Monday, 21 December 2015

Beetroot Risotto

     Happy holidays friends! I hope everyone is catching up on their much needed holiday baking! I know I have a long list of all my holiday favourites. But when planning and cooking for Christmas dinner is clouding you brain, it can be hard to think of what to make tonight, or tomorrow night for that matter. So I thought I'd give you a little help.


     I created this recipe as part of a project for one my nutrition courses, Thought that I might as well share it with you as well. This is a perfect winter risotto as it features beets, one of my favourite winter root vegetables. This is a pretty classic risotto. Make sure you have a real flavorful broth as this is what is really going to season your dish. 


Serves: 4 approximately a 1.5 cup portion
Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 4 cups (1 L) vegetable stock
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
  • 1 onion (100 g), finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 350g (12 oz) fresh beetroot, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup risotto rice
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) white wine
  • 2 Tbsp (30g) margarine
  • ½ Lemon, juiced or 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp thyme leaves, plus a couple leaves to garnish
  •  Black Pepper, to serve
  • 1 lemons, sliced into 6 wedges each, for garnish

Preparation

  1. Heat the stock in a saucepan until almost boiling, then reduce heat until barely simmering to keep it hot.
  2. Meanwhile, gather all other ingredients. Chop onions, mince garlic, peel, wash and dice beets, wash and de-stem thyme and wash and cut lemons.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pan. Sauté the onion, garlic and beetroot until softened (about 6-8 minutes). Add the rice and stir well until the grains are well coated and glistening.
  4. Pour in the wine, stir. One absorbed add a ladleful of hot stock. Simmer, stirring all the time until it has almost all been absorbed, then add more broth. Continue to add the stock at intervals and cook as before until the rice is tender but firm.
  5. Add the margarine and lemon juice and thyme leaves and stir gently.
  6. Plate with a wedge of lemon and freshly ground black pepper. 


Monday, 23 November 2015

30-Minute Vegan Dahl (Dhal/Dal/Daal)



    There comes a time when you realize that you've been using a recipe religiously for years.....but have yet to share it with all your friends. So greedy, right? Well, thanks to my friend Nicole who asked for my Dahl recipe the other night, I've taken the recipe off my fridge to share it with all of you wonderful people!

     I guess part of the reason it has taken me so long to publish this recipe, is that Dahl really isn't the prettiest of dishes. A delicious ladle-full of yellow slop anyone? But served with rice, chapati or naan and perhaps some other dishes like aloo gobi or a vegetable curry and you can have a pretty darn tasty meal.



     Dahl is a thick stew made of split pulses, typically split red lentils, that originates from South Asia. Variations of this dish can be found throughout India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. This version, being vegan, omits some traditional aspects, like Ghee, a type of clarified butter commonly used in India. But rest assured, this recipe is still just as delicious!

Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4 x 1 cup portions (as a main) or 8 x 1/2 cup servings (as a side)

Ingredients


  • 2 Tbsp olive or canola oil
  • pinch of red chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds (optional)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (can put through the food processor)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger (about a 1/2" knob)
  • 1 tsp turmeric 
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp salt (reduce if using tomato juice, as appropriate)
  • 2 cups dried red lentils 
  • 4 cups water (or part tomato juice)
  • Juice of half of a lemon, to finish (optional)


Preparation


  1. In a medium pot, heat oil with chili flakes and cumin seeds over medium heat. When warm and fragrant, add onion. Sauté for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and ginger.
  2. Sauté for 3 additional minutes, meanwhile, rinse red lentils under cold water. Add spices and salt to the pot. Then stir in the lentils. One the lentils are coated with oil and spices, add water (or tomato juice) and stir. 
  3. Cover and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, uncover and reduce heat, and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until lentils are cooked and the majority of the water is absorbed (will continue to thicken as the dahl cools).
  4. Remove from heat and stir in lemon.
  5. Serve with rice or naan


Monday, 16 November 2015

The Perfect Fall Soup: Celeriac, Leek and Potato Soup

     Oh so creamy, without an ounce of cream! Can you believe it? Well I can!

     This recipes features one of the so called 'monsters' of the garden -- Celeriac. Celeriac is gnarly looking root vegetable that can get to about the size of your head. Typically this veg is harvested late in the fall, after the first soft frost, but before a hard frost (just in case you feel like growing some yourself next year!). Celeriac is a really cool root, also known as celery root, it has the texture of a potato but tastes like the most delicious celery imaginable! We cut one up raw on the rooftop garden the other day, and it was amazing! So don't let the crazy appearance dissuade you from picking a celeriac up from your local market or grocer.

     I've been waiting to cook up this soup all season! Ever since I saw the roots sticking out from under what I originally mistook as celery. Through in some Rye's HomeGrown leeks, garlic and my last couple potatoes, and we have the makings for a delicious soup. The hardest part of making this soup is cutting up the celeriac, once that's done, it's smooth sailing. Spice up this soup a bit with some pesto or an herb oil.


Serves: 8
Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Ingredients


  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 celeriac, peeled and cubed
  • 2 large (4 small) leeks, white and light green only, roughly chopped 
  • 2 large white or russet potatoes, peeled and chopped 
  • 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • Black pepper and salt to taste 

Preparation


  1. In a large, thick bottomed soup pot, heat oil on medium heat with the bay leaf.
  2. Add celeriac, leek, potato and garlic. Let sweat for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add vegetable broth. Cover, increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until celeriac is tender.
  4. Let cool for 20-30 minutes. Remove bay leaf, and blend soup in blender (may need to to blend in batches). If I have to blend in batches, and I know that there is going to be left overs, I usually put the first batch into Tupperware containers for tomorrow night's dinner.
  5. After blended, return the soup to the pot, and warm over medium heat, for about 20 minutes, or until warm.
  6. Serve will a dollop of pesto or a couple drops of an herb oil.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Seitan "Beef" and Broccoli Stir-fry

     When I was growing up, I used to love beef and broccoli! I have been dreaming up a vegan alternative for years now. I've tried it with tofu, but it's just not the same. After recently starting to experiment with seitan, I've developed a tasty dish that does a pretty good job of mimicking beef.


     Ryan has always had this perception that seitan is this crazy time consuming and an impossible process. Now if this is your perception of seitan, forget about it! It really isn't as hard as some recipes make it seem. Yes it takes more time than tofu, but the options are endless! I'll keep on experimenting and see what other creations I make up!

Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 5-6

Ingredients

      Seitan "Beef"
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) soy sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp (7 mL) vegan Worcestershire sauce (if unavailable, substitute with more soy)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 Tbsp (7 mL) peanut or canola oil
  • 1 1/8 cup (190 g) vital wheat gluten
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) nutritional yeast
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp (7 mL) Chinese 5-spice powder
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) broccoli fleurettes, about 3 large heads
  • 1-2 Tbsp peanut oil



      Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) vegetarian oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) rice wine vinegar or dry sherry
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch


Preparation


  1. Start out by making the seitan "beef": Mix together broth, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, Worcestershire, and oil in a large measuring cup. In a medium bowl, mix gluten, nutritional yeast, flour and Chinese 5-spice powder. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until all dry ingredients are absorbed and the dough forms a rough ball. On a clean surface, knead the dough for about 3 minutes, then form the dough into a uniform ball, and let rest for 10 minutes. 
  2. Prepare a steamer basket in a large pot with a couple inches of boiling water. 
  3. Divide seitan dough into 4 equal wedges. Stretch until dough is roughly 3/4" thick . Wrap each piece of seitan loosely in tinfoil (you'll want room so that the seitan can expand).
  4. Place packages of seitan in the steamer basket, cover and steam for 30 minutes. Check back periodically to make sure all the water hasn't evaporated.
  5. Wash and trim broccoli. Cut into fleurettes. If using the stems (I don't like wasting, either), cut into matchstick-like pieces, approximately 2 inches long.
  6. In the last 3 minutes of your seitan steaming, toss in the broccoli to par-cook.
  7. Remove from heat, and cool broccoli and seitan"beef" stakes.
  8. Mix together all the ingredients for the sauce.
  9. In a wok or large frying pan on medium heat, warm the peanut oil.
  10. Slice beef into long thin strips. Sear seitan on both sides. Add broccoli and sauce. and heat until sauce is thick and the broccoli is tender.
  11. Remove from heat and serve over rice.


Have you experimented with seitan? What have you made? Let me know what crazy things you've made by commenting below!

Monday, 19 October 2015

Tofu Scramble

      Sometimes I surprise myself. Like last weekend when I went to find my tofu scramble recipe on my blog and realized it didn't exist. Well that is just unacceptable. I've been using this recipe, and variations of it, for years now. It's a brunch staple in our house and a great way to get your protein first thing in the morning.



     Paired with some toast and a couple slices of tomato, or over a bed of quinoa with some avocado, this recipe is sure to please. 


If you're like me, and enjoy eating breakfast for dinner, this is a great option! Add a teaspoon of curry powder and a pinch of cayenne and you're on your way to a quick and delicious dinner. 


Serves: 2-3 3/4 cup servings (one serving of protein)
Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1-2 Tbsp olive or canola oil
  • Pinch of chili flakes (optional)
  • One small onion or 3 green onions, diced (about 1/2 cup/125mL)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin 
  • 1/4 tsp coriander 
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 package firm tofu, 350-450g, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 cup of greens (spinach, Swiss chard, beet tops, arugula, cabbage....), ribboned
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Preparation

  1. Heat oil with optional chili flakes in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Sauté onions until translucent (about 5 minutes), then add garlic and spices. Sautee for one minute or until fragrant.
  3. With clean hands, crumble tofu into the pan and stir to coat tofu with seasoning.
  4. Drizzle soy sauce on tofu and stir. 
  5. Let sauté until most of the liquid in the pan from the tofu has cooked off, 7-15 minutes depending on the tofu' sweater content.
  6. Add the greens and cover. Let cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in nutritional yeast and taste for seasoning. 
  8. Remove from heat and let cool for a couple of minutes before serving.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Vegan Pumpkin-Beer Bread



     These past few days have been feeling very fall-like. Between classes back in session and the cool autumn breeze, and even the release of Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks (not that it's vegan appropriate) I figured I should re-post one of my favourite fall recipes. This Vegan Pumpkin-Beer Bread is one of my all-time favourite fall recipes.

     We made this last night and were very satisfied, once again. This bread is moist but hearty. If you made my chocolate zucchini bread last post, this bread is definitely more of a bread than a cake, I promise this time. This pumpkin bread is just subtlety sweet with pumpkin-pie like aromatics. It makes for a perfect breakfast or a snack for school or work.

     This recipe was inspired my a recipe on Slate. It's not vegan but you can check it out here

Serves: One 9-inch loaf, serves 12

Ingredients



  • vegan margarine for greasing the pan
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour,can use a mixture of white and whole-wheat
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 heaping teaspoons pumpkin pie spice OR
    • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
    • Pinch ground nutmeg (optional)
    • Pinch ground Asian 5-spice (or allspice)
  • 3 tablespoons margarine
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (a third of a can)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin ale, I suggest "St-Ambroise Pumpkin Ale"; alternatively, use mulled apple cider


Preparation

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. With margarine, grease a 9" loaf pan. Combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a medium sauce pan over low heat melt margarine. Stir in the pumpkin and brown sugar until smooth. Pour the pumpkin ale or cider into the sauce pan and mix until smooth. 
  3. Add the wet pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until combined, then transfer the batter to the greased loaf pan.
  4. Bake at 400°F for 45 minutes to 1 hour. If you can smell the bread from the living room, it's probably done! Otherwise, bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in the loaf pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Leftovers should be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 5 days, although I've never seen it last that long....its normally finished in 3 days.



Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Chocolate Zucchini Bread



       Zucchini is trending right now. Or at least we're pulling it from the garden in bushels full. Now as much as we try and harvest the zucchini's regularly so they don't grow to the size of a small child, there are always a few that you miss. Now when you have an irregularly large zucchini, there are a couple things you can do with in:

  1. Let it keep growing! and keep it for seeds. That is of course if it's the only squash you are growing (wouldn't want any cross pollination of summer squashes)
  2. Make some zucchini pizza (but you might want to remove some of the seeds)
  3. Make Zucchini Bread, my favourite version is a super moist chocolaty recipe that you can hardly call bread.
       There has been a bit of controversy over the title of this recipe. Now I am a firm believer that this is zucchini bread, a little sweeter than the traditional zucchini bread , but zucchini bread never the less. My coworkers unanimously decided that it was closer to a brownie (have the ever had a brownie?!). And then I get a 7am text from Ryan exclaiming that "It's cake! Best breakfast ever!" So we haven't really come to a firm agreement on what exactly the chocolate zucchini dessert/breakfast/snack is but nevertheless, it's delicious!


Serves: 2 loaf pans
Time: 30 minutes + 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp (or 1/2 Tbsp) baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (optional)

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 500g (about 3 cups) grated raw zucchini

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. 
  2. In a food processor equipped with the grater or using a medium grater, grate a large zucchini.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients, including flour,cocoa powder, leavening agents, salt. Stir in chocolate chips if using.
  4. In another large bowl, mash banana, and whisk in oil. Cream oil and banana mixture with brown and white sugar and vanilla. 
  5. Add the zucchini to the wet mixture and mix well.
  6. Mix the wet and dry mixtures together, stirring just until combined. 
  7. Scrape the batter into two 9x5x3 loaf pans (I don't usually grease them, but mine are well seasoned). Bake in a 350°F/175°C oven until the bread has risen and a toothpick/chopstick comes out clean, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  8. Remove from the oven and place loaf pans on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pans and letting cool completely. 

Monday, 3 August 2015

Zucchini Pizza



       This is one of my all-time favourite pizzas. It’s a classic in our house and is a great way to use all those zucchinis. It you grow zucchinis at home, you know what I mean. Once they start, you’re eating zucchini 24/7.


        This type of zucchini pizza is rift off of a traditional Italian pizza, but you know, veganized. We add sesame seeds and bread crumbs for a little bit of crunch to an otherwise deliciously soft zucchini filling.

Look at all those zucchinis Rye's HomeGrown is selling at the market!
Serves: 2-4

Ingredients

  • 1/3 pizza dough recipe, rested
  • 1 medium-large zucchini (large in grocery store varieties, otherwise medium from the garden)
  • Scant ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup vegan shredded cheese, such as Daiya
  • 3 green onions, chopped thinly
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, sliced into ribbons
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced paper thin or minced
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 2-3 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/8 cup bread crumbs


Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 550°F, with the pizza stone positioned on the center rack. If not using a pizza stone, see my recipe for the pizza dough recipe for how to prepare this recipe using a metal baking tray.
  2. Use a food processor with a grater attachment or a box grater to grate the zucchini (large grate).
  3. Toss grated zucchini in a bowl with salt. I know it seems like a lot of salt, but most of it will be lost in the liquid! Let stand for approximately 20 minutes, until the zucchini has released a good amount of water.
  4. Transfer zucchini to a colander. Discard any remaining liquid. In small batches, squeeze out the zucchini and then transfer back to the bowl.
  5. Loosen up the zucchini with a fork. Mix in cheese, green onion, basil, dried oregano, garlic and black pepper. Taste and season if needed.
  6. On a floured surface, stretch out the dough and transfer to a floured pizza peel with cornmeal.
  7. Depending on how wet your dough is, you can choose to make the pizza on the pizza peel or directly on the pizza stone. We make ours on the pizza stone after we had to turn our pizza into an extra-large calzone one too many times. But it’s up to you! Either way, you want to slowly slide the pizza/dough onto the stone.
  8. Bake at 550°F for approximately 10 minutes, then switch to broil and broil for 2 additional minutes. These times are based off of an electric oven, if using gas, less time will be needed, so adjust accordingly.
  9. When the crust and the bread crumbs are golden brown, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack or cutting board. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Green Goddess Soup (Hearty Leafy Green Soup with Green Lentils)



       Last night I decided I hadn't had enough greens for the day, so I decided to make a soup PACKED full of greens. I figured I was better off making soup than turning the oven on to make a lasagna. My fridge was filled with a variety of greens from my CSA basket from Rye's HomeGrown. I've been loving my weekly helping of fresh veg. It's really cool. Every Wednesday I work a shift selling the produce at Ryerson's Farmers' Market, and I go home with my bike basket overflowing with local organic produce. We've barely had to do groceries these past couple of months, besides our staples.


      The trick to this soup is putting pretty much every green you have into it. Seriously, I put turnip greens, spinach, swiss chard, kohlrabi, and a bit of kale. (I had to use up last weeks bounty before I get more goodies tomorrow!) Throw those luscious greens with a delicious stock, some lentils, onions and potatoes, and you have yourself a scrumptious soup. And for those trying to watch their waste line, eating more greens is a great way to start. One 2-cup bowl of this hearty green soup will cost you under 250 calories (and it's totally worth every calorie).


       I topped  my hearty green soup with a mixture of microgreens from Rye's HomeGrown, including basil and cilantro microgreens along with pea shoots. So tasty!


Serves: 6-10
Time: 1h 10min

Ingredients


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 medium-large onions, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander 
  • 1 cup green or french lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 1 medium kohlrabi bulb (about the size of a fist, alternatively use turnip or an additional potato)
  • 1 small bunch of swiss chard ( about 7-8 leaves), stems and greens separated and chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups stock + 4 cups water or 1 bouillion cube with 6 cups water
  • 10oz/280g spinach, kale and/or turnip greens, stems removed, chopped 
  • Kohlrabi greens (or about 2oz/56g more greens, such as collard greens or kale), stems removed, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice


Preparation


  1. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil with chili flakes over medium heat. When hot add the onion.
  2. Let the onion saute for a couple of minutes before adding the minced garlic, cumin and coriander. Let saute for about 2-4 more minutes or until onions are transleucent.
  3. Next, stir in the dry lentils, add the 4 cups of water and cover. Raise the temperature and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile chop the potatoes, kohlrabi (discard stems) and chard stems, and the rest of your greens.
  5. After 10-15 minutes, add the diced potatoes, kohlrabi and chopped swiss chard stems and let simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes before adding the greens.
  6. Add the chopped fresh greens in batches, stirring in between.
  7. Add seasonings, including salt and pepper, nutritional yeast and lemon juice. Let simmer for about 10 minutes before removing from the heat.
  8. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving with toasts, microgreens, sauteed mushrooms, whatever you feel like!




Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Tofu Chocolate Pudding

     Chocolate heaven. As much as I love greens, and boy have I been getting a lot of them lately with my CSA from Rye's HomeGrown, it's always nice to escape the jungle that is my fridge with a smooth and decadent chocolate delight. I initially created this recipe for a food demo for one of my nutrition classes, aimed at getting vegetarian children to eat more protein, considering the nut-free policy of most elementary schools these days. And based on the reviews I received, you'll love this pudding and so will your children (or anyone else's children). Because tofu is so dull it takes on whatever flavours you add it to, in this case it just tastes like chocolate, which makes me very happy. 


     I've tried a couple different ways of making tofu chocolate pudding. Making it with just cocoa powder isn't quite decadent enough, not enough fat. I found that when I used just chocolate chips, it was a bit too fatty. Or perhaps I just felt guilty using that much chocolate chips. Either way, I find that using a combination of chocolate chips and dutch cocoa powder is just perfect. 


     This recipe is rather simple compared to dairy based chocolate puddings, the hardest thing you'll have to do is melt some chocolate, which can either be done with in a double boiler, or if you are lazy like I often am, you can even do it in the microwave. 

Time: 15min (+1h)
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 package silken or soft tofu, drained
  • 2/3 cup (120g) semi-sweet chocolate chips or quality dark chocolate
  • ¼ cup (30g) cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 Tbsp soy milk

Preparation

  1. In a double boiler or a large glass bowl over a pot of boiling water, melt chocolate with cocoa powder, maple syrup, water, and soy milk, stirring regularly.
  2. Meanwhile blend silken or soft tofu in blender until smooth, alternatively this can also be done with an immersion blender.
  3. When the tofu is smooth and the chocolate mixture is melted, add the chocolate to the tofu in the blender, and blend on low to combine.
  4. Transfer to a storage container or serving bowls, and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
  5. Serve with fresh raspberries and coconut or shaved chocolate.
Try serving it with raspberries and fresh shaved coconut, it's a delicious combination!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Marinated Eggplant

     Night school might be kicking my butt but at least I have eggplant! Not a consolation prize you say? Well you probably haven't tried marinated eggplant yet then. A couple of days ago, we bought a massive eggplant, approximately the size of my head. It was huge. I was leaning towards making baba ghanoush, but Ryan convinced me to try marinated eggplant. The beginning of the processes are similar, for both recipes you have to roast the eggplant. But once the eggplant is out of the oven, you stick it in a bath of herbs, olive oil and acids, wait a day or so and then you have mouth watering marinated eggplant to do with what you please. 


     Marinated eggplant works well as an antipasto along side an array of olives, grilled veggies, artichoke hearts and what ever else your little heart desires. I also love the addition of marinated eggplant on top of a simple margarita pizza. Because the eggplant is so soft after it's marinated, it works really well on pizzas, as well as on garlic toast or in a sandwich. 


Ingredients

  • 2 large Italian eggplants or about 6 Japanese eggplants
  • 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
  • Red chili flakes, to taste 
  • 4 large cloves of garlic
  • a handful of fresh cilantro (large stems removed, washed)
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil, or as needed

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F/230°C
  2. Wash and trim eggplant. Slice eggplant into quarters lengthwise (halves if using Japanese eggplants), then cut into half inch slabs lengthwise
  3. Finely slice or mince garlic and roughly chop cilantro
  4. Oil a baking sheet with olive oil and lay out eggplant. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. 
  5. Roast eggplant in 450°F oven for 30-40 minutes, until eggplant is lightly browned and dry looking
  6. Let eggplant cool to room temperature
  7. Layer half the eggplant in a 8" round glass or ceramic dish without overlapping
  8. Sprinkle with half the garlic, red pepper flakes and cilantro and drizzle with vinegar
  9. Layer in the rest of the eggplant and sprinkle with the remainder of the garlic, red pepper flakes and cilantro
  10. Drizzle with olive oil until almost covered
  11. Cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 12 hours
  12. Let come to room temperature before serving

Monday, 11 May 2015

Collard Green Pesto with Kalamata Olives

     Not your traditional pesto...but then again basil can be so expensive when it's not in season. So all the more reason to use collar greens — they're cheap and they'll last you a lot longer. I like this recipe because it's a good way to use up any greens that have been sitting in the fridge and have lost a bit too much of their luster. Blitz them up and no one will ever know that they were on their way to the compost bin, at least not after you add garlic, lemon juice, kalamata olives and some quality olive oil.



     Because this pesto is so much cheaper than a normal basil pesto, you don't feel so guilty having extra sauce, after all we've got to get our greens in somewhere.


Serves: 4-10 (makes about 750mL)
Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 small bunch of collard greens (about 600g with stems)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 2 cloves of garlic, inner leaf stem removed 
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice, about half a lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste



Preparation

  1. In a large pot of boiling water, blanch collards about 2 minutes, or until bright green.
  2. Once blanched, cut away the stems, if not already done, and give the collards a rough chop.
  3. Toss collards in a food processor with all the other ingredients (yes it's that easy!), starting with the lower quantities of oil and water.
  4. Blend on low to begin, then transition to a higher speed as the pesto starts coming together.
  5. Add more oil and water until desired texture is obtained.
  6. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Monday, 27 April 2015

To the Garden I Go!


     Spring seems to have arrived...hopefully it stays this time. It has been a busy couple of weeks over here, and I had a couple things I wanted to share with everyone. So for starters, I'm done exams (finally!), though summer school(s) will be starting next week, and I'm still busy working at SickKids, but I have also started a summer internship working with Rye's HomeGrown



     Rye's HomeGrown in a cooperative which aims to build capacity for food security by producing fresh, wholesome food for the Ryerson community and providing interactive educational opportunities in urban agriculture. I am so excited to be the communications coordinator for Rye's HomeGrown this growing season, and so have been busy up on our 1/4 acre roof-top garden.



We just started planting the cold-weather tolerant plants, like faba beans and lettuces, this week seeing as its been a pretty cold winter and the last of our earth only defrosted a couple of weeks ago. But we've also been busy in our greenhouse growing microgreens and seedlings, along with running our garden design program.


While the weather continues to warm up I'll be getting busier and busier with the gardens, so if miss a post here or there, just know that I'm probably covered in compost. But when I do post, I'm hoping to try and incorporate some of the delicious and local fruit and vegetables from our gardens here in the heart of Toronto into my recipes.


If you live in Toronto, and want to get involved you can follow @ryeshomegrown on twitter or instagram or look us up on facebook for more information. We have drop-in volunteer days the first Friday of every month, so if you our downtown on Friday you should swing on over to our rooftop garden, the Valarie and Andy Princle Environmental Roof, located on the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre Building (152 Dalhousie st) at Ryerson from 1-3. You can check out any of the links above for more information. The farmer's Market at Ryerson will also be opening soon. We will be selling our produce on campus every wednesday from 11-3pm starting May 13th.


I'm not sure if you guys are excited but I sure am! Growing amazing produce right in the middle of Toronto is crazy! And I love it!

If you have any questions for me explicitely about Rye's HomeGrown, you can contact me at RHG.communications@gmail.com.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Vegan Espresso Chocolate Chunk Cookies

     Last week I tried out a couple new recipe ideas. Some of them turned out so-so and need a bit more work, but these dark chocolate cookies I made are perfect just the way they are! And once I (and a close group of my friends...and Ryan's co-workers) give the seal of approval, it's time for you guys to give them a try and tell me what you think. 


     These cookies have a lot of substance to them. In addition to the fresh espresso, they also have cranberries and almond pieces which really make these cookies stand out. Oh, and of course there are chunks of chocolate. I decided it was time to make a chocolate chunk cookie mostly because I had a ton of dark chocolate left over from Easter. I've had the idea for this recipe as a note in my recipe book from before I even had a blog (I knew what was up) and I figured it was about time I tried to make my chicken scratch into something delicious.


     If you're not a big fan of espresso, don't be alarmed, it is not over powering at all but rather ties the chocolate and the cranberries together perfectly. If you taste the batter (and please do, it is delicious!) you can really taste the espresso, but baking breaks down some of the espresso aromatics, and makes the cookie almost more savory. I've got a similar recipe that doesn't have the espresso, but has the same ratio of flour to sugar, and they taste much more sweet. 

Serves: 3 dozen
Time: Prep 20 minutes; Cook 11 minutes

Ingredients


  • 1 cup vegan margarine
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 espresso (If you like espresso pull two double shots, otherwise pull a  long double shot)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 100g dark chocolate, chunked (about 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup chopped or sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries

Preparation



  1. Preheat oven to 375°F/ 190°C and prepare a large baking or cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream margarine with brown and white sugar. Slowly whisk or mix in espresso and vanilla until smooth.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, cocoa powder and leavening agents.
  4. Pour dry ingredients into wet and mix well.
  5. Add in the goodies: chunks of chocolate, cranberries and almond pieces and mix to combine.
  6. Using a cookie scoop or ice cream scoop, scoop balls of delicious batter onto the cookie sheet, leaving about an inch and a half between the cookies.
  7. Bake at 375°F/ 190°C for 9-11 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Enjoy!


Saturday, 28 March 2015

Vegan Carrot Cake with a Cream Cheese Icing or Lemon Glaze

       There is something very satisfying about eating carrot cake. Could be the taste, could be the fact that I feel better about eating a carrot-based cake than other less nutritious desserts. Ryan actually thinks that my carrot cake might be too healthy, but he's happy because he gets to eat cake for breakfast.


       If you know my dad, you probably know that he LOVES carrot cake. I remember when I was around ten or so, my mother was had broken her arm during March break. But it being my dad's birthday, he wouldn't settle for anything less than homemade carrot cake. So my mother, with only one good arm grated my father carrots for his carrot cake. She always reminds us of how that was the best cake she ever made (this recipe is based off of her recipe, minus the sweat and tears that went into that particular recipe), and she never lets us forget it. 


       This carrot cake has pretty much everything in it, many of the ingredients personally requested by my father (he tasted it yesterday and was quite pleased) including shredded coconut and raisins. I grew up loving a good cream cheese icing on my carrot cakes, but recently have been opting for a tangy lemon glaze. Both toppings pare excellently with this recipe, and their recipes and instructions can be found below.

Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups finely grated carrot, unpacked (approx. 2 medium-large carrots)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 cup soy milk or other varieties
  • 1/2 cup light oil, olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp apple vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat or mixed flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 2/3 cup raisins, soaked and drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, I like unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, pecans or mix


Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a loaf pan, bunt pan or 9x9 square pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all wet ingredients, and mix together.
  3. Soak raisins in water while you prepare the dry ingredients.
  4. In a large bowl mix together dry ingredients.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into the dry bowl and mix until combined. Drain the raisins, then fold into wet batter with the nuts and coconut.
  6. Pour into prepared pan and bake 350°F for 45-60 minutes. Depending on your cooking wear the times will vary, the square pan and the bunt pan will take less time to cook than the loaf pan.
  7. Before removing loaf from oven, check done-ness with a tooth pick or a cake tester.
  8. Let cool completely before icing or slicing.


Vegan Cream Cheese Icing

  • 4 oz/125g Tofutti cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups icing sugar

  1. Beat cream cheese, margarine and vanilla, and gradually add sugar until fluffy.


Vegan Lemon Glaze

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (fresh is better)

  1. Whisk icing sugar with lemon juice until smooth.