It is much more obvious in these photos that I like to overstuff my wraps.
With so many different parts, I wouldn’t want each bite to miss out. Read the rest of this entry »
It is much more obvious in these photos that I like to overstuff my wraps.
With so many different parts, I wouldn’t want each bite to miss out. Read the rest of this entry »
I wish I wrote down what Rob said when he first tried these grilled peaches. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to photograph them since it was a crazy (simple) concoction I put together. However, they were pretty with their grill marks and I left Rob with a peach half as I photographed the others.
It may have been something like: “OH MY GOD. THESE ARE THE MOST DELICIOUS THINGS I HAVE EVER EATEN.” I am paraphrasing but Rob never controls his positive adjectives. If he had his way, this recipe would be “Magical Incredible Grilled Peaches”.
In any case, these were delicious peaches. I was lusting grilled peaches after seeing this beautiful post and pulled out my latest (not-so-secret) weapon in the kitchen. A mix of melted coconut oil, Sweet Mesquite Seasoning and a touch of coconut sugar was slathered on firm yet ripe peaches and then grilled to perfection. Spicy, salty, sweet and juicy. It is a bit reminiscent of fresh mango spears with chile and salt and I could see this working well with pineapple, too, once local peach season subsides.
Looking for another grilled peach idea? How about this fun spin on Grilled Peach Melba aka Grilled Peaches with a Sweet Raspberry Sauce. Happy End of Summer!
Even a tofu salad
I’ve been missing my beans.. and then all of a sudden, I had a craving for a mixed bean salad.
My last mixed bean salad was Symphony in a Can aka My 5-Minute Symphonic Mixed Bean Salad which has a more classic flavour profile: lemon, mustard and onion for the mixed beans.
This time I went with a Southwestern inspired bean salad with a chile-lime dressing. Lots of vegetables including bell peppers and tomatoes along with fresh cilantro. I worked with a medley of beans and then added in extra red kidney beans. They are perfect for salads and I don’t use them nearly enough.
I think my chile powder has been losing its freshness/spiciness so my newest trend (you may have already spotted it) is adding some Sweet Mesquite Seasoning which has plenty of oomph. Either that or my palate is warming up… Probably the former.
In any case, this salad received a lot of praise during my last barbecue. I think you will like it, too. Enjoy!
Toronto had a wicked storm this past weekend.
Yeah, that one. (Sorry for the rain tease for those in California!)
The next one is a video:
If you saw a plane trying to land at the Island Airport at that time (I didn’t see us in the video), I was there. We circled back and forth between Toronto and St Catharines as we waited for a clearing to land. The landing was probably the most rocky I had endured and it was only afterwards, gawking at the photos in the comfort of my own home, did I realize what we had missed.
(Hopefully they got some awesome wedding pictures)
Anyways, Rob and I had a very quick weekend trip over the long weekend out to New Hampshire for some relaxation and hiking in the White Mountain National Forest. Rob was in Boston for a conference but when I flew down, we opted to head outside the city instead. If you like outdoors, this is a great place to visit. We stayed with a host through AirBnB and it was almost like our own piece of heaven.
I had been talking about making Bourbon-spoked barbecue sauce for a while, but we had no Bourbon nor whiskey. Our trip to duty-free solved that and I quickly followed through with my promise of homemade barbecue sauce. Earlier this year, I made Miyoko’s zippy barbecue sauce (fabulous, by the way) and found it oh, so easy and was equally delighted with this concoction.
Smoky. Apple-infused although I couldn’t really taste the apple. And the Bourbon was in there, too. The Bourbon is more of an aftertaste after the alcohol is simmered away, adding depth to the sauce. A bit on the spicier side but I loved it. So, even if you do not like whiskey (hello, me!) and even if you do (hello, Rob!), you will love this. I imagine this will be gone by the end of the weekend. Veggie burgers really do better with something saucy slathered overtop.
Enjoy! Please let me know how you like it. Do you have a favourite barbecue sauce recipe?
This may very well turn out to be the summer of potatoes and mushrooms. While not everyone likes the mayo-heavy potato salads, everyone seems to like the non-mayo salads from this summer so far.
Rob said this was his favourite potato salad yet.
His Polish roots may be particularly partial to fresh dill.
The dressing is a creamy, but not heavy, lemon-tahini sauce with a touch of mustard which I tossed with salt-and-pepper roasted potatoes and fresh dill. The recipe makes a lot of dressing, which was great throughout the week to dress up some of the leftover grilled vegetables. The dressing was also great when I added in some extra chickpeas.
What is your favourite recipe for potato salad?
Onwards with the BBQ experimenting.
My natural instinct when I hear BBQ is to buy portobello mushrooms. As I said, I love salads and dishes I can prepare in advance, and the Portobello Carpaccio in But I Could Never Go Vegan sounded perfect.
Similar, but not identical to my grilled balsamic portobellos, these portobello mushrooms are marinated and roasted in the oven. The marinade is Italian-inspired with dried herbs and a red wine vinaigrette. I suppose the barbecue could work, too, but the barbecue was for later in the day. Once the mushrooms were cool, you slice them super thin (and had I known what on a bias meant, I would have done more of a diagonal to the horizontal plane). Then I popped them in the fridge for a few hours prior to serving. A sprinkle of capers and rosemary finished this as a really fun appetizer, with portobello mushrooms masquerading as rare meat.
Because mushrooms alone do not make a meal, and I had used up most of my culinary energies, we opted for something so simple, I was worried it might not work.
I had seen Tiffany’s post about tofu cheeseburgers where she simply grilled slabs of tofu and called it a burger. She isn’t even vegan and loved it. I was intrigued so we tried something similar.
We cut up a package of super firm tofu into four slices, cut longitudinally, and grilled it. Nothing added, not even salt and pepper. Rob said it stuck a bit on the grill but otherwise it was perfect. Slightly smoky and a blank canvas to work nicely against the vibrant portobello carpaccio.
Next time, we might try oiling the grills or brushing the tofu with some oil before placing it on the grill.
What do you think? Have you grilled plain tofu before?
I am sharing this with Meat Free Mondays.
As Rob and I hone our BBQ hosting skills, we have divvied up the work. Rob tends to the BBQ and I work on the sides. I have never liked the stress of cooking while guests are over so I have gravitated to the make-ahead salads. And guys, this potato salad is wicked awesome. Seriously.
I took some small potatoes and roasted them with paprika (the regular stuff works – I was all out of the smoked variety) along with dried tarragon, onion and garlic granules. When they came out of the oven, Rob and I had to peel ourselves from the pan. We could have eaten the whole batch together before our guests had arrived.
In the back of my mind, I was worried about ruining the most perfect roasted potatoes by adding more dressing, but I continued with the potato salad recipe which called for a white balsamic dressing with a touch of fresh dill and marjoram. Only a touch because my plants were just seedlings. I tasted again. A bit hesitant. Fabulous. No need to worry, I stashed it in the fridge to marinade even longer. We all loved it.
This gem of a recipe comes from Joni and Celine’s latest cookbook, Complete Guide to Even More Vegan Food Substitutions. I don’t have the first of the series, Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions, but this is a fabulous resource for people who want to create their own spins on vegan foods. Joni and Celine explain (with examples) how to replace meat and dairy from other recipes with the latest advances in vegan cuisine with an emphasis on whole foods based ingredients (barring aquafaba).
At the heart of the book are recipes for kitchen staples. Milk substitutes and vegan butter (different than Miyoko’s homemade vegan butter). There are countless recipes for different kinds of cheese (American Cheese, Cheese Balls, Chia Seed Cream Cheese) and even how to replace eggs in different scenarios
They explain how to replace eggs while in baking versus in a dish such as shakshouka, where the eggs are prime and centre, as well as in baking. Meat substitutes, including chicken broth powder, are included.
However, in addition to the staples, there are applications of the recipes. There are examples of how to veganized a recipe, comprehensive lists with substitutions but also recipes that have taken the guess work out of it for you. Personally, I prefer recipes that do not try to mimic dairy/meat recipes which is why I gravitated to this potato salad. Mayo-free, it is perfect just the way it is, without any substitutes at all.
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the US or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me what you find the hardest to make vegan. The winner will be selected at random on July 20, 2015. Good luck!
Recipes from Complete Guide to Even More Vegan Food Substitutions spotted elsewhere:
We made these delicious raw cookie dough treats at the cottage.
Let’s just say the cottage was a tad rustic….. so when there was no vanilla, Bailey’s Irish Cream was the substitute. Have no fear, the cottage is stocked with all the essentials.
The recipe is based from Oh She Glows but we added the Bailey’s and added some ground flax seeds for more good stuff. It actually stuck together without it as well. In fact, the dough was so smooth, it honestly reminded me of real cookie dough. With a touch of baking soda/powder, we were actually wondering whether they really would turn into cookies. While we made a double batch, there was no time to experiment since we gobbled them down. We had a few that we packed for home, but we ate them all during our traffic-thick ride home.
In all honesty, it was hard to detect the Bailey’s but I think I had one which was more boozy. I wonder if it helps keep it less icy after being frozen. I think that’s why alcohol is added to homemade ice cream, right?
What kind of essentials do you keep at your cottage?
You may also enjoy these recipes:
I recently finished reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Rob put it on hold at the library in December and we finally made it to the front of the list. Just in the knick of time, too, as we start to pack our house again for our (hopefully) last move ever. Have any of you read it and started tidying? I have seen a few reviews around the blogosphere (example), so I knew the premise to declutter was to only keep things that brought you joy. I am waiting for Rob to finish reading it (at least the first part on purging) prior to beginning to tidy. It will be easier if we are on the same page (said the one that has been slow to adopt the minimalism).
Rob has already packed my cookbooks, and I wouldn’t want to undo his efforts, so we’ll keep them all for now (HA!). Honestly though, one of my favourite cookbooks (definitely one I would keep) is Isa Does It (see my review here). Quick and simple, creative recipes that deliver loads on flavour. This is one such example. This was definitely more than the sum of its parts. Mushrooms and corn are pan-fried with soy curls and then spiced with chilies, lime and cilantro. Isa uses seitan but I think chickpeas could work well, too. She also recommends black beans which would fit with the Mexican theme.
So, please tell me, which cookbook brings you the most joy?
Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Even when you think everything is ready to go for the wedding, little things keep popping up. Rob needs to buy a belt; maybe I should get my nails done before we leave; we should pick some readings for the ceremony; we each need to write our vows. So while I have been silent on the blog, life has been anything but.
Rob and I want a short and sweet ceremony. We didn’t even discuss readings until I sat down to write my own vows. I was inspired by some absolutely fabulous quotes. So much so that I wanted them a part of my ceremony. So now we have readings.
I kind of want to tell you all about our choices (I am that excited about them) but I don’t want to ruin the surprise for my guests who also read my blog. So, you will have to wait (sorry for the tease). If you want some vegan wedding porn, this one looked super cute (eco friendly on a farm!).
Otherwise, as we try to eat the remainder of our perishables before we leave, this is a perfect way to chow down. I consider these as almost non-recipes since it is basically roasted vegetables, beans, rice and a sauce. Here I returned to our staples, sweet potatoes, broccoli, chickpeas and brown rice. We love steamed broccoli but since I was roasting the sweet potatoes, in went the broccoli as well. The sauce is a lovely pantry-friendly creation (ignoring the ginger and garlic) with a heavy dose of miso and toasted sesame oil with a tahini base (although certainly not overpowering). Humble or not, this is a great meal to have on hand.
Miso and/or tahini dishes shared here previously:
I am sharing this with Bookmarked Recipes.
You guys are too kind. Based on the responses from my last post (and my post earlier this year about non-recipes), here’s to sharing some of my simpler eats. I will have a blog sabbatical during my honeymoon and hopefully come back rejuvenated. This is actually an easy recipe to make and I could not wait to share it with you.
I have made this two weeks in a row. Its first debut was when my parents came down last weekend and I threw it together for a late Sunday meal. Everyone devoured it, returning for seconds soon after polishing off their first bowl. After one bite, my Mom declared she loved it and proclaimed I could serve it for her anytime. Big win! YEAH!
While there have been glimmers of sun before and after work, I decided to continue to deliciousness into this week. It is rather a humble bowl of vegan goodness (brown rice, pan-fried tofu and kale) but the star of the bowl is the glorious peanut sauce. Sweet, spicy and saucy with a hint of curry powder. Mix it all up for a delicious meal.
Our veg staple in the fridge is broccoli and our protein of choice is chickpeas, which I contemplated for my second iteration. Worried it would be a tad repetitive (broccoli + chickpeas + peanut sauce is a common occurrence on this blog), I stuck with kale and tofu. To be honest, I don’t think I have ever made simple steamed kale and I was surprised how sweet it was. It was also ridiculously easy to make, so I definitely consider this meal a kitchen success.
What is your go-to simple meal?
Peanut sauces and dressings spotted here previously:
One can never have too many soup recipes, especially during the heart of this very cold winter.
However, this isn’t your standard red lentil soup. Have I ever shared a standard recipe? Probably not.
The red lentils are infused with coriander and star anise, spiked with orange juice and a touch of fresh ginger gives you a bit of a bite. This split pea soup has also has ginger and coriander, but the orange and star anise were a refreshing twist. Flavours that seemed a tad unusual but worked very well.
Red lentil soups shared here previously:
I am sharing this with Souper Sundays.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
This weekend was a doozy of a cold fest. With the long weekend, I briefly contemplated using the snow in my favour by breaking out the snowshoes… until I realized just how cold it was. With temperatures near -40C with the wind, Rob and I opted to stay inside most the weekend.
We actually had a plan. We needed to study.
We are working to becoming PADI scuba certified. Since our wedding in one of the best places to go scuba diving, we decided to capitalize on the uniqueness of the location. 5 hours of videos, 300 pages of a manual and multiple questions, we spent the majority of the weekend tucked away reading. Next weekend, we will attempt our pool portion of the training. Sadly, outdoor dives here will not resume until June, so we won’t be certified before we go, but it will make it much easier to go scuba diving.
Around this time of year, it is probably a good idea for us to go through our pantries and cold rooms. Please tell me I am not the only one with winter squashes that always seem to linger throughout the winter. No better time to use the winter squash along with a new variety of bean. Especially in curry form.
Susan gifted me these black chickpeas awhile back and I will admit, I prefer regular chickpeas. However, this curry was spectacular. There were a multitude of spices, added at different times to the curry, which created a rather optimally spiced dish. The fennel and panch phoran make this Bengali-inspired and a bit different from our typical curries. The black chickpeas made for a beautiful visual contrast but regular chickpeas could work, too.
How did you stay warm this weekend? Any scuba divers with beginner tips? 🙂
Howdy! I don’t have much to say today… other than to highly suggest making this soup. Bonus points if you make it and you don’t have snow outside. It will still taste delicious.
The coconut-infused broth is silky smooth with spicy hints of sriracha and ginger, balanced by the lime juice and cilantro and packed with good-for-you veggies like sweet potato and cabbage. Oh, and there are red lentils in there to make this a complete meal. The cabbage was fun because they were inadvertently like noodles with their long strands.
Full disclosure: In the fall, I had a full-blown case of cooking ennui. It probably evolved from a combination of immobility from my fracture, beginning my new job and the stress of starting to plan for our wedding.
I ended up buying a lot more prepared foods than ever before. At the farmer’s market close to our house, they would sell flavoured tofu and would easily at least 2 packets per week. My favourite was the miso-flavoured tofu. They also have a sweet and sour one, but miso was the best. When I tried this recipe for “sweet and sour marinaded tofu” is was a close approximation to the miso tofu (and not sweet and sour). Go figure. A bit more salty but you only notice it if you eat it cold from the fridge. Added to a bowl of vegetables and some quinoa, you have a seriously delicious and balanced meal.
This recipe is courtesy of Aine Carlin’s new cookbook Keep It Vegan. Another blogger that I have been following for a while, it is my pleasure to share her recipes with you. She blogs at Pea Soup Eats and her British influence is obvious throughout her book of comfort vegan foods: Morning Oat Jacks, Shepherdess Pie with Sweet Potato Topping, Chana Masala, Mexican-Style Lasagna, Red Lentil and Spinach Lasagna, Braised Red Cabbage with Apple, Chocolate Chestnut Pie, Summer (Bread) Pudding, and Banana Peanut Butter and Chocolate Sauce Sundae. Her recipes are approachable without too many esoteric ingredients (beyond what is normally found in a vegan pantry) but she also includes unusual and creative ideas like Bloody Mary Bruschetta, Breakfast Brownie with a Strawberry Bottom, Rosemary-and-Pear-Stuffed-French Toast and even Sweet Potato and Kiwi Soup.
Rob made the Hole Mole Black Bean Chili which was excellent, although we skipped the chocolate part. And we snuck in some leftover tamarind chickpea curry from Vegan Without Borders. But is was still excellent.
But these tofu bites were spectacular. A strong-flavoured miso-based marinade infused the tofu for a few hours and then they were lightly pan-fried for a delicious crispy crust. It reminded me of old-school vegan eats (aka this classic tofu dish dubbed Sweet and Sour, Hot and Spicy Tofu) and I added it to a bowl of almost roasted red peppers, sliced avocado, quinoa, arugula/spinach and hemp seeds. Basically, another version of a Dragon Bowl with the vegetable remnants from my fridge. Astute readers might realize a lot of the ingredients were leftovers from the Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Hemp and Orange. 🙂 If you have extra marinade, it could be used to drizzle overtop but I let mine soak into the leftover tofu.
The photo below is the one from the cookbook. Feel free to cut the tofu into bigger slabs and serve with the green bean salad, as suggested.
Recipes from Keep It Vegan spotted elsewhere:
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite vegan comfort food. The winner will be selected at random on February 12, 2015. Good luck!