Archives for February 2012

Salt Kitchen & Tasting Bar

I rush into the minimalist space of Salt kitchen and tasting bar with the food warriors in tow. We’re late for our 5:30 reservation by 20 minutes but they’ve saved  our table in the tiny upstairs dining area. The Kaimuki eatery feels like it would more likely  be found in the Meat Packing district of New York than shoe-boxed between the toy store and hookah lounge on Wailae Ave. but we head in and are ready to get down to business

Hang out for happy hour downstairs 5:00 to 6:30 everyday and all day Sunday for a quick bite. Or make a reservation for one of the handful of tables upstairs and linger with friends. The High Class cocktail  intrigued me with a mix of Aperol (bitters), Absinthe and fruit juices. The flavor is similar to Campari or blood orange with an anise twist, refreshing and sweet-tart.

 I was a bit nervous when I saw the “art” featuring a pig mapped out in prime cuts.

What a pleasant surprise to see several dishes that were vegetarian and easily made vegan friendly like the Crispy Fingerling Potatoes or Blistered Shishito Peppers. If you’re craving something green, try  the Beet Salad or Nalo Mixed Greens.

The rest of the food warriors are carni/omni-viores so they ordered both the cheese and chacuterie platters.

The cocktail must have gone straight to my head because I ordered the Kahuku Corn Agnolotti without realizing it was in a cream sauce. Bummer! Luckily the food warriors gobbled it up. The next time I go back, I’ll see if it can be prepared sans dairy products.

No plant based desserts, but my friends shared the Tres Leche with black pepper semi-freddo.

Salt kitchen is a great spot for small bites and I’ll definitely be back for happy hour.

Salt Kitchen & Tasting Bar on Urbanspoon

Polenta Trio -Oscar Nosh

I only had an hour before the Oscar red carpet started on TV and still had not whipped up an apropos snack to nosh. I stuck my head in the fridge and my nose in the pantry …this  is what came together. You could make this a zillion different ways using whatever toppings you have on hand. Aim for putting together the perfect bite by combining different layers of texture and flavor.

Polenta Trio

by Veggietorials

Prep Time:15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Keywords: fry saute appetizer gluten-free nut-free vegan vegetarian Wayfare Foods MexiCheddar Polenta Portabella


Ingredients (3 servings)

  • 1 tube sun- dried tomato polenta
  • 1/2 package Soyrizo
  • 3 tablespoons Wayfare Foods MexiCheddar
  • 1/2 cup organic corn
  • 1/2 of a large onion, divided
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Mirin (rice wine)
  • 1 portabello mushroom (gills removed and finely shopped)
  • 1 baby roma tomato
  • 1 small can roasted,diced green chiles
  • 1 sprig Italian parsley
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, thyme or basil
  • 2 tablespoons pepitas or pumpkin seeds
  • Pinch of chile lime (or taco) seasoning
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lime
  • Chives (for garnish)
  • salt & pepper


Saute mushrooms and one portion of onions in a splash of olive oil until onions are translucent and mushrooms are evenly browned. Add garlic and fresh herbs, season with salt & pepper. Set aside.

Saute the other portion of onions in a splash of olive oil for 2 minutes. Add corn and Soyrizo, heat for another 3 minutes. Set aside.

Slice polenta into half inch rounds. Pan fry in olive oil until golden brown on each side. Drain on paper towel to remove excess oil.

Plate up your polenta: Top one round with mushroom mixture. Top the next round with Soyrizo and corn, 1 slice of tomato, green chiles and chives. Last round is topped with a tablespoon of MexiCheddar, chopped parsley, pepitas and a pinch of chile lime seasoning.

Serve with a slice of lime.

Powered by Recipage

Wayfare Foods- We Can’t Say It’s Cheese

Southwest Potato,Black Bean & Corn Napoleon

by Veggietorials

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Keywords: appetizer snack side gluten-free dairy free nut-free soy-free vegan vegetarian wayfare foods mexicheddar Cinco de Mayo Southwest

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 1 baked potato
  • 1 tub Wayfare Mexi-cheddar
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup cooked corn
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 2 teaspoons Southwest or taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes

For Garnish

  • Cilantro
  • Green onions
  • Salsa


Mix the black beans and corn with the lime juice and Southwest seasoning.You can heat the mixture through if desired,but skip it if you’re in a rush. Use a food ring to plate your creation. Start with a thin layer of potato, then add the bean and corn mixture. Add dollops of Mexi-Cheddar and smooth out before adding another layer of potato. Use a sheet of wax paper or parchment and press everything together using a gentle touch. Slowly slide the food ring off your stack. Add another small spoonful of beans/corn and garnish with tomatoes, cilantro and green onions.

Powered by Recipage

My love for cheese makes me think I was a mouse in a past life. I would eat it here or there, I would eat it anywhere. The world is brimming with exciting new plant based products every day, but I’ve had my eye on Wayfare Foods “We Can’t Say It’s Cheese” for months. Whole Foods never got any in store despite my weekly requests(begging/pleading)but last weekend, I was finally able to find some out in Kapolei at Down to Earth.

All you need for food alchemy are the right ingredients. I took some simple pantry staples- potatoes, black beans and corn  and paired them with Wayfare’s cheese spreads…so good, I almost cried. How is it possible that they are gluten free, dairy free, nut free, soy free plant based products with THIS MUCH flavor? The Hickory Cheddar brought back happy memories of the crocks of port wine cheese I’d sample at Pea Soup Andersen’s as a kid. Not exactly the same, but yummers enough to eat with a spoon- or crackers if you must. I’m sure it would’ve made an amazing sauce base for some creamy mac n cheese, IF I hadn’t devoured the whole tub in 2 days. *burp* The Mexi Cheddar style was not as spicy as expected and the texture was a bit softer than the Hickory Cheddar. It worked perfectly for my food creation below.

So here is my best advice for making mere mortal ingredients into food magic: we eat with our eyes first. You can spend a whole lot of time cooking but if it lacks plate appeal, you’re just not as excited to eat it. Make it look gorgeous and even the pickiest eater wants to give it a try. All I did for this Southwest Potato,Black bean and Corn Napoleon is bake the potato @ 400 degress for an hour and heat up black beans and corn with a shake of southwest (or taco) seasoning , squeeze of lime.

Use a food ring to plate your creation. Start with a thin layer of potato, then add the bean and corn mixture. Add dollops of Mexi-Cheddar and smooth out before adding another layer of potato. Use a sheet of wax paper or parchment and press everything together using a gentle touch. Slowly slide the food ring off your stack. Add another small spoonful of beans/corn and garnish with tomatoes, cilantro and green onions.

I served my Southwest Napoleon with a kale and cucumber salad along side a bowl of carrot soup for a complete meal. Total time in the kitchen: 1 hour 10 minutes. Active prep/cooking: 15 minutes

 Great meal for a Meatless Monday or any lazy day!

Eat Vegan on $4 Day cookbook GIVEAWAY!

It’s almost time for another GIVEAWAY! As soon my Veggietorials Facebook page and YouTube channel hit 200 likes/subscribers, I’m giving away one of my favorite cookbooks! I had the pleasure of meeting Author Ellen Jaffe Jones when we were both working as cooking instructors for The Cancer Project. She has since gone on to publish her first cookbook, Eat Vegan on $4 day, filled with simple, cheap and cheerful recipes that are easy on your budget.

Here’s how the giveaway will work. As soon as both my Facebook and YouTube channel reach 200, I will use to pick a winner of a personalized, autographed copy of Eat Vegan on $4 day. You can enter in the following ways:


You will get one entry for liking both Veggietorials and Eat Vegan on $4 Day FB pages


1)   Like




Additional entries for each of the following actions:


2)   Subscribe to



3)   Subscribe to



4)   Comment on a blog post



5) Share this post on Facebook




If you do all of the actions, you will have a total of 5 entries. The only requirement is that you have “Liked” both Facebook pages, after that, it’s all extra! Your entries need to be received before I reach 200 subscribers.


Good Luck!

Musubi @ Mana Bu’s

Mana Bu’s brings a welcome healthy twist to an island and personal favorite, Musubi. Monday thru Friday they open at the crack of dawn(6:30am) to start preparing different kinds of rice balls (musubi) and a small assortment of okazu ( veggie side dishes). Twelve varieties are made in the first round with white rice and classic ingredients like kombu (sea vegetable) and ume (pickled plum). The owner is from Japan and only indulges the Hawaiian yen for Spam musubi with a “Lite” version because he believes in real, whole food ingredients.

At 7:30am, Mana Bu’s starts to offer the brown rice and 10-grain musubis. There will soon be 29 different varieties to choose from! Fresh, high quality ingredients are featured on a  little card displaying  the origin of each ingredient used to prepare the food.

Weekdays at 8:00am, the full assortment of 35 kinds of musubi ( including organic rice), veggie okazu and desserts are ready. On Saturdays, they open at 9:00am and everything is available at that time. But get there early, weekday or weekend! There is a line before the store opens and since people buy at least a dozen or more at a time, they sell out quick. Closing time is 1:00pm but your favorites will be long gone before that.

 Veggie Okazu and dessert offerings: green bean salad, gobo, broccoli corn salad  and strawberry mochi

I tried the hijiki, ume, kombu, veggie curry, 10 grain and they were all oishii! If I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be the veggie curry…with the hijiki as a close second. Musubi are great to take along on picnics, to the beach, on airplanes because they don’t require refrigeration ,rice fills you up and they’re cheap – $1.40-$1.70 each. Paired with a side veggie and a beverage, it’s the perfect take along meal.

Mana Bu’s
1618 S.King St.
Honolulu, HI 96826
ph: (808) 358-0287


Mon-Fri 6:30a-1:00p/ Sat 9:00a-1:00p/CLOSED Sun,Holidays except for special orders

Mana Bu's on Urbanspoon

Root Canal Recovery elixir- greens a go-go

It’s a good thing I like green smoothies, because I’ve basically been living on them since my root canal last week. I can’t chew on the left side of my mouth and I’m worried about the temporary crown in front, so it just seems like less of a hassle to drink my meals right now, y’know? I loaded this one up with 4 slices pineapple, 2 clementines, 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, 1 thick slice of lime, 1 apple banana, 1 bunch kale, 3 sprigs of Italian parsley /2 sprigs of tulsi ( holy basil), and 1/4 cup of aloe vera juice. Blend on high speed for 60 seconds. Top with ice and blend for 15 seconds. Enjoy your glass of liquid sunshine!


This recipe makes about 40 oz and I drink it over a couple of hours. The pineapple provides bromelane as an anti-inflammatory, ginger also eases inflammation and the nausea from the medication I had to take. I add the clementines for a shot of Vitamin C, the apple banana for potassium, and kale because it is so nutrient dense. Tulsi is a powerful adaptogen and parsley has on of the highest concentrations of chlorophyl which helps oxygenate your blood. Adding a slice of lemon or lime really brightens up all the flavors.


Drink the whole pitcher and you’ve had a full day’s servings of fruits ( 5 servings!) and over 10 grams of fiber! Easy.

I got sauced! Gardein Meatless Ground


I am an unapologetic sucker for new products. The shiny packaging, the allure of something new to taste- yes, bring on the processed food! While I make a great effort to source my life from whole foods, these meat analogues are fun to play with from time to time. The Gardein meatless ground is now available at Costco stores in the refrigerated section. According to the package, it can be frozen for up to 3 months. Once thawed, it should be consumed within 1-2 days. Though not organic, the soy and wheat ingredients are non GMO.

I used one package and crumbled it before adding it to my sauce. Simple sauce: 1 onion diced, 4 cloves garlic, one 15oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes, one 15oz. can fire roasted crushed tomatoes, 1/2 jar sun dried tomatoes in oil pureed, 2 small carrots finely chopped, Penzey’s Tuscan seasoning, fresh basil, salt+pepper  to taste.

The crumbles are added after the sauce has been simmering for about an hour. One package of Gardein ground equals 1.2 pounds of ground beef. I found that the crumbles soak up a lot of liquid, so I would only use a half package of the crumbles next time. I like a saucier sauce consistency, so use less crumbles or add an additional can of tomatoes. Two 15oz cans for half pack OR three 15oz cans for a whole pack of meatless ground.

Behold, the sauce!

Of all the vegan ground products I’ve tried, this is the most convincingly “meaty”. The texture isn’t weirdly spongy like other meatless grounds. I’ll definitely keep some on hand for lazy days when I want to make tacos, sloppy joes or pasta sauce.

Winner, winner Gardein dinner!

Spaghetti ala Bolognese

Shitake+Seaweed Soup

Shitake + Seaweed Soup


Pour yourself a bowl of simple comfort. Get cozy. Ahhh, isn’t that nice?


2 inch strip kombu ( cut with scissors)

4 cups water

5 shitake mushrooms ( rehydrated, sliced)

½ cup dried wakame ( rehydrated, rinsed, drained)

4 tablespoons yellow or white miso

1 tablespoon Nama Shoyu

2 tablespoons garlic

2 tablespoons ginger

Green onions

Sesame seeds


Boil water and kombu for 3-5 minutes. Remove kombu. Add garlic, ginger,shitakes, miso and stir well. Sprinkle nama shoyu over wakame. Pour miso mushroom broth over seaweed. Adjust seasonings to taste. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

My Plant-based Pantry Essentials

I’m just providing a list since I gave a pretty complete description of all the products in the video.  If you have any questions, please leave a comment.

In no particular order:

Yellow or White Miso ( organic nonGMO)

Wizard’s or Annie’s Worcestershire Sauce

Tamari ( wheat free)

Nama Shoyu ( unpasteurized, raw, organic)

Nutritional yeast ( enriched with b12)

Mirin ( Aji Mirin)

Unseasoned Rice Vinegar ( sodium free, sugar free)

Sesame Seeds

Beluga black lentils

Cannelini beans

Fire roasted tomatoes

Vegetable Bouillon ( or no-chicken base/stock)

Sea salt

Sham Spam omusubi

*put bottom container on top and vice versa*

*Remove from pan, pour in sauce med high heat.*

*Add 1 teaspoon Hawaiian salt to rice*