Monday, January 30, 2012

Roasted Vegetable Tomato Sauce on Penne

Though I don't love tomato sauce, this one is full of roasted vegetables (including 2 whole bulbs of garlic!) so I wanted to try it. I love all the vegetables (eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini, onion, mushrooms, artichokes) and olives and red wine. But I think the tomato sauce I used as the base (Hunts in a can) was not great, it was too sour? Next time I might try using crushed tomatoes instead. And I used regular canned artichokes, but next time will use marinated ones. Much more delicious!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Asparagus and Feta Pasta
Spaghetti All'Arrabbiata with Crispy Garlic Crumbs
Asparagus and Pea Pasta with Ricotta and Tarragon
Red and White Tortellini

Roasted Vegetable Tomato Sauce on Pasta
Adapted from ExtraVeganZa

Serves 6-8

1 eggplant, chopped (bite size pieces)
1 each red, yellow and orange peppers, chopped (bite size pieces)
1 small zucchini, chopped (bite size pieces)
2 bulbs garlic, separated and peeled
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tbsp sea salt
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried basil
Freshly ground black pepper
10 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
14 oz can or jar artichoke hearts, quartered
3/4 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
1 cup red wine
56 oz (1600 mL) tomato sauce
Enough pasta for 6 servings

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, mix together the eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini, garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil and salt. Place the mixture on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Stir at least once during cooking to prevent sticking. Remove from the oven and set aside.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the onions and saute for a few minutes. Add the herbs, black pepper, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, olives and roasted vegetables. Stir int he wine. Add the tomato sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer, cover and allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Serve the sauce on top of the hot pasta.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Whole Grain Sour Cream Apple Muffins

Does anyone else make muffins as often as I do? I don't even love muffins actually. I much prefer scones. But muffins are easier to make and also easier to make healthy. Though why I try to make my muffins healthy, and then eat chips at night I have no idea.

Anyway, I got obsessed with the idea of a sour cream apple muffin, and found this whole grain version. They also have oat bran, raisins and walnuts. The muffins turned out soft, though a bit dry, but I think I overbaked them a bit. What's your favourite kind of muffin?

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Strawberry Lemon Sunflower Seed Muffins
Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal Muffins
Maple Pecan Muffins
Morning Glory Muffins

Whole Grain Sour Cream Apple Muffins
Adapted from Pinch My Salt

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat bran
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup canola oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

1 apple, diced
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 12 cup muffin tin by oiling or using liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour through cinnamon). In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients (sour cream through vanilla). Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in apples, raisins, and nuts. Divide batter between the muffin cups.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Weekend Glow Kale Salad

I love all the components of this salad - kale, onion, red bell pepper, carrot, cucumber, avocado, grape tomatoes, dried cranberries, hemp seeds and walnuts. Such a fun mix of stuff. (Though I forgot to add the avocado when I made it. Salad tragedy!) The dressing was too lemony for me, so in the recipe below I've put the amount of lemon juice I'd recommend using. Always better to use less, and you can add more if you want! (I love these giant white serving bowls. We got them as a wedding gift from Eric's coworkers.)

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Everyday Chickpea-Quinoa Salad with Baslamic Vinaigrette
Asian Kale Salad
Wheat Berry Salad with Zucchini and Mozzarella
Know Your Roots Salad

Weekend Glow Kale Salad
Adapted from Oh She Glows

Serves 4

I always eat the kale stems but I know some people prefer just the leaves, so if you want you can only use the leaves (and save the stems for another use like sauteed with other vegetables).

1 head of kale (about 6 cups), chopped
1 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 of an English cucumber, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 avocado, chopped
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Lightened Up Tahini-Lemon Dressing (see below)

In a large salad bowl, mix all the ingredients. Add the dressing and toss to combine. Allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes.

Lightened Up Tahini-Lemon Dressing
Adapted from Oh She Glows

Makes a little under 1 cup

1/4 cup tahini
2 garlic cloves
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (1-2 lemons)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp water, or as needed

In a blender, process all ingredients until smooth. If desired, add more water to thin the dressing.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dal Makhni

I love easy and simple lentil dishes like this. They're great for healthy and filling weeknight meals. E wasn't a huge fan of these lentils, but I liked the flavour from the cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf, cardamom, garlic and ginger. Paired with rice or quinoa and some steamed broccoli and cauliflower, or roasted beets and carrots, it's a perfect meal for me.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Pumpkin Lentil Curry
Pink Beans with Cardamom Yogurt Sauce
Spicy Indian Chickpeas/Chana Masala
Indian Stir Fried Cabbage

Dal Makhni
Adapted from Vegan Yum Yum

Serves 4 (with rice and vegetables)

1 cup green lentils
2 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves
1" piece of cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
2 green cardamom pods
2 tsp minced ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups tomatoes, diced
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup cashews
2/3 cup water

In a pot, bring the lentils and 2 cups water to a boil. Simmer until tender, about 40 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, cooking until caramelized, being careful not to burn. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaf and cardamom pods and fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and salt and cook until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lentils.

Blend the cashews in a blender, slowly adding the 2/3 cup water until a rich cream forms. Stir this cream into the lentils. If you want to be fancy, reserve some of the sauce to drizzle over top for serving.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Baked BBQ Beer Tofu made with Rebarbecue Sauce

Tofu marinated in BBQ and beer sounded delicious to me so you can understand why I had it stuck in my head for months. Why for months? Well I wanted to make the barbecue sauce from my favourite cookbook, and while the sauce is easy to make it just took me some time to get around to doing it. Sometimes I buy bottled sauces but I use them once or twice then forget about them (except ketchup and mustard mmm). So homemade BBQ sauce it was!

There's a step in the barbecue sauce making process where you boil spices in vinegar, and that was the most amazing step because it made my apartment smell like A&W, minus the grease, if that makes any sense. Okay maybe that sounds gross but it wasn't. The barbecue sauce was really good but too spicy for me to be able to fully taste everything. I've adjusted the chipotle puree in the recipe to reflect how I'll make it next time.

As for the tofu, I was sadly disappointed. It didn't taste strongly of beer or bbq sauce. Admittedly I did not press my tofu first (I never do). I love the idea of this tofu so I will have to try it again.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Apple-Miso Tofu
Honey-Mustard Marinated Tofu
Salt & Pepper Tofu
Cumin Lime Tofu

Baked BBQ Beer Tofu
Adapted from The Edible Perspective

1/2 bottle beer
1/3 cup Rebarbecue Sauce (see below)
1 block extra firm tofu, cut into cubes

Whisk together the beer and rebarbecue sauce. Marinate the tofu for at least 1 hour, but overnight is better. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400F. Drain the sauce from the tofu, and place tofu on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with extra barbecue sauce.

Rebarbecue Sauce
Adapted from Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook

Makes about 2 cups

Add more chipotle puree if you like it spicy.

1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 1/2 tsp whole cloves
4 allspice berries
4 cardamom pods
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp chipotle puree (from a pureed can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce)
5.5 oz can tomato paste
1 bottle dark beer

1. In a small pot, bring vinegar and whole spices to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, which will take about 15 minutes. Strain out the solids and cool to room temperature.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet to medium and saute the onion until golden, adding garlic halfway through. Sprinkle sugar into the pan and when it melts, add all of the remaining ingredients including the vinegar. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and glossy.

3. Puree the sauce until smooth, cool and refrigerate.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Shredded Seitan and Mushroom Empanadas with Raisins and Olives

One of the first things that caught my eye in Viva Vegan! was the empanadas. I don't even remember the last time I ate them if ever because they're usually filled with meat. But this cookbook offers up so many delicious versions and my first choice was the shredded seitan and mushrooms empanadas with raisins and olives. How flavourful does that sound? I don't usually like raisins in baked goods but love what they add to savoury dishes.

And the dough was easy enough to make, roll out and work with. When baked, the pastry was crispy and a bit flakey. They could look more perfect if I cut out circles in the dough with a bowl but it's always my preference to avoid re-rolling dough and to simplify things. So I just divided my dough and rolled each piece into a circle. I can't wait to try out the other filling variations like corn crusted pumpkin potato, and beans rice and sweet plantain.

The recipe is time consuming, because you have to make the seitan, the filling, and the dough. But if you take it one part at a time it's not so bad.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Seitan Black Bean Corn Burgers
Vegan Pot Roast and Gravy
Udon Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Seitan
Baked Seitan

Shredded Seitan and Mushroom Empanadas with Raisins and Olives
Adapted from Viva Vegan!

Makes 12

1 recipe Empanada Dough (see below)
1/2 recipe Steamed Red Seitan (2 loaves), chilled and grated (see below)
1/2 lb button mushrooms, very finely minced
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb onion, finely minced
2 tbsp red wine
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Salt & pepper
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half
1/3 cup dark raisins
1/3 cup nondairy milk

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and garlic until the garlic starts to sizzle and becomes fragrant. Add in the onion and fry until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and cook until they darken and release their juices, another 5 minutes. Add the red wine, paprika, oregano, cumin and cinnamon, stirring occasionally and bring to a simmer. Stir in the grated seitan and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Use a spoon or silicone spatula to press the seitan into the liquid and vegetables to help the seitan absorb all the seasonings. Remove from the heat, let cool for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the olives and raisins. Set aside to cool.

When ready to assemble the empanadas, preheat oven to 400F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Have ready the prepared dough rounds, nondairy milk (for brushing) and pastry brush.

Take a dough round and lightly brush it with nondairy milk. Scoop a generous 1/3 cup of filling, making sure to get a few raisins and olive slices with each scoop. Place the filling into the center of the round and spread it over half of the round; leave about 1/2 inch of space along the edge of the dough. Make sure the filling doesn't spill over the edge otherwise crimping the edges will be difficult.

Fold the dough over the filling, stretching and pulling it just enough to completely encase everything. (You will now have a semicircular patty.) With your fingers, firmly press down the edges of the dough, then seal by firmly pressing with the tines of a fork into the edges of the empanada. Carefully lift and place on a prepared baking sheet and brush with nondairy milk. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

Bake the empanadas for 24 to 26 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the edges begin to brown. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes before serving, as the filling will be extremely hot out of the oven.

To reheat, either wrap bake at 350F for 8 to 10 minutes or microwave on high for 30 seconds.

Empanada Dough

Makes enough for 12 large empanadas

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp chilled vegan shortening, cut into 1/2" pieces
4 tbsp chilled vegan margarine, cut into 1/2" pieces
3/4 cup cold water, or more as needed

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt and baking powder for a few seconds. Add the shortening and margarine, and pulse until everything resembles fine, sandlike crumbs.

Pour the flour mixture into a large bowl and stream in the cold water while mixing the dough with your fingers or a fork. Continue adding just enough cold water that you can press the mixture together to form a soft and stretchy dough. Briefly knead a few times, divide into 2 balls, flatten each into a round about an inch thick, and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Minimize handling of the dough to keep it from getting tough. Chill overnight or for at least 4 hours.

Tear about 12 pieces of waxed paper or parchment paper to about 7 inches squares. Cut one of the dough rounds into 6 pieces (two dough rounds make 12 pieces). On a lightly floured surface, roll one of the cut pieces into a circle of 3/8" thickness, stretching and pulling the dough a little if necessary. To keep the dough from getting tough, use long rolling motions, occasionally lifting the dough by the edges and turning it a little to ensure an even thickness throughout.

Stack the circles of dough on top of one another, separating them with the waxed or parchment paper (to keep them from sticking). Repeat with the remaining 11 pieces of dough to make 12 dough rounds.

Chill the finished dough circles, the entire stack well wrapped in plastic wrap until ready to use.

Steamed Red Seitan

Makes 4 loaves

1 1/2 cups cold vegetable broth
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin

In a measuring cup, whisk together the broth, garlic, soy sauce, tomato paste and olive oil. In a large bowl, whisk the wheat gluten, chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, oregano and cumin. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour the liquid ingredients into the well, stirring with a rubber spatula until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough for 2 to 3 minutes to develop the gluten. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes; knead again for 30 seconds. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and lightly knead each piece a few times, shaping each piece into a roughly oblong loaf shape.

Tear off four 12" square pieces of aluminum foil. Place a piece of dough in the center of a piece of foil. Fold the foil around the dough so that the foil is secure but there is some space around the dough to let it expand while steaming. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Place the wrapped dough in a steamer and steam for 30 minutes. Allow the dough to cool to the touch before chilling in the fridge for at least an hour, or overnight.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Carrot Chia Spelt Muffins

This was the view from my office on Monday! I left work early and didn't go to work yesterday. I think the snow has mostly stopped for now, but it's going to be really cold (-13C, feels like -23C).

I love Angela's baked goods. She's always coming up with delicious new healthy snacks like these muffins. And it's no easy feat to create yummy AND healthy muffins. These ones have carrot, chia seeds, cacao nibs, spelt flour and raisins.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Blueberry Spice Spelt Muffins
Pineapple Carrot Ginger Muffins
Double Chocolate Avocado Muffins
Coconut Banana Muffins

Carrot Chia Spelt Muffins
Adapted from Oh She Glows

Makes 12 muffins

2 cups spelt flour
3 tbsp raw cane sugar
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp cacao nibs
3 tbsp raisins

2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened plain soy)
1 cup grated/shredded carrot
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 c maple syrup
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare 12 cup muffin tin with oil or liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until combined (don't overmix). Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Asian Inspired Napa Cabbage Slaw

WE HAVE SNOW! I'm torn between wanting lots more snow, and not wanting too much snow that it makes the roads dangerous for driving. So maybe the best thing to hope for is so much snow that you can't even drive!

I didn't grow up eating cabbage very often, but I really love it now. My favourite way to eat it is stir fried but I also really like it when thinly sliced for a salad like this.

This recipes goes all the way back to my CSA last summer where I received a head of napa cabbage and had no idea what to do with it. Of course I could have stir fried it but I wanted to see what other options were out there. A quick search landed me on Ricki's blog. The Asian inspired dressing (with soy sauce, sesame oil, onion, garlic, sugar, and vinegar) and fun mix of vegetables (cabbage, carrots, edamame) and seeds (sunflower seeds, sesame seeds) was as delicious as I'd hoped.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Tamarind Tofu Cabbage Bowl
Last Minute Sesame Noodles
Indian Stir Fried Cabbage
Broccoli Slaw

Asian Inspired Napa Cabbage Slaw
Adapted from Diet Dessert n Dogs

Serves 6

1 medium napa cabbage, washed, trimmed, and sliced thinly on the diagonal
1 cup shelled edamame, cooked
5 small carrots, grated
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup raw cane sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 very small onion, grated on the finest holes of your grater (it should almost liquefy)
1 clove garlic, minced

In a large bowl, mix the cabbage, edamame, carrots, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds.

In a smaller bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and whisk to mix well. Pour over salad and toss to coat.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Quick Vegan Tomato Basil Cream Pasta

Both E and I were in love with this creamy tomato pasta. My favourite pasta sauce used to be cream (specifically alfredo, even more specifically my mom's alfredo), then it became rose. I try not to have cream sauces too often as I know they're not very good for me, but now that I've found this delicious vegan rose sauce, I can indulge in my creamy pasta more often. I love basil but I'm sure it would be delicious with your favourite herb or whatever you might have in your garden (indoor garden at this time of year?)

Last weekend we went to Tofino for our 1 year anniversary! (If you're interested you can check out some of our wedding photos and our wedding video.)

I never posted pictures from our trip to Turkey and Greece, but I'm almost immediately posting pictures from our trip to Tofino. What does that say?? Hm. Probably that there were way too many Turkey and Greece photos. And also that I loooooooove taking local vacations and that Tofino is one of my favourite places.

This was my third time going there, and first time going during "storm watching season". Which basically means there's a lot of rain and big waves, at least that's what we experienced. It was a really relaxing cozy vacation. Tofino is a small town with a handful of restaurants, bakeries and shops (no big name stores). It's known for its surfing, but if you're not a surfer like me you can still enjoy walking along the beaches.

This is where we stayed.

The view from our room.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Pasta with French Lentils and Kale
Red and White Tortellini
Pasta with Ruby Chard and Cranberries
Mediterranean Macaroni and Cheese

Quick Vegan Tomato Basil Cream Pasta
Adapted from Vegan Yum Yum

Serves 2

7 oz uncooked whole wheat spaghetti (or other pasta shape)
1 medium ripe tomato, cored and roughly chopped
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 large handful fresh basil, chopped

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce. To a blender, add the tomato, cashews, water, tomato paste and salt. Blend until very smooth.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the garlic and saute until golden, being careful not to burn. Pour the sauce from the blender into the pan and bring to a simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it. Mix the pasta, sauce, black pepper and basil.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Zucchini and Chickpea Pancakes

I've seen chickpea pancakes around the blogosphere (can't remember where now though) and they always looked so good. And this one used up some of that CSA zucchini I keep on mentioning. I love how easy this is. Like a frittata or omelette but vegan. Usually I would use tofu to make something like this so the chickpea flour was a nice change. To make it a meal just add some steamed or roasted vegetables on the side, or cut it up into pieces and put it on a salad. Ooo now that I'm thinking about it, I bet a peanut sauce for dipping would be just excellent. (And I think this is the last zucchini recipe for a while.)

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Healthy Baked Zucchini Fries
Swift, Delicious Bean Salad
Pink Beans with a Cardamom-Yogurt Sauce
Sunflower Lentil Pie

Zucchini and Chickpea Pancakes
Adapted from Just Hungry

Makes 2 large pancakes, which make 2 main dish servings or 4 appetizer/side dish servings

4 cups grated zucchini (about 3 zucchinis)
Some cilantro leaves, chopped
1 cup chickpea flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
Olive oil for cooking

Put zucchini and cilantro into a large bowl; add the salt, garam masala and the chickpea flour. Mix well - the moisture that comes out of the zucchini may be enough to turn this into a batter, but if not add a tiny bit of water, just so that it turns moist but not runny.

Heat up a small (8 inch / 20cm) non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add some olive oil and spread around. Put in about half of the batter and spread around to form a circle. Cook for about 5 minutes, then turn and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until it’s cooked all the way through. (You can slice into the middle a bit to see if there’s any batter oozing still; if so, cook a bit more.) Repeat for the other half of the batter.

Cut into wedges, and serve hot or at room temperature.

Note: If you want a crispy outside, use more oil in the pan; if you want it soft (and less caloric) add less.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dishes That Didn't Make the Cut

I like to blog everything I make, but I don't like sharing recipes that I didn't love because I feel like it's recommending something that I actually wouldn't. I did a couple of "unbloggable" posts before, and so I guess this is another one. These dishes were not bad at all, and certainly edible, just not my thing.

Janet loved these mango BBQ beans from Appetite for Reduction, and I love pretty much everything Janet posts, so I tried them. I thought they were just okay and was disappointed to not taste the mangoes. I didn't have liquid smoke though, which Janet says is an essential ingredient. So I'll give these another try some day and hopefully they'll be better.

This goddess ni├žoise salad (also from Appetite for Reduction) is gorgeous. I love the presentation! But for all the work that goes into it, the taste wasn't good enough for me to do it again. The salad WAS good though, and had someone else served it to me I'd be happy. The dressing was just okay and I'd try it with another dressing.

This vegetarian pasta bolognese from The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health was alright but not too flavourful. And I should've added more vegetables and less pasta. I haven't come across many recipes in this book that I love so if you have the cookbook, please please tell me which ones you like.

This is the olive oyl pasta from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan. There's nothing wrong with this pasta, it's okay just nothing special. It has garlic, basil, oregano, tomatoes and olives. Though I must mention that ED&BV is one of my all time favourite cookbooks.

This is baked white beans with roasted garlic, lemon and herbs from Janet who adapted from Affairs of Living. For a bean lover I'm sure this dish is lovely. And I did enjoy it on the first day. But it lasted forever and was just too high in the bean to other stuff ratio. I don't fault the recipe though. If you like beans, I do recommend you try it because it's something different.

This is pad see ew from Vegan Yum Yum. It wasn't bad, I just think there must be better recipes out there. Maybe it had too many noodles or not enough sauce. Though this wasn't an amazing recipe, Vegan Yum Yum is fast becoming one of my favourite cookbooks.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Chesapeake Bay Snack Mix

I love the idea of snack mixes like this. I've never made one myself though until this one. And while I do still think that snack mixes are fun, and I love the mixture of stuff in this (though E picked out all the cheddar bunnies), it was insanely salty. In general we try to always reduce the salt in recipes, not add extra salt to our meals, and use reduced sodium products like soy sauce. So maybe for people who don't do this, it wouldn't be as salty? I'd never tried Old Bay seasoning until this recipe, and for those of you haven't tried it either, it tastes kind of like celery. So though I didn't love the recipe, I still think it's fun and maybe you guys can use it for inspiration or just try using less Old Bay seasoning (for less salt).

I was looking through this "cat breeds" book in Costco the other day and was reading about maine coons (which we believe Abby is). And reading the traits of the cat was neat because it completely describes Abby. It said how they have dog like behaviour and love to play fetch, and Abby always does that with her little balls, bringing them to us and being annoying until we throw them. And they love to play with water but don't like being wet, and will tip over their water dishes or dump their toys in water, which she also does. And how they like to grab things with their paws which she also tries to do, including her ball when we throw it for her.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Cheese Straws
Caramelized Onion, Sage and Cheddar Muffins
Garlic Cheese Bread
Pan-Fried Onion Dip

Chesapeake Bay Snack Mix
Adapted from Dana Treat who adapted from Everyday Food, June 2010

8 cups crisp corn, rice cereal, such as Crispix or Chex
3 cups thin pretzel sticks
3 cups Annie's cheddar bunnies
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce, such as Tabasco

Preheat oven to 250F. In a roasting pan, combine cereal, pretzels, and cheddar bunnies. In a small bowl, mix together melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay, lemon juice, and hot-pepper sauce. Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture and stir until ingredients are completely coated. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to two rimmed baking sheets to cool completely.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Apple Pie Oatmeal

There was a time - okay a long time, like over 20 years - when I hated oatmeal. Mushy tasteless goo. Now though I eat it all the time. Well right now I'm going through a green monster for breakfast phase, but I'm sure I'll get back into my oatmeal for breakfast everyday phase soon enough. My oatmeal feelings turned with this carrot cake oatmeal. In the summer I loved having vegan overnight oats with my favourite combination being a gingerbread type version with cinnamon, blackstrap molasses (iron power!) and a chopped apple. This oatmeal has apple too, but it's more an apple pie oatmeal with walnuts, ginger and maple syrup. It really does taste like apple pie, and is so nice, warm and comforting on a cold morning.

For those of you that have no idea what a green monster is or what vegan overnight oats are, I'll attempt a brief description. I think I first found out about them from Angela. My regular green monster includes 1 cup of nondairy milk, 1 tbsp flax seeds (or chia seeds but it makes it super thick), lots of spinach (maybe 2 cups?), a banana, 1/2 cup of frozen berries, and 1/3 cup old fashioned oats. If you've never tried a green monster, I'm sure they sound terrible and scary but they're really tasty and provide at least 4 servings of fruits/vegetables first thing in the morning!

As for vegan overnight oats, you basically mix up your oatmeal the night before, and eat it cold instead of heating it up. The overnight rest allows the oatmeal to soften, and the chia seeds to thicken everything up. My normal vegan overnight oats includes 1 cup nondairy milk, 1/3 cup old fashioned oats, 1 tbsp chia seeds and 1 chopped fruit (banana or apple usually). Sometimes I add a few nuts or cinnamon. My gingerbread version adds 1 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses and a teaspoon of cinnamon. I never add sweetener to my oatmeal except blackstrap molasses. I don't like too sweet breakfasts.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Carrot Cake Oatmeal
Oatmeal & Wheat Germ Raspberry Scones
Perfectly Crunchy Granola
Gingerbread Waffles

Apple Pie Oatmeal
Adapted from Oh She Glows

Serves 1

1/3 cup old fashioned oats
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups nondairy milk (I used unsweetened plain soy)
1 medium apple, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp chopped walnuts

In a medium sized pot over medium heat, whisk together all ingredients. (If you want to save the walnuts to sprinkle them on top, then don't add them.) Heat over medium heat for about 8 minutes, stirring often. When the mixture thickens and the liquid is absorbed, it's ready. (If you saved the walnuts, sprinkle them on now.)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Yeasted Garlic Zucchini Bread

So I didn't ask - how were everyone's Christmas and holidays? Any exciting gifts? Delicious foods? We spent time going around visiting all of our local family, which was great. I made Russian grandmothers' apple pie-cake for Christmas Eve dessert and a sticky toffee pudding cheesecake for Christmas day dessert. (And my favourite salad, which has toasted almonds, snow peas, red bell pepper, and a parsley onion dressing.) My favourite gift was a pyrrha wax seal necklace from E. Now that things are back to normal, I'm starting to catch up with your blogs and hear about your holidays!

This is the bread I used with the white bean & walnut bruschetta (highly recommend trying that too!) I doubt I would've made this recipe had I not been looking for ways to use up our CSA zucchini. But I'm really glad I was pushed into making this. You can't really tell there's zucchini in the bread, it just adds moisture. But you can definitely taste the garlic, which I love. The bread was nice and chewy, which I also loved. My dough flattened out a lot - maybe it needs even more flour (I added an extra cup) so I'd recommend trying to gather or shape the dough higher if possible. But there was also nothing wrong with this flat loaf. I'm submitting this bread to yeastspotting.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Freshly Fruited Yeast Bread
Pull-Apart Cheesy Onion Bread
Light Brioche Burger Buns
Hot Crossed Buns

Yeasted Garlic Zucchini Bread
Adapted from The Cook's Encyclopedia of Baking, found on Sizzle N Spice

Makes 1 Loaf

1 pound zucchini, grated
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1 package active dry yeast
11/4 cups lukewarm water
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour (original recipe calls for 3 1/2 cups, but I found it needed more)
Olive oil, for brushing

1. In a colander, alternate layers of grated zucchini and salt. Leave for 30 minutes, then squeeze out the moisture with your hands.

2. Combine the yeast with 1/4 cup of lukewarm water, stir and leave for 15 minutes to dissolve the yeast.

3. Place the zucchini, yeast and flour in a bowl. Stir together and add just enough of the remaining water to make a rough dough.

4. Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a plastic bag, and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 11/2 hours.

5. Grease a baking sheet. Punch down the risen dough with your fist and knead into a tapered cylinder. Place on the baking sheet, cover, and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.

6. Preheat the oven to 425F. Brush with olive oil and bake until golden, 40-45 minutes. Cool on a rack.