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

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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

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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

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An announcement… and a plea for help

I don’t know how I managed to keep this under my hat for the last few months, but as of time time tomorrow, I’ll be sittin’ on a beach chair in a Caribbean island paradise with a fruity drink and a book! O.B. and I decided to head south for a totally indulgent tropical holiday, and I must say, it has arrived not a minute too soon!

(To further stir up a bit of envy, I’ll point out that our destination is currently 32 degrees Celcius warmer than Toronto… 49 degrees is you count the wind chill/humidex!)

I’m hoping the resort’s restaurants offer some decent vegan options, but if not, I’m more than happy to stuff myself full of fresh fruit at every meal.  I’ve been subsisting off of apples, carrots, and sweet potatoes (i.e. the cheapest produce in this season) every day, so I’m REALLY looking forward to sampling some fresh Caribbean foodstuffs. There will definitely be tons of pics next week!

And secondly, I’m appealing to all of your for helping finding the perfect recipe. I’ll be helping my mother host Christmas for the extended family and I’d like to wow the clan with some vegan recipes. I’ve already picked a Sweet Potato Casserole and my new favourite bread, Lemon-Cranberry, but I’d really like a third one. I’m looking for something appetizer-ish (i.e. no desserts) and communal. My grandma expressed interest in something quinoa-based, but that’s not essential. There are a couple kids but mostly it’s a big group of open-minded flexitarians

I’d love, love, love it if you guys could comment with some suggestions… with Thanksgiving a recent memory, I’m hoping y’all have some successful experiments in mind. (references to cookbook recipes are good too, I can just look them up).

Thanks, and see you in a week!

       -Maureen

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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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Gifts from Afar … Part Deux

Ahhh, okay. It’s been unacceptably long since my last post. All I can say is that I am suffering from a major lack of inspiration in the kitchen. The pre-winter greyness outside is giving me a sense of gloomy listlessness and my repetetive daily menu pretty much reflects that. I’m not really thrilled with my living situation at the moment, but my contract out here in the ‘burbs of Toronto ends shortly, and I’m sure I will be moving onto greater things involving many reckless and indulgent cuisinary experiments.

In the meantime I’ve been reading all your blogs and enjoying the anticipatory preludes to American Thanksgiving.

For now, I’ve only got one thing to post. A friend of mine brought me back a gift from Japan–my favourite noodle and this blog’s namesake: UDON!! Except this is authentic stuff, handrolled by Japanese artisans and not purchased from a basement grocery in Chinatown (next to the pirated DVDs). I was told that it is a tradition in Japan to show up at a host’s house with a gift, and so these boxes of udon can frequently be found at train stations. They are not cheap, either!

The silver packet contains the traditional dressing for the udon noodles, which are eaten cold and wet immediately after cooking.

Unfortunately, we had the dressing ingredients translated and it contained a product made from crustacean shells. Instead, I used regular soy sauce.

To Japanesify the experience, I served the udon alongside some steamed salted edamame, and enjoyed a cup of Japanese green tea. It was all deeeeelicious!!

I also watched some HUMAN TETRIS during the meal and pondered how the Japanese can be soooo batshit crazy and awesome at the same time. What’s the secret??

Happy Thanksgiving, Americans!

-Maureen

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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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