Category Archives: Sides

The Ultimate Goddess Dressing

If you’ve had it before, you’ll know exactly why this is the best salad dressing/dip/spread of all time. Goddess dressing is a vegan-by-default tahini and parsley based dressing that is just magical. This stuff will turn any salad-hater into a ruminant. It’s easy to make it wrong, though, and most store-bought varieties just don’t do the trick. The best store-bought one is Annie’s – but it’s incredibly annoying to find it, at least here in Vancouver. None of my little mom and pop retailers carry the stuff.

Luckily, after some false starts, I landed upon the best recipe I could find online – which is, funny enough, at about.com. I modified the recipe a bit and now I really think it’s the ultimate dressing. Make it for yourself and tell me what you think!

hoover in the goddess dressing
This is my cat, Hoover, adding his own “special ingredient” to the dressing: cat hair.

Start out with a food processor. This is a bit big for a Magic Bullet, but if you’ve halving the recipe you could use that little guy. I’ve not made it in a blender, but if you’re experienced in emulsifying in a blender, go for it. I like my food processor because it has an insert in the top that I can fill with oil and it slowly drips in, making emulsifying a bit easier.

If you’re new to making your own dressings, emulsifying is the process by which oil is mixed in with a liquid resulting in a creamy, opaque dressing. It’s the same process by which mayonnaise is made.

The Ultimate Goddess Dressing (UGD), according to Malloreigh

1/2 cup tahini – note that oil/solid contents vary in tahinis, which could affect the end result of your UGD
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar – I like the organic unfiltered kind with the mother
1/4 cup soy sauce – for a gluten-free UGD, use GF tamari
1 tbsp lemon juice, about half a lemon’s worth
1/2 tsp salt – use more if you’re using kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp – 1/2 cup water – depends on the liquid content of your tahini. Start small and add more if it’s necessary to blend.
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped and packed, or use 2 tbsp dry parsley
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp (6 tbsp total) sunflower, canola, grapeseed, or other light oil

Combine all ingredients except for the oils in your mixing apparatus of choice and blend until mixed thoroughly. Mix the oils together and very slowly pour in in a thin stream. My food processor has a “pusher” that goes in the access hole in the top. One of the compartments has a little hole at the bottom – so I can just pour my oil in there and it’ll slowly stream in, saving minutes of labour that I can then spend having a glass of wine or petting the cat.

Enjoy as a vegetable crudité dip, salad dressing, or sandwich spread (if it’s thick enough – mine never is).

Due to the vinegar and lemon juice content, this will probably last in the fridge for a while, but I’ll never find out because I always use it so quickly.

Some housekeeping: if you’ve been following this site for any time before this post, you’ll notice a new look. Please let me know if you run into any broken images or other issues. The look has changed due to some WordPress updates that were incompatible with my custom theme.

trini doubles, yum yum yum

Hello there, friends and vegans! It’s been a while since last I posted; I’ve been working full time AND going to school full time, so I hope you’ll forgive me.

Anyway, I wanted to post about my entry in the last vegan cookoff. Just to refresh your memory, the cookoff is a monthly event some friends and I have been doing for four (count em, FOUR) years solid. Everything has to be vegan, and these days, nut-free as well, and it suits the purposes of the aspiring winner to offer a gluten-free entry or option as well, as we have three gluten-free participants. The theme, date, and location is chosen the month before. Everyone brings the components of their dish, assembles on location, and serves small portions to all of the attendees. At the end, everyone who’s eaten votes in each of five categories, and a winner is crowned.


The photo of mine hasn’t been uploaded yet, so here’s one from Tried and True Favourite Recipes!

Our last competition was Caribbean-themed. I made Trini doubles – a street food dish from Trinidad involving chana masala (my favourite Indian dish made with island flavour) stuffed into deep-fried bread dough. It’s simple and it’s delicious. I chose to serve mine with a fresh salsa made of mango, cucumber, lime, jalapeno, and cilantro. The whole thing was quite hot, but so delicious!

Chana Masala for Doubles

Now, I’ve tried to make chana many times before and have never made an authentic-tasting one. This was my first success with a chana masala that tasted like I’ve had it in restaurants.

2 tbsp sunflower/canola/veg oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 tsp caraway or coriander seeds, whole
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1.5 inches thick ginger or 2 inches thin, grated
2 tbsp+ masala mix or chana masala mix powder (NOT garam masala, NOT thai red curry, etc.)
2 cans chickpeas, or 3 cups cooked chickpeas
1 small can or 1/2 large can diced tomatoes (ensure you get ones without extra spices)
1 bay leaf

Heat a medium-sized pot on just under medium heat on a burner. Add oil and let it heat for a minute before adding the onions. They should sizzle slightly, but if they spit at all, turn the heat down. Stoves vary a lot, so it’s best to know whether your stove runs hot or cool. Mine runs hot, so I saute my onions on heat 2 or 3 (electric). Gas ranges often run hotter than electric because of the direct and instant heat.

Stir the onions to ensure they don’t get stuck or burnt. While your onions are cooking, in a small bowl, combine the minced garlic, grated ginger, and dry masala. Add a splash of water (I like to use warm) and mix it all together so it combines into a paste.

Once the onions are softened, add the caraway or coriander seeds. Ensure there’s enough hot oil in there to coat the seeds – stir it together and cook until they are toasted. Then, add your spice paste and stir it all together to toast the spices and cook the garlic and ginger.

While this is happening, drain and rinse your chickpeas. Add them to the pot next and stir to coat everything equally in the spices. Next, add the diced tomatoes. This provides some liquid to cook the chickpeas further til they’re soft. If it looks dry, add a little water. Add the bay leaf now and stir.

Bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Put a lid on and let it go for at least 20 minutes, better at an hour or even more. Continue to stir it every so often and ensure there is enough liquid; you don’t want it to burn to the bottom but you also don’t want it to come out too liquidy at the end. You need to scoop it up with fry bread!

Note on curry powders

Holy mackerel are there a LOT of curry powders out there. There’s Japanese curry, Thai curry, Indian curry, Island curry, and so on, and within each type of cuisine there are a number of variations as far as spice combination goes. For a successful chana masala, you will want a MASALA MIX or a CHANA MASALA MIX. Look for a spice mix that contains coriander, clove, cinnamon, chili, turmeric, and ginger. Chana masala should be heavy on ginger, coriander, and – believe it or not – lemon! You don’t want any lime flavour, nor cumin. If you want to make your own spice mix, use those listed above. A little cardamom wouldn’t hurt either. The “pie spices” complement the chickpea and tomato in chana masala. If you want to vary the spiciness of your dish, making your own spice mix is a great idea. You can chop fresh chilies in with the garlic and ginger, or add chili powder or cayenne with the dry spices.

Fry Bread

This part is super easy. While your chana is simmering, make some bread dough. My bread yeast was dead, so I used instant pizza yeast and actually just made a pizza dough. You don’t have to spice it – just salt it. You don’t need much, either. When you fry the dough, it’ll puff up and bubble so you can cut it open and put chana inside it. YUM.

To deep fry, choose a deep pot with a small diameter. Fill it with about 2 inches of oil with a high smoke point (sunflower/canola/veg oil) and heat it on high. Ensure you have a plate next to the stove with paper towel on it to drain, as well as a metal or silicon (NOT PLASTIC) slotted spoon, tongs, etc. You’ll know it’s ready when you put a wooden spoon in, touching the bottom, and little bubbles immediately rise from the wood. BE VERY CAREFUL if you are new to deep-frying! Tear off little chunks of bread dough and toss them in – do no more than three at a time so the oil doesn’t lose too much temperature. Watch them turn golden, turning if necessary, and then pull out to drain. Serve hot.

Oh, and I won the cookoff with this dish.

Barbecue Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichoke)

Photo taken from http://tinyurl.com/7pyo3p5

Ingredients:

5 medium sized Sunchokes  (sliced)

1/2 Tsp Cumin

1/2 Tsp Caraway

Salt

Pepper

1/2 C Your choice of delicious bbq sauce

3 Tbsp Oil

– Heat oil over medium heat in a sauté pan and add sunchokes covering with a lid in order to steam them through.

– Add Cumin, Caraway, Salt and pepper and toss. Continue to cook and keep covered for approx 2 minutes.

– Add 1/4 c bbq sauce. Toss and keep covered for 5-8 mins. Toss constantly.

– Add the remainder of the bbq sauce and salt and turn up the heat. Toss and caramelize the sunchokes making sure they have nice brown edges. Remove from heat and serve.

 

Pecan Sage Butter

pecan sage butter

This is a great holiday spread for crackers or bread.

1 c Raw Pecans
1 clove garlic
1/4 c olive oil
5 Sage leaves
1 tbs Vegan butter
1 tsp Salt

Put pecans, salt, sage, garlic, and butter into a food processor and process on high adding the olive oil slowly until you have a spread like consistency. Yes it’s that easy.

Sweet Roasted Red Pepper Relish

roasted red pepper relish with roasted potatoes and turnip and steamed chard

This relish is perfect by itself or served on top of Vegan cream cheese. The other night I used it as a garnish for our squash, wild rice, sage and asparagus cabbage rolls.

Bring something freshly made to a holiday party this year and impress your grandma.

Stuff you need:

2 Roasted Red Pepper (diced)
1/4 C Red Onion (diced)
1 tbs Agave Nectar
Dash of Salt & Pepper
1 tbs Garlic vinegar or apple cider vinegar

Mix and chill before serving.

orange-cardamom salad dressing

penne with roasted eggplant and a tomato chard sauce, rainbow chard salad with caramelized red onion and an orange cardamom dressing, garlic toast

This salad dressing was so unbelievably easy to make and delicious. Our friend Jocelynn got me a Magic Bullet for my birthday, and it is such a great tool for salad dressings! Any blender will do, or even a fork if you are low-tech like that.

Orange-Cardamom Salad Dressing

1 small mandarin orange or clementine, peeled and sectioned, seeds removed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vinegar (we used orange muscat champagne vinegar, but ANY vinegar will work – wine vinegar might be nice)
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground cardamom
1 pinch salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Mix together and serve over greens.

Savoury Pecan & Caramelized Onion Tarts

Some of you might know, but most of you probably don’t. I’ve been writing a column for the Suicide Girls Newswire about veganism, and my recent post – Savoury Vegan Holiday Tarts – was retweeted by PETA2, among others. I think it is kind of cool that they noticed my little article on that big naked lady site. No matter what you think of PETA or Suicide Girls, both of whom flaunt scantily clad and/or nude ladies for whatever purpose, both of them are making space for discussion about veganism in the wider culture, and I think that’s very important work.

That said, here’s that tart recipe, as written on SG.

Savory Vegan Pecan Holiday Tarts

6 sheets phyllo pastry. (You can buy this frozen. Often it’s vegan – check the ingredients)
1 container Tofutti better than cream cheese – OR – 1 cup silken tofu blended with 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 bulb garlic
1 small or 1/2 large onion, any color
2 tbsp vegetable oil or margarine
1 tbsp sugar, maple syrup, or agave nectar
24 pecans

Preheat your oven to 400 F.

Remove the outer skin of the garlic bulb, leaving each clove wrapped. Slice off the tops of the garlic cloves, brush with olive oil, and roast in the oven until soft – about 40 minutes.

While your garlic is roasting, slice the onion into rounds. Separate the rounds. Heat oil or margarine in a skillet; add the onions and sweetener, stir to coat, and saute over low heat until the garlic has finished.

In a bowl, mix cream cheese and mustard. Squeeze the softened garlic in; alternately, use a garlic press or mince it. Stir together until combined.

Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Tear each sheet of phyllo pastry in half and use each half to line a muffin cup – I find it works best if you fold them in half and then crumple them in.

Put a dollop of cream cheese in each phyllo cup, then add a couple of caramelized onions, and top with two pecans.

Roast in the oven for 8 minutes, until phyllo is golden brown. Let cool and then pop out. Serve at room temperature.

Adventures in Veganland

The following is a guest contribution from our friend Michael. To learn more about him, visit his blog.

Just to be clear, I’m not a vegan. I am however a fan of vegan cooking, and some of my friends are really good vegan cooks. So perhaps when the script calls for it, this actor can turn himself into a vegan when then scene calls for it. Would this character however be able to turn himself into a chef? A skill that may seem simple enough to pick up, but given the variables of a vegan audience, how would this play out? What follows is my attempt to create a dish for a vegan American thanksgiving hosted by the lovely vegan American Kaylie Barfield and her equally lovely partner Malloreigh H.

Malloreigh (left) Kaylie (right)

Before I go into my adventure, I should give some background into my food lifestyle. Growing up in the suburbs of Vancouver, I was not exposed to many food options that didn’t come from the Bovinae family. As I moved to the city, I began experimenting with different food lifestyles. For a while to make myself more conscious of what I was eating, I would give a name to the animal I was eating like Charlie Bovinae or Jimmy Tuna. I found the company I kept would influence me greatly though in my habits, so currently I am keeping up with a mostly vegetarian diet. However in conversations with Malloreigh she’s pondered what kind of variables it would take to convert someone to veganism. For me the only things that stand in my way are cheese and eggs. I love cheese. In fact when they do an autopsy of me they’ll find that I’m mostly made of bad jokes.

Apparently the only thing stopping me from being vegan.

I have found though that I can go stretches without those two ingredients, but it can be hard when I’m not cooking at lot to find vegan options at restaurants. So going into the thanksgiving dinner, not only have my cooking skills gone rusty, but I’ll be cooking for vegans who are all accomplished cooks. So I cranked my Tool (notable vegan band) and got to work.

My chosen dish was one that would be simple enough to create and fitting for the Thanksgiving theme.

This is how the recipe appeared on www.epicurious.com:

Leek and Wild Mushroom Stuffing

  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms*
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only)
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 1/2 8-ounce French-bread baguettes, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices

1 large egg, beaten to blend

Obviously I would be using Earth Balance instead of butter, and will be just omitting the egg. I was unable to find dried porcini mushrooms so I just added more white mushrooms. Later on in the recipe it would call for using the mushroom soaking liquid to moisten up the stuffing before baking, but as you will see I just used Vegetable Broth as a substitute.

First off I wanted to get all my ingredients chopped and ready to go. There was a ton of mushrooms to be chopped, and after a while my back was starting to hurt. I wondered if my chopping technique was flawed so I went to youtube.com and found several videos showing the various methods of chopping. Thank god for youtube. Here’s some of Alex Trebeck’ s drunk Jeopardy outtakes I found while procrastinating the cooking. Good times on the inter web.

The recipe continues:

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add shiitake and button mushrooms; sauté 10 minutes. Add leeks and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add wine, thyme, and porcini mushrooms. Cook until almost all wine evaporates, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Pour mushroom mixture into large bowl and mix with the bread.

Now that I had gotten anal about my chopping techniques, I started to worry about the sautéing time. In these situations when my brain is consumed with tasks, keeping track of time can prove challenging. So what I did was mark the time by when a song would change. I would look at the track listing briefly, and when the song ended I would know how much time has passed. It sounds ridiculous I know, but it’s just the way my brain works.

I was getting pretty hungry at this point so it’s a good thing I bought lots of bread. Plus I had some bonus wine left over. So I had only the last step until I had time to relax.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Add enough reserved mushroom soaking liquid to stuffing to moisten (3/4 cup to 1 1/4 cups). Transfer stuffing to prepared dish. Bake uncovered until heated through, about 40 minutes.

Again I substituted the Vegetable broth for the mushroom soaking liquid because of the lack of porcini mushrooms.

So from the moment I compiled my list to go to the grocery store to the moment I pulled out the dish from the oven, it was probably a good 5-6 hours. Again ridiculous, but I was going slow, taking my time, enjoying the process. Could I become a Vegan? Who knows? I would have finally put the stuffing into Tammy Turkey of the Melagris family but she kept running away. So for today I was a Vegan.

Special thanks to my lady friend Bronwen Marsden for the support (panicked text messages) and inspiration on the dish.

Roasted Dijon-Balsamic-Maple Syrup Brussels Sprouts

I have always hated brussels sprouts. I think they taste and smell like stinky feet. I know I’m not alone in this. However, a few years ago I was in my hometown of Calgary, Alberta, where the big industries are oil and beef, and where vegan food is in short supply. I went with a friend to an upscale restaurant in Kensington where the only thing on the menu that was veganizable was brussels sprouts. Disappointed, though not entirely surprised, I resigned myself to spending the evening hungry – but the server insisted I try them.

Fine. Why not? Anyway, this is what came out. They were incredible. I asked for the method and this has been my go-to recipe for brussels sprouts ever since.

dijon-balsamic brussels sprouts

Click through for the recipe. Continue reading

Kale, Beet & Shallot salad with roasted rosemary pecans and cranberries

kale and beet salad, dijon-balsamic brussels sprouts, leek roasted potato apple soup

This salad just happened to be a part of mine and Malloreigh’s autumn feast.  This attractive salad was promptly inserted into my belly, leaving me full of bliss and beets.

Stuff you need:

1/4 Cup pecans
1/4 cup cranberries
2 tbsp sugar
2 shakes salt
2 fresh beets
1 bunch of Kale
1 shallot
Dash Soy sauce (about 1 tbsp)
Juice of half a lemon (about 2 tbsp)
Dash white wine vinegar (about 1 tbsp)

Heat up a skillet and toss in your cranberries and pecans. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 shakes of salt along with a few shakes of rosemary powder. stir around until the sugar has coated the pecans and cranberries and has dissolved. Let cool.

Finely dice the Kale and flash steam for one minute. Cut your beets into thin slices using a knife or mandolin. Once you have flash steamed the kale put it in the fridge until cooled (or the freezer for a faster chill time).  Add your beets and mix around to create a vibrant melange of green and pink.  Cut your shallot into rings, add the shallot, soy sauce, lemon and white wine vinegar.

Add the Pecan mixture to the salad, mix together and serve!

part-time kale salad maker