Monthly Archives: November 2010

Savoury Pecan & Caramelized Onion Tarts

Some of you might know, but most of you probably don’t. I’ve been writing a column for the Suicide Girls Newswire about veganism, and my recent post – Savoury Vegan Holiday Tarts – was retweeted by PETA2, among others. I think it is kind of cool that they noticed my little article on that big naked lady site. No matter what you think of PETA or Suicide Girls, both of whom flaunt scantily clad and/or nude ladies for whatever purpose, both of them are making space for discussion about veganism in the wider culture, and I think that’s very important work.

That said, here’s that tart recipe, as written on SG.

Savory Vegan Pecan Holiday Tarts

6 sheets phyllo pastry. (You can buy this frozen. Often it’s vegan – check the ingredients)
1 container Tofutti better than cream cheese – OR – 1 cup silken tofu blended with 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 bulb garlic
1 small or 1/2 large onion, any color
2 tbsp vegetable oil or margarine
1 tbsp sugar, maple syrup, or agave nectar
24 pecans

Preheat your oven to 400 F.

Remove the outer skin of the garlic bulb, leaving each clove wrapped. Slice off the tops of the garlic cloves, brush with olive oil, and roast in the oven until soft – about 40 minutes.

While your garlic is roasting, slice the onion into rounds. Separate the rounds. Heat oil or margarine in a skillet; add the onions and sweetener, stir to coat, and saute over low heat until the garlic has finished.

In a bowl, mix cream cheese and mustard. Squeeze the softened garlic in; alternately, use a garlic press or mince it. Stir together until combined.

Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Tear each sheet of phyllo pastry in half and use each half to line a muffin cup – I find it works best if you fold them in half and then crumple them in.

Put a dollop of cream cheese in each phyllo cup, then add a couple of caramelized onions, and top with two pecans.

Roast in the oven for 8 minutes, until phyllo is golden brown. Let cool and then pop out. Serve at room temperature.

Vegan Mischief’s Follow Friday: Paul Eats

I keep seeing this guy around Twitter and I finally checked out his blog. Paul Eats is a vegan recipe blog with great photos and a nice minimalist design on white, which both Kaylie and I appreciate. Most of his recipes are made up of ingredients that you might already have on-hand in your kitchen – uncomplicated cooking is the best kind, not that you’d know it from anything we post on VM!

Paul lives close to us, in the Vancouver Island surf town of Tofino, and we’ve never met him, but maybe someday we will.

Portobello & red wine tomato sauce, kale, lemon and caramelized onion tofu scramble

anniversary breakfast - scrambled tofu and toast

After a long night of drinking, kissing and eating it’s important to reinvigorate your body with a flavourful breakfast. It isn’t to hard to use elements of last night dinner to create a tofu scram that is more satisfying than the dinner you had the night before.

Things you need:

1 yellow onion (cut into rings)

4 cloves of garlic (minced)

5 kale leaves

1 C Portabello & Red Wine Tomato Sauce (refer to prior post)

2 Tbs vegan margarine

1 lemon

1/2 small zucchini

cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

6 white button mushrooms

1 tps Tarragon


Place garlic, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 block tofu, & portobello tomato sauce in a bowl and let set until you are done prepping everything else.

In a skillet, sauté onions rings with vegan margarine until slightly brown and caramelized.  Add sliced mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and tarragon until mushrooms and tomatoes are slightly soft. Add tofu mix, a pinch of salt and kale. Let simmer stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes in total. Add zucchini last and only let the whole mixture sauté for only 3 minutes more, you don’t want your zucchini to be over cooked!

Plate your scram and add a squirt of lemon juice on top!

Make toast, slice fruit, pour coffee and eat!

Adventures in Veganland

The following is a guest contribution from our friend Michael. To learn more about him, visit his blog.

Just to be clear, I’m not a vegan. I am however a fan of vegan cooking, and some of my friends are really good vegan cooks. So perhaps when the script calls for it, this actor can turn himself into a vegan when then scene calls for it. Would this character however be able to turn himself into a chef? A skill that may seem simple enough to pick up, but given the variables of a vegan audience, how would this play out? What follows is my attempt to create a dish for a vegan American thanksgiving hosted by the lovely vegan American Kaylie Barfield and her equally lovely partner Malloreigh H.

Malloreigh (left) Kaylie (right)

Before I go into my adventure, I should give some background into my food lifestyle. Growing up in the suburbs of Vancouver, I was not exposed to many food options that didn’t come from the Bovinae family. As I moved to the city, I began experimenting with different food lifestyles. For a while to make myself more conscious of what I was eating, I would give a name to the animal I was eating like Charlie Bovinae or Jimmy Tuna. I found the company I kept would influence me greatly though in my habits, so currently I am keeping up with a mostly vegetarian diet. However in conversations with Malloreigh she’s pondered what kind of variables it would take to convert someone to veganism. For me the only things that stand in my way are cheese and eggs. I love cheese. In fact when they do an autopsy of me they’ll find that I’m mostly made of bad jokes.

Apparently the only thing stopping me from being vegan.

I have found though that I can go stretches without those two ingredients, but it can be hard when I’m not cooking at lot to find vegan options at restaurants. So going into the thanksgiving dinner, not only have my cooking skills gone rusty, but I’ll be cooking for vegans who are all accomplished cooks. So I cranked my Tool (notable vegan band) and got to work.

My chosen dish was one that would be simple enough to create and fitting for the Thanksgiving theme.

This is how the recipe appeared on

Leek and Wild Mushroom Stuffing

  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms*
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only)
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 1/2 8-ounce French-bread baguettes, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices

1 large egg, beaten to blend

Obviously I would be using Earth Balance instead of butter, and will be just omitting the egg. I was unable to find dried porcini mushrooms so I just added more white mushrooms. Later on in the recipe it would call for using the mushroom soaking liquid to moisten up the stuffing before baking, but as you will see I just used Vegetable Broth as a substitute.

First off I wanted to get all my ingredients chopped and ready to go. There was a ton of mushrooms to be chopped, and after a while my back was starting to hurt. I wondered if my chopping technique was flawed so I went to and found several videos showing the various methods of chopping. Thank god for youtube. Here’s some of Alex Trebeck’ s drunk Jeopardy outtakes I found while procrastinating the cooking. Good times on the inter web.

The recipe continues:

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add shiitake and button mushrooms; sauté 10 minutes. Add leeks and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add wine, thyme, and porcini mushrooms. Cook until almost all wine evaporates, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Pour mushroom mixture into large bowl and mix with the bread.

Now that I had gotten anal about my chopping techniques, I started to worry about the sautéing time. In these situations when my brain is consumed with tasks, keeping track of time can prove challenging. So what I did was mark the time by when a song would change. I would look at the track listing briefly, and when the song ended I would know how much time has passed. It sounds ridiculous I know, but it’s just the way my brain works.

I was getting pretty hungry at this point so it’s a good thing I bought lots of bread. Plus I had some bonus wine left over. So I had only the last step until I had time to relax.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Add enough reserved mushroom soaking liquid to stuffing to moisten (3/4 cup to 1 1/4 cups). Transfer stuffing to prepared dish. Bake uncovered until heated through, about 40 minutes.

Again I substituted the Vegetable broth for the mushroom soaking liquid because of the lack of porcini mushrooms.

So from the moment I compiled my list to go to the grocery store to the moment I pulled out the dish from the oven, it was probably a good 5-6 hours. Again ridiculous, but I was going slow, taking my time, enjoying the process. Could I become a Vegan? Who knows? I would have finally put the stuffing into Tammy Turkey of the Melagris family but she kept running away. So for today I was a Vegan.

Special thanks to my lady friend Bronwen Marsden for the support (panicked text messages) and inspiration on the dish.

Vegan Mischief Serving Brunch for the East Side Culture Crawl

This weekend is the East Side Culture Crawl – a celebration of East Vancouver’s resident art talent, during which almost 400 artists open up their studios to the public for three days. It’s an incredible annual event. The restaurant Kaylie works at – Perch – is located at the base of one of the biggest Culture Crawl destinations. The Arc, a live-work artist studio building, is home to about 30 Crawl artists.

In honour of (and to cater to) the Crawl, Perch is opening up from 9am to 11:30pm on all three days of the Crawl (November 26th, 27th, and 28th), and will be serving a vegan-friendly brunch including Kaylie’s vegan french toast and a tofu scramble. We’d love to see you come by to see the art and eat with us!

Perch is located at 1701 Powell St – at the very northernmost end of Commercial Drive, by the Port.

the perch

Solly’s Bagelry: Vegan Restaurant Review in Vancouver, BC

solly's bagelry
Vegetable sandwich with homous at Solly’s Bagelry

Solly’s is an honest-to-goodness Jewish bagelry. There are three locations, all of which I’ve been to – check their website for details. The homey atmosphere and great service aren’t the only reason to visit. I suspect that it is because Solly’s is a true Jewish bakery that their bagels are made without egg or egg wash – unlike some other locally made bagels. Yep, that means that almost all of their bagels are vegan. I believe they have a cheese bagel, but you could have figured that one out without anyone’s help, I imagine.

I crave Solly’s decently priced and incredibly filling veggie bagelwich fairly regularly. It’s an open-faced sandwich piled high with vegetables and served with a choice of spreads – the vegan choice is homous – that’s slathered on so thickly it oozes out the bagel’s centre. A handful of chips seals the deal. You can dip them in the dropped homous. This sandwich has actually never disappointed me, and I’ve had it at all three locations multiple times. You can choose from a variety of bagels, or I believe they also serve it on bread.

That’s not the only option for vegans at Solly’s – they always have a vegan soup on, in addition to their daily chicken matzoh. I’ve heard that their knishes are vegan, as well, though I have no idea what a knish is and have obviously not tried one. They also have veggie dogs, I think.

The thing that sells me most about Solly’s is that they have taken steps to cater to vegans. It clearly says “vegan” on their menu and all the staff have always been knowledgeable about vegan options. You can’t beat friendly service that’s open to dietary restrictions.

Portobello and Red Wine Tomato Sauce

anniversary pasta with roasted vegetables

Malloreigh and I went to Galiano Island for our year anniversary and she accidentally left the sage gnocchi I had prepped for this special evening. Luckily there was a corner store a few metres away from our cottage. We picked up some rigatoni and seriously considered buying a pre-made tomato sauce. After debating, picking up the jar, putting it down again, looking at Mal and making a few sighs, she assured me that the sauce I made would be much tastier. With that being said this recipe is very easy and very flavourful. Go forth and prosper.

Stuff you need:

1 Portobello mushroom (chopped/diced)

1/4 C Red Wine

1/2 medium size red onion (diced)

4 cloves garlic

3 tbs Olive oil

1 tsp Thyme

1 tsp Tarragon

1 tsp salt and pepper

1 Can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce

Add water for a thinner sauce

Sauté Onion, garlic, mushroom in olive oil in a sauce pan. Add more olive oil if the contents are sticking to the bottom of the sauce pan. When ingredients have softened and onions have become translucent add Wine and spices (tarragon, thyme, salt).  Simmer in the red wine for approx 2 minutes. Add tomato sauce and another pinch of salt. Let sauce simmer for as long as you can, but at least 30 minutes. Add water or wine for a thinner consistency.

As a note: If you don’t let the sauce simmer for 30 min it will be okay!! It will taste excellent and your dinner guest will be impressed.

Also, don’t wear a white shirt while you make this.

Simple Laksa

creamy peanut kale and laksa
(laksa with vegweb’s creamy peanut kale, the recipe of the day that day!)

Mal and I wanted to come home and have a dish that was easy, but also beautiful in presentation. Not to mention we had most of the ingredients already in our fridge. Here is our rendition of a classic laksa that is simple and fast.

Stuff you need:

Laksa For two

1 Pkg Rice Noodles or Vermicelli
1 Stk Lemon Grass
3 Stks Green onion
5 cloves of garlic
3 cm of diced or grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp red curry paste
1 tbsp chili paste or sambal
a pinch of salt (preferably sea salt)  and pepper
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp coriander seed
1 kaffir lime leaf
1 veggie broth cube or 2 cups veggie broth
1 1/2 Cup coconut milk

For garnish:

1 Tomato
6 shiitake mushrooms
1/2 Green bell Pepper
1/2 small zucchini
Fresh cilantro
sesame seeds
1 lime
(crystallized Ginger)

Put two stalks green onion, lemon grass (slice only until you hit the green of the stalk), ginger, garlic, red curry paste, sambal, salt and pepper, tumeric, coriander (both), curry powder and cumin in a food processor and chop until you get a consistent paste.

In a soup pot, add paste and approx 4 tablespoons of oil. Sauté until fragrant and golden brown.

Add 1 Veggie bouillon cube and 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add coconut milk and kaffir lime leaf. Let simmer for 20 minutes.

While the laksa is simmering there are things you need to do to prepare your garnish. Here’s the list:

1.) Soak 1 pkg of rice or vermicelli noodle in hot water for about 6 minutes or until soft enough to eat.

2.) Slice your shittake mushrooms and pan-fry in a skillet with some braggs or soy sauce.

3.) Cut your zucchini into spears and your bell pepper into strips, roast in the oven at 450 degrees for 5 minutes.

4.) MAke 2 lime wedges

5.) Wedge or dice your tomato

6.) Chop your cilantro


Place finished, drained rice noodles in 2 separate bowls. Ladle laksa on top almost covering the noodles. Neatly arrange all of your garnish on top of your noodles (see photo). Impress someone with this easy, beautiful dish.