Winner Winner Chicken Dinner (or Brunch): Dairy and Gluten-free Chicken Fried Maitake Mushroom and Butternut Squash Waffle

I officially became a vegetarian when I was about 22 years old. In those 22 years I had never heard of chicken and waffles – it wasn’t a thing in New York. I moved out to LA when I was 33 and everyone wanted to meet at Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles before drinks. I showed up later for drinks. The closest I ever came to Roscoe’s in LA was rewatching Tarantino’s Jackie Brown. Being a New Yorker, I like to watch sporting events (the few I do watch) and election debates in bars – so during the 2012 election, I watched the debates from a bar on Pico located very close to a Roscoe’s. Turns out the person I was talking to next to me was Herb Hudson – the founder of Roscoe’s. He is a Harlem native and we talked a lot about NYC vs LA. He suggested I visit Roscoe’s noting that Obama had made a stop at a Roscoe’s, but once I told him I was vegetarian the conversation came to an abrupt halt. I have often been curious about the appeal of chicken and waffles. So I created a chicken-fried mushroom with a gluten-free and dairy-free nut crust. And put it on top of a gluten-free dairy free waffle. And topped it with sweet fruit toppings, green veggieful toppings, savory toppings, spicy toppings. Savory. Sweet. Soft and Crunchy. Chicken and waffles. I get it now.

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Lettuce wrap it up for the day: Soy-free Asian inspired mushroom, nut, seed, veggie lettuce cups

Today is the Chinese new year – year of the monkey. On my way home I smelled mushrooms cooking in some sort of soy sauce and it made me crave something Asian with mushrooms. I have really grown into mushrooms over the last few years. I used to hate them…all the way into adulthood until I finally tried a dish at one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants in New York City called Zen Palate. It was called mushroom forest and and was a chopped medley of shiitake, wheat gluten or soy, celery and other goodness that was eaten in a lettuce shell. Since coming to Calfornia, I have been making something similar, but without the wheat gluten or soy, and that is full of nuts and seeds for protein. It is shiitake, kale, carrot, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, pine nut medley served in a lettuce wrap. And it was perfect for a new year celebration.

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Take me home tonight: Veggie lo mein and shiitake bacon

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I was driving home and passed Bulan – a vegan thai joint that I love but rarely have a chance to frequent. My first thought was that I should call my hubby and ask him if I should get some take out for tonight. My second thought was, I am on a whole food challenge – what could I eat that would really be worth it? My favorite dishes are made of wheat gluten, soy and other ingredients I can’t eat. Even if I ordered a coconut curry, I am not sure I would enjoy it without the starches I am used to eating.

Which brought my mind to Chinese take out. Hmmmm, noodles. I could not get them out of my mind.

Do you know what time it is? It’s time for recipe creation. I refuse to deprive myself of the food I want, leaving that craving lingering in me until I give in and eat something that does not make me feel good. (what you resist persists)

How can I make what I want to eat and make it healthy?

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