janet @ the taste space

Posts Tagged ‘nutmeg’

Finnish Double Pea Stew with Apples

In Mains (Vegetarian), Soups on March 14, 2012 at 6:04 AM

Guess who biked to work yesterday? With highs of 18C, a nice rain on Monday to get rid of the salt, I was almost feverish in excitement to finally start biking to work!

I know it is only a teaser, though… Warmer weather alone does not make spring. Especially if it only lasts a week.

There are many ingredients I associate with spring: Baby greens. Arugula. Asparagus. Carrots. And peas.

Since the fresh, local produce hasn’t made its way to the forefront just yet, you can approximate springtime with this hybrid of a stew adapted from Love Soup: Finnish Double Pea Soup with Apples (original recipe here). It is a wonderful merriment of a hearty stick-in-your-ribs winter split pea stew combined with a sprinkling of spring with fresh (or in my case, frozen) peas (I used the sweeter petit pois from President’s Choice). Apples also add a hit of sweetness without being too discernible. The vinegar and mustard temper and balance the soup extremely well along with a whiff of nutmeg and coriander. The flavours are not over-the-top but they marry very well.


This is my submission to this month’s My Kitchen, My World featuring dishes from Finland, to This Week’s Cravings (Green), to this week’s Wellness Weekend, to this month’s  Gimme Green event and to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

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Iraqi-Inspired Eggplant and Seitan Stew

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on October 26, 2011 at 5:56 AM

Returning from vacation the day before you return to work is not a good idea. Jet-lag was one reason it took me so long to get back into the groove after returning from Iceland.

Thankfully, I was forward-thinking and froze a bunch of meals before we left. I had dal bhat waiting for me upon my return as well as this delicious Iraqi-Inspired Eggplant and Seitan Stew from Susan at Fat Free Vegan.

Just like dal bhat, this was a savoury, comforting stew. Filled with warming spices like nutmeg, smoked paprika, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin and cardamom, you have a winning combination with silky yellow split peas and chunks of seitan in a pomegranate-infused sauce. I modified it only slightly by using liquid smoke and substituting Aleppo chili flakes for the larger chilies.

I have made seitan, or wheat meat, once before as chorizo sausages. This recipe is neat because you make a batch of seitan specifically for this recipe. The results are chewy nuggets admixed within the cooked eggplant and split peas. A nice play of textures with a definite protein boost.

This was a delicious stew to return home to, especially since it was so cold upon our return. Curl up with a bowl of stew any day you need some a virtual warm hug from a bowl.


This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays and to E.A.T. World for Iraq and to Ricki’s Wellness Weekend.

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11-Spice Lentil Salad with Capers and Currants

In Favourites, Salads on August 8, 2011 at 6:41 AM

What will it take to get you to make a recipe?

For me, I doddle between what I have already in my fridge, to what is on sale  at the grocery store, to really wanting to make a specific dish. I waver between recipes with a lot of positive reviews, or from my favourite cookbooks and blogs, to more unique recipes with my favourite ingredients. But mostly, it is dictated by what needs to be used up in the fridge. This is why I have a hard time making recipes that are purely from pantry staples (except after returning from vacation and being welcomed by an empty fridge).

I bookmarked The Best Lentil Salad, Ever at My New Roots last year. With a name like that, from a blog that I admire, how could I not want to make it? I adore lentils, especially French du Puy lentils in salads. Then Sarah posted it a second time this spring for her stint at Martha Stewart, and her friend commented:

This salad was the reason that I became friends with Sarah way back in Nutrition School. It is so delicious and easy to make. Don’t get intimidated by the amount of ingredients. This one is a keeper (just like Sarah!)

How cute is that?

Suffice it to say, it has been on my to-do list for a while and I was just waiting for the right opportunity.

It still took me a few months to break it out, but I made it for a recent potluck I hosted. Not that my fridge was bare, but the gathering came together a bit faster than my grocery shopping allowed. Perfect timing. Experimentation with friends.

I had witnesses. We unanimously agreed this was a wonderful lentil salad! Sweet, savoury, and salty, deep and complex, warming yet refreshing… and quite addictive! I stuck with the base of the recipe, tinkering only minorly with the spices (decreased the pepper and chili flakes), and thought the capers and currants were fabulous. The ingredient list is long, with 11 different spices, but they really blend harmoniously. To be honest, I was a bit worried when I first tasted the salad, but it was much better after an overnight marinade. If you can find the French du Puy lentils, they are incredible in stand alone lentil salads such as this. But if you cannot find the French variety, do not let that impede you from making the salad – green lentils would work, too. Furthermore, in case this becomes a staple recipe in your kitchen, feel free to experiment with your favourite dried fruit, vegetables, sprouts, nuts and seeds. Personally, I loved it as is, without too much distraction, and loved editions included some chopped apple and mixed greens too.

The Best Lentil Salad, Ever. For Sure. Make. This. Now.

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this month‘s Bookmarked Recipes, and to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Preeti.

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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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Mango Oatmeal

In Breakfasts on April 20, 2011 at 6:30 AM


Since I will be moving in a few months, I am more determined to eat through the backlog of stuff in my freezer and pantry.

I have a bit of frozen fruit, including frozen mango, in my freezer and I have found it hard to be inspired. Mango, so succulent and juicy is best fresh and I rarely cook or bake with it. Frozen mango deserves a special place in my kitchen, but so far I have been stumped. Until now.

My morning oatmeal is a great place to experiment and this did not disappoint.

I simmered my steel-cut oats and chia seeds with a bit of leftover mango nectar as well as these juicy frozen mango pieces, spiced it with cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg and found myself in the tropics for breakfast. It couldn’t have been easier, especially since I used the quick-cook steel cut oats from Trader Joe’s.


While I could try to eat this all week, I have other baked mango dishes that I am contemplating:

Lentil Mango Picadillo from Eats Well With Others
Black Bean and Mango Curry from Branny Boils Over
Raw Mango Sorbet from Everyone is Vegan
Brazilian Black Bean Stew from 1000 Vegan Recipes
Mango BBQ Beans from Appetite for Reduction

This is my submission to this month’s Veggie/Fruit a Month, featuring mango.

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Apple Pie Oatmeal

In Breakfasts, Favourites on September 30, 2010 at 6:28 AM


Oftentimes
, my breakfast and dessert could be the same dish. I never really thought I had sweet breakfasts, but I definitely prefer more wholesome desserts. Muffins, scones, and granola all work double duty.

When I saw this Apple Pie Oatmeal in Bob’s Red Mill Cookbook (also posted here), I knew I wanted to ring in my fall breakfasts with a cinnamon and apple-flavoured oatmeal. I just wasn’t prepared for how similar it would taste like apple pie. The flavours were all there, cinnamon and nutmeg, juicy sauteed apple pieces, with the warmth from the cooked oatmeal.

Light and sweet, this was delicious and the key was using apple juice to cook the oatmeal.  I made a few modifications to the recipe, such as decreasing the amount of oats and liquid to increase the apple ratio and have less leftovers. I also found the original recipe a bit sweet when eaten fresh (it mellows as leftovers, though), so I decreased the sugar.  I also decreased the oil because I didn’t find it was necessary with the juicy apple. While I wouldn’t eat oatmeal for dessert, this oatmeal has the same flavours as apple pie. Thus, dessert for wholesome breakfast. Add some apples and spice to your morning routine. You won’t regret it. 🙂

This is my submission to Ricki and Kim’s vegan SOS challenge featuring apples.

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Canoe’s Wild Rice Pudding with Rhubarb Compote

In Desserts on August 15, 2010 at 6:27 AM


Living in a city as nice as Toronto, I am surrounded by many great restaurants.  I try to cook at home most of the time, for health and economic reasons, but I am slowly scoping out delicious, cheap places to meet over food prepared by someone else.

Currently, some of my favourite places to eat out, if I must, include:

Folia Grill – excellent home-grown Greek fare with a delicious chicken gyro pita for $4

Sky Blue Sky – a quaint sandwich shop, with all under $5, including the suprisingly filling pulled pork sandwich. Chatting with the owner about the trendy (pulled pork) and less popular (cashew butter and cucumber) sandwiches is equally amusing when selecting your choice

The Fish Store – delicious fish sandwiches prepared from your choice of fresh fish, all under $10, and a delicious homemade lemonade for $3

Manpuku – my long-time favourite for Japanese, but you won’t find any sushi here. Their nikku udon (beef soup with udon noodles) is a great heart-warming dish for under $6

Guu – still Toronto’s newest sweetheart, with a second location expected in the Annexe, this is a popular Japanese izakaya (aka tapa-style bar). Everyone is welcomed as soon as they enter and leave the resto and the dishes have yet to disappoint me. All dishes are under $10, but the sizes are smaller and meant for sharing.

Pomegranate – a newer find that complements my latest love of Middle Eastern food. This is Persian food at its finest, at reasonable prices around $15.

Amaya – A bit of a splurge restaurant (mains under $20), especially since it is Indian, but I am enthralled by their butter chicken. If only I knew how to make it myself!

Canoe – This is arguably Toronto’s best restaurant and it has the price-point such that it is very elitist, and limited to special occasions only. You get what you pay for, and it is lip-smacking delicious.  I really appreciate their use of local, unique ingredients, prepared, oftentimes, in a myriad of ways. I know these are dishes I would have a difficult time recreating at home, which is important for my restaurant adventures. While the written menu did not immediately appeal to me, I just had to ask the server to explain what each dish entailed. It is here that I had a surreal mushroom soup that tasted like apple due to the varieties used, and I had squab prepared in 3 different ways: marinated with Newfoundland screech, drenched in a Saskatoon berry sauce and served with a side of dinosaur kale.

Enough gushing over Canoe, because I like to post things I make myself on my food blog. Imagine my surprise when I saw Canadian Living had Canoe’s recipe for wild rice pudding with a rhubarb compote. I could now bring the taste of Canoe into my own kitchen. 🙂

It boasted a baked rice pudding with short-grain and wild rice within a orange- and cinnamon-scented creamy base, topped with a sweet-and-tart rhubarb compote.

While I have not had this at the restaurant, I might have to go there to try it out because my kitchen adventures were not as successful as I’d hoped.  The rhubarb compote almost seemed to be in excess with the delicious flavours from the pudding. The wild rice added a nice crunch and the orange and cinnamon flavours blended well together, but my pudding was too thick for my liking. I wonder if there was too much evaporation during the baking?  I think my substitutions were legit, but you never know. Maybe the recipe was meant to be a teaser, just to bring us back into the restaurant? 😉


This is my submission to My Kitchen, My World, featuring food from Canada, and Ivonne at Cream Puffs in Venice for Magazine Mondays.

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South African Spiced Butternut Squash and Roasted Banana Soup with Coconut and Lime

In Soups on May 2, 2010 at 10:24 AM

I like to follow different food blogging events as a way to meet new bloggers, discover new foods and to push my own kitchen barriers. When I first saw that the current Monthly Mingle was featuring South African cuisine, I was intrigued. Um, what IS South African cuisine?  So I googled… and stumbled across a very interesting African cookbook.  I learned it is also known as “rainbow cuisine” due to its blend of dishes from many origins and cultures including dishes from the indigenous people of South Africa as well as the dishes brought from immigrants from India, Afrikaner and British descent.  The Cape Dutch dishes which incorporate nutmeg, allspice and hot peppers can be fused with Cape Malay dishes that includes curries, sambals and fish stews.

The following recipe for South African Spiced Butternut Squash and Roasted Banana Soup with Coconut and Lime does just that. It comes from Grant Cullingworth, the executive chef at Table Bay Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa, and was adapted from those posted here and here. It is a delicious sweet soup that balances the sweetness of the butternut squash and a roasted banana, with the creaminess of coconut milk, the spicy kick of chilies (or curried if you want the original version) with the bitter tang of lime.  It was a thick soup, so don’t be shy to add extra stock.  I ate some as a soup, but later also used the thicker soup base as a filling for ravioli and found it absolutely incredible as a spread over a multigrain bread.

This is my submission to this month’s Monthly Mingle featuring dishes from South Africa.

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