Monthly Archives: October 2011

Pumpkin Brunch Roundup

This past weekend we hosted our long-awaited (by me, pumpkin lover) PUMPKIN BRUNCH (aka Prumpch). As usual, I didn’t take photos, but luckily the Serendipitous Vegan(s) were in attendance, and gosh darn it if Richard Giordano doesn’t take absolutely beautiful photographs.

Pumpkin Benny

A fresh-baked sundried tomato and rosemary scone topped with savoury tofu, wilted greens, fried shallots, and roasted yam, bathed in a hot spiced pumpkin soup. Served with roasted root vegetables.

Kaylie actually made her own stock from scratch for the soup that was this benny’s sauce. She also roasted the pumpkin – it was a beautiful sugar pumpkin. All told the soup took three days to make. The scone was Isa Chandra Moskowitz’ recipe from Vegan Brunch. It was definitely too sweet for this purpose – tomatoes are already so sweet. Next time we’ll cut the sugar in half.

Pumpkin Pie French Toast

Locally-made walnut bread dipped in pumpkin pie purée, pan-fried and topped with a thick maple scented coconut cream, chocolate dipped hazelnuts, and candied orange zest.

The pumpkin pie batter we used for this was maybe a bit goopy – it was pumpkin puree mixed with coconut cream and spices. Next time I’ll use silken tofu so it crisps up a bit more, and perhaps will cook down the pumpkin.

Savoury Squash and Mushroom Cakes

Crispy acorn squash and mixed mushroom cakes atop a bed of garlic infused cauliflower purée. Sprinkled with spiced, roasted pumpkin seeds and more mushrooms; served alongside a roasted apple, fennel, and shallot salad.

The base of these cakes was cornmeal (polenta) which helped them stay together. I think polenta is the key to making a good cake consistency without eggs.

It was delicious. Just saying.

Spooky Food Extravaganza

We have been so busy this month adjusting to new living situations. Before I knew it, the month had raced by, and today it’s time for my long-awaited HALLOWEEN POTLUCK!

So excited – a bunch of friends are coming over with spooky themed food and we’re going to dress like members of the Addams family. I’m making blood’n’guts lasagna with tofu ricotta and loads of mixed mushrooms, and of course I’m going to make the spiderweb lattice crust pumpkin pie I made last year. Who could resist this little guy’s face?

pumpkin pie with a spiderweb lattice crust 2

My friend Michael wanted to make this vegan “blood” pudding but found it a bit complicated and ambitious for him. I really didn’t know much about blood pudding… but how gross must the non-vegan version be? Blech.

Also, holy MACKEREL, guys, but if I didn’t just find this spooky Halloween food recipe roundup! Five million spooky Halloween food recipes.

Vancouver’s first-ever Vegan Prom!

Have you heard? On Saturday, November 5th, the first-ever Vancouver Vegan Prom is taking place at East Vancouver’s WISE Hall. For $15, enjoy a night of dancing with complimentary vegan snacks – from sweets to raw items to savouries, with many of the options being gluten-free.

Vegan Mischief is giving away one free brunch for 2 in the Prom raffle. Exciting!

Visit for more info. Buy tickets online or at Karmavore or Nice Shoes – or directly from us!

Mixed Mushroom Polenta with Roasted Tomato Passata

dinner for jocelynn - portobello polenta with roasted tomato passata, marinated roasted portobello, herbed walnut salad, and champagne grapes

Polenta is just about the easiest thing to make. It’s basically a mixture of cornmeal and water. Depending on the proportions of water and cornmeal you use, you can make “soft” polenta (which is more like porridge) or, my preference, a harder, heartier polenta that’s fantastic with savoury meals.

The key to making your polenta flavourful and delicious is to avoid using just water. Make a flavourful broth, and add the cornmeal to that. You don’t have to be very careful with amounts – just add more cornmeal or water depending on how you feel about the consistency. Of course, it does solidify as it cools, but you should be able to tell what the final texture will be like not long after adding the cornmeal to the liquid.

For broth, I usually use a bouillon cube – I find them handy to have around the kitchen for adding flavour to everything from curries to soups to rice. Use mushroom bouillon for a mushroom-flavoured polenta, like the one I made, or choose a veggie or herb broth cube for different flavours. If you’re using bouillon cubes, it’s easiest to pre-mix them with boiling water – pouring the water down on to the cube like you would with tea.

Mixed Mushroom Polenta

1 pint shiitake, crimini, or oyster mushrooms
1 – 2 tbsp light vegetable oil
3/4 to 1 cup cornmeal (sometimes just called “polenta”)
1 mushroom bouillon cube
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup soy sauce (optional)
Nutritional yeast (optional)
Onion and garlic powder (optional)

Chop the mushrooms to a reasonable bite size. At the same time, boil 2 cups of water in a kettle. In a large bowl or glass measuring cup, pour the water over the crumbled bouillon cube and stir to dissolve. Add the broth to a large pot on the stove and keep it boiling – on medium heat.

Saute the mushrooms in oil in a skillet on medium-low heat until they sweat.

Add the bay leaves and soy sauce, if using, and salt and pepper. At this point I like to taste the broth and make sure it’s flavourful. Cornmeal doesn’t have much flavour on its own. If the broth isn’t flavourful, add onion powder, garlic powder, or other complementary spices.

If you’re using nutritional yeast, add it with the cornmeal. Pour the cornmeal in slowly while stirring to achieve a smooth consistency. Continually stir it until it starts to firm up. After a couple minutes, if it hasn’t firmed up, add more cornmeal. If it’s too firm, add more water (or broth).

You can either stir the cooked mushrooms in with the polenta or you can place them on top as I did. Once the polenta has been stirred, you want to cool it to room temperature. Remove from heat and leave uncovered (so it doesn’t sweat too much). Press the mushrooms into the top and let cool 30 minutes.

Roasted Tomato Passata

This is one of the easiest sauces to make, and it’s also rather impressive, because you roast your own tomatoes rather than using a can. It takes about an hour and a half all told.

8 – 10 small to medium sized tomatoes
Olive oil (buckets of it)
Salt and pepper
1 red onion, diced
3 – 5 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh basil or oregano leaves – a large handful
1/2 tin (1/4 cup) tomato paste
1 bouillon cube

Heat your oven to 400 Fahrenheit. Toss the tomatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them out on a baking sheet and bake them until they pop – check them every 10 minutes. You want them to be soft and wrinkled and for the skin to split.

While you’re roasting the tomatoes, dice your onion and mince your garlic. Use a generous amount of olive oil – 1/8 cup or more. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan on medium-low heat and add the onions. Once they’ve started to go soft, add the garlic. It burns easier so should be added later. Cook til soft – until the tomatoes are pretty much done.

Crumble the bouillon cube into the saucepan of onion and garlic. Add the roasted tomatoes once they’re nice and soft. You’re going to want to crush them with the back of your wooden spoon. Mix the tomato paste with hot water in a separate bowl or cup – don’t use much, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup – and then add it to the mixture. You want to simmer the sauce as long as you can. Make it fragrant and lovely. Once you’re 5 – 10 minutes off of eating, add the chopped basil or oregano leaves, put a top on that saucepan, and let it simmer the flavours together. Serve over top your polenta.