Archive for potato

Catchin’ up

Wow, it’s really been over a month since my last post. I kinda decided to stop blogging for awhile there, but subconciously kept photographing my food. I guess deep down I must have known that I’d come crawling back! Blogging is like crack to me, and I’ve been jonesing for another fix. Thanks Aly for keeping Mad About Udon updated!

Oh, and I do have a little annoucement! Aly and I both signed up for our first 5K race! And then, I promptly dropped out… and signed up for the 10K! I started training and realized that 5K wouldn’t be a terribly difficult goal to achieve, and since I have so much time till the race (it’s in late May), I decided to go to town. So team Mad About Udon has been training a lot lately (together and independently) and hopefully we’ll kick the race’s ass come May 23. What’s the ideal time to finish at 5K? A 10K? I heard that 25 mins is a respectable time for a 5K so is it thus 50 mins for a 10K?

Hm, well first of all I’ve been eating a ton of oatmeal—thanks to Kath and Shelby, whose near-daily oatmeal concoctions inspired me to try some of my own. I’ve been including any combination of rolled oats, oat bran, soy milk, rice or hemp protein powder, peanut butter, bananas, berries, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, raisins, carob chips, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, etc. It’s usually the following recipe:

  • 1/6 cup oats
  • 1/6 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp protein powder
  • dash salt, and a tsp each of fair-trade vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin

The pumpkin really steals this recipe, and at 35 cal / half cup (and 200% of Vit A intake), it’s my favourite addition!

This one has all of the above plus a half cup of frozen berries (which melted in the pot).

I used this Rice Protein powder from Whole Foods:

I don't really love the rice protein powder, it's kinda chalky. I'm partial to my Manitoba Harvest Hemp Powder

My friend Barb and I went to Whole Foods in Toronto’s Yorkville neighborhood and I was in heaven! I didn’t even realize we had a WF in Canada, so I was pretty psyched to go. I only got a few things, as it’s pretty pricey there, but it`s good to know I can find obscure vegan products nearby if I need to.

Also featuring pumpkin is my amazing Pumpkin Cream Cheese. Someone else probably invented this already since there is only two ingredients: Pumpkin and Tofutti non-dairy cream cheese (1:1 by volume).

Good on toast, sandwiches, and anywhere else you would put cream cheese.

I also frequently make Fitnessista’s Oatmeal Breakfast Cookie which I’m kicking myself for not making earlier. It’s so validating, in a strange way, to wolf down a giant cookie for breakfast.

This one has mixed-in a delicious Spiced Plum jam that my friend Barb gave me, along with raisins and PB.

When I left off last time, I was experimenting with juicing using my friend Taras’ juicer. While I concede that juicing provides supremely healthy, tasty, and wholesome juices, I have reservations with wasting all the pulp. Plus, it’s fun to eat fruit, more fun than it is to drink it. Anyway, the last day I had it, I juiced a ton of carrots, zucchini, and apples, and saved the fibrous pulp to bake into a bread:

Fibrous pulp: carrots, zucchini, and apples

I used my banana bread recipe and subbed the pulp for the bananas:

The pulp and the bread didn't really taste like anything! So I guess this proves that all the flavour does indeed come out during juicing.

My witty, candid friend Nick (check out his blog to see just how witty and candid) and I had a very frank and productive lunch a few weeks ago at The Manx. This bar has few menu items, although one is identified as vegan and I ordered that. I don’t post every vegan meal I eat out, but this was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

It was a HUGE burrito with veggies, jalepeno peppers, and TVP (I think) inside with guac on top and a side salad. Tasty, tasty :-)

I got really enthused at the idea of roasting veggies, so I threw a TON of veggies into a pan, sprayed with PAM, and sprinkled with tons of herbs and spices. Then I baked that for about an hour, turning the contents two or three times throughout.

Roasted veggies: carrots, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, zucchini, asparagus, peppers, garlic, etc.

I enjoyed these best reheated and topped over a generous bed of spinach/cilantro/dill

Oh, and on the subject of “why-didn’t-I-make-this-incredibly-easy-dish-sooner” meals, voila:

Sweet Potato Fries

I sprayed these with PAM and sprinkled with sea salt, and baked at 350 for an hour, turning twice.

Samosa-stuffed baked potatoes, from Veganomicon:

These were just sort of okay, not amazing and not really worth the effort.

Kath’s amazing Nutty Vanilla  Sweet Potato + Kale Soup:

ROLL CALL: WHO'S MADE THIS ALREADY??

Recipe (from Kath):

  • 2 pounds of sweet potato, cut into 1” pieces and microwaved in a bowl on high for 6.5 minutes to start the cooking process
  • 3 cloves garlic,  pressed
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups kale, trimmed, washed and torn into small pieces
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup salted peanuts, for garnish
  • Shredded coconut, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Prepare sweet potatoes in microwave.
  2. Heat a large pot on medium high. Spray with cooking spray and add potatoes, cooking until they begin to brown. Stir in garlic.
  3. Add coconut milk, soy milk, masala, salt, pepper and flakes.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Mash potatoes with potato masher or puree with immersion blender.
  6. Add raisins, kale and vanilla and cover. Allow to cook for 8-10 more minutes, until kale is bright green.
  7. Portion into bowls and garnish with 1 tbsp each peanuts and coconut.

Mmmm… I love the website MediterrAsian.com —I get sooo many recipe ideas from there! Omnivore Boyfriend doesn’t like weird vegan “voodoo” stuff, like tofu, tempeh, TVP, etc, so I’m always on the lookout for recipes that are simple and tasty and not soy-centric. Then I split the dish in half and add soy protein to my half. Here are two favourites:

Lentil, pea, and potato curry:

That's a double batch in a mixing bowl, I forgot to snap a pic when I had it portioned out

Dhal with Carrot & Cauliflower:

Dhal with Carrot & Cauliflower

Served with a mixture of jasmine and orzo rices

I made a double batch of Vegan Dad’s Veggie Lunch Meat. This is one recipe that significantly changed by dietary and shopping regimen. Try it!

I should have enough to last me till the summer!

Um, due to a serious of strange and unfortunate events which I won’t go into right now, I procured this piece of chocolate tofu-cheese cake from Green Earth, a new veggie restaurant in Ottawa.

It was mighty tasty!

O.B. and I have been travelling all over Southern Ontario for interviews, birthdays, and such, and our travels have landed us in Toronto more than once. I looooove everything from Toronto’s Chinatown, from the dim sum to the cheap produce. Last weekend I picked up 11 bananas, 5 oranges, 6 large apples, a huge bag of grapes, 3 trays of blackberries, 3 melons, and a dragonfruit—all for $16!

Dragonfruit

Dragonfruit

Also purchased in Chinatown were as many red-bean pastries as I could fit in the car :-):

Red-bean pastries

Red-bean pastries

Red-bean pastries

*drool* I love anything with red bean paste in it.

Those Korean red bean balls especially made me happier than a hot koala in a bucket of water AND...

... a seagull eating a starfish!!

I also picked up some cheap tofu (2 pkg/$1) and those weird Shirataki noodles which aren't really noodles (they are actually made with tofu and yam flour and are only 20 cal/serving).

So I’ll have to find something fun to do with those ingredients.

Oh! I also picked up bok choy so I’m envisioning a bok choy/shirataki/tofu/hoisin stir fry coming up.

I'm not sure if you would call this a wrap or a burrito, but I made this puppy on my George Foreman grill!

I packed this full of jasmine rice, refried beans, black olives, and guacamole made with PC Guacamole Mix, and grilled it with a little bit of PAM.

I was struck with the sudden inspiration to make vegan Shepherd`s Pie, which is weird since I`ve never had the real thing. Anyway, here`s what I came up with:

Sorry for the fluorescent photo, I needed to use my flash.

For this dish I mixed Yves Veggie Ground Round and a can of mushroom (i.e. vegetarian) gravy for the bottom layer. Next was a layer of peas and carrots, and finally the top layer was mashed sweet potatoes with some cornmeal mixed it. The cornmeal was gritty and kind of pointless but other than that this was so amazingly savoury. I’m definitely going to make this again, and when I do I’ll leave out the cornmeal and possible mixed some mashed cauliflower into the mix.

Yum!

I sent some of my famous Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Carob Chip cookies with O.B. to work one day for a meeting, and they were a hit, as usual. Even the finicky lab supervisor had a few:

Everywhere I bring these, people just silently wolf down as many as possible until the tray is empty.

The story behind these is that I just grabbed a random “oatmeal-chocolate chip cookie” recipe off the ‘net and subbed in a few bananas for the eggs. Et voila—a moist, chewy, decadent chocolate chip cookie with a rich banana flavour and an oatmealy texture.

Recipe:

  • 1 c Earth Balance margarine
  • 1.5 c brown sugar
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1.75 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2.5 c rolled oats
  • 2.5 c vegan choc chips (or carob chips)

Directions:

Beat margarine and sugars. Add bananas and mix. Add vanilla and water, and mix. Add the rest, and mix. Cook for 9-10 mins at 350 C

Procrastinating through exams/theses?  Check out my cousin Lindsay’s scintillating travel blog as she  weaves her way through Europe. Will she ever return? Stay tuned. Also, check out The Bystander, a new Ottawa-centric arts and culture blog written by my friends Tina and Peter.

**CONTEST ALERT!!**
Zesty Clothing is celebrating the launch of its new clothing line by giving away two t-shirts and two aprons, so head on over to the contest website to enter!
-Megan over at Megan’s Munchies is doing a cookbook giveaway–check it out!!
-Sarah over at Tales of Expansion is giving away a very nutty prize pack over at her blog—check it out here!!

Whoo. Dunzo. Happy Wednesday!

-Maureen

Comments (27) »

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) »

My belated Christmas-dinner post… and some other fun stuff

Thanks to everyone who suggested recipes in response to my plea for ideas. We hosted dinner for the extended family on Christmas day, and I was pretty pumped to try out some new experiments on a group of unsuspecting victims. Er, guests. I ended up making three vegan dishes (two of which were gluten-free).

Of all the recipes submitted, I picked Ricki’s Sweet Potato, Quinoa, and Black Bean Bites. I liked how they are both gluten-free and vegan, and as well were low in sodium. Plus I knew I could serve them with my West-Indian Mango Chutney in a communal fashion, which is important for group dinners, I think. Just like Ricki, I omitted the caraway seeds and used fresh cilantro. I used toasted, smashed rice bread for the bread crumbs, and used a cookie cutter to get disc-shaped servings:

Ricki's Sweet Potato, Quinoa, and Black Bean Bites

I really liked these little bites and I think they went fantastically with my Jamaican souvenir (the jar of mango chutney).

I sort of guessed at the baking time, but 350 deg C for 15-20 mins seemed to do the trick. It might have been a bit too new-agey for a traditional family dinner, but everyone seemed like it… or at least they seemed to appreciate the effort I put in!

Sweet Potato, Quinoa, and Black Bean Bites

1 medium onion, diced
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, finely grated
1/2 can black beans, drained
1/2 a baked sweet potato, flesh scooped out
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked (that is, take 1/2 a cup dry quinoa, and cook it)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 tbsp tomato paste or ketchup
hot sauce or cayenne pepper to taste
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Saute onion and garlic in non-stick skillet.
2. Add beans to pan and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring now and then.
3. Turn off heat. Mash beans in pan till they’re about half crushed. Put in big bowl with all the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. If too moist, add more bread crumbs.
4. Form into patties. Grill or bake.

We also made glazed carrots, corn, and braised brussel sprouts (all of which are also gluten-free):

glazed carrots

corn

braised brussel sprouts

Braised Brussels Sprouts:

4 cups brussels sprouts
1/2 cup diced shallots
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
pinch of black pepper
pinch of nutmeg
2 tsp Braggs soy sauce
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup vegetable broth

Steam brussels sprouts for 10 minutes in boiling water. Set aside. Spray a little olive oil in a large non-stick and heat on medium heat. Saute the shallots and garic for 2 minutes. Add the steamed brussels sprouts and brown sugar and cook for 5 minutes, covered, on high heat. Add balsamic vinegar, black pepper, nutmeg, soy sauce. Cook or 5 minutes, uncovered, stirring frequently. Add the parsley and broth. Cook for 5 minutes more, uncovered. (per serving, 112 calories, 22 g carbohydrates, 8 g protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 170 mg sodium, 8.6 g fibre).

I also made The Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen’s Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping, but I forgot to take a picture! Which is too bad, because this recipe was all kinds of bitchin’, and it’s gluten-free to boot. It was really sweet and desserty but also a bit tangy because of the citrus juice.

You can see it in the picture below, above the corn but below the quinoa bites. In the top right corner is my aunt's delicious beet salad.

I also made, for dessert, a double batch of my favourite lemon-cranberry bread:

lemon-cranberry bread

Which accompanied another dessert item, fruit salad:

fruit salad & lemon-cranberry bread

So Christmas dinner was a huge success and it was great seeing friends and family again.

A couple of times in Jamaica last week, I ate a dish of sauteed spinach with raisins. I successfully recreated this simple recipe yesterday by sauteeing about 8 cups of spinach in broth with a handful of sultana raisins and one chopped red pepper. WIN.

sauteed spinach with raisins

With a couple extraneous mangoes burning a hole in my fruit basket, I made Indian Mango Curry Dressing, a recipe from a Raw cookbook I bought my sister for Christmas:

Indian Mango Curry Dressing

Indian Mango Curry Dressing:

1 medium (or 2 small) mangoes, pitted
1 tbsp yellow curry powder
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup cold-pressed olive oil from a dark bottle (I used half oil half water)

Blend until smooth. This dressing is a major WIN because it’s delicious and creamy! It’s nice to have a vegan dressing that’s not a vinaigrette.

Next, I wanted to make a big veggie-tofu-noodle dish to last me a couple days. I used this product that I found in my fridge. My mother bought it at a huge chinese grocery in north Toronto

The label reads: Tofu Shirataki. Spaghetti Shaped Noodle Substitute. No cholesterol, no sugar. Gluten-free. Vegan. Guilt-free. 20 calories , 3 g carbs, and 2g fibre per serving. 2 servings per bag.

Has anyone else heard of this product? I’m super skeptical about it. When I read “20 calories per serving”, I became pretty wary, especially since it came from Chinatown. But then I read on the label that it’s shipped from House Foods in California. California = legit? I don’t know. Help?

I cooked the "noodles" up and they looked and tasted exactly like ramen noodles! (seen here tossed with jerk seasoning). So what's the deal with these things? Anyone?

I had also been marinating some tofu in a ziplock bag with jerk seasoning paste (from jamaica) mixed with ketchup, so I fried those up. I also sauted some carrots, peppers, zucchini, celery, black beans, cilantro, and green onion with another dose of jerk paste + ketchup.

I wasn't really sure how to pull of this whole "jerk" thing, so I just added it to everything.

Et voila! Lunch for the week. Can anyone tell me if I cooked with jerk properly? I have never tried the flavour before, since it’s always used with meat dishes, but I think it’s a very tantalizing mixture of spices and I definitely want to cook jerk again.
-Maureen

Comments (22) »

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) »

Perogies, cake, curry — FOOD GALORE!

So O.B. and I ate a lot last weekend… I don’t even know where to begin with the photos.

Let’s start with the simplest recipe: SALSA!! O.B. and I love this simple recipe, but this time we gave it a twist. Normally the only ingredients are finely diced tomates, a liberal quantity of cilantro, and some diced jalepeno. This weekend we added some chopped organic cuban oregano from a rescued house plant.

I bought this little guy last winter and unfortunately left him too close to a non-insulated window. Almost overnight, the plant shrivelled up and died, but for a small green stub embedded in the soil. I quickly moved the plant to my fume hood in the chemistry lab I did my thesis project in, and very slowly the plant regerated into its current splendour. And then we ate it. LOL. Okay, just a tiny piece.

Cuban oreganos are wonderfully fragrant and made a delicious addition to our salsa.

One of my favourite places in the WORLD is any bulk-food store. I’ve never lived close to one, and honestly, it’s like going to prom for me. My new abode is really close to a Bulk Barn and I LOVE IT. I recently made the most glorious find: Sunset Blend, a mixture of parboiled medium rice, lemon garlic orzo pasta, sweet potato orzo pasta, Himalayan red rice, and brown mustard seed. YUM!!!

This blend was PHENOMENAL and I loved it.

We ate it with Kohinoor's Dal Palak curry

Over Thanksgiving, O.B. and I came to the surprising realization that we shared similar ancestry. Specifically, we both have Ukranian roots. In celebration of this fact, we decided to emulate our hard-working grandparents and make perogies from scratch:

boiling

perogies

This is a pretty easy recipe:

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups warm water
  • Mix flour and salt. In another bowl, mix oil and water. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour oil/water mixture in. Mix with hands until it forms a soft ball. Roll out until dough is about as thick as pie crust. Cut cereal-bowl sized circles. Add your filling, seal by firmly pressing edges together, and drop into a pot of boiling water until it floats (about 5 mins).

    We made ours a little thick because we didn’t have a rolling pin :-(

    Fillings: we made 3.

    The first was mashed Russet (white) potatoes with cilantro

    The second was mashed sweet potatoes (yams) with Montreal Steak Spice

    And the third filling, for what I termed dessert perogies, was mixed berries

    dipped in light maple syrup

    I also made a whole bunch of junk food for freezing and later consumption:

    My favourite banana bread, modified to be a bit healthier:

    banana bread

    banana bread

    Here is the new recipe:

    • 1 cup soy milk
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1.25 cup 12-grain flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp each of baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup Earth Balance (margarine), softened
    • 1/4 cup applesauce
    • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    • 5 mashed ripe bananas

    Heat oven to 350 C. Grease a 9X5 inch pan. Whisk soy milk + lemon juice, and set aside. In a bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In another bowl, beat butter, applesauce, and sugar with an electric mixer until light. Beat in vanilla and bananas. Stir in flour mixture alternatively with soy milk mixture. Mix and pour into pan. Bake for 40-60 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

    I also made a batch of Pumpkin Cake with Pecan Streusel from Veganomicon, making a few substitutions as above (swapping half the white flour with 12-grain, swapping half the margarine with applesauce, halving the sugar):

    Pumpkin Cake with Pecan Streusel

    I also made Gingery Bars from Andrea’s Easy Vegan Cooking:

    Yum! I think I undercooked these a bit, but as a result they were quite fudgy and that's actually perfectly fine with me!

    To cap off a great weekend, I had lunch at The Table with my dear friend, the Veggie-Happy Omnivore:

    There is just so much on this plate, I can't even identify it all. There's definitely red quinoa, eggplant curry, tempeh cubes, chickpea curry, sweet potatoes, and a chickpea patty with mango chutney.

    But of course I saved room for dessert:

    Blurry pumpkin pie. Yeah, I'm still not over autumn flavours :-)

    After all those gastronomical indulgences, it was positively painful to return to the reality of soup cups and granola bars. I really need to find someone to cook for / eat with out here.

    Have a great weekend everyone!

    -Maureen

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    4 lazy ways to eat sweet potatoes in 5 minutes

    Microwaved and:

    Number 4:

    Drenched in mushroom gravy

    Number 3:

    smothered in dairy-free margarine and mixed with a couple teaspoons of Montreal Steak Spice

    Number 2:

    dairy-free margarine and brown sugar

    Number 1:

    Stirred into instant soup! This is Moroccan Vegetable soup from my local grocery's hot-food counter.

    Why yes, I HAVE been eating a lot of sweet potatoes lately. I have also been eating a lot of instant soup cups, apples, and broccoli soup, which explains my lack of creative posting lately. On the other hand, good vegan food finds a way into my life one way or the other, so I have a few pics.

    On the subject of my grocery store’s food counter, I’ve lately been at a loss to maintain my energy levels for my post-work workout (9 frenzied hours in a frigid, windowless chemistry lab will do that). My gym is conveniently located in a grocery store, so a couple times I have relied on the hot- or cold-food counters for some sustenance. I’m happy to report that the food is quite good and the vegan options are startlingly plentiful. Here are two that I snapped pictures of:

    Crunchy wheatberry salad

    Wild rice, apple, and cranberry salad


    Does anyone have any good tips to spike my energy levels for a nice, long workout? I find a cup of coffee and a banana does the trick for about half an hour, but then I get soooo tired again and just want to sit down.

    In other news, I’ve been eating baked-tofu sandwiches a lot lately.

    I've never hid my love for the President's Choice brand, and their Soy and Ginger salad dressing makes a FINE marinade (and salad dressing!). After 2 days of marinading, I bake these puppies at 400F for 30 mins, rotating once.

    What else have I got? Oooh, Kath’s (from Kath Eats Real Food) love of oatmeal is contagious, and recently I used some of her ideas to make a perfect bowl of Peanut Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal:

    Thanks for the idea, Kath! I'll be eating a lot more of this.

    I recently visited one of my favourite places in the world, the Royal Ontario Museum, with my friends Kara and Michael. We ate an early dinner before the ROM at another one of my favourite places in the world, Noodle Bowl in the Annex.

    I had the green vegetable curry for $7. It was delicious! Too bad I had just lost my mitten (my fourth left mitten this season!).

    I’m afraid that’s all I’ve got to post at the moment, but I’m headed up to Ottawa for the weekend to experiment in O.B.‘s kitchen visit O.B. and cook some delicious meals :-) Happy weekend and don’t forget to set your clocks back and enjoy the extra hour!

    -Maureen

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    What are you thankful for?

    I am thankful for tofu and mock meats. I am also supremely thankful for Vegemite, canned lentils, sweet-thai chili sauce, vegan bloggers, low-sodium instant soups, bulk-food stores, and instant brown rice.

    I am also thankful that the Canadian election was so haplessly predictable (so much so that even my lampshade called the Conservative minority weeks before the election), allowing my holiday baking experiments to play out unimpeded by chatterbox political ruminations. Now that all the election hubbub is all said and done, we Canucks can go back to being the poltical equivalent of beige, and focus on the important issues; namely, the Leafs making it to the playoffs this year. Oh, and food and beer.

    I, for one, had a GREAT Thanksgiving, on account of finally being able to see my extended family on this holiday (the last time was 5 years ago). As the only veg-inclined member of the clan, I opted to bring a)  my own vegan gravy b) a tofurky-based serving for me alone and c) a communal surprise vegan dish (as in, “surprise.. it’s vegan!”).

    I agonized over c) because I was really into the idea of bringing Vegan Lovlie’s Sweet Potato Stuffed Rolls, but I was worried they would be too cookie-ish. As O.B. (Omnivore Boyfriend) was down in Toronto for the weekend, I tried out the recipe on him the night before.

    Cutting out the circle

    All rolled up and cooked! (sorry for the lighting)

    Cross-sectional analysis (i.e. one bite left)

    We actually really, really liked these rolls, but they were a bit dessert-y, and also didn’t look very presentable (although VeganLovlie’s batch were, so it must be my uncoordinated rolling skills that mucked it up). I ended up making a double batch again to send up with O.B., with half the margarine and double the sweet-potato filling–these turned out PERFECT. Right after making these on Saturday night, I whipped up a Cranberry Cashew Stir-Fry. I wasn’t sure how this would taste, but the idea popped into my head one day. I sauteed a handful of dried cranberries and a handful of crushed cashews in oil for a few minutes, added frozen veggies and stir-fry sauce, and served over wild rice. Voila!

    The cranberries and walnuts were a nice addition, I thought. Especially in this season.

    For my second trial attempt at making a surprise-vegan communal dish, I picked Vegan Dad’s Lemon Dijon Tofu and Potatoes, and subbed sweet potatoes in for the white. This dish turned out GREAT, although I wasn’t a fan of all the leeks, but I ended up making it in a larger scale the next morning for Thanksgiving dinner:

    Haha, I just realized that this looks like one homogeous material. The tofu and sweet potatoes are actually the same colour. Anyway, it shocked the pants off me to see my uncle, a long-time heckler of my hippie stick-and-twigs menu, eating this from his dinner plate. Point!

    So, I couldn’t find any Tofurky, in the end, which caused me an explosive bout of irritation in the mock-meats aisle. Do I not live in the largest city in the country? Argh… Pete’s Szechwan tofu played the part instead, and I followed the “Seitan Veggie Kabobs” recipe from The Garden of Vegan, using zucchini, sweet potato, garlic, Pete’s tofu, and yellow pepper.

    There were a couple other vegan options at Thanksgiving dinner, and I managed to pile my plate to the brim:

    Sorry for the blurriness! Clockwise from green salad: mandarin-almond salad, cranberry sauce on whole-wheat bread, beet salad, corn, butternut squash, tofu-kebab contents. Center: Lemon-Dijon Tofu with Potatoes. I was stuffed!

    Before leaving my mother’s house for the weekend, I made a batch of my fave broccoli soup. I immediately poured it into Tupperware so the picture isn’t all that fancy. Points to anyone who can spot the IMPENDING DOOM about to occur:

    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

    Heat a large pot on medium high. Heat olive oil, add the onion 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 while continuing to cook the rest. Repeat with another third, then the final third. Careful not to burn your hand like this genius.

    ————–

    Finally, I was flipping through the paper on my coffee break at work and landed on the comics page. I read a comic in which an adorable little cow knocks on a a door and says to a man “Sir, did you know that baby calves are taken from their mothers and put in crates too narrow to… mooove?” My Google-Fu is the best! I found the the comic:

    Turns out that www.humancalifornia.org is advocating a “YES ON PROP 2” message. Prop 2 appears to be a measure that would mandate farmers to keep their animals in more humane conditions. Many vegans (and non-vegans!), myself included, feel very strongly about this issue, so please take the time to check out that website. And if you live in California, speak with your vote and let politicians know that it’s wrong to cage animals in cramped, unsanitary conditions.

    Back to more pleasant commentary… happy belated Thanksgiving, Canadians!

    -Maureen

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