Archive for lentils

Soup, soup, a tasty soup, soup

Today’s post is brought to you by p-p-p-p-p-p-procrastination.

Soup #1: Alphabet soup

Alphabet soup

Alphabet soup

I recently purchased Bob’s Red Mill Vegi Soup Mix in an attempt to broaden my dietary range of proteins. It is a simple mix of “green split peas, yellow split peas, barley, lentils and vegetable pasta”. If you do not have to worry about cross-contamination, I would suggest making your own mix from bulk goods to save a little money.

Ingredients (2 servings):

Directions:

1. Sauté onions and garlic until transparent. (I did this with water instead of oil.)
2. Add water or broth, tomato, other vegetables and the soup mix. Bring the mixture to a boil.
3. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 60 minutes.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Other vegan vegetable soup recipes:

Soup #2: Black bean soup

Black bean soup

Black bean soup

Black beans are an excellent source of both protein and fibre. Although black beans and other legumes are an incomplete source of protein, one can easily combine them with grains to form an excellent source of complete protein.

Ingredients (2 servings):

  • ½ c onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 c black beans, canned
  • 1 tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 1 c zucchini, cubed
  • ½ c corn
  • 1 c water or vegetable broth
  • 3 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 t cumin
  • garlic salt and peper
  • ½ avocado

Directions:

1. Sauté onions and garlic until transparent. (I did this with water instead of oil.)
2. Add the beans and a little bit of water. Fry for a few minutes.
3. Add water or broth, tomato, other vegetables, cumin and 2 T’s of yeast. Bring the mixture to a boil.
4. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes.
5. Add remaining yeast. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with avocado slices.

Other black bean soup recipes:

– Aly

Articles of interest:

PS Let me know if you have an awesome soup recipe that should be included!

Comments (17) »

Footloose

Sorry for the massive delay in posting, guys. I’ve actually moved twice in the last month and, although I’ve been taking a lot of photos, posting them hasn’t been at the top of my list. I hope everyone had a debaucherous and regrettable New Years Eve—after all, 2008 only ends once!

In honour of  2008, I’ll be presenting today’s post of recently devoured foodstuffs in the form of a countdown. DRUMROLL!

10. Jenna’s most excellent Lentil Curry, made with yellow lentils and served with quinoa:

Lentil Curry

9. Fake chicken by SoYeat (or SoVeat?). In truth, I’ve never had fake chicken before but I liked it a lot! It also got the omnivore seal of approval.

Fake chicken by SoYeat

My aunt made me this for lunch, with baked sweet potato fries.

8. Sauteed fruit! I picked up this idea in Jamaica.

bananas, blueberries, peaches, pears

It makes a savoury dessert or, as pictured here, a yummy companion for steel cut oats.

7.  Kath’s Kale Chips. A simple, super-healthy recipe. Just wash a head of kale, slice once down the main vein, spray with olive-oil spray, and sprinkle with a salty-herb mixture. I used jerk seasoning from Jamaica. Bake at 350 deg C for 15 minutes (until edges are brown). A huge bowl of this has about 170 calories, 450 mg of calcium, and 1500 mg of potassium.

Kale is one of those superfoods that you should always eat, and this recipe makes a great sub for potato chips or nachos.

6. Steamed spinach with raisins and dried cranberries. Another idea from Jamaica. I topped this batch with nutritional yeast to give it a cheesy favour.

It looks like a small portion but it's actually about 10 cups of fresh spinach (aka 470% of my daily Vitamin A requirement). That stuff really shrinks, eh?

5. Quesadillas!

I topped my whole-wheat tortilla with 3 slices of Veggie Slices vegan cheese, olives, tomatoes, and cilantros.

I folded it over and heated it for a few minutes on each side, et voila!

4. Thank you, thank you, thank you Vegan Dad for your Veggie Lunch Meat recipe, which will probably save me thousands of dollars over the next few years.

I'll never buy another Yves three-serving package of soy meat for $3.99! (that's a toothpick for comparison)

All the ingredients for this recipe cost me about $2, and I cut the log into 14 thick slices, each of which packs 14g of protein.

Recipe (from Vegan Dad, whose cookbook is for sale here):

Ingredients:
1 cup white beans (I used kidney beans)
2 cups water
1/4 cup oil
2 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic
1/4 tsp tumeric
1 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp sage
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp soy sauce
2 3/4 cup vital wheat gluten

Directions:

Get water steaming in your steamer.
1. Place all ingredients except the gluten flour in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into a bowl. Add gluten flour and work into a dough.
2. Shape dough into a log and wrap in heavy duty foil like a tootsie roll. Try to make the roll as thick as possible. Steam for 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees in the last 15 mins of steaming. Remove seitan from steamer and bake for 45-60 mins. Seitan should swell and press against the foil.
4. Cool and slice as needed for sandwiches. This seitan holds up very well and can be shaved very thin. Store in the fridge

3. Another round of my fave lemon-cranberry bread, made with my new loaf pans.

lemon-cranberry bread

2. Pineapple-carrot cake!

I couldn't find any vegan cream cheese to make icing but the cake was really good by itself anyway.

Recipe (modified from a few different sources):

Ingredients:

1 and1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup w/w flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
3 egg equivalent in Ener-G egg substitute
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
2 cups finely grated carrots
1 can (about 14 oz) crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup walnut pieces

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, mix flours, baking soda, cinnamon, spice, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix sugar and “eggs”. Add vanilla, then vegetable oil and applesauce. Mix wet and dry ingredients together and add carrots, pineapple, and walnuts. Pour into greased baking pan (9×9 is best) and bake for 50 minutes.

Instead of eating this cake directly, I crumbled little slices into my oatmeal, along with the almond butter that Omnivore Boyfriend's mum sent home with him. Soooo delicious.

1. Pumpkin, caramel, and chocolate loaf, modified from VeggieGirl‘s Pumpkin, Caramel, and Carob loaf.

(those plastic shards in the top are from the bowl that melted into the element while the oven was on. Oops!)

Pumpkin, caramel, and chocolate loaf

I followed VeggieGirl’s recipe exactly, except for the following substitutions:

-2 cups of flour were replaced with 1 cup of white flour and 1 cup of w/w flour
-the pure maple syrup was replaced with No Name “maple-flavoured” syrup (po’ students—holla!)
-the carob chips were replaced with vegan chocolate chips from Herb and Spice

I like how this recipe doesn’t have any oil or margarine.

—-

And that’s it! Happy very belated New Years to everyone.

-Maureen

Comments (19) »

Cool runnings, mon!

Well, I just returned from a deliciously decadent week in Montego Bay, Jamaica with Omnivore Boyfriend (O.B.). We had a ridiculously good and relaxing time! We stayed in an all-inclusive resort on the beach, so of course we had unrestricted food, drinks, and sports. It was paradise. We tried to get off the resort as often as possible to see the real country and meet some real Jamaicans. Our excursions included renting our own little boat to motor up and down the coastline, snorkelling on a coral reef, ziplining through a jungle canopy, and visiting the tropical splendour of nearby Negril.

It was soooo harding flying back into Toronto. From the airplane, it looked like someone had shaken a snowglobe and all the snow in existence had landed on this fair city. I can’t quite describe the physical shock of emerging from the airport into the minus 15 deg C weather (from +30 deg C in Jamaica). Blech! Is it summer yet??

I wasn’t sure if how the resort’s buffet-style menu would accomodate my meat/dairy/eggs aversion, but everything was “cool runnings” (all good)! There were tons of options for me at each meal and I had some really excellent dishes. I normally abstain from most fresh produce in the winter when it gets too expensive, so I took the opportunity to pile each plate high with salad and veggies. One small complaint I had is that the dishes weren’t often labelled. However, it was pretty easy to differentiate the vegan from non-vegan dishes, and the chefs were really helpful when I had any questions.

So without further ado, here is the food!

I ate this same concoction for breakast almost every morning. I took a couple tbsp of dry oats, added some hot water, added a layer of corn flakes, and covered it with carmelized fruits (melon, cantaloupe, banana) and fresh fruit.

Lunch and dinner were always some variation of salad. Which sound really boring, but as I mentioned before, there were tons and tons of options, including lots of new stuff I’d never eaten or envisioned.

From top left, going clockwise: steamed calaloo, apple & cucumber salad, grilled veggies. Centre: olives.

From top left: stewed lentils, garlic potatoes, grilled veggies (zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes), grilled tomatoes, sauteed spinach with raisins, steamed green beans, apple/cucumber salad, saffron rice, glazed carrots. Centre: olives.

On the left is a big salad topped with sliceed tomatoes, green beans, shredded carrots, chickpeas, celery, cauliflower, and corn. There's also a bit of steamed spinach with onions and peppers.

From top: sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, corn, romaine lettuce, green beans, steamed spinach. Centre: lima beans.

From left: steamed calaloo, hearts of palm, big salad with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, shredded carrots, shredded pumpkin (!!!!), and corn, bowtie pasta salad in a vinaigrette sauce, grilled tomatoes.

From left: vegetable dumpling, grilled peppers/tomatoes/onions, mashed pumpkin, steamed calaloo, shredded pumpkin. Centre: glazed carrots.

A big salad with romaine lettuce tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, celery, and a couple sliced of baked potato.

I took this picture from a different angle to flaunt the lovely view of tropical paradise from our favourite lunch perch. Nothing like the azure blue Caribbean sea to accompany a good meal :-) From left: glazed carrots, grilled peppers, salad with sprouts, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, lima beans, and corn, green beans, steamed spinach, and olives.

From left: grilled sliced tomatoes, olives, grilled baby tomatoes, salad with romaine lettuce, shredded pumpkin, cucumber, green beans, lima beans, sliced tomatoes, steamed spinach, and a slice of fried banana.

There were three speciality restaurants at the resort: Asian, Italian, and a steakhouse. We had dinner at the first two and I wasn’t really impressed with either. The Asian food, which was also delivered buffet-style, was good but not very, um, authentic:

From left: Teppenyaki vegetable stir-fry, sesame vegetables, spring rolls, herbed tomatoes, curry (???) vegetables.

The Italian restaurant was awful. They had no vegetarian entrees, and when I asked the waiter if I could just have plain noodles, I got a really strange look. Is that really so hard?

Instead, I just resigned to making a salad from the restaurant appetizer buffet, but it was pretty pathetic. I found a little olive roll but it was stale.

Other than that experience, I had 20 great meals! I am so supremely stuffed from last week, I don’t know how I’ll endure the whole Christmas overeating tradition. We also had a lot of delicious drinks as all 5 bars on the resort were open bars, and as well we had rum, brandy, vodka, and gin on tap in our hotel room. Yum!

We also bought some Jamaican exports home with us:

Jamaican exports

I didn't get to try any jerk because it was all meat, so I bought the seasonings to make it at home!

Additionally, I ate a few dishes that I want to replicate, such as the steamed spinach with raisins, shredded pumpkin, and sauteed fruit. So definitely you’ll be seeing some Jamaican influence in future posts.

Well, I guess I’ve got a week’s worth of blog posts to catch up on, which I’m quite looking forward to. Looks like everyone is abuzz with pre-Christmas hysteria. Let the holidays begin!

-Maureen

Comments (22) »

Best Cranberry Lemon Bread… EVER!!

Seriously, everyone needs to go out and make this loaf… I absolutely love making bread (banana, zucchini, pumpkin, carrot, etc) but this was by far my most fruitful bread/cake experiment.

Woe is my lack of a loaf pan, but my trusty 9x9 didn't disappoint for gastronomy purposes. For aesthetic purposes... well let's just hope Santa brings me a loaf pan!

Yum, this bread was sweet, soft, and tangy. Just delicious all over.

I wondered what it might look/taste like to sprinkle brown sugar on the top before baking... so... Even better!

I made 3 batches in one day and popped two into the freezer. As for the recipe, I made a lot of modifications and veganizations from a recipe that was previously modified from Gourmet magazine, so this puppy has street cred, twice removed.

Cranberry-Lemon Bread

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 “eggs” (that is, two portions of egg replacer, like Ener-G, mixed with 1/4 cup H20)
  • 1/2 cup soy buttermilk (soy milk + vinegar or lemon juice)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated lemon rind
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) cranberries

Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Cream together sugars and shortening. Stir in egg-replacement mixture and beat with a fork until combined. Stir in buttermilk, vanilla, and rind. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in cranberries and pour into a greased pan. Optional: sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes.  Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.

I also recently made a quadruple batch of Jenna‘s awesome Simple Red Lentil Curry:

What a cheap and easy recipe! I'm so pleased to have found this.

I  bombed my last dahl attempt by adding too much garam masala, so I was hesitant to dip my toes back into the water, but this turned out great. I went completely non-traditional by serving it with Israeli couscous, another discovery chanced upon during my aimless wanderings through the local bulk food store.

The Israeli couscous didn't complement the curry as much as basmati rice would have, but I was just too curious what this neat little grain would look/taste like.

Simple red lentil curry & Israeli couscous

I also made another HUGE batch of my favourite broccoli soup recipe. If you  live in the West GTA, you have probably seen me lately, wailing in numerous grocery stores at the price of fresh broccoli . I realized, embarassingly and by accident, that frozen broccoli is way cheaper and just as good for a blended soup. Can you believe I hold a science degree? Anyway, I reinvented the wheel a bit by adding red chili pepper flakes to this recipe and the results were explosive.

Seriously... best soup ever. (Please ignore my superlatives, my life isn't very exciting these days).

Broccoli Soup

  • 4 cups vegetable soup broth
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen broccoli crowns and stems, chopped into small pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes

Heat a large pot on medium high. Heat olive oil, add the onion, red pepper flakes, and bay leaves, stirring to coat. Cook until onions begin to soften and turn brown, stirring often.

Add broccoli, stirring to coat with oil and onion flavor. Let cook, turning occasionally for 1 – 2 minutes. Stir in hot broth. Cover and cook for 5 – 10 minutes or until the vegetables are fully cooked. Remove the bay leaves.

Transfer a third of the hot mixture to a blender. Puree until smooth. Repeat with another third, then the final third.

Happy weekend everyone!

-Maureen

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Hibiscus, Butterscotch Pecan Bars, and Nuit Blanche

Anyone else hit up Nuit Blanche this year?
For those not in-the-know, Nuit Blanche is/was an annual all-night art exhibition at 155 locations across downtown Toronto. This year, a million people attended. I dunno, I was pretty underwhelmed. The art was supposed to be really edgy and provocative, but in the rare occurences that I actually saw any art through a swarm of people, I didn’t really see anything memorable. Ducks in pond, cool… guy with a spotlight, neat… black-and-white video of naked men holding mirrors..?? wtf?? I don’t pretend to have much comprehension of the artsy-fartsy stuff in life, but this stuff was just weird or boring. Food is my art.

Speaking of, I was delighted to have dinner at Hibiscus on Friday night in Toronto’s Kensington Market area with my friend M. I loved how by all outward appearances, it was a little hole in the wall surrounded by clapboard fruit markets, hippie-flavoured cafes, and odds-and-ends shops; but inside it was warm and elegant.

The menu was sparse, so I ordered a salad and an apple-cinnamon crepes.

Oh my god, this salad was unbelievably good. It was so substantial, it could have been the meal in itself. The salad had everything--green beans, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, chick peas, lentils, broccoli, quinoa, and more.

Mmmm... crepe-y. (not crappy!)

OH. MY. GOD. The soy ice cream was TO DIE FOR. I've never had anything this good. If you live in Toronto, go to Hibiscus NOW and order some soy ice cream. This was mango, raspberry, and chocolate (the kindly proprietor gave me three scoops for the price of two!).

I spend the “nuit” of Nuit Blanche at my friend Mel W.’s house (we also saw the Nuit Blanche exhibitions together with some other friends and ex-coworkers) and since I missed her b-day jam last week AND wanted to give her a housewarming gift, I made a batch of Have Cake, Will Travel’s marvellous Butterscotch Pecan Bars.

I think they went over well, based on the reception (okay, maybe I also ate one on the subway down... and on the way out in the morning; they are sooooo good and chewy).

That’s about it for food at the moment but I have another cool picture to share. After leaving Mel and Brian’s apartment Sunday morning, I grabbed an organic coffee at a local cafe and was impressed with their innovative use of pasta:

Win!

-Maureen

Comments (16) »

“Goodbye” food

My multi-day hiatus from posting was due to my abrupt decision to pack up and leave Ottawa—permanantly—for Toronto. It seemed like the right time, but after four years in Ottawa I had a fair number of in-person goodbyes to issue. This means making “goodbye” desserts (aka Something to Remember Me By) and multiple beers/coffees/dinners.

I find the best way to mitigate an awkward situation (like a goodbye chat that would otherwise end in “Er, have a nice life?”) is to make cupcakes. So all my fave professors, admin, and friends in the Science Faculty at the U of O got Golden Vanilla Cupcakes (from VCTOTW) with Buttercream Frosting (also from VCTOTW) with Nucleus symbols hand-painted on the top:

I made 24 of these puppies and got pretty great responses. This is seriously as elaborate as my desserts get.

My friend Michael and I went to dinner at the East African Restaurant, where I had the Yemisr Wot (lentil stew served on a spongy bread) and a green salad. It was sooo filling, but I forgot my camera. I also forgot my camera for the grilled veggie wrap + fries that I had at the Royal Oak on the campus with my friend Frank.

For my last night, O.B. and I went to Milestone’s downtown, which is perched on an enviable escarpment near the Chateau Laurier and the Byward Market. Great view, great crowd, and GREAT drinks and food.

Razzberry-Mint cocktail

Thai Noodle Salad with Artichoke Hearts

I’ve got a bunch of photos to post from this week, but stay tuned for my adventures in veganism in Toronto. For now… unpacking :-( :-(

-Maureen

Comments (12) »

A million and one salads

I have not posted in the last week as it seems like I have been exclusively eating salad following a demotion from girlfriend to friend. Here are a few products of my salad fixation:

#1: Lentil Salad

Ingredients: shredded lettuce, grated carrot, cubed tomato, chopped green and white onion, chopped yellow pepper, green lentils, capers, sesame seeds, and a white wine vinaigrette. This salad was inspired by the (best Ethiopian restaurant in Ottawa) East African Restaurant‘s awesome Azifa.

#2: Quinoa & Tofu Salad

Ingredients: shredded lettuce, quinoa, corn, baked tofu, grated carrot, finely sliced white onion, capers, sauerkraut and red wine vinaigrette.

#3: Cold Noodle & Spinach Salad

Ingredients: rainbow vegetable spiral noodles, baked tofu, grated parsnip, baby spinach, coarsely chopped onion, chopped yellow pepper, minced garlic and white wine vinaigrette.

#4: Fruit Salad

Ingredients: one orange, one banana, frozen raspberries, raisins and cinnamon. (Being allergic to most raw fruits makes spontaneous fruit salads quite the challenge.)

Thankfully my appetite has begun to return as I finally started running! I never really understood how great it was until I was capable of running for longer than 15 minutes. Interested in starting? Check this site and others out for more information and most importantly, just get out there and do it!

– Aly

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