Don’t Look Back- (Unless they’re serving tacos…)

If you’ve lived in Richmond for a bit, you’ve probably heard of Nate’s Taco Truck. I’ve never actually been to this taco truck, but that didn’t stop be from being excited about checking out “Don’t Look Back”… the taco place born from Nate himself.

I’m not sure why I get so excited about these things but I do. Don’t judge. You would get excited too.

I talked a couple of friends into going with me last Friday, and even though we didn’t make it there until after 10 (when the menu becomes more limited) they were still serving tacos, so I was in luck. The menu appears to be pretty limited anyway, so it’s not like we were missing out on a lot of other options.

There were plenty of choices for these $3 tacos. Since the special was a seitan taco, I figured I had to try that one, and I also went with a TVP taco. TVP = textured vegetable protein. (I know, it sounds gross. That’s probably why someone invented the acronym. But if you’ve never had TVP let me tell you, it’s actually pretty good. It can give you a texture sort of like ground beef, but it’s made from vegetables. I know, all you meat eaters are rolling your eyes right now. Don’t worry, they have plenty of meat options as well. )

The tacos come “Traditional” or “Gringo” (Traditional is just cilantro, onion, and lime, where as Gringo has cheese, lettuce, sour cream and salsa.) I got traditional, of course.

The guys had to deal with me walking around the restaurant trying to find good lighting. Don’t worry boys, I found it. Sorry for being annoying.

I actually didn’t like the seitan taco that much, but it’s not really any fault of the restaurant. It had a really “meaty” taste, which I assume most people would enjoy. But to me, it felt like I was eating some kind of mock-chicken stuff. You know what I mean? However, the TVP taco was excellent. Seriously, so good. It goes without saying that I enjoyed having an option that wasn’t just beans and cheese, but this one was extra delicious. They really nailed it with the spices and texture. Vegetarians- go try this. Meat eaters- stop judging the acronym.

I have a feeling I’ll be stopping by Don’t Look Back again, and next time I want to try the Costa-Rican style black bean tacos…

What’s your favorite kind of taco?

Liz @ I Heart Vegetables

 

P.S. Did you miss the latest event announcement? Be sure to email/tweet/comment/something to let us know you’re coming! It’s going to be a fantastic group of bloggers!

Guest Blogger: Onion Cloute

Today’s guest post comes from Stephanie of Onion Cloute, a local Richmond blog. If you’re wondering what that is… “An onion cloute is a “studded” or “nailed” onion traditionally used to flavor the classical French sauce Bechamel.” For great recipes and culinary adventures, be sure to check out her blog!

Market Salad

Mr. Ganz went to the doctor this week and was told sternly to lay off the cholesterol. Apparently his numbers are “shockingly high,” a phrase I don’t think doctors should just go around dropping on their patients. Clearly we’re gonna have to make some changes to our diet to get his levels more reasonable.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a challenge. I like to think of dietary restrictions as a type of game, working around them in order to “win.” I’m fortunate enough to be able to eat anything, though perhaps I shouldn’t – Among some friends, I’m known for the odds-defying things I can eat. I once ate a crab rangoon that I found in the backseat of my boyfriend’s car. These were zanier times, but you get the point.

So when someone brings a dietary restriction to me, I like to explore it and figure out how to best it. Never so much has this been the case as right now, as I share most of my meals with Mr. Ganz, and in true “My girlfriend’s a vegetarian, which pretty much makes me a vegetarian” fashion, big changes to his diet will affect me directly.

To the internet! I spent a couple hours browsing recipes, web md, and anything else that seemed relevant (ok, so I was on pinterest for a half hour) to give myself a crash course in cholesterol. I had a bit of memory stored actually (who knew?) from culinary school – I remembered that the bad cholesterol comes from animal protein, that eggs and shellfish were major cholesterol culprits, and that there were certain foods – like oatmeal and salmon – that could actually help lower cholesterol.

From there, I began to develop some recipes, the first of which was this Crispy Skin Salmon with Lentils and Spinach – a rich, buttery-without-butter dish that, served with a salad, left Mr. Ganz and I satisfied and confident that we had indeed won a battle against high cholesterol.

Salmon with Spinach and Lentils

Crispy Skin Salmon with Spinach and Lentil
(serves 2)

Ingredients

For the Lentils
Olive Oil
½ cup Green Lentils, rinsed and sorted
3 medium Shiitake caps, diced
1 clove Garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 sprig fresh Thyme
2 cups Water

For the Salmon
Olive Oil
2 (6 oz) King Salmon fillets, skin on, scaled
Salt and Pepper, to taste

For the Spinach
Olive Oil
A few Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 clove Garlic, smashed and chopped
1 big-ass handful Spinach
Half a Lemon
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions

In a medium sauce pan, heat a few glugs of olive oil and the minced garlic over medium heat. Add mushrooms, and stir to combine. Cook mushrooms and garlic for about 2 minutes, and add lentils, thyme, water, salt and pepper. Simmer on medium/medium-high heat for about 20 minutes with the lid slightly askew.

Preheat oven to 350. Pat salmon fillets dry, and season with salt and pepper. In a saute pan, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add salmon, skin side down, and cook for about 3 minutes. Flip fish and move to the oven to cook for approximately 10 more minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a bit of olive oil in a saute pan with cherry tomatoes and garlic. Listen for them to begin to sizzle. Add spinach, and toss to combine with oil, garlic, and tomatoes. Add a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper, and allow spinach to wilt off of the heat.

Remove salmon from pan, and drain a bit on a paper towel if necessary. Plate over lentils and spinach. Enjoy with a crisp salad (Ours was mixed greens, purple carrots, and baby turnips with a little balsamic vinegar.) and a glass of wine. Boom, cholesterol defeated.

Keep checking back for more cholesterol-fighting recipes – It’s sure to become a regular feature!

Stephanie @ Onion Cloute 

Event Announcement- “Mocktail Party” in Richmond!

Hello Virginia Bloggers, and much (Virginia) LOVE to you all!

On Sunday, June 10th, Wholesome Goodness, a line of simple, natural, and nutritionally minded products that you might have seen popping up at your local Wal-Mart recently, is sponsoring a summer kick-off “Mocktail Party” in Richmond! Please join us at 3:00since they are mocktails, we don’t have to wait until 5:00 –for a sampling of juices from Wholesome Goodness’s product line, as well as some tasty treats.

There will be a variety of Wholesome Goodness chips on hand for dipping, so we are asking everyone to bring their favorite dip to share. This can be homemade or store bought, but if it is especially delicious, you might just get to see it on Wholesome Goodness’s website in the coming weeks as they start an online recipe collection!

Please RSVP by June 4th, so we can make sure to have enough snacks (and goodie bags!) for everyone.

This even will be in Richmond (hosted at Liz’s house specifically, so the address will be sent out to those that RSVP!) but we hope that bloggers from all areas can join us!

Virginia love,
Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen
Liz @ I Heart Vegetables

P.S. We’ve had tons of new bloggers join over the past couple of weeks, so be sure to check out the updated VABloggers Page, and say hello to some local friends!

Guest Feature: Katy @ Have You Hurd

Today’s guest post is from Katy, an athlete-foodie from Fredericksburg! She takes a realistic approach to healthy eating, and is quite crafty in the kitchen!

Hi all! My name is Katy and I blog over at Have You Hurd. I am a former college athlete who loves to cook and more importantly, EAT! Since I got out of college and no longer have two hours of basketball everyday to keep me in shape, I’ve had to find other ways to stay fit. In the process of trying to keep up with my fitness while living in the working world, I’ve fallen in love with cooking healthy eats. I love trying and creating new recipes and sharing my favorites along the way.

Speaking of favorites, one of my all time favorite foods is corn bread. I don’t like dry, tasteless, barely sweet corn bread. I love the moist, sweet, cake-like corn bread full of small golden pieces of corn.

Can you guess what my lovely husband’s favorite food is? It’s hot dogs. Yes, everyone…my better half loves hotdogs. While I am a foodie at heart, my husband is sitting over here obsessed with a tube shaped food made of who knows what. But I still love him. A lot. I guess.

So you know what I did? I combined one of my favorite foods with one of his favorite foods and you know what I got? Corn Dog Muffins :)

Corn Dog Muffins

Serves: 4-6

  • Ingredients:
  • For the cornbread:
  • 1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix (MY FAVORITE)
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1 egg of 1/4 cup of egg substitute
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 4 all white meat turkey hot dogs (you can use your favorite hot dog here!)
  • Cooking spray

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Spray a medium sized muffin/cupcake pan with cooking spray
3. In a mixing bowl combine all the ingredients for the corn bread
4. Chop hot dogs into bite sized pieces and add to corn bread mixture. Toss to combine.

5. Pour evenly into muffin tin. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until muffin tops (oh yea) are golden brown

I promise my cooking skills are much better than my nail polish skills

Katy @ Have You Hurd

Thursday Feature- The Voice of Charlottesville

Mike Bisceglia is known for his voice.

Better known as Mikey B on 106.1 The Corner, he is “the voice of Virginia baseball,” bringing sports news to the eager ears of Charlottesville residents (whether they are hanging out on the Corner or not).

It should come as no surprise, then, that when Mike found a creative medium outside of his professional career, he didn’t turn to photography, writing, or video production, but to podcasting, without question the future of radio.

Freeing himself of the constraints of public radio’s rules and regulations, Mike turned to podcasting as a means of personal expression. His new site, cvilleconnect.com, brings together Central Virginia podcasts (and podcasters) in a collection of audio segments on topics ranging from beer and food, to sports and entertainment. Mike’s own show, with Brad Savage of 106.1 The Corner, is “just two guys talking about life.”

Anyone can submit a podcast, whether it has been recorded on an IPhone or cut in a professional studio, and have it featured on the site. All of the content is free for download to the public and is compatible with all MP3 players. [Or, if you’re like me, you can even listen to it streaming online while you grade papers, cook dinner, or type up blog posts.]

If you’ve ever thought about taking your blog to an audio level, or have simply harbored fantasies of being a radio morning show host since you were a kid,* then CVILLE CONNECT is for you. Mike even offers 60 minutes of studio time—enough to record four short (some might say perfect) podcasts—for a fee of $300.

*I’m not saying I did. Or still do.

Want to find something new to listen to while churning out reps in the gym tomorrow or for your much-too-long commute home this afternoon? Check out cvilleconnect.com.

Interested in learning more about turning your musings into a personal podcast? Contact mike@cvilleconnect.com.

Sarah Pember
http://thesmartkitchenblog.com