Entries from October 2009 ↓

Bloom Bellingham

I’ll eat most any kind of food – I thrive on variety. Sometimes I like to eat a LOT of vegetables. And to meet this desire, vegan options abound in Bellingham. However, the detective work involved can be tiring. Are there animal products in this dish, in this dressing, etc. Now I can walk in to Bloom and order carefree.

The owner, Justin Bilancieri, hearkens from Marlboro, MA and more recently from Colorado. His roots are New England where the ole saying goes:  use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. The original reduce, reuse, recycle! So it seems apropos his restaurant is vegan. Veganism is a diet/lifestyle excluding animal products. A vegan is concerned about animal welfare, the environment and human health. In particular, the practices of factory farming and animal testing. Now back to your regularly scheduled review…

Justin has created a comfortable atmosphere from the old Kendrick’s billiards space. There are picnic tables, community dining tables, plush seating and bar stools in the front of the restaurant. Shelves filled with books on varied subjects (engineering, food, art) divide the space. He will create a music/art venue in the restaurant; there are two stages. Sitting here was almost like being at home. It is open and comfy with a kitchen attached where I can watch men preparing a meal for me. See my happy face? And with free wi-fi, Bloom is an office away from home.

You can’t go wrong ordering anything from the menu. Even though Tom calls vegan meals food’s food. I ate a raw tomato cucumber coconut soup with a salad and quinoa bowl. The quinoa spiced with curry and dill. The salad is a superfood salad with kale, collard, chard, mixed greens, cabbage and carrots with their superfood dressing. What a serving! The heat from the quinoa warmed the greens and the combo was delicious. I could eat it daily. Tom had the sun dried tomato hummus platter ( the soup came with his meal) with a superfood salad. The hummus serving was huge and it was adorned with carrot spears and cucumber rounds. We’ve eaten hummus for decades and this was the best – except for *MIL’s, of course!

Dessert was a  raw shortbread with a smear of raw dark chocolate. It was our antidote for an evening of wine from across the street. Bing, you are now again energized! Along with hazelnut chocolate coconut ice cream we were too happy.

The menu (PDF) changes along with the seasons, and so do the business hours. Be sure to call/check the website for updates.

*MIL = mother-in-law

Bloom Vegan Restaurant, Bellingham WA

360-733-2381     1320 Cornwall Ave, Bellingham
Thur-Sat  11am – 9pm (varies)

Higher Choices, Life Enhancing Recipes by Janet Lasky

I want to encourage you to open yourself to alternative food choices. Focus on eating what gives you long term energy and health. Life is complicated, but we still have to make good choices.

I met Janet Lasky in 2000 when I was living in Madison, NJ. I had my hands full with 2 boys ages 4 & 2. The 2 year old had food intolerances and the 4 year old was beginning to exhibit some also. I was able to shop in several food stores and still manage the family diet without going bankrupt. I shopped at Stop & Shop, ShopRite, Trader Joe’s, Costco, Whole Foods, Wild Oats and the local health food store, Fountain of Vitality. New Jersey, being the most densely populated state in the USA, had plenty of food stores.

Believe it or not, Whole Foods house brand was consistently more affordable than other stores. I was able to substitute milk, butter, cheese and wheat. However, it wasn’t enough to swap out foods that made us feel sick if we ate them; we had to find nutritious substitutes and recipes for old favorites. This is where Janet Lasky opened a door for me. I was climbing the hill of change VERY slowly even though I had access to alternative foods. I met Ms. Lasky in Whole Foods during a demo for her recipe book which had been published two years previously. I connected with her immediately. She understood my challenges and she gave me some copies of recipes to try. She told me to call her anytime if I wanted help. Which I did.

I tried her recipes for breakfast breads, muffins, cookies, soups and stews. I bought her book Higher Choices/Life Enhancing Recipes and it’s still one of my go to cookbooks.

Now it’s almost 10 years later and I’ve been living in Bellingham for 4 years. It’s amazing to see how food options have increased! There is abundant information and guidance in this area. The Community Food Co-op, Terra Organica & Bargainica, Haggen’s and Trader Joe’s will personally guide you through their stores to show you alternative food choices they offer. So get out there and try something new.

Black Forest Cherry Torte

A long time ago, I went to a company party with a HS friend. It was held at Terrace On the Park in Flushing Meadows, NY. It is in one of the few structures left from the 1964 New York World’s Fair, which was themed “Peace Through Understanding”.  The building represents a 120-ft high heliport built for the transportation area. The windows form a large T on its sides. For Transportation. There was an exhibit floor, bar floor and restaurant at the top – “Terrace on the Park”.

As with most parties, you get a party favor to take home. I still have the one I got: a cookbook. Benson & Hedges Entertaining With Style:  Recipes from Great American Restaurants. It is small, hard covered and my first cookbook. Think Windows on the World, Russian Tea Room, Mader’s, The Palm, Frog, Washington Square Bar & Grill, Brennan’s to name just a few of the featured restaurants. Each restaurant profile includes a brief bio and a story of the origins of the featured recipe, plus courses to pair with it. My book includes many food-stained pages, but the one most abused is for Black Forest Cherry Torte recipe from Mader’s in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

A Birthday Supper

Fresh Asparagus with Lemon Mayonnaise
Cold Smoked Turkey and Ham
Hot German Potato Salad
Sliced Tomatoes
Black Forest Cherry Torte*
Cappucinno
Wine: Mosel Riesling

I would make the Black Forest Cherry Torte for birthday’s, holidays, parties.  Even Homer Simpson admits that Black Forest Cherry Torte is the ultimate bribe. Marge Simpson let Homer eat a whole cake once so she could Ultimate Fight an arena owner in a challenge bout….which gave me the idea for this post. And the DESIRE to make one of these cakes this week. I’m wondering what I bribe MY Homer to do…

Homemade Pizza, Doh!

There is only one thing that drives me to distraction in the kitchen: trying to shape pizza dough.

I watch intently at my local pizzeria. I watch youtube videos. I read different recipes. They all do it the same way:

  • floured board and hands
  • a perfectly round mound of dough
  • gently press the edges flat
  • lift dough over back of hands/knuckles to gently shape/stretch the EDGES only because gravity will take care of the center

Gravity takes care of the center of my dough with a hole.

If the dough stops stretching, did you know it is because you have to let the GLUTEN REST? for a few minutes? If you handle the dough too much it will get tough!

  • if dough loses its elasticity, lay it down to rest and WAIT
  • then repeat knuckle shaping edge of dough to 1/4 ” thick
  • BUT make sure you keep a lip on the edge of your dough
  • arrange the perfectly shaped dough on floured surface
  • slide it onto preheated baking stone in oven

Don’t get me started on shaping gluten free dough. It was easier to learn to roll sushi. Rice behaves.

Magdalena’s Creperie in the Fairhaven Village Inn

Magdalena’s Creperie is located in the Fairhaven Village Inn and will open this month. Their website boasts:

Celebrate the Taste of Old World Europe

Well, I will because my mother is from “old world Europe” and has made crepes every Friday, Lent or not. The fillings are as varied as her imagination. My favorite crepes are filled with sweetened farmer’s cheese and baked. Her crepes were generally desserts, although savory on occasion. Another I really enjoyed was filled with paprikas.

Magdalena’s Creperie 1200 10th St  Bellingham WA   360-483-8569

UPDATE:  Open daily 7am-3pm