Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Vegan gathering at Amma's Kitchen

VeganEarth invites those interested in veganism to a meet-up at Amma’s Kitchen, 7633 Reading Road, Roselawn at noon on Saturday, January 21. Order and pay for your meal off the menu. Amma's is an all-vegetarian restaurant, and most menu items can be made vegan.

The group will also host a seminar and vegan lunch buffet on Sunday, Feb. 26 at The Loving Hut Cafe, 6227 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge. The event costs $15 and is limited to 50 people. It begins at noon with a viewing of the movie "Forks Over Knives." Reservations are required and can be made by calling 513-591-3003.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Scandinavian Pastry Bars

This recipe is one of my favorites. The sweetness of the crust and meringue is offset by slightly tart raspberry jam, and the almonds lend a nice crunch. These bars are delicious any time of day, but are especially nice with a cup of tea or coffee in the morning.

Scandinavian Pastry Bars


  • 3/4 Cup salted butter, softened
  • 3/4 Cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 Cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 3 Egg whites
  • 6 Tbs sugar
  • 1/2 Cup shredded coconut
  • 1 Cup sliced almonds, divided

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar

until light and fluffy

Gradually add flour; mix well

Press dough into the bottom of a 13"x9" greased baking pan

Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned

Spread jam over crust

covering from edge to edge

In a large bowl, beat egg whites

until soft peaks form

Gradually beat in sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form

Add coconut

and fold in gently

Add a half cup of almonds

and carefully fold in

Add egg white mixture over jam

and spread evenly

Sprinkle with remaining almonds

Bake at 350F for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown


Click here for printable recipe.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Recipe: Holiday cookies

My husband and I aren't really big on celebrating holidays. It's nice to have the time off work, and it's good to see friends and family that we don't get to see very often, but the whole out-of-control consumerism turns us right off. We prefer to give gifts throughout the year instead of concentrating on a single month, and some years we don't even bother to put up a tree.

We aren't all bah-humbug though; one of our simple pleasures is baking and decorating cookies to share with friends and co-workers. Here is an easy sugar cookie recipe that is sure to please.

Sugar Cookies
3 Cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 C sugar
2 sticks salted butter, cold
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 3/4 tsp vanilla extract)
1/2 pure almond extract

Royal Icing
4 Tbs meringue powder
scant 1/2 C water
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/2-1 tsp light corn syrup
a few drops of clear extract

Sugar cookie ingredients

Combine flour and baking powder.

Cream together the sugar and butter.

Add egg and extracts and mix well.

Gradually add flour mixture and beat until just combined; be sure to scrape down the bowl, especially the bottom.

The dough will be crumbly

Knead together with your hands

Roll out onto a floured surface

and cut into shapes

Place on a baking sheet and put into the freezer for about 10 minutes to chill. Chilling the dough helps the cut-out cookies hold their shape

Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack

Royal icing ingredients

Combine meringue powder and water, and beat until foamy

Sift in powdered sugar and beat on low to combine. Add corn syrup and extract

Increase sped to med-high and beat 5-10 minutes until icing is glossy, and stiff peaks form.

Separate the icing into bowls and cover with clingfilm, pressing the wrap onto the icing until ready for use. To color, use gel paste coloring, as it won't compromise or thin the icing.
To thin the icing for flooding, add a teaspoon of water to the icing and stir with a rubber spatula. If it is still too thick, add 1/2 tsp more, and if needed another 1/4 tsp. The flooding icing should be the consistency of thick syrup or glue.

Decorate by flooding with icing

Pipe design using stiff royal icing

Sprinkle with edible glitter, if desired.

Enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea

Click here for printable recipe

Monday, October 3, 2011

Abigail Street to open Nov. 1

Polly Campbell reports that Abigail Street, owned by Dan & Lana Wright of Senate fame, opens to the public in Nov. 1. It's great news for vegetarians and pescatarians, because the majority of the menu is fish and vegetarian based.

Read her post here.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Vegetarian Chili

I’m not sure why, but autumn always reminds me of R.E.M. I was saddened to hear that they split up this week after 31 years together. They were one of my college favorites and a staple at the radio station where I deejayed. I saw them at Wittenberg University on the Little America Tour (in support of Reckoning), at Vets Memorial on the Fables Tour, The Taft for Life’s Rich Pageant, and at Riverfront Coliseum on the Green Tour. After that I continued to buy their albums but stopped going to see them live because I missed the intimacy of those earlier, smaller venues. It seems fitting that they would disband now that the mornings are nippier and the leaves are turning “yellow like a geisha gown.

How I remember them best

The change in the weather also signifies the start of football season. I was a member of the high school marching band, and every Friday before the game my Mom made chili for us. This is her recipe, modified for the vegetarian diet and tweaked ever so slightly over the years. It is thick, stick-to-your-ribs chili, and so tasty that even my carnivore husband goes back for seconds and thirds.

Vegetarian Chili
3 Tbs olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
4 ribs celery, diced
1 bag vegetarian or vegan crumbles (such as Boca or Morningstar Farms)
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes (I use fire roasted)
2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
5-6 bay leaves
1 Tbs Sambelolek
1 tsp ground cumin
1 (15 oz) can black beans
1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans


Heat oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add onions, garlic and celery; sauté until onions are translucent.

Add crumbles and heat through.

Add diced jalapenos

Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, Sambelolek, and cumin. Stir well and simmer for about 20 minutes

Rinse and drain beans (aren't they pretty?)

Add beans and continue to simmer, uncovered, for another 30 minutes

Discard bay leaves and enjoy!

Note: This chili tastes even better the following day, and also freezes well.
Click for printable recipe.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Buckhead Mountain Grill

Buckhead Mountain Grill
35 Fairfield Avenue
Bellevue, KY

Buckhead Mountain Grill

Buckhead opened in Louisville around ten years ago and has had a presence in Bellevue for several years. The family-friendly restaurant is designed to resemble a mountain lodge. We have friends who live in Cripple Creek, Colorado, and Buckhead could seriously be their house - minus the large number of children and televisions. There are lampshades etched with silhouettes of moose and lonesome pine; there are antler chandeliers hanging from double height, A-frame ceilings with exposed rafters; and there are taxidermy critters cropping up in unexpected places. While not out of place in Colorado, in Bellevue Kentucky it's laughably tacky.

Lamp shade

They must be doing something right, however, because on the Monday evening we visited the place was absolutely packed: Families with small children, senior citizens, couples; you name it, they were there.

antler chandelier

Complimentary rolls arrived just after we were seated; they come with a delicious cinnamon-whipped butter spread. While the restaurant is primarily carnivore-heaven, there are a couple of vegetarian-friendly items to choose from. There is a veggie combo platter ($7.49) consisting of a choice of four side dishes - but several of the sides are not veg-friendly (the green beans are prepared with bacon, for instance), and four of the sides are potato-based, which limits options further.

They also offer a grilled portabello sandwich ($7.49) - ask to have the vegetables grilled on a separate surface to assure that meat juices don't mingle into the mix. I wasn't really in a grilled mood, so opted instead for the Nacho Mountain appetizer without the chili. They weren't kidding about the name - it really is a mountain of nachos, and certainly enough for a crowd. As nachos go, these were pretty good.

Mountain of nachos

Buckhead offers an impressive selection of draught beer, including many made locally, like Mt. Carmel, Rivertown and Christian Moerlein, and regional offerings like 3 Floyds, Bluegrass Brewing Co. and Bell's. Not sure what to order? Try several by ordering a "flight," which is basically a beer sampler of your choosing.

Mountain decor aside, there really isn't much to distinguish Buckhead from myriad other restaurants. The food doesn't rise above the ordinary, but it is affordable and plentiful, which probably goes a long way in explaining its popularity. The service was cordial and efficient to start, but refills were neglected and dessert wasn't even offered. To be fair, our server might have cottoned onto the fact that we were itching to get away. The reason? A child at a nearby table was sick all over the floor right next to our booth, which put us off our meals. The evening might have been rescued had the matter been attended to promptly, but it took nearly 15 minutes for someone to clean up the mess, even though the manager and three servers in our section were aware of the problem. If staff are that lax with front-of-house hygiene, I am loathe to think of what the kitchen might hold.

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