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katheryne's Profile

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What are your favorite SPICY foods?

1 other resounding recommendation for a spicy chocolate bar:

Dagoba has a bar called "xocolatl" that's dark chocolate, cacao nibs, aji amarillo chiles, maca, nutmeg, and vanilla. It's my absolute favorite (I don't actually have much of a sweet tooth, but the spicy does it for me). I'm in Northern CA - I think I've seen these in LA at Gelson's or Whole Foods but am not sure.

Mar 19, 2007
katheryne in General Topics

Precooked Indian Entrees

I'm a big fan of the Tasty Bite Line, although since I'm vegan there are only a few that I've been able to try. Of those, these are my two favorites: The Bombay Potatoes I find wonderful - it's nicely full of chickpeas which provide a little bit more resistance to the bite and contrast well with the soft potatoes. I also love the Bengal Lentils, which also have a nice consistency when you bite into them and are pleasantly spiced. My store has also just started carrying their Spinach Dal, which is one of the very few vegan pre-packaged spinach-based Indian dishes I've seen. It's spinach and lentils rather than spinach and paneer, and while I can see where it might be overpureed for some, I bulked it up with some tofu cubes and fresh spinach and enjoyed it immensely. On the minus side, their answer to Bengan Bharta ("Punjab Eggplant," I think?) is also vegan but is far too tomato-based for my taste (I'm spoiled by one particular restaurant version I simply can't get over). None of their dishes are very spicy, and normally I like my Indian food very hot, but the majority of the Tasty Bite entrees make it up in flavor, to me. If you want something creamier, they're also good if you stir in a couple ounces of coconut milk or (soy) yogurt.

However, I just tried Jyoti's Madras Sambar canned lentil & vegetable entree, and I ended up pouring most of it down the drain. It's one of the few they have at my store that's vegan, so I had high hopes, but from other comments I've seen I suspect that the Jyoti people just have too heavy a hand with the tamarind for my taste. They also have, to my mind, a big problem with consistency - whereas the Tasty Bite ingredients tend to hold their shape really well (and granted, I've never hated the over-pureed spinach), the Jyoti thing I just tried featured vegetables which were pretty much disintegrated. There were no lentils in evidence, and I'm wondering if they had been pureed. Also, the way they stretch one can to stretch to six servings is that you're meant to stir in a half can of water, which leaves you with a very thin, runny, tamarind-heavy gravy or slurry with some extremely soft vegetable bits suspended in it and no spice to it at all. Others might really like it, but since I prefer recognizable vegetables, bright flavors, a lighter touch with the tamarind, and a thicker sauce, I honestly can't recommend this product at all.

Mar 19, 2007
katheryne in General Topics

Secondhand Barbecue Smoke

There are plenty of places (especially bars) I don't care to go to because of smell issues, but to make this a vegetarian issue seems to me to be going too far or trying to play the "you must respect my diet/lifestyle" a bit too hard.

I'm a vegan, and I think that if you're going out with a mixed or non-veg group of friends, it's OK to be a pain in the ass about where you all eat in the following circumstances: (1) it's your birthday or an occasion that should revolve around you, or (2) you're counting on eating and there really isn't a good veggie option for you at the place your friends have selected (or you know that the restaurant sneaks bacon grease into their vegetarian entrees). If it's not a basic problem like not being able to eat, but simply a matter of you being difficult about the way the place smells, then I think it becomes a different matter, and your responsibility to either go with the majority opinion or count yourself out. Sure, when people are planning to go out together, any member of the group can ask at any time for any reason: "Hey guys, how would you feel about going somewhere else?" But if you get voted down, that's fair too, and then you have a different choice: (1) decide to go with the group and not complain about the meat smells, or (2) decide that you're not interested in going with that group to that location. This is the kind of thing that makes people think of all vegans and vegetarians as unreasonable, but I don't think my friends should have to adhere to or be impacted by my dietary choices. If I thought that, I guess I'd only have vegan friends.

Mar 19, 2007
katheryne in Features