This past weekend has been full of good food, family, and celebrations. Thursday Andrew and I celebrated the anniversary of our first date at the Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro on Congress Street in Portland. We met three years ago at our friends' dance party, where we danced the night away, even though we hardly knew each other. At the end of the night, he asked me for my number, and yes, ladies, he called the next day. No messing around there. On the phone he invited me to get dinner with him that upcoming Tuesday at the Green Elephant -- one of my favorite restaurants. On our date, we talked for three hours, until the restaurant was ready to close. It was the beginning of many dates, talks, and wonderful nights.
This past Thursday, three years after our first date, we went back to the Green Elephant, thanks to a gift certificate that we had received from a friend this past holiday. A lot of things have changed about how we eat since our first date -- neither of us can have gluten or soy. The waitress was super sweet and accomodating, and the kitchen kindly substituted the tofu in my Steamed Assorted Vegetable plate with extra mushrooms. Andrew got the peanut curry with the same substitution. Both dishes were amazing -- which is rare for me to say at a restaurant. If the ingredients aren't fresh, I can tell right away. But here everything was packed with flavor and health.
The star of the night, however, wasn't our entrees, but our appetizers -- a Green Leaves Wrap with mango, herbs, and veggies paired with a tamarind dipping sauce. It was ingenius. When it came out, I immediately knew that I was going to have to recreate this dish at home. I made a mental shopping list: collard greens, carrots, cucumbers, and my own addition of mushrooms. Yesterday I finally got around to making them -- they were a cinch to make, and tasted so super fresh. Something I'll definitely be making frequently, especially since I'm trying to add more raw foods into my diet again.
To make the wrap, use one whole collard leaf placed lengthwise on a plate. Put the veggies in the top left hand side, vertically, about 2 inches away from the left edge of the leaf. Then fold the collard leaf in half horozontally.