Thursday, July 27, 2017

VEGAN VERSION OF THE HOUSE BREAD? - Just ask.....

In my lead blog, I mentioned I bend the rule of no dairy in my diet for a sumptuous sour dough that’s sold at the Roger’s Farmers’ Market.  It has that tang of sour dough with the soft, cake-like texture of Hawaiian rolls.

Heather Meis of Meissterbrew Bakery and I had a pleasant exchange over her tempting display, the aroma of fresh buttery bread seducing anyone within 20 yards.

I explained I loved her bread, but would she be able to make a vegan version?  She was most eager to rise to this challenge.  The regular bread has butter, but darned if I miss it.
Dessert for Breakfast


If I want a buttery taste, I spread a bit of Earth Balance on a fresh slice.  There’s also what I call “dessert –for-breakfast”, achieved by topping this bread with a generous dollop of orange marmalade.  But this manna passes the ultimate bread test – you can eat it naked.  (The bread that is, although how you dress for dinner is your business.)

Meissterbrew Farms

749-359-2061
heathermeis@yahoo.com

Monday, July 10, 2017

TJ's SANDWICH SHOP - Quick and Satisfying


Virtually any Sandwich place, from Subway to Jimmy John’s to this delightful find on north College Avenue in Fayetteville has a veggie number you can call lunch or dinner.  The trick is to get them to leave off the mayo and the cheese.  Most places I’ve visited have been very accommodating.

TJ’s gives an added twist in their Garden Guru – it’s hot.  Steam actually rose from inside the sandwich when I placed it open-face for the photo.  Adds a whole new dimension to the “veggie sandwich”.

Jules (but she goes by Julie) takes great pride in her work, having trained under Chef Todd over at the seafood emporium Mermaids. TJ’s was Todd’s brain child, further expanding his culinary contribution to Fayetteville.

The décor is ‘50s retro, with red plastic pedestal seating and lots of aluminum furniture – clean and sparkling and just ready for me to sit down and enjoy my meal.  So I get my warm bundle of foil over to a cozy table and unfurl a sandwich that can stack up to any deli creation in New York’s lower east side.

The Garden Guru - it'll warm your tummy and your heart
The roasted red and yellow bell peppers, cucumbers, mushrooms and – wait for it – artichoke hearts have been sautéed in extra virgin olive oil, and topped with a sun dried tomato black olive relish that pulls it all together.  This casserole for the soul is served on a crispy fresh Vie de France hoagie – but it’s one I could get my mouth around, unlike some insurmountable loaves that have arrived on my plate over the years, threatening to give me lock jaw.

Not much else on the menu comes in under the vegan flag, as the pre-made pasta salad already has feta cheese in the mix, and there’s cream and butter lurking in the tomato bisque, but hey, there’s always Lays potato chips and a big cup of sweet tea.  So if you find yourself out at TJ’s with friends who are ordering turkey and ham and roast beef, no need to feel like the poor relation.  The Garden Guru is sandwich royalty.

P.S. Sandwiches are half price on Wednesday!



Monday, July 3, 2017

A VEGAN CHUCK WAGON – NOT AN OXYMORON


I pass a chuck wagon every day on my way out of town. Bacon and eggs, biscuits and gravy, nothing for me, right?  Wrong.  How I dreamed of the day I’d see the “V” word on their menu chalkboard, and then it happened.  Jackfruit tacos.  Time to do a U turn and go back and be sure I didn’t read incorrectly while travelling at 30 miles an hour.

The Green Goat, found at the corner of Martin Luther King and Wood Streets in southern Fayetteville, offers Cuban-Florida cuisine with a nod toward Ozark cooking.  Owner Erin Walsh brings innovation to the menu, with the vegan tacos being a good example.

Jack fruit is a giant relative of the fig family.  It yields a starchy, fibrous pulp which carries a subtle sweet flavor which tends to blend well with sauces and spices, much like tofu.  Put a little BBQ sauce on it and you’ve got a vegan’s answer to pulled pork.  These tacos come with homemade mojo dipping sauce - cumin, garlic, olive oil and just the right amount of tangy lime.
Rice & Bean Empanada, Mojo Sauce and the Jackfruit Taco (open faced)

While I was there, my vegan exploration carried on to the empanadas.  They substitute rice and beans for the “meaty” filling.  There’s also vegan Thai coconut soup, fried avocado, and yuka fries.

It didn’t matter a bit that I was standing alongside the truck when the heavens opened and soaked me to the skin.  I was carrying a vegan feast to-go from….a chuck wagon.  Who knew?!

The Green Goat
583 S Wood Street
Fayetteville, AR

479-310-5444