Thursday, January 27, 2011

When You Have to Improvise

I had to share this comic, not only because I love it and that it comes from one of my all-time favourite websites, My Modern Met but it's sometimes how I feel in a crowd of meat-eaters.

You know you're busy when you just manage to pull a meal together using only 5 main ingredients: quinoa, kale, Zucchini, onions, and dragon sauce.  I did a little, using what I had in the fridge and making more dragon sauce.  I had to especially get creative when I knew Mike would be joining me for dinner and he so tells me 'I want to eat healthy too, like I was with you when we first started dating.'

So I cooked up some Quinoa, sauteed some onions in olive oil, added the torn up kale pieces, chopped up zucchini and a dash of garlic powder and sea salt for taste.

Once cooked just enough (so that the kale starts to shrivel) I topped off the quinoa with it and added the dragon sauce.  Personally I loved it ... Mike seemed to and he said he liked it but I hinted a bit of hesitation in his voice.  Good man, he ate it all anyway.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Original Black Eyed Peas

      Photo from:

I kinda hate that when you know type 'black eyed peas' into Google the musical band comes up way before the actually bean does and really, what's better for us?! 

Anyway, this week, I tried a fantastic recipe that called for black eyed peas, a fantastic little bean with an interesting story.  I found the recipe from one of my all-time favourite recipe vegan blogs: Fatfree Vegan Kitchen.  I made a few changes mostly because I didn't have everything it called for but the end result was delicious nonetheless.

Black-eyed Pea Masala
Original recipe from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen

2 cups black-eyed peas
1 large onion, diced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 tsp turmeric
3 medium to large tomatoes, diced
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp organic cane sugar
1 tsp salt (or to taste)

1. Pick over the dried peas, removing any debris, and rinse.

2. Cover with water and allow to soak for at least 8 hours. Drain peas just before cooking.

3. Heat a large non-stick pot or pressure cooker. Spray the bottom with cooking spray (omit if pot is non-stick) and add the onions.

4. Cook, stirring, until onions soften then add the cumin and cook for 1 minute.  Add the ginger and garlic and stir for about 30 seconds.

5. Add the drained peas and all remaining ingredients along with 2 cups of water and bring to a low boil.

If pressure cooking, seal the cooker, bring to high pressure, and cook for 7 minutes; remove from heat and allow pressure to come down naturally. Check seasoning and add more salt and garam masala if necessary. Simmer uncovered for a few minutes to allow flavors to blend, and mash a few peas against the side of the pot to thicken the sauce. If all peas are not completely tender, cover but do not seal the cooker and simmer until peas are tender. (From Fatfree Vegan Kitchen)

If cooking in a regular pot, cover and simmer until the black-eyed peas are tender about 30-45minutes.

6. Check seasoning and add more salt and garam masala if necessary.

Serve with bread or in this case, I served it with cooked Quinoa - just for that added protein/grain  goodness.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Might as Well Go All the Way?!

Sometime last year I tried eating gluten-free, as much as possible, but when I decided to be strictly vegan I decided I need my wheat man! I don't have celiac disease so what the heck, I'm okay to eat wheat, right?

Well I'm sure many can argue the healthy advantages to both sides and I'm not saying that I'm strictly eating gluten-free but I have been wanting to incorporate it into my vegan baking - at least better then I had been.

Found the perfect book to start me off: Flying Apron's Gluten-free & Vegan Baking Book

Carob Chip Cookies 
adapted from recipe on page. 42
  • 2 3/4 cup gluten-free flour mix
  • 1.5 cup plus 1 tbsp garbanzo bean flour (a.k.a. chickpea flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup carob "chocolate" chips (I use carob to reduce the caffeine and I have yet to find dairy-free chocolate chips in this city!)
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional - I omitted them)
  • cocoa powder for dusting afterward (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Combine the the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
3. In a separate large bowl combine canola oil, sugar and vanilla - mixing very well (can use a stand mixer for this one, I didn't).
4. Add the dry mixture alternating with the almond milk to the wet mixture, combining well with each new addition.  The mixture should stiffen up a bit.
5. Stir in the chips and nuts if using.
6. Scoop the dough onto greased or parchment-lined baking sheets with an ice cream scoop.
7. Bake until golden and slightly firm to the touch, about 17 minutes.  For a nice touch, dust some cocoa powder to the tops of the cookies while they are still hot.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rice Noodles and Apple Crumble

A week at home, mostly to myself, really just wasn't long enough! Just before I knew it it was back to work and the holiday season was just a blur, a faint memory in my mind, didn't help that I was sick for most of it.

I did, however, manage to make a few fantastic recipes from my vegan cook books like Spring Sesame Noodles (pictured above) that I made from my newest addition to the book collection, Ripe from Around Here by Jae Steele.  I made a few adjustments to the recipe for my liking.

And for dessert it was Apple Crumble; I followed a recipe in the book but really revised it to make apple crumble instead of Pear Ginger Amaranth Crumble, which also sounds amazing!

Another great recipe from the book and probably my new all-time favourite is the Rainbow Dragon Bowl. 

Here's how I made mine:

Step 1: Base, about 2/3 cup cooked quinoa.

Step 2: Add Spinach, chopped up or whole pieces.

Step 3: I added radicchio because that's what I had available but the recipe calls for red cabbage.

Step 4: Add Shredded carrot.

Step 5: Add sauteed or baked tofu "steaks" - recipes in the book but any will do.

Lastly, top off with sprouts and I added sunflower seeds.

I must say the dressing was the best part, amazing! It's one of my staple dressings now ...

Dragon Sauce
from Ripe from Around Here, p. 203

1/4 cup nutritional yeast
3 tbsp  grapeseed or olive oil
2 tbsp 100% maple syrup
2 tbsp tamari soy sauce
2 tbsp filtered water
1 large garlic clove, crushed or 1/2 tsp ground garlic (optional)

Combine all ingredients until mixed well.  Keeps for a few days.  Best to make this sauce fresh when using.

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