Vegan challenge: Day 1
I'm eating vegan for a week to prove naysayers wrong. Here is a detailed description of delicious day one.
Monday, August 9, 2010 - 23:51
WINNER WINNER VEGAN DINNER: Curried mango stirfry with eggplant, peppers and spinach. (Photo: Michelle Hardy)
Today's ingredients were fairly simple, but my menu was nonetheless a delicious and relaxing start to my week of vegan meals. I visited a couple of great restaurants, had a variety of foods, and ate at a low cost to my wallet and the environment.
Baguette with jam from Le Pain Quotidien
I went to the 57th Street location of this bakery and cafe this morning, and I enjoyed a fresh baguette with a nice flaky crust. Le Pain Quotidien's food generally has very fresh, organic and thoughtful ingredients. Its jams have low sugar, and many are organic. LPQ says the following about its breads:
"Today, our bread was made exactly as it was in the beginning — with only organic stone-ground flour, salt and water, kneaded and shaped by hand and baked in a hearth under the watchful eye of our artisan bakers."
Orange and banana from fruit stand
These fruits combined were $1.00. They were good, and they were filling, and they were easy. I cut up my banana and drizzled a bit of honey and cinnamon on top, which makes a great summer breakfast or afternoon dessert.
Nicaraguan iced coffee with soy milk and Torini vanilla syrup
In the summer, I love making coffee the night before, putting it in the fridge, and having a refreshing iced coffee in the morning with soy milk and vanilla syrup or extract. I also like to add a bit of cinnamon or nutmeg.
Falafels at Pita Grill
Pita Grill is a great lunch place that has several New York locations. It has a wide variety of pita sandwiches, grilled vegetable dishes and, of course, falafels. There are lots of meat dishes, but vegetarian or vegan options are extensive, as well. Every day, the staff makes fresh pita bread from scratch. My falafel meal was served over mixed greens and the sauce was perfect — flavorful but not too heavy. It only cost $5.25.
Curried mango vegetable stir fry and Beaujolais-Villages wine
I decided to get a little creative with this dish and mix my Curried Mango Grille Sauce from Whole Foods with miscellaneous items from my fridge. Stonewall Kitchen makes numerous marinades like this one that are all excellent and unique. This particular one is great for both meat and vegetables, and it usually makes just about anything taste good.
I sauteed eggplant and yellow bell peppers in the marinade and some olive oil, and then I mixed a little marinade into some brown rice. I sauteed some spinach in oil, garlic powder, and pepper to go on the side. The end result was a slightly sweet, spicy and exotic tasting dish that was fresh and filling. To top it off, I had a glass of Beaujolais-Villages wine from Louis Jadot.
Overall, Monday was a nice start to my week of vegan eating. Considering the portions I took from my groceries, my meals for the entire day cost less than $20 in total. They were all quick. They were all easy. And most importantly, they were unique, flavorful and healthy.