Friday, April 29, 2011

Vegetarian Pho

I've been wanting to try making pho at home for a loooong time but had some fears. What if the broth wasn't right?! What things should I add?! One day when I was feeling brave, we went on a mission to the large Asian grocery store here. I had to find fresh pho noodles, mushroom balls, maybe some sort of special tofu, and a fun leafy green. (I love the variety of greens at Asian grocery stores - my favourite is pea tips, though we ended up trying pea shoots in the pho.)

This is just a simple bowl of vegetarian pho, but the feeling of accomplishment and excitement made it a really happy and magical experience. Sometimes I can get way too excited about food. I haven't had pho in a really long time, so I wasn't sure how "accurate" the broth was (though I knew it was amazing), but E said that it tasted like pho should. Pho success! I got the recipe from Leng, and then modified it a bit according to what we had. So I've mostly kept her original recipe and written in my notes.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Thai Coconut Corn Stew
Pad Thai
"The" Peanut Sauce
Udon Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Seitan
Soba Noodles with Zucchini Ribbons

Leng and Long’s Pho
Adapted from A Fat Cat Created A Vegetarian

Serves 2

1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
1 tbsp oil
1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms, any kind will do
8 cups of vegetable broth
3-5 star anise pods
1 tsp of whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 Tbsp. of vegetarian fish sauce (It would still taste fine if you don’t have this) (Ashley note: I think I added a bit of soy sauce because I didn't have vegetarian fish sauce.)
Ginger, just cut off a small “leg” the sizes vary all the time. Cut piece in half (Ashley note: I used 1 tbsp minced ginger.)
1/2 pound of extra firm tofu, cubed
Mushroom balls, optional
16 oz package of fresh pho noodles
2 to 3 big handfuls of leafy greens (ie. spinach, pea tips)

Topping plate:
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/4 small yellow onion, very thinly sliced
Slices of green onions
Mint & basil sprigs
Jalapeno slices
Mung bean sprouts
Black pepper, hoisin & Sriracha hot sauce
(Ashley note: We only added lime, yellow onion and hot sauce.)

Heat oil in a large saucepan on high heat, add chopped onions and mushrooms. Stir. Cook for 5-10 minutes.

Add vegetable broth, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, vegetarian fish sauce and ginger. Stir. Bring broth to a boil. Add tofu cubes & mushroom balls. Bring to a boil. While soup is coming to a boil distribute each large serving bowl with an even amount of pho noodles. About a handful for each person, you’re not going to use the whole package. (Ashley note: We used 1/2 the package for the 2 of us.) These noodles are super long, but do not cut them.

Once soup comes to a boil turn off heat, remove star anise and ginger pieces (if not using minced ginger). Ladle soup directly onto noodles in prepared bowls. Serve with topping plate and sauces. Serve hot!

Note: Cover the noodles in your bowl completely, so that it will not become soggy as you eat it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Goat Cheese and Herbes de Province Biscotti

Alright, this is the last of my goat cheese recipes for a while! I bought a Costco size block of it and making these scones twice and this salad left just the perfect amount (2 ounces) for me to make this delicious savoury biscotti. The goat cheese is combined with herbes de Provence (one of my favourite things and used in one of my favourite salads) resulting in a shortbread-like textured biscotti. The goat cheese taste isn't prominent but I'm sure it's responsible for contributing to the overall amazingness of the biscotti. Fresh out of the oven was the best time to eat them when the edges were crisp (oh crisp edges, how I love thee), but they're still good days later. I haven't forgotten about posting wedding photos, but there's 1400+ to choose from so it's taking me some time haha. :)

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Chile-Cheese Bread
Sun-Dried Tomato, Feta and Oregano Muffins
A Dilly of a Cheese Scone
Cheese Straws

Goat Cheese and Herbes de Province Biscotti
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis, found on Pink Parsley

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons herbes de Provence
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, beaten, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350F, and position the rack in the middle position. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, herbs de Provence, baking powder, and salt.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the goat cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the eggs and sugar, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing until just combined.

Turn out dough onto the baking sheet. Using damp hands, shape the dough into a 13 x 4 inch log. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Cool on a baking sheet for 30 minutes.

Using a serrated knife, cut the log on the diagonal into 1/2 to 1 inch slices. If you slice them closer to 1 inch thick, the insides remain soft. Slice thinner if you want them to be more firm.) Transfer slices to the baking sheet, cut side down.

Bake an additional 15 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Vegetarian Nut Loaf

As soon as I saw Johanna's announcement for a second A Neb at Nut Roast event, I couldn't wait to participate and knew exactly which nut roast to make. I had seen this nut loaf on the back of my Canadian Living: The Vegetarian Collection book and couldn't get it out of my head.

It combines walnuts and sunflower seeds with a variety of vegetables, thyme and caraway and is topped with tomato sauce. I loved adding extra tomato sauce to the leftovers. I liked this nut roast but next time would add more thyme and caraway, and maybe add in some extra herbs. I can't wait to see everyone else's nut roasts! You have until May 5 to submit yours.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Lentil Veggie Burrito Casserole
Tracy's Lentil Loaf
Mushroom Pecan Burger
Vegan Pot Roast & Gravy

Vegetarian Nut Loaf
Adapted from Canadian Living: The Vegetarian Collection

1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 cups finely chopped mushrooms
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp caraway seeds, ground
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (rehydrated if dry, drained if packed in oil)
1/4 cup white wine
3 eggs
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raw hulled unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup tomato sauce, plus extra for serving

In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; saute celery and onion until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, thyme, caraway, salt and pepper; saute until mushrooms are golden, about 4 minutes. Add sun-dried tomatoes and wine; cook until no liquid remains; about 2 minutes. Let cool.

Beat together eggs, bread crumbs and baking powder; fold in mushroom mixture, walnuts and sunflower seeds. Spread in parchment paper lined 9x5 inch (2 L) loaf pan. Pour tomato sauce over top.

Bake in 350F oven until slightly puffed and firm, about 1 hour. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Garlicky Broccoli, Corn and Bean Burritos & Spicoli Burgers

Burritos are one of my all time favourite foods. I could eat them everyday and cannot imagine when I would get tired of them. I don't make them often though because when I'm doing meal planning for the week, I try and choose things that would be good to take as leftovers for lunch. While burritos for lunch would bring me much happiness, they just aren't as easy to eat or as easily reheatable as other things.

These burritos and burgers are another two delicious gems from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan. The burritos combine things I wouldn't have thought to put together - curry powder and hoisin sauce - and result in something really flavourful. There's lots of garlic, broccoli and corn too. I added some cheese on top but next time would definitely omit it.

And the burgers, well I'm sure many of you have heard of the spicoli burgers. I had the recipe for them long before I had the book yet it took me forever to make them. (Probably due to my fear of falling apart veggie burgers.) But I finally made them and they're really good. Much softer than other veggie burgers I've had before, and perfect eaten over spinach and drizzled with balsamic maple sauce. I'm only sharing the burrito recipe today. I'm sure you can find the spicoli burger recipe online (or better yet, buy the book - it is amazing and you will not regret it).

If these sound good, you might also like:
Black Bean & Scrambled Egg Enchiladas
Maple Baked Beans
Black Bean and Zucchini Chilaquiles
Southwest Brunch Bake

Garlicky Broccoli, Corn & Bean Burritos
Adapted from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan

Makes 4 servings

14 oz (398 mL) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp water
1 clove garlic, quartered
1 tsp curry powder
4 10-inch whole wheat flour tortillas
1 cup grated cheese (optional - I wouldn't add it next time)

1 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 cups broccoli (florets and stalks), chopped
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
1 cup frozen corn kernels

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a food processor, combine beans, vinegar, soy sauce, water, garlic, and curry powder and puree until smooth. In a frying pan on medium-low heat, add oil, garlic, salt, and pepper and toss, then cover and cook for 1-2 minutes (reduce heat and/or add a few drops of water if needed to prevent garlic from burning.) Add broccoli, then hoisin sauce and soy sauce. Cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes to lightly steam broccoli. Stir in corn, then remove from heat (do not overcook, as ingredients will be heated again in burrito).

On a flat surface, spoon 1/4 of bean mixture down center of each tortilla, leaving 1 inch space on top and bottom. Top mixture with 1/4 of sauteed veggies. Fold bottom edge over filling and roll up, tucking in the sides as you go. Place burritos, seam-side down, in 9x13 inch baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes, sprinkling on cheese in last 3-5 minutes (if using).

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Coconut Raspberry Walnut Power Bars

I ate my share of pre-packaged granola bars growing up as many of us did. Now I never eat them as I always find them way too sweet. I've made homemade granola bars a few times and they've been okay, but again they're usually too sweet for me. So why did I make these? I have a big bag of crisp brown rice cereal and need to do something with it! And the wonderful thing? I actually liked these granola bars. A lot. They are really sweet, but there's something about maybe the coconut or the rice crisps that just makes them so much better than any other granola bar I've tried.

My bike riding to work is going excellently! I've had some issues with my knee so I'm trying to take things slowly and just do 1 or 2 days a week right now, though I wish I could bike everyday. It was awesome to hear how many of you are out biking around too!

PS - This is my 400th post! Yikes.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Granola Bars
Sunny Jungle Bars
Morning Glory Muffins
Caramel Walnut Chocolate Chunk Granola

Coconut Raspberry Walnut Power Bars
Adapted from Super Natural Cooking

Feel free to change in whatever nuts or dried fruits you want, though I prefer to stick with 1 type of nut and 1 type of dried fruit so the flavours don't get jumbled.

1 1/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 cup oat bran
1 1/2 cups unsweetened crisp brown rice cereal
1 cup dried raspberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup natural cane sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt

Line or grease an 8x8 inch baking pan.

Mix the oats, walnuts, oat bran, cereal, raspberries, and coconut in a large bowl and set aside. Combine the rice syrup, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly as it comes to a boil and thickens just a bit, about 4 minutes. Pour over the oat mixture and stir until the syrup is evenly incorporated.

Spread into the prepared pan and cool to room temperature before cutting into bars.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Vegan Pot Roast & Gravy

I really wanted to make yorkshire puddings and I remembered seeing this vegan pot roast recipe in Vegan Vittles. A perfect pair with my beloved yorkshires! Both E and I loved the gravy, though it was more pureed vegetables with some flavourings than a traditional gravy. As for the pot roast, it was okay but very spongey. I like seitan but prefer it to be more solid and chewy, like this baked seitan. Though the sponginess could be my mistake - I may have over-kneaded it. Regardless, it was still an exciting food experience as I've never had vegan pot roast! And I've only made gravy once. I'll try and make the gravy again without the pot roast.

So far I've tried two other recipes from Vegan Vittles - chickpeas a la king and barbecued buffalo zings. The buffalo zings were okay, but I wasn't a fan of the chickpeas a la king. I've yet to try a vegan cream sauce I've liked, except one that used coconut milk (from How It All Vegan!). I think it's because the nondairy milk I use is always soymilk which has a pronounced flavour. Anyway if you're familiar with Vegan Vittles, please let me know your favourite recipes!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Udon Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Seitan
Baked Seitan
Puttanesca Tofu
Chickpea Cutlets

Vegan Pot Roast & Gravy
Adapted from Vegan Vittles

Dry Ingredients
1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder

Liquid Ingredients
1 cup water
3 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce

Oil for Cooking
3 tbsp olive oil

2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

Cooking Broth
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp rd wine vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf

For the dry ingredients: Place all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and stir with a whisk until well combined.

For the liquid ingredients: Place all of the liquid ingredients in a small bowl, and stir until well combined. Pour into the dry ingredients, and mix well with a wooden spoon. If there is still flour around the edges, add a small amount of additional water (1-2 tablespoons only). You should now have a large, firm, spongy mass of gluten in the bowl.

Knead the gluten directly in the bowl for about 30 seconds only, just to blend. (Do not add any more flour. Kneading any longer than this will make the gluten fluffy, spongy, and breadlike, rather than dense, chewy, and meat-like.) Form into a loaf, and return it to the bowl.

Place 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, heavy pot, and place over medium-high heat. When hot, add the gluten loaf and brown it evenly on all sides, taking care that it does not stick to the sides of the pot. Transfer the roast back to the large bowl and set aside.

For the vegetables: Pour the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil into the pot and place over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions and cook and stir for 15-20 minutes, or until they are lightly browned and starting to caramelize. Watch closely and adjust the heat as necessary so they do not burn. Add the carrots, and cook and stir until they are softened, about 5 minutes longer.

Add the broth, tomato paste, vinegar, soy sauce, thyme, garlic and bay leaf, bring to a boil. Return the roast to the pot and turn the heat down to medium-low. Partially cover the pot (tilt the lid so there is room for steam to escape) and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Maintain the heat so that the liquid barely simmers, and turn the roast over about every 30 minutes.

When the roast is finished cooking, transfer it to a cutting board. Cover it loosely with foil and let rest for 15 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf from the pot and discard it. Transfer the cooking liquid and vegetables to a blender or food processor, and process into a smooth, thick gravy. Pour into a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat until warmed through.

To serve: Carve the roast on a slight diagonal into thin slices. Arrange the slices on a serving platter, overlapping them slightly, and spoon some of the gravy over the top.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Coconut Banana Muffins

At first I wasn't sure whether I liked these muffins enough to share them on my blog, but I kept eating them and began to really love them. I think I would've loved them immediately had I not had the memory of these unhealthier addictive banana coconut muffins in my memory. These ones are similar but with some whole wheat flour, less sugar, less butter and more vanilla. My two favourite things about these muffins are that the banana doesn't overpower the coconut, and the texture (soft and slightly dense). If you want to make these muffins look fancy, sprinkle coconut on top. Sometimes I like to be fancy with my food though usually I just make things the way I like to eat them, so I mixed all the coconut into the batter.

I'm going to bike to work for the first time today and am super excited about it! It's cold out but I bought some cycling clothes to keep me warm, and the sun is out. It is going to be glorious. The bike ride is only about 20 minutes and it's mostly downhill on the way there. Coming home will be a good workout!

If these sound good, you might also like:
Pumpkin Muffins
Morning Glory Muffins
Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal Muffins
Spiced Carrot Muffins

Coconut Banana Muffins
Adapted from Dinner with Julie

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 mashed very ripe bananas
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1/3 cup plain unsweetened yogurt
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375F and line muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, stir together the flours, baking powder, salt and coconut. In another bowl whisk/mash together the bananas, brown sugar, butter, egg and vanilla; add to the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Don’t overmix.

Divide batter among lined muffin cups. Bake for about 25 minutes, until puffed and golden, about 25 minutes. Makes about 10 muffins.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spiced Squash, Lentil, and Goat Cheese Salad

I've never been a big fan of goat cheese (it always tasted like blue cheese to me which I don't usually like), but it's really starting to grow on me. I wouldn't sit down and eat it on its own, but mixed into things like this salad or these scones, it can be quite nice. I enjoyed this salad, though wouldn't say it's a new favourite. It kind of reminded me of this Mediterranean Couscous and Lentil Salad. I think I might not be a fan of lentils in salad. Or maybe I like my leafy salads leafy, and my lentil/bean salads grainy. However, I really liked the smoked paprika roasted butternut squash in this salad. It smelled amazing when it was baking. I think anything coated and baked in smoked paprika would be delicious!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Warm Roasted Pumpkin & Shallot Salad
Potato Salad Niçoise
Greek Barley Salad
Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Dill and Lemon

Spiced Squash, Lentil, and Goat Cheese Salad
Adapted from Bon Appétit | October 2009 by Ross Dobson

Makes 6 servings

3/4 cup green lentils
6 cups 1-inch pieces peeled seeded butternut squash (from about one 2-pound whole squash)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 cups mixed greens
1 cup soft goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Place lentils in small bowl. Cover with cold water and soak 10 minutes; drain.

Cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender but firm, about 30 minutes. Drain lentils. Rinse under cold water, then drain.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place pumpkin in large bowl; toss with 2 tablespoons oil, cumin, paprika, and sea salt. Arrange pumpkin in single layer on baking sheet; roast 20 minutes. Turn pumpkin over. Roast until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool.

Combine lentils, pumpkin, and oil from baking sheet with arugula, half of goat cheese, mint, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among plates; sprinkle remaining goat cheese over.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Curried Chickpea Soup

Though I'm pretty picky with my soups, making soup makes me feel really happy and peaceful. I love that I can just quickly and unevenly chop up vegetables, throw them into a pot with spices and herbs, simmer away and have delicious smells emanate. I love seeing the floating vegetables and bobbing bay leaves. Ahh soup, why can't you always be as delicious as this curried chickpea one?

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Hungarian Mushroom Soup
Curried Split Pea Soup
Thai Coconut Corn Stew
White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup

Curried Chickpea Soup
Adapted from Rebar

Serves 8

8 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp oil
1 yellow onion, finely diced
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 bay leaves
8 garlic cloves
3 tbsp minced ginger
1 jalapeno peppers, seeded (more if you like it spicy)
1 red pepper
6 ripe tomatoes
1 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp coriander, ground
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp turmeric
3 cups canned chickpeas
1/2 can coconut milk
1/2 bunch cilantro, minced

1. Heat the oil in a soup pot and add onion, 1 tsp salt and bay leaves. Saute until the onions are soft and golden. Meanwhile, place the garlic, ginger, jalapenos, pepper and tomatoes in a food processor and pulse until the vegetables form a rough puree. Set aside.

2. Add all the spices to the sauteed onions and continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes. Add the vegetable puree and another 1/2 teaspoon of salt and simmer until small blobs of oil pool on the surface. Add the chickpeas and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook several minutes, then add the coconut milk. With an immersion blender or regular blender, puree a portion of the soup to thicken it. Simmer and season to taste with salt and crackked pepper. Add chopped cilantro just before serving.