest 2018: products we loved

TBV (throwback vegfest) from a 2011 volunteer stint.

On Saturday, we did what we usually do around this time of year, we went to Seattle Vegfest at the Seattle Center. We went early to avoid the crowds, and ended up standing in a long line waiting for the ticket windows to open. Avoid the crowds? What was I thinking? This was the busiest Vegfest I can remember. It was packed with people even just after opening at 10 a.m., which I suppose is a good thing, as it indicates a booming interest in vegan and vegetarian food. Vegfest isn't 100% vegan, but this year it seemed that nearly everything I encountered was vegan. I was astonished at all the food tables filled with vegan, gluten free, organic food. I think there were more than 500 foods to try, and everything I tasted (except one fizzy drink) was delicious. In addition to eating enough food to make me feel full long before we reached the last of the tables, we also attended two cooking demos — one an Indian food demo revolving around chickpeas, and the other a demo by none other than Hannah Kaminsky, the intrepid blogger (Bittersweet Blog) and cookbook author, cooking foods from her latest cookbook, "Real Food Really Fast." I was excited to catch up with Hannah after her presentation, and we ended up going out for dinner (and then out for ice cream!) later in the evening. More about this later.

I'm embarrassed to say I didn't bring my camera to Vegfest, nor did I take a single photo with my phone, thus the 2011 throwback photo at the top of the page. (We were volunteering that day stationed between Mighty-O doughnuts and Theo chocolate — and I personally took full advantage of that positioning.) When I mentioned to my husband that I hadn't taken any photos, he suggested I recycle old ones, as a joke, I think. Well, looks like the joke's on him. This year my blogging credentials are at risk, I know, but I'll try to make up for my failure by showing you some of the finer things we tasted, then bought and brought home, as well as a couple of samples we acquired. And there's also the dinner...



Our first item bought at vegfest was purchased by my husband, when we came upon Doshi,  a company selling vegan leather products such as purses, wallets and belts, as well as backpacks and briefcases. The business is a new one, and we were told they had held up production until they were sure they could provide a quality product that would last. They are an ethical, vegan company giving 5% of all (profitable) sales to non-profits benefiting animals, people, and the environment. Ken bought a beautiful belt, and it does seem to be of excellent quality.



The purses and backpacks were gorgeous, too, if you're looking for a beautiful vegan bag. The wallets were also nice. Look above at their card with contact information if you want to find out more.



Oh boy, these two items were so delicious. Not just delicious, but easy to use. I was especially taken with the Nutra Kik vegetable broth powder from Kawi Foods, which was the tastiest broth I've tried in a long time. It takes one tablespoon per cup of boiling water to make veggie broth, or you can use it straight from the package to add extra flavor to a casserole or whatever. The ingredients are non GMO nutritional yeast, organic onion, sea salt, org. garlic, org. shiitake mushrooms, org. fennel, org. paprika, org. red beets, org. oregano, org. basil, org. cayenne pepper, org. thyme. There are other varieties as well, and I wish I had realized there was a salt-free version. I like to add my own salt.

The cashew sauce from the Beyond Better company, comes in several flavors but I only tasted the original. It was rich and creamy. Homemade cashew sauce is pretty easy to make but if I'm pressed for time I think I'll be happy to have a couple of packets of Beyond Better cashew sauce on hand for quick, savory and cheesy toppings. The ingredients include org. cashews, nutritional yest, org. tapioca, org. sea salt, org. herbs and spices, org. onion, org. garlic, org. acacia fiber (prebiotic), guar gum, org. turmeric, org. yellow mustard, org. cayenne, xanthan gum, vegan lactic acid. Vegan, no gluten, no GMO, no soy, no grains.



Jilz crackerz may be too addicting for me to have around the house. We snagged a few samples, though, so I can indulge a little until they are gone, then we'll see how long I can last before I buy more. They come in three flavors — original cracked pepper and sea salt, Mediterranean, and Tuscan. You can find the crackers on jilzglutenfree.com, on thrivemarket.com, on Amazon, or possibly in a store near you. Check the Jilz website for a list of stores.

We also love Thin Stackers — a thin, small, square flat rice cake from Lundberg. Our sample was red rice and quinoa. I'm very fond of spreading things on crackers.



I wasn't especially hungry when we finally got home from Vegfest, what with all the delicious foods we sampled, but a couple of hours later I felt a little snackish. I ate an entire small bag of crunchy, Lundberg Rice Chips, and I liked them a lot!



I also want to mention the Kite Hill Greek yogurt sample I tried. It was the best tasting and best textured vegan yogurt I've had — not counting my homemade soy yogurt. My husband purchased a few small containers of Kite Hill almond yogurt (plain) — not Greek yogurt — at the co-op, and I liked it almost as much. The Greek yogurt I had tried at vegfest was flavored, but I prefer to buy plain yogurt and add fresh berries and raisins. Do you have a favorite yogurt?

I was planning to write about our dinner and dessert with Hannah, but I think I'm going to have to do it another day. If I don't publish this now, it might be days before I finish!

January 26, 2018

Potluck

Don't think there's a recipe for spring rolls here, but these look great!

I belong to a vegan group that gets together about once a month for lunch out. It's a fun way to enjoy great conversation and explore all the vegan restaurant options in our city. At the last event, one of my friends from the group, Sandra, told me she belongs to another vegan group in the nearby city of Bellevue, that holds a potluck every month. They choose a theme for the potluck by the 'idea-on-a-piece-of-paper-drawn-from-a-hat' method, and her idea was selected for the next potluck. I think they usually pick a popular vegan cookbook, but she wrote Andrea's easy vegan cooking on her piece of paper, and everyone was supposed to cook something from my blog. Would I like to come?

Roasted veggies

 A more extroverted, confident person might have been thrilled and honored, but I was horrified. I tried to remain calm and 'normal' but I was experiencing thoughts like, "what if the recipes don't work?" "What if everything comes out awful?" "What if they hate the blog?" After recovering from the sensation of having sharp kitchen knives hurled at me, I said I would attend, if the date didn't conflict with my grandson's fifth birthday party. His birthday was occurring on a Tuesday,  and I didn't yet know which weekend day would be selected for his party. I even started to look forward to the potluck, and think about what I might bring.

Braised greens with tofu, cashews and raisins.

As it turned out, the date of the potluck was also the date of the Women's March in Seattle, as well as my grandson's party. We spent the morning and early afternoon at the march, the late afternoon at the joy-filled birthday party, and the evening at a quieter family birthday dinner at the little guy's house. It was an amazing, exhilarating day, and while I'm truly sorry to have missed the potluck, I'm glad I spent most of it with my wonderful family.

Two chickpea salads.

According to Sandra, 14 people attended the potluck, and it was a success — everyone enjoyed the food. (I hope she's telling the truth!) I had asked her to take pictures, and the photos I'm sharing here are hers, reprinted with permission.

I liked this marcher's sign!
 

Here's a glimpse into what I did on the day of the potluck. As I mentioned, I participated in the women's march, as I did last year. It feels so uplifting during these troubling times, to be surrounded by people who believe in justice, kindness, truth, etc.



I took a couple of photos of marchers and their signs.



And here's the birthday boy, just after blowing out the candles on his cupcake. Some days there are just not enough hours to do everything you want.

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