Monthly Archives: February 2011

New Mexican Brunch Menu – Vancouver Vegan Brunch

In case you were curious, our menu for the completely-packed New Mexican brunch – Kaylie’s last, this weekend – is up. I try my hardest to take photos every week but we’re so busy that it doesn’t happen. :(

BREAKFAST BURRITO

The ultimate breakfast burrito from a New Mexican chef who hasn’t found a satisfying breakfast burrito in all of Vancouver. A soft wheat tortilla filled with roasted potatoes, soy chorizo, an eggy tofu scramble, peppers, and onions, topped with classic, handmade red or green chile sauce and melted cheese. Served with a side of housemade stewed pinto beans.

HUEVOS RANCHEROS

Classic, rich New Mexican huevos rancheros made vegan. Eggy tofu scramble and vegetables atop a handmade corn tortilla, topped with red or green chile sauce and cheese. Served with sides of ripe avocado, hashbrowns and housemade stewed pinto beans.

SOPAIPILLA

A traditional New Mexican fried pastry stuffed with ripe avocado and vegetables, smothered with red chile sauce and cheese. Served with hashbrowns and housemade stewed pinto beans.

Michael Robertson’s Foray Into Veganism

The winning competitor from the round of Social Bites that we participated in is a professional chef, yes, but not a vegan. The article he wrote for Granville Online about his foray into vegan cooking is really interesting – it’s cool to see a view of veganism from outside.

He really thought about the reasons vegans choose the lifestyle, and took his time investigating what kinds of food vegans really enjoy. Kaylie and I have eaten so much “vegan food” around town that’s prepared by a chef who has no idea what vegans enjoy – so I really appreciate that Michael took the time to learn and to try to please our marginalized little group. All that is obvious, because he and his cooking partner Christi created a winning menu that pleased vegans themselves! I applaud Michael’s openness to changing his cooking paradigm for this challenge, and recommend his article, especially because he included his recipes from that evening along with it – including “scallops” made out of portobello mushroom infused with cranberry, and a vegan bloody mary drink.

Trio of Root Vegetable Ravioli with a Duo of Tapenades, Mushroom Cream, and Arugula Tossed in Black Truffle Oil with Red and Golden Beets and Thinly-Sliced Radish

Over the weekend, Kaylie and I participated in Social Bites, a local Vancouver foodie community event pioneered by one very creative and engaging German. (I also posted about it before it happened.) Anyway, it went pretty well – it was a tight race, between us, The Vegan Project, Julie Beyer, and non-vegan winning chef and Kiwi Michael Robertson. We won second-place, though not by much. At the request of a few of our guests and co-competitors, here are the recipes.

I wish I had better photos of the food, but I’m hoping to snag some off of Hilary. It’s not necessarily about how it looks, though it was beautiful.

Root Vegetable Ravioli

I chose to use three different root vegetables – turnip, yam, and celeriac.

1 celery root (celeriac)
2 small turnips
2 small yams
1/2 fennel root
1/2 lemon
1/2 beet
1/2 carrot
Handful spinach
1 tbsp maple syrup
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

I used the same pasta recipe I’ve used in the past, but this time I split the dry ingredients into three equal parts so that I could use three different liquids. Splitting the recipe into thirds meant that for each third of the dry ingredients I needed 55mL of liquid. I wanted red, orange, and green ravioli to match my ingredients. I boiled the water, and while it was boiling, grated half a beet, half a carrot, and grabbed a handful of spinach. I measured 55mL of water and poured it over the grated beets in one bowl, then did the same with the carrot in another bowl. I let the water steep for a good half-hour, then squeezed the rest of the colour out of the grated veg. For the spinach-water, I blended it up to ensure that the colour would be bold. I then mixed together three different small batches of dough, kneaded them, rolled them out, and then wrapped them in plastic wrap so they wouldn’t dry out.

For the fillings, I cut two turnips, one celery root, and two small yams in half and placed them cut-side down on an oiled baking pan. I roasted them for 40 minutes, then removed the yam and added about 1/3 of a fennel root, and roasted for another 10 minutes, at which point I removed the turnip. The celeriac needed a bit more time, and I left the fennel in there until it was caramelized. You can judge this based on how soft your root vegetables are. Obviously, you should roast your vegetables while you make your pasta dough.

Once they were roasted I carved them out with a spoon and mashed each individual vegetable in its own bowl. (So many bowls!) To the yam, I added olive oil, salt, and pepper. To the turnip, I added chopped roasted fennel, maple syrup, salt, pepper, and olive oil. To the celeriac, I added fresh lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper.

At this point I had to make the ravioli. I’ve already written a guide on how to do this, so follow it there.

After I had made the ravioli, I froze them in layers separated by parchment paper, and cooked them the next day by boiling them until they floated (about three minutes) and then lightly panfrying them in a lightly oiled pan.

Mushroom Cream

This was the element of the meal that people commented on most. It was super easy!

1/4 cup raw cashews
2 – 4 shallots, depending on size
10 – 15 button mushrooms, brown and/or white (I used both)
1 cube veg or mushroom bouillon
1/2 tsp rosemary powder
Pepper

Blend up the cashews with about an equal amount of water until it resembles a creamy paste.

Peel and slice the shallots. Saute in oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat until soft. Add mushrooms, chopped into small cubes. Add bouillon cube. Let it saute until mushrooms are soft and release their liquid. Add rosemary and pepper and continue sauteeing. Once the mushrooms have released all of their liquid (ten minutes?), add the contents of the saucepan to your cashew mixture in the blender, and blend until creamy – this might take a while and you might need to shake it up or spatula it a bit.

Once it’s blended, return it to the saucepan and keep it warm on low heat until ready to serve.

Duo of Tapenades

“Tapenade” is an olive spread that often contains anchovies, so watch out if you ever buy it in the store. Luckily, it is very easy to make.

Kalamata and Caper Tapenade

15 – 20 kalamata olives, pitted
1 – 2 tbsp capers, drained
Salt and pepper

If your kalamata olives come packed in oil, use that to lubricate your tapenade. If not, use olive oil. If you can’t find pitted olives, get ready to get your hands dirty. Pitting them is not hard but it is time consuming. Blend all ingredients together using a blender of some kind. Taste and adjust. Remember that the flavours will mingle the longer it sits.

Mixed Olive and Roasted Tomato Tapenade

5 – 7 black olives, pitted
5 – 7 green olives, pitted
5 – 7 kalamata olives, pitted
3 campari tomatoes or 5 cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 tbsp Lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (sparing)

Roast them tomatoes! Toss them in a small amount of olive oil and salt & pepper them, then throw them in the oven at 350 for about ten minutes. Keep an eye – you want them to pop, but not burn. Chop up all your olives, and then chop the tomatoes too when they come out. They will be messy. Mix everything together and add lemon juice or salt & pepper, plus a dash more oil if you can – I like to use the oil that the olives come packed in. Let it sit in the fridge for a little while so the flavours will settle before you use it.

I presented the dish by swiping a bit of the kalamata and caper tapenade on the plate, then placing one ravioli of each colour on top. I then added a spoonful of the chopped tapenade and a generous drizzle of mushroom cream on top of the ravioli. On the side, we put a handful of arugula that had been tossed in black truffle olive oil, garnished with a slice each of red and golden beet (that we had boiled and cooled) and thinly sliced radish.

Blueberry Ginger Gluten-Free Vegan Pancakes

vegan mischief saturday brunch - gluten-free blueberry ginger pancakes


I was reluctant to let this recipe go, but as any good cook knows, it isn’t the recipe that makes a good cook. It’s the passion and creativity that goes into the creation of each element. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, it’s the best pancake recipe I’ve come across, hands down.

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Social Bites Vancouver Does Vegan Food Main Street

Social Bites is this really neat little project in Vancouver – basically, you buy a ticket and then walk around a Vancouver neighbourhood visiting the homes of local hobby chefs who feed and water you. Annika, the brilliant woman behind this underground foodie scene concept, has decided to hold a vegan Social Bites – and Kaylie and I are going to be a part of it.

Unfortunately, the sixteen available tickets to this vegan Social Bites event sold out in less than an hour, so I can’t even pester you guys to buy tickets… but I can show you the menu. Here’s the list of hobby chefs and dishes for the vegan event. I’m so excited to be a part of this!

When we applied with our dish description, Annika replied and told us that because Kaylie is a professional chef, she doesn’t quite fit in to the “hobby chef” category – so that means that I am the chef for this event. I’m so darn excited. We’re making root vegetable ravioli (I’m going to make the pasta myself) with a mushroom cream and olive tapenade. Delicious.

Kaylie and I went for drinks tonight with the other vegan hobby chefs for the event and we found a lot of enthusiasm for vegan foodie events around Vancouver. I hope that we can continue with this momentum and help to create a thriving vegan food scene in our city.

My Favourite Food as a Kid: Frito Pie

frito pie

If some of you don’t know, I grew up in New Mexico. Frito pie is easy and cheap to make, not necessarily healthy. Who likes healthy when you’re a little kid anyway? How do you make a Frito pie? Well… you put corn chips in a bowl, pile chili on top of them and finish off with some cheese. This is my absolutely amazing vegan version with one of the best chili recipes I have ever concocted.

Things you Need:

For Base:

4 Tomatoes

1 jalapeno

5 cloves garlic

1 small yellow onions

1 tomatillo

PureƩ these four items together in a food processor. Set aside

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