Away Kitchen and Cafe on College

The folks that have brought us the ever lovely Awai have a low-key plant based cafe brewing up on College – Away Cafe . They’ve been open for about a month, and it’s looking like a great space. You can sort of see the menu in the picture above, but it’s a nice mix of breakfast options, appetizers, soup, salad, and drinks. We went last week and tried a few things for a late lunch. I ordered the Porcini mushroom soup with a savoury rosemary scone. and JC had the empanadas. Also the soy latte I had was excellent too. There is a nice atmosphere, and it’s full of plants and whimsy. Also there are a couple of literal plant walls that are beautiful (and delicious). There is quite a bit of seating and free wifi. Away Kitchen + Cafe  680 College Ave (at Beatrice), Toronto (map) website | instagram

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Oakville check out Dar Nabati!

We decided to check out Dar Nabati‘s soft open today in downtown Oakville. It was just a nice day for a drive, and where better to go than a new vegan spot opening up in the area. Their grand opening is happening on April 27th, 2018, so pay them a visit if you can. (p.s. they will also be open for a sneak preview tomorrow, April 22nd, 2018.) So what is Dar Nabiti? Dar (دار) Nabati (نباتي) is open to some interpretation, but it’s something in the space of Plant based/vegan/vegetarian. It is a plant based cafe, with a middle eastern twist, so you will see wonderful things like shwarma, manakeesh, halloumi, bowls, and egg salad sandwiches, croissants, cinnamon buns, and more, but obviously all vegan. The space is super nice and cozy, with plants, and a really peaceful colour scheme. There are high tables and low tables, several fridges just waiting to be filled up for their grand opening, and some ethical body and home care goods. It was great to see one of my favourites – Just the Goods – there, because they make some wonderfully thoughtful and ethical vegan body stuff. They also had Spiffy Naturals candles and cleaning supplies and Sade Baron body care stuff so far! So what did we have? Philly Cheese Steak Ugh, this was so good. Shwarma (you can also get sides, but we just didn’t – but they did come with pickles which is basically just excellent anyway.) Gluten Cookies My son…

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Polish Style Cauliflower with Bread Crumbs/ Kalafior z Bułką Tartą

This is a simple but comforting dish that I grew up eating very often. The nostalgia of this dish is extremely high, and for very little effort you can have a hearty side dish to pump up your lunch or dinner. I’ve appreciated cauliflower steaks before they were a thing.It’s called kalafior (Ka-la-f’your) z bułką tartą, which is basically cauliflower with a shredded bun, or in our case, cauliflower with breadcrumbs. All you have to do is steam a cauliflower in a pot – drain it, and add margarine with fried bread crumbs on top. Voila, you’re done.  My mom would make it all in one pot and it was just so cozy and comforting. Now you can have a taste of my youth in your very own home. It’s October, which is prime cauliflower season (or anytime during fall) so get a cauliflower while the prices are excellent and try this easy dish out. Ingredients: 1 head of cauliflower Your favourite margarine or flavourful oil 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs 1 tsp fresh or frozen dill, chopped (optional) Directions Steam the cauliflower until tender – around 8-9 minutes. Remove and place on a serving dish. In a frying pan, add oil or margarine and set to medium, add in the breadcrumbs and fry until crumbs are golden brown. Pour the contents of your frying pan over your cauliflower, top with dill if you want to, and serve while it’s toasty. Smacznego!

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New Tofurky Ham-Style Roast Review

We bought the Tofurky Ham-Style Roast this weekend for the first time (from the refrigerated section at Metro in Toronto, but it’s available at Whole Foods and Sobey’s locations too) And since I couldn’t find much information about it online, I wanted to share what we thought. This is the first year it’s been available in Canada, so the moment I heard about it, I wanted to try it. It’s a small seitan based ham that looks visually appealing, and comes with a sweet and tangy beer glaze featuring Hopworks Urban Brewery beer from Oregon. It’s full of flavour and has a vaguely ham-like flavour. If you are familiar with Tofurky roasts, the texture is quite similar – and personally, I liked it, and it complemented our meal quite nicely. Here you can see it in it’s packaged glory – and my hand for scale. My hands aren’t particularly big, so it’s not huge, but could serve 3-4 people with a nice variety of sides and/or some stuffing. I did not follow the preparation instructions on the box – we were making a very late dinner, and I didn’t feel like baking it for over an hour, so your experience may vary. But if you wanted to save some time and make it in the Instant Pot like I did, I mostly followed the box instructions on prep – half a cup of water, and based my timing on JL’s Vegan Roast post here. She has some great ideas for…

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Makowiec – Poppy Seed Roll – Vegan Mofo 2017 Day 4

I never particularly liked poppyseed rolls also known as makowiec (MAK-oh-v’yetz) when I was a kid – from a distance, I’d see them and think they were chocolate, then get close and realize it was poppies. And then I’d be filled with sadness and maybe steal a bite of icing, but otherwise, sadness. For some reason, now that I’m both older and live in a Polish neighbourhood in Toronto I find myself wanting this damn cake every time I walk by one of the handful of deli’s along Roncesvalles. But I know these are not vegan, so I keep walking. About a year ago I bought a can of poppyseed cake filling, for the novelty, not even really planning on making a makowiec because I figured I’d never get around to it. Well, thank goodness it’s VeganMofo, because here we go. This recipe is based on a few things – my experience with challah, another egg heavy bread that I make with reasonable success without eggs, and a recipe in The Art of Polish Cooking by Alina Żerańska circa 1968. Poppyseed Roll (Makowiec) makes 2 rolls 1 package active dry yeast (2 – 1/4 tsp yeast) 1 cups warm non-dairy milk (divided) 4 cups all-purpose flour 6 tbsp sugar 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 cup aquafaba (what is aquafaba?) 6 tbsp coconut oil or earth balance, softened 1 can (850g) poppyseed filling (most do not have honey in them) Optional: walnuts, finely chopped Directions In a bowl or measuring up dissolve…

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Barszcz/Beet Soup – Vegan Mofo 2017 – Pleased to Beet You.

Beets are a regular player in traditional Polish cooking, and Eastern European cooking in general, so I’m going talk about them every darn Tuesday for the rest of October. I’d like to start with something traditional as heck, with some minor augmentations. Beet soup. You might know it as borcht. I know it as barszcz. It’s all basically the same thing, we can agree to disagree. Beets + Broth = soup. Usually sour cream is involved. Sometimes some kind of sausage. But even with the most hearty seeming recipes, I often find myself hungry soon after. So with this recipe, I’m trying to avoid using special ingredients (but tofutti sour cream is absolutely fantastic in this soup if you have it around/or want to use it) and replacing sour cream with a dollop of white bean puree. It really works – you can mix the white bean in with the soup before plating, or let folks do it afterwards – it’s a great nutritional boost, and adds a thicker texture to the soup. Ingredients 3 medium sized beets 1 leek, halved 2 garlic cloves 1/2 cup dry navy beans (or 1 can, drained) (or white northern beans), prepared. 4 tbsps oil (or as much oil as makes you happy) 1 onion, chopped 1 carrot, halved and chopped 6 cups vegetable broth juice from 1/2 lemon splash of your favourite vinegar 1 bay leaf 1/8 tsp pepper (or to taste) 5 medium potatoes As much dill as you can handle bonus:…

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Młoda Kapusta Zasmażana – Fried Cabbage – Vegan Mofo Day 2

Fried Cabbage, sounds boring right? No. It’s not. It’s hearty and warm and cozy. There is this fantastic balance of sweet and smoky and lightly salty. The smoky tofu bacon really brings this all together, but any kind of fried meatless sausage type product would work great in this too. I really like the Tofurky or Yves Kielbasas for a quick comforting cabbagy meal – just slice them into half moon slices and fry them with some onion and then add sliced cabbage and onions. It all pairs wonderfully with kasza gryczana (lightly roasted buckwheat groats) or boiled/mashed potatoes. I’m calling this a young (młoda) cabbage (kapusta) because the one I used was dark leafy and green and fresh off the farm despite being the beginning of autumn. If you’re deep in the middle of somewhere else, can’t find deep green young cabbage, but can find Napa cabbage, its tender leaves might fit the bill. I’ve got other plans for the rest of the cabbage – as there are always other things to do with cabbage in Polish cooking – it is a very versatile vegetable – featured in some of my favourite things like cabbage rolls, sauerkraut, a variety of soups and stews, and more! Kapusta Zasmażana Ingredients Tofu Bacon 1/2 block of tofu, pressed, thinly sliced 1 tbsp sesame oil splash of liquid smoke 1 tsp soy sauce or Braggs aminos (optional) 1tsp mushroom powder Add sesame oil, liquid smoke, soy sauce and (optional) mushroom powder to a…

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Naleśniki – Polish Crepes – Vegan Mofo

Happy first day of Vegan Mofo! I wanted to start things off with one of my favourite childhood memories.When I was little one of my fondest morning memories is when my mom would make naleśniki (Na-leh-shniki.) Watching her make them always seemed so magical because what was once a liquid, seemed to defy gravity – clinging to the pan, changing colour, and turning into something delicious. I would sit at the kitchen table, we would listen to the CBC, we would talk, all while she made breakfast. There would be two typical fillings, a sweetened cheese one made with quark or some kind of stewed fruit or jam. My favourite of course, would be one with fruit, so that’s what I made this morning, finally, for my own family.  When my mom made it, it was topped off with a vanilla sugar thick cream – this morning I made a quick cream with maple syrup, coconut yogurt, and some vanilla bean. Before I went vegan, she would use a piece of bacon to grease the pan,  but eventually, once I went vegan she would still make ones for me with oil, filled with fruit, and dusted with icing sugar. Lucky me! Smacznego! (which means bon appetit! or enjoy your meal!) Naleśniki – Polish Crepes Makes 8 naleśniki   Ingredients  1 cup all purpose flour 2 tsps prepared Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer mix 1 cup unsweeteend soymilk 3/4 cup boiling water a pinch of salt 3 tsp a light vegetable…

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Vancouver – Indigo Age Cafe

The first few times we saw Indigo Age Cafe come up on a vegan-friendly food list we mentally skipped it because we thought it was some raw food place and we’re not usually into that. But after repeatedly seeing it, I got curious – maybe it would hit the spot anyway. I really like salad rolls… so I took a look at the menu. And I’m so glad that I did. Sure, they have raw food, and plenty of it, but in a wonderfully unexpected curveball, they also have cooked vegan Ukrainian cuisine. Surprise! Pirogies! And cabbage rolls! And borscht! oh my. Something else they do that’s pretty neat is a Vegan High Tea. Several of the other tables were doing it while we were there – I kind of regret not going for it, but our small human was reaching the end of his evening tolerance, so we didn’t have much time and we weren’t sure how long it would take – but it looks great. We started with some stuffed tomatoes with a raw fermented coconut-almond cheese, cashew sauce and pesto sauce – these were especially popular with our toddler (who like me, is keen on strong flavours.) And of course, we had to dip into the Ukrainian menu and ordered plates of assorted savoury pirogies and cabbage rolls. The pirogies had an incredible soft and tender dough, and were filled with sauerkraut or potato (they also have a cherry filled one that we didn’t order.) Drizzled with olive…

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Veggielicious 2017 – Southern Accent

Once upon a time Southern Accent used to be in Mirvish Village, and we’d walk by and always plan to go in. They had a lovely and inviting patio outside, but we never got our act together and Mirvish Village is turning into a condo complex. We were worried we wouldn’t get to try the food at Southern Accent, but thankfully they’ve moved over to College and Ossington(ish.) I have a real fondness for New Orleans and Creole cuisine. JC and I went on a tiny south-western US roadtrip a few years ago – and it was incredible driving through Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and then ending up in New Orleans, Louisiana for New Years Eve way back when. We ate well. We had a great time. There were so many vegan options right on the menu in the French Quarter and around the city, you’d be pleasantly surprised if you’ve never been before. So I was missing that flavour, that ambiance, that music, the colours, the sounds. Well, lucky us – we’ve got a taste of N’awlins right here in Toronto. And double lucky us, Southern Accent was participating in Veggielicious this year. They have a few vegan options on their menu year-round, but they had a couple of special dishes for Veggielicious on the go as well, so we picked the specials – planning to return again in the future for some of their regular menu items. The Southern Accent Veggielicious Menu (Prix-fixe $25 per person) First Course: Soup of the…

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