Dinner – French Vegan Fair. Faux Gras, Souffle/Quiche, and No-Coq au Vin.

I felt compelled to cook a semi-elaborate dinner. And it all started with a container of Faux Gras from the Regal Vegan. We picked it up at the NY Vegetarian Food Festival, and it seemed like a good idea to actually use it soon. Since I associate foie gras with french cuisine, there began the French theme. I flipped through our cookbook collection, on the bookshelf and digitally, and one cookbook had what I was looking for:  The Healthy Voyager’s Global Kitchen by Carolyn Scott-Hamilton. My plan was: Regal Vegan Faux Gras with Ace Bakery Baguette Toasts. Popeye’s Spinach Souffle  (which I’ve been calling a quiche for the last 24 hours) – page 123 Sans Coq Au Vin (Not Chicken in Wine) – page 120

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Sweet and Spicy Cornbread Muffins

I think cornbread might be one of my favourite foods, I’ve tried it in so many different varieties, sweet, spicy, salty, grilled, toasted, and everyone one of them has qualities I just love. This recipe is for sweet and spicy cornbread muffins. They make a great morning snack and pair wonderfully with the chili recipe I made the other day. Sweet and Spicy Cornbread Muffins 1 cup of flour 1 cup of corn meal 1/2 tsp salt 3 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda Egg replacer equivalent to 2 eggs (I used ground flax seed seed) 1/4 cup of vegetable oil 1/2 cup sugar or sugar substitute 1 1/4 cup soy milk 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or thawed works great) 1 tsp paprika (or less, depending on your comfort level) pinch of red pepper flakes Note: I was making giant muffins (it’s a large tin of 6) so my timing and temperature might not work for you. Just increase the temperature and shorten the time for a smaller muffin. First thing was to thaw out my frozen corn kernels and heat up my flax seed. With the flax seed it’s a 1:3 ratio of ground flax seed to water, so 2 Tbsps of flax and 6 Tbsps water, let it boil for a little bit, and make sure to stir it, then set it aside. Preheat oven 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, salt, paprika, sugar, baking soda and baking powder. In…

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Vegan Slow-Cooked Chili – Soup of the Devil.

I started reading about the origins of chili, and I didn’t think I’d find much, because it makes so much sense as a dish. But then I read that chili doesn’t have beans in it, and my mind was blown. No beans in chili? They are so serious about it, there is even a song, one line “If You Know Beans About Chili, You Know That Chili Has No Beans.” In the Official Rule Book of the Chili Appreciation Society International, and their chili cook offs, beans are considered… “filler” and are prohibited. Since hearing that, part of me wants to attempt a vegan chili without beans, but I’d probably feel sad about it afterwards. A big poor pot of delicious chili… missing some of my favourite ingredients: red kidney beans, black beans or chickpeas. My favourite quote was: “Some Spanish priests were said to be wary of the passion inspired by chile peppers, assuming they were aphrodisiacs. A few preached sermons against indulgence in a food which they said was almost as “hot as hell’s brimstone” and “Soup of the Devil.” The priest’s warning probably contributed to the dish’s popularity.” ( More info) So of course, I had to make some devil soup. There are countless recipes for both vegan chili on the internet and cookbooks, but this is the recipe I threw together for my chili. It was smokey and had rich dark chocolaty undertones to it, but I think it could have been spicier. Next time I’ll finally chop…

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Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble: Get out of my oven and into my mouth.

After we went to see the Forks Over Knives, we walked over to Whole Foods and (finally) spotted Rhubarb. I’ve been waiting for its appearance for a few weeks now, so I was really excited about all the new rhubarb possibilities. Strawberries and Rhubarb in any kind of baked good and I’m happy. I have yet to make anything savory with rhubarb, but I’m curious to try a few dishes I’ve seen around the net. (Like Mark Bittman’s Rhubarb with Red Lentils or a rhubarb bread or loaf. I’m sure you can make a crumble in your sleep like I can, but here is the recipe I threw together. The best part about them is that they are so easy to put together and almost consistently delicious. I topped it off with a dollop of strawberry whipped cream (made with silken tofu). Strawberry-Rhubarb Mixture: 5 cups quartered strawberries 3 cups sliced, fresh rhubarb 1/2 cup of sugar 1/4 cup cornstarch 1 tsp fresh lemon juice Crumble Topping: 3/4 cup wholewheat flour 3/4 cup whole oats 2/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar Pinch salt 6 Tbsp unsalted vegan margarine (I wouldn’t recommend using the vegan Becel, because it doesn’t work as well as Earth Balance and some of the other vegan margarine options in baking.) Equipment: 8-11 inch baking dish, lightly greased 2 medium bowls hands Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 8 by 11 inch baking dish. (I used a glass dish, because it helps to see the rhubarb-strawberry…

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Vegan Mofo: Day 2.5 – Not Following a Theme – Quinoa Crusted "Chicken"

So, it’s almost midnight and the post I’ve been eagerly working for the day on is not quite finished. So in lieu, I want to talk about how I actually cooked myself a (nice big) meal for dinner yesterday, which doesn’t happen very often. After getting back from New York City yesterday morning I felt completely beat down. It’s amazing how exhausting an overnight bus ride for 12 hours can be. So this meal was a protein extravaganza, but I feel I should mention that I didn’t eat both pieces of “chicken”. This was so damn tasty and exactly what I felt I needed after a long day of travelling. So someone asked me for a recipe for this, and I suck at writing recipes, so here let me demonstrate. You’ll need: About a cup of uncooked quinoa (whatever colour you feel like using. I used white) Some bread crumbs. (however much you want, there is only so much breadcrumb that can attach itself to the cutlet. oregano & salt to taste olive oil 1/4 white onion, chopped Gardien Dijon cutlets Preheat the oil on medium, and throw in the chopped onion, fry until glazed. Mix the quinoa, oregano and the breadcrumbs in a small bowl, throw in a dash of salt. You need to make sure the cutlet is moist because otherwise nothing will stick to it, throw it in the bowl, flip it over and make sure it’s covered with the quinoa bread goodness. Throw it in the…

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Vegan MoFo: Coming soon! And Stuffed Collard Green Rolls with Black Rice mmmm.

I’ve been trying to think of a theme for next month’s Vegan Month of Food (aka, VeganMoFo) and I’m having a hard time narrowing it down. But I think I’ve come up with something that I’m going to have a really fun time doing, and it fits in with one of my favourite things to do! You better believe I’m being vague. Come back on November 1st for the first edition of whatever it is I’m doing. Either way, I’m so excited. A few days ago I was talking with my mom while wandering through the grocery store and I was looking at all the nice big leafy veggies like kale, swiss chard, collard greens, and she gave me the idea of using one of those in the place of cabbage in one of my old favourites, cabbage rolls! So I bought a bunch and forgot about the collard greens in the fridge for a a week or two. Today seemed like the day to make something with it. I didn’t follow a recipe, but there are lots of great ones for Collard Green Rolls, though I’m partial to this one. I boiled some water and steamed the collard green leaves for a few minutes. Made a filling of black rice, TVP, scallions, onions, garlic, black pepper, chopped collard greens, chili peppers and a touch of salt. Then I poured some tomato sauce all over it, and left it simmering on the stove for about ten minutes. Total yumfest. Next…

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Vegan Thanksgiving and a Trip to Nazareth Ethiopian Restaurant

Well, it’s that time of year again, it’s Thanksgiving (in Canada), and this time around, I’m all by myself. My family is back in Edmonton (celebrating with tofu steaks by the way) and work commitments made it difficult to leave town with friends. So while part of me thought, oh the heck with it, I’ll go treat myself to a dinner out… I decided to make something at home instead. I had a great time in the kitchen, four things on the go at one time. I started out by crumbling some tofu and spreading and pressing it in a cheesecloth layered colander, baking some cornbread and using the excess heat from the oven to dry bread that was going to go in my stuffing. While reducing a mixture of balsamic vinegar and red wine on the stove as the starting point for my cranberry sauce. I’ve mentioned before that I can’t follow a recipe without making massive alterations to it, and this was no exception. I made nearly everything (except the cornbread) from my own kitchen experimentation. The tofu turkey was loosely based on a recipe off of VegWeb. Though I made a few modifications, primarily because 5lbs of tofu would be a bit much for me and I didn’t use the pepperidge farm stuffing mix, partially because I couldn’t find it, and partially because I bought an amazing loaf of Calabrese bread and wanted to use it to make stuffing. For the baste I used olive oil, vegetable…

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It’s good to have friends.

My awesome amazing friends invited me over for dinner and made this delicious Seitan Piccata from Veganomicon. I’ve made no secret of my crazy love of olives, so having a dish with seitan, mashed potatoes covered with a tart delicious wine sauce, capers and olives was total heaven. The thing I realized after I ate this amazing meal is that I haven’t put any effort into preparing any food since I got here in Toronto. It’s been a combination of peanut butter, noodles, jam, fruit and really basic crappy things. The best meals I eat are outside of the house. Right now I’m a lazy verging on nutritionally deficient vegan, and it’s time to change that. Yes I’ll get on that, right after I check out a couple of more restaurants… (or maybe I need more friends to cook me dinner… hint hint)

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Home cooking and more Daiya. A visit to Lemongrass.

I think one of the major reasons I’ve been vegan with ease for so many years is the fact that something simple like a bit of avocado, tomato and spinach thrown together can get me salivating. Food doesn’t have to be fancy to be delicious, but I’ll admit that sometimes the aesthetics of what I’m eating comes into play. If I go out to eat, the enjoyment increases tenfold if care and attention was put into the presentation. To me it just feels like it is an extension of the care and attention that (I hope) went into preparing a meal. But if I’m eating at home, the colours that really effect me. Fresh bright leaves, ripe tomatoes, avocados, fruits, vibrant juices, just looking at them makes me feel good. I already know that love and care was put into cooking or preparing something, when I’m home, and cooking for myself, so I don’t necessarily need to see it in the final product. This morning I had a hankering for a Mock Tuna Salad Sandwich (based on Neal Barnard’s recipe in Food For Life, which again, I am proud to mention, is my mother’s book, not mine. Vegan contagion win!) My night time work schedule has me existing in a different time zone, so my stomach operates on different hours. 4am is a perfectly reasonable time to be preparing a meal. It was, of course, delicious. I melted up some more daiya cheese today for my mini snack of nachos (on my…

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