Monthly Archives: April 2010

Get Sum Dim Sum

I love dumplings; if you wrap some food in dough and bake, boil, or fry it I promise I will eat it. I guess that is really true for most people. Dumplings are popular all over the world and maybe most popular in China from what I understand from watching Anthony Bourdain travel there. Apparently they constantly eat dim sum from little carts which I think I first saw in Working Girl and now am always reminded of when I think about Dim Sum. If you haven’t seen Working Girl you totally should, it is the ultimate 80s quasi-feminist movie where through a series of misunderstandings and sheer gumption a woman earns the 80s American Dream: Harrison Ford and a corner office.

Get Sum Dim Sum is a fast food style spot across the street from Central Market on North Lamar and they are taking dumplings out of the dim sum cart and serving them all day. When you first walk in you pick out a menu and then write right on it with a little dry erase pen exactly what you want. They automatically have several combo options for $7.75 in case you don’t want to read the menu and always have vegetarian specials. Vegan items are clearly labeled and are represented in every part of the menu. I have been there a couple of times and for a fast casual place they really have a lot of options and the food is pretty good and a good deal as well.Recently I tried the lunch special with the rice soup. Everything comes out really quickly and the dumplings come in little bamboo steamer baskets. The rice soup was very comforting if plain and good for the rainy day we were having. The flat dumplings were my favorite.I think they were the “Vegetarian Dumplings” which are filled with Baby Bok Choy, Shitake Mushrooms, and Water Chestnuts in a Wheat Starch wrapper, but that might have been these.I know, right, this is the worst review ever, I was too busy thinking about Harrison Ford to take good notes. I know the steamed spinach dumplings were green and so good.They also have vegan sesame balls stuffed with red bean paste for dessert.The menu is rounded out with bao, buddha’s delight, seaweed wrapped tofu dumplings, and pot stickers and I am excited to try it all. You can also order ahead and pick up or have it delivered through Eat Out In and eat your dim sum at home with working girl and thinking about how you too can make waves and climb the corporate ladder with Dim Sum. 

New Fridge!

As regular readers know a few weeks ago I became a homeowner! My new house is super cute and I love a ton, but maybe the worst feature was the stinky old fridge that it came with. For some reason the previous owners put an open container of floor cleaner inside of it. The smell was overwhelming and infected everything that went inside of the fridge and freezer.  It is hard to say why someone would do something so foul to the people you are selling a house to, maybe they hated us or hoped that we would die from the chemicals leeching into our food from the nastiness and they could take back the house. Regardless, the old fridge stank, was rusted, didn’t make ice (although it tried to loudly every hour), was small, and didn’t light up for late night snacks. Lucky for me I have the greatest Mom in the world who decided to use her tax refund to get me a new fridge as a house warming gift! And I have a president Obama who not only gave me money to buy my house but also gave me a tax credit to buy a new energy efficient fridge.

I struggled with lots of questions when buying my first appliance. I only knew that I wanted the refrigerator to make ice on its own (luxury) and filter water because ours doesn’t taste very good. After some preliminary research I found that Maytag was out and Kenmore and GE are supposedly the best. I decided to get white instead of stainless because it is way cheaper. I posted on the ppk asking people about their refrigerators and it seemed that the consensus was that the french door style with the freezer on the bottom was the favorite; the side by sides don’t have nearly as much room.

The problem was, I couldn’t find a resonably priced french door fridge that had the water on the door like I so desired. Finally after weeks of searching I went to Sears and found the Kenmore Elite. It was perfect. It even has a door alarm so if the beagles get into the fridge I will know about it! The only problem was that it was a half an inch too big for the spot! After measuring 18 times I finally decided I would buy the fridge and saw off the edge of the counter rather than getting a much smaller fridge. Everyone thought I was crazy. Especially the guy that sold me the fridge. He made it very clear that he didn’t “recomend that I saw off the counter”. I assured him that I would not hold him responsible and bought a fridge that I knew wouldn’t fit. It would take a couple of days to show up so we would have time to rent a saw and do the job.

Sawing off the edge went pretty well, we did chip the finish but hopefully we will be able to fix it. I measured the width one more time and knew we had plenty of room.  Then the refrigerator men showed up with the new white behemoth. I watched with my fingers crossed and Miss Willow barking up a storm as it slid in… and then wouldn’t fit because of the cabinet! I measured the width at the counter but not at the top! It was like 1/16th too small. The fridge guys apologized and left. We decided to try and take off the baseboard hoping that that would free up the centimeters we needed. It was really stuck on there and we don’t know anything about this kind of stuff but Mr. Smurf (becoming Handy Smurf?) finally got it off and the fridge slid perfectly in to its place of honor. It is so beautiful, like a five thousand pound ipod that makes ice. Neither of us every would have guessed we would become so enamored with an appliance. I have truly become an American Consumer like I never thought I would. It has space for everything and more. In the old fridge when you removed  something from the freezer everything came toppling out because it was so packed! Now every container of nuts has a spot and those 25 pound bags of tater tots will slip right in. The crispers are clear so you can the vegetables every time you open the door even though they are in their humidity controlled drawers. And there is a tempeh and tofu drawer! Actually, there is so much room that I am kind of confused with what all to put in it, with all of my condiments on the door and everything else in its drawers there is a lot of room for beer and large cakes!I’m so happy! Thanks Mom!

TaKorea – Vegan Tacos, Hot Dogs, and Tostadas all with a Korean twist

Takorea closed down 😦 Check out Chi’lantro for your Korean Taco needs

TaKorea has been on my must try list for I don’t know how long. They just moved to the Longhorn Food Court, up the street from where I spend my weekdays in between downtown and UT, so on Thursday I braved the rain and went to try this Mexican Korean fusion trailer. Right now it isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing spot but I think that is bound to change as the other trailers open in the coming weeks (including Dog Almighty!). I imagine they will add such luxuries as tables to eat at! For now it is a very bare bones concrete parking lot.

We met the owner Paul who was very nice and answered my one thousand questions about the menu graciously. He assured me that all the tofu items were completely vegan and free of egg or dairy. The vegan taco can either be healthy style in a cabbage wrap and topped with cucumbers or in a corn tortilla or on a fried tostada topped with a sweet chile sauce. I loved that they have multiple options here because sometimes I want something healthy and sometimes I want some deep fried goodness. At 2.50 each they seemed like a good deal but probably not a complete meal. Paul said the hot dogs were the most popular thing on the menu. He has smart dogs on a toasted sesame bun topped with tofu and Korean fixins for 4.50. I am not typically a big hot dog fan but it sounded so fabulous piled high with cabbage and chile sauce so I couldn’t resist.

I ordered one of each and we waited for the food.  When it came out my anticipation almost overwhelmed me because it looked fabulous. Both the hot dog and the tostada were piled high with topping. The tostada shell seemed freshly deep fried and the sesame bun was perfectly toasted which made me super happy. It makes such a difference to have a crusty vehicle for the toppings in both of these cases.

I ate the tostada first and I was completely blown away. It reminded me more of traditional street food than anything else I have I can remember eating in town, maybe because the deep fried action. The sweet chile sauce was amazing. I want to learn his secrets!After the tostada I had the hot dog but after the first couple bites we had to run off because it started pouring down rain. I felt like a true American running down the street while eating a hot dog. It was beautiful and had a lot of flavor but next time I think I would ask for the sweet sauce to be on it as well because I liked that one better than the spicy one. It was a wonderful filling meal and I got a beverage too and paid just 7 bucks. What a terrific addition to the neighborhood! They are open 11-8 Tuesday through Saturday.

Golden Beets with Beans & Greens

Beets are in the Amaranth family and related to swiss chard, spinach, and sugar beets. The red ones are fun if you want to make Klingon Gagh or a stew but overall the golden variety is a lot easier to work with because you don’t have to worry about beet juice staining everything. I love buying beets because I feel like I am really getting my money’s worth since I can often stretch a bunch over several meals. The beet greens are the added bonus. They are easy enough to cook with a little garlic and olive oil but I was inspired by a post on the ppk to use oranges and sesame oil as well. I wanted to make something very healthy and filling so I added some quinoa, edamame, and peanuts. It was terrific and quick!

Golden Beets with Beans & Greens

preheat oven to 400F

bunch of beets, cleaned and greens separated, hard parts discarded.
peanut oil
1 onion cut in half moons
4 cloves garlic
1 cup edamame
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 & 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
handful of peanuts
dash of dried red chilies

Cut the beets in half. Place 2 halves on a piece of foil and drizzle on peanut oil, wrap up, and bake in the over 45 minutes to an hour.

Meanwhile saute the onions in oil for a couple minutes, add the garlic and the chopped beet greens and cook about 30 seconds. Add the quinoa and cook for another minute or 2. Add the edamame, the OJ and the water. Cover, and cook about 20 minutes until the quinoa is done. In the meantime toast the peanuts with the chile peppers on the stove in a small pan until slightly brown. When the beets are done, chop one and add it to the quinoa pot. Slice the rest into half moons and arrange them on the bottom of the bowl. Add the sesame oil and soy sauce, adjust seasoning if necessary and scoop a serving on top of the plated beets. Top with peanuts and green onions. Enjoy!


Soba Fett

Did you know Star Wars Day is right around the corner on May 4th? I have been working on my recipe for Soba Fett.

I also want to celebrate by getting this Han Solo in Carbonite soap.

I had such a lovely weekend it was sad to see it end. We got all of our bookshelves and bookcases up so now I can find things again! And my kitchen is really coming together too.

Dinger spent most of the beautiful rainy spring weekend snoozing on the couch. It’s hard out there for a beagle!

Amaryllis

My Amaryllis is getting ready to bloom! It is going to be so beautiful.

A friend and I went to the Lady Bird Wildflower center for a plant sale and I am really excited about the flowers I got, including a “little nipple” cactus! hehe. I took a bunch of pictures while we were out there. Here are some favorites.

There are some more on my flickr page too.

Hope you are entering this week with more motivation than me!

I love Austin

Lunch at Fete Accompli, they are going to go completely vegan for earth day! Make sure you check it out on April 19th

Although he can eat an entire pound of popcorn tofu this is the first time Mr. Smurf enjoyed it on the po’boy at Wheatsville.

I was so hungry on Saturday and was so excited to have a vegan sausage and potato empanada at the Fair Bean with my soy latte. I think I might have to add this to my top ten list

My friend Trisha came to town and we got a ton of candy at the candy store on south congress. They actually have a surprising amount of vegan candy like peanut chews. They also had chocolate covered almonds that looked like olives! I hope they start doing that with dark chocolate almonds it would be two of my favorite things combined!