Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"Three Sisters" Roasted Chili-Corn on Multigrain Corn Thins, Butter Beans, Acorn Squash

Tonight, I tried another "three sisters" creation using the ancient Native American staples of corn, beans, and squash. The beans were simply canned organic butter beans that I mixed some salt and red chili powder into, and the squash was also easy, just small acorn squash that I baked (375°F for about half an hour or so) and served with Earth Balance margarine and a little dill weed.

I purchased an interesting crispy treat variation of rice cakes in the store a few days ago, multigrain "corn thins". I roasted over a flame three small-medium ears of corn for my wife and my dinner, stripped the kernels, mixed in a little salt and Earth Balance margarine, and a 2-ounce single serve packet of "Flame Roasted Green Chile Singles" from 505 Southwestern.

It was good, though not exceptional as my first try at a "three sisters" meal. It was fun picking up and eating the crispy corn thin with freshly roasted kernels on top. The heat was about right for my wife and me.

Let me begin to describe the meals that we had on vacation. Our flight on the 14th arrived non-stop in Las Vegas. We were amazed to have read about a place Ronald's Donoughts (4600 Spring Mountain Rd [1.5 miles W of the Strip], 702-873-1032; 4a[!!]-2p Su, 4a-4p every other day) run by Janie and Henry Kang (originally from Southeast Asia) for about 16 years now. We went there and LOVED the inexpensive (I think it was 70 cents for a doughnut or a dozen for $6!!) and oh-so-tasty (it's been years since I've eaten at a doughnut shop; their good tasted very convincing to us and friends who weren't even vegetarian!) vegan treats!! We kept a stash in the car for the trip. I'm going to put together a "Las Vegas Night" event and order doughnuts to be shipped overnight, perhaps sometime in 2008. I can't wait to have another doughnut!

We also were excited to know that there was an organic, vegan, raw restaurant, Go Raw Café. In fact, there are two locations, including one just two miles southwest of the airport (2381 E Windmill in Smith's Plaza, 702-450-9007, M-Sa 10-9, Su 8-5), and another in The Lakes Center (western part of city; 702-254-5382, 2910 Lake East Drive, M-Sa 9-9). We enjoyed a nice meal there; I had some items from their salad bar, including good guacamole, and "Vegi-coti" - "soft tortillas filled with 'spinach-ricotta', veggies and marinara sauce. Served with a side of pasta primavera and a blend of pesto, marinara, olive oil, garlic, sun~dried tomato. $12.95". We enjoyed free samples of "bread sticks" so much that we purchased several packets that served us well during our hikes and time during the vacation. We also were impressed with a Whole Foods Market in Las Vegas, possibly the biggest of their stores that we have ever visited.

We stayed with friends (our Servas hosts) in St. George, Utah for two nights; that first night, they made a tasty couscous dinner. We all went out Monday night to Benja Thai in town; it was reasonably good (I think I had a noodle dish).

Tuesday and Wednesday nights, we stayed at/near Bryce National Park. Eating a plant-based diet is probably the very best thing one can do for the environment, and it amazes me how this "elephant in the room" is usually ignored. The Park services seemed to be fairly environmentally conscious, but it took a little discussion to make sure we would get vegan dishes - it seems to me that eating anything other than vegan should take some work, not vice-versa! The lodge had two dishes, a pasta with tomato sauce and a grilled portabello "steak", that could be suitable, as long as the "steak" were grilled in a clean pan. We had one of each the first night; it was reasonably good, supplemented with multiple trips to the salad bar. We had a good server, and he took my suggestions for a custom meal the next day, pasta with grilled vegetables. I will pick up tomorrow or soon thereafter with the rest of our meals from vacation.

By the way, Thanksgiving reservations are just pouring in! We opened reservations yeseterday at 3:30a or so, and the first reservation came in before 5a! We were up to 92 reservations before I could even email our members later in the day - folks clearly were monitoring the website. Today we are up to 194 reservations!! Typically, we only get 30-40 reservations in the first two days or so. It looks like we'll fill all the daytime slots soon and have to open up for evening seating, something we've never done before. I anticipate being at over 600 attendees this year, a new record! (Check out the map of where folks are coming from.)


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