Category Archives: Recipes

Pumpkin Soup

For Broth:
1 Carrot (Coarsely chopped)
1 Celery Sticks (Coarsely chopped)
2 medium Yellow Onions (Coarsely Chopped)
3 Garlic Cloves
2 Bay leaves
Peppercorns
Salt
3 Cups Water
– Simmer for one to two hours adding water if necessary.
– Strain and keep in pot.
1 /2 small Sugar pumpkin pureé (steamed, skinned, and mashed)
2 tablespoons tahini
1/2 juice of a lemon
1 Parsnip (peeled and chopped)
3 Cloves Garlic (sliced)
1 Cup Water
1/2 small yellow onion

-After the broth has simmered and is prepared, add the other ingredients and simmer for as long as you can. I would give it an hour or more.
– Add water if your soup is two thick, but allow it time to simmer so the flavours all come through and have a chance to seep into one another.
– After simmering transfer liquid into a blender or food processor and pureé until smooth. Re-heat until desired temperature is reached.
Garnish with chopped parsley, or crispy fried shallots. Enjoy!

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
Water

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.

DELICIOUS.

Rainier Cherry, Vanilla Bean, and Lavender Jam

I’ve already posted the rainier cherry and wild sage jam I made. This was the second jam I made with the rest of the cherries I got from my good friend Arinn. I used the same method, but different flavourings. This jam turned out beautifully, delicately flavoured. The mild flavour of the rainier cherries was complemented really well by the vanilla and lavender. I wouldn’t recommend making this jam with dark red bing cherries. I think they would overpower the vanilla and lavender flavours.

rainier cherry, vanilla bean, and lavender jam

4 cups rainier cherries, pitted and halved
Juice of 1 large lemon – about 2 – 3 tbsp – be careful about the seeds
1/2 of one vanilla bean, crushed or minced – or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract would work
1 tsp lavender flowers
1 cup sugar
1/2 package liquid pectin (about 45 mL)

Once you’ve pitted and halved your cherries, put them in a pot. Or pit them into a pot. Add the lemon juice and cook over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Maintain that heat, stirring occasionally, until the cherries soften – about 25 minutes. Add the vanilla bean toward the middle of the cooking process.

Smush some of the cherries with the back of your spoon, or, if you’re lazy like me, use a hand blender to cream about half of the cherries once they’ve cooked down to softness. If you don’t smush the cherries, there will be big round chunks in your jam.

At this point, after the cherries have cooked to softness, add the lavender. Stir it in. Add the sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Stir to dissolve. Cook for another couple of minutes, then add the pectin, and stir to dissolve. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often enough to keep it from burning. You can turn down the heat to a simmer at this point.

Now you’ll have to test for jelly point. Dip a metal spoon in – if the jam coats the back of the spoon, you’re in business. You can use the spoon drip method, or the plate method. For the plate method, chill a small plate in the freezer for two minutes, then put a spoonful of the jam on it. It should not spread out like water – it should hold together a bit. Chill it in the fridge for 5 minutes (or the freezer for 2 minutes), then push your finger into it. If it wrinkles, it’s ready. If it’s not ready, cook for another 5 minutes, then try again.

Once your jam is done, transfer it into jars. You should either seal them immediately while it’s still hot, or wait for the jam to cool entirely. Afterward, you can freeze the jars, or you can heat-seal them using boiling water – fill a large pot up with water enough to cover the jars by 1cm. (Obviously test while the jars are in the pot.) With the jars in the pot, heat the water up to a boil and boil for about ten minutes. Remove from the water and let them cool.

I got a bit less than a litre of jam – 4 250mL jars.

Rainier Cherry and Wild Sage Jam

Ah, jam-making, that hobby that only people who live lives of leisure can partake in. I made my first jams recently, and goodness gracious but they take a long time and a lot of patience! It’s not something I generally have in spades, but by my third jam, I felt like I got pretty good at it. We’ll just not talk about the first one.

jams

On Sunday I visited my friend Arinn at the market where she works as a florist. One of the market vendors had given her pounds upon pounds of slightly imperfect (read: still amazing) BC rainier cherries. She couldn’t even hope to use all of them so she gave half to me. Exciting!

Rainier cherries are the golden-coloured, mildly-flavoured variety of this incredible summer fruit. BC, where we live, is a fantastic cherry growing province; they really flourish in the Okanagan, and come this point in summer, I find I’m almost cherried-out. How can that happen?! Cherries are so amazing! But, after eating several hundred cherries, I found that I simply wanted to make jam with them.

Of course, upon looking it up, I realized that jam has RIDICULOUS amounts of sugar in it. Um, I am not so into that, guys. I can’t justify putting more sugar than fruit in a pot, and frankly I just don’t want to eat that. The jams I ended up with are less firmly set than the jam you’d get in a store, because the pectin is supposed to interact with copious amounts of sugar in order to set. But I really liked the texture I got from using only a cup of sugar and half a package of pectin.

Now, pitting cherries is a giant pain in the behind. If you don’t have a cherry pitter (and I don’t), I recommend setting yourself up in front of a movie. Use a curved paring knife if you have one and remember to always cut away from yourself. Halve the cherries and remove the pits and stems. I got cherry juice all over the floor and my feet and clothes, so think about lining the floor with newspaper or simply washing it after… and wear an apron.

rainier cherry and similkameen wild sage jam

Rainier Cherry and Similkameen Wild Sage Jam

Earlier in the month I visited the Similkameen Valley, a desert region of BC near the US/Canada border. We picked oodles of wild sage – a very fragrant wild herb – and I had some drying in my kitchen. I thought that sage and cherries would be very autumny and complementary. I had a few dark red bing cherries in the fridge as well so I threw those in to this batch of jam – really, only about 6 of them, and what a colour difference they made.

4 cups rainier cherries, pitted and halved
Juice of 1 large lemon – about 2 – 3 tbsp – be careful about the seeds
1+ tbsp sage leaves – I used mine semi-dried, but you could use dry or fresh
1 cup sugar
1/2 package liquid pectin (about 45 mL)

Once you’ve pitted and halved your cherries, put them in a pot. Or pit them into a pot. Add the lemon juice and cook over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Maintain that heat, stirring occasionally, until the cherries soften – about 25 minutes. Add the sage toward the middle of this cooking process.

Smush some of the cherries with the back of your spoon, or, if you’re lazy like me, use a hand blender to cream about half of the cherries once they’ve cooked down to softness. If you don’t smush the cherries, there will be big round chunks in your jam.

Once the cherries are soft, add the sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Stir to dissolve. Cook for another couple of minutes, then add the pectin, and stir to dissolve. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often enough to keep it from burning. You can turn down the heat to a simmer at this point.

Now you’ll have to test for jelly point. Dip a metal spoon in – if the jam coats the back of the spoon, you’re in business. You can use the spoon drip method, or the plate method. For the plate method, chill a small plate in the freezer for two minutes, then put a spoonful of the jam on it. It should not spread out like water – it should hold together a bit. Chill it in the fridge for 5 minutes (or the freezer for 2 minutes), then push your finger into it. If it wrinkles, it’s ready. If it’s not ready, cook for another 5 minutes, then try again.

Once your jam is done, transfer it into jars. You should either seal them immediately while it’s still hot, or wait for the jam to cool entirely. Afterward, you can freeze the jars, or you can heat-seal them using boiling water – fill a large pot up with water enough to cover the jars by 1cm. (Obviously test while the jars are in the pot.) With the jars in the pot, heat the water up to a boil and boil for about ten minutes. Remove from the water and let them cool.

I got a bit less than a litre of jam.

Avocado, toasted walnut, smoked tofu, arugula and beet Carpaccio sandwich on Sourdough topped with lemon garlic olive oil

beet, arugula, smoked tofu, walnut, and avocado sandwich with potato salad

Beets are a simple, delicious, and nutritious food, but after hearing the comments on this beet sandwich I realized that not many people know how to prepare beets the way I do. It’s really easy! Beets are not that intimidating. People think it is difficult to pair things with beets (Malloreigh doubted that this sandwich would be good, but it was in fact very delicious) but this was a really fantastic combination.

Beet Carpaccio

A “carpaccio” is officially thinly sliced raw beef or fish, but it’s just too good of a term for thinly sliced beets. It’s not really a carpaccio but we’ll call it that anyway.

Don’t peel the beets before you boil them – leaving the skin on helps to seal in the nutrients, which would otherwise be partially lost through boiling. If you’re using both red and golden beets, boil them separately to maintain the colour. As you may know, red beet juice will stain anything and everything it touches bright pink.

Separate the beets from the beet greens. Boil them whole in a pot filled with water over medium-high heat until a fork can easily pierce them – about 30 to 45 minutes, maybe longer.

Once the beets are boiled, let them cool – drain them into a colander and run cold water over them to speed this process. The skin should slough off easily, but if it doesn’t, use a paring knife or sharp vegetable peeler.

Now, your beets are ready to slice. Use a mandolin slicer to slice them thinly or use a sharp non-serrated knife.

Sliced beets will keep in the fridge for at least a week if you put them in a resealable container, but they are also pretty easy to eat in one sitting.

Beet Carpaccio Sandwich

This beet sandwich was simple and delicious. Sliced avocado, lightly toasted whole organic walnuts, thinly sliced smoked tofu, fresh arugula, and sliced beets were dashed with fresh ground pepper. The sourdough bread I used was drizzled with lemon and garlic infused olive oil. It was served with a side of potato salad.

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.

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!

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.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake French Toast

For our End of the World brunch (held on the same day that Harold Camping predicted the Rapture would take good Christians to Heaven while the rest of us suffered rolling earthquakes, the plagues of the Apocalypse, and then death as the world ended after five months of literal Hell-on-Earth), we wanted to make deeply decadent foods befitting of transdimensional spiritual passengers leaving their earthly bodies behind. When our friend George suggested chocolate cake French toast, I was just blown away… what an idea! (Pun intended.)

In order to make it a touch healthier, I made chocolate zucchini loaves – but we still topped them with a sweet strawberry coulis, sweetened browned Earth Balance, and icing sugar.

chocolate zucchini cake french toast with strawberry coulis, brown butter, candied walnuts, and a chocolate dipped strawberry

I actually used this awesome VegWeb recipe submitted by user jessesmum. I screwed it up a bit by adding a bit more baking powder than I was supposed to, but it turned out beautifully. It was flavourful, moist, and cut well into slices. I altered her recipe, below, as I did when I prepared it.

Chocolate Zucchini Loaves – Makes 2 loaves

5 tablespoons ground flax + 10 tablespoons water
3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cane sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups zucchini, grated
1 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 9×5″ loaf pans. For flax eggs, microwave flax meal and water for 30 seconds, stir, microwave, 30 more seconds, and stir again. (Or use hot water, stir, and let sit til gummy.)

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Add vegetable oil, and use a fork to stir. It will be dry but stir as well as possible. Then add the flax mixture. Continue to mix.

Add milk and vanilla, and stir until well blended. Add zucchini and chocolate chips and blend them in. The mixture should be nice and smooth and moist looking.

Spoon into prepared loaf pans. Bake 55-60 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and it will keep for days (if your family doesn’t gobble it up).

oh hey sweetbird, i didn’t see you there

So, a couple of weeks ago we were contacted by a company called Sweetbird Syrups, who make certified-vegan and -vegetarian sweet flavoured syrups and smoothies. They sent us a couple of samples (because we are SO AWESOME, obviously) and we had a chance to try them out on our brunch crowd over the weekend.

We were super impressed! These syrups are fully sweet and more flavourful, I think, than the kind you get at regular coffee shops, but they’re TOTALLY vegan. None of that bone-char-refined sugar or other crap. We have the full fat ones, but they also have sugar free ones, so if you’re worried about your calorie count and are trying to replace (totally NOT vegan) Splenda in your diet, Sweetbird can probably help you out.

oh hey sweetbird

I used their vanilla syrup in my coffee this morning and I was pretty pleased at the taste. They also have fruit syrups, so I bet you could make some totally vegan, totally delicious Italian sodas – that used to be my favourite as a teen before I had a taste for caffeine. Just mix with soda water and voila, a delicious drink.

The smoothies are actually concentrates that are meant to be mixed with ice and water or soy milk. We mixed them with vodka because we are lushes like that and they performed really well. Plus, they are real fruit, which is better than most of the gross crap people mix with vodka.

enlightened tart
The Enlightened Tart (better name choices encouraged)

Enlightened Tart

In a tumbler, combine:
Ice
1 shot vodka
1/2 shot Sweetbird mango & passionfruit smoothie
and top up with water