the taste space

Simple Lentil Chilaquiles

Posted in Breakfasts, Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on January 3, 2015

Chilaquiles

When I said our meals have become more simple, this is probably not what you had in mind.  I had not planned on sharing this either, but the meal was delicious and I scooped together the little bits left unclaimed and snapped photos to share. I loved the meal, I loved these photos, and had to share.

Chilaquiles

In an honesty, Rob is a great cook. I merely helped to assemble the ingredients. Rob was making an off-the-cuff version of our tofu migas but as we ate it, we thought it reminded us of the chilaquiles we would devour from Radical Eats in Houston. Minus the deep-fried tortillas. Eerily enough, Erica shared her baked version of chilaquiles (recipe here with black beans and kale), which I read afterwards. Great minds think alike! We opted not to make it sopping in a tomato-broth, as we used sun-dried tomatoes to help keep the chips crispy.

Simple Lentil Chilaquiles
In any case, while these were simple to make, it brought together a few components we already had. Namely, we made JL’s Lentil TVP Taco Filling earlier in the week (I changed the spices slightly) as our ground meat substitute. My cousin also gifted us some homemade tomatillo salsa. It was quite spicy but worked well when mixed directly with the other ingredients.

In short, we started by using almost stale corn tortilla chips by baking them in the oven. Rob sauteed some sweet onions (reserving some for the topping) and sprinkled them with garlic granules (too lazy to pull the real garlic from the fridge). Next, he added the Lentil-TVP taco filling, heating it up. Because we were out of plain tofu, he added 4 eggs along with some soy milk and the tomatillo salsa, scrambling all the ingredients together. Once fully cooked, he stirred in the baked tortilla chips, heating all the way through. A sprinkle of fresh lime juice and a side of tomato salsa solidified this as a perfect New Year’s Day brunch.

Chilaquiles

I am not sure if quasi-recipes like this help you. What do you think?

PS. I am sharing this with Credit Crunch Munch. (more…)

My 12 Favourite Recipes from 2014

Posted in Favourites by janet @ the taste space on January 1, 2015

If I thought 2013 was filled with change, it was nothing compared to 2014. Moving from Houston back to Toronto was bittersweet, leaving a community and friends I still miss dearly. However, I am finally working at my “forever” job, and it only took 14 years of school after high school. After a somewhat heart-wrenching vacation in Madagascar and South Africa wherein I broke my leg, and now lengthy rehab process, my health has remained important. In the kitchen, this has meant more simple recipes and now that I am back in the gym, I only go a few times a week. 2015 is going to be a wonderful year. At least the first part will be spent preparing for our upcoming wedding. Best wishes for all of you this upcoming year as well, wherever that may bring you.

These were my favourite eats from 2014:

1. Roasted Cauliflower and Mustard-Hummus Rice Bowl with Garlicky Spinach & A Vegan Mustard Tasting Party

As we embrace more minimalism, I certainly don’t have enough mustards to host a party right now, but this bowl of my favourite foods was a delicious result.

Roasted Cauliflower, Garlicky Spinach and Mustard-Hummus Rice Bowl (& A Vegan Mustard Tasting Party)
2. Laotian Larb Tofu Lettuce Wraps

Perhaps an odd choice for recipe #2, but I veritably feasted on these wraps in Houston and this is a way to bring a small part of Houston wherever I may be.

Laotian Tofu Larb Lettuce Wraps

3. Roasted Creole Cauliflower

Another fabulously oft-repeated recipe. A flavourful tomato-based marinade for roasted cauliflower.

Roasted Creole Cauliflower

4. Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Fried Capers and Pickled Currants

It is no surprise that 2014 was year of the cauliflower (Rob thinks it was year of the taco), but this was a delicious salad with roasted cauliflower, creamy avocado and my newest obsession: pickled capers!

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Fried Capers and Pickled Currants
5. Cali-Coco BLT Quinoa Salad

Another favourite salad combination from this year: coconut bacon, creamy avocado and smoked tofu with quinoa and arugula.

Cali-Coco BLT Quinoa Salad
6. Cuban Beer-Infused Black Beans

One cannot forget to include beans and this was one brew that was utterly delicious.

Cuban Beer-Infused Black Beans

 

7. Mango Chana Masala

Certainly not authentic (my Indian Chickpea Curry with Mango Powder is more traditional), but this curry uses mangoes instead of mango powder for a fun twist on chickpea curry.

Mango Chana Masala

8. Manchurian Chickpea Bowls

Probably the quintessential 2014 dish with both beans and roasted cauliflower, the spiced saucy sauce made this a wonderful bowl of goodness.

Manchurian Chickpea Bowl

9. Coconut Chana Saag

While I only shared this a few days ago, this has been repeated a few times over the year and it has yet to disappoint. Hearty leafy greens like kale work well against the flavourful broth.

Coconut Chana Saag
10. Raw Brownie Cake with a Chocolate Avocado Frosting

In my quest to use massive amount of coconut flour, this was a delicious no-bake cake that was a deliciously decadent dessert.

Raw Brownie Cake with a Chocolate Avocado Frosting

Bonus: 11. Angela’s Glo Bars

This recipe was the beginning of a relove of granola and granola-type bars. This was my favourite of the bunch packed with oats, chia seeds and sunflower seeds.

Ange's Glo Bars

Bonus 12. Chai Spiced Rice Pudding

These are a bit labour intensive to make (which is why they are a bonus favourite) but the flavours cannot be beat. A luscious dessert that is sure to please.

Chai Spiced Rice Pudding

 

What were your favourite finds from the year? Did I miss any of your favourites?

Here’s to a happy new year!

Favourite here, previously:

My 10 Favourite Recipes from 2010

My 11 Favourite Recipes from 2011

My 12 Favourite Recipes from 2012

My 13 Favourite Recipes from 2013

Top 13 Reader Favourite Recipes from 2013

My Ongoing List of Favourite Recipes

 

 

 

 

Miso Hemp Split Pea Soup

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Soups by janet @ the taste space on December 30, 2014

Miso Hemp Split Pea Soup

This holiday was too short.

Rob is still at home but definitely not loafing about. He has decided he can do more cleaning (aka throwing things out) when I am not around. Apparently, I make throwing things out difficult. Case in point: now that we have zero devices that can read CDs and DVDs (except the car which can read CDs), we want to get rid of all our CDs. I completely agree. However, after Rob nicely packed them up, I went through them and pulled out ones to give to my parents. How could they not like Delerium, Orbital and Bjork?

Anyways, yesterday Rob decided to try to sell them. I was impressed Rob got almost $80 from the closest music store for their top picks. He will try another store tomorrow.

Now, I also want to sell my DSLR. Does anyone want a Nikon D80? Let me know!

Anyways, still learning the ropes with my pressure cooker. I really like yellow split peas but I knew my stash was old… and I don’t like finicky beans that just won’t cook. Pressure cooker to the rescue! I took a standard recipe and put it in the pressure cooker for 15 minutes, a bit longer than JL’s recommended 6 minutes for her split pea soup and marginally longer than this recommended 10 minutes. Well, let’s just say the pressure cooker pulverized my split peas. The extra liquid sopped it up nicely. No immersion blender needed for such a silky soup.

Even without a pressure cooker, this soup would be easy to make. And highly recommended, too. The miso adds a nice umami and the hemp seeds added a bit more texture which was lost with the split pea explosion. I added a garnish of crushed walnuts, too.

Need other ideas for split peas:

Split Pea Soup with Lemon and Spinach

Smoky Split Pea Soup with Roasted Garlic and Sage

Lemon-Ginger Split Pea Soup with Toasted Coriander

Finnish Double Pea Stew with Apples

Split Pea Dal with Ginger and Lime

Ethiopian Split Pea and Kabocha Squash Stew with Collards

Kik Alicha (Ethiopian Split Pea Puree)

Iraqi-Inspired Eggplant and Seitan Stew

Miso Hemp Split Pea Soup
I am sharing this with Souper Sundays and Bookmarked Recipes.

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Coconut Chana Saag

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

Coconut Chana Saag

I had all the best intentions of sharing a chocolate-based recipe this week. Sadly, not one but two recipes were a flop. How could that possibly be? One we had to throw out it was that bad but the other will still be happily eaten.

This will be a quick post to share another of my favourite repeater recipes from this year: Isa’s Coconut Chana Saag. I am still not sure why it looks like most of the curries I share, but this one is flippin fantastic. Perhaps the touch of fennel brought it to the next level? In any case, it is delicious and highly recommended.

While most people might be on holidays already (Rob is!!), I get 2 out of 3 statutory holidays off and otherwise working through the remainder of the days. Rob thinks I am working too much but I try to reassure him that this way I save my vacation for our honeymoon.

I may pop back in with a few quickie posts but if not, best wishes for the new year and happy holidays. :)

Coconut Chana Saag

I am sharing this with Souper Sundays.

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Raw Gingerbread Cookies with a Lucuma-Maple Frosting + Raw Cookies Cookbook Giveaway

Posted in Book Review, Desserts by janet @ the taste space on December 18, 2014

Raw Gingerbread Cookies with a Lucuma-Maple Frosting + Raw Cookies Cookbook Giveaway

Cookie time! Raw no-bake cookies!

A gingerbread cookie, spiced with fresh ginger, cinnamon and cloves with a touch of mesquite with a base of almonds and caramel-like dates. Topped with a lucuma-maple frosting, not too sweet, just perfect. It was uncanny how it definitely had the flavour of gingerbread (hello fresh ginger!) without any molasses.

Raw Gingerbread Cookies with a Lucuma-Maple Frosting + Raw Cookies Cookbook Giveaway

Usually a raw cookie means ridiculously easy but I went for the more ornate cookie + frosting option. I used the tops of Mason jars as my cookie cutter to keep things simple, but feel free to cut out all the crazy shapes you desire.

Raw Gingerbread Cookies with a Lucuma-Maple Frosting + Raw Cookies Cookbook Giveaway

The cookie comes from a new cookbook, Raw Cookies by Julia Corbett. One might think it was all about raw cookies. True, all the cookies are raw. But not vegan (there is raw butter and honey in some of the recipes) but there is quite a variety of options. The cookies are broken down into coconut-based cookies (eg, Coconut Macadamia Shortbread, Lemon Poppyseed Coconut Cream Cookies), cacao-based cookies (eg, Pecan Fudge Caramel Bites, Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies and Chocolate-Topped Crunchy Peanut Cookie Bars), nut-based cookies (eg, Hazelnut Sugar Cookies, Salted Ginger Chewies and Jungle Buckeyes), seed-based cookies (eg, Ayurvedic Sesame Treats, Pumpkin Seed Spumoni), raw butter based cookies (eg, Raw Butter Snickerdoodles), Fruit-Based Cookies (eg, Wild Berry Jam Linzer Cookies) and Frostings (eg, White and Dark Chocolate Frostings).

Raw Gingerbread Cookies with a Lucuma-Maple Frosting + Raw Cookies Cookbook Giveaway

I will admit, I was excited to try the cocoa-based cookies first but many recipes called for cacao paste. I have some cacao butter hiding in my pantry but not cacao paste. So until I locate the paste, I settled for trying the fun raw gingerbread cookies. I changed a few things, like adding in some dates to help it stick together. Although by the time the cookies had solidified, the cookies were very firm, so I may have added the dates too prematurely. I also used fresh ginger (and lots of it) because I only stock the good stuff. I find the flavours of fresh and ground ginger to be quite different, so definitely add to taste. Apparently I have a very high tolerance for ginger. Bring it on!

I also really liked the contrast with the luscious frosting. I didn’t add any ginger to it, to counter the cookie base, but it worked out well. Mine was slightly lumpy because I mixed it by hand but it only bothered me after taking the photos, not while eating it.

Raw Gingerbread Cookies with a Lucuma-Maple Frosting + Raw Cookies Cookbook Giveaway

 

 

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living anywhere in the world. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite holiday dessert. The winner will be selected at random on December 22, 2014. Good luck!
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Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Chili & JL’s Vegan Pressure Cooking Giveaway

Posted in Book Review, Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on December 16, 2014

Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Chili

Need a great idea for a gift? How about a pressure cooker along with a new cookbook.

Pressure cookers are not so scary. In fact, they are pretty awesome.

I have mentioned it only in passing, but Rob gifted me a pressure cooker for my birthday and I have been experimenting with it over the past few months. At first, I was experimenting with cooking different beans and grains. It felt awesome to think “I want some cooked chickpeas” and an hour later, after adding the dried beans to the pressure cooker, I had myself some chickpeas. The no-soak required beans has alleviated my freezer congestion (I oftentimes freeze leftover beans) and made me more creative in the kitchen.

First of all, let me not mislead you: Pressure cookers need time to come up to pressure. In my machine, it takes 20 minutes. So while it may seem incredible that you only need to cook black eyed peas for 6-8 minutes, that is in addition to a 20 minute warm up and more minutes cool down (unless you release the pressure manually). I have an electric machine, so that benefit is that it does not need a burner on the oven and you can safely walk away while it does its thing. The downside is that it does not come up to as high a pressure as the stovetop ones, which is what most cookbooks cater to. Also, any recipes that all for sauteing need a separate skillet. There are pros and cons of each, as JL points out in her fabulous new cookbook, Vegan Pressure Cooking (available online now! it arrived early!).

JL's Vegan Pressure Cooking

In addition to her approachable FAQ on how to begin pressure cooking, she also has a host of recipes to start you on your new pressure cooking journey. She answers your looming fear: How can I avoid blowing up my pressure cooker? as well as Why do cooking times vary? Which pressure cooker should I buy? and How does an electric pressure cooker differ from a stove top pressure cooker? She has reference tables for pressure cooking vegan staples (vegetables, beans and grains) and her recipes are categorized similarly.

In her Beans and Grains chapter, she includes basic recipes like Italian lentils but also (slightly) more involved recipes like Dill Long-Grain White Rice; Oat, Amaranth and Carrot Porridge and Cinnamon-Curried Chickpeas. In her Soups and Stews chapter, her recipes span Chik’n Lentil Noodle Soup, very Veggie Split Pea Soup and Tofu Chickpea Artichoke and Potato Soup. Personally, those looked like one-pot meals to me, but JL has even more one-pot meals in chapter four including Gingered Adzuki Beans, Greens and Grains; Vegan “Bacon” and Cabbage and Soy Curl Mac ‘n Cheese. If you thought this was all beans and grains (yes, all the beans are dear to my heart), she also has a chapter for meal helpers and veggie sides which highlights recipes like steamed kabocha squash, savoury root vegetable mash, rosemary and thyme Brussels sprouts, and jackfruit and sweet potato enchiladas. Chapter six is for sauces and dips, and JL has a trick for her pressure cooker hummus and other savoury options like dal dip and ginger-cinnamon white bean gravy. And when you thought there was nothing more to make in the pressure cooker, the last chapter is for dessert! JL uses beans in a coconut-gingered black bean brownie but also includes recipes that rely more on the pressure cooker such as easy applesauce and peachy butter.

I think you know may understand why I may want another pressure cooker. I want to make all the things. Thankfully, I have had the cookbook for a while and managed to squeeze out a new recipe each weekend. In theory a pressure cooker may help me cook more often, but old habits die hard and I like my weekend batch cooking. Thankfully, I was able to share my favourite recipe thus far: JL’ Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Chili. Only after I got the photos, did I realize it was from her cover. Good choice, JL, good choice. Also it is a good thing I am not your photographer. ;)

In any case, I even added JL’s suggested 2 cups of celery and as a confessed celery hater, it was still very good. I still really liked it. The tomato sauce was deliciously savoury and worked well with the black eyed peas. This recipe, like nearly everything in the cookbook, could easily be adapted to use without a pressure cooker. You would just need to wait a bit longer. With that being said, I really think this is a good, solid vegan cookbook, pressure or no pressure cooker. I love its focus on quick and easy cooking featuring whole foods.

Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Chili

Recipes from Vegan Pressure Cooking found elsewhere:

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Stew

Curried Mung Bean Stew

New World Székely Goulash

Quinoa-Millet-Pea Bowl

Umami Anasazi Beans

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me whether you have a pressure cooker (and if so, your favourite thing to make in it). A bonus entry for a second comment telling me about your favourite recipe by JL. The winner will be selected at random on December 22, 2014. Good luck!

PS. I am sharing this with this week’s Virtual Vegan Potluck.

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Sesame Wow Greens (A Spin on Oshitashi) + Vegan Eats World Giveaway

Posted in Book Review, Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on December 14, 2014

Sesame Wow Greens from Vegan Eats World

Another oldie but goodie. I have been waiting to share this for a while. And now that I think about it, while the flavours are not holiday-themed, they are quite festive and cute as little mounds of green. A fabulous way to eat your greens: slightly sweetened, with a nice hit of vinegar, balanced by a homemade tahini paste and a touch of heat.

Sesame Wow Greens from Vegan Eats World

Courtesy of Terry Hope Romero’sVegan Eats World, I have told you about it before. Earlier this year, it was re-released as a paperback. Exactly the same as the original (sadly, including the subpar index) but it reminded me of some of my favourite recipes (Rob loves the Ethiopian lentils) and a lot more I still have bookmarked. With 300 recipes, this is a treasure trove of international recipes with a creative twist from Terry.

While I have many favourites from the book, the Smoky Sauerkraut Mushroom Soup (Shchi) is still one of my favourites we both really like the breakfast spin on bahn mi, I thought it was great to share a quick and easy way to add more greens to your meals. I have only ever made this with spinach, as is more traditional, you could also try chard, kale and collard greens. You no longer have an excuse when you come home with vibrant greens and uncertain how to cook them. If you don’t like leafy greens altogether, I suggest trying this similar dish which is Braised Tempeh with Green Beans in a Sesame Sauce. It is a bit more lemony but still very good.

Sesame Wow Greens from Vegan Eats World

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite international cuisine. The winner will be selected at random on December 20, 2014. Good luck!

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Mung Bean Tostadas & Lusty Vegan Cookbook Giveaway

Posted in Book Review, Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on December 9, 2014

Lusty Vegan's Mung Bean Tostadas

I told you it was a good time for vegan cookbooks. Here is the latest cute offering, The Lusty Vegan. It is a cookbook focusing on relationships. Being vegan in a relationship can be a little tricky at times and there are approachable tips and delicious recipes to satisfy the most un-vegan. Trust me, there is almost nothing as sexy than a man that can cook and these recipes span the gamut of simple to complex, such that you might actually want to work together in the kitchen.

Heart of Palm Lobster Rolls, anyone? Tempeh Fries with Dill Avocado Dip? Miso-Vermouth Braised Drunken Bok Choy? Habanero Jackfruit Fajitas? Cherry Cobbler with Cocoa Nibs? These recipes are unique but I will admit, mostly on the elaborate side. They are matched by the stage of the relationship – trying to impress your partner, trying to impress the parents, classic vegan dishes and even desserts if you ever break up.

They make me want to try new dishes but let’s be honest, right now I try to keep things stress-free in the kitchen and I think that helps both Rob and I. Of course, it is natural to want to impress your partner, but it isn’t sustainable. Does that mean we’ve become a boring couple? I certainly hope not. Life just doesn’t always revolve around food. :)

Lusty Vegan's Mung Bean Tostadas

So now, a little about these tostadas. Instead of pinto beans, mung beans substitute in the refried beans. I was curious to try them in something new, although they were a bit mealy for my liking. Although after I covered it with toppings, I barely noticed. I added cooked quinoa, cabbage and carrots, as an ode to my Lime-Spiked Black Bean and Quinoa Kale Wrap. Feel free to add whatever you have lurking in your fridge.

Recipes from The Lusty Vegan spotted elsewhere:

Cajun Tofu and Dirty Quinoa

Classic Tofu Loaf

Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes with Garlicky Dill Aioli

Lemon Meringue Chia Pudding

Mexican Hot Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Sriracha Tempeh Sliders with Ranch Dressing

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 whether you have found your food preferences have caused difficulties in your relationships. The winner will be selected at random on December 17, 2014. Good luck!

Lusty Vegan's Mung Bean Tostadas

I am sharing this with My Legume Love Affair.

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Eat Your Greens Soup with Edamame

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Soups by janet @ the taste space on December 7, 2014

Eat Your Greens Soup with Edamame

I had a good run of giveaways there. I was considering whether I could do an entire month of giveaways but quickly discounted that by writing this post. Although, to be fair, this was a recipe I discovered while previously reviewing a cookbook. This soup, in its original incarnation, belongs to Angela from within The Oh She Glows Cookbook.  While I love the glo bar recipe I shared earlier, this is the soup I keep returning to, time and time again.

Eat Your Greens Soup with Edamame

I have a hard time explaining what the soup is. Angela called it a detox soup which makes me cringe, but it is filled with a nicely fragrant broth made from ginger, cumin with a touch of cinnamon and filled with loads and loads of vegetables. Mushrooms, broccoli and carrot. Sometimes I use kale or collards, sliced into thin strips, but this time I used a crunchy cruciferous mix of kale, cabbage and brussels sprouts for more variety.  I also continued with the green theme and used frozen edamame as my protein of choice. It fits well with the uniquely Asian twist brought by the last minute addition of shredded nori.

Like the recent article in The Guardian addressed, You can’t detox your body. It’s a myth. So how do you get healthy? A healthy mix of vegetables with protein is indeed the way to go.

Looking for more good articles, these were good finds:

The secret to a long, happy marriage – So far, I think Rob and I are doing very well in this regard :)

Everything I thought about recovery is a lie – An excellent post about recovery from an eating disorder.

Why do pigs oink in English, boo boo in Japanese, and nöff-nöff in Swedish? – Rob has always wondered why Polish dogs say “hau hau”. But do you know what noises porcupines make? Very cute noises.

Floating feasts – Almost makes me want to go on a cruise. Almost… Anyways a great article about food on cruise ships

A Warning on Nutmeg – Beware of nutmeg overload!

Secret Lives of Passwords – What does your password say about yourself?

Anyways, it is a good time for vegan cookbooks and I have a few more to tell you about. I hope to finish my reviews before the holidays so it is like a mini present for the winners. :)

Eat Your Greens Soup with Edamame

I am sharing this with Souper Sundays and Shaheen’s Eat Your Greens.

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Balsamic-Maple Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potato & Giveaway for But I Could Never Go Vegan!

Posted in Book Review, Favourites, Sides by janet @ the taste space on December 4, 2014

But I Could Never Go Vegan.Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Rob is away this week for work. He likes to update me on his day-to-day life…. like what they serve for breakfast at work, especially when it is unusual like Brussels sprouts. I would be excited about that, too! I have had Brussels for breakfast once, when we used them in this curried dill tofu scramble. Turns out I had just made Brussels sprouts as a vegetable side and it was so good, I could possibly consider eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I mean it includes all good things: roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted sweet potato, both in a sticky tangy-sweet glaze courtesy of balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. I like how the nutritional yeast adds a tackiness to the marinade and thickens it up, helping it to coat all the vegetables. I opted to skip the dried cranberries and I excluded them purely on principle. I had a sneaking suspicion that fresh/frozen cranberries would be surreal in here. I included them in this Balsamic Curry Roasted Vegetable dish and their tart juiciness would have complemented the dish well.

Kristy's Balsamic-Maple Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes

The recipe is courtesy of Kristy’s new cookbook, But I Could Never Go Vegan!I have been a long-time reader of her blog, where Kristy creates the creative recipes and her husband, Chris Turner, takes the most gorgeous photos. (You totally know he gets the credit for the top photo).

Kristy’s book is a cute foray into vegan cuisine. She aims to convince you that will not be lacking anything while munching vegan-style. Each chapter was created with recipes targetted to bust vegan myths: All Those Special Ingredients are Way More Expensive; I Could Never Give Up Cheese!; Where Would I Get My Protein?; Tofu Doesn’t Taste Like Anything; Vegan Cooking is Too Hard; Where’s the Beef?; Just Thinking about Salad Makes Me Yawn; What About Brunch?; Fake “Foods” Freak Me Out; It’s All Rabbit Food; Not Soup Again!; I’d Miss Pizza; Can’t I Be Pescatarian Instead?; My Friends Won’t Want to Come Over for Dinner; No Way. I’m Italian (or Southern/German/Mexican/French); But I Hate (Insert Vegetable Here); I Don’t Want to be Left Out at Potlucks and Family Get-Togethers; You Can’t Bake Without Butter Or Eggs; Wait, Is Chocolate Vegan?; But I Scream for Ice Cream.

Yeah, she definitely covers her bases! Her recipes span the simple and easy (see below) but also mostly on the elaborate side: Potato Sauerkraut Soup with Sausage Crumbles, Buffalo Cauliflower Calzones with Cashew Blue Cheese, Pretzel Dumplings with Mushroom-Sauerkraut Gravy; Salisbury Seitan Phyllo Pouches with Rosemary Mashed Potatoes. I may be wrong but I only recognize a few recipes from her blog: Spinach Artichoke Soup, Chickpea Sloppy Joes and Jackfruit Tuna Salad Sandwich. There may be others, but those were the ones I recognized and previously bookmarked. These sprouts and sweets are similar (and likely improved) from her Cheesy Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli dish. I am certainly looking forward to cooking through these recipes. One can not help but to be inspired by the photography and recipes.

Recipes spotted elsewhere:

(Vegan) BBQ Bacon Burgers

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Kristy's Balsamic-Maple Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about the hardest that prevents (or used to prevent you) from becoming vegan. The winner will be selected at random on December 15, 2014. Good luck!

I am sharing this with Shaheen’s Eat Your Greens and Virtual Vegan Potluck.

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No-Bake Date Squares & Giveaway for 100 Best Juices, Smoothies and Healthy Snacks

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

 

No-Bake Date Squares & Giveaway for 100 Best Juices, Smoothies and Healthy Snacks

Date squares have a long tradition in our family. I shared our recipe, modified slightly as a Cranberry-Date Square, shortly after I began blogging. (One of my first missions was to preserve our favourite family recipes). Even to this day, my brother still requests this. Just last month, when I heard he was hoarding the date squares, I thought out loud to my mom: “Wait, that should be really easy to veganize. No, really.”

Sure enough, while reading through Emily’s latest cookbook, 100 Best Juices, Smoothies and Healthy Snacks, I just knew I had to try out her no-bake date squares. With only 5 ingredients, and no oven, she has recreated a fabulous spin on the classic date squares. Rolled oats and buttery pecans substitute for the traditional butter and white flour. Dates sweeten and help towards the architecture of the snack with a touch of coconut oil adding in for texture and stability. I was impressed that the date layer was so smooth and luscious. I think I may try adding in a touch of lemon juice next time (like our original recipe) to see if that helps to balance the sweetness. While not traditional, I also wonder whether a touch of cinnamon would work nicely. In any case, Emily’s rendition was spot on and encourage you to try it out.

No-Bake Date Squares & Giveaway for 100 Best Juices, Smoothies and Healthy Snacks

Her “Dare to Date Squares” comes from her cookbook which also has 99 other recipes for juices, smoothies, mylks and snacks (which she calls energy bars & healthy snacks). It, however, is not a raw cookbook although it is entirely vegan. As an example, she includes creative savoury soups with cooked vegetables as spicy carrot smoothie with bell peppers and creamy onion and potato smoothie. It would be best to have a juicer for the juice section although the smoothies simply require a blender. Personally, I was drawn to her snack chapter, which I wish was a bit longer. Considering her success of her first dessert cookbook (I shared her tahini cups with a sweet coffee-infused filling previously), I can see how she may not have wanted to pursue that direction in as much detail. Her photos are gorgeous (see top photo) and her easy-going nature encourages you to try new recipes. My only gripe were some missing details, like the size of pan to use in a recipe. However, most recipes are so simple you just need the ingredient list.

No-Bake Date Squares

Emily’s recipes from 100 Best Juices, Smoothies and Healthy Snacks spotted elsewhere:

Apple Cinnamon Smoothie

Berrylicious Smoothie

Chocolate Mylk

Dark Chocolate, Oat, Hemp Cookies

Green Earth Orbs

Kale Craver

Spiced Mylk

Sweet Sunshine Juice

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite beverage. The winner will be selected at random on December 12, 2014. Good luck!

I am sharing this with this week’s Virtual Vegan Linky and What’s With my Cuppa.

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11 Ways to Use Blackstrap Molasses

Posted in Events/Round-Ups by janet @ the taste space on November 29, 2014

As we delve from cinnamon-infused autumn recipes to gingerbread and chocolate mint creations for the holidays, I was inspired by The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, to share ideas how to use blackstrap molasses. I have talked about blackstrap molasses before. With its inherent bitterness, it is also a sweetener packed with calcium, iron and potassium. You cannot substitute it directly for typical molasses unless it is used in small amounts or you offset its bitterness with other sweeteners. Here are some suggestions:

1. Baked Beans

Stovetop Apple Baked Beans

I have two recipes for baked beans which include blackstrap molasses. One is a stovetop version that includes apple to sweeten the sauce and the other is a slow-cooked Nova Scotian style baked beans.  Angela has also shared maple baked lentils with blackstrap molasses as well as a Pumpkin Maple Baked Bean Cornbread Casserole. Tara created these beautiful Slow-Cooked Cider Beans.

2. Homemade Barbecue Sauce

South Carolina Mustard Barbecue SauceSkip the beans and just make your own barbecue sauce. This is a South Carolina-style barbecue sauce with a mustard/vinegar tang with a touch of blackstrap molasses reminiscent of barbecue. See also Gena’s Tempeh Kebabs with Homemade Barbecue Sauce and Bianca’s Memphis-Style Barbecue Sauce. Gena also uses a simple barbecue marinade for her raw barbecue zucchini chips.

3. Salad Dressing

Turn your sauce into a dressing. This Blackstrap Molasses and Balsamic Dressing sounds interesting.

4. Gingerbread cookies

Brown Sugar Cardamom SnickerdoodlesThis photo is of my Brown Sugar Cardamom Snickerdoodles and doesn’t use blackstrap molasses, so I urge you to check out gingerbread cookies that use blackstrap molasses: Sarah B’s Healthy Holiday Gingerbread Cookies, Kathy’s Ginger Snappy Crinkle Cookies, Angela’s Chewy Molasses Spelt Cookies, Dreena’s Gingery Cookies and Claryn’s Vegan Molasses Cookies. Other cookies to try include Claryn’s Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies, Dreena’s Raisinet Cookies and Leanne’s Gingerbread Quinoa Breakfast Cookies.

5. No-Bake Snacks/Cookies

Peanut Butter and Jam Energy Balls

Instead of turning on your oven, try a quick-and-easy no-bake snack. Try Gena’s Raisin Almond Balls, Davida’s Raw Gingerbread Cookies and Angela’s Pumpkin and Gingerbread Snack Bars.

6. Pumpkin Pie

Abby's Vegan Pumpkin Pie with a Pecan-Oat Crust

Gena’s pie is more photogenic than mine but her recipe uses blackstrap molasses.

7. Muffins/Cakes/Loaves

Maple Pecan Muffins

For those that prefer muffins, Emma shared these Double Ginger Chocolate Chunk Muffins and these Full Meal Muffins are filled with fruits and vegetables. Dreena also has a Chocolate Gem Gingerbread Loaf, Joy shared a Gluten-Free Gingerbread Bundt Cake with a Pumpkin Filling and Elsa’s Spiced Applesauce Cake with a Buttercream Frosting.

8. Smoothies

Peachy Keen Vanilla Smoothie

Infuse a gingerbread flavour into your next smoothie. See Angela’s Iron Woman Gingerbread Smoothie or Pumpkin Pie Smoothie, McKel’s Gingerbread Molasses Smoothie and Brittany’s Pumpkin Gingerbread Smoothie.

9. Dessert Puddings

Pumpkin Pie PuddingA bit of a thicker smoothie, here is a Pumpkin Gingerbread Pudding.

10. Breakfast Oats

Gingerbread Pumpkin Overnight Oats

Feel free to add blackstrap molasses to your morning oats. Here I added it along with pumpkin for a Pumpkin Gingerbread Overnight Oats breakfast. You could also consider adding it to your bittersweet granola or your next batch of gingerbread almond butter.

11. Accent to savoury meals

Zucchini Meatballs and Curry-Tomato Sauce with Almond Parmesan

Dreena really loves to add blackstrap molasses to her dishes. Here she used it in her No-Fu Love Loaf and Walnut Pecan Balls. JL also added it to her Cinnamon-Ginger Seitan.

The Vegetarian Flavor Bible does not list blackstrap molasses separately but includes suggestions such as molasses + garlic + ginger + orange; molasses + chili pepper flakes + ginger; and molasses + ginger + lemon.

What did I forget? How do you like to use blackstrap molasses? Bonus points if you have ever finished a bottle. ;)

PS. Do not forget to leave a message for your chance to win one of three copies of The Vegetarian Flavor Bible.

PPS. I am sharing this with Healthy Vegan Fridays.

Vegetarian Flavor Bible Review & Giveaway

Posted in Book Review by janet @ the taste space on November 27, 2014

Vegetarian Flavor Bible Review & Giveaway

As you know, I love cookbooks and this is one of my first non-cookbook reviews that I am super excited to tell you about. Granted, it may not be a cookbook but it is still all about the food: The Vegetarian Flavor Bible.

Does the name sound familiar to you? Karen Page also wrote the classic (original) The Flavor Bible. Both books describe the flavour of various food ingredients including basic preparation methods and tips and then has itemized lists of food pairings. In the The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, she tackles vegetarian combinations.

Sounds weird? Let me explain by example, because truly this is a magnificent compendium for anyone interested in being creative in the kitchen or simply eating good food. Below is a screenshot from the Amazon preview. Whereas The Flavor Bible had 5 pages dedicated to all the beans (notably black beans, cannellini, fava, flageolet, green beans, kidney, lima, navy, pinto, red, white) plus another page for chickpeas, The Vegetarian Flavor Bible has 15 pages for all the beans (in addition to the above, it also includes adzuki beans, anasazi, cranberry/borlotti, fermented black beans, gigante, french green beans, long beans, mung beans, soy beans/edamame) and chickpeas have almost 2 pages now. This is a veritable treasure trove. More common suggestions are capitalized, italicized or bolded.

Vegetarian Flavor Bible Review

I also really like the suggested flavour affinities, which are basically mini recipe suggestions. This is what she suggests for black beans:

The Vegetarian Flavor Bible

Obviously, I jumped right into the meatpotatoes of the book, but there is also nice introduction to the importance of consuming a variety of foods, especially of the plant-based variety. For those new to vegetarianism or veganism, she also has tips on how to craft great meals. Have cravings for meat or fish? She has you covered:

The Vegetarian Flavor Bible

Speaking of capers, if you ever needed proof of her authority in flavour, take note of this. Under capers, her tip: Rinse, or soak for up to 24 hours before using to quiet their flavor. Consider crisping for a minute or two in very hot oil before using them to garnish salads. Um, YES!! That was my latest cooking revelation, too. Crispy capers are marvelous! I need to read through this to uncover more gems.

Lastly, to quote her again: If you master a single recipe, you’ll learn how to cook a single dish. If you master the dynamics of flavor, you can make anything taste better.

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to three readers living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite vegetarian ingredient and its flavour affinity (ie., what you like to pair it with). The winner will be selected at random on December 5, 2014. Good luck!

Thug Kitchen’s Pumpkin Chili

Posted in Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on November 25, 2014

Thug Kitchen's Pumpkin Chili

Thug Kitchen is probably the most controversial vegan cookbook. Penned by the authors of the similarly named blog, I never followed it because I did not find their language amusing. OK, sometimes it made me smile and I like how it tries to show how simple and easy homemade food can be, and yes, it is all vegan. I will admit that I was curious about their cookbook, but instead of tracking it down, I hunted for online recipes. This was the first I made and really liked it.

Thug Kitchen's Pumpkin Chili

I am no stranger to pumpkin chili (previous version here). I don’t know why but pumpkin puree works seamlessly in chili to create a silky broth. Both version were great but I found this one lighter in flavour since it used canned tomatoes instead of tomato paste and this one had the perfect amount of heat. Furthermore, this one was a bean-centric chili and I cooked up some of Rancho Gordo’s bayo chocolate beans. I was really enticed to use them with a name like that! Turns out it is called chocolate based on their colour, not their flavour. When Rob bought them, he was told they had the consistency of fudge. Not so true, but they have a lovely firmness that lended well to this chili. Small red kidney beans would also work well here.

While I made the chili, Rob made the arepas. What a wonderful weekend meal. Enjoy!

PS. If you are interested in being way more amused with a recipe than when I write them, definitely check out the original version here. Possibly the funniest disclaimer ever: If you try to make this chili with pumpkin pie filling, don’t complain about how f*cked up it tastes. You did that dumb sh*t yourself.

Thug Kitchen's Pumpkin Chili

I am sharing this with Souper Sundays and  Bookmarked Recipes.

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Mediterranean Chickpeas Braised with Brussels Sprouts, Kale & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

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

Pan-Roasted Chickpeas Braised with Brussels Sprouts

Turns out our furnace problems were solved with a new thermostat. Thank goodness it was such an easy fix. It will be a bit warmer over the next few days which is perfect for us. It will melt the snow and allow us to rake all the leaves we had neglected earlier before winter resumes again later in the week.

Hearty winter fare is back into my kitchen for good and this was a delicious side, and could definitely work if you are looking for a something different for a holiday meal. Brussels sprouts are braised with chickpeas, kale and sun-dried tomatoes along with Italian-inspired seasonings. I thought this was excellent. Highly recommended.

What are you planning to serve for Thanksgiving?

Pan-Roasted Chickpeas Braised with Brussels Sprouts

I am sharing this with this month’s Eat Your Greens and Cook Your Books.

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