Friday, April 30, 2010

Recipe: Spicy Cauliflower (Vegan)

This recipe, found in a recent issue of Body & Soul Magazine, caught my eye because the photo in the magazine looked fantastic. The recipe is part of a package called "How to be a Healthy Vegetarian."

While the end result was a hit that I'll certainly make again, next time I'm going to experiment with roasting the cauliflower in the oven instead of browning it in batches on the stove, because frankly I think the recipe took too long to prepare and dirtied more dishes than necessary.

Here is the unaltered version of the recipe:

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil (I used olive oil)
3/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons whole mustard seeds
1 large onion, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup finely shredded peeled ginger
5 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into large florets
3/4 cup water
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1-2 small red chiles, thinly sliced, seeds removed for less heat (I used jalapeno peppers instead)

The Ingredients


1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add spices and cook until fragrant and golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

2. Stir in the onion, 3 tablespoons ginger, 3 tablespoons garlic, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until onions are tender and golden at the edges, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

3. Wash and dry pan and return to medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; heat until shimmering. Add half the cauliflower and brown on one side, 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Remove from pan, and repeat with remaining oil, cauliflower, ginger, and garlic.

5. Combine batches of cauliflower in pan. Add water and remaining salt. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in chickpeas and chiles.

6. Cook uncovered until chickpeas are heated through and liquid is gone, about 3 minutes.

7. Stir in onions and serve.


Friday, April 23, 2010


9500 Ikea Way
West Chester, Ohio
Tel: 513-779-7100

For most folks, the cafeteria inside Scandinavian-designed furniture and accessories store Ikea conjurs up thoughts of Swedish meatballs. While the meatballs are probably their biggest seller, the restaurant also offers a range of hot and cold meals that even vegetarians can enjoy.

Ikea cafeteria - a smörgåsbord of Scandinavian design

Over the years my husband and I have visited a number of Ikea stores in both England and the United States, and while there may be subtle differences in the restaurants (in the U.K. they charge extra for condiment packets, for instance) the choices are fairly uniform. Diners grab a melamine tray and choose items from various cold cabinets, or may opt for one of the daily hot meal specials, dished up by restaurant staff.

Chilled cabinets filled with salads, wraps, desserts and drinks

Assortment of wraps

Swedish ham with mustard sauce, mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables was the daily special when we visited, and while I wasn't the least bit interested in that, Steve was. His first bite made him slightly weepy, and he proclaimed that it tasted almost identical to the dish his Danish grandmother used to prepare for Sunday lunch.

The vegetarian choices on the hot bar are pasta with marinara sauce, French fries or a side of steamed veggies. I opted instead for a cold wrap ($2.99) and was pleasantly surprised by the unique filling. Instead of the usual lettuce/cheese/tomatoes one normally finds inside veggie wraps, this sandwich was packed with mung bean sprouts, water chestnuts, paper-thin cucumbers, red onion, roasted peppers and a mild yogurt sauce of mustard and basil. I suspect there is a typically practical Scandinavian reason for this mix of fillings: they can sit inside the chill cabinet all day without wilting or becoming soggy.

The sauce in the wrap was so delicious that I went in search of it afterwards in the grocery section of the store. (Sås Senap & Basilika, $1.99) Vegetarians can also take advantage of the small but adequate salad bar, which features two hot soups, but since no one could tell me if they were safe for vegetarians, I suggest approaching with caution.

Vegetarian wrap

Side of steamed veggies

No trip to the Ikea Cafeteria is complete without dessert, and the Princess Cake looked so festive and pretty that I had to try it. The pastry is made of sponge cake topped with raspberry jam and whipped cream, then covered in green marzipan. It's a very traditional Swedish dessert and tastes much lighter than one would think, based on the description.

Pretty, pretty Princess Cake!

For Steve there was no question of what he'd get for dessert - the Daim bar cake was too tempting to pass up. Similar to the American Heath bar but with a hard almond caramel filling instead of toffee, the Daim bar is rich and crunchy, and the Daim bar cake even moreso. Rich is an understatement, and even diehard chocolate lovers like my husband may be hard-pressed to finish it. (He's such a trooper though and soldiered on until every crumb was gone.) These desserts and more are also available in the grocery section of the store, located just beyond the check-out aisles.

Daim bar cake

Ikea is famous for clever designs and affordable flat-packed furniture, and while their cafeteria food isn't likely to win any awards, it's a pleasant diversion to refuel before hitting the Marketplace downstairs.

Ikea on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 16, 2010

Little Kings, Hudepohl, Schoening, Burger and Moerlein coming home!

A co-worker and I were reminiscing recently about Little Kings Cream Ale, prompted by a story a few weeks ago in the Cincinnati Enquirer. I won't incriminate him by retelling his exploits with the little green bottles, but I will somewhat shamefully admit to a few of my own. Their small size meant they were perfect for smuggling into places we knew we shouldn't: high school football games, rock concerts, Kings Island (ladies, the voice of experience recommends that you don't ride The Beast with them in your purse), and it was not uncommon back in the day to hear the familiar tinkle of Little Kings bottles rolling down the floor of the local cinema. Good times!

Why am I dredging all this up? Because Little Kings, Schoenling, Hudepohl, Burger and Moerlein are all coming home to Cincinnati, thanks to the efforts of Christian Moerlein CEO Greg Hardman.

Christian Moerlein Brewing Company Announces Plans to Open Brewing Operations in Cincinnati's Historic Over-the-Rhine Brewery District

First Moerlein to be Brewed in Over-the-Rhine Since the Start of Prohibition in 1919

CINCINNATI, OHIO – April 16, 2010 – Christian Moerlein Brewing Company and its wholly owned subsidiary Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Co. is announcing plans to expand brewing operations to Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine Brewery District. The site of the new brewing operation will be the former Husman Potato Chip plant located 1621 Moore Street just north of Liberty and east of Vine. “We are proud to be part of the continued renaissance and economic development of Over-the-Rhine,” said Greg Hardman President and CEO of Christian Moerlein Brewing Company.

“Our goal is to strategically implement a phased in production over the next two years from both existing production on some of our specialty beers and from the continued rapid growth our brands,” said Greg Hardman. The company has entered into a lease agreement with an option buy for the 125,000 square foot facility that will enable the company to expand their business for many years to come; additionally, the buildings sound infrastructure and historical significance were main considerations in choosing the Over-the-Rhine location. The site was also the malt and lager house of the former Kaufman Brewing Company from 1869 through 1919 (till start of prohibition).

Initial plans call for minor renovations of offices and general clean up of the facility so the company can relocate its corporate offices from its current Middletown location. It is envisioned the company will employ up to 25 at this location in 2011.

The history of Christian Moerlein dates back 157 years to when the brew master Christian Moerlein, an immigrant from Truppach Bavaria, Germany brewed his first beer in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine Brewery District in 1853. Christian Moerlein ceased operations at the start of prohibition and did not resume operations after prohibition ended in 1933. In 1981, Christian Moerlein was brought back to the Cincinnati market by the Hudepohl Brewing Company as one of the first commercially sold American craft beers and the first American beer to certifiably pass the German Purity Law of 1516 known as the Reinheitsgebot. Local ownership of the brand was lost when out of town owners purchased the brand assets of the Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Company in 1999 and later moved production to Maryland. Beer industry veteran and greater Cincinnati resident Greg Hardman purchased Christian Moerlein in 2004 bringing back the local ownership along with an additional commitment to bring back the local brewing heritage. Brewing operations are scheduled to begin in the new Over-the-Rhine location beginning in 2011.

Christian Moerlein Brewing Company would like to thank the Over-the-Rhine Foundation and its Executive Director Mike Morgan for dedicating an amazing amount of time and creativity in seeing this vision come to fruition. The OTR Foundation filled a much needed role, which was making necessary connections with all parties, assisting in negotiations and untangling numerous real estate issues. “Through the OTR Foundations efforts, it literally saved us time and resources we would have had to allocate otherwise. I’m not sure we would have moved along on this project without their assistance,” said Greg Hardman.

Additional thanks goes to the City of Cincinnati who assisted through Senior Development Officer Jeff McElravy by coordinating numerous city agencies regarding water and sewer usage and availability, transportation planning and the city pre-development team in helping much needed answers to make our decision to move forward.

Since our inception in 2004, growth initiative firm Cincinnati Growth Partners have been at the front end of our strategic decision making process. From our initial purchase of the Moerlein Brand and all remaining brand assets of the former Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Company, to the Moerlein Lager House in the Cincinnati Riverfront Park and the current production brewery, Mark Signorelli Managing Partner and his team have been vital assets to our strategic growth and decision making processes.


Christian Moerlein Brewing Company is the brewer of handcrafted Moerlein Lagers & Ales including Moerlein OTR Ale, Moerlein Lager House, Moerlein Barbarossa Double Dark Lager, Moerlein Northern Liberties IPA, Moerlein Fifth & Vine Oktoberfest Marzen, Moerlein Christkindl Winter Warmer Ale, Moerlein Friend of the Irishman Stout and Moerlein Emancipator Doppelbock। More information on Moerlein Lagers & Ales can be obtained at

Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Co. is the brewer of Hudy Delight, Hudy 14-K, Burger Classic and Little Kings Cream Ale and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Christian Moerlein Brewing Co.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Gangsters & Grub Progressive Dinner Party

The Newport Gangster Tour has teamed up with six Newport restaurants to present "Gangsters & Grub: A Dinner You Can't Refuse," a progressive dinner party on Thursday, April 29. The 7:30 p.m. tour is of particular interest to vegetarians because it offers a meat-free option!

How it works: There are only 50 tickets available for each dinner group, so buying a ticket in advance is recommended. Tickets run $35, which covers dinner, non-alcoholic drinks and gratuity at each location. Guests begin with an appetizer at one location, an entree at another, and then dessert at a third, while the Newport Gangster Tour provides samplings of their award-winning historical tour as guests walk from restaurant to restaurant. Participants will receive a confirmation email with a map and free parking voucher, and given a wristband at the check-in table.

For more information and to view the menu for this unique dinner party, visit the Gangsters & Grub website.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Bulldog's Roadhouse

UPDATE April 18, 2011: This restaurant has closed.

Bulldog's Roadhouse on the Levee
1 Levee Way - Plaza Level at Third Street
Newport, KY
tel: 859-491-8800

When I heard a restaurant/sports bar called Bulldogs was opening in the former Jeff Ruby's Tropicana space at Newport on the Levee, the first thing I thought of was the annoying sports radio host on the television sitcom Frasier. An intense womanizer, Bob "Bulldog" Briscoe's coarse humor and unrefined, boorish behavior made him a believable but unlikable character, and I couldn't believe that someone would name a restaurant after the guy.

Bulldogs Roadhouse on the Levee

Well duh. The restaurant is NOT named for a loutish character on a TV show, and while owner Eric "Bulldog" Deters also hosts a radio show, that's where the comparisons between the fictitious sports jock and local attorney Deters end.

Bulldogs Roadhouse on the Levee

As is typical among local sports bars, there isn't a great deal of choice for vegetarians at Bulldogs but they get good marks for the effort. There are a couple of pizza options, a grilled cheese sandwich, and a pretty good veggie burger. Special perks are reserved for bald patrons: all burger toppings are free.

Veggie burger with a side of fries

While our initial visit to Bulldogs was a pleasant surprise, our second excursion was at lunch during March Madness and the restaurant was short of servers. At least we think that's the reason we waited for 20 minutes before anyone came over to our table to ask if we had been helped yet. When we said no, the harried server said he'd be right back. After a further 10 minutes of waiting without having even our drink order taken, we walked out and instead gave our patronage to Hofbrauhaus up the street. A third trip found them slightly back on track however, so the jury is still out on this joint.

Plenty of TVs ensure no one misses a moment of the game

The restaurant boasts a decent happy hour (M-F 4-7 p.m.), with buckets of domestic beer - 5 bottles for $10, and well drinks are $3 each. There are plenty of half-price appetizers that are veggie-friendly as well, but they are mostly of the fried variety. Happy hour prices don't apply to the giant mugs of Hudy Delight; they are $2.50 all the time.

The large patio, in close proximity to the Purple People Bridge, is a great place to people watch, and there's live music most evenings. The establishment is also smoke-free, which is a big plus in Northern Kentucky.

Bulldogs is open Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m. and from 10 a.m.-2:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Also on weekends a brunch buffet - including pastries, pancakes, French toast and other breakfast items - is served until 1 p.m.

Bulldogs Roadhouse on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Recipe: Easy Strawberry Ice Cream

I know I'm rushing the season with this recipe, but the weather has been so glorious that homemade ice cream seemed the perfect use for the frozen strawberries left over from last year's harvest.

My mom found this family favorite years ago in an Old Farmer's Almanac, and the beauty of it is that there is no need for an ice cream maker; a hand mixer or blender is ideal, but beating vigorously by hand will also do the trick.

Easy Strawberry Ice Cream
Makes about 2 quarts

2 Cups mashed strawberries
1 Cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 Cups heavy whipping cream or half & half


1. If using frozen strawberries, defrost slightly until they are easy to mash.

2. Mash berries

3. Place berries in a large bowl and stir in sugar and salt until dissolved. If using fresh berries, chill mixture for an hour or so. If you are using defrosted berries, you don't have to chill the mixture, since it will already be cold.

4. Stir in vanilla extract and cream, and place in freezer.

5. After about 3-4 hours the mixture will be firm on the sides but still soft in the middle. Remove it from the freezer and beat for a couple of minutes. For a lighter texture you can use a blender on top speed, but it will have to be done in batches.

6. Return to freezer until solid. Enjoy!

NOTE: Peaches can be substituted for strawberries if desired.

For a printable recipe, click here.