Pizza Time!

Sometimes I just don’t have time.  And that’s when its… Pizza Time!

I even used a store-bought crust and pizza sauce from a jar… thank you President’s Choice! 🙂  This was the thick crust.  They also make a thin crust which I much prefer.

Decked out with sliced mushrooms, roasted red peppers (also from a jar), black olives (umm.. jar) and broccoli (real).  And topped with Vegan Mozerella.  Which, as you can see, does NOT really melt the way it says on the package.  I don’t mind the taste though.  I know people complain about it.  But … sigh… still no sign of Daiya in any of the usual health food haunts around here.  I’ve heard there is a store on the West Island carrying it but there’s no way I’m making a special trip out there just for Daiya.  Guess I’ll just have to keep waiting.

One thing I won’t have to wait for though is the 2011 Guide de la Conscience Verte / Green Consciousness Guide because I received one last night hot off the presses!  Keep your eyes out for more restaurant / product reviews as I make good use of the coupons!  Aaaaannnd I see several weeks worth of FREE yoga in my future too 🙂

Posted in Cheezes, Main course | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Veganomicon Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Seed Rice Paper Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Veganomicon is one of those cookbooks I can always count on to have solutions for just about any ingredients I have on hand.  Who would have though of putting together squash, pumpkin seeds and cilantro?  Apparently, Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero.  The pumpkin seeds I had from roasting yesterday; I usually have squash on hand since it is big-time squash season here in Quebec; and I had cilantro that needed to be used soon.  Add rice noodles and rice paper wrappers and … behold Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Seed Rice Paper Rolls!  They suggest a Cranberry – Chili Dipping Sauce to accompany them (also ingredients in-season and on-hand), but to me spring rolls still scream for peanut sauce.

Here’s how I put together a quick one:

  • 1/3 cup natural chunky peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 heaping tsp fresh ground chili sauce (sambal oelek)
  • scant amount of finely chopped hot red chili (I made it hot)
  • Whisk in enough hot water to make sauce the consistency you like

Some of the sauce went over the spring rolls, the rest went into a stir fry of yellow bell pepper, sliced carrots, sliced red onion, bok choy and spring onions over the remainder of the rice noodles.  I call it Use-Up-Whats-In-The-Crisper.

I loved the sweet, nutty and crunchy mix of the spring rolls.  Definitely to be made again 🙂

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If its November, it must be Vegan MoFo!

Halloween is over, the little ghosts and goblins all sugar-comad out.  November is upon us without even Thanksgiving to look forward to here in Canada.  The leaves have fallen and so has our first snow.  Its too early to decorate for Christmas, but its the perfect time to cook our little vegan hearts out and blog all about it… its Vegan MoFo! I’m all signed up and ready to go!  And that means even more cooking and blogging than normal .. yeah!!

My first victim:  Mr. Pumpkin Head.  First, I cut him all up and yanked out all his insides.  Then, I cleaned off the seeds and toasted them up.

Lastly, I stuck those cut up pieces into a hot oven and roasted them up real good:

He’s all cooked now and ready to be puréed and made into some sweet or savory vegan goodies.  Hmm… what to make, what to make?

Posted in Quebec produce | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Stick to your ribs Bob’s Red Mill vegi soup

This is a hearty, easy soup that comes highly kid-approved!

Basically, sauté a chopped onion, two sprigs of chopped celery and 2-3 chopped carrots in a little oil or broth in a large stock pot until onions are soft.  Add a cup of  Bob’s Red Mill Vegi Soup mix:  A blend of split peas, lentils, barley, and vegetable pasta, and 5 cups of vegetable broth.  I added a little ground curry, coriander and tumeric to the vegetables, just enough to give a hint of curry flavour but not so much as to overwhelm the kids.  Simmer for an hour and you have a thick and satisfying soup-that-eats-like-a-meal and plenty left over for ‘heat up’ lunches.

Okay, Halloween weekend is upon us and when all the ghosts and goblins are just getting over their sugar coma we’ll be into November.. and that can only mean one thing:  Vegan MoFo time!  What do you think… should I sign up?  No more non-vegan candies on top of vegan cupcakes here!

Posted in Soup | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Oh my Guinness… its seitanic Irish Stew!!

Seitan & Guiness Irish Stew with Mashed Potatoes

Not one to go back on my word… here it is… Irish Stew made from Veganomicon’s simple seitan.

1) Prepare seitan, reserving the cooking liquid.  Cut into cubes.

2) Stew

  • Seitan cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • salt and pepper to taste, a PINCH of cayenne pepper… NOT a 1/4 tsp like I used.  I had to evacuate the kitchen and open all the windows… the effect was like pepper spray.  There was much coughing.  Sorry (eek)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4-5 carrots thickly sliced
  • 2 1/2 cups of cooking liquid from the seitan
  • 1 1/4 cups of Guinness (I used draft)
  • a sprinkle of dried thyme (I’m not big on measuring… maybe the cayenne incident will make me change my ways)

In a large, heavy pot, brown seitan cubes in olive oil over medium heat until browned on all sides (about 5 min).  Stir in flour, salt, pepper, PINCH of cayenne and sauté until well coated (2-3 min).  Add chopped onion and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until softened and starting to brown.  Slowly add the reserved cooking liquid 1/2 cup at a a time, stirring well to incorporate the flour without getting lumps.  Add the Guiness and the carrots.  Bring just to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer.  Add the thyme.  Simmer for about 45 minutes or until carrots are tender.

Serve with a mound of mashed potatoes.  No particular recipe here – I add Becel Vegan and soy or rice milk until desired creamy texture is achieved.  And salt and pepper to taste.

And since Halloween is just around the corner:  Dessert:

Your Basic Chocolate Cupcake and Orange Buttercream Frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  I added a few drops of yellow and red food dye (I know) and there seems to be some separation happening… still tasted fine.  Licorice and very much non-plant-based Reese’s Pieces added by some small helping hands 🙂

What’s on your Halloween menu?

Posted in Seitan | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Seitan Pot Pie

This past weekend I swore I was not going to spend the better part of a day inside cooking.  After the frenzy that was Thanksgiving Weekend (the leftovers of which I just finished today) it was going to be something fast and simple for Saturday supper.  And then… I flipped through Veganomicon, and found there was something called the”Almost All-American Seitan Potpie.”

Well.. like a spoiled kid, I just had to have it 🙂  Even though it involed

1) Making the Simple Seitan (1 hour 30 minutes) and then

Cooked seitan, chopped, and being sautéd for the filling

2) Making the crust, the filling, assembling, and baking (supposed to take 1 hour 20 minutes, but it took little ‘ol disorganized me even longer than that).

So, if you were doing the math, that was over three hours to make supper.  The crust, of course, was a big hit with the kids.  My son loved the seitan (he loves all things seitanic, I mean seitan-like… chickpea cutlets, BBQ ‘chicken’ nuggets).  I thought it was great, but I would even do without the crust next time and make it like a stew.  In fact, in my schemish mind I am concocting an idea for an Irish stew using this seitan recipe that is going to be a sock-knocker-offer!

Until then, off to enjoy more autumn fun…

Posted in Main course, Seitan | Tagged | 2 Comments

People’s Food Policy discussions at Burritoville and beyond


My half-eaten grilled vegetable quesadilla


Burritoville restaurant on Bishop Street has played host the past two Tuesday evenings to the University of the Streets Café’s conversations on food:  Cheap Food: Are We Ready to Pay the Price? and What Place Will Edible Cities Have in Our Future? They are an example of the conversations taking place across the country as part of the People’s Food Policy Project. This project aims to get people thinking about their food and to bring people together to discuss what they would like to see integrated into a proposed Canadian food policy.  To get involved, visit their site and, if you can, take part in a Kitchen Table Talk.

What changes would you like to see?  How can we reduce food inequalities?  How do we ensure food security?  What’s in our food anyway??

(Food for though)

Posted in Dilemas | 3 Comments

A belated Happy Thanksgiving!

Yesterday’s Thanksgiving meal was my first foray into the world of Tofurky.  Okay, I had had Tofurky slices and sausages but never the whole stuffed Tofurky deal.  There was always something about the taste of their products that I wasn’t quite keen on and this, sadly, was no exception.  Its certainly edible, but I find it has an odd aftertaste.  And, no, it won’t fool anybody into thinking its turkey.  But that’s okay by me; I was never a big fan of turkey.  I am a big fan of all the usual trimmings, including the stuffing and the gravy.  The stuffing portion of the Tofurky was very tasty.  I made the mushroom gravy according the package recipe, only I halved it and used 1 cup of rice milk and about 3/4 cup of vegetable broth.  I would cut the liquid portion down further to make a thicker gravy next time.  The potatoes, onions and carrots roasted with the Tofurky were delicious as was the steamed kale on the side.  For the next special occasion (yeah Christmas!!) I will definitely make something from scratch.

And for dessert:  A single crust apple pie, with only a top crust.  The apple filling is from the Complete Canadian Living Cookbook.  I had some great help from a little friend for this one 🙂

I’ll come clean right here though and say this wasn’t the only Thanksgiving meal served at my home.  No, there was another, more traditional one, involving a roast organic chicken (from a Quebec farm) with all the usual side dishes: bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans with almonds and pumpkin pie for dessert.  I thought the folks around the table would appreciate it, and they sure did! (Yes, I had some too)

I guess I am still in that phase of “conscientious inconsistency” Jonathan Safran Foer details in the opening chapter of Eating Animals.  But, I believe my days of the double-special meal holidays are quickly coming to an end.  I’ll be scouring the food blogs and cook books for plant-based alternatives to the Tofurky before Christmas.  Any suggestions?

Edit:  Think I’ve found something here for sure:  Squash with Wild Rice and Chanterelle Stuffing and Rich Brown Gravy.  Drool 🙂

Posted in Dilemas, Special occasions | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Vive le Vegan!’s Sweet Curry Chickpea Casserole and more Cheeze Sauce

I can always count on Dreena Burton’s Vive le Vegan! when looking for something satisfying to whip up with ingredients I already have on hand.  In keeping with the fall flavours, I went for the Sweet Curry Chickpea Casserole:  A sweet, mildly spicy, nutty flavour mix with sweet potatoes, chickpeas (duh) and apples.  I prepared some quinoa to serve it over, but ended up stirring the cooked quinoa right into the casserole and letting it soak up all the sweet coconutty goodness.  I have a lot of leftovers in the freezer, so I’m hoping this freezes well.

In my last post, I warned that I would be looking for all sorts of ways to use the cashew cheeze sauce from Vegan Yum Yum’s Mac  & Cheeze recipe.  Today, I made a sauce using the same ingredients except, instead of adding the boiled potatoes and carrots with their cooking water, I combined the cashews, miso, tahini, lemon, dijon, margarine, nutritional yeast (and added two cloves of garlic) and seasonings in a food processor to make a thick paste and just added 2-3 Tbs of rice milk to thin it slightly.  I boiled pasta and broccoli florets together until the pasta was tender.  Drained and tossed with the sauce and cherry tomatoes then drizzled and tossed in a little balsalmic vinegar and olive oil (about 2 tsp each).  Mmmm…mmm… good…

Posted in Casserole, Cheezes, Pasta, Quebec produce | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Random eats

Its been such a beautiful fun-filled weekend that cooking and blogging have taken a back seat.  Here are just a few shots of plant-based yumminess:

Mac & cashew cheeze from Vegan Yum Yum.  This was highly kid-approved! 🙂  This was my first foray into the cashew cheese world and I’ll be doing it again, and again, and again.  I LOVED this cheese sauce and it was very easy to make. I have a plan to make buckwheat crepes with spinach or asparagus filling and this sauce.  Actually, I can see using the paste mixture made in the processor before adding the potatoes and carrots as a pasta filling or spread or dip… many uses.

A heaping plate-full from le Commensal:

And a quick tofu ‘eggs’ florentine:

I don’t even use a recipe for this anymore, but it basically involves mashing firm tofu (organic please, none of those nasty Monsanto soy beans), adding Dijon mustard, tumeric, lemon juice, Vegenaise, garlic powder, ground pepper and, the secret to the ‘eggy’ taste – black salt.

Okay, over and out for me.  Time to enjoy a little Sunday evening down time.  Wishing you all a happy and healthy week ahead!

Posted in Brunch, Cheezes, Eating out, Pasta | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment