Jace Doesn’t Care About Your Mangoes and Tomatoes (Vegan MoFo #17)

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The dish today is based on City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare. But since that’s too far into the Mortal Instruments series to avoid spoilers, I’ll be reviewing the first book, City of Bones, today.

Clary Fray is a teenager living in New York with her single mother. She and her quirky best friend Simon spend their free time drinking coffee and listening to lame poetry readings. Things soon begin to change though when Clary witnesses several teenagers with odd markings on their skin “murder” another boy at a night club. The weirdest part of it was that when they stabbed him, he disappeared. Shaken, she tries to forget what she saw.

But soon one of the boys from the club, Jace, seems to be turning up everywhere she is. Despite his terribly sarcastic attitude, Jace decides to take a chance and reveal to Clary that he and his friends are Shadowhunters. Shadowhunters are an ancient race made by the combining of angels and humans. Their goal in life to fight demons and protect the unaware human society, which is exactly what they did in that night club. There are also the neutral Downworlders, which are a hybrid of demon and human (this includes werewolves, vampires, faeries, and warlocks). After learning all these overwhelming things, Clary is just desperate to get home. But she finds that her apartment has been ransacked and her mother is missing. Who would want to take her mother? Why does she suddenly have the Sight to see the Shadowhunters? And why does the name Magnus Bane keep rattling around in her head? Clary must answer all of these things if there’s any hope of seeing her mother alive.

What’s this?”
“That’s a mango.” Simon stared at Jace. Sometimes it really is like Shadowhunters were from an alien planet. 
“I don’t think I’ve seen one of those that wasn’t already cut up,” Jace mused. “I like mangoes.”
Simon grabbed the mango and tossed it into the cart. “Great. What else do you like?”
Jace pondered for a moment. “Tomato soup,” he said finally.
“Tomato soup? You want tomato soup and a mango for dinner?”
Jace shrugged. “I don’t really care about food.” – City of Fallen Angels (paperback) pages 124 and 125

It is so hard to find a recipe involving tomatoes and mangoes that isn’t for mango salsa. After much searching and by taking some creative liberties I came up with (drum roll please)… The ugliest chip dip ever! Seriously, it doesn’t look good, but it tasted great. I used this recipe for tomato-mango soup and added some salt, pepper, and a deseeded jalapeno. It was too thick for me to enjoy as a soup, but it was just right to dip pita chips into. I’m pretty sure even Jace would care about this food.

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Local Lime: Review

Over Spring Break, my sister and I went to Arkansas to visit our mom. While there, we ate at a fantastic Mexican restaurant in Little Rock called Local Lime. We had heard it was vegan-friendly, so we decided to give it a try, and it turned out to be great!

To start off, our waitress was very knowledgeable about what items were and weren’t vegan. That was a great relief, because nothing is more frustrating than having a waiter who has no idea about the ingredients. Things on the menu were also clearly marked “vegan”, “vegetarian”, and “gluten-free”.

To drink, I got their Fresh Fruit Punch. It’s house-made with fresh pineapple, papaya, mango, strawberries and organic agave syrup. (It was also photo-bombed by my mom)

As an appetizer we got the Salsa Trio, and our three salsa choices were house tomato, tres chilies, and mango papaya, served with corn chips. When our waitress brought it out, the tres chilies salsa had cheese on top of it. After seeing the cook’s mistake, she immediately went into the back and brought me my own vegan salsa bowl! All the salsas were good, but the house tomato was definitely my favorite.
For the main course I ordered the Black Bean and Green Tacos, which come with black beans, guacamole, raw green cabbage, house-pickled onions,  and hot sauce, all served in a corn tortilla. For the two sides, I got jicama jalapeno slaw (with no sauce, since it contained dairy), and spicy house-pickled vegetables.

The tacos were fantastic. The beans were spiced just right, and the cool guacamole and cabbage counteracted the spicy onions and hot sauce. The jicama slaw was also really good. It was crunchy and fresh tasting with a hint of lime. The only disappointing thing was the house-pickled vegetables. The combo of spicy and pickled taste just didn’t sit right with my taste buds.
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So all in all, I would give Local Lime a 5 star rating. Their vegan-friendly service, and delicious menu is truly stellar.
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Biscuits & Beans

Since gas prices suck nowadays, I am trying to drive less places or at least not as far for things I can find nearby. So that means I am using our local Lucky’s grocery store for most of my ingredients, which forces me to rely on less processed foods (Boca patties, Vegenaise, etc.) and more on regular stuff.

The cookbook Table for Two is helping with this, because most of the recipes use common ingredients, plus the small quantities from the recipes make it where I am not forced to eat leftovers by myself for a week.

One of the recipes I used from the book was for whole wheat biscuits, but I subbed all-purpose flour for the wheat. These lovely little drop biscuits took less than 20 minutes from start to finish, and were delicious. I ate some with Earth Balance and strawberry jam for breakfast this morning.

Although it’s getting really hot outside, I am still eating a lot of hot food. I started swimming twice a week, and after getting out of the pool I am cold and wanting something filling. Chili is the answer! This particular chili had Navy and pinto beans and TVP. I actually ate this with some of the leftover biscuits and it was fantastic. This shall be my lunch for the next few days.

For dinner today I had a marinated bean and corn salad. I took a can of black beans, a can of corn, freshly chopped tomatoes, and let it marinate for a while in the fridge with Kraft mango chipotle dressing. I then put it on a bed of baby spring lettuce with crushed Fritos. The mango chipotle dressing was just okay, the mango taste seemed a bit artificial to me. But to not waste so much food, I just loaded on some salsa and the salad was saved.

Culinary Camp

This summer on June 13th-18th I went to a culinary camp at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. It was really fun and I learned a lot. Though being vegan limited the amount of things I could eat, I still got to try new foods and cooking techniques while keeping my stand on animal rights.

We did a lot of cool classes like knife skills, taffy pulling, plate painting, and napkin folding.

In the afternoon we would cook in the professional kitchen on campus and in the evenings we’d have fun activites to keep us entertained like going to a local baseball game, an outdoor challenge course and a huge arcade on the last day.

In the middle of the week we went to the Metropolitan Community College Institute of the Culinary Arts for a tour of their facilities and a special three-course lunch prepared for the campers by the head chefs and their students. Much to my surprise and delight, before the lunch started one of the head chefs came out and told me he had prepared me a special lunch of my own because I’m vegan. He said he had fun cooking it all because of the challenge my dietary restrictions caused.

Here’s what all my lunch consisted of:

The first course was spicy fresh vegetable gazpacho with a sprinkling of fresh herbs on top.

The second course was roasted beets topped with sea salt, a micro greens salad with tomatoes and red wine vinaigrette, roasted almonds, and a bit of candied orange peel.

The third course was a nicely arrainged bowl of fresh mango, strawberries, and blackberries.

It was a great lunch! The gazpacho was fresh tasting, but had a spicy kick. I must admit, at first when the beets course came out I was skeptical because I’m not much of a beet fan but I was pleasantly surprised by how good they were. The fruit was sweet and the perfect ending to a good meal.