the taste space

Cuban Beer-Infused Black Beans & Cookbook Giveaway

Posted in Book Review, Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Sides by Janet M on March 4, 2014

Cuban Beer-Infused Black Beans

Vegan cookbook lovers rejoice! Today is a great day for vegan cookbooks. I counted at least 3 different vegan cookbooks being published today.

For my deluge of cauliflower recipes, I really appreciated Eileen’s comment about food trends. Basically, she said seeing an ingredient repeatedly can actually be quite boring. So in that vein, instead of reviewing the more popular vegan options, I thought I’d share a hidden gem: Meatless All Day.

Meatless All Day Cover

At first, I was hesitant to review it because it is not a vegan-only cookbook. Instead, there is a mix of vegan and vegetarian options. Vegan options are clearly marked but in the rest of the cookbook, some recipes use eggs and cheese (and sometimes butter, but that is an easily solvable problem). However, the recipes are inventive and even if you are vegan, you can gain inspiration from different combinations of ingredients or the gorgeous photography. I am itching to try the Miso-Glazed Tofu which was inspired by Nobu’s Miso-Glazed Black Cod (which I loved in my pre-vegan days).

In truth, the real reason I wanted to touch bases with the publisher was because I desperately wanted to share this recipe. Because I know my beans recipes, and this was possibly one of my favourite bean dishes to date.

Black beans are simmered with a Farmhouse ale, cumin, tomatoes, a touch of coconut milk and lime juice and if you ask me, the best part was using the roasted hatch chiles. They are a fairly mild chile but add a lot of flavour which melded so well with the rest of this dish. The dish hit all the markers: sweet, salty, spicy and bitter perfectly.

Shiner FM 966 Ale

For the beer haters in the audience (that’s me!), you cannot taste the bitter hoppiness (thank goodness!) but it adds a different dimension to the beans. If you are a beer hater and unsure what to make with the rest of your can of beer, may I suggest beer-soaked fries?

A side of roasted plantain chips would be great too. The original recipe was actually a Cuban Black Bean Stew with plantain chips, but I simmered away the stock until it became a caramelized thick coating instead. Delicious. And easier to transport as lunch leftovers, too. Do I know why it is considered Cuban? Not at all..

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to share the recipe (with my modifications, of course) AND giveaway the cookbook to a reader ANYWHERE in the world! BOOYAH!  To be entered in the random draw for the cookbook, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite meatless meal. The winner will be selected at random on March 15, 2014. Good luck!

Cuban Beer-Infused Black Beans

PS. This is my submission to this month’s My Legume Love Affair.

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Jackfruit and Kimchi Sweet Potato Poutine with Tofu

Posted in Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) by Janet M on September 21, 2013

Jackfruit and Kimchi Sweet Potato Poutine with Tofu

Compared to most other fellows, I have it pretty good. Right now, I have very limited call and my hours are fairly regular. However, I still spend around 12 hours at the hospital each day, plus an hour for my commute. This is partly self-induced since my first few hours are spent at the hospital fitness center. It is quite impressive. I still marvel at their selection of classes that start prior to 7 am (4-5 different classes depending on the day).

In any case, it is no wonder that Rob, working from home, with regular hours and no commute, has more time on his hands. The best part is that it has transcended into the kitchen for some delicious meals. Epic meals, at that. Rob has been neglecting his blog, especially for recipes, so I’ve decided to blog his culinary creations. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on this one.

One of our favourite restaurants in Toronto is Banh Mi Boys and we nearly always ordered their tofu-kimchi sweet potato poutine. It is a riff on traditional poutine, a Canadian delicacy of potato fries covered in gravy and cheese. Their Asian fusion version has crispy sweet potato fries (our request), covered with kimchi, marinaded tofu, sprinkled with green onions and the mayonnaise is on the side (as per our request). Hannah shared a lovely photo of it here. They also have a pulled pork version for carnivores.

We have been fantasizing about making our own version for awhile, after we discovered how wonderful beer transformed sweet potatoes into crispy fries. With the boon of (vegan) kimchi, it was only a matter of time. Beer-Soaked Sweet Potato Fries + BBQ Jackfruit meat + kimchi + baked tofu. Rob added mayo to his which is what he photographed. He took all the photos for this, including step-by-step documentation of the components.

Jackfruit and Kimchi Sweet Potato Poutine with Tofu

Jackfruit and Kimchi Sweet Potato Poutine with Tofu

Jackfruit and Kimchi Sweet Potato Poutine with Tofu

Jackfruit and Kimchi Sweet Potato Poutine with Tofu

Don San Foods vegan Kimchi

I didn’t want this to fade away into our memories, so here’s to a special recipe for you to try, too.

PS. For those interested, Rob shared the photos from our Portland, Oregon and Burning Man vacation here.

Jackfruit and Kimchi Sweet Potato Poutine with Tofu

This is my submission for this month’s Bake Fest, and to this month’s Four Seasons Food for Sliding into Autumn.

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Crispy Beer-Soaked Sweet Potato Fries

Posted in Favourites, Sides by Janet M on March 8, 2013

Beer-Soaked Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

If my weakness is beans and greens, Rob’s weakness is beer.

I may hoard and admire my (completely edible) bean collection. Likewise, Rob drinks through his beer collection. I will admit that I know very little about beer, other than I have yet to meet a beer I like. Rob has given up on getting me to sample his beers. I am pretty confident that whatever makes a beer a beer (hops?) is what I don’t like, which cannot be masked by hints of chocolate or lime or whatnot.

When we travelled to Quebec last summer, we made sure we stopped off at a beer store to stock up on beers that are not easily available in Toronto. We found a beer haven closeby, Veux-Tu Une Biere?, that had over 250 different microbrewed beers. Rob picked out beers that tasted like chocolate and raspberry, chocolate and espresso, espresso solo, coriander and orange, lime, pumpkin, juniper berries and orange peel, rye, scotch (yes, scotch beer), cognac (yes, cognac beer) and who knows what else. Without having to worry about customs, we returned with enough beer to last until our move to Houston.

Beer-Soaked Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

Rob let me pick him one to try. He has non-mainstream tastes. His favourite beer last year was a Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout. Let’s just say my father and brother didn’t appreciate it as much as him.  So while at the beer store, I tried to get Rob to buy spruce beer. Turns out you can find that one in Toronto and one of our friends thought it tasted like a forest. A no go. I ended up picking one with a demon on the front. I have classy tastes. (It also said it won a beer award). Turns out my choice was a winner (except I can’t remember what it was). Too bad Rob only bought one. He bought two of the other beers. However, not all beers were as fabulous. Which is lucky for me, because normally Rob says his beers are too good for me to use in the kitchen. They say you shouldn’t cook with a wine you won’t drink, but this is what you do with beer you don’t like. Any beer will do because you cannot taste it.

I cook with wine but don’t cook with beer because I am afraid of that “beer” taste lingering. I bookmarked this highly-praised recipe for beer-soaked fries but it wasn’t until Ellen tried it and reassured me: a) the fries were fantastic “Not sure what the beer does for the outside of the fries, but there is some marvelous alchemy going on…”, and b) you could not taste the beer, did we venture to try our hands at beer-soaked fries. Rob picked out one of his not-so-fabulous beers (a lime pale lager) and whipped up these fabulous fries.

I am not joking. These were resto-quality, crispy (baked) fries. We used a mix of white and sweet potato but I was partial to the sweet potato fries. All you do is marinade the fries for 15 minutes in the beer, then toss with garlic, oil, salt and pepper, and wait a painful 30-45 minutes as they bake. Next time, I may throw other spices on it like I have done before.

Apparently you can reheat the leftovers. I will admit, there was nothing left over. Demolished. All of it. Now to find more yucky beers.

Do you cook or bake with beer? Or just drink it?

Savoury beer uses, here and elsewhere:

Dill and Cheddar Beer Bread

Beer-Baked White Beans at The Bitten Word

Beer-Stewed Pinto Beans (Frijoles Borrachos) by Nava Atlas

Beer Hummus at Sprint 2 the Table

Smoky Chipotle Vegetarian (Beer) Chili with Parmesan-Black Pepper Beer Bread at Joanne Eats Well With Others

Belgium Beer-Bathed Seitan Stew from Vegan Eats World or Vegan Planet

Seitan Goulash with Kraut over Parsleyed Noodles from American Vegan Kitchen

Tempeh Sauerkraut Brew Stew from Vegan Appetite

Vegan Chocolate Guinness Cake from Keep It Simple Foods

Beer-Soaked Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

This is my submission and to this month’s Simple and in Season, this month’s No Food Waste Challenge for alcohol and to this month’s Bookmarked Recipes.

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Dill and Cheddar Beer Bread

Posted in Appetizers, Sides by Janet M on July 8, 2010

There is nothing better than fresh bread right from the oven.When the bread is warm, chewy and literally melts in your mouth. Bliss! Bread need not be difficult to make, and I have had great success with homemade bread (including numerous recipes from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which was great because you could bake small loaves every few days from the same starter batch), but I had yet to make one of those cheese breads you see in the stores. The ones with the goops of melted cheese sprinkled amongst the bread.

I finally decided to try my hand at a cheese bread after being intrigued by a dill and cheddar beer bread posted at Eat Me, Delicious, and originally found at Farmgirl Susan. A beer bread? A bread without yeast? Dill and cheddar, oh my! So off I went and assembled this ridiculously easy bread and popped it in the oven.

First of all, as you could probably imagine this is not your traditional bread (no yeast!) and as such it was a dense loaf. That, coupled with the slight beer tang, is my only gripe. I was hoping for something more fluffy, but I thought the dill and cheddar flavours were delicious. The beer tang mellowed the following day, but that defeats the glorious good times of eating half a loaf of bread straight from the oven. ;)

This is my submission to this month’s No Croutons Required featuring bread. This dish would be perfect with a simple soup as this bread has such complex flavours itself.

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