the taste space

Quinoa Corn Chowder with Baby Lima Beans

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Soups by janet @ the taste space on October 10, 2011


I have been reading other VeganMoFoers posts this month and I am thoroughly impressed. Lots of people have themes, or an outline for specific days of the week… 31 days of unique spices. A month devoted to orange food! Or 1 food, done 5 ways x5 (cashews and kale so far!). Recipes with ingredients following the alphabet. Me, I just want to be able to post every day.

Then I thought.. 1 week in, a bit late on the theme-front, why not showcase my love of beans. So I will share with you bean dishes for the rest of the month. Get ready for your daily dose of bean! :)

Lately, I have been on a white bean kick. Baby lima beans, giant lima beans, flageolet beans, bring them on! Ashley thought it was amusing that my bean collection had so many of the same white beans in different containers.

Look closely, and while they are all white beans, they are definitely not the same!

While I also don’t mix different batches of beans, since they may cook at different lengths of time, all my white beans are different.  In fact, I don’t have any more lima beans left and only a handful of dried flageolet beans. What I have left are Great Northern beans, white kidney beans, navy beans, Macedonian tetrovac beans and Turkish dermason beans. I am so curious as to how the latter two taste but still fall into the simplicity of the familiar!

I feel so naked now that I am out of lima beans. I used the last of the baby lima beans in this delicious quinoa corn chowder from Viva Vegan. The small, plump yet creamy baby lima beans melded well into this perfect end of summer stew-like corn chowder. Light, yet creamy with a dash of soy milk, a bit of zip from chili flakes, sweetness from the fresh corn and hearty with both the quinoa and lima beans.

It wasn’t even 6 months ago that I likely would have shunned lima beans based on my childhood disdain, but I am so glad that I made the leap to try something new. If you haven’t yet tried cooking up your own lima beans, definitely give it a go. You may never look back!

I hope my white kidney beans don’t get shunned too long… they are just so unsexy compared to its other white bean counterparts. I wonder if the dermason beans will be just as good as the lima beans? ;)

Thankfully, because if not, my pantry-substitute, Better Bulk, has baby lima beans, so the next time I have a hankering, they are right around the corner. :)


This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Cinzia from Cindystar.

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Split Pea Soup with Lemon and Spinach

Posted in Soups by janet @ the taste space on October 7, 2011

Let me tell you what not to bring to a potluck.

This soup.

Unless you are armed with extra lemons.

I waiver between trying new and old recipes for unsuspecting guests at potlucks. This time, I tried a new recipe.

Combining my new split pea infatuation with a recipe from Oh She Glows, who adapted it from 101 Cookbooks with spinach, lemon, split peas. How could it go wrong?

Well, it could. And it went wrong twice.

The soup, as written, was bland. To zip it up, I added more fresh lemon juice and lots of fresh pepper. Now I was content, this soup was nice!  Since soups always taste better after mellowing a few hours, I figured this was going to be a winner.

Got to my potluck, opened my soup, warmed it up…. and did the taste test.

Oh no! It went back to its bland self and I had a sorry soup to serve.

Most of my meals taste great (even if Rob doesn’t agree), but here I was, speechless, with a so-so soup. And no lemon to perk it up again.

I don’t really mind when recipes are lackluster, but when I serve it to guests, that’s when I cringe. But I swear, it tastes great fresh and a little more fresh lemon juice was probably what the leftovers needed. Moral of the story: Don’t leave home without your lemon. ;)


This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to Ricki’s Wellness Weekends and to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Suma.

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Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with a Warm Vanilla-Cider Vinaigrette

Posted in Favourites, Salads by janet @ the taste space on October 6, 2011

Some people have the gift to make anything taste great. I can follow a recipe. I can season to taste. But sometimes, I just don’t know what some recipes need to make it taste better.

This is a story of a botched recipe, turned sublime. Last Thanksgiving, Ina Garten’s roasted butternut squash salad was made a few times. The first time, with apple juice, it was nice, and was therefore given the thumbs up for serving at the Thanksgiving dinner.

My friend was helping with the prep work for round 2, but mistakenly made the dressing with 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar instead of apple cider. A big oops! However, she tried to salvage the salad by adding in some brown sugar and vanilla. While the salad was still a bit acidic, the vanilla was a magical ingredient. Instead of being as sweet as the first time, it was more savoury.

Therefore, when I recreated the dish this year, when butternut squash started to make its way into the grocery stores, I wanted the best of both worlds: vanilla within an apple cider vinaigrette. I used baby spinach and toasted almonds, instead of the arugula and walnuts Ina suggested. I also omitted the Parmesan cheese and reduced the olive oil, salt and pepper. Trust me, I didn’t miss anything. There were so many levels of flavour here, I was thoroughly content. The butternut squash is roasted to bring out its sweetness and is soft, bit still keeps it shape. The fruity dressing is tamed with the vanilla and works well with the baby spinach. Toasted almonds nail this as a slam-dunk salad.

Here are some other savoury vanilla dishes I’ve made:

Butternut Squash Soup with Pear, Apple Cider and Vanilla
Vanilla Sweet Potato and Kale Curry
Triple Corn Pancakes

This is my submission to this month’s Simple and in Season, to this month’s Food Palette series featuring the rainbow, to Ricki’s Wellness Weekends, and to both Ricki and Kim’s vegan SOS challenge featuring cranberries.

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Raw Mushroom “Bul Go Gi” Lettuce Wrap

Posted in Appetizers, Mains (Vegetarian), Sides by janet @ the taste space on October 5, 2011

Who doesn’t love a good massage? Veggies love them, too. Show them your love. They will love you back.

I know you’ve probably heard of raw massaged kale salads before (if not, you’re missing out!). You may even massage your cabbage for coleslaw.

But have you heard of massaging your mushrooms, too?

I like non-button mushrooms, but only if cooked. I will shun all raw mushrooms you throw at me. But now I know how to enjoy them raw. Massage your love into them with a delicious marinade.

This recipe is courtesy of Ani’s Raw Food Asia and I think it is pretty ingenious. She replicates Korean bulgogi, which describes the way Korean cuisine uses an open flame to cook their food. The food is usually marinaded in a Korean-style BBQ sauce. Ani does this all without turning on a flame.

A salty-sweet marinade is combined with meaty king oyster mushrooms. Massaging them allows the marinade to permeate the mushrooms but also tenderizes them. Slightly chewy, sweet-salty shrooms. Oh yeah. As king oyster mushroom are fairly meaty, when chopped into non-mushroom shapes, you could possibly fool mushroom haters completely. The marinade is that masking. They won’t think it is meat but they may not know it was a mushroom.

Next, you make a Korean hot chili pepper paste, but mine was more of a salty-sweet paste as the main component was miso with toasted sesame oil. I tamed the paste to my palate by using Aleppo chili flakes but definitely add to taste.

To complete the lettuce wraps, fill the wrap with julienned cucumber, carrots, raw garlic, a smidgen of the Korean chili paste and of course, your marinaded bulgogi mushrooms.

Wrap and roll, guys!

This is my submission to this month’s Simple and in Season, to this week’s Raw Food Thursdays, to E.A.T. World for Korea, to Ricki’s Wellness Weekends, and to this month’s My Kitchen, My World destination Korea.

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Butternut Squash Soup with Pear, Apple Cider and Vanilla

Posted in Soups by janet @ the taste space on October 4, 2011

How much is half a bushel?

Technically, it is 4 pecks or 8 gallons.

After this weekend, to me, it means 26.6 lbs of apples.

Or 66 apples!

And a bargain at $15.75 (60c/lb!)

(our bushel was slightly rounded, hehe)

Last weekend, Rob and I travelled to Birtch Farms for some DIY apple picking. We were expecting to come home with Cortland and Empire, but were tickled pink when we found out that Mutsu (aka Crispin), Jonagold and Ida Red were also ripe for picking!

Rob had never had Mutsu before, and thankfully we were encouraged to sample the apples first to figure out which we preferred. Mutsu was the clear winner for a snacking apple, followed by the Ida Red. While the Jonagold is a cross between a Jonathan and Golden Delicious, I thought it tasted too much like a Gala for me to enjoy it. Sadly, we missed the Honeycrisp picking season, and I don’t think they grow Ambrosia out here, which are my 2 favourite snacking apples. Mutsu will be my go-to apple for the next month or so, though!

Rob also picked up some fresh apple cider for the road and when we returned I made this delicious soup.

A butternut squash soup with pear, apple cider and vanilla from Orangette.

Who says vanilla is only for sweet desserts?

Add it to your savoury dishes, as well.

Sometimes you can go too sweet with squash but here, everything was balanced nicely. The pear and cider are sweet, but the vanilla calms it down. It was smooth and creamy from the squash and milk. A delightful light, creamy soup.

Perfect for your next Thanksgiving meal. Or any day you want a delicious heart-warming soup.


This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Chris from Mele Cotte.

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Tomato Tarragon Soup

Posted in Appetizers, Soups by janet @ the taste space on October 3, 2011

While in Iceland, I must admit that I didn’t try many traditional Icelandic meals. My Icelandic finds mainly consisted of Icelandic herbal teas, whereas Rob tried the beer-boiled Icelandic hotdog and other traditional fish- and lamb-based dishes. He also discovered chocolate-covered licorice, an Icelandic candy! Licorice is actually a popular flavour for Icelandic candy. Yucko I say!

I have a few food aversions. Celery. Coffee. And yes, licorice.

And what do I buy from Sunny’s on a whim when I return?

Tarragon.

A new-to-me herb.

I had no idea what it even tasted like when I bought it, but I knew I had seen it in a few recipes recently. A big bunch was a $1 so I snapped it up.

You know what’s coming up….  It tastes like licorice! Like anise! Oh no! But I decided to forge ahead.. otherwise I would have wasted a $1. :P

I spotted this simple soup with tomato and tarragon in Rebar for my first taste of tarragon. It was a wonderful introduction to the herby epitome of French cuisine. It has a regal taste, in that it is not so harsh as licorice. The light flavour is delicious. It pairs great with tomato in this soup which is zippy from the garlic and chili flakes. I also wanted to add further creaminess and bulk, so I added in white beans prior to pureeing it.

People love CSAs because they are introduced to new veggies and are forced to use them in creative ways.  I get the same trippy feeling whenever I go to Sunny’s and scour their bargain section. I have no a clue what I will come home with… and this time, tarragon was a winner. :)


This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this month’s Food Palette series featuring the rainbow, and to this week’s Wellness Weekends.

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Braised Cabbage with Chorizo Seitan Sausage

Posted in Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on October 1, 2011


Last year at this time, I was neither a vegan, nor a vegetarian. Now I eat vegan without refined sugars and flours and haven’t looked back!

Last November, I partially participated in Vegan MoFo, in that all my recipes that month were vegan. But I didn’t do any daily posts. I wasn’t nuts.

This year, I AM nuts. OK, I always was nuts, but this time, I decided to take the plunge and join the multitude of blogs celebrating Vegan MoFo. The month of vegan blogging, of daily (weekday) posts, oh my. I hope I can keep up, and signed up hoping to dislodge my backlog of recipes I still really want to share.

Seeing I made vegan sausages last year, I figured it would be fitting to kick-start this month with a quick and easy braised cabbage dish with chorizo sausages from Appetite for Reduction. While my favourite braised cabbage takes at least 2 hours in the oven, this is a great alternative.  Garlic, thyme and pepper flakes flavour the cabbage well, but choose your vegan sausage wisely. The chorizo seitan sausage from Viva Vegan packs a serious punch of flavours. This is what makes this a spectacular dish.

Squirrel the sausages into your freezer, so you can whip this up the next time you are wondering what to do with your cabbage.

Quick, tasty and healthy, what’s not to love?

Wish me luck on a month of vegan cuisine!


This is my submission to this month’s Simple and in Season and to this week’s Wellness Weekends.

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