Archive for December, 2010

Review: Butternut Squash Restaurant, Chapel Hill

For a special Christmas dinner, my boyfriend and I decided to check out Butternut Squash restaurant in downtown Chapel Hill. Located in the University Square shopping center, around back facing Granville Towers, Butternut Squash is a classy joint perfect for a date night or family meal.

At Butternut Squash, everything on the menu is vegetarian. They also have plenty of vegan options, which are clearly denoted on the menu; plus, our server was very knowledgeable about the vegan items. I’m used to doing preemptive googling and phone calls before going out to eat, so this whole dining experience was a breath of fresh air.

Thai Style Seitan Skewers

Thai Style Seitan Skewers

I ordered the Thai Style Seitan Skewers for dinner, and the Vegan Chocolate Cake for dessert. The seitan was deliciously moist and cooked with just a little crispness on the outside. Its accompanying sauce was a mild, creamy peanut sauce topped with black sesame seeds. I enjoyed the seitan so much that since this meal, I have been searching for seitan chunks in my usual grocery stores to no avail. I want to make this dish at home and amp up the spiciness with some sriracha sauce. Prepackaged seitan is available online at bulk food stores, and I’m pretty sure it’s at Whole Foods and Earth Fare, too. Those stores are just too long a drive for me. Has anyone seen it sold elsewhere in Raleigh?

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce

My chocolate cake was great, but I was so enamored with the icing I didn’t eat much of the cake itself. The combination of the chocolate icing and the raspberry sauce was just incredible.

My only gripe with Butternut Squash is their lack of alcohol. They do let you bring our own, but I wasn’t aware of that before we got there, so we stuck with water. Next visit, I will come armed with red wine. Other than that, the meal was perfect. Butternut Squash gets two thumbs up!

Vegan Biscuits

Vegan Biscuits

Over Christmas break, my mom decided to make some southern style biscuits like my grandma used to make. They were easy to veganize, and so delicious that I ended up making them again the very next morning. Someone who shall remain nameless ate SEVEN!! These are yummy with agave nectar, earth balance, or strawberry jelly on top. They would also be good with vegan gravy at dinnertime.

Ingredients (yields about 10 three-inch biscuits):

  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 1/2 rounded tbsp. Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder (this is important for the biscuits to rise)
  • 3/4 cup vanilla soymilk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400° and grease a cookie sheet with Earth Balance butter or Pam vegetable spray. Cut shortening into Bisquick in a medium mixing bowl. Add soymilk and baking powder, and mix with a fork, breaking up bits of shortening. The batter should be sticky. Important: Dust hands with flour and sprinkle flour on top of batter to prevent a sticky mess. Then scoop out about a golf ball sized amount of batter, roll it in your floured hands, smooth it and flatten slightly. Place onto greased cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining batter, placing biscuits about 2 inches apart on the pan. Bake about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Baby Bok Choy Drizzled with Ume Vinaigrette

Baby Bok Choy

Baby Bok Choy drizzled with Ume Vinaigrette and Sesame Seeds

The other night, I made this simple dish from Alicia Silverstone’s book, The Kind Diet. If you’ve never tried bok choy, you should give it a go. Bok choy is a type of Chinese cabbage that is high in Vitamins A and C. Eaten raw, it has a bitter taste, but steaming it for just 1 or 2 minutes removes the bitterness and makes it a wonderful leafy green to serve with a “meaty” entree, with brown rice and ginger, or as a healthy snack. Alicia’s recipe calls for a dressing made of umeboshi plum vinegar mixed with extra virgin olive oil. I wish I had left the dressing on the side and dipped my bok choy into it, because the recipe yields way too much vinaigrette in my opinion. It masked the natural flavors of the bok choy, which has a delightful taste and texture on its own. Next time, I think I will steam the bok choy with some fresh grated ginger and serve with the Gardein Beefless Tips that are so yummy.

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