janet @ the taste space

Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

In Desserts on July 29, 2011 at 6:49 AM

You wouldn’t think a falling bicycle could be so dangerous.

If I was riding it, sure. But not a bicycle falling down next to me!

This time, I wasn’t even riding my bicycle and I was injured.

I was standing next to my bicycle, as it was falling, and the front chainring (or chainwheel or spikey teeth where my gears change) decided to take a piece out of me. A few pieces. A few deep chunks of me. I saw my subcutaneous fat before I started to bleed, and knew it was bad news. In the next instant, blood was pooling down to my sock. I declined an offer for a napkin to wipe the blood off and softly said, “I just need to get to work.”  The nice stranger probably thought I was nuts. Of course, with an injury like that, it only makes sense to wish you were at work if you worked at a hospital!  I hopped on my bike and rode off.  I eventually found my way to the emergency department where I was cleaned up and stitched back together (thank you year 2 medical student).

***disclaimer, possibly gory photo of my leg… Personally, I don’t think it looks too bad, but it is definitely not as appetizing as my mousse!**********

My supervisor remarked that after enduring the injury, freezing and stitching, I deserved a treat. He suggested ice cream. Interesting idea, I thought. Instead of ice cream, I plotted and schemed. I had some avocados at home that I had forgotten to add to some tacos, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. A quick, decadent treat.

Chocolate Avocado Mousse.

Definitely not your typical mousse, it is a light chocolate pudding with a hint of spice. Not airy as you would expect in a mousse. If you would like more of a pudding, don’t add any water but it was good both ways. I adapted Gena’s chocomole, to include a bit of lemon juice, a dash of cinnamon and cardamom and swapped agave nectar for the dates. Next time, I may omit the water completely, and try adding some almond or hazelnut butter for added richness and a more pudding-like consistency. For something more airy, I may try this cashew-based recipe instead.

Thank goodness I have another avocado!

But I won’t wait for a pity-party for my next chocolate fix.

No worries about me, though, because my leg is doing fine, as am I. In fact, the worst thing that has happened is that I am now wearing skirts and dresses (pants irritate my stitches). Becoming quite feminine with my masculine injury, eh?

This is my submission to Ricki’s new Summer Wellness Weekends.

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Millet Bowl with Spinach, Leek and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

In Mains (Vegetarian) on July 27, 2011 at 6:11 AM

This was my first time cooking millet. I still have some learning to do.

There is a trick for plump and fluffy millet. I think I goofed when I stirred in some miso after it had cooked, and forgot to plump it up again. Still, fresh, the millet was lovely. Leftovers, talk about clumpy.

My mission: figure out how make the best fluffy millet. Because it isn’t just for the birds. Nutty and reminiscent of spongy couscous, I really liked it!

Here, a big bowl of millet is topped with pan-seared leeks and spinach, spiced with garlic and chili flakes. Lime juice adds a nice acidity and the toasted pumpkin seeds add a subtle crunch. I adapted the recipe from Whole Foods to Thrive, a nice cookbook highlighting recipes from multiple raw/vegan restaurants across North America, as well as simple home recipes such as this.

The original recipe suggested adding the miso the boiling water with the millet. However, I always thought one wasn’t supposed to boil miso to maintain its nutrients. Instead, I opted to stir it in afterwards. Since miso is a sticky paste, this probably wasn’t the best idea, and could have contributed to its stickiness. Next time, I may omit the miso in the millet and add it to the veggies.

Next time. Because I am on a mission to make better millet. 🙂

This is my submission to this month’s Simple and in Season, to this month’s Healing Foods featuring whole grains and to Ricki’s new Summer Wellness Weekends.

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Raw Mixed Berry Crisp

In Breakfasts, Desserts on July 25, 2011 at 6:07 AM

If I thought the label vegan was stigmatizing, never mind what people think when you tell them you are eating raw food! I have had friends flat out refuse to go to a raw restaurant with me (where’s the meat? where’s the heat? they exclaimed).

Eating raw foods could be as simple a summer salad, or snacking on some fresh fruit, which are not too horrific in the slightest. For those eating only raw foods (not me, don’t worry), this would quickly become boring! This is when it becomes exciting, because the experimentation in raw foods has created some luscious treats, perfect during the hot summer when you don’t want to turn on your stove or oven.

Summer berries are at their prime right now and I know the virtues of eating berries, plain, unadorned, in all their glory.

Let me fill you in on a secret: there is food synergy at play. 1+1 does not equal 2. Combine your favourite summer berries and top with a nutty topping for a delicious crisp. No oven required.

Raw Mixed Berry Crisp
If it were that simple, it wouldn’t as phenomenal.

This is the second secret: macerate your berries. Blend your berries. Use a portion of your berries to create a sweet juice, just as if you baked your crumble and it is oozing those lovely fruit juices. I cringed when I mashed my blackberries (my beautiful blackberries!), but it is what brings this dessert to the next level. It isn’t just berries and nuts.

I was inspired by the recipe in Radiant Health, Inner Wealth and Raw Food Made Easy to create my own Raw Mixed Berry Crisp. I used blackberries and raspberries, which were a wonderful combination, but choose your favourites (blackberry-peach? raspberry-mango? blueberry-pomegranate?). The cinnamon-almond-date topping would work with any fruit!  If you don’t plan to eat everything at once, I suggest keeping the topping separate from the fruit. Sprinkle over top just prior to serving… because if you aren’t going to eat it for dessert, you may as well have it for breakfast! 🙂

Raw Mixed Berry Crisp
This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Wellness, this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Anh from A Food Lover’s Journey.

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Asparagus Ribbon Salad with Mosto Cotto and Almonds

In Appetizers, Salads on July 23, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Indeed, I am really enjoying my spiralizer. But in my life BTS (before the spiralizer), I was still able to make interesting textures from my vegetables.

Usually my Santoku knife got the job done (tedious, but can julienne just fine). Sometimes I would use my mandoline to help with thin, even slices.

Then there were times where my vegetable peeler was the best thing around.

Like for this ribbon salad.

You can make ribbon salads from a variety of vegetables – zucchini, carrot, and cucumber, to name a few.

I am still relishing in local asparagus, and after ogling many shaved asparagus salads, I finally jumped on the bandwagon when I spotted a recipe for a shaved asparagus salad with a balsamic reduction and almonds.

I never knew how diverse asparagus could be. Yes, asparagus can be eaten raw and it is lovely eaten as ribbons.

Ribboning asparagus can be a tedious process, so this is when you actually want to buy the big, fat asparagus (usually I aim for the thinnest stalks possible since they tend to be sweeter). It is easier to grasp the plump spears and lay them flat as you peel away each layer.

Highlight your peeling efforts with a remarkably simple, yet sophisticated dressing.  You can never go wrong with mosto cotto, an aged condensed balsamic vinegar, and here it is complemented by the sweet earthiness of asparagus and the sweet crunch from the almonds.

Asparagus Ribbon Salad with Mosto Cotto and Almonds

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this week’s Healthy Vegan Friday, to this month’s Simple and in Season, and to Ricki’s new Summer Wellness Weekends.

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15-Minute Zippy Garlic-Basil Marinara with Zucchini Noodles

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on July 22, 2011 at 5:47 AM

Please pardon my oven use during the heat wave. The Greek Baked Beans were worth it, though. Delicious lunch-friendly leftovers.

I should be absolved of my wrong doings with this meal. No oven. No stove top. Not even a blender.

Instead, I christened my new spiralizer (thanks Rob!) by making zucchini noodles. I have done julienning by hand, and this is infinitely easier, consistent and pretty! Just look at these long strands of zucchini! In 30 seconds tops, you have your noodles!

Of course, whenever you have a pasta dish, the meal is all about the sauce.

I went for a quick, super easy raw tomato sauce. 15 minutes, tops. I told you, no cooking or blender required.

A love of garlic, a must, though.

Zippy Garlic-Basil Marinara with Zucchini Noodles
Adapted from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth (the original recipe was posted here by Tess), this is a zippy, rich tomato sauce. The raw ingredients really make this sauce pop. All you do is mix together crushed tomatoes, raw garlic, fresh basil, fresh oregano, a bit of olive oil and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, and you’re done!

You’ll be laughing at how simple and healthy this recipe is… but then afraid to bring the leftovers to eat at work, with all that raw garlic. 😛

Now, if you don’t have a spiralizer, this sauce would be equally delicious over linguine or spaghetti, but then you’d have to boil some water for that!

What’s your favourite sauce for zucchini noodles? Or your favourite pasta dish?

This is my submission to this week’s Presto Past Nights, hosted by Anu of Truth Personified, to this month’s Simple and in Season, and to Ricki’s new Summer Wellness Weekends.

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Greek Baked Beans (Gigantes Plaki)

In Mains (Vegetarian), Sides on July 20, 2011 at 6:11 AM

Toronto is having its first long heat wave of the summer. Tomorrow’s forecast is for a high of 38C and who knows what it will feel like with the humidity. It is a positive sauna outside and I don’t like it one bit! 😦

Figures that all I want to make are baked beans. Turning on my oven when my house is already 28C inside. I must be nuts.

Nuts for beans, of course!

I am not bent on making your typical ooky sweet ketchup baked beans. I’ve already done the non-traditional, but uber delicious Mango BBQ Beans (not baked but the stovetop preparation makes this much more summer friendly!). I am talking around-the-world type of baked beans.

Because, every country has a different spin on the classic bean dish.

As Canadians, we add maple syrup.

Apparently vegan New Brunswick-style is to use blackstrap molasses and ginger for a zippy punch.

Or I could go more into southern soul cooking, using baked black eyed peas.

How about Mexican-style with Anasazi Beans Baked with Ancho Chile?

Then there’s Sephardic White Beans with Leeks.

Substitute the leeks with onions, add allspice, cinnamon and cloves, and you have Syrian baked beans.

Or, for a Tuscan influence, bake your white beans with sage and tomatoes. Or try it with rosemary and thyme, instead.

If you were Serbian, you’d bake your white tetovac beans with sweet paprika.

When in Nigeria, you might add curry powder, cumin, coriander, and peanut butter.

A quick glance onto my back porch, with its bountiful flat-leaf parsley, steered me into the direction of Greek Baked Beans (Gigantes Plaki), where giant lima beans are baked with a luscious tomato sauce spiced with smoked paprika, oregano, garlic, parsley and dill.  Already a creamy bean, the giant lima bean is brought to a silky high as it is baked in a delicious sauce. Baking confers even heat distribution and somehow allows the beans to continue to become creamy without losing its shape. Lima beans, if overcooked, can quickly disintegrate into mush if you don’t watch them carefully while they are cooking. Browning the beans during the last 15 minutes, allows a slightly crusty exterior to the top beans. The mixture of textures is wonderful.

Serve slightly warm, or at room temperature, with slices of bread, or just as is, which is my preference along with a sprinkling of fresh herbs.

I fully intend to explore the world of baked beans, one country at a time.
Continuing after the heat wave has subsided, though. 🙂

This is my submission to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Susan, to E.A.T. World for Greece, to this month’s Simple and in Season and to Ricki’s new Summer Wellness Weekends.

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Asparagus and Carrot Salad with a Miso-Walnut Dressing

In Appetizers, Favourites, Salads, Sides on July 19, 2011 at 5:52 AM

Not all nuts are created equal. I have a particular fondness for almonds, pistachios and even hazelnuts on a good day. I adore cashews as well, although they have saturated fats. Walnuts, I do not like as much. Pecans, neither.

But I still use walnuts in my meals. All those omega-3s are good for me, right? Beyond their health benefits, I find they can whip up to be nice and creamy, and have worked well in my energy balls and create a nice base for muhammara, the delicious Middle Eastern roasted red pepper and walnut dip. However, I find that baklava is brought to the next level when you substitute the (traditional) walnuts for pistachios.

With my recent adoration of all things miso, I decided to forge ahead and combine miso with walnuts in this warm asparagus and carrot salad.  Adapted from  Color Me Vegan, you create a lovely miso-walnut dip with mirin, tamari and rice vinegar. It was sweet and creamy and spread nicely over the warm vegetables. Thankfully in Southwestern Ontario, local asparagus can still be found!  It paired well with the asparagus and carrots, but do not let that stop you from trying other vegetables.

I also loved this as a cold dip with freshly-cut vegetables as well (again, carrots worked well!). However, then you’ll need to make a lot more of the dip, because it will disappear quickly!

This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Chriesi from Almond Corner.

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Luscious Lentil and Basil Soup

In Mains (Vegetarian), Soups on July 18, 2011 at 6:08 AM

I had lofty gardening goals. My mom told me not to get disappointed if things didn’t work out as planned. I told her all I wanted was my kale to grow.

Let’s just say my garden is not as prolific as Angela’s.

I know the summer has only just begun, but the only thing I have harvested from my garden has been herbs. Since they are in pots, on my back porch, does it really count as my garden? 😉 (Of course it is, but you know what I mean!)

I can grow mint and basil.

Last year, somehow, I used mint in so many recipes, that I picked my plant clean and it never bounced back. I thought it was a weed, a perennial at that, but it didn’t even come back for a second year (my garlic chives did, though!). Fair enough, my cousin, who also got a portion of the same plant from my mom, also did not get her mint to return a second year. So it isn’t just my black thumb. 😉

I used this as an opportunity to try different varieties of mint. Richters Herbs sells over 40 different kinds, ranging from the wacky like Marshmallow Mint and Cotton Candy Mint to Peppermint and Swiss Mint. We sampled each one before narrowing in on English Mint, Moroccan Mint and Chocolate Mint. My cousin replaced hers with Mojito Mint!

For basil, I know the problem of the flowering basil and thus am really pleased with my Pesto Perpetuo basil that won’t flower.  Just luscious leaves! We also planted some Lesbos basil which has a savoury note and not as pungent as the traditional Genovese basil. My favourite, though, purely by how I acquired it, is my prolific Genovese basil. Remember the 300g of basil I bought when I made the delicious Asparagus, Strawberry and Basil Salad with Mosto Cotto? Since the bunch of basil included the roots, I planted a bunch of the plants into my pot and they have flourished!

Most of my herbs are doing well! The oregano, thyme (English and French varieties), rosemary, Vietnamese coriander, lemon verbena, parsley and cilantro… Even the lemongrass looks bushy! The Thai basil isn’t looking too hot, though, but I didn’t really have any culinary masterpieces picked out for it since I don’t like its anise flavour.

We have some green tomatoes and a few snow peas are beginning to show up, too, but my kale is still tiny. So is my rainbow Swiss chard. I swear my kale is still 6 inches tall and has seemed to have hit a slump in growth. Stuck at 6 inches for the last month. While baby Red Russian kale would be delicious, I only have 4 leaves on each plant! 😉  Hopefully as the summer progresses, they will be revived. 😉

Luscious Lentil and Basil Soup
In an effort to use my bountiful basil crop, without resorting to the typical pesto (yet), I found this delicious lentil soup with veggies and basil in The Natural Vegan Kitchen. It is slightly different than the recipe posted online here and my adapted recipe is below.

I seem to have an affinity for lentils and carrots, and this soup did not disappoint even though it was a minor component. I don’t often cook typical Italian, but the hint Italian flavours of basil, oregano and thyme were lovely in this soup beefed up with sweet potato and cabbage. Of course, the full cup of fresh basil is what brings this soup out of the standard Italian fare.  Scrap soup, I mean stew, even after adding another 2 cups of water. I like my soups hearty, though, so no complaints from my end. 🙂

What are your favourite recipes with basil? This is what I have enjoyed previously:

Blueberry Mango Quinoa Salad with a Lemon Basil Dressing
Asparagus, Strawberry and Basil Salad with Mosto Cotto
Creamy Zucchini and Basil Soup
Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad with Lemon Basil Almond Pesto
Saffron Marinated Paneer Cheese with Fresh Basil, Cashews and Pomegranate Seeds
(not vegan, substitute paneer with tofu)
Spanish Lentil and Mushroom Stew
Asparagus and Chickpea Stir-Fry with Hoisin Sauce

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this month’s Veggie/Fruit A Month with carrots, to this month’s Simple and in Season and to Ricki’s new Summer Wellness Weekends.

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Bulgur and Cantaloupe Salad with Hazelnuts and Mint

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Salads, Sides on July 15, 2011 at 6:15 AM

Rob has the privilege of having a nice breakfast supplied at work.  Each morning, the offerings vary from pancakes, waffles, bacon, sausages, croissants, danishes, muffins, oatmeal, muesli, yogurt, fruit salad, dried fruit and nuts. He complains about the breakfast, though, and shuns most of the menu.  Sub-par baked goods and homemade oatmeal that tastes better, he usually opts for the fruit salad with yogurt and dried fruits and nuts. But even then, he complains about the fruit salad. Too much filler, like honeydew and cantaloupe, where is mango? He wants more pineapple, strawberries and blueberries. Add some papaya, while you’re at it. Apple and pear, too. He wants ginger.

Yes, I am typing this up verbatim as he tells me all his breakfast fruit salad desires.

He has been dubbed a food snob by his co-workers. Rightfully so, if I may add.

To be honest, I felt quite liberated when I stopped eating from the (rare) free lunches provided at work. But if fresh fruit or a nice salad is available, I will gladly snack on that.

Melons don’t tend to get the respect they deserve. After biking, sometimes all I wanted was a big piece of watermelon. And while Rob prefers cantaloupe over honeydew (both “filler” fruit), I prefer the reverse.  On the fruit echelon, berries rank high for me, but variety is important as well.

Cantaloupe very rarely gets paired with anything… a loner, or sometimes with honeydew. Hidden within a fruit salad, it can go unnoticed. Or shunned when it takes centre stage. I enjoy combining fruit into savoury dishes, and my curiosity was piqued when some friends recommended the bulgur and cantaloupe salad in Supermarket Vegan.

Here, we have a seemingly simple salad but the citrus-spiked bulgur salad works incredibly well with the cantaloupe. As with any salad, quality ingredients make this jump to the next level.

First the cantaloupe. I increased the ratio of cantaloupe-to-bulgur ratio, opting to use an entire small cantaloupe for the salad. Choose a firm not overripe cantaloupe for best results.  Next, fresh orange juice is key and I squished 2 Navel oranges to reconstitute the little nuts of bulgur goodness. The original recipe suggested a fine-grain bulgur but I used medium-grain which was perfect. I swapped the herbs around, opting for more fresh mint than parsley, and felt that both had a roll in the flavourful salad. For my nut of choice, I went with hazelnuts that I had unearthed during our move. Again, who would have thought it would work so well? I ended up adding cooked chickpeas to the leftover salad to turn it into a main meal and it was equally delicious.

Heck, who would have thought this whole salad would taste so good? Cantaloupe, you are definitely an unsung hero.

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, and to this month’s Healing Foods featuring whole grains, to this month’s Simple and in Season and to Ricki’s new Summer Wellness Weekends.

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Mexican Cabbage Stir Fry

In Mains (Vegetarian) on July 13, 2011 at 5:57 AM

I feel bad for cabbage. It has become my go-to veggie this summer, actually. It gets shunned like tofu because it is oftentimes poorly prepared.

If you want the best, sweetest cabbage, I suggest braising it for 2 hours. However, I can’t do that every day, especially in the summer when I’d rather not use the oven.

But just like tofu, a cabbage dish can be more about its accompanying ingredients than anything else.  Who says cabbage needs to be boring? Adapted from Happy Herbivore, this is a quick stir fry overflowing with cabbage. Mexican in its flavours with a tomato-based sauce spiced with cumin and oregano, there are also red peppers and black beans for a healthy punch. Top with avocado for a creamy accent.

I found this worked perfectly as a meal for 2-3, but if doubling for a larger portion, you will definitely need a big skillet!

Mexican Cabbage Stir Fry
This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Rachel from The Crispy Cook.

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Sushi Bowl with Asparagus and Avocado

In Mains (Vegetarian), Salads on July 11, 2011 at 6:15 AM

Sushi Bowl with Asparagus and Avocado
I didn’t think I was going to eat any sushi while I was in Vancouver.

But I did.

Trust me, I didn’t succumb to the traditional sushi rolls.

Instead, I had a delicious raw sushi roll at Organic Lives. Completely inauthentic, it was filled with a pecan pate, sprouts, veggies, avocado and mango. With the zippy fruit-based dipping sauce, it was so completely different from any sushi roll I have ever had. The only similarity was that it was a nori roll wrap.

Once the hubbub subsided after I returned home, I was craving a more traditional sushi roll. Without all the hard work of actually rolling the little buggers…

When I visited Japan, one of my favourite meals was eating sashimi at the Tsukiji Market, which is the wholesale marketplace for seafood in Tokyo. With daily auctions, this is where you can eat the freshest fish. The sashimi was unbeatable. I have never been able to enjoy sea urchin anywhere else. So fresh, it was so buttery soft and creamy.

I actually visited Tsukiji two days in a row and sampled sashimi from two different vendors. Both times, I ordered a sushi bowl with an assortment of sashimi. One resto had better sashimi and the other had better rice. The rice was so good, it eclipsed the fish. And I don’t really like rice, actually. I consider it filler in sushi rolls, when I would rather be eating the filling. I tolerate rice for the most part, but here, I learned how great rice can taste.

I have experimented with a few rices since my return, and I still remain partial to a short-grain Japanese-style rice. Recently, I bought the Taiwanese Yih Chuan Aromatic Rice, which has a faint aroma of taro (yes, on sale at T&T). It brings rice to the next level. The rice is nicely flavoured, shaped and most importantly, tastes great.

My whole preamble about rice is because if you are going to make a sushi rice bowl, you should try to use a nice rice! The dressing helps, too. The toppings, too. But let the rice get the spotlight it deserves as it isn’t supposed to be a bland side.

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks, I wouldn’t call this an authentic Japanese recipe, but a lively citrus-flavoured sushi bowl. Top with your favourite sushi toppings such as steamed asparagus, avocado, grilled tofu, and dare I suggest mango? (Mango, next time…). The key to keep this a sushi bowl, and not a rice salad, though, is to include the toasted nori strips. You can buy them pre-shredded, but you could also toast the nori and then cut it into thin strips yourself.

This is my submission to this month’s Healing Foods featuring whole grains, to this month’s Simple and in Season and to Ricki’s new Summer Wellness Weekends. Read the rest of this entry »

Roasted Carrot and Lentil Soup with Harissa and Mint

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Soups on July 10, 2011 at 7:25 AM

I may have lamented about the explosion of condiments, but I am positive Rob was perplexed by my fascination of his hot sauce collection. Coming from me, the Queen of Non Spicy.

Before we moved in, I kept interrogating Rob.

Do you have sweet chili sauce? Yes. Followed by, I put it on anything! It is my favourite condiment!

The next day…

Do you have sriracha? Is that the rooster sauce? Then, yes! But I think that’s too spicy for you…

Do you have sambal oelek? No! That stuff is too spicy even for me!

The next week…

Do you have harissa? What’s that?

By this time, I had my heart set on making this lentil stew with roasted carrots, harissa and mint from Love Soup. My usual go-to substitution of all things chili is my beloved Aleppo chili flakes that I bought in Turkey, more flavourful than spicy.

Then I investigated harissa, a Tunisian pepper paste, and found that it seemed more savoury than spicy with roasted red pepper combined with coriander, cumin, cinnamon and caraway. While you can purchase harissa, the bonus, of course, of making it yourself, is that you can change the recipe to your own palate. While a mixture of hot and mild chilies, like Ancho and New Mexican chilies, are suggested for harissa, I based my version on Bon Appetit‘s recipe since it focused on chili flakes, not whole Ancho chilis. In fact, while modifying the recipe, I was quite bold as I doubled the Aleppo chili flakes, as they are known to not be too spicy. I also substituted cumin for the caraway, added a dash of cinnamon and omitted the sugar. All the spices were toasted and freshly ground. Since I was a bit hesitant how I would handle it, I only made a 1/4 of the recipe the first time.

But I did not need to worry: this zingy but savoury red pepper blend is delicious. It works really well with this soup and while you could make the soup without the harissa, I think you would be missing out on its complexity.

So about the soup…. caramelized, roasted carrots and onions are combined to create a silky sweet soup with lentils. That alone would be a nice soup, but the twist comes from the lemon and mint, and of course the harissa. With my mild-mannered harissa, the soup easily handled 2 tbsp but add with caution because harissa can vary from mild to incredibly spicy! Sweet, sour and spicy… we know this is a winning combination. 🙂

And that is how I contributed to the spicy condiments in the new house. 🙂

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this month’s Veggie/Fruit A Month with carrots, to this month’s No Croutons Required featuring hot peppers, to E.A.T. World for Tunisia, to Ivonne at Cream Puffs in Venice for this week’s Magazine Mondays, to this month’s Simple and in Season and to Ricki’s new Summer Wellness Weekends.

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Pomegranate-Lime Asparagus Quinoa Salad

In Mains (Vegetarian), Salads on July 8, 2011 at 5:43 AM

Aren’t I lucky to have a guy who will make me The New Best Salad Ever? Rob is also more likely to repeat his recipes, so I am hopeful it was make a reappearance soon!! 🙂  If you don’t believe Rob, take it from me: It was fabulous, heavenly, and a whole lot of swear words came out when I wanted to describe how wonderful it was… although I am not sure why swear words describe it so eloquently. Perhaps because I don’t swear often, and I rarely eat a salad so awesome. Every component was delicious (it helped that we had perfectly ripe Ataulfo mangoes) and together they were golden. I usually do not go to the trouble of so many different components, but this was so worth it. It wasn’t just fried tofu, it was marinaded tofu with roasted garlic. It wasn’t just rice, it was cilantro-lime rice. And then there was the perfect mango salsa overtop. Fresh carrots and cabbage for crunch. Sweet baby spinach. This is how you make epic salads…

But let me tempt you with another delicious salad.

It may not be the typical pomegranate season, but they were on sale at Sunny’s last week.  Pomegranates from Chile must have their own special season. . which thankfully allows me to enjoy pomegranates in the summer!

In fact, since many of my friends and family are heading (or went) to Turkey recently, it had me salivating when I remembered my summer love affair with pomegranate molasses. Sweet and sour, tart and delicious, how could I ignore you for so long?  Since I have moved in with Rob, this may become a trio. Heck, Rob’s love affair with mangoes persists, so I guess we’re even. 🙂

(For the record, I finished my first bottle of pomegranate molasses within 6 months and now that Rob and I have bunked up, we have TWO open bottles!)

I based this salad on my Turkish Bulgur Salad but added in steamed asparagus and served it overtop baby greens for a glorious feast.  It had all the elements of a nice main meal salad with quinoa, asparagus and greens. The dressing is tart from the pomegranate molasses with a background of lime. The chili flakes are optional, but I liked the zip it added. The pomegranate seeds and almonds add a nice crunch. Better than the (since dethroned) Best Salad Ever?  I’m not sure… A variation on a similar theme, that’s for sure! 🙂

Now to bring back the bulgur bonanza!

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this week’s Healthy Vegan Friday, and to this month’s Healing Foods featuring whole grains, and to Ricki’s new Summer Wellness Weekends.

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The New Best Salad Ever (Roasted Garlic Tofu Salad with Cilantro Rice, Black Beans and a Mango Salsa)

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Salads on July 6, 2011 at 5:52 AM

Hi! It’s Rob again. I know that I haven’t posted here in a while. A few months ago I was worried about Janet’s blog when she was going through a really busy time at work. I’ve realized, however, that Janet has many dozens of recipes on deck waiting to be posted and she always had things well in hand. I knew that The Taste Space would forge on boldly without my extra help.

I’m back, though. A couple days ago I made a salad which both Janet and I agreed was the best salad we’d ever had in our lives. It was simply amazing. There was a cacophony of bold flavours bursting with every bite. There were so many things going on. Every portion was enhanced for extra action and pleasure. I knew that I had to share it here.

The salad is the Uptown Salad, adapted from Radiance 4 Life by Tess Challis. Janet suggested it to me as something that was up my alley. It only took me a few seconds of looking at the recipe for me to decide that I had to make it. It hit many of my ingredient buttons: mangoes, coconut, tofu, cilantro, citrus, and chilies. And that’s the just the beginning.

The recipe suggested that it would take 30 minutes (or less!) to prepare the recipe. No way. It took me an hour and a half of chopping, shredding, soaking, slicing, and frying. I was getting cranky by the end. This salad was more work than advertised. The verdict was going to come when we finally got to try it.

Janet occasionally uses some swear words. She’s generally a good girl, though, and restrains herself. However, when she tried the Uptown Salad there was a foul concoction of some four swear words in a row. These words were not uttered in anger. They were the stunned response of a girl eating the best salad she’d ever had in her life. These words were an emotional response of extreme awesomeness. This is a salad with the power to move you.

This is being submitted to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this week’s Healthy Vegan Fridays, to this week’s Potluck Party for Best Dish and to Ricki’s new Summer Wellness Weekends. Read the rest of this entry »

Asparagus and Chickpea Stir-Fry with Hoisin Sauce

In Mains (Vegetarian) on July 4, 2011 at 6:39 AM

What’s (one of) the worst thing to amalgamate when combining the homes of two people? (Or three, since stuff was also left behind from our landlords…)


While I have upgraded from a condo-sized fridge, the new full-sized fridge seems so full already as it is nearly packed with condiments! Three tahinis… three bottles of toasted sesame oil… three bottles for soy sauce (which I promptly removed from the fridge)… and Rob, alone, had all things tamarind and mango: 2 containers of tamarind concentrate, tamarind chutney, mango ginger chutney, mango chili sauce, pickled mango in oil. I am no saint, either, bringing the isoteric umeboshi plum paste, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce and some peach-mango salsa, amongst many, many others! Actually, I love isoteric ingredients… the duplicates bother me. 😛 For some reason the soy sauce bottles are NOT built to add liquid in the other way.

I have wanted to make my own hoisin sauce, ever since Rose posted her recipe and I spotted an even more compelling version in The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of the East. However, until I finish the bottle in the cupboard, I will be using the jarred variety.

I am a late bloomer for discovering the quick and easy nature of stir fries, where anything goes, but decided to try to use some of the condiments in the fridge in a stir fry. First one: hoisin sauce, the salty-sweet Chinese barbecue sauce.

Adapted from 101cookbooks, this is a quick stir fry filled with spring vegetables including asparagus, spinach and green onions. The hoisin flavour is augmented by garlic, ginger, chili flakes and a lightness is brought by fresh lime juice and basil. Instead of tofu, I opted to bring back roasted chickpeas to my kitchen, lovely with their nutty flavour. I substituted almonds for the cashews and omitted the mint altogether. But anything goes with stir fries, so throw together your favourite combination of ingredients. 🙂 Just make sure your mise-en-place is ready to go before you heat your skillet – this will be fast! 🙂

For other hoisin sauce love, try my Tofu Hoisin with Baby Bok Choy.

This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Astrid from Paulchen’s Foodblog.

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