Rob was really nice about getting me a new laptop to replace my dying desktop computer. The only problem was the new device had less storage than my old computer. I used to keep my all food photos on my hard drive, but now they are harder to locate on an external device. Please excuse my blog absentia as I work through this. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the ‘Appetizers’ Category
Looking for an easy snack? Perhaps for your next holiday party?
Allow me to suggest these Roasted Maple Rosemary Almonds and Cashews. Read the rest of this entry »
Rob started a new experiment last week: Bring back the homemade lunches.
Not that Rob doesn’t bring lunches to work, but this time, he is making meals specifically earmarked for lunch. And they are sandwiches.
Read the rest of this entry »
Sometimes I have no clue which recipe will appear next on my blog.
I didn’t even think I would post anything this weekend, to be honest, but I made this wicked awesome black bean dip for my cousins and it was gobbled up. I knew I had to share it soon. Read the rest of this entry »
Rob and I have been fine tuning our hosting skills this summer. Rob tends to the grill and I make the sides and dessert. If I am lucky, I also try to make an appetizer. Sometimes we don’t realize how long it will take to grill everything and we don’t want hangry guests, so we always try to have something to nibble on.
Hummus and carrots usually work very well. Complete honesty here, we have been purchasing hummus this summer even though it only takes 5 minutes to whip up delicious dips like our favourite hummus, this Hummus-Tzatziki Fusion or this Spinach Miso Dip.
Bite-size veg filled treats for the win. Although a bit labour intensive, these rice paper rolls are perfect as a light appetizer. They keep well although should not be made too far in advance (the rice paper will get gummy).
I liked this version with just cooked carrots with ginger-sesame flavours and combined with fresh and colourful vegetables and cilantro. The Thai inspired flavours paired well with the peanut sauce spiked with orange zest, garlic and ginger.
I hope to share some delicious desserts next.
As the hot summer persists, let us marry the perfect summer eats. BBQ and salads. And for those without a BBQ, have no fear, this one is for you.
No BBQ needed, the BBQ flavour is completely from the roasted chickpeas. A bit more complex than my bacon-flavoured chickpea croutons, but definitely not any harder than pulling out a few more bottles, these roasted chickpeas are awesome. Smoky, savoury and delicious. You could just eat them with your hand (totally guilty) or add them to a salad for a more complete meal. Here I paired it with salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, purple cabbage, shredded carrots and avocado with a splash of lemon juice. Mix it all together for a fabulous meal.
The smoky roasted chickpeas comes from Somer McCowan’s new cookbook, The Abundance Diet. Somer blogs at Vedged Out and is the originator behind the vegan extra sharp cheese ball and fresh vegan moxarella (a revised version of the mock mozzarella is in her book). The cookbook was borne out of her previous Green Smoothie Challenge.
I am always anxious of leafing through cookbooks marked with words such as ‘diet’, ‘detox’, or the like, but I have no reservations about this cookbook. Somer’s recipes are all gluten-free, plant-based vegan recipes and also, to the astute eye, also free of oil and refined sugars. (The tip-off are the lack of oil in the soups and stews, as I am accustomed to sautéing my onions in oil). Otherwise, the recipes are filled with an abundance of vegetables for creative meals that are relatively easy to make, too.
The recipes span the entire day (breakfast to lunch to dinner including snacks) because there are meal plans that span 28-days (they can be found here if you want a preview). She includes recipes for 26 salads and dressing. The Lentil taco salad was fabulous (even without the roasted red pepper dressing) and her Ultimate Lentil Salad reminds me of my own 11-Spice Lentil Salad with Capers and Currants (and always a hit). Her soups are equally enticing, with meal-type soups like Quinoa Minestrone and her Smoky Split Pea Soup. Others are more vegetable-based which are more suitable as appetizer.
I enjoyed her Moroccan Lentil Soup even though I substituted a handful of fresh dill for the parsley/cilantro. She also has a main dish section with recipes I have been eyeing, such as Chiles Rellenos Casserole Bake with Smoky Chipotle Enchilada Sauce and Homestyle Mexican Casserole. Green smoothies, juices, snacks, dips and desserts round out the cookbook to keep you full throughout the day.
I remember when cookbooks were mostly text, but it is so nice to see excellent photography. Ann Oliverio photographed most of the recipes and they are a treat throughout the cookbook. Just look at the delicious cover photography highlighting the Funeral Potatoes. A funeral for your fat?
Of note, while this is a diet based on vegan abundance, Somer’s narrative highlights the potential ways to expedite weight loss. Some people may not like this tone and I suggest simply enjoying the recipes. Not a fan of stevia? (Me, neither). Simply substitute dates instead for the smoothies or all coconut sugar in other desserts. Or in my case, add some beans to the vegetable-centric meals. In all, the recipes look great and only on closer inspection do they jump out as diet food.
Want your own copy?
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the US. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me what you like to eat in abundance. The winner will be selected at random on August 7, 2015. Good luck!
Recipes from The Abundance Diet spotted elsewhere:
This is another great dish to come out of our cottage escapades.
It was a true pleasure to know that I did not have to worry about vegan options. I brought a few veggie burgers for the grill, but otherwise, the vegetables were plentiful. And avocados. All avocados at the cottage. When you get tired of guacamole (is that possible??), this is a fun dish.
I had been thinking of trying to make chimichurri for a while but hesitant with the amount of parsley in most recipes. Parsley is possibly my least favourite flavour, right up there with celery which is slightly more tolerable. This was great, though. A nice amount of spice that was not overrun by herbs. Chuimichurri is a green typically used for grilled meats but here, the chunks of avocado substituted to make a fabulous dip. The original recipe suggests using it as a bruschetta topping but everyone simply lapped it up by the spoonful. Because it is simple to prepare the chimichurri sauce in advance, this is a fancy looking dip but also very portable and simple to make. I can see this becoming a staple around the barbecue this summer. Enjoy!
What do you like to make with avocado?
Other dishes avocado fans will love:
Long time no chat. A quick turn of events had me in the operating room over a week ago and recently returned home. I was incredibly grateful to be back in Canada when this happened and could only imagine what would have happened in Guatemala with my nearly non-existent Spanish.
In any case, after a surgery, it is normal to progress your diet from clear/full fluids before resuming your regular diet. My mom threw together this soup, not once, but twice, for me to nosh on while in the hospital and once I returned home.
Super creamy from the blended carrots, the ginger is a natural pairing (and possibly helps reduce nausea and vomiting). The addition of the lemon rind (without juice) kept this light and not too acidic (which has been a problem for my belly since surgery). But perhaps most of all, I hope you can see how brightly coloured this soup is. More yellow than orange, it was positively vibrant. It reminded me of Nigella’s happiness soup but this one tasted better. And had no turmeric. I wonder if the nutritional yeast helped to make it more yellow.
As well, thank you for all the positive feedback on the wedding photos. Our photographer had another teaser this week. I cannot wait to see the find photo album.
Carrot soups shared here previously:
I was going to write a post for Thursday but somehow after the shootings on Wednesday, I didn’t feel like blogging. Thankfully everyone I know is fine and it is mostly back to business.
These are a cute appetizer if I ever saw one. Displaying cauliflower’s prowess in the kitchen, it lends as a fun rice substitute for these mock sushi nigiri. I like parsnip’s sweet undertones for sushi (see here and here) so I used a ripe mango to offset the dish with more sweetness. Although the biggest trick for these is definitely how to keep it all together.
The secret is psyllium. There was a time when I made microwave chocolate psyllium cakes fairly regularly (pun unintended) but mostly because they were easy and single-serve. These are a bit more labour intensive (but too cute), so I understand if you turn them into regular sushi rolls, too. I can see myself adding psyllium to raw sushi rolls next time, simply to help them keep their shape better, especially after cutting.
Are you tired of cauliflower yet? I have a lot more recipes to share.
I may not have promoted it here but I am a complete fan of Happy Cow. When travelling, I consult the reviews (and then leave my own) to find the best vegan eats around the world. Not only across Canada and the US, I chronicled my eats while travelling in Germany, Iceland, Mexico, Colombia and South Africa. Rightfully so, there are zero entries for Madagascar.
In any case, I was thrilled when I heard that Eric Brent and Glen Merzer were creating a cookbook featuring recipes from top-rated vegan restaurants, The Happy Cow Cookbook.
The neat part of this compilation was each restaurant’s profile, highlighting their popular and favourite dishes, important lessons as a restaurant owner/chef, and the future of plant-based food movement. Each restaurant shares one, two or more recipes, along with some photographs. As expected with a compilation, the recipes vary with respect to level of difficulty, recipe instructions and photographs. On the whole, the recipes seem solid. Millenium’s Pistachio-Crusted Eggplant Napoleon is way too complex for me to recreate, but makes me want to visit this San Francisco eatery. There is also a recipe for Coconut Tofu and Blackened Tempeh with Grapefruit Yuzu (courtesy of Green in Tempe, AZ) that definitely beyond my reach. However, Lettuce Love Cafe’s Tempeh Reuben looks easy to recreate at home, as well as Netherlands’ Veggies on Fire’s Lemon Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce.
The book is ordered alphabetically, based on the name of the restaurants, which makes it difficult to find recipes. However, the breadth of recipes seems vast with little repeats (although you will certainly find many recipes for vegan cheese!). Recipes vary from Kimchi Nori Maki Rolls and Peruvian Leftovers Pie to Avocado Apple Tartare with Walnut Bonbons to Chicken Fried Tempeh and Carrot Cake with a Vegan Cream Cheese frosting. Sadly, what I was most disappointed, was the abundant use of vegan substitutes (ie vegan cream cheese, sour cream and Vegenaise), although that probably helps prep time for restaurants.
While I have never been to Peacefood Cafe, I was itching to make their “Award-Winning Chickpea Fries” which is basically an Indian-spiced baked fry made with chickpea flour. They were quite easy to make although I regret adding the bay leaf to the spice mixture. It became a predominant flavour and bothersome since I didn’t grind it to a fine powder. I didn’t make the Caesar Dipping Sauce as the recipe perplexed me. I was not sure why there was fermented bean curd in the sauce without directions to pulverize it with a blender. In any case, the recipe below is as seen in the book. Enjoy.
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to share the recipe AND giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the cookbook, please leave a comment below telling me what your favourite vegan-friendly restaurant is (and where). Bonus entry if you share your link to your review on HappyCow. The winner will be selected at random on November 7, 2014. Good luck!
PS. HappyCow Cookbook recipes spotted elsewhere:
Beet Salad with Shallot-Thyme Dressing (from Blackbird Pizzeria in Philadelphia, PA)
Cherry Royal (from Veggie Grill in Hollywood, CA)
Granada Chai (from El Piano in Malaga, Spain)
Kimchi Nori Maki Roll (from Real Food Daily in West Hollywood, CA)
Moroccan Tajine (from SunCafe Organic in Studio City, CA)
Nutloaf (from Wayward Cafe in Seattle, WA)
Pasta with Pumpkin Curry Sauce (from Counter Culture in Austin, TX)
Pickled Beets (from Zen Kitchen in Ottawa, ON)
Pistachio-Crusted Eggplant Napoleon (from Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco, CA)
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon-Brown Sugar Cream (from True Bistro in Boston, MA)
Quinoa Tabbouleh (from Chaco Canyon in Seattle, WA)
Raw Lime Parfait (from Plant in Asheville, NC)
Roasted Spaghetti Squash, Cauliflower, Garlic and Mashed Potatoes with Porcini Mushroom Gravy (from Peacefood Cafe in New York, NY)
Skillet Cornbread (from Cornbread Cafe in Eugene, OR)
Spicy Cha Cha (from The Loving Hut in Houston, TX)
Swiss Bircher Muesli (from Luna’s Living Kitchen in Charlotte, NC)
Other recipes from restaurants I have made:
Candle Cafe’s Paradise Casserole with Black Beans, Millet and Cinnamon-Miso Sweet Potato Mash
Fresh’s All-Star Salad
Fresh’s Miso Gravy
Gorilla Food’s Strawberry Bliss Up Shake
Live Organic Cafe’s Raw Pad Thai
Peacefood Cafe’s Raw Key Lime Pie
I am sharing this with the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck.
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.
Onwards with the 30 vegetable challenge. Instead of using an abundance of vegetables in a single dish, I am focusing on possibly the most popular vegetable. A vegetable that I rarely eat at that: the humble white potato.
White potato has its critics. A high glycemic starchy vegetable that is typically consumed deep-fried or slathered in oil. I actually don’t like the taste of white potatoes, either, preferring its colourful cousin, the sweet potato. In any case, not all white potatoes are created equal and it was most apparent while we travelled in Colombia and enjoyed their local favourite: papas criollas. A small, creamy potato, perfect to eat after a simple boil, although it was also common spotted after a toss in an oiled skillet. Other small potatoes can be reasonable substitutes. I spotted these at our favourite (Mexican-flavoured) farmer’s market and brought them home to make a vegan twist on devilled eggs.
No eggs, no problem. The creamy potatoes are a fun twist for the cooked egg white base and a creamy mustard-hummus filling with a touch of black salt is very reminiscent of the real deal. Sprinkled with a touch of smoke paprika and you have an easy, pretty appetizer. If you have some mad piping skills, you could make this even more fancy.
This recipe is from the latest in the Happy Herbivore cookbook series, Happy Herbivore Light & Lean. For some reason, I have never really warmed up to Lindsay’s earlier cookbooks but this one was different. First of all the photos are gorgeous. Secondly, the recipes appeal to me more.
Her recipes, even if from previous cookbooks, have been lightened up and spruced up with bolder flavours. She has a bigger emphasis on vegetables and less reliance on ketchup and mayonnaise. More complete meals, instead of sides. All her recipes are oil-free and low-fat which I don’t necessarily advocate but did not mind trying out temporarily. Her recipes prove you do not need oil to make food flavourful but I like a bit more fat for satiety. Even if for no other reason, yes, you need some fat to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
The third part of the book includes an introduction to basic strength exercises. She includes good photographs and descriptions of each move with modifications for beginners and those who want a challenge. I like that she included another aspect of healthy lifestyles, beyond nutritious food.
First and foremost, I enjoy sharing delicious food and this cookbook delivers. These deviled eggs are only one recipe but I also recommend the garden vegetable chili, cheater pad thai noodle bowl, breakfast tacos and scrambled tofu.
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to share the recipe (with one of the gorgeous food photos by Jackie Sobon from Vegan Yack Attack, too) AND giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the cookbook, please leave a comment below telling me what you think about no-oil meals. The winner will be selected at random on April 7, 2014. Good luck!
Recipes from Happy Herbivore Light & Lean elsewhere:
Thai Crunch Salad
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Blueberry Yogurt Muffins
Lentil Joes (with a video)
Spinach Love Wrap
Soba Peanut Noodles
Microwave Peach Cobbler
PS. This is my submission to this month’s Anyone Can Cook Fabulous Vegetarian Food.
I tried a little bit harder with this dip.
You had great suggestions for sprucing up my Mexican Black Bean Dip. It was all about the garnishes: salsa, chopped tomatoes, cilantro, and tortillas were all great ideas.
This time I topped the dip with coconut bacon. (I will tell you about the delicious dip in a moment, but first: COCONUT BACON). This was not my first encounter with coconut bacon. I have tried it in many different iterations: lovingly inside a BLT at Aux Vivres, as a snack I brought to Burning Man courtesy of Phoney Baloney, and even a slippery, thick raw coconut bacon made from fresh coconut inside The Naked Sprout‘s BLT.
While I have made raw eggplant bacon before, coconut bacon had been on my hitlist for awhile. I even captured a picture of their ingredient list when I was at Aux Vivres. Definitely one of the benefits of them selling items to go. However, instead of using their ingredient list, I ran with Julie’s recommendation to add smoked paprika to the recipes floating around the web. It worked for the raw eggplant bacon so I was quickly sold on her smoked paprika pitch. It did not disappoint and I liked it better than anything else I had tried. The fact that it made so much is great because we are going to enjoy this for awhile.
But don’t let me distract you from this dip. A cheesy chickpea spread with smoky undertones, it was a fun salty snack I served at our tamalada. We had some delicious chips that needed a dip and this was a great choice. Everyone approved and Rob is adamant about bringing it back into our dip repertoire. I won’t stop him.. and to give him due credit, I only crafted the recipes, Rob executed them with finesse… and then I cobbled together some photographs.
With the Superbowl, Academy Awards and the Olympics on the horizon, this may be the dip-friendly part of the year. If you would like other delicious dips, consider these, too:
Yesterday was Martin Luther Kind Jr. Day. A new-to-us statutory holiday, we celebrated by attending America’s third largest parade. Third behind the Rose Parade and The Macy’s Day Parade. Yes, Houston’s Martin Luther King Jr Parade highlighted marching bands, parade floats, antique cars (and horses!) and attracted an estimated 300,000 spectators. And it was happening a few blocks from my home. So we went. I can’t say I have been to many other parades (other than the Santa Claus Parade) and this was a real treat.
There are a few things on my American bucket list. A few fun things (like Burning Man and visiting National Parks), and then some that others think we should experience to fully appreciate the American culture. Like attend a football game. If you think hockey is big in Canada, football is even bigger in the US. Like huge. I mean, like HUGE. Our neighbour invited us to watch a football game with him but timing never seemed to work out. When I finally approached him again, the Texans had already wrapped up a year that was not their best. I don’t think they even made the playoffs. In any case, I will have to scurry about to find an invitation to a Superbowl party instead. It sounds more up my alley… game day food, no?
Not that I have ever been to a sport watching party before.. with game food. I imagine there would a lot a of nibblers and popcorn… and chips. While I am not sure how I could make this delicious bowl of black beans whipped into a dip look much better (perhaps a garnish or two.. and some colourful veggies for the photo.. or inside a pretty kale wrap), I am sharing it because it was delightful. A spin on hummus, but with nearly everything replaced: black beans instead of chickpeas, pumpkin seeds instead of sesame seeds, lime instead of lemon, and the icing on top: instead of garlic we used fire roasted green chiles. Fire roasted green chiles are much easier to find in the US, whereas I don’t think I ever noticed them in Canada. I have really taken a liking to them since they aren’t that spicy, either. In this dip, they were a perfect foil for the otherwise ugly dip. Eat it with some crackers or vegetables.. and get your leguminous protein fix.
Do you like football? Are you excited for the Superbowl? What will you be serving for game day?
(To be fair, I rarely even paid attention to the hockey games while in Canada, either)
I have been very fortunate to grow up in an environment where brains were valued over beauty. None of my friends were ever on diets. If I made New Year’s Resolutions (I doubt I did; my last decade has been more of a daily self-evaluation), they were short-lived vow to be nicer to my brother. My mother (and brother) may not believe me.
It was only after I started reading food blogs, did I encounter the dizzying world of detoxes, cleanses and diets. Not that I have ever condoned detoxes. Barring liver disease or overdoses, our liver does a great job “detoxifying” our body every.single.day. Imagine my surprise when not one, but two of my friends in Houston told me they were eating 100% raw shortly after New Year’s, spurred by Kristina’s 21-Day Raw Challenge. I love the creativity that comes from cooking/uncooking/eating raw foods, but they complement my cooked vegan eats. Let’s be honest, even in Houston, winter is not the ideal time to go all raw.
My friend hosted a potluck to kickstart her first day on her raw diet and this is what I brought to share. I used it as an opportunity to make something from a new cookbook, Balanced Raw. Raw sushi is easy to share at a party, so I tried the new recipe. I have made raw sushi before, and the recipes are quite similar, but I decided to share this version, too, mainly because Rob took some impromptu sushi rolling action shots. Using a placemat makes sushi rolling very easy. Parsnip rice is spiced with a bit of chile powder and filled with an assortment of vegetables.
A note about the cookbook, though. The recipes are built around a 3-week vegan “cleanse” with a meal plan for every day. The recipes span both raw and cooked meals, but they seem to follow a low-fat 80/10/10 vegan diet. While Kristina is good about mentioning the need to eat enough calories, the meal plans in this book look woefully inadequate calorically. However, the recipes are interesting and would be a useful adjunct to whatever your typical eats may be. There are ideas for vegetables beyond salads. I use raw foods to enhance my vegan diet. It is a great way to eat more vegetables and fruits.
The publisher is letting me give a cookbook to one reader living in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom (YES!). To be entered, please leave a comment here, telling me what you think about cleanses and detoxes. Have you done one? Are you doing one? I will randomly select a winner on January 20, 2014. Good luck!
Balanced Raw recipes elsewhere:
PS. There is still time to enter my giveaway for Superfood Smoothies here.