Monthly Archives: September 2010

Vegan Eggplant Parmigiana

This is based on a recipe from The FatFree Vegan Blog, but modified to be not quite so low fat. While we are health-conscious in this house, that usually means going for a bike ride or choosing wine over beer. Gotta have a vice, and mine is rich food. Serve this dish to anyone who thinks that vegan means bland and healthy.

(This dish does have only 2 tbsp of oil in it.)

I served this with a caesar salad featuring homemade croutons. Holy shit.

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San Francisco Restaurant Review: Gracias Madre 18th and Valencia

Mouthwatering tamal

Jules Morgan

When a meat eater frequents a vegan restaurant, it must be outstanding.  I had just about every local tell me to go to this restaurant, not because it was vegan, but because they love the food. This 100% vegan organic mexican restaurant doesn’t skimp on the ingredients or the dining out experience.  Everything was well priced, fresh, portioned well, and beautifully assembled.

It was hard to choose what to eat because every dish was unique. From Prickly pear cactus to posolé, every dish had to be made to order and was a far cry from a burrito shack. I basically  had no option in my decision, I was told that the tamale was a favourite and I would regret not trying it. Using stone-ground heirloom masa and fresh escabeche (spicy pickled veggies) I didn’t want this tamale to ever end. I truly see this restaurant as an inspiration for future vegan ventures because of the homemade, fresh aspect this restaurant embodies.  To top it all off, they make their own corn tortillas and cashew cheese in house.

Gracias Madre-tamale

You could say that I am biased toward New Mexican/Mexican food and that’s why I am giving this restaurant such a good review, maybe, but the food was excellent, the service was professional, and the atmosphere was full of wood, tile and dimly lit tables. The tables were large and meant for two parties to dine at, bringing together different types of people for at least one meal. Dinner also included an authentic mariachi band, something that I have only yet experienced in New Mexico.

If you are ever in San Francisco, whether you are vegan or not, Gracias Madre is more than worth your time. Actually, maybe you should book a flight to San Francisco right now and go for dinner.

Google Assumes Vegan and Vegetarian are Synonymous

Today, while searching on Google for vegan-friendly businesses, I noticed that results containing “vegetarian” were returning as if the two terms are synonymous. As any vegan knows, they’re not – it’s easy enough to find vegetarian food, but vegan is an entirely different ballpark. I use Google because the relevance of the search results is reliable; however, when I need to find a vegan-friendly bed and breakfast, finding one that’s vegetarian-friendly isn’t as helpful as they might think.

Click to enlarge

Note how, in the results, the term “vegetarian” is bolded as if it was one of my search terms.
And really, Googs, why hasn’t my list of vegan nachos hit that front page? You’d think… hmm, guess I should revisit what I know about SEO.

(To find an actual list of vegan nachos in Vancouver, refer to our vegan nachos list.)

Traditionally Vegetarian India Seeing a Surge in Vegan Converts

India – long a haven for vegetarians but not so much for vegans, as the Hindu diet, though traditionally meat-free, is heavy in dairy products – is seeing a surge in veganism. (Exciting news for this intrepid pair of vegan travelers!) This article talks about the new trend in India, where vegans have to bring their own soy milk to coffee shops and (as is written) must instruct their servers as to how to prepare a dish without dairy.

What Kind of Tofu Do I Buy?

When I first made the switch to veganism, I hated tofu. It was a flavourless, jellylike mass with all the bad and none of the good qualities of desserts served at daycares. And for a vegan, not liking tofu can be a serious problem. Over time, as I learned about the different types of tofu available, I learned to love it. So, if you’re new to tofu, if you’re cooking for a tofu-eater, or if you’re trying to learn to love tofu, you might find this guide useful.

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Balsamic-Mustard-Garlic-Maple Syrup Salad Dressing

summer greens

As our Melbournian friend Laura would say: Look, this is my go-to salad dressing for dressing up simple greens, alright?

Salad Dressing in Vinaigrette Style

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1.5 tbsp olive oil (or another light veg oil, like grapeseed or avocado – NOT canola or safflower)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp mustard (I prefer a creamy dijon; use anything but plain yellow)
1 tbsp maple syrup, agave nectar, or other liquid sweetener
1/8 tsp salt & pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Taste it and adjust accordingly – want it sweeter? Add more sweetener. Too much oil? Add more vinegar. This recipe should easily make enough salad dressing for a big bowl of salad. It’ll keep indefinitely (thanks to the vinegar). Make sure to shake or stir before dressing your salad, to ensure your oil and liquids haven’t separated.

Most vinaigrette recipes use far more oil than vinegar. I usually do it the opposite way. Since balsamic is a thick and sweet vinegar, you can be a lot more liberal with it. Still, this is a very vinegary dressing. If you prefer your salad dressing a little less strongly flavoured, maybe try one tablespoon of balsamic rather than two, and adjust from there.

Salad Dressing in Creamy Style

You’re going to have to make a bigger recipe if you want to make a creamy dressing, but perhaps you can put it in a leftover bottle and keep it in the fridge. You’ll need a food processor. Depending on how big your food processor is, you may have to quadruple the recipe or more. You need to fill the processor to at least a couple centimeters so it will adequately spin.

Put all ingredients except for the oil in your food processor. Put the top on and start to spin it at high speed. Using the pouring spout, very slowly pour the oil in as the salad dressing spins. As the oil is incorporated, the dressing should become creamy and beautiful.

You could try doing this with a fork, if you are really ambitious.

Variations on a Theme

  • Add orange juice and leave out mustard for an orange-balsamic dressing.
  • Add fresh or defrosted raspberries to your orange dressing.
  • Leave out garlic for a sweeter dressing.
  • Leave out sweetener for a tangy dressing.

Now what?

Just in case you have trouble thinking up excellent salad combinations:

Delicious Salad Construction

Per person, prepare:
Handful spring greens, rinsed
4 cherry tomatoes, sliced down the centre
1/4 avocado, skin and pit removed, sliced
1/4 mandarin orange, sectioned; or 1/4 mango, cubed
1/4 cup cucumber, chopped
Sprinkling nuts, seeds, and dried fruit – I usually lightly toast some trail mix

Or try:
Handful spinach, stems removed, rinsed
Handful raspberries or sliced strawberries
1/4 cup smoked tofu, grated
Sprinkling poppy seeds or toasted chopped walnuts

Grated beet and cherry salad

veggie burgers on chive-red pepper biscuits with a corn and peach salad and grated beets

Alright so there’s been some requests for the burger recipe. I can’t really give it up yet because truthfully, I haven’t perfected it. I’ve been trying to use less and less binding agents, such as psyllium husks, and more of proper cooking technique, such as not over cooking the rice or quinoa so it absorbs more of the moisture. With that said, I will work diligently on my burger patty so that I can share the perfect recipe with you.

I hope as a consolation you will appreciate this next recipe because it is simple.

Cherry Beet Salad


12 Cherries

2 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar

Handful Roasted almonds (chopped)

Pinch Salt (Sea Salt)

Pinch Pepper

Peel your beet. Don’t forget to use gloves if you don’t want purple hands, or maybe you do, I don’t judge. If you have a mandoline, use it to grate your beet as fine as you can. If not, use a grater. Place in a bowl.

Mix in pitted, halved cherries, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Let it marinate until ready to serve. Add almonds as a garnish.

I love beets and love to make simple side dishes with them. Trust me, there will be many more to come.

15% of Chefs Admit to Sabotaging Vegan Food with Animal Products

As a vegan I’ve kind of accepted that if I order food from a non-vegan restaurant, there’s a good chance it’ll have come into contact with an animal product at some point. I have realized this and have moved on; the way I see it, when the whole world is vegan someday, this won’t be a worry. It’s more about sending a message than absolute purity.

But when I read that Food Network magazine surveyed chefs and found that 15% of them consciously sabotage vegan orders, I felt a little sick to my stomach. Seriously? To me, that sort of behaviour is about equal with feeding an orthodox Jew bacon or a Hindu beef – too bad veganism doesn’t have protection under the decree of freedom of religion.

(Thanks to VeganMania for the heads up.)

Vegan Cookbook Authors We Know and Love: Sarah Kramer

Photo by Walking the Vegan Line

We don’t know if you’d heard, but Malloreigh’s first time being published as a vegan cook was in 2005, in Sarah Kramer‘s third cookbook, La Dolce Vegan. Page 181 of this cookbook (yeah, I have it memorized) features a very simple mushroom gravy recipe by Vegan Mischief’s very own. Maybe someday we’ll have our own cookbook out, but ’til then, there’s our claim to fame.

By the way, Sarah Kramer’s books are excellent intro-to-veganism type books. The recipes are, by and large, simple and accessible. Most of them are fairly healthy and the ingredients are often easy to find. For the brand new vegan you know who’s just learning to cook and is incredibly intimidated by the complexity of many vegan recipes, these books are a must-have. Her Vegan A-Go-Go is a pocket-sized survival manual for vegan travelers while The Garden of Vegan has a whole chapter on cooking in the microwave – which you might need if you live in an ovenless dorm room, for example.

I bought one for my mom. Just saying.

Restaurant Review: The Whip, Vancouver Main & 6th

The Whip Restaurant & Gallery
Photo By Rick Green

We live approximately one block from The Whip, and finally after living that distance from it for a couple of months we finally decided to visit.  We were greeted with smiles, sat down, and both ordered drinks.  We were going to eat, but didn’t feel like eating a veggie burger (but I’ve heard their black bean patty is to die for). So we ordered the spring rolls as an appetizer and said we would return for the tofu scram one day.

The Whip still held itself up to my high standards, until our appetizer came out. I took a bite, looked at Malloreigh, looked again at the ridiculous price, $8, and practically had a meltdown. The spring rolls had obviously come from somewhere like Costco because they were made with crappy frozen veggies and hadn’t been cooked throughly enough because they were still cold in the middle. It was obvious that they had come out of a freezer package and had been quickly thrown in a deep fryer by an inattentive cook.

Our server asked us how they were and my response was “alright”, which I feel is completely acceptable without causing a fuss. He rolled his eyes at me and went back to his little kitchen shaking his cute little hips in his cute little hipster shorts.  Now, I know that I’m picky, but if you are going to charge $8 for four store-bought frozen spring rolls please make sure they are cooked throughly, especially when it’s slow in the restaurant. No excuse.

After our first experience, Malloreigh had to practically twist my arm to get me to try the tofu scramble – but she insisted so we could review it for our Vancouver tofu scramble list.  All I can say is bland, no veggies and bland. Just because I like tofu scram doesn’t mean that I want to pay to eat a brick of plain tofu.

I won’t be back to The Whip because it doesn’t have enough vegan options, has pretentious servers, and isn’t worth my time unless for a drink.

against the wall
(At least it’s in a beautiful building.)