Sunday, March 24, 2013

Review: The Elusive Cow

The Elusive Cow 
519 Fairfield Avenue 
Bellevue, KY 41073 
tel: 859-291-0269

 I know, I know. It's been awhile since my last post. It's not that I haven't been trying new places, it's just that I either don't have my camera (the one in my phone is crappy) or I'm not wowed enough to bother with a review, and sometimes life just gets in the way.

 However, I wanted to make a point of reviewing The Elusive Cow because it has such a good selection of vegetarian AND vegan items, and more people need to know about it. The restaurant is located on the Fairfield Avenue strip in a tidy but unassuming red brick building near Schneider's Sweet Shop and Virgil's Cafe.

We stopped in on a cold, blustery day, hence the lack of outdoor shots of the building, and were welcomed warmly by staff. We sat at a table in a small side room, away from the bar, which we wrongly imagined would be filled with fans watching March Madness games. There was a game on the TV, but the sound was turned down and patrons weren't interested. Thankfully, the Elusive Cow isn't a sports bar kind of place; instead, the vibe was set to cool jazz. Niiice!

 There are quite a few veggie-friendly items on the menu, and the meat-based fare is locally-sourced from farmers in Brown, Adams and Oldham counties. It's nice to see vegan cheeses offered alongside "regular" cheese, and tempeh included in the veggie sandwich fillings.

I opted for the falafel pita sandwich, which came with hummus, vegan tzatziki and a choice of sides; I opted for cabbage slaw, but other choices include salad, hand-cut fries, or a vegetable of the day (which was sauteed kale with onions and mushrooms on the day we visited).
Falafel Pita sandwich with a side of cabbage slaw

I really liked the fact that the falafel patties at The Elusive Cow were baked instead of fried, even though baked falafel is usually a bit drier than its fried cousin. I would have liked a choice of vegan or regular tzatziki, because the croquettes certainly needed a bit of moisture, and I found the flavor of the vegan tzatziki lacking. It wasn't bad by any stretch, just not as tasty as yogurt-based tzatziki. The sandwich is big too - I was expecting the croquettes, lettuce, tomato, and briny olives to be stuffed inside a pita pocket, but the pita came loaded with the items on top. Don't even try to tackle this monster with your hands - unless you want to end up wearing this delicious dish instead of eating it.

 The slaw, also vegan, was very gingery. Oddly, both my and my husband's menus had different ingredients listed for the slaw (mine listed cabbage, dates, chipotle peppers, honey and Mexican lager, while his listed shredded carrot and sesame oil) and the one I got was different yet, so be sure to ask what type of slaw they have on hand, since it apparently varies. 

Other veggie-friendly menu listings include a veggie burger, a gluten-free veggie burger, a portabello sandwich, a veggie wrap, flatbread pizza, a couple of vegetarian soups, parsnip chips, and even a vegan chili.

The Elusive Cow really caters well to those of us who adhere to meat-free and cruelty-free diets, and is well worth seeking out.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Superfood Salad

While visiting family recently in the U.K., I had the opportunity to try some of Marks & Spencer's to-go salads and ready-meals, all of which were excellent. I was really taken with one in particular - the "superfood salad." It was so tasty that I decided I would try to recreate it when I returned home.

I should have written down the ingredient list, as by the time I got home I couldn't remember exactly what all went into it. I decided to experiment a little and see what I could come up with on my own. So this isn't an exact replica of the M&S recipe, but it's a decent attempt. Their salad included a tiny pot of yogurt-mint dressing, which I didn't think was anything special, so I've left it out, but feel free to add a little of your own dressing if you like. This makes about 8 1-cup servings.


Superfood Salad

  • 1 Cup Red Quinoa
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Green Lentils
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Cups Broccoli - fresh or frozen
  • 1 Cup Edamame
  • 1 Cup Bean of choice - I used heirloom goose beans from the garden, but M&S used a mixture of kidney, pinto and mung beans
  • 4 oz. Feta Cheese (optional)
Cooking Directions
  1. Add quinoa to 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add salt, cover and turn heat to low.
  2. Simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit another 5 minutes. Drain off any excess water, place in a large container and fluff with fork.
  3. Place lentils in small pot and add just enough water to cover. Add bay leaf. Heat to boiling, then turn down to low and let simmer 20 minutes.
  4. Drain, discard bay leaf, and add lentils to quinoa.
  5. Prepare broccoli according to package directions. Add to quinoa mixture.
  6. Cook beans according to package directions. If using canned beans, drain and rinse, then add to quinoa mixture. I boiled fresh green beans for about 20 minutes, or until the water is nearly evaporated.
  7. Stir in edamame
  8. Just before serving, sprinkle a tablespoonful of feta cheese over each serving.

Superfood Salad

Please note that red quinoa works better in this recipe because it stays crunchy after cooking, unlike regular quinoa. Likewise, it is best to use French/green lentils because other types of lentil get mushy, and you don't want that. This salad should be chewy.