a full plate


Me and a couple friends dined here before attending a show at Johnny Brenda’s. Being vegetarian for lent, I asked one of my veg friends if there was a good place up in NoLibs and he recommended this place.

A Full Plate is a small cafe located in the Northern Liberties area of Philadelphia. The interior was colorful and inviting. The staff was pretty friendly, being patient while my friends waited for me to get there due to some traffic along the Ben Franklin that night.


I ordered the mushroom quesadilla, which had portobellas, roasted red peppers, and cheese. It was served with a cup of sour cream. In addition to the quesadilla, I ordered a side of mac and cheese. It was a just right portion and tasty with a perfect blend of crispy, crunchy, and softer textures. The quesadilla was also pretty good.


I’m definitely coming back to A Full Plate pre-Johnny Brenda’s.

A Full Plate
1009 N. Bodine St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
215.627.4068

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vegetarian stuffed tofu


I stopped by the Asian grocery today and I came across this in the frozen vegetarian section.

It intrigued me and I’ve had some really delicious “stuffed tofu” at Asian restaurants so I picked up a pack. I was looking at the ingredients though and the first two were ISP and TVP. I have no idea what that is, so just a couple minutes ago, I translated what I could of the first two ingredients in Chinese and only came up with words that I didn’t think were ISP and TVP translated. The first ingredient (in Chinese) was soybean (something) white. The second ingredient (in Chinese) was soybean fiber, I think.

Has anyone tried this before? or know what these two ingredients are??

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cooking: polenta with eggs & roasted mushrooms


I’ve had this recipe printed for a while now but never got around to it until today. It was nasty out so I figured since I was staying in I could spend more time cooking something I’m not familiar with (I’ve never cooked polenta before).

Polenta w/ Eggs & Roasted Mushrooms
adapted from The Kitchn
serves 3-4

-1 lb baby portobella mushrooms, chopped to 1/4″-1/2″ thick slices
-olive oil
-crushed red pepper, to taste
-kosher salt, to taste
-2 1/2 cups reconstituted polenta
-1 cup milk
-1 cup water
-1/2 cup pecorino romano, grated
-3-4 eggs, depending on how many servings you’re making
-scallions, chopped green parts only

Preheat oven to 475°.

In mixing bowl, add mushrooms, crushed red pepper, kosher salt, and enough oil to just coat the mushrooms. Mix around until well coated. Don’t saturate the mushrooms with the oil.


Place mushrooms in a single layer on a baking sheet then place in oven. Roast for 10 minutes then set aside.


what your polenta should NOT look like

For the next step, I actually messed up and had to start over again. The recipe says to use 1/2 cup polenta, but it’s not specified whether it was prepared polenta, non-reconstituted polenta, and so forth. Maybe it’s my fault and I’m just a polenta newbie, but it wasn’t clear. I used a half cup of the dry polenta bought in the tube and tried to whisk it with the milk, water, and salt and it just didn’t seem to be working properly. The second time around, I took the rest of dry prepared polenta and just crushed it with my hands and mixed it with about a cup of water. The following steps are using 2 1/2 cups of the “reconstituted” polenta.

In a saucepan, whisk together the polenta, milk, water, and salt over medium heat. Once boiling, lower the heat to low-medium. Whisk occasionally.

At this point, I thought I messed up again because there was way too much liquid in the pan. I whisked occasionally for almost 30-45 minutes until most of the liquid evaporated. It worked, but if you’re reconstituting the polenta with water, you probably don’t need to add this much liquid. Again, probably a polenta newbie mistake on my part.

In the meantime, take out your non-stick that you use for eggs and prepare some sunny side up eggs how you would normally. Except, after your eggs set for a minute or so, add a couple tablespoons of water then cover the pan. This will create the white “skin” over the yolk as seen in the original recipe/my photo above.


polenta should look more like this

Once most of the liquid in the polenta has evaporated, you should have a much thicker consistency as well as a more yellow color. Stir in the grated pecorino and mix well.

Spoon the polenta onto a plate, top with the mushrooms, the egg, and lastly, the scallions for garnish.

Serve. Enjoy.

I forgot the scallions since it took me so long (as evident from the photo). I’m still kicking myself for forgetting. It would have been so beautiful had it had that nice green contrast…sigh…there’s always next time.

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cooking: portobella mushroom sandwich


I’ve been making these more often lately since I’m vegetarian for lent. They taste pretty fantastic and are a great alternative to having a typical burger sandwich.

Portobella Mushroom Sandwich
Adapted/inspired by Aida Mollenkamp‘s recipe.

Serves 1

-large portobella mushroom cap (choose one about 1″-2″ wider in diameter than the roll you’re going to use since it will shrink significantly during cooking), gills scraped out and brushed clean with a moist paper towel
-kaiser roll
-8 asparagus spears, trimmed
-2 sweet onion slices, 1/4″-1/2″ thick
-blue cheese crumbles
-sweet and hot mustard, I used Inglehoffer’s Sweet and Hot
-salt and pepper, to taste
-olive oil

Start heating a greased grill pan at medium high. In the meantime, brush veggies with some oil and season with salt and pepper. Once pan is hot, place mushroom cap gill side up, then place remaining vegetables in pan.

The asparagus cooks the fastest and the mushroom the longest.

Keep asparagus moving so it doesn’t burn (cook until the asparagus blisters ever so slightly). Once done, slice spears in half. Cook the onion about 3-5 minutes….judging by the color/firmness of the onion. Cook the mushroom for about 7-8 minutes on each side.


While the veggies are grilling, slice open the roll and lightly toast it.

Once the veggies are ready, place the ingredients as follows in the bun: layer of mustard, mushroom cap (gill side up), blue cheese crumbles, onion slices, asparagus spears.

Enjoy.

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02.17.2010 – day one – cooking: margherita french bread pizzas


For breakfast/lunch today, I just had some granola bars. I know it’s probably not the greatest (healthiest) to just consume those but I had field work today and we ran into some unexpected problems so I didn’t quite get a chance to grab a more hearty lunch anywhere (or time to make breakfast in the morning).

Soooo for dinner, I made some margherita french bread pizzas!

Margherita French Bread Pizza

-french baguette
-san marzano tomato marinara sauce
-fresh mozzarella (block or cylinder, not shredded), cut into thin, small squares or rounds
-fresh basil
-kosher/sea salt

Preheat oven to 350°.

Slice the baguette vertically into thirds, then slice horizontally to separate top and bottom. Next, spoon the marinara across all baguette slices. Place mozzarella slices across sauce covered baguettes. Don’t overwhelm and try to cover every inch of the baguette though. You still want to be able to see the red sauce.

Place in oven for 6-7 minutes. Depending on your oven, you may have to rotate the pan at this point in order for everything to cook evenly. Spread the basil leaves across the slices in the same manner, making sure not to overwhelm the slices.

Place in over for an additional 5 minutes.

IMPORTANT! Keep an eye on the pizza for the last few minutes. You want the mozzarella to start to melt and you DON’T want the basil leaves to wilt and burn. Your pizza may be ready sooner or later than I mentioned.

Once ready, take out and enjoy!

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