June 9th, 2011 § § permalink
Game 4. Although the sun has started to shine and the atmosphere has started to feel warm and summery and my palate usually sways towards fresh salads and raw foods at this time of year…. I had a hankering for a little pub food to spice up game 4 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs….with a SwapMeat twist of course!
When I think of English pub food, I think of Fish and Chips, Cornish Pasties, Chips and Gravy – a heart attack on a plate so to speak. Yum!! And for that reason I steer clear of animal product as I would be down the pub every night! Tonight however I’ll replicate those tasty treats into a healthier version of pub on a plate with my gluten-free bean pasties and nut butter parsnip fries. This meal should keep you out of the cardiac ward for a while longer.
A pasty, sometimes known in (West) Cornish dialect as tiddy oggy, and sometimes as pastie or British pasty in Canada, is a filled pastry case, associated with Cornwall and Devon, in the south-west of England, UK. It is made by placing the uncooked filling on a flat pastry circle, and folding it to wrap the filling, crimping the edge to form a seal. The traditional Cornish pasty, which has Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in Europe, is filled with beef, sliced or diced potato, swede (also known as a yellow turnip) and onion, seasoned with salt and pepper, and is baked. Today, the pasty is the food most associated with Cornwall and accounts for 6% of the Cornish food economy according to Wikipedia.
Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 45 mins
Makes 6-8 medium pasties
**I have also filed these under “quick dinners’ because if you make extra and freeze them uncooked, it’s just a matter of throwing them in the oven on a night where you have less time to make dinner!
For the Filling:
3-4 peeled and chopped potatoes (I prefer a waxy variety)
½ peeled and chopped onion
3 tsp vegetable stock granules
1 cup rinsed and drained kidney beans
black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to at 375F.
I have some pastry left in my freezer from a Quiche recipe I made a few weeks ago which I will use. If you want to make it from scratch, you can find the recipe here. Alternately, you could use your own favourite pastry recipe.
To make this like a traditional “meat” filling, you can process your raw vegetables in a food processor by shredding them. This will give the filling a more “minced meat” like consistency. Alternately, you could chop your veg into about 1cm cubes for a chunkier filling, but I might suggest that you sauté the filling in a pan before filling the pasties if you choose to go this method. Once your vegetables are chopped or shredded, transfer them to a bowl, add the beans and the vegetable stock granules. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Roll the pastry out to about 1/8” thick and cut into about 4” rounds. Spoon the filling into the centre of each pastry circle. Dampen the edge of the pastry with water, fold pastry over to form a half circle and pinch together.
Place the pasties onto the prepared baking sheet, brush each non-dairy milk, and prick with a fork to let the steam escape.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with Nut Buttered Parsnip Fries (they will change your life)! Or a fresh green salad.
Go Canucks GO!!
May 30th, 2011 § § permalink
This is good stuff – what more can I say? This dish comes together in about 20 minutes flat. A gnocchi dish is incredibly easy to make and is very inexpensive. My neighbourhood grocer, Donalds market, has gnocchi on sale this week for $1.39 a package, and in this recipe, that serves about 4 people. I keep packages in the freezer and when I’m running short on time, gnocchi can go straight from the deep freeze, right into the boiling water and be done in about 3 minutes. I load this up with mushrooms and grape tomatoes – but you could really add any of your favourite veg – play around!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
1 375g pkg gnocchi
grapeseed oil for sauteing
1/2 recipe for vegan pesto
10-15 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
4 cups mushrooms (chopped or whole)
1 cup chopped red pepper
1 cup frozen green peas
I recommend reading through this recipe before you begin. You want to time your gnocchi cooking time with the sautéed vegetables so that everything is ready at the same time. This can take a bit of practice. If your gnocchi is done a little too quickly, it will sit aside and stick together. You want to avoid that.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. When it boils, you will add your gnocchi keeping in mind that the gnocchi only takes about 3 minutes to cook – so you can really wait right until the end of the veg cooking to do this..
I like to cut my vegetables into pieces that are about the size of a piece of gnocchi. Sometimes I’ll leave the mushrooms whole for a textural treat. I’ll leave that up to you.
In a large skillet or saucepan, heat some oil and saute the mushrooms until tender (about 10 minutes) I do all of this as my water for the gnocchi is heating to a boil. Add the red pepper to the mushrooms and saute a few more minutes. I never want to overcook my vegetables. You will lose the nutrients and the crispness of the lightly sautéed veg is a nice textural compliment to the gnocchi.
You want to time the cooking of your gnocchi with about the time you add your red peppers to the sautéed mushrooms as the gnocchi will take about 3 minutes to cook – it’s very quick. You can tell they are done as the dumplings float to the surface. As the dumplings start to float to the water’s surface, add your frozen peas to the sautéed vegetable mixture. Give a good stir and then drain your gnocchi (again, this is a timing thing. You want your peas to stay nice and green and not turn brown from over-cooking).
Add the cooked gnocchi to your sautéed vegetables and about half a recipe (about 1/2- 3/4 cup) of your pesto. Toss with the chopped grape tomatoes (you don’t want to cook these – the heat of the gnocchi and sautéed veg will just bring them up to a nice temperature).
Voila. Dinner in about 20 minutes.
*note – gnocchi does contain wheat flour.
May 1st, 2011 § § permalink
The original recipe for the Quiche’s batter can be found at Vegalicious Recipes. I’ve altered a few things from the original recipe and added a few of my favourite Quiche vegetables. I’ve also used a vegan, gluten-free pie crust. I found it really difficult to develop a gluten-free pastry recipe that was similar to a wheat crust (and tender and flakey like a wheat crust). In the end, I chose to use a flour mix from the Gluten Free Pantry that was formulated for a pie crust. It worked beautifully and took the guess-work out of the flour ratios.
1 x 9″ wheat free pie crust
1/4 cup pesto
2 cups wild mushrooms
1/2 lb fresh asparagus
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
8 tablespoons chickpea flour
5 tablespoons non-dairy milk (I’ve used unsweetened almond)
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tomato, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup Daiya cheddar cheese
Slow roasted Garlic Cherry Tomatoes for the top
Preheat the oven to 400 (F).
For the slow roasted tomatoes, slice 2 baskets of sweet cherry or grape tomatoes and place in a roasting pan. Chop 6-8 cloves of garlic and toss into the tomatoes with a little olive oil. Slow roast at 250F for about 2 hours.
In a saute pan, saute the asparagus until al-dente. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Santee the mushrooms until they start to sweat and lose their liquid.
In a blender, mix the chickpea flour, water, soy milk, vinegar, salt and pepper, nutritional yeast, and tomato. Puree until it is a smooth batter.
Cover the bottom of the raw pie shell with a layer of fresh pesto. Place the sautéed vegetables in the bottom of the pie shell and sprinkle with Daiya cheese. Pour the batter over the vegetables.
Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the batter becomes solid.
Top with roasted cherry tomatoes and enjoy!
April 19th, 2011 § § permalink
Before Daiya became available in Canada, I used to order a cheese-less pizza from the local pizzeria and pretend like it was something enjoyable. It somewhat filled the gap – but nothing like the real thing if you are a lover of cheese. Cheese was something that I was afraid I would miss dearly when I gave up the animal product, but it was only a matter of time before there was a fantastic vegan equivalent on the market… Daiya cheese.
First it came in the form of Loving Hut; my little guilty pleasure vegan fast food hangout that served pizza topped with great toppings and Daiya cheese. Loving Hut also made things like vegan Caesar salad, “chicken” nuggets, and poutine made with mushroom gravy and Daiya mozza! I was in heaven if the need to indulge ever came over me. Then, one sad day, Loving Hut burnt down and it never came back. It still brings a tear to my eye to think of it. Sadly Loving Hut fell off the Vancouver circuit.
But one day – one GLORIOUS day, Daiya cheese came to Canada! Now all North Americans alike can make a perfect pizza that doesn’t cost them a Loving Hut arm and leg. My pizzas taste (If I may toot my own horn) like pizza found in the land of the boot – it doesn’t get better than this! I can’t say enough wonderful things about this stuff. It behaves EXACTLY as cheese should. It melts, it stretches, it re-heats beautifully – it IS cheese! Daiya does a cheddar and a mozza version of shredded cheese and they have recently added a new flavor: PepperJack! Tonight my vegan friends, we gave this new heavenly flavor a whirl on one of our Canucks playoff game pizzas. The outcome? Brilliance.
I can’t take credit for these pies. Jason made them both from scratch tonight (dough and all!). I’m not posting a specific recipe for toppings with this blog entry because pizza is really a personal creation. He made a “Meat” Lovers pie with Daiya PepperJack and an Italian Veggie with Daiya Mozza. The one thing I would suggest is that you don’t want to use too many vegetables that contain a lot of water or you will end up with a soggy crust as the water is released during baking. If you really want to load your pizza, I’d suggest cooking off, or roasting the veg in advance, but on pizza, sometimes less is more. A few mushrooms, some spinach, a little red onion….the list is wide open for you to create the pizza masterpiece you can call your own. Finish with a light layer of Daiya and bake in a 450F oven for about 25 minutes, or until the cheese starts to brown and bubble and the crust is golden. Here is Jason’s pizza dough recipe, but you can always use a pre-made pizza shell in a pinch, which you can buy at most grocery stores.
1 cup water (room temperature)
3/4 tsp agave nectar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 2/3 cups spelt flour *
1/2 + 1 tbsp kamut flour*
1 3/4 tsp yeast
*you could use any glutenous flour here
Jason made this in the bread machine on the dough cycle, but you could just as easily make it by hand. In the bread machine place all the ingredients into the machine in the order that they appear and set the machine as per the instructions for the dough cycle. If making by hand, combine the water, sugar and yeast. Let sit for a few minutes and then combine with the dry ingredients. Knead by hand until a dough consitency is reached, and then let rise in a warm area for about 1 hour in the bowl under a tea towel. Roll and top with your favourite toppings.
We baked this pizza on a pizza stone in the oven at 450F for about 25 minutes. Makes two medium-sized thin crust pizzas.
Happy Pizza Night everyone!
March 30th, 2011 § § permalink
There is a restaurant on Cambie Street in Vancouver called 3G. It hits the spot for some vegan dim sum or sweet and sour “chicken” when the craving arises. Its our guilty pleasure when we need a break from cooking, although it’s mostly soy and wheat based mock meat (like I said…our guilty pleasure). 3G does however make an amazing, from-scratch veggie gyoza made with minced bok choy which gave me the idea for this recipe.
I’ve used pre-made won ton wrappers (which are made with rice flour and have no egg) to make the ravioli. They are great when you have a stuffed pasta craving, but no time to make the pasta which can be time-consuming. These can be found at your local Asian market in the frozen food section.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
grapeseed oil for sautéing
1 pkg of won ton wrappers (makes about 34 ravioli)
7-9 baby bok choy, finely chopped
1/2 cup raw pecans, finely chopped
2 shallots, minced
1 15oz can premium organic coconut milk
1/2 15oz can of organic pumpkin
1 tbsp red Thai curry paste
Juice of 1 lime
sea salt and pepper to taste
*make sure you read the ingredients on the won ton wrappers. Some brands are made with egg and wheat.
Boil a large pot of salted water for cooking the pasta.
In a large skillet, heat some oil and sauté one shallot until translucent. Add the chopped bok choy and continue to cook until the bok choy has released some liquid. Add the chopped pecans and set aside. You don’t want to cook the bok choy so much that it loses its colour. You want it to remain bright green.
Build the ravioli. Take one won ton wrapper and put about 1 1/2 tsp of the bok choy filling in the center. Moisten the edges with water and place another wrapper on top, pressing the edges gently to make sure the ravioli is sealed. Place each ravioli on a baking sheet, but do not stack as they will stick together. I used some cling wrap in between layers to avoid this. Place the tray of built ravioli in the fridge for at least 10 minutes to secure the seal around the edges. You could very well make these in advance and freeze them or keep them in the fridge for a day or two before cooking them up.
In a skillet, sauté the other shallot until translucent. Add the pumpkin puree and the coconut milk. Bring to a boil and add the Thai red curry paste. Let simmer a few more minutes while the ravioli cook in boiling water. Squeeze in the juice of one fresh lime to finish.
To cook the ravioli, gently add them one at a time to boiling salted water. I worked with a batch of 5. If you add too many, they will stick together. Cook for 4-5 minutes and then place each ravioli in the simmering sauce. Once in the sauce, I added 5 more ravioli to the water bath and then plated my first batch.
Place the ravioli on a plate and add a little extra sauce if desired. Garnish with freshly chopped scallion or chopped parsley.
March 25th, 2011 § § permalink
This one has been on the docket for quite some time now and when I woke up to rain this morning after a glimpse of spring the last two days, I was inspired to bring this classic comfort food to the table tonight. I’ve used canned lentils in the pies here, but you could also cook dried lentils if you have the time.
Lentils are type of pulse from the legume family. They are high in protein, folate, fiber, and vitamin B. Lentils also contain the essential amino acids isoleucine and lysine, not to mention they are an excellent source of iron. Who needs beef when you’ve got the lentil?!
Prep Time Stovetop: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes stove top, 30 minutes in the oven
2 large sweet potatoes
2tbsp Earth Balance or other vegan butter
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
grapeseed oil for sautéing
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 15oz can brown lentils (or approximately 2 cups cooked lentils)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 tsp oregano
1 cup organic vegetable stock
4 tbsp rice flour
1 cup frozen peas
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Peel and chop the sweet potato into 1″ cubes. Cover with water in a saucepan and bring to the boil on high heat, cooking until tender (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat, drain off the water, and add the milk and Earth Balance. Mash with a fork or a potato masher until smooth and creamy.
While the potatoes are cooking, heat some oil in a large sauté pan and add the onion, carrot and celery. Saute over medium heat until the onions start to become translucent. Add the thyme, oregano, bay leaf, and the lentils.
In a liquid measure, add the 4 tbsp of rice flour. Cover the flour with a bit of stock and mix until well combined. Fill the liquid measure with stock to the 1 cup mark and add to the lentil mixture, stirring constantly. The liquid will start to thicken quite quickly. Continue to stir over medium heat for about 3 more minutes, or until the flour has cooked off. Add the peas and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon the lentil mixture into 6″ individual pie containers (4). Top with the sweet potato mash and sprinkle with a little paprika.
Bake at 425F for about 30 minutes. The pies will be bubbly and the sweet potato will have browned.
Let cool for a few minutes before serving.
March 24th, 2011 § § permalink
With a lack of sleep the night before, and early rise this morning followed a long day of work, dinner tonight had to be quick, simple, and satisfying. You can all relate I know!
Pesto can take something plain and somewhat bland, and turn it into something bold and satisfying as you are about to find out. I’m calling this “risotto” because it isn’t risotto in its traditional form made with Arborio rice, cream, butter and cheese. The cannellini beans and the pesto give my version of risotto that creamy, “cheesy” texture that fool your buds into thinking otherwise. If you don’t have the time to make your own pesto from scratch, or you don’t have the means, Jason recently discovered a great little vegan pesto product by le Grand. The only down side to this product is the protein content (there isn’t any). I make my fresh pesto with cashews which supply the protein needed, but if you in a pinch and want to try this ready-made pesto, you can always mix in a little nutritional yeast to boost the protein, or sprinkle the dish with seeds or nuts (or even better…both!).
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35-40 minutes
½ cup short grain organic brown rice
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
3 cups mushrooms, quartered
Grapeseed oil for sautéing
¼ cup fresh or ready-made pesto
1 15oz can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
Sesame seeds or toasted pine nuts (optional)
Cook the rice according to the directions.
As the rice is cooking, wash and chop the vegetables.
About 10 minutes before the rice will be finished, heat a little oil in a large sauté pan and add the mushrooms. Sauté about 5 minutes. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and let the mushrooms sweat slightly (about 10-15 minutes). Remove the lid and add the beans. The mixture will be a little soupy at this point.
With the heat at medium high, continue to cook the mushrooms and beans until the juices have cooked off. Once the mixture has no liquid, remove from the heat and add the rice, pesto, and tomatoes and toss together until mixed. Toss gently, trying not to mash the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Plate and garnish with a basil leaf or sprinkle with some sesame seeds or toasted pine nuts.
Relax with a large glass of red wine and enjoy!
March 22nd, 2011 § § permalink
A play on the classic breakfast option, Butternut Squash Rancheros is rich, mildly spicy and truly satisfying on a cold winter night. I’ve adapted this recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen to include some leafy greens and some cheesy nutritional yeast to boost the protein and B12 content of this dish.
1 medium sized butternut squash
olive oil for baking
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded, chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp maple syrup or agave
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 cups baby spinach
15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
Sliced scallions to serve
raw sour cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Peel the butternut squash and slice off the ends. Chop the bulbous part off and scoop out seeds. Slice everything widthwise into just a little under 1 inch thick slices.
Drizzle one tablespoon of oil onto the baking sheet and dredge butternut slices in oil. Drizzle the remaining oil over the slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, then flip, sprinkle with a little salt, and bake another 15 minutes. It should be cooked through and a browned at this point.
Turn the heat up to broil. Place baking sheet under broil and cook for about 5 minutes, the squash should be dark brown in places caramelized. The rings may cook faster than the other slices, so remove them sooner if necessary. In the meantime…
Preheat a large heavy bottomed pan, over medium heat. Dry toast the seeds in the pan for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until they’re fragrant and a few shades darker, just be careful not to burn. Raise the heat to medium high, add the oil and saute the onion, peppers and garlic for about 10 minutes, until onions are browned.
In a blender or food processor, pulse the beans and tomato sauce until blended but still slightly chunky. Add to the sauteed mixture on the stove.
Add the nutritional yeast and stir until combined. Add the spinach, and continue to cook over medium heat until heated through and the spinach has wilted, about 5 minutes.
You can serve this on either a place or a pasta bowl. Pour a layer of saucy beans in the bowl and top off with 2 or 3 slices of squash. Garnish with scallions and a dollop of raw sour cream.
March 17th, 2011 § § permalink
I have come across variations of this recipe from time to time in my travels, and keeping with the St. Patrick’s day green theme, I decided it was time to give it a go. I took this recipe from one of my favourite blog spots “Oh She Glows” and I don’t think I changed a thing. This dish only takes about 15 minutes to make!
I did speak to Angela on the post regarding leftovers on this meal. Does it keep? She hadn’t tried it and wasn’t sure it would. I put my leftover sauce in a container for lunch the next day and covered the surface with some seran wrap before putting the lid on. I tossed my cooked noodles slightly in a little olive oil, kept them separate, re-heated them in the lunch room, then tossed them with the sauce. It hadn’t browned one iota. Green as the day she made it…
1 medium sized ripe Avocado, pitted
1/2 lemon, juiced
2-3 garlic cloves, to taste
1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 cup Fresh Basil
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 servings/6 oz of your choice of pasta (I used 3oz spelt udon noodles and they were beautiful)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bring several cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add in your pasta, reduce heat to medium, and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes.
Make the sauce as the pasta is cooking by placing everything into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
When pasta is done, drain and rinse in a strainer and place pasta into a large bowl. Pour on sauce and toss until fully combined. Garnish with lemon zest and black pepper. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.*
*I only tossed half my sauce with half the noodles, stored them separately in the refrigerator overnight as mentioned above, and took the remainder for lunch today. Delicious!
March 5th, 2011 § § permalink
I use nuts and seeds a LOT in my diet. Soaked cashews are the base for many of my cream sauces and dips and they are a great source of protein. I’ve decided however, that I need to get more beans into the mix. I am a fan of quick and easy, so this soup is a great meal to whip up during the weeknights after work. High in protein, fiber and iron, beans are a great vegan staple. I loaded this with veggies to make a well rounded, hearty meal.
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 carrots finely chopped
1 red pepper finely chopped
1 green pepper finely chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups spinach finely chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Heat some grapeseed oil in a large pot and saute all of the chopped vegetables aside from the spinach and cilantro on medium heat for approximately 10 minutes (the onions should be tender). While the vegetables are cooking, add the cumin. In a blender, add the vegetable stock, the beans and the sauteed vegetables and pulse until the soup is slightly blended, but not smooth.
Return the blended mixture to the pot and gently stir in the nutritional yeast, tomato paste, and the spinach. Bring the temperature up until the soup is hot and stir in the chopped cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with a dollop of vegan sour cream and some rice tortilla chips (optional).