Monthly Archives: June 2011

Thick-With-Greens Pasta Sauce

Sometimes I really want pasta, but I can’t justify eating a pile of boiled wheat shapes topped with tomato sauce. While a really good Italian-style tomato sauce is absolutely delicious, it’s not as nutritionally rounded as I like my meals to be. With Kaylie out of town (she’s in Alaska eating canned vegetables, ha-ha), I am finding it difficult to put the time and effort into creating meals that I’d like to; I usually tend to eat something really healthy and nutritious, but not very interesting or tasty. Luckily, I’ve managed to convince friends to come over every day or two so I can force myself to make something that’s healthy and delicious. I made this pasta sauce yesterday afternoon and it turned out really beautifully.

1/2 onion, red or white, diced
1 – 2 tbsp cooking oil
3 cloves garlic, roasted (I roast mine in the toaster oven for 10min)
2 cups greens – I used endive and arugula from the garden
Handful fresh oregano, or fresh or dried spices to taste (basil would be nice in place of oregano)
Handful sundried tomatoes
1/3 cup walnuts or other nuts/seeds
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 – 1 tsp each onion and garlic powder
1/2 cup water
1 can crushed tomatoes, or 8 roma or campari tomatoes, roasted 40min and crushed
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the oil, then add the onions and sauté until softened. While you’re doing that, combine all of the other ingredients in a food processor. If your food processor is smaller than huge, you may want to add the liquids slowly after your other ingredients have been processed a bit. Pulse until smooth. The colour should be a brownish-orange, from the combination of the greens and tomatoes.

Once the onions have softened, add the contents of your food processor to the saucepan and bring to a low boil. Turn the heat down and simmer. Prepare your pasta once your sauce is on simmer. The longer it simmers, the more delicious it will be. Feel free to augment by adding additional vegetables or other ingredients.

So Nice For Coffee

Up ’til recently we had been using Almond Breeze in our coffee. It’s great as an all-purpose milk – for cereal and for baking especially – but in coffee and tea it’s a bit lacking. It’s too thin, for one. At least it doesn’t curdle like regular soy milk – but there was definitely room for improvement.

Enter So Nice for Coffee. I was really pleased when I finally tracked some of this stuff down (they carry it at Choices Markets across town, in case you’re looking). We got five of them and put one on each brunch table. Our brunch guests loved it – it has a great consistency, it doesn’t curdle, and it acts like real creamer in your coffee. Plus, it’s made with North American, non-GMO soybeans, doesn’t use gross and destructive palm oil, and is designed for vegans. It’s always nice to buy a product that’s been made with vegan consumers in mind.

Overall, we were really pleased with this product. It comes in 500mL containers, which is a little bigger than the Silk creamer containers. They stay good in the fridge for a while – more than two weeks after they’re opened, anyway, we found.

One thing that I was a little trepidatious about was the ingredient list. There’s quite a bit in there – water and organic soy top the list, but also included are thickeners, oils, sugar, baking soda, and some other stabilizing stuff. I understand that creating the consistency of real cream is a challenge and So Nice for Coffee has certainly risen to that challenge. They did it by creating, it seems, a careful mix of different natural thickeners and stabilizers, which I understand, but some people would probably prefer to have curdling or thin creamer (aka soy milk or almond milk) than all the extras that make So Nice for Coffee what it is. Either way, I think I’ll continue buying this. It’s great to serve to our brunch guests. Everyone was really satisfied with it and I’ve heard other voices in the vegan community recommending it.

Vegan Cookoff – The Bean

Holy macaroni, the vegan cookoff blog has been updated again (thanks Jen, our holy archivist). If you haven’t heard of them, our monthly vegan cookoffs are pretty much the best thing ever. We set a theme and then show up at one member’s house with our entries on the pre-decided date. Everyone presents their dish to the attendees, one dish at a time, and afterward everyone votes on their favourite dish in each of five categories. There’s more to it than that, but that’s the general idea.

This month’s theme was “the bean”. We had eleven entries of delicious, creative, vegan bean dishes.


Luc’s entry for “the bean” – keepin’ it cas-o-real – Jen photo

My entry was a modified version of Chocolate Covered Katie’s Chocolate Chip Blondies made with chickpeas in place of flour. I served them with candied black beans and a black bean chocolate sauce. What a success! I surprised everyone enough that I ended up winning.


Chocolate Chip Blondies – photo by Jen

Brown Sugar Bars

I got this recipe from The Tolerant Vegan. These were great – like a fancy chocolate chip cookie, but a bar. I made them for our Saturday “picnic” brunch.

brown sugar bars

Recipe reprinted here for your benefit:

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread, softened, plus more for the pan
1 3/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup soy creamer
8 ounces vegan semisweet chocolate chips
Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
Line a baking pan with wax paper, and then coat the paper and the sides of the pan with Earth Balance and flour.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and sea salt.
In a separate bowl, mix together the Earth Balance, brown sugar, apple sauce and vanilla extract on low-medium speed until combined.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
In a small pan, bring the soy creamer to a boil.
As soon as it begins to boil, remove from heat and pour over the chocolate chips, stirring until all the chips are melted.
Let the ganache sit for 30 minutes so it can thicken.
Remove the brown sugar cake from the pan and cut in half.
Spread the ganache on one half of the cake, stopping about 1/4″ from the edges
Place the other half on top, making a ganache sandwich
Place your yummy creation in the refrigerator for two hours so the ganache can set.
Remove, cut into pieces, and you’re all done!

It’s June! – Let’s have a Picnic! Vegan Brunch June 4th

Reservations for 10:00am and 11:00am are completely FULL. There are still spots available for 12:00pm and 1:00pm. E-mail for inquiries or reservations. Veganmischief@gmail.com

JUNE is finally here… and so is picnic season. In celebration of the historic tradition of eating cold food outside, we are preparing a picnic themed brunch to be enjoyed – inside, since June weather in Vancouver is reliably inclement.

BENNY
Fluffy lemon garlic biscuits slathered with basil pesto and topped with egg-style tofu patties, fresh ripe avocado, thinly sliced red onion, and roasted tomatoes, finished off with a lemon butter sauce. Served with a side of potato salad

SANDWICH
Thinly sliced smoked tofu layered with peppery arugula and red beet carpaccio with roasted walnuts and avocado on locally baked bread dusted with garlic oil and vinegar. Served with a side of potato salad.

CINNAMON BUN
Big, warm, gooey traditional cinnamon buns sprinkled with powdered sugar. Served with a blueberry almond spread and a side of fresh seasonal fruit.

Please advise us of any allergies in your reservation email so we can be sure to accommodate you.

Pierogies

cheese and bacon perogies with fried onions and coconut bacon bits with salad

I had never made pierogies before and gracefully accepted the challenge of making them. If I might say so, they were a hit for brunch so here is the recipe. I hope you make to many so that you will have to freeze them and have a stockpile for when you desperately need some flavour in your face.

Here’s a basic pierogie dough recipe that I found off of the interwebs! Click on the link to see the proper making instructions with pictures!

2 C White Flour

1/2 Tsp Salt

1/4 C Soy Margarine

3 Tbsp Water

For the method, check http://hellyeahitsvegan.com/?p=768 – they’ve got pictures! But just in case that site goes down, here are the steps:

To prepare the dough, sift together the flour and salt.

Cut in the margarine with a pastry blender or two knives. Add water and mix well. If more water is needed, add a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a ball. You don’t want it to be too wet.

Dust a clean surface with flour, and knead dough for 10 minutes. Place in an oiled, covered bowl in refrigerator for half an hour.

Prepare your filling.

Remove dough from refrigerator; divide into thirds. Roll each section into a ball. On a lightly-floured surface, roll one ball of dough out until it’s about 1/8? thick.

With a round cookie cutter or a glass, cut into 2½-3? circles of dough. (Keep the scraps–you can roll them out again later.)

Place a walnut-sized amount of filling in the center of each circle. Using your fingers and a small bowl of water, dampen the edges of the dough and fold dough in half, enclosing the filling.

Pinch edges with your fingers or a fork to seal.

Here’s the filling that I constructed to go inside of my pierogies

6 small yukon gold potatoes (about 4 cups diced)

2 cloves garlic minced

1 green onion finely sliced into rings

1 tsp Paprika

1/4 C Daiya (white or yellow)

2 Tbs Soy Margarine

1/2 C Nutritional Yeast

– Dice and boil the potatoes until they are soft enough to mash.

– Mash the potatoes together with all of the rest of the ingredients.

– Add about 1 Tbsp of filling to each pierogie.

 

When your pierogies have been completely folded and assembled make sure to let them cool in the fridge or freezer. After about an hour of cooling you must steam each pierogie in a medium saucepan or steamer for approximately 3 minutes. After this step I choose to pan-fry them in very hot oil to get a crispy crust on the outside.