Thursday, November 1, 2012

Giveaway Winner!

I used my truly random number son, to pick a number between 1 and 35 and he decided on 6 for the win! Congratulations to Maggie Muggins, you are the winner and get your choice of cookbook. I've already sent you an email asking for your pick so let me know soon and I will order you your book!

Thanks again to everyone that entered and read my Mofo posts! I have really enjoyed participating and reading everyone else's blogs and can't wait for next year.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October Vegan Food Swap

This month I was sent goodies from Maggie in Newfoundland. I didn't realize Maggie was in Newfoundland though until I received my parcel and it was all packed snugly in pages from The Telegram (local paper). It was nice to see since I remember it from growing up there and gave me that "awww I miss home" kinda feeling. Maggie sent me her recipe for Pumpkin Spice Granola and I immediately made it just because it sounded so good. My mom is seriously in love with this stuff, she won't stop talking about it and how amazing it is. I think she is hinting she wants me to make more...what do you think?

Maggie also sent me:

- Patak's Garlic Paddadums: I have seen these at the grocery store and have never bought them because I will admit I had no clue what they were. I am glad she sent them! Next time I cook up something with Indian flavours these will be getting used.

- a bag of Cinnamon Crunch Somersaults: I have never tried these either and they are so good! The bag is gone now since we all loved them. I left them on the kitchen table and every night after supper we would all have a few and they quickly disappeared.

- a few Tazo Refresh tea bags: I am a non-caffeinated person, crazy I know but that stuff makes me jittery in the worst way. I really appreciated the herbal tea as I am turning into a tea person lately. It made a great after dinner tea with the mint.

- a pack of Panda All-Natural Soft Licorice: Lucky me since I love black licorice. I know it's one of those love it or hate it things but I love it! I really enjoyed this little treat too!

- a bag of Rhythm Superfoods Kool Ranch Kale Chips: I love me some kale chips and these are no exception. I have tried some of the flavours from Rhythm Superfoods before but Kool Ranch was a new one. Very tasty!

Thank you so much Maggie! I really loved it all and my mom says thank you for sending the granola recipe! I love it too so thank you from me too!

As always, if you would like to join in, check out for details and sign up sheet.

Around the World in 80 Plates: Lebanon

Again, for this entry, I had to ask for my mom's help and the recipe I used is from World Vegan Feast. This time it was Yellow Semolina Cake with Lemon Syrup (Sfoof) from Lebanon. As the name would indicate, it is made with semolina flour and is soaked with a lemon syrup after it's baked. It also has a traditional ingredient of turmeric to give it a bright yellow hue (and no joke, it's yellow!). Bryanna says in the header of the recipe that she added the less traditional lemon flavouring to the cake and a lemon syrup as well but I think it was a great addition. I love lemon cakes, they may just be my favourite of all the cakes so when I read over this recipe, I knew I had to try it.

It goes together quite quickly with the assistance of a stand mixer and the top is studded with slivered almonds which makes it quite pretty. I also love that it will hold for a few days though I'm not sure how long it will last around here. This cake is seriously moreish. It is dense and moist and full of lemony flavour. It's surprisingly not as sweet as I would have imagined with the syrup poured over top. Its just right. Mac loved it too and the fact that we are eating cake at 10:30 am too!

Also, you have until tomorrow morning at 10am EST to enter to win one of nine cookbooks (you get to choose). It is open to anyone, worldwide and all you have to do is leave a comment on this post (

This is my final Vegan Mofo post, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I found some great new blogs to follow and ate a bunch of delicious food thanks to some wonderful vegan cookbook authors. I do plan to keep up on the trip around the world just not at this pace. Hope you will come back to join me for those as well!  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Around the World in 80 Plates: Turkey

I couldn't resist making Turkish Delight for this Mofo Project. When I spotted Pomegranate and Walnut Turkish Delight in Bryanna Clark Grogan's World Vegan Feast my inner nine year old instantly screamed out that I had to make it. I loved C.S. Lewis' Narnia books and I will always remember imagining what Turkish Delight might taste like while I was reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I was intrigued by the process to make it and the pomegranate juice that is used as flavouring. Then I hurt my arm and I thought I wasn't going to be able to get it made but my mom came to the rescue and made it for me and only left the cutting and tossing in powdered sugar for me to finish up. 

I quickly tasted a piece once I had just one tossed in the sugar to keep it from sticking to me and it was delicious and sticky and nutty with the addition of the walnuts. I swear my imagination went wild finally getting to taste what I had dreamed about when I was a little girl. I could now see why Edmund was taken with the White Witch since she kept bribing him with candy. I had (and still do have) a very overactive imagination as a kid and loved being pulled into another world of magic and fairy tales. I have very deep attachments to these books even still and can't wait until I can read them with Mac.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Around the World in 80 Plates: Greece

This next post features all kinds of yummy Greek food from Vegan Eats World and The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe but I'll let you in on a little was enjoyed all the way back at the beginning of the month for our Thanksgiving feast (better late than never right). Around this house there is always the usual discussion of what to make for big meals, you know, your Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter kind of meals. These meals always feature certain things in most families and these things get repeated every year in the name of tradition. This tradition I have thrown out the window, not because I can't recreate these things (because I can!) but just because I don't want to make the same thing year after year. I've decided to honor tradition in a different way, every year for these meals, I will make something awesome that takes a bit more time and effort than I am willing to put in on any other day and most importantly, I will share it with my family. When you really get down to it, that is the part you love about those big holidays. Sitting around the table and sharing time with your family and friends and enjoying each other's company. There, I got that out of the way...on to the food!

This year, I went with a Greek themed meal using recipes I knew I loved from testing for Vegan Eats World. It had been awhile since I made any of them so I was really looking forward to it too. I decided the centrepiece of this meal would be the Tomatoes and Peppers (though I left it at just tomatoes) Stuffed with Dill Rice or Yemista. Like I mentioned, I skipped the peppers this time but only because I bought a big flat of Ontario tomatoes at Costco, both are equally delicious! The filling is super flavourful in these, full of walnuts, fresh herbs and onions/garlic. They are impressive to serve but really are easy to make but shhh...let them be wowed!

Stuffed Tomatoes with Dill Rice
(from Vegan Eats World)

I also made the Lemon Garlic Roasted Potatoes which are also quick and easy but super yummy! Kiddo loves these big time too. Another hit at the table this Thanksgiving was the Greek Creamy Lemon Rice Soup. Everyone loved this as a starter with the veggies, beans and rice seasoned with dill and oregano. Also on the table for our feast were some souvlaki soy curls. I have yet to really write down and perfect this recipe but basically I soak and drain/squeeze the soy curls then marinate them in lemon juice (fresh squeezed really works best here), lots of garlic that I finely grate (like a whole head), a big pinch of dried oregano and some salt and pepper. Then all you have to do is pan fry them until they are golden and a bit crispy on the outside. I always taste a few as I cook and adjust the seasoning as I go. I served these up and made sure to have lots of thick Greek style pitas, sliced tomatoes and red onions and some homemade tzatziki too. To make the tzatziki, I pressed out some of the homemade yogurt from Artisan Vegan Cheese until it was thick and creamy in my Tofu Xpress. Then I added one small Lebanese style cucumber that I grated finely and the juice that came out while grating, a splash of lemon juice, about a tablespoon of fresh minced dill, one glove of garlic grated finely as well with a bit of salt and pepper to taste. It was perfect too, kinda of dry like goat's milk tzatziki would be but still creamy and it was excellent with the soy curls and potatoes too.

Greek Creamy Lemon Rice Soup
(from Vegan Eats World)

Souvlaki Soy Curls (my little improv recipe) and
 Lemon Garlic Roasted Potatoes (from Vegan Eats World)

Homemade Tzatziki

I also added in something new that I have never tried, Dolmas, from The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe. I had picked up some vine leaves in a Middle Eastern market recently and the only thing that came to mind was dolmas. They were similar in filling to the tomatoes in that it was rice based but they were different. I was a little hesitant at first about eating a leaf but I decided to say what the heck and go for it and they were so worth the chance. They were especially good dipped in the tzatziki too.

Dolmas (from The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe)

Put it all together!

And of course there was dessert and what better dessert to have with our Greek feast than Hazelnut Orange Blossom Baklava from Vegan Eats World?? This is some seriously delicious baklava made with a mix of butter and olive oil and I swear I will never go back to any other way of making it. The nuts and the syrup mix together to make a sticky sweet nutty flavour party. Plus it looks pretty too, right?!

Hazelnut Orange Blossom Baklava (from Vegan Eats World)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Around the World in 80 Plates: Poland

Again I hit up my copy of The 30 Minute Vegan Taste of Europe for inspiration and found Stuffed Cabbage in the European Fusion section of the book. While different versions of these stuffed cabbage rolls are served all over the world, they are considered serious comfort food in Poland. From my internet searching I found out in Poland they would be called Gołąbki which means little pigeons referring to their size. I seriously loved cabbage rolls but I haven't made them much since being vegan so I was super excited to try these out. I enlisted my mom to help me with them to speed up the process and was happy I did when we decided our cabbage needed a little help letting go of its leaves. They were not coming off without cracking so we boiled a big pot of water and put the giant head of cabbage in there. That was the easy part...the harder part was how to get the giant, now boiling hot, head of cabbage out of the pot! It was tricky and involved us both, some kitchen utensils and two oven mitts but we got it out of there. The filling was quick and easy to make but we did make a quick substitution for the tempeh it called for on account that my mom won't touch the stuff. We decided to add in chopped walnuts in their place and it worked perfectly. They added a nice textural contrast and flavour.  The sauce was tasty but there really wasn't enough of it so we had to add more, about another two times the recipe. I served them up with some homemade sour cream and steamed veggies to the whole family, in-laws included and everyone loved them. I even convinced Mac to give them a try figuring he would quickly change his mind but he ate up almost a whole one. They really tasted just like what I loved before, hearty, filling, savoury with a bit of sweetness from the tomato sauce. I loved the dill in them and did served them with a bit of homemade sour cream as well that added a nice richness to them. They probably could have been baked a bit longer than the recipe stated but that might differ based on your cabbage. It's definitely a recipe I will be revisiting sometime soon!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Around the World in 80 Plates: Ukraine

You know those things that you've always heard about but never tasted and you think you aren't going to like them so you never try them? One of those for me was always Borscht. I was always curious about it but since my experience with beets had always been pickled when I was younger I thought "how could that make a yummy soup?" but again...I was wrong! This has been my experience since becoming vegan for so many things. The borscht I made is less traditional since it is usually made with beef or pork broth but it still features beetroot and other veggies that are found in recipes. The recipe I used is actually from The 30 Minute Vegan Taste of Europe and it did come together quite quickly. I started supper late and was worried about it taking a long time but it really was around 30 minutes once I did the 15 minutes or so of prepping. It is flavourful and warming like a good soup should be. My mom commented that it doesn't taste like beets but I got the earthiness of them in there. Like I said, we were both raised where pickled beets are on every supper table and I had never had them any other way until very recently. I made a homemade sour cream to served with it that was sort of an amalgam of different recipes I have tried. I quickly mixed homemade yogurt with Vegenaise, a splash of lemon juice and some fresh dill and put a small dollop in the borscht. It really added something too so I recommend it if you are trying this out.

I had thought ahead about supper a bit though since I also wanted to make Pampushki to serve alongside it. I knew right away that I was going to use Megan's Homemade Newfoundland White Bread recipe for the buns. I had been eyeing it since she posted it and now was the perfect time to try it. I followed all the directions in Megan's recipe up until the shaping where I just shaped it into small buns and placed them into a well greased 9" cake pan then I followed again to rise a second time just to the top of the pan and baked in a 400F oven for about 30 minutes. While they were baking I mixed up some olive oil, about six big cloves of minced garlic, a generous tablespoon of fresh dill and a touch of salt and pepper in a small bowl. When the buns came out of the oven I immediately brushed them with the garlic/dill oil and served them warm along with the borscht. They were so good! The bread was soft and moreish and the garlic and dill on top was perfect. Even my five year old loved it and was eating up that raw garlic like there was no tomorrow. My mom on the other hand scraped it off but loved the buns. And I literally had to tear Ryan away from the pan. This bread recipe is perfection Megan!! Thank you for sharing it!

Don't forget, there is still time to enter to win one of nine different cookbooks, including The 30 Minute Vegan Taste of Europe. Just head over to this post ( and leave a comment to enter before November 1st at 10am EST. It is open to anyone in the world!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Around the World in 80 Plates: Russia (cont)

Another dish from Russia that I couldn't resist were Piroshki! I am a huge fan of pierogi and these are similar but baked (or fried) in a yeasted bread dough instead. The idea was totally intriguing to me and Mac was on board as soon as I said they were like bread and potato together. My mom, however, was a bit skeptical. She wasn't sold on the whole mashed potato inside bread but I thought I could sell her on them once they were made and she saw how good they looked.

I searched online for a recipe and found a few for the dough that all varied. Most had egg, butter and milk so I had to put my veganizing skills to work. I went with this recipe in the end ( and it worked out well I think. I followed it to the tee subbing Earth Balance buttery sticks for the butter it called for, soy milk in place of milk in equal measure and for the 2 eggs called for, I went with a 1/2 cup of homemade yogurt (of course, recipe from Artisan Vegan Cheese). I mixed it up and let it rise and it really did make a soft, smooth dough that was easy to work with. Rolling it out and cutting the circles was exactly the same as making pierogi so I was all set for that. The fillings they suggest in the recipe I used were meat, mushroom or buckwheat but I decided to go with potato. I made a big batch of mashed potatoes using Yukon Gold potatoes and once they were boiled and drained I added a big handful of finely sliced green onions, a generous tablespoon of minced fresh dill and another 1/3 cup of homemade yogurt. It was seriously the most delicious mashed potatoes ever. I really recommend you try the combo of flavourings even if you don't want to go through the fuss of making the piroshki. The yogurt itself is the best thing to add since it gives you a slight tang in them like if you added sour cream or buttermilk. need to try it! I decided to bake my piroshki instead of frying so after stuffing and sealing them up, I placed them on a baking sheet that I sprayed with oil and then sprayed the tops as well. Usually they have an egg wash to give them a golden colour but I skipped trying to sub that so mine are lighter but you could totally do it. I know I have seen different types of vegan eggwash solutions in cookbooks and blogs from just using soy milk or oil or water. The recipes says to bake for 10 minutes, mine weren't done by then. They took about 15 but I'm sure it would depend on the dough and your oven so just set a timer for 10 and check them after that until they are starting to brown and feel like the dough is baked through. I also took them out at 10 minutes and sprayed them again with the spray oil to get them to brown a bit more.

They are super tasty and we all loved them. I even converted the doubter! The filling is flavourful and doesn't get lost in the dough which can happen. The dough baked up soft and tender too. I even pressed a little of the same homemade yogurt in my Tofu Xpress (lined with cheesecloth and just used the regular spring) for 30 minutes and added just a touch of lemon juice and salt to make some sour cream to dip them in. It was a nice addition to the plate. Mac said that they were awesome but that he still loved pierogi the bestest. He then asked if there were enough to have them again for lunch the next day so maybe we'll call it a tie!

Don't forget, I'm giving away a cookbook that you can choose from the list. All you have to do to enter is comment on this post ( and you will be entered and it is open to everyone WORLDWIDE!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Around the World in 80 Plates: Russia

Another one from Vegan Eats World today (did you order your copy yet??) this time from Russia! It's called Shchi or Sauerkraut Mushroom Soup served up with Coriander Rye Muffins. It's another hearty fall soup filled with mushrooms, sauerkraut, carrots, potatoes and more all mixed into a veggie broth and spiced with caraway and marjoram. It's one of those soups that warms you up from the inside that you want after walking outside on a cool fall day (which it definitely is here today). I served them up with another recipe from Vegan Eats World, Coriander Rye Muffins which are super quick to put together but give you the flavour of rye bread to eat with your soup. Also try it with the Sour Dilly Cream which isn't pictured here but was in there after. I loved it so much I want to put it on everything (p.s. it goes great with Epic Potato Pierogi, also in the book) and again it's super quick to put together. If you want a chance to win a copy, don't forget to check out this post ( and leave a comment! And remember it's open worldwide so any one can enter!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Around the World in 80 Plates: Finland and a Giveaway!

Still in the pancake mood? Good! Today I have another type of pancake but these are from World Vegan Feast by Bryanna Clark Grogan (which by the way I won last year during Vegan Mofo!) and they are called Pannukakku or as Bryanna called them Yeasted Oven Pancake with Apple which rolls off my tongue a little easier but is way less fun! This one takes a little bit of planning since you have to let it rise (yeasted remember) so you will have to make sure to get up a bit early to get it started. It comes together quite quick and easy though so it's not too hard. I'm not entirely sure mine rose the way it should have but it tasted yummy and had a custard-y texture. Plus how can you resist all that yummy baked apple goodness on these?! We drizzled a bit of maple syrup over the top which took it over the top. Definitely one for a special brunch or any day that ends in -day!

I've decided as well that no Mofo is complete without a giveaway. I have been lucky enough to win a few goodies from other blogs and wanted to do something nice for those of you that have been joining me this month. I was trying to pick a book that I would like to give away from the ones I have been using lately and realized I couldn't pick. I decided to let the winner pick! Just leave a comment and you will be entered and if you are picked as the winner, you will get to choose one from the following books and I will buy it and send it to you! Pretty easy right?! And since my theme is Around the World so is this giveaway! It's open to anyone in the world, just leave a comment and let me know which book you would like to win. I will pick a winner on November 1st at 10am EST. Good luck!

If you win, you can choose one of the following:

Artisan Vegan Cheese
World Vegan Feast
Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites
Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day!
Vegan Eats World
The 30 Minute Vegan Taste of Europe
Nonna's Italian Kitchen
Vegan Food Gifts
The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions

Monday, October 22, 2012

Around the World in 80 Plates: Sweden

This next one is something I have been meaning to try for a long time. It is Swedish blender pancakes and this time I found the recipe in Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman. This is a recipe I knew Mac would love too since pancakes are his favourite thing. I think he would like it better if I just did an international tour of pancakes! I sort of mixed and matched this recipe actually. I used the recipe and technique from the book for the pancakes but the filling I decided to go with something more breakfast-y than the more dessert like filling in the book. After reading up on them, I decided to go with strawberries and cream. I mixed 1/2lb of thinly sliced organic strawberries with a 1/4 cup of homemade strawberry jam (again recipe from Canning for a New Generation) to slightly sweeten them but it also boosted the strawberry flavour of my not so tasty (or seasonal) berries. To make the cream, I decided to make a quick cashew cream that was slightly lemon-y. I mixed 3/4 cup of raw cashews with 1 tbsp bottled lemon juice, 1/2 cup of soy milk and 1/4 cup of maple syrup. I blended it on super high in my Vitamix for a minute or so, until it was creamy and smooth then let it sit in the fridge to get cool since the blender heats it up a bit. If you are making it with a standard blender you would want to soak the cashews for at least a few hours to soften them and make it easier to get them completely smooth. I mixed up a batch of pancake batter following the recipe from Hearty Vegan to a tee and made a few pancakes, filling and rolling as I went. Mac gobbled these up and I did too! The next day we even made a second batch and made sure to make more since my mom was joining us for breakfast. The good thing is, you can double the batter and it holds nicely in the fridge overnight making it easy to make them a couple of days in a row but not have to get out all the stuff each time! After making a few I realized the best bites were the browner, more caramelized parts so I let them cook a bit more than the first. My mom especially loved that part. They are also delicious just with syrup and (vegan) butter. They have become a most requested breakfast in our house!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Around the World in 80 Plates: Norway

For Norway, I decided to try out kjøttkaker or Norweigan meatballs. I had always heard about Swedish meatballs and honestly didn't know that other Scandinavian countries had their own version (or that a lot of countries around the world do). From what I could gather from reading through different translated recipes, Norweigan meatballs were spiced with ginger, allspice, nutmeg and are served with a beef gravy, boiled potatoes and lingonberry compote. I decided to try some frozen veg meatballs from the freezer section for the first time but I needed to figure out a way to impart the flavors usually found in the meatballs. I figured the best way was to spice up the gravy instead. I made a simple "beefy" gravy using onions and making a roux with flour and olive oil making sure to let it get some colour before I added veg beef style bouillon cubes. I added in a pinch each of ginger, allspice and nutmeg and then added my meatballs that I had heated in the oven. I served them in these adorable little dishes I bought recently at the supermarket with a little dollop of lingonberry sauce from IKEA. At first I thought I wouldn't like the lingonberry sauce with it but it really did add something. It perked up the flavors so I ended up adding a bit more to my plate. The gravy with the meatballs was tasty and a bit addictive especially mixed with simple boiled potatoes. The next day I had leftover gravy but we had eaten up all the meatballs. I was really happy I bought that second bag though! I quickly heated up a few meatballs and gravy and they were even better the next day. Isn't that always the way with gravy?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Around the World in 80 Plates: Denmark

Although the origins of the danish (the pastry that is) are Austrian, the Danish (the people that is) have perfected it. I was googling and I just got stuck on these delicious pastries. I haven't had one in awhile and to be honest I took a few short cuts because I really didn't have to time to make my own dough from scratch (but if you want to...there's a recipe for them in Artisan Vegan Cheese that sounds perfect!). I had a package of puff pastry up in the freezer and from my internet research it seems I'm not the first to think that it would work. I defrosted it overnight in the fridge then rolled it out until it was very thin (1/8th of an inch) on a well floured surface. I sprinkled the whole thing with cinnamon sugar and then folded it in half and rolled it out thin again. I borrowed some technique from one of my favourite sandwiches in Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day!, the Party Monster, for the shaping of my one giant danish. I marked it in thirds and cut 1/2 strips on the outer 2 leaving the center intact. Then I spread one jar of chunky peach jam on the bottom and 1 jar of strawberry jam on the top half (both recipes from Canning for a New Generation). I wove the strips over the top and tucked the ends (I really don't know how to explain it more clearly so now would be the time to grab your copy of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! and check out that Party Monster) and placed it on a piece of parchment and then on a baking sheet. Little thing I learned from that, it's not so easy so you might want to move it onto the parchment before you even cut the strips but especially before you fill it and wrap it up all pretty. It took a few spatulas and some quick manoeuvres to move it, trust me! I brushed the top with some soy milk and then sprinkled some demerara sugar on top and baked it at 425F for 22 minutes. I drizzled a simple icing sugar glaze on top once it cooled a bit just to add a bit more sugar since it was totally lacking before that.

I sliced a small bit of each flavour out for Mac, Ryan and myself and we all's delicious, especially when it's still a little warm! The peach was the winner for best flavour but strawberry was holding it's own too. I think the peach won simply because it had bigger pieces of fruit in the jam and gave it a bit of yummy peach texture. The cinnamon sugar inside gave a subtle but excellent hit of flavour in each bite and the sugar on top added a nice crunch. Before we even finished Mac was planning on when he would have some more...breakfast is what we landed on! 

Strawberry half
Peach half

Friday, October 19, 2012

Around the World in 80 Plates: Netherlands

While I totally plan on making Hannah Kaminsky's take on Sugar Lump Bread (Fryske Sûkerbôle) sometime in the very near future, I didn't get it made in time for this blog project. I will have to head to the Dutch grocery here in Ottawa to find some of the amber rock sugar she uses. Kiddo seriously can't wait to try this one as it combines two of his favourite things, bread and sugar (I swear he loves broccoli too so don't judge too harshly please).

What I did make for a Dutch treat wasn't exactly health food either but you could eat broccoli with it...I didn't but you could. It's called Frikandel and according to the almighty Wikipedia it is "a Dutch snack, a sort of minced meat hot dog" and where it takes a turn is how you cook deep fry that sucker! It is sometimes called frikandel speciaal when it is served sliced down the middle and stuffed with raw onion, curry ketchup and mayo. Ummm....yeah! So good! I love hot dogs with raw onion any ways but adding my favourite new condiment, curry ketchup and mayo just made it even better. I decided my hot dog of choice would be a Field Roast frankfurter since they are the bestest. I keep mine in the freezer so I quickly defrosted it in some boiling water and then sliced it down the middle. I then fried it in a deep sided pan so I wouldn't use too much oil, until it was starting to brown a bit on the outside and looked crisp. It really worked well, the outside was crisp and had a nice bite to it but the inside stayed hot doggish. The toppings really work together too and again...I loved the curry ketchup! I tried one on a bun which would be called broodje frikandel and it was tasty too, definitely easier to eat as well. I won't be eating these every day or anything but I will absolutely make these again. Just the same toppings on an unfried frank would be great too but I recommend giving this different cooking method a try even just once!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Around the World in 80 Plates: Belgium

I was looking through books and on the internet for Belgium and everything was pointing to Carbonade Flamande and Frites. Lucky for me, back when I was testing for Terry Hope Romero's newest book, Vegan Eats World (which comes out October 30th by the way!) there was a recipe I had filed away but never got to make which fit the bill perfectly! Hers is a play on the two served together somewhat untraditionally but also perfectly, called Beer Bathed Seitan Stew with Frites (hopefully it made the cut, there were so many amazing recipes). She recommended using an authentic Belgian dark beer like Chimay so I asked Ryan to stop on his way home and grab some. I'm not usually one for alcohol but once again decided to go for it. This stew is perfectly balanced though and it just added a nice background flavour without it screaming "THERE'S BEER IN HERE!". I found it to be a nice mix of french onion soup and a beef stew and the frites that went along with them are now in my top five best fries (and yes I have a mental list). They are baked on parchment with oil, vinegar and thyme and it adds just a little something but again just the right amount and taste amazing dipped in the stew. Kiddo isn't usually one for vinegar but he loved these fries too, though his were next to Gardein sliders and peas not the stew. I will admit I skipped the seitan in this stew and just upped the mushrooms. I think it was great this way too but I'm sure it would be closer to authentic with it. I was making it quickly on a weeknight and didn't think to make the seitan ahead of time. Next time I'll give it a try and there will definitely be a next time since we all enjoyed it so much!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Around the World in 80 Plates: Germany

I'm doubling up again today since I am starting to see that I will never leave Europe during Mofo but that's okay. I have a plan. I am loving trying out new things from other cuisines and really getting some good use out of my often ignored cookbooks that I've decided to keep it up past the end of Mofo. I won't be keeping the post a day pace but I am planning on a few a month til I really do make it around the world.

I googled German cuisine and found something that sounded interesting to me...Currywurst. I have been on a canning bender and have taken to making homemade ketchup since Mac seems to think it's its own food group. Part of the process is straining out all the pulp from the ketchup to get it closer to what we are used to from the supermarket. I was straining away and looking at all the perfectly tasty tomato I was going to have to throw out and I felt super wasteful. I decided to hang onto it and make some tomato sauce or something later in the week with it. Then I found Currywurst with it's curry laced ketchup sauce and realized it would be the perfect place to use up some of that pulp. I used this recipe that I found online and just substituted my leftover ketchup pulp for the canned tomatoes. It is definitely my new favourite ketchup! I already love curry powder and ketchup, I just never thought to put them together. Move over curry mayo, there's a new favourite condiment in this house! I used some Tofurky Beer Brats as my wurst and they were a hit!

Another German treat that I was looking forward to trying was Lebkucken. I found it while Googling and thought that everyone in my house would love them. Kiddo loves spice cookies and this cookie even had icing. Double win in his books! I read through what seemed like 100 recipes for it and they all differed in one way or another, whether it be method or ingredients but settled on one that was recommended from an old high school friend's mother who is German after some frantic "help me!" Facebook requests. I spent a day searching Ottawa for the elusive oblaten (small wafers you bake the cookies on) and finally found them at Swiss Pastries at Carlingwood. They are described online as similar to communion wafers which I have never tried but my mom agreed. You actually spread the cookie batter on them and bake them right on and it keeps them from sticking to the pan and also adds a different texture and taste to the cookie. I can't really put my finger on it but we all like it. The cookies are spiced with cinnamon, ginger, cloves and all those other tasty gingerbread like spices and has ground almonds and candied lemon peel in there too. Once they are baked you glaze them with a cooked sugar icing that when dry adds a nice crunch to the outside of the cookie while the inside is soft and cakey (or kucken-y). They are really quite yummy and I can see why they have survived the test of time (they have been made since the 14th century!!!). It says on the recipe that they keep for several weeks but no way they last that long around here...heck we just ate one for breakfast!

To veganize the recipe, I simply used EB sticks for the butter, Ener-G egg replacer for the 4 eggs (2 tbsp mixed with 1/2 cup warm water) and soy milk for the milk, otherwise I followed it to the tee. So simple!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Around the World in 80 Plates: Austria

Back in 2001, I decided to quit my job and go backpack through parts of Europe for about a month, how original I know. I started in Paris, stopped in Geneva, Salzburg and then went to my favourite place in my month of travelling Vienna, Austria. I loved it there, in fact I think I called my mom about 10 times telling her I was never coming home. I had planned on spending two days there when I was planning it all and ended up spending 5 and the only reason I left when I did is because the hostel I was staying at was fully booked past then. If they hadn't been, I may still be there now! Ha! I loved the art and museums (there's like 100!), the music and history. It just felt right to be there. I wish now I had been more adventurous when it came to dining because I really don't remember much of what I did eat and I doubt if much of it was traditional. I do remember trying some sort of goulash at the hostel but not knowing exactly what was in it and being a little leery of what was hiding in the yummy broth.

I looked through a few books and Googled Austrian cuisine and decided there were two dishes I would make, Wiener Schnitzel and Spaetzle. They don't traditionally go together but I found the combination of their names entertaining (maybe there's a Monty Python skit in there) and they did taste great together so maybe bucking tradition is in order here.

For the Wiener Schnitzel, I made a fresh batch of No Cluck Cutlets from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! but instead of shaping into 10 smaller cutlets, I formed them into 6, as flat as I could manage, cutlets. I found that I could smoosh them flattest using my hands and used the cold broth (used to cook them) to set the shape. As soon as they hit that cold broth they seem to lock so if you can stretch them on the way there as much as you can that broth is going to help keep your shape. I baked them the same in the oven for the same amount of time but used two separate baking dishes (both with full recipes of the cooking broth) so there was room for three big cutlets in each. When they came out I let them cool then stuck them in the freezer to make them more manageable to dredge and bread crumb.  I set up a breading station with three pie plates, one with about a cup of all purpose flour and a bit of salt and pepper, one with prepared Vegg (2 tsp + 2/3 cup soy milk blended in a blender) and the last with 2 cups of panko bread crumbs (that I ground up a bit to make them less coarse). I put the cutlets through the breading station in that order and fried them in a cast iron pan with a mix of olive oil and butter (EB sticks). I managed to bread all six but had to add more panko to the last dish since you need a fair amount in the dish to really cover the cutlets. They fried up golden brown and crispy and tasted amazing. I don't know how traditional they tasted since they usually use veal (boo!) but I would happily eat this version any day! I read that they are served with lemon wedges which I thought I had but apparently didn't so I used what I did have on hand and sprinkled a little bottled lemon juice on top and it really did add a little something to it.

I read a few web articles on spaetzle and decided I had to try them. Reading Wolfgang Puck wax poetic about them can have that effect. I grabbed my copy of World Vegan Feast by Bryanna Clark Grogan and started mixing. The batter/dough (?) goes together quickly but does need a half an hour to sit. I read through her suggestions of what to use if you don't have your own spaetzle maker and decided I would try my potato ricer. It worked well but the pieces/strands of spaetzle wanted to stick together as they came out. I found the best thing was to hold it up high over the pot of boiling water and that way they stretched before hitting the water and most came apart with a quick stir of the water. I scooped them out into a cold water bath to stop the cooking then held them in a separate bowl with a tiny bit of oil to keep them from sticking to one another. I chopped up two small white onions and sautéed them with about 1/4 cup of EB buttery stick. Once they started to caramelize and brown a bit, I added in the spaetzle. I let them cook in the butter and onions until they started to brown just the slightest bit. I decided that I would season them differently so I divided them in half. To one half, I added dried parsley and thyme and some salt and pepper. To the other, I left them in the hot pan and added about 1/4 cup of meltable cheddar from Artisan Vegan Cheese (if I had Emmentaler on hand I would have preferred that but hey, I had the cheddar and it worked out nicely too) that I just broke up into pieces with my hands and scattered in and some dried dill, parsley and salt and pepper. They were both delicious but the one with the cheddar and dill was really special. It reminded me of macaroni and cheese almost and went perfectly with a bite of Wiener Schnitzel.

It was another one of those meals that I was mmming and ahhing through the whole thing. I can get quite vocal at the table when supper is really good! It had me googling spaetzle maker after supper since I know I will definitely make it enough now to invest in one!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Around the World in 80 Plates: Hungary

I picked up a package of Tufurky Kielbasa one day at Rainbow Foods here in Ottawa with the intent of making something but not really knowing what. I ended up finding Paprikás krumpli sort of backwards, instead of buying ingredients to make a specific dish, I bought the sausage and googled Hungarian cuisine and found a dish with potatoes and sausage that I thought they would work in (albeit not kielbasa but hey I'm working with a limited assortment here). The dish was spiced with paprika and cumin which sounded pretty good to me so I decided to give it a try. I am so happy I did because pretty good is way undershooting this dish. It was warm and hearty and so flavourful. I couldn't shut up while I was eating, I just kept exclaiming how delicious it was after every bite. I even called dibs on the leftovers for lunch the next day before finishing what was in my bowl.

I used this recipe only changing the farmer's sausage for 2 sliced Tofurky kielbasa and less oil. I made sure to brown the kielbasa a bit in the pot before adding the tomato and water (3 cups in total which I added a bit of veg broth powder to before adding it to the pot to add a bit more flavour). For the sour cream on top, again I used the cashew yogurt from Artisan Vegan Cheese. I added a bit of bottled lemon juice and a pinch of salt to make it just a bit tangier but it was still quite liquid. It melts in with the stew when you drizzle it on top and makes it even more flavourful and rich. The potatoes soak up all kinds of flavour and spice while they cook in the stew which makes them the best bites. I ended up using Yukon Gold potatoes since it was the only kind I could find organic at the store and they worked just fine. Plus I love Yukon Gold potatoes because they have such a great flavour all on their own. The kielbasa I was a bit worried about, thinking it might get soft or fall apart being cooked for so long in the pot but it held it's own. I think the initial browning helped out for sure but you could even cook it separately and add it in during the last 10 minutes of cooking if you wanted. I seriously recommend making this dish, it has instantly become one of my favourites. Even just typing this is making me crave it again!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Around the World in 80 Plates: Italy (cont)

I will honest, these next ones I made back in September for Food Network Cookalong but never got around to posting it. First up is Giada de Laurentiis' take on Fritto Misto and I really wanted to share it with everyone  because it was so very delicious and is the recipe that showed me how amazing fennel bulbs could taste.

The recipe is basically vegan just having to replace the mayo with Vegenaise for the dipping sauce. She suggests a few veggies to try but I couldn't get my hands on good fresh green beans so I substituted mushrooms. The fennel was super scrumptious especially the browned caramelized bits. You have to make sure you slice them thinly so they get that way though. My only issue was keeping it all warm and crisp as I was frying it in my small pan on the stove top. This probably would have been a good one to break out the deep fryer. Everyone in the house tried this one out and found something they liked...Mac went for the cauliflower and my mom liked the chickpeas, Ryan and I loved it all!

To balance out the fried goodness I served the Fritto Misto with another Giada recipe, Caramelized Pancetta and Fennel Salad. Again, not terribly hard to was just that pancetta that needed to move on out. I decided to make some Smoky Curls from Vegan Diner and tossed them in at the end in their place and as always, they were perfection! The caramelized fennel was sweet and garlicky, a very interesting combination that worked perfectly with the red wine vinaigrette. This one only the grown ups tried but there was a symphony of mmms around the table as we (gracefully) scarfed it down!