using cookbooks.

katie said we need to use our cookbooks more and i think that's a right-on idea. i've really only made select dishes from any of my cookbooks and i know there are some gems within that remain hidden to me. time to start digging.

recipes to try in the next couple weeks, all from vegan with a vengeance:
1. baking powder biscuits and white bean gravy.
2. potato-asparagus soup
3. mango summer rolls
4. tempeh-mango salad sammiches
5. brooklyn pad thai
6. strawberry-rhubarb-peach pie

i'll do a few here, during my last week of vacation in florida, and a couple when i get back to NYC.



i went with my friend larry to sublime in ft. lauderdale a few weeks ago. i drove past a zillion times when i lived in south florida and every time i visited after i moved back to NYC, it was kind of unclear whether they were open or not. apparently there was some internal restructuring, but now they're open for business and came highly recommended!

the restaurant interior is beautiful, really streamlined and structured to capitalize on the sun streaming through the two giant skylights. i felt like taking interior shots was a bit too much and i'm not inspired to be more descriptive, so you'll just have to make do with that lame synopsis.

the owner stopped by to say hi while we were sitting at the bar and also checked on us after dinner. she seemed really happy, like there was nowhere else she'd rather be. that's a pretty good sign, i think. the menu states that 100% of profits are donated to animal rights organizations. i don't know how the specifics of that works out, but right on anyway.

here's what we had to eat. we washed them down with yummy lychee martinis and mojitos. mmm.
(note: happy hour, 5:30-7, M-F. two-for-one drinks at the bar!)

pesto polenta amuse bouche.
this was really good! honestly, probably my favorite of all the food. that may seem a little odd, seeing as it was just an amuse bouche, but it was really flavorful and the texture of the polenta was couscous-y and perfect.

these were okay, nothing special. the seitan had a good texture but i think maybe there was too much bun and/or not enough accompaniments. the special sauce was kind of bland and the cheese (it seems like they use follow your heart or something similar) was just kind of...there.

mac + cheeze.
this smelled JUST LIKE traditional mac + cheese. it was tasty, if a little dry, and again the FYH-like-quality of the cheese was pretty evident. i would have liked it better had it been prepared with a little more bechamel. still, you can't really go wrong with mac + cheeze so i was happy enough.

this was my entree. i ordered it not only because i LOVE piccata, but also because i wanted to compare it to the stupendous seitan piccata at candle 79. the chickeny seitan was breaded and pan-fried and the sauce was good, but i could have used some more capers. (i'm crazy for capers, though, so that might just be my thing.) it was served with olive oil whipped potatoes, which were nice, and grilled fresh asparagus.
i know candle's piccata is a hard act to follow and perhaps it's not fair to judge by comparison, but i couldn't help but do so. candle's version is, in my view, culinary perfection. sublime's piccata definitely doesn't disappoint, it's just not anything to write home about. but seriously, if you're writing home about piccata, maybe it's time to get out and see the sights or something.

sublime loaf.
larry ordered this and i'm really glad he did. i've not experimented much with loafs, but i know they are a great way to incorporate protein and the combinations of ingredients are nearly limitless. i only had one bite, but it was yummy. served with wasabi red bliss mash (can't go wrong there) and more fresh asparagus. i'll definitely order this next time i visit sublime.

for the first time in recent memory, i restrained myself and decided against ordering dessert. larry and i have vowed to go back for coconut creme cake and key lime pie sometime, but i experienced a rare moment of self-control that night.

i'm really glad to see an all-vegan restaurant in south florida and, particularly, one that's "nice" but not TOO nice. we had appetizers, entrees, and drinks, and i'm pretty sure our bill was less than $100. i had four lychee martinis all night, though, so i can't be positive. sublime's atmosphere is casual, but the emphasis they place on the quality of their food preparation is obvious.

all things considered, i really enjoyed my visit. a couple things were great and everything was at least good. hopefully they'll be around for a long time and i can stop in whenever i'm in south florida!



i haven't read it, but wikipedia tells me that the eric frank russell short story now inhale refers to the tower of hanoi game as "arkymalarky." myself, i think tower of hanoi, or even tower of brahma or tower of benares, is a much more dignified name for this compelling little math game.

the object is to move a set of graduated spherical solids from one position to another, usually indicated by pegs. there must be at least one empty peg on which to hold the spheres, a sphere may not be placed atop another with a smaller diameter, and the final tower must exactly mimic the starting configuration.

naturally, there are algorithmic ways to approach the puzzle and it gets more challenging as the number of spheres increases. here's a fun little virtual tower to play with.