Monthly Archives: April 2011

A Little Thing about Lemons

lemons

As I said in an earlier post, my brother just so happens to have a lemon tree outside of his bedroom window. Oh the opportunity!

When life gives you lemons… use them!  Malloreigh and I were sitting under the lemon tree eating dinner last night and we were discussing the first time we were subject to the juice of an actual lemon.  Both of our experiences were different, but equally as eye-opening. Can you imagine being a teenager and actually realizing that lemon juice didn’t come from a bottle?  Most people still haven’t come to this realization because of the convenience our consumer culture has afforded us. So I say, put down the fake plastic lemon and start squeezing the juice of the sweet fruit that is so versatile it can transform into the sweet, tart, and savoury.

Things I frequently make with lemons:

– Lemon Garlic Sauce (for Pasta)

– Lemon Dill Shallot Sauce (for Pasta)

– Vegan Hot Tottys (Whiskey, 1/2 lemon, 1 tbs agave, hot water)

– Lemon Almond Banana Bread

These are just four things I’ve made in the last week.

Don’t forget that you can use the whole lemon! You can always dry the lemon zest and save it for another dish tomorrow.

Lemons always add a positive twist to life, that’s why I try to eat as many as possible.

Lemon Shallot Dill Vinaigrette:

2 lemons (juiced)

1/2 bunch fresh dill (finely diced)

1 large shallot (finely diced)

salt

Equal ratio of vinegar to oil 1:1

1/2 C Olive oil

1/2 C White Wine Vinegar

I use this as a marinade for portobello mushrooms to grill, tofu scram or a quick addition to a salad.

Simple, easy, lemons.

 

 

Follow Saturday: Meels’ Meals – Foraging and Whole Foods

Our friend Camille is a delightful person with a penchant for foraging. By that, I mean she identifies edible wild-growing plants, picks them, and eats them! She has a really wonderful blog all about her foraging and whole food adventures over at Meels’ Meals. Tonight I’m going to her house for a sushi party featuring burdock she pickled herself. Pretty exciting.

Vegan Brunch in the Press

If you live in Vancouver you may have noticed us in the 24h newspaper today or in the Georgia Straight online last night. Last time we held brunch, Georgia Straight food writer Stephen Hui visited with our friend Nicole the Epicurvegan at 10am, and right after he left, 24 Hours’ Dharm Makwana came for an 11am seating with our friend Eliza of Allbreakfast. Both of them were interested in writing a piece about brunch – so after consulting with Kaylie, who is living and cooking in San Francisco for a couple of months, I talked to both Stephen and Dharm. I didn’t expect two stories right after each other!

Here’s the online version of Dharm’s article in 24 Hours. You can also read Stephen’s article on the online Georgia Straight.

Going Back to Basics

Yesterday my brother and I decided to spend a little time making lunch before heading off to work for the evening. After a day of rock-climbing and reading pasta was exactly what we needed. Although this recipe is nothing special the fact that my brother has a beautiful lemon tree outside of his window makes any kind of lemony sauce a success. Fresh, in my mind, will always bring out the best, most natural flavours.

Since I haven’t had full reign over my usual kitchen (a kicthen with every spice imaginable) I’ve had to get back to basics. I ‘ve had to create flavourful dishes using the natural essence of fresh, local produce.  I find that when you understand the basics you can build off of those in any culinary (or life) endeavour you meet.

 

sage

Photo by Ryan Barfield

 

Since being here in San Francisco I have constantly had to question my cooking and myself, because this is in fact an extremely foodie city. I’ve already worked in two separate restaurants that have completely different approaches to menu creation. One has a farm a few miles outside of the city that uses their own produce. This restaurant believes in the completely natural appearance and taste of it’s food right down to leaving the stems on the carrots and radishes. I know! What a concept!

The other restaurant is in my opinion “phony” and uses way too many meat (fake) centric dishes to promote “health”, as they would put it. This is only my opinion! I just can’t get behind putting chinatown bought fake meats, deep frying them, putting them inside a bun and calling it healthy or even flavorful because it is vegetarian or vegan. I have to say though, sometimes it’s sooo good to paticipate in a meat eaters world.

We all have different opinions on what is good food and what is not. I personally am trying to simplify flavours in order to move forward as a chef. In order to move forward sometimes we must move back. How did we even get to this point? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkkD21cdG0Q

 

 

 

Fresh Baked Whole Wheat Bread and White Bean (Tuna?) Salad

So I’d been meaning to experiment with making a tuna-like salad with white beans for a while. I finally bought a can of beans and tried it out yesterday – and it didn’t exactly work, but it tasted wonderful anyway. I made a white bean salad sandwich on pieces of whole wheat bread that I made myself on Thursday and holy macaroni, it was delicious – and messy! Here are the recipes.

white bean salad on whole wheat bread with avocado tomato greens and mustard

White Bean Salad

1 can white beans (I used canneli-something), drained and rinsed
1/4 red onion, diced
1 – 2 tbsp vegan mayo
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp dried dill (I used fenugreek, as usual, but dill would be better)
1 tsp kelp powder (or not, since it didn’t taste like tuna salad anyway and this is for “fishiness”
Salt, to taste and pepper, lots

Mix together. Partially mash the beans so some are whole and some are mushed. The longer you let it sit the more flavourful it will be. Keeps in the fridge for a week or so.

I made this bread based on a recipe in La Dolce Vegan. I altered it a bit, though, so here it is.

Whole Wheat Baguette

1 packet active yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp sugar or other sweetener

Mix together vigorously in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.

Add:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup warm water
2.5 tsp salt

Mix together, and then add

3 more cups of flour

one at a time. I used one cup white flour and the rest whole wheat so my bread was about 75% whole wheat. Mix until incorporated, then roll it out on a lightly floured, dry surface and knead it til it’s smooth and elastic. Add more flour as needed to keep it from sticking to your hands.

Clean your bread bowl and put a little bit of oil in it. Roll the dough in the oil so it’s covered, then cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and place it in a non-drafty, warm spot for an hour and a half to rise.

Once it’s risen, preheat the oven to 450F. Remove the dough from the bowl and punch the air bubbles out of it. Dust the dough with flour, then shape into a baguette on a baking sheet. Cut four or five slashes across the top, then press sesame seeds into the top.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Let cool before cutting.