Tag Archives: tomatoes

Shakshuka and a Vegan Poached Egg

Yesterday was the Vegan Cookoff – the theme was Middle Eastern and North African food. I just had to make shakshuka, a pepper and tomato stew that originated in Tunisia and is popular across the MENA region. It’s often served for breakfast with poached eggs swimming in the thick, sweet sauce, and what a great opportunity to discover some new vegan egg tactics while using some of my old favourites.

shakshuka
Before tomatoes, after peppers and spices

SHAKSHUKA

I based this shakshuka recipe after Yotam Ottolenghi‘s, with a few elements from other shakshuka recipes I found online – I subbed out Yotam’s cayenne for fresh jalapeno, and had (surprise!) run out of saffron so I did not use that. I also didn’t have fresh cilantro/coriander on hand so went with dried. Ottolenghi didn’t use garlic, and I chose not to use thyme. The balance in my shakshuka was perfect, but you wouldn’t lose using his recipe either.

1/2 tsp cumin seeds
200mL extra virgin olive oil – use the good stuff because you will really taste it
2 yellow onions, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced into 1cm wide strips
1 yellow and 1 orange bell pepper, prepared as above
2 jalapenos, roughly chopped
2 tbsp organic raw sugar
2 bay leaves
1.5 tbsp dried coriander
Handful fresh parsley (be generous)
4 large or 6 small tomatoes, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

In your largest, deepest cast iron frying pan (or use a saucepan if you don’t have a cast iron), dry toast the cumin seeds on high for about 2 min until they are brown in colour. Add the olive oil and turn the heat down to medium-high. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and cook for about 2 – 3 minutes until they start to soften, then add the garlic and cook for another 3 – 5 minutes until the whole mixture is looking dewy. Add all of your peppers, sugar, and spices and cook for 10 – 20 minutes, stirring regularly, until the peppers soften and the whole thing is taking on a red-orange colour. Add tomatoes and cook for another 10 min, then taste. Add salt and pepper and adjust everything else for spice if you need to; remove the bay leaves at this point as well, if you can find them.

If you’re adding the eggs, ensure your stew is nicely broken down first – it should have a thick consistency, a nice level of sweetness and a gentle heat.

Vegan Poached Eggs

1. WHITE

The recipe for the white is based off of one from Chel Rabbit which the author used in their shakshuka.

either 1/2 cup soaked raw cashews, pureed into a cream, or 1/4 cup vegenaise
1/4 lemon worth of zest
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp black salt aka kala namak (i get this at buy low in the indian spices section)
i also added 1/8 tsp asafoetida aka hing, another indian spice that i don’t expect anyone else to have – because i didn’t have onion powder
soft organic tofu – don’t use the vacuum packed kind!
Combine all ingredients except for tofu and blend til smooth.

2. YOLK

If you’re a Vegan Mischief follower, you’ll be familiar with this yolk recipe – I found it on a website called The Airy Way and adapted it here for Vegan Mischief.

1 tbsp vegenaise
1 tbsp carrot juice or v8 (this is just for colour)
4 tbsp vegetable broth
2 tbsp earth balance
2 tsp cornstarch

This recipe is designed to be “poached” in a stew. You could probably also use it in other contexts but you’d have to alter the preparation a little bit.

Make holes in your stew for your eggs – I made 5. Spoon in a tablespoonful of the creamy white mixture and smooth it into the hole. Scoop out a tablespoonful of soft tofu and place it on top. This is going to be the texture of the white, while the cream is the taste. Let your stew simmer with the white in it for 8-10 minutes so the flavours combine – don’t stir, of course, or you’ll wreck your eggs.

In the meantime, prepare your yolk. If you have a microwave, this is a bit easier, but I have done it on a stovetop before as well. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl or small skillet and melt – in a microwave, zap for 20 seconds and then whisk. On a stovetop, melt and then whisk. Now, the key is to warm it and whisk it until it is a creamy bechamel or egg yolk consistency, and then IMMEDIATELY remove it from heat because if it gets past that point it will separate. If it separates, it still tastes good but it looks gross. In the microwave, zap for 5 second increments, whisk, and then put it back in if you still need to. On the stovetop, warm gently while whisking until it’s perfect.

Scoop a teaspoonful of yolk into the centre of each white. Turn the heat off and serve. Shakshuka is usually served straight out of the cast iron – bring it to the table with some fresh toasted flatbread and a big serving spoon and let your dining companions feast on it in the messiest way possible!

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.

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.

In The Absence of Tortillas, a Mexican Bowl

in the absence of tortillas, a mexican bowl

Who wants tortillas from a grocery store anyways? I find the politically correct mexican bowl to be one of my favourite dishes because it’s fast, flavourful, easy and reminds me of my mom.

This particular bowl consisted of:

Chipotlé lime baked tofu cubes
Roasted garlic potatoes
Pinto beans
Garnished with fresh tomato, lettuce, salsa, avocado and roasted zucchini.

You could replace the potatoes with rice or spanish rice, sautéed vegetables for tofu and black beans for pinto beans.

Try replacing salsa with a tomatillo sauce  or try adding guacamole.

chipotlé lime tofu

1/2 block extra firm tofu
Juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 tbsp)
1 tsp lime zest
1 small can of chipotlé in adobo sauce or  1 tsp chipotlé seasoning
1 tsp garlic salt
1/4 small yellow onion minced
1 tbs oil

Cut tofu into 1cm cubes and place into a medium sized bowl. If using canned chipotlé use one pepper and mince put into bowl with tofu along with all of the other ingredients. Let the tofu marinate for at least fifteen minutes and place in oven at 400 degrees for fifteen minutes. This recipe is spicy!

Portobello & red wine tomato sauce, kale, lemon and caramelized onion tofu scramble

anniversary breakfast - scrambled tofu and toast

After a long night of drinking, kissing and eating it’s important to reinvigorate your body with a flavourful breakfast. It isn’t to hard to use elements of last night dinner to create a tofu scram that is more satisfying than the dinner you had the night before.

Things you need:

1 yellow onion (cut into rings)

4 cloves of garlic (minced)

5 kale leaves

1 C Portabello & Red Wine Tomato Sauce (refer to prior post)

2 Tbs vegan margarine

1 lemon

1/2 small zucchini

cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

6 white button mushrooms

1 tps Tarragon

Salt


Place garlic, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 block tofu, & portobello tomato sauce in a bowl and let set until you are done prepping everything else.

In a skillet, sauté onions rings with vegan margarine until slightly brown and caramelized.  Add sliced mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and tarragon until mushrooms and tomatoes are slightly soft. Add tofu mix, a pinch of salt and kale. Let simmer stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes in total. Add zucchini last and only let the whole mixture sauté for only 3 minutes more, you don’t want your zucchini to be over cooked!

Plate your scram and add a squirt of lemon juice on top!

Make toast, slice fruit, pour coffee and eat!

Portobello and Red Wine Tomato Sauce

anniversary pasta with roasted vegetables


Malloreigh and I went to Galiano Island for our year anniversary and she accidentally left the sage gnocchi I had prepped for this special evening. Luckily there was a corner store a few metres away from our cottage. We picked up some rigatoni and seriously considered buying a pre-made tomato sauce. After debating, picking up the jar, putting it down again, looking at Mal and making a few sighs, she assured me that the sauce I made would be much tastier. With that being said this recipe is very easy and very flavourful. Go forth and prosper.

Stuff you need:

1 Portobello mushroom (chopped/diced)

1/4 C Red Wine

1/2 medium size red onion (diced)

4 cloves garlic

3 tbs Olive oil

1 tsp Thyme

1 tsp Tarragon

1 tsp salt and pepper

1 Can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce

Add water for a thinner sauce

Sauté Onion, garlic, mushroom in olive oil in a sauce pan. Add more olive oil if the contents are sticking to the bottom of the sauce pan. When ingredients have softened and onions have become translucent add Wine and spices (tarragon, thyme, salt).  Simmer in the red wine for approx 2 minutes. Add tomato sauce and another pinch of salt. Let sauce simmer for as long as you can, but at least 30 minutes. Add water or wine for a thinner consistency.

As a note: If you don’t let the sauce simmer for 30 min it will be okay!! It will taste excellent and your dinner guest will be impressed.

Also, don’t wear a white shirt while you make this.

Vegan Eggplant Parmigiana

This is based on a recipe from The FatFree Vegan Blog, but modified to be not quite so low fat. While we are health-conscious in this house, that usually means going for a bike ride or choosing wine over beer. Gotta have a vice, and mine is rich food. Serve this dish to anyone who thinks that vegan means bland and healthy.

(This dish does have only 2 tbsp of oil in it.)


I served this with a caesar salad featuring homemade croutons. Holy shit.

Continue reading

Black bean mexican polenta topped with tomatillo sauce & roasted corn, pineapple and avocado salad accompanied with roasted cauliflower with a red chile glaze

black bean polenta with corn, fresh tomatillo sauce, roasted cauliflower, and mango pineapple roasted tomato avocado salsa

The many components to this recipe may seem daunting, but are simple and make this dish flavorful and super fresh or as I like to say, supa fresh. Continue reading

conchiglie pasta tossed with roasted campari tomato and portabellini sauce with steamed kale and fresh basil

Oh, how delightful vegan summer food can be! Yesterday we hit the Trout Lake Farmer’s Market in Vancouver and, in addition to seeing adorable little families, queers, and puppies, also managed to pick up a bunch of local organic produce. It was a beautiful day for the market, though maybe a bit hot – still – we went early in the morning and then laid on the grass for a couple of hours daydreaming before taking a 1:30pm end-of-the-market walk back through. That’s always a good idea because sometimes the vendors give you free leftovers, like perfect organic basil.



As you can see from the above (click any image to load a bigger version) we picked up a bag full of yellow and orange bell peppers, six cucumbers, a little aubergine, a bag of portabellini (smaller portabello) mushrooms, a pint of beautiful Campari tomatoes, and a handful of basil. Did you know that portabello mushrooms are just fully-grown crimini mushrooms? I just learned this. I just love these succulently juicy mushrooms.

We also stopped at an Italian store to get some pasta and capers. Unfortunately, the pasta they make fresh there has eggs in it, so we bought a bag of dried conchiglie (shell) pasta. I wonder if there’s anywhere in town to purchase freshly-made vegan pasta?

In addition to all this delightful food, we were also able to pick some fresh, tender, flavourful kale from our garden.

conchiglie pasta tossed with roasted campari tomato and portabellini sauce with steamed kale and fresh basil

This was a quick but delicious meal. Click through for the recipe. Continue reading