George and Julia's Vegan Underground

Archive for the category “New York”

Sweet potato and jalapeño bisque

So for the Super Bowl, George and I were thinking about what to make for snacks almost all day. Finally once the game started, we decided on tacos…

Well we had some sweet potatoes around the house and I began googling for a sweet potato and jalapeño mash to be the base. I ended up finding another recipe, a sweet potato bisque. It was completely non vegan. There was bacon and rendered bacon fat involved, half and half and everything to turn a vegans stomach. Well I read the recipe and altered it to make it vegan. Thanks to our vitamix it was easy to make:

  • 3 sweet potatoes- soften all three, purée two, and dice the third
  • 3 roasted jalapeños
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 roasted garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 5 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup almond milk

Purée 2 sweet potatoes, roasted jalapeños, roasted garlic, almond milk and vegetable broth.

In a soup pot, sauté onions with coconut oil and cumin. Once onions are translucent, add diced sweet potato and mix well. Then add sweet potato purée. Salt and pepper to taste.

It’s sweet and very pleasant. Not overly spicy but has a lingering warmth. Reminds me of corn chowder. Roasting the jalapeño and garlic was to add smokiness that bacon would usually have. Coconut oil was used to replace the rendered bacon fat and to still give it a richness. There you have it, vegan sweet potato and jalapeño bisque. Eat guilt-free.


Lunch Buffet Hare Krishna Style

When I heard that the Hare Krishna’s opened up their lunch room to the public, it wasn’t “why go” but “when do we go.” You won’t be pushed to accept flowers and make donations. Govinda’s is set up like a legit restaurant.  Located in the basement of the ISKCON Hare Krishna Temple, it fits nicely into our “vegan underground” theme.  Their menu is 80% vegan so be sure to ask so you don’t accidentally eat some ghee

Govinda’s buffet-style lunch fits every budget at $3, $5, $7, or $10.   It even includes some of the best bread on earth and sweet lemonade.  The menu for this traditional Indian fare changes daily. Typical dishes include spinach with tofu, jasmine rice, split pea soup, quinoa salad, samosas, kale and sweet potatoes, curried grilled veggies, lentils and their famous mango cheesecake. Are you getting hungry? The food is filling and fresh. While less spicy than we prefer, the dishes work for all palates.   Check it out. It’s an original experience and a satisfying meal. I’d be there 2-3 times a week if I didn’t have this darn job in Midtown. LIU students, senior citizens and Downtown Brooklyn workers should take advantage of this precious gem.

On our way out, Julia and I took off our shoes and sat near the Sri Sri Radha Govinda Mandir. We watched as this Krishna spiritual leader sat in meditation, worshipers danced and we calmingly digested our meal and pondered over the universe. While our lunch did not make us Hare Krishna’s, we had a wonderful, positive and satisfying meal. You will too.  Govinda’s Kitchen is in the basement of the Hare Krishna Temple at 305 Schermerhorn St (between Nevins and Bond) in Brooklyn

Nutritional Value of Dairy

The Department of Health in New York City recently passed Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to ban sugar-filled drinks larger than 16oz. One sugary drink that didn’t get the heave-ho was Starbuck’s staple Frappuccino. This overly processed coffee favorite got to slide because the benefits of dairy outweigh the excessive amount of sugar in it…

Uhhh… What?

So the frap syrup, milk, whipped cream and caramel/chocolate sauce is more healthy than a 20oz ginger ale? No!

Don’t worry, it’s a non-milkshake courtesy of Lula’s

If we’re looking ounce for ounce, skim milk and cola are equivalent in calories. So that means anything other than skim has more cals than cola. But wait, cola has the sugar! Well in 8oz of skim milk there’s 16g of sugar. But what are the health benefits they speak of in milk?

Calcium and vitamin D.

God forbid you step outside your house to get vitamin D from sunlight, right? There is scientific evidence that cow’s milk contributes to the susceptibility of type 1 diabetes. Also there’s a giant backlash on soy right now and how it causes breast cancer, but did you know that you’re at greater risk of heightened estrogen in your body if you are consuming cow’s milk? Well think about it; in order to get milk you have to have a baby, and when you’re pregnant you have increased hormones. Let alone dairy cows are bred to produce more milk than what is required in nature. So that means they are given addition hormones and to prevent inflamed mammaries, they’re given antibiotics. You know the saying, you are what you eat so that means you are ingesting what the cow is too. By the way fellas the insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) which is found in cow’s milk has had a consistent association to prostate cancer. Oh and heart disease and obesity has been linked to dairy products due to the high levels of fat and cholesterol Anyone who consumes 2 or more servings of dairy daily are at higher risk for heart disease. Let alone there has been correlation between dairy and MS.

So let me ask you this, does the health benefits of milk really counter the calories? You know if you take dairy out of your diet you’re at less risk for osteoporosis as well. You know what Mayor Bloomberg, I’ll take the ginger ale please.

Take a look at this report:

Juiced Up Thursday

So Juiced Up Thursday has taken a little bit of a hiatus over the last two weeks. Admittedly, I’ve been consumed by huge life changing events, so unfortunately the Juice had to wait. But I’m back and the juice is flowing. Today I didn’t have time to get the juicer or vitamix going so I had to grab a juice on the go.

Juice stand outside of Penn Station

George and I peddled hard through Brooklyn and over the Manhattan Bridge to get to Penn Station. Outside of it there’s a little juice stand. I was excited about the prime location of this juice stop, and I ordered a large Pineapple, Apple, Cucumber and Spinach juice. This concoction is good for healthy skin and hydration. Which is always needed of course. Well when I took that first sip, it seems the fellow had forgot to juice the Pineapple, apple and spinach. It was just cucumber juice. Our reaction was, well we have it, might as well drink it, but it tastes very healthy. Saying it tastes healthy is a nice way of saying it tastes bad, FYI.

Just cucumber juice today…

Getting juices outside of Penn Station might not be revisited. But this would be a good time to announce that Juiced Up Thursday might be transforming more into a smoothie post. George and I are obsessed with our vitamix and we make everything with it.

We even make homemade ice cream in it!


Grand Central goes Vegan

Do you ever find yourself waiting in Grand Central for someone to come in from upstate or Connecticut? As the time wears on and the grumbling in your stomach gets worse, take a moment to explore the dining concourse. There isn’t much veg-friendly places there, but Cafe Spice (the only Indian place) has taken the steps to identifying there is a booming vegan consumer out there. No need to think anymore about if you can eat it or not, because Cafe Spice had labelled the vegan dishes at their station. The lentils were my favorite, although they were a little bland. The kara curry was waaaaay too coconutty for me, and I’m a snob when it comes to Channa masala because my homemade masala is boss. It’s no Dawat or Tamarind, but it does taste okay and it’s better than Curry in a Hurry.

After you’ve dined, head up toward track 19 and visit Joe’s art of coffee for dessert. They have an incredible vegan cookie selection. But beware, it goes fast and they run out.

Other Acceptable Veg-Friendly Restaurants in Grand Central Terminal:

Two Boots: They have vegan slices for sale. Very yummy, but I still hate Daiya.

Hale and Hearty: Good vegan soups, and also can work a sandwich to be vegan

Manhattan Chili Company: A few vegan chili options.

Zaro’s Bread: Okay bagels and coffee. Vegan sandwiches available upon request

Hot and Crusty: Decent bagels

Dishes: Fresh juices!

Vegans That Rock!

Hello kids. Are you ready for this Friday’s Vegans That Rock!  Who likes haircuts? Our vegan this week took the Misfit’s devillock and pushed it to the side, later went Morrisey/Elvis and recently settled into something mature and contemporary.

Put don’t let his ever-changing crazy melon top fool ya. Like former VT Rocker, Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat, he’s straight edge.  Some consider his band “goth” and we all know those scary Larrys like to party. Well not Davey Havok, singer of AFI who always reminds reporters that he is “vegan straight edge.” Suck on that Rolling Stone.  

Known for impressive tattoo coverage, we trust Davey’s ink contains only vegetable glycerin.”  With 20 years and 8 albums under their belt, AFI is dedicated all right.  Part Bauhaus, part Damned but always dark (so goth).

Davey shares George and Julia’s love for Vegan Treats bakery. Gwyneth Paltrow gave him a VT cupcake backstage at the MTV vegan awards that literally brought him to his knees. When touring, his favorite vegan town is New York City.  He’s a big fan of Red Bamboo, Zen Palate and all the restaurants that carry goodies from the aforementioned Vegan Treats Bakery. 

What turned Havok vegan? In high school he played a hunter in the school’s production of “Big Bear Adventure” which “opened his eyes to the cruelty of animal consumption.”  Davey you are all right. Keep owning those kooky quaffs and keep rocking clean-vegan-style.  Some might tell you that’s not how to rock’ n roll but we know better. You are a Vegan That Rocks!

Going Beyond

Visiting the brand spanking new Beyond Sushi restaurant

Last night George received an email inviting us to a new sushi hot spot near Union Square. We gets quite a bit of these emails from his NYC Vegan Meet Up group, but when we saw what this particular eatery had to offer it was hard to pass up. We grabbed the Q train and headed to Beyond Sushi for a late afternoon meal. As promised it was healthy, nutritious and delicious!

A sign that speaks the truth

Listen up Jeremy Piven, this sushi eatery won’t give you mercury poisoning. That’s right, you won’t find any fish on the menu. That’s because all the morsels are vegan/vegetarian! Finally, a sushi place where you can have more than just a cucumber and avocado roll. The two sauces which are not vegan are the toasted cayenne and jalapeno wasabi. But everything else is a vegan’s dream (all vegans, even the macrobiotic ones).

Gorgeous and delicious

All the sushi is stunning. The vibrant colors from the vegetables are complimented by the flashy sauces, and it was hard to pick out which rolls to get. George and I planned on getting 3 rolls:

Crunch N’ Munch (black rice, alfalfa, english cucumber, baked tofu, and kiwi topped with white miso)

Mighty Mushroom (six grain rice, enoki, shitaki, tofu, and micro arugula topped with shitake teriaki)

Pickle Me (six grain rice, gobo, carrot, pickled daikon and avocado topped with carrot ginger.

Meet the very attractive Crunch N’ Munch and Pickle Me rolls

But with the help of the very friendly manager Tom, and executive chef Guy Vaknin (from Hell’s Kitchen Season 10 btw), they encouraged us to combo all of our rolls. It’s not a combo with drink and chips, no no, it includes extra individual pieces that are basically vegan sashimi. Are you drooling yet?

Bottom from left to right: Snow Pea with carrot ginger, Seaweed with sweet soy mirin, Enoki with shitake teriaki. Top: Might Mushroom Roll

All the rolls we ordered were amazing, and super filling. But my favorite roll at Beyond Sushi was the Mighty Mushroom roll. Supposedly mushrooms are key in cancer prevention and actual tumor killers. Sounds fierce right? But if you are missing the texture of fish, this roll replaces it amazingly. The arugula and various mushrooms are just magic on the tongue. I also suggest the fresh made juices too. I had the English Cucumber and Mint Lemonade, it was more tart than sweet, just how I like it. Guy Vaknin, you’ve got one hell of a vegan masterpiece brewing. Stop by for great service and little pieces of art for dinner.

Come visit Guy at Beyond Sushi Wednesday, July 11th at 7pm for the official Grand Opening! Will have food and live music.

Beyond Sushi

229 East 14th St.

New York, NY 10128

Juiced Up Thursday

We’re juicing on the streets this afternoon. On the street, you can’t control the amount of vegetables or fruits that go into it, but the benefits of having fresh juice remains the same.

Look at all the love and all the choices

Today I wandered over to midtown to grab lunch with George at the gourmet Crisp falafel truck (the African sandwich is baller). After we stuffed our faces and fed some pigeons (not on purpose), we headed over to 45th and visited the juice stand which sits a stones throw away from vegan friendly Moshe’s falafel stand and Free Foods on 44th.

Get down on some Moshe then get a juice to wash it down

We ordered a large mixed vegetable juice which consisted of a smorgasbord of goodies:

  • Green apples
  • Parsley
  • Spinach
  • Ginger
  • Lemon
  • Celery

There might have been a cucumber in there but I’m not certain. It was a tasty juice, but  one downfall of grabbing juice from a street cart is it’s a tad warm. And on a day like today when it was 96 degrees, a ice cold juice would’ve been ideal. We did get some ice in it, but still it was warm. Anyway, here are some benefits of the newest veggies to the cup:

Juice break!

Parsley: This decorative herb should be mandatory in every summer camp. It helps freshening your breath. It also helps the swelling of bug bites. Also, if you’re feeling a little backed up, parsley serves as a diuretic and laxative. Lastly, if work is causing you migraines, parsley supposedly can help rid you of your headaches.

Spinach: Ever wonder why Popeye was chowing down on spinach and not milk? Well this leafy green vegetable is known to be pretty potent in calcium, iron, and potassium. It also has several key amino acids like arginine and lysine. Basically, spinach helps strengthens your body, which means it helps prevent cataracts, diabetes, and muscular degeneration. Spinach has also been linked to cancer prevention. And Ladies, if you’re expecting the rich amount of folate and folic acid can help prevent birth defects.

Ginger: If you happen to have a stomach ache, think about grabbing a juice with fresh ginger in it. Ginger has a rich history of treating nausea associated with pregnancies, chemotherapy, motion sickness, and my personal experience of having head trauma. This ancient herb also carries calcium, iron, protein, B3, silicon, phosphorus, and essential oils. So how does that help your body? Well it boosts your immune system and helps with digestion! If you’re an athlete looking for a quick recovery, Ginger also helps relieve muscle pain and soreness, and pain from inflammation.

With all those benefits, more juice please!

Spicy tomato sauce

Thanks to the vitamix, we’ve whipped together our lunch in no time. It includes the following:

  • 6 Roma tomatoes (2 without pulp)
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 cloves peeled garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 tbs organic tomato paste
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1/2 cup of fresh basil and oregano mix
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1 tbs agave (touch less)
  • 1 tbs cashew cream cheese
  • Salt to taste

Threw it into the vitamix in that order and turned the dial from 1 up to 8 for about 20-30 seconds. Then we tossed the blended sauce into a sauce pan and cooked up some pasta. Super fresh and tastes wonderful. We did take it from the cook book included with the vitamix but made some healthy George and Julia vegan tune ups to it.

Vitamix California Salsa

As we get acclimated to having te vitamix in our kitchen, we decided to take a page out of the vitamix recipe book: California Salsa

6 Roma tomatoes quartered
1 jalapeño
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 medium onion
1/2 lime juiced
1/2 tsp salt

Just google vitamix California salsa and I’m sure the directions will pop up. We thought its a bit watery so next time we’ll pulp half the tomatoes. We’d probably add another jalapeño too, and some garlic. Not much heat. Maybe add some corn too because we like corn.

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