Happy Sunday everyone! It’s been a while since we gave you a little recap of what has been going on behind the scenes at the Little Green Kettle household, so I thought today was the perfect day to do so!
As most of you know, my husband, our doggie Nala and I welcomed our newly adopted dog Vega into the family three weeks ago. If you haven’t read the crazy story of everything that happened on that day, here it is. I can’t wait to tell you how she’s doing (which means this might be a dog heavy post towards the end… what can I say, I’m a very proud mamma of two now!), but first, let’s talk about the summer, beautiful Madrid, and some delicious vegan food shall we?!
I must say that I love staying home in the summer. The city is so calm and quiet, little terrace cafés are irresistible in spite of the heat, and it’s a great opportunity to overdose on delicious vegan food, films at the cinema and to do lots of experimenting in the kitchen. Sundays always mean pancakes at our house, hence the top photo from a couple of weeks ago, but I also changed things up a bit last week and made a total Latin / American brunch that was to die for.
This wonderful breakfast included my dear Venezuelan arepas, which are a kind of griddle savory cake you make with corn flour water and salt, and fill with all sorts of savory goodies. For stuffing these I made my black bean picadillo, shitake, onion and tomato tofu scramble, sliced avocado, and sliced vegan swiss and mozzarella cheeses. For the American delights I made my absolute favorite thing in the world, a vegan spin on sunny side up eggs and hash browns. Yup! You can have your childhood favorites and be a vegan too! The sunny side up ‘egg’ was thanks to a wonderful egg substitution product called “The Vegg”, which we’ll be teaching you how to use soon. It has the identical consistency and flavor of an egg yolk, sans the cruelty or cholesterol. It doesn’t hold its shape so I placed it in a little bowl and dunked my crispy onion and potato hash browns inside and took a quantum trip to my diner mornings in New York City! A delicious cinnamon latte rounded out the meal. As did the nap that immediately followed!
A super huge hit this summer was going to Crucina with our buddies Elena and Pablo (who did the very naughty thing of not letting us pay! We’ll get back at you I promise!). Crucina is Madrid’s gourmet vegan raw restaurant and it’s truly a magical experience. Somewhat surreal actually since none of the food is cooked and yet you can have anything from a burger, to lasagna, to ‘meat’balls. Are you ready?!:
Pear and ginger juice, sips of kombucha, Italian appetizer plate with pesto stuffed mushrooms, raw cheeses, antipasto style veggies and a scrumptious salad. Sun toasted nori rolls with cabbage and other vegetables. I ordered the mushroom and nut meat burger which was killer, and hubby ordered the Greek moussaka. Finally dessert, the best part of the meal since we ordered their famous tiramisu. The photo doesn’t do it a bit of justice, but trust me, it was one of the best desserts I’ve had in my life! We also ordered their yummy apple and banana tart, but in retrospect, we should have ordered two tiramisus since they were out of this world. Or perhaps four? Take a look!
Summer nights in Madrid also mean going to some of the many rooftop terrace bars around the city, and we did it with our two buddies Any and David over passion fruit and blackberry mojitos. Have you ever tried a blackberry mojito? I hadn’t, and it was the tastiest thing ever! Mine had a little pansy on top, so I guess they had already won me over at this point.
We also had the most perfect Italian vegan meal at our local Italian restaurant the other day. They are so thoughtful and willing to always leave the cheese out of our orders and our waitress there is just wonderful! We both had the potato gnocchi with a fresh tomato and basil sauce, pine nuts, and a side of focaccia with tomato sauce, arugula and peperonccino olive oil drizzled on top. Yowza!
I also finally found the time to try and make my first batch of home cooked dog biscuits. These had all sorts of wholesome goodies and the doggies loved them!
I can’t keep this little recap going without giving a shout out to my beautiful city of Madrid. In the summer, when people are gone and I’m free to get lost in its streets, Madrid and I have a total love fest.
A couple of weeks ago, we went to the cinema to see the movie “#chef”. I’m a total freak when it comes to food movies, but I have to admit that until the first vegan food movie comes out, going to these types of films is always bitter-sweet for me. Especially this one, which was particularly animal heavy and had the very disturbing cutting of a pork leg, which I can now only see as the actual leg of a little pig, even if what you see on the chef’s table bares no resemblance. Cooking with animals aside, I truly loved this film and its portrayal of the passion behind cooking which is so close to my heart and the way I experience my time in the kitchen. As is always the case now whenever cooking animals is concerned, I of course set out to veganize the item of food that is at the center of this film: cuban sandwiches or ‘cubanos’. You know me, give me an animal product and I’ll turn it into plant food for the soul! You’ll have a recipe for this baby soon of course, but in the meantime, take a look at the process!
Traditional ‘cubanos’ include two different cuts of pork, cheeses, butter and mustard, but I turned ‘cubanos’ on their heads and made the most juicy and crispy spice rubbed tofu slabs, used vegan mozzarella and swiss cheeses, sizzling peppers and onions (hubby’s contribution to the recipe), mustard, roasted garlic smeared on the bread and vegan butter for the top of the bread as is tradition before pressing it in the ‘plancha’. It’s officially our new favorite naughty dinner. I served it with roasted potatoes but next time I’m going more traditional with fried ‘tostones’ (green plantains) or yuka, I just didn’t have any in the house!
Ok, on to my favorite little furry ones on this planet. Many of you have asked me how our newly adopted dog Vega is adjusting after reading our post Diary of an Adoption, and all I can say, is this little dog has changed our family! The best part of having two dogs is seeing how different they are, how they both have such distinct personalities. They love being petted in different ways, they prefer different spots on our bed, have different ways of saying good morning, and thanking you after a treat or a long walk. My heart is just bursting with these two.
By now we know that Vega loves to run, and we’ve started to teach her how to fetch the ball which was a concept completely alien to her.
She has now learned how to stick her head out the car window, and has finally realized, that she has a window all to herself, since she kept trying to reach Nala’s side, which got too crowded.
We know she doesn’t like the sun too much and squints and hides in the shade if it’s too hot.
We know she loves mud baths after a long run in the summer heat. Oh yeah… that’s a mud pool. You should have seen her bending her legs and cooling off her belly!
We know she loves to cuddle with us in the sofa, and that they have both become sisters in record time, sharing even the toys Nala would hide when other dogs came into the house to visit. Yup! You can’t make this stuff up! They are true walking partners sniffing everything in sight together and just enjoying their time with us even if all we’re doing is watching TV on a lazy Sunday. All of my dogs have taught me plenty, but Vega has taught me so much about trust, and these two new little sisters about patience and love. Vega has gone from being terrified of coming inside the house, or in and out of bedrooms. to being a completely joyous dog, jumping and running in the field, cuddling with us and spending time with us in the terrace with our music and some veggie sausages on the grill. You can tell she feels safe and free to be herself, and every day we are getting to know her better. What can I say about my best pal Nala, she has been a true superstar in this whole process. Ah, the joy that an animal can bring! Dogs have saved my life more times than I would care to say, especially this caramel colored cutie pie, and this pair is stealing my heart by the day and making me thank my lucky stars for this itty-bitty family of mine.
Have a great end of the summer everyone! We’ll be back next week cookin’ some quinoa! Remember you can read more posts about what we’ve been doing lately in our Life at the Little Green Kettle section of the blog, or follow me on Instagram @littlegreenkettle for a peek at our daily vegan yummies. ‘Til next week! Have a good one!