the taste space

Mushroom Ginger Congee & Oatrageous Oatmeals Cookbook Giveaway

Posted in Breakfasts, Mains (Vegetarian), Soups by janet @ the taste space on September 16, 2014

Mushroom Ginger Congee

Nothing like a blog tour from a fabulous cookbook, to get me moving in the kitchen again. It also helped that the recipes are super easy and still delicious. I already told you all about OATrageous Oatmeals earlier but I am back for Kathy’s blog tour. This time sharing her recipe for Mushroom Ginger Congee.

Mushroom Ginger Congee

Traditionally congee is made with rice to make a porridge-like consistency and flavoured and garnished with as much or as little as you want. I noticed Kate Lewis’ photo in the book had additional mushrooms and green onions as garnishes, so I added that to mine. Not merely photogenic, it added a nice depth of flavour, too. I think a bit of toasted sesame oil would be lovely, too. I was never super convinced oats could hold savoury flavours so well, but this was delicious. I used Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick Rolled Oats because I knew I wanted them to have a bit more texture. They were delicious here.

Mushroom Ginger Congee & Oatrageous Oatmeals Cookbook Giveaway

Thankfully, the publisher is letting me share the recipe AND give a cookbook to one reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered, please leave a comment here, telling me what you like to do with oats. I will randomly select a winner on September 28, 2014. Good luck!

I am sharing this with Souper Sundays. (more…)

Buffalo Hummus

Posted in Appetizers, Sides by janet @ the taste space on September 11, 2014

Buffalo Hummus

Allow me to be honest with you. I may have lost my cooking mojo.

I haven’t really been too interested in cooking lately. My life has slowed down a lot (physically, mainly) and my heart no no longer sings in the kitchen. One must still eat, so I am still cooking… although finding it a challenge to continue to blog consistently.

And then I made this hummus.  I knew I had to share it right away.

I am no stranger to strange hummus concoctions but this one was really good. Spiced with sriracha with a depthness from red peppers, I really liked it. It wasn’t too spicy (for me!) so feel free to add more sriracha for your palate. I found this had a taste reminiscent of cheese but without any nooch, I think it was from the red pepper paste. This was nice and silky straight from the food processor. Sadly, it stiffened slightly as leftovers so either eat it all at once or add some more liquid as needed.

Buffalo Hummus

I am sharing this with My Legume Love Affair hosted by Valli and Bookmarked Recipes.

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Lemon-Cilantro Broccoli and Chickpea Salad

Posted in Salads by janet @ the taste space on September 9, 2014

Lemon-Cilantro Broccoli and Chickpea Salad

One of my more popular salads is my spin on Whole Foods’ Detox Salad. I used lime and cilantro to complement the riced vegetables. I named mine “Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Lime and Cilantro” because I cringe when I hear the name “Detox Salad”.

In general, I always assumed that the enzyme myth was in fact, just a myth….. until I saw this video. (That long pause is Dr Gregor’s hallmark, at least in my mind).

Lemon-Cilantro Broccoli and Chickpea Salad

In this other video, De Gregor highlights the presence of sulforaphane in broccoli which enhances liver enzymes, as the most potent natural phase 2 enzyme-inducer. However, since sulforaphane is only created when two components interact, until you crush the raw cells (ie, with chewing or chopping), you miss out on sulforaphane. He later mentions that this needs to be done prior to cooking broccoli. Yes, the “enzyme myth” is true. Cooking is not as good for the broccoli’s sulforaphane levels.

But who likes raw broccoli?

Lemon-Cilantro Broccoli and Chickpea Salad
(Other than my Mom..)

To get the best of both worlds, a fun solution would be to chop your broccoli, wait a bit for the enzymes to work and then cook it.

And yes, this was my round-about introduction to this lemon-cilantro chickpea salad with almost riced broccoli, which I actually steamed for a gentler taste. Although, you are completely free to try this with raw broccoli rice, too. The lemon juice would make it tender, too, with time.

Poll time. Raw or cooked broccoli: which do you prefer? :)

Lemon-Cilantro Broccoli and Chickpea Salad

I am sharing this with Souper Sundays, No Croutons Required and Bookmarked Recipes.

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Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Garlic Tahini Dressing

Posted in Salads by janet @ the taste space on September 4, 2014

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Garlic Tahini Dressing

Easing back into cooking in Toronto, I tried to highlight local, seasonal vegetables. We arrived too late to grow our own garden but we had a little help from family.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Garlic Tahini Dressing

These cucumbers were courtesy of Rob’s mother’s garden and the tomatoes came from my sister-in-law’s parents’ garden. The dressing was a simple lemon-tahini-garlic combination that pretty much never fails. Although the twist was adding some olives. I don’t use them very often but it was an unusual and nice accent to the creamy dressing.

What are you growing this year?

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Garlic Tahini Dressing

I am sharing this with Souper Sundays and Bookmarked Recipes.

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Green Zebra Kitchen Review

Posted in Book Review by janet @ the taste space on September 2, 2014

In case you haven’t noticed, the past month has a whirlwind. An international trip, an international move, an international exam, while beginning a new job with many hiccups along the way (the funeral, the delayed pod, the broken car, the broken ankle, oh yeah). Suffice it to say, I had lots of things on my mind. I had to focus on other things and thankfully, I found a fabulous vegan delivery service to help take care of keeping me well fed.

Green Zebra Kitchen is a Toronto meal delivery service that comes to your door. All meals are vegan and gluten-free and they use only organic, whole foods with as much local, seasonal produce as possible. Run by brothers Gregg and Dan, they both trained at Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City and know how to cook. Let’s just say I was blown away by their creations. Delicious, creative and healthy. I think I even learned about new ingredients (how could that possible be? – but it is true! Have you heard of nepitella?).

There are a few plans you can purchase, but there are always 3 mains and 3 sides and you can swap any in/out if any do not appeal to you. Furthermore there are extras if you would like breakfast items (ie granola, oatmeal, smoothies) and extra sides (sauerkraut, flatbread, kale chips, hummus) or dessert (like dark chocolate almond butter cups). I ended up with their Plan B, meant to serve 3-4 meals.

Let me share with you the delicious meals of the  week:

Green Zebra Kitchen Review

 

Blue Tortilla Lasagna with Black Bean, Butternut Squash, Corn, Pickled Jalapeno, and Cashew Cheese

I am sorry my picture does not give it the credit it deserves because it was delicious. Blue corn tortillas were used to make a Mexican-inspired lasagna with a vegan cashew cheese sauce.

Green Zebra Kitchen - Blue Tortilla Lasagna with Black Bean, Butternut Squash, Corn, Pickled Jalapeno, and Cashew Cheese

 

Which was paired with: Kale Salad with Pumpkin Seeds, Edible Flowers, and Lime Vinaigrette

Nice and light, this was a simple (and delicious) kale salad.

Green Zebra Kitchen - Kale Salad with Pumpkin Seeds, Edible Flowers, and Lime Vinaigrette

 

Tuscan Chickpea Tempeh Bowl with Sungold Cherry Tomatoes, Roasted Mushrooms, Olives, and Nepitella

I originally thought there would be chickpeas and tempeh in here, but it was tempeh made form chickpeas. I didn’t even know that was possible but it was delicious. I only wish there was more tempeh!

Green Zebra Kitchen - Tuscan Chickpea Tempeh Bowl with Sungold Cherry Tomatoes, Roasted Mushrooms, Olives, and Nepitella

 

Which was paired with: Yellow and Green Bean Salad with Beets, Roasted Chickpeas, and Italian Vinaigrette

This is where I got my chickpea-fix along with all the other beans. Nice and light, it paired well with the more flavourful quinoa bowl.

Green Zebra Kitchen - Yellow and Green Bean Salad with Beets, Roasted Chickpeas, and Italian Vinaigrette

 

Massaman Thai Curry with Tofu, Red Pepper, Tamarind, Lime Leaves, and Coconut Milk

I found this a bit too sweet for me, but Rob loved it. He was bothered that there were no peanuts. Apparently peanuts are a quintessential ingredient for Massaman curry. That was Rob’s complaint the last time we tried making Massaman curry at home, so at least he is consistent. ;)

Green Zebra Kitchen - Massaman Thai Curry with Tofu, Red Pepper, Tamarind, Lime Leaves, and Coconut Milk

 

Which was paired with: Red Rice Salad with Shredded Broccoli, Carrots, Cashews, Cilantro, and Miso Ginger Dressing

Again, this was a nicely flavoured salad with not too much dressing. The ginger and miso were merely shades in the background.

Green Zebra Kitchen - Red Rice Salad with Shredded Broccoli, Carrots, Cashews, Cilantro, and  Miso Ginger Dressing

Extras:

Red Pepper, Walnut, Pomegranate Dip

AKA Muhammara. Delicious.The best of all the meals, and it wasn’t even a meal. I have made muhammara before and forgot how wonderfully delicious it can be.

Green Zebra Kitchen - Red Pepper Dip

 

Carrot Cake Balls

The next day, I accused Rob of stealing a ball but here I can easily tell he didn’t swipe one – I started out with 5! These were nice. A bit more moist than my typical dessert balls, but nice and light without being too sweet.

Green Zebra Kitchen - Carrot Cake Balls

Mango Lime Green Smoothie with Collards and Banana (unpictured)

I have a picture of the smoothie at the top. It was sweet but I would not have known there was collards (or any greens) hidden in it by the taste. It was green but did not taste green.

The menus change weekly and all orders need to be received by Friday for Monday delivery. I have spied other meals including, but not limited to:

Tempeh Reuben with Cauliflower, Potatoes, Garlic Scape Dill Kraut and Cashew Cheese

Moroccan Vegetable Stew with Red Lentils, Preserved Lemon, Olives and Zhoug

Chipotle Mac & Cheese with Yams, Roasted Cauliflower, Basil and Fresh Tomatoes

Biryani Bowl with Tofu, Chickpeas, Broccoli and Tamarind-Coconut Curry Dressing

Coconut Corn Chowder with Oyster Mushrooms, Potatoes and Chickpeas

Baked Falafel Bowl with Broccoli, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Quinoa Tabouli and Tahini Dressing

Overall, I highly recommend the food. The meals are healthy and totally Janet-friendly.

As advertised, it easily feed 3-4 people and even more if you supplement with additional quinoa/rice/etc from home to stretch the meals further. The diversity is vast and truly, the only thing keeping me from ordering every week would be the price ($62+tax for the plan B). I wish they would open a restaurant so I could get a quick fix at random times throughout the week.

Have you ever used a meal delivery service? I think it is great for times when you don’t have time to cook or if you are travelling to Toronto for business and don’t have time to make/find your food or you want some great vegan options should you host a party (if you do that, please invite me over!).

Note: I was provided with a week’s worth of eats for my review. I ended up loving it so much I bought it the next week, too.

Blueberry Tamari Greens Bowl & Salad Samurai Giveaway

Posted in Book Review, Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by janet @ the taste space on August 28, 2014

Blueberry Tamari Greens Bowl & Salad Samurai Giveaway

Thank goodness I got my share of summer while I was still in Houston. Spending a month in Africa was sunny, but still a bit nippy, and definitely not that green. Our first week back in Canada was hot and humid, but that was an anomaly. Toronto didn’t get much of a summer this year, either.

However, while I am no farmer, I think one thing that has benefitted from the rainy days has been the blueberries. The wild blueberries were unbelievably big this year and the cultivated ones, even more massive. Rob tried to warn me when I loaded up with some cultivated blueberries: They don’t taste that great, he whispered to me. Turns out they were big and blueberry-delicious. And I didn’t have to share them with Rob. Score! :)

Without restraint, I added them to my morning oats and carefully crafted this salad courtesy of Terry’sFrom Salad Samurai. A multi-component, main dish salad with a spinach base, filled with cucumber and blueberries, beefed up with Ginger Beer tofu and topped with sticky, sweet & savoury almonds with Chinese 5-spice. I tried to stay true to the recipe, but only changes were to decrease the tamari because it was an ever-present ingredient in nearly all the components. I also did not want to turn on my oven for the tofu, so I pan-fried it in its marinade. It wasn’t as crispy as it would have been baked, but still good. The star of the salad, other than the big blueberries, were the Chinese 5-spiced glazed almonds which were perfectly balanced with the tamari, agave and the Chinese 5-spice imparted an interesting edge that I did not expect to taste so good.

This was not my first salad from the cookbook and it will certainly not be my last. Because the salads are huge ensembles of dressings, flavoured mains and interesting toppings, it can be hard to settle down and make an entire salad. Terry has some tips to master your art of making heavenly salads throughout the week. I have been picking and choosing each component separately, although, I really want to make everything: Thai Seitan Larb in Lettuce Cups, Lentil Pate Banh Mi Salad Rolls, East-West Roasted Corn Salad, Green Papaya Salad with Lemongrass Tofu, Miso Edamame Succotash Salad, Seitan Bacon Wedge Salad with Horseradish Dressing, Kimchi Black Rice with Asian Pear, Collards and Sweet Potato Crunch Bowl… ok, ok, I will stop. I basically want to make everything. The recipes are grouped by season and feature salads with loads of flavour from lots of fresh vegetables (no kidding) but also fresh herbs and spices. Terry also has a fun chapter for sweet salads, including a coconut carrot cake salad and overnight oats with Mexican chocolate creme that are calling out for salads for breakfast and dessert, too. Trust me, I am looking forward to cooking through this throughout the whole year.

Thankfully, the publisher is letting me share the recipe AND give a cookbook to one reader living anywhere in the world (since I will be shipping it). To be entered, please leave a comment here, telling me about your favourite salad. I will randomly select a winner on September 5, 2014. Good luck!

Blueberry Tamari Greens Bowl & Salad Samurai Giveaway

Other recipes from Salad Samurai shared elsewhere:

Almond Butter Hemp Dressing

Asparagus Pad Thai Salad

The BKT (Bacon.Kale.Tomato) Bowl

Backyard Buffalo Ranch Caesar Salad

Coconut Bacony Bits

Coconut Samosa Potato Salad

Curried Tempeh and Apple Salad in Radicchio Cups

Fiery Fruit and Quinoa Salad

Grilled Kale Salad with Spicy Lentils

Herbed Pea Ricotta, Tomato and Basil

Mexican Roasted Corn Salad with Avocado (Esquites)

Pepperoni Tempeh Pizza Salad

Pesto Cauliflower & Potato Salad

Polish Summer Soba Salad

Seitan Bacon Wedge Salad with Horseradish Dressing

Smokehouse Chickpeas ‘N’ Greens Salad

I am sharing this with Souper Sundays and this month’s Vegetable Palette.

(more…)

Mango Coconut Cups

Posted in Desserts by janet @ the taste space on August 26, 2014

Raw Mango Coconut Cups

Third time was a charm. Rob and I finally got our internet at home this weekend. (YES!)

We also moved all our stuff previously stored in my brother’s basement.

I can no longer find my computer, though.

I mean, I know where it is, but it blocked by too many boxes to unpack.

OMG. We have a lot of stuff. I am truly a hoarder (of sorts).

Living a year without most of the stuff will make it easy to purge. Easier, I should clarify.

I am hoping to rebuild a decluttered home, but we have many boxes ahead of us. In time.

Otherwise, here are some quick and easy desserts to try. No need to wait too long for your mango to absorb any water, just blitz away. I added a touch of lemon zest to accentuate the sweetness of the mango. The coconut makes this luscious and decadent. These are more akin to a non-chocolate truffle in their consistency. I don’t think they would work well as a ball, which is why I put them in the small cups. Another alternative would be to pour the batter into a small square container and then cut them into your preferred size. Enjoy!

Hoarder or purger? Which are you?

I will hopefully become a ruthless purger.

Raw Mango Coconut Cups

(more…)

Raw Italian Stuffed Peppers with Sausage Pate (& Raw Italian Pate Collard Wraps)

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on August 23, 2014

So, it is late August. We moved back to Toronto at the beginning of August. Our stuff from Houston arrived, and our stuff we squirrelled away in my brother’s basement will be arriving this weekend. Unfortunately, one key link remains broken: the internet. We have been waiting for our internet to be installed for 3 weeks now.

I have internet through my cellphone but otherwise, our tap into the internet is dry. As such, I am *still* relying on oldie-but-goodie recipes I photographed earlier, lurking in my drafts, waiting for the right moment to share.

This was a delicious nut pate I made when I had access to fresh herbs in my garden. While I am not a fan of raw pates, I will concede that I wasn’t trying to make a pate with this meal. That is what happens when you over-process nut meat! I was aiming for nut-based Italian sausage crumbles, but with a few too many whirls with the food processor, it turned into a delicious, chunky spread instead.

This is no bland pate, though. First of all, I wanted to lighten up the nut meat by adding some mushrooms.  I used oyster mushrooms because they have a very mild flavour and I dare say you couldn’t taste them anyhow. I pulsed the nuts (pecans and Brazil nuts) with a handful of fresh herbs: rosemary, basil, thyme and sage. It was the last-minute addition of sun-dried tomatoes that added not only a great burst of flavour, but also turned my sausage crumbles into a pate.

There are countless ways to enjoy this spread and I originally ate it solo, stuffed into a bell pepper. For leftovers, I smeared it into a collard wrap topped with assorted spiralized or thinly sliced vegetables (zucchini, beet, carrot, cabbage) and a beautiful sprout garnish. I almost didn’t photograph the haphazard (leftover) collard wraps, but Rob urged me to reconsider. They were definitely pretty, too, and mighty tasty.

Enjoy!

I am sharing this with Shaheen’s Mellow Yellow challenge, Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck and Simple and In Season.

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Quick & Easy Cajun Red Beans and Rice

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on August 19, 2014

Quick & Easy Cajun Red Beans and Rice

Sorry for a not-too-appealing photo, but trust me, this was very tasty. This was the other meal we packed for our travels.. aka, we made with the remnants in my fridge in Houston but it tasted downright delicious. Quick and easy, I used the last of the vegan chorizo, leftover rice and emptied the can of small red beans I had been saving in the cupboard. A bit of tomato paste to make it saucy and a dash of Old Bay seasoning to complement the flavours from the chorizo.

After it tasted so good, I also had to photograph it in Africa. While dreaming up a descriptive name, I realized it was uncannily similar to Cajun Rice and Beans. In my mind, I must have known the flavours were akin to my previous Southern black eyed peas with tomatoes, where I also substituted Old Bay for Cajun seasoning. Perhaps a mirepoix of celery and bell pepper (and less tomato) would make this more authentic, but for shear simplicity and flavour, this was great.

Do you prefer authentic recipes or simply delicious recipes?? :)

I am sharing this with Speedy Suppers.

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Quinoa Protein Bowl & Healthy Lunch Box Ideas

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on August 17, 2014

Gena's Quinoa Protein Bowl

Lately my meals have been a lot of random foods. I am holding out. I knew I had some staples waiting to be unpacked but quickly replenished my perishable staples (tahini, peanut butter, maple syrup, etc). As such, the last few weeks have had me cooking without spices, relying on strong-flavoured ingredients and let’s be honest, I bought some pre-made soups and added some beans to make it a complete meal.

I promise to share some of my fun meals once my home is back to normal. Until then, I will continue to unearth some oldies-but-goodies from my backlog. I chose to share this one because it is actually pretty similar to what I am eating these days: cooked quinoa, random vegetables, beans, topped with a creamy sauce.

Please head over to Sunny’s site for the recipe for the Quinoa Protein Bowl (35g protein/serving) which I am sharing for her (gluten-free and dairy-free) Healthy Lunchbox Ideas 2014.

What is your template for healthy lunches?

Gena's Quinoa Protein BowlI am sharing this with the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck.

Savoury Chickpea Crumbles

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on August 14, 2014

avoury Chickpea Crumbles

Hourray! Our stuff from Houston arrived! Six weeks after we left and a week later than expected. Our scheduling goof-up was that the Canadian Customs will not let your unaccompanied goods enter Canada until you do. So since we went straight to South Africa from Houston, our stuff could only enter Canada after we had returned. The extra delay was due to paperwork problems, out of our control. Anyways, it is here now.

As Eileen said, the worst part is knowing stuff is going to arrive and putting off buying duplicates. So I have been cooking without spices and exotic ingredients. Oddly enough, this was also how I was cooking towards my final days in Houston.

Just to show you exactly what we were cooking down to the wire, this was a delicious concoction we threw together with fridge remnants the day we moved. Rob and I still had a day at work before we took off for 2 overnight flights. I knew I needed some fuel, so my Mom helped at the stovetop as I suggested combinations of ingredients.

Towards to end of my stint in Houston, all of a sudden, I wanted to try.all.the.things, aka all the faux meats at Trader Joe’s. Even though I don’t normally eat them, my positive experience with Beyond Meat told me to branch out a bit and try them while I still could.

The next on deck were TJ’s beefless crumbles and my limited kitchen conferred a surprisingly tasty meal. The crumbles didn’t have too much flavour on their own but this worked really well. I am accustomed to the traditional onion and garlic aromatics but the simple addition of roasted green chiles (has anyone found these in Toronto???) and sun-dried tomatoes made that unnecessary. This was a quickie and delicious meal.

I just ate this as is, but this could easily be added as a filling for a taco or burrito and topped with extra veggies.

Do you cook without aromatics? What do you replace them with?

avoury Chickpea Crumbles

I am sharing this with No Waste Food Challenge.

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Raw Cinnamon Spice Ice Cream Cake

Posted in Desserts by janet @ the taste space on August 12, 2014

Raw Cinnamon Spice Ice Cream Cake

I was hoping to update you with happy news that our stuff had arrived. Sadly, no. A mix up at the customs warehouse means we are still without all stuff. Except our car. We have that because my parents’ drove it down, hoping to help us unpack, only to find out our pod was not coming, as expected.

Anyways, I am ahead of myself. I am still reliving last weekend’s debacle.

Curious as to how so many people were able to help when we were stranded with the car in the middle of nowhere?

Turns out my brother and sister-in-law were also driving back to Toronto around the same time. They were in Ottawa for my SIL’s baby shower and we both left around the same time and thank goodness, they were still reasonably close when our distress call went out.

My mom hosted a fabulous shower and I had very little involvement. Other than suggesting some menu changes as there were limited vegan options. Considering I finagled 3 dishes, it was in directions only. I suggested some tried-and-true favourites for the appetizers: Pineapple and Cucumber Guacamole (my SIL stole the leftovers, so that was a success!), Cucumber Hummus Dip (very well received), and my Moroccan Chickpea and Carrot Salad as my main. I added a bit of cinnamon this time and liked that, too. I actually made a double batch so I could take the leftovers, but alas, they never made it. I hope my Mom liked it instead.

Raw Cinnamon Spice Ice Cream Cake

My mom totally outdid herself with the desserts (so.many.pretty.cakes!) so I knew any dessert I made would just be for myself. This was my experiment. And it was a very good experiment.  My Mom treated herself to a new Vitamix so I took full use of it!

I used Brandi’s recipe as my inspiration for this cinnamon spice vegan cheesecake. It was also my first time playing with a cake swirl!  I really liked the the cake. I think lemon juice would be great here, but I swapped it for orange juice, since that was what my parents’ had on hand. I also swapped a fresh apple for the apple juice. Because this is oil-free (no coconut oil or coconut butter), it is softer than my previous raw cheesecakes. This just means that you need to time it perfectly before you can eat it. If you leave it out at room temperature too long, it will melt into a softer cake. I liked it with still a bit of bite from the freezer, thus this was definitely an ice cream cake!

My swirling wasn’t perfect but this just means I will have to try again with my next attempt. (See my tips below for my next round).

Raw Cinnamon Spice Ice Cream Cake

I am sharing this with Bookmarked Recipes. (more…)

Roasted Creole Cauliflower

Posted in Favourites, Sides by janet @ the taste space on August 7, 2014

Roasted Creole Cauliflower

I spoke too soon.

You know when you plan for something, know you won’t be having internet for a while and schedule a post about what life will be like (because you planned for it to be as so)?

Well, let’s just say I planned to have a semi-functioning household. En route to our new home in Toronto, packed to the brim with loaner things (you know, all the necessities: an inflatable bed, sheets, cutlery, pot, frypan, containers and all that food you made for the following week so you wouldn’t actually have to cook..), an hour and half into our trip from Ottawa, my car breaks down. We pulled off to the side of the 401 as my dashboard went bonkers and the engine stopped working.

Roasted Creole Cauliflower

I pulled out my cell phone. Three days earlier I had finally signed up for service. Although, looking down, my phone told me I had no service. (Bad WIND!) Not good.

Thank goodness Rob’s phone still worked, despite roaming and despite me previously draining the battery surfing the internet.

Roasted Creole Cauliflower

Frantic phone calls eventually got my brother and pregnant sister-in-law to my side who had the rational idea to tow the car back to Ottawa and they would drive Rob and I along with a few essentials.

We called CAA/AAA with my brother’s charged phone, despite being on hold and having dropped calls, only to find out our membership expired last month (GAH!). Membership offices are closed because it is a holiday.

We contact my Mom, who has a CAA membership and she offered to come down and help out. We knew it would be at least 90 minutes for her to arrive.

Roasted Creole Cauliflower

We start rearranging luggage on the side of the highway. Non-essentials in the dead car. Essentials in my brother’s. I had to make quick decisions: clothes and underwear keep, inflatable bed keep (but forgot the pump and sheets!) and also realized there was no room for all of the packed food and the container with all the helpful bits (pot, pan, knives, etc).

An OPP police officer pulls over and asks us what was going on. It must be such a sight with all of us scurrying around, including a pregnant woman and someone with crutches. He calls a tow truck to remove us from harm’s way and told us to be careful (turns out someone had died earlier that day after exiting their car).

Not too long afterwards, the tow truck arrives. The car is loaded onto the flatbed truck and brought to the closest safe location as we patiently wait for my mother to arrive.

Eventually, my Mom is able to call CAA for us and she returns with the car back to Ottawa. My brother drops us off in our new empty home. (Kind soul, he actually waited with us for 30 minutes as we waited for our landlord to give us the keys). We forgot we have no microwave.

Once we’re somewhat settled, Rob runs off to the grocery store since we have zero food. And no tokens for the bus to get to work tomorrow. He comes back loaded with groceries. We quickly eat the ready-made salads and hummus.

I ask for his can opener for the beans. (Because salsa+beans=meal).  It is in the bag that went back to Ottawa. GAH.

I subsequently call up a friend and we cobble together some kitchen necessities to borrow: cutlery, can opener, bowls and plates. And a pot!

We collapse on the inflatable bed. Exhausted but at the same time basking in the love and support from family and friends. Ready for me to start my first day at work.*

*With my vacation clothes I packed for Africa.

*

If you are here for the lovely recipe instead of the dramatic life of Janet (I can’t make this up!), this was made while I still lived in Houston. This was our go-to roasted cauliflower recipe. A tomato base with a savoury spice blend. The original recipe was for a raw version, using the dehydrator, but we have been using tomato paste and the oven since it is both delicious and simple. A great side with lots of flavour.

Perhaps in a week or so I will be back to normal. Have you ever felt like the universe was pushing against you?

Roasted Creole Cauliflower

I am sharing this with Bookmarked Recipes and Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck. (more…)

Creamy Curried Lentil Salad

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Salads, Sides by janet @ the taste space on August 5, 2014

Creamy Curried Lentil Salad

It is nice to be home again. While I have a very bare kitchen (some borrowed knives, cutting board, pot and frypan only with a few containers), I am still happy to be starting my new life. We had dedicated more time for unpacking over the long weekend, but since we had nothing to unpack, we spent more time at my parents, thoroughly exploiting their fully functional kitchen.

We quickly gravitated to make old favourites: Tamarind Lentils, Pad Thai, and Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad. Then, finally itching to make something new, I decided to make a spin on two of my other favourite salads, aka The Best Lentil Salad and The Best Chickpea Salad. This time, I used lentils, capers and currants but with a dressing more similar to the tahini-maple-curry dressing from the chickpea salad. I added some greens, too, which I like to add to lentil salads. It was so delicious, it barely lasted one meal.

Got to love simple salads like this. What is your favourite summer salad?

Creamy Curried Lentil Salad

I am sharing this with My Legume Love Affair hosted by Lemon in Ginger, No Croutons Required, Healthy Vegan Fridays, Credit Crunch Munch,  Souper Sundays and Eat Your Greens.

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Links with a Focus on Madagascar & Travel

Posted in Events/Round-Ups by janet @ the taste space on August 2, 2014

madagascar baobab alley

Usually my vacations are fast and furious. I wait until I get home to relax as I would rather be exploring a new country. This last vacation was different. With a full month at our disposal along with a lot of time for spent in transit, I had a lot of “spare time”. Thankfully I had my Pocket fully loaded and ready to read. Here are my recommended reads in case you want something for this long weekend and beyond:

My Thoroughly Tested Travel Tips

I agree with all of Lisa’s tips. Rob has taught me many of them along the way. A new tip we really liked, too: free international roaming. Get it if you can.

Anthony Bourdain: How to Travel

Rob and I have begun to watch Parts Unknown and reading his travel tips are interesting. Does he recommend checking his bags? And what about food on the airplane?

How Airbnb and Lyft Finally Got Americans to Trust Each Other

We much prefer staying at places through Airbnb and managed to do this in Johannesburg and Capetown during our last trip. We spoke a bit with our awesome host in Capetown about Airbnb travellers. We tend to have an adventurist nature but honestly, I do not worry with reputable hosts.

Only in Madagascar

Although a few years old, this is a more elaborate vacation experience than I could ever write but very similar to our experiences.

But I have to be honest. Lemur-watching, like bird-watching, takes a bit of concentration. For most people it’s probably not going to pack the same adrenaline punch as a typical African safari, infused with that exhilarating, almost spiritual sense of being out on the open veldt, with lions stalking their kill. Yet tracking lemurs offers something different, perhaps an even more intimate, delicate view of nature.

Maybe in America

This article is also about Madagascar but highlights its unstable nature even after the election earlier this year. It was hard to travel in a country which had been shunned from the global aid community after the 2009 coup. Emotionally and physically hard.

It has been instructive to see all these pressures up close here in Madagascar, one of the poorest countries in the world. The globalization of illicit trade has left Madagascar exposed to Chinese merchants working with corrupt officials here to illegally import everything from valuable rosewood timber to rare tortoises. Some global textile manufacturers set up factories then quit when the politics turned too unstable. Mandatory education here is only through age 15, and it’s in the local Malagasy language. That makes it hard to compete in a world where some developed countries are teaching computer coding in first grade.

And then there’s Mother Nature: the population of Madagascar is exploding, and the forests and soils are eroding. The soil for agriculture here is iron rich, nutrient poor and often very soft. Since 90 percent of Madagascar’s forests have been chopped down for slash-and-burn agriculture, timber, firewood and charcoal over the last century, most hillsides have no trees to hold the soil when it rains. Flying along the northwest coast, you can’t miss the scale of the problem. You see a giant red plume of eroded red soil bleeding into the Betsiboka River, bleeding into Mahajanga Bay, bleeding into the Indian Ocean. The mess is so big that astronauts take pictures of it from space.

So Similar, So Different

I read this in Madagascar and while it is about the sharp differences in experiences from someone born in America and Myanmar, it resonates equally well with those living in Madagascar.

The Organ Detective: A Career Spent Uncovering a Hidden Global Market in Human Flesh

All about Nancy Scheper-Hughes’ quest to expose the world’s market for human organs for transplantation.

How Cubans’ Health Improved After their Economy Collapsed

After meat and dairy disappeared during the collapse, Cubans became vegan virtually overnight. Along with reduced calories, their health improved. Fascinating article.

When Bananas Ruled the World

When I travelled to Morocco my friend was really excited about eating a banana.She wanted to taste a non-Cavendish banana that we’re eating in North America. While the history of the banana in America is not new, it is a fascinating story about the real Banana Republics.

The mass-produced banana first came to the United States in the 19th century. As the next century rolled on, buccaneering banana men pioneered such innovative business practices as propping up puppet heads of states throughout Latin America, keeping them in power through corporate largesse, and exploiting local workers, when not actually encouraging local governments to enslave or kill them. By building railroads, in exchange for land for plantations, United Fruit tightly entwined itself with the economies of many countries, and came to own huge swaths of Central America. Its reach was so extensive that it became known as “the Octopus.”

Lance Armstrong in Purgatory: The After-Life

As much as I cycle, I do not follow sport politics but this is a lengthy look at Armstrong’s aftermath.

The Epic 2,200-Mile Tour De France Is Also A Test Of Epic Eating

On the subject of cycling… and the nature of their eats while on the Tour de France. Mint and melon coulis with blueberries and raspberry and praline, anyone?

 

What good reads have you read lately?