When I first started using Pinterest I didn’t really get how it was different from Tumblr or any of the other myriad social media services I use, but lately I’ve been putting together a gorgeous collection of food inspiration. Some of it’s recipes, and some of it is presentation inspiration, and I thought I’d give you guys a chance to check out my “eat it” board on Pinterest if you’re a user of the site as well.
I’ve made these nanaimo bars twice and have had great success both times. They were more perfect the second time – it is PIVOTAL that you take your time making these for them to succeed – but they were delicious both times.
I’ve always used tapioca or corn starch in place of arrowroot. It can also be made with success without the vanilla bean seeds, which not everyone can afford or even find, but do add more vanilla extract (another teaspoon should do it) to replace it. I made a double recipe of the cinnamon graham cookies when I made them the first time and ended up with enough cookie for three batches… and these cookies are not sweet enough to be eaten on their own. It’s great if you want to have a cache of graham crumbs, though.
Photo courtesy a Dash of Compassion.
I’m reposting this recipe simply because I cannot stand the idea of losing it!
Nanaimo bars from A Dash of Compassion
1/2 cup vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
1/4 cup organic cane sugar
5 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 cup almonds
1 tbsp ground flax + 2 tbsp warm water
1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs (see recipe below)
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup vegan butter
2 tbsp nondairy milk (I use coconut)
1 tbsp arrowroot
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
2 cups vegan powdered sugar
4 oz. dark chocolate
2 tbsp vegan butter
In a medium saucepan, combine the vegan butter and sugar and cook over low heat until melted. Add the cocoa and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat.
In a food processor, process the almonds to a fine meal. Add the flax mixture, cookie crumbs and coconut flakes and pulse to combine.
Add the chocolate sauce to the dry ingredients in the food processor and process until thoroughly combined.
Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8 x 8-inch square pan. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the vegan butter until light and fluffy.
In a small bowl, whisk together the nondairy milk, arrowroot, vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds. Add the mixture to the butter and beat until well combined.
Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
Spread the mixture evenly over top of the bottom layer using an offset spatula and place in the freezer until firm, about one hour.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat and then stir in the vegan butter. Remove from heat.
Remove the pan from the freezer and then sit for about 10 minutes. Then spread the chocolate evenly over the top using an offset spatula. Work quickly or else the chocolate will start to harden. Place the pan in the freezer for at least an hour to set. See above for tips on cutting the squares without breaking the chocolate.
Cinnamon graham crackers
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unbleached AP flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp nondairy milk
1 1/2 tbsp sunflower or canola oil
1 1/2 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp pure agave nectar
In a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, unbleached flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
In a small bowl, whisk together the nondairy milk, oil, molasses and agave nectar.
Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and stir to combine.
In between two pieces of parchment paper, roll out the dough into a rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a cookie pan lined with parchment paper (no need to cut them into squares since you’ll be processing them into crumbs after baking). Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
Put the cookies in a food processor and process into crumbs. This should make about 1 1/2 cups, enough for the Nanaimo bar bottom layer.
We’re making a little vegan brunch tomorrow for some 41 friends and family to the theme of “Vegan brunch is for lovers”, and our red-and-white benny will be sitting atop these cute heart shaped biscuits. Recipe below.
We modified from this recipe. This was all Kaylie, except for the cutting, which I did.
Two tablespoons shy of 1 cup unsweetened almond or other non-dairy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 cups all purpose flour plus more for rolling
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup Earth Balance margarine, cold
1/3 cup garlic confit or roasted garlic in oil – if not soft, chop beforehand
Heat the oven to 450 F. Prepare two baking sheets by greasing or lay down parchment paper.
Combine the milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl; flip lightly with a fork to simulate sifting, or sift.
Cut in the margarine – use a pastry cutter or two knives or a large fork. Your aim is to have chunks of margarine holding the flour together to give the biscuit its flakiness.
Pour in the milk mixture and add the garlic – it should be soft and easy to cut with a fork. Mix together but do not overmix or you will end up with tough biscuits.
Roll the dough out until it’s about 1cm thick or slightly thicker on a clean, lightly floured surface and cut with a cookie/biscuit cutter or use a knife and cut into squares.
Put in the oven. Check after ten minutes – you want the bottoms to be lightly browned and the biscuits firm.
Splitz Grill lentil burger. Photo by SweetOnVeg
Splitz Grill – Main and 26th
Splitz is a burger bar reminiscent of a Subway – you choose your patty and then choose your premium (with a cost) additions or your regular ingredients. Their spicy lentil patty is fantastic and makes for a huge burger – you probably shouldn’t order fries, as I have never even finished the burger itself, no matter how hungry I am. For spreads, you are not just restricted to mustard – they have babaganoush and hummus for us vegans. Add onions, mushrooms, and an array of veg, plus other sauces, for one of the most satisfying, massive veggie burgers in town.
Sweet Cherubim – Commercial and Napier
Sweet C’s is an Indian vegetarian place. They serve some cheese, but other than that are completely vegan. And their veggie burger is the best one in town, in my opinion. It takes about 15 minutes for them to make it for you, but trust me, it’s worth it. Have it with avocado and their exceptional tofu-dill cream dressing. It’s a patty chock-full of veg and spice.
Roundel Cafe – Hastings and Nanaimo
The Roundel Cafe has only two vegan options – a tofu scramble and a veggie burger. Both use essentially the same flavour palate, teriyaki and black sesame with tofu. Both are exceptional. Order their veggie burger with avocado instead of mayo and cheese, and delight in its texture and flavour. This burger is mostly tofu and veg, with a unique flavour.
So last Christmas (I gave you my heart) Kaylie and I put together a little holiday cookzine to give to our family and friends. It’s got a bunch of recipes, almost all of which have never been published on the site. Most of them are much simpler than the stuff we put up here. We were selling hardcopies for a while, but I’m not going to print any more, so here’s a PDF version of the zine for you. It is not particularly printable.
I can’t believe I haven’t posted the simple, glorious recipe for these little momos! Now, momo is maybe not the right word for what these are. There’s this really great Himalayan restaurant I love going to (Cafe Kathmandu on the Drive) and they have these delectable little dumplings called momos that you can order steamed or deep fried. They are just the best. Kaylie and I thought we’d give making them at home a go, and the worked pretty well.
We used wonton wrappers for these. I have heard that others have had a hard time finding egg-free wonton wrappers – I get mine at Superstore where the selection is large enough that you can find eggless ones. You might consider using rice wraps as well – that way they’re gluten free as well. To use the rice wraps, simply hydrate them for about twenty seconds in water. They are much bigger than wonton wrappers so maybe tear or cut them into pieces after they’re hydrated. If you over-hydrate them they will dissolve so be careful.
The vegetable/tofu mix can change according to your tastes. Feel free to play with it. Try diced carrots, bell peppers, or water chestnuts. We combined:
1/4 block firm tofu, crumbled
2 tbsp soya sauce, tamari, or Braggs
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
Sprinkle Chinese five-spice mix or coriander (use chopped fresh leaves if available)
3 stalks green onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 inch ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 – 1 cup mushrooms (measure before dicing – any type of mushroom you like)
1 tsp sesame oil or other oil
Pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and toss in a pan on medium-heat for about five minutes. Let the mixture cool.
Now, to wrap your momos, place a rounded teaspoon of filling in the centre of a wonton wrapper. Wet your fingers in a bowl of water and bring the corners of the wrapper up, then twist. Seal with more water.
These can be frozen and then steamed. Steam them until the wonton wrappers become translucent – about eight minutes from frozen.
Momo dipping sauce
Mix sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and soya sauce together until they’re tasty. I’d say about one part sesame oil, 4 parts soya sauce, and 2 parts vinegar.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 VeganPromYVR.com for more info. Buy tickets online or at Karmavore or Nice Shoes – or directly from us!
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.