Sunday, September 30, 2012

September Vegan Food Swap

This one is just under the wire before Vegan MoFo starts up tomorrow. I have been cooking away in order to get ahead but have nothing written at all. Yikes!

This month I was sent a parcel from Kim from Canadian Vegan Girl. She was super thorough in sending goodies that were allergen free which I really appreciate.

Kim included a package of Rice Stick Noodles which will definitely come in handy soon for my Mofo theme. A package of Moong Dal which I had never tried before and may take a little getting used to. A bag of Brown Rice Thins Sea Salt flavoured which were crispy and my mom took quite a shine to. A small bag of Hemp Hearts which I love but I will admit am too cheap to buy myself a lot of the time. And a bag of White and Wild Rice that I look forward to trying. When I was little I was a little scared of wild rice but I think I've matured enough to try it out again. There was also a Mango Coconut bar thing...the brand is escaping me right now unfortunately...that we ate up before the picture was taken. Mac and I give it four thumbs up!

Thanks again to Kim for sending us a lovely parcel. If you would like to join in next month head over to Me'Shell in the City and fill out the form.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Food Network Monthly Cookalong: Chick'n Parmesan

One dish, that was Ryan's very favourite I think, that I have yet to make vegan is Chicken Parmesan. I just hadn't bothered for some reason. I think it was because of the mozzarella blanket on top that was synonymous with the version I was used to that kept me away. It must be because as soon as I made Miyoko Schinner's Meltable Mozzarella from her new book, Artisan Vegan Cheese, it was the first thing I thought to make. I saw Giada's recipe and that's what brought it to my mind but I went a little different than her version, closer to the version I would have made pre-vegan. A breaded chick'n cutlet (No Cluck Cutlets from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day which was frozen so I just half defrosted it so it wouldn't overcook while being pan fried) covered in marinara sauce with mozzarella on top. I'm not including a recipe but for the cutlet, it is almost exactly what I have done before for the eggplant parmesan sandwich using panko bread crumbs for the superior crunch factor and Vegg to adhere the breading. I pan fried the breaded cutlets in olive oil and then transfered them to a sheet pan, poured a bit of sauce on top of each, a few slices of the aforementioned Meltable Mozzarella and broiled it to just melt the cheese. I didn't want to cover them with too much sauce to undo all that hard work to get the outside crispy of course and added a little chiffonade of basil on top since we have a bunch on hand and it just brightens the whole dish up. It was served up with a bit of whole wheat spaghetti with more of the marinara sauce (store bought to make this a quick weeknight supper) and some peas. It was so perfect, so close to what I remember and hit that spot perfectly. Ryan was in heaven and had a hard time walking away from the extra piece I had made for his lunch the next day (they make a great sandwich too by the way). It was crisp of the outside with the perfect panko crunch, moist and juicy on the inside thanks to Tami and Celine's perfect cutlet recipe, the mozzarella melted and gave a nice creamy addition to each bite as well. It is my new speciality that I know Ryan will be asking for again and again and I will happily oblige.

P.S. If you haven't picked up a copy of Artisan Vegan Cheese, I strongly urge you to do so! It is an amazing cookbook that I have definitely become a bit obsessed with. I rarely get a book and immediately start making things out of it. I will say this one came and I was ready. I had already ordered and received my carrageenan and made a batch of rejuvelac. I got to work quickly and made the soft gruyere. It came together so quick and easy and made an amazing addition to my baked potato. I made a batch of the Cashew Yogurt and fell in love. I made a double batch (it works perfectly by the way) within a week. I have tried so many different homemade vegan yogurt recipes and none have worked, this one is amazing! My picky mom is in love with it and she has refused to eat any vegan yogurts because they just don't taste right. This one is just the right amount of tart and super creamy. I even used my dehydrator to culture it and it worked like a charm. Another use for this once uni-tasker! The sour cream in the book is also super easy to make and super creamy and tangy. We had some tacos just last night because the sour cream was just right and demanded to be used. I won't be buying sour cream any more since this one is so quick and just three ingredients! It has become one of my favourite cookbooks and has more than just recipes for cheeses. There are loads of intriguing recipes in the book to use those perfectly crafted artisan cheeses. This one is definitely highly recommended from this (vegan) cheese lover!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Food Network Monthly Cookalong: Eggplant Rollatini

I am slow to post but I made this dish right at the beginning of the month. I got some amazing eggplants at the Brewer Park Farmer's Market and knew that I wanted to make this dish with it. It was easy to veganize and came together fairly quick.

Giada's version is stuffed with ricotta that is mixed with eggs and Parmesan so I decided to make tofu ricotta which is thick enough to use as it was without adding anything else. I used lots of fresh basil in it too which added lots of flavour and pretty colour to the ricotta. For the eggplant I did as Giada suggested and salted and rinsed them to remove any bitterness and then sprayed with spray oil. I took mine to the grill instead of the grill pan since the weather was nice. This way I didn't heat up the kitchen too much either. The eggplant slices grilled nicely and super fast and then all that was left was to stuff and roll. I thought it would be tricky and the eggplant would fall apart but it totally didn't. It went together perfectly and they all nested in the pan awaiting their tomato sauce blanket. I went with the quickest solution for this and used a jarred sauce. It is a passata type sauce that is super simple, just tomatoes, basil and salt. It worked nicely in this and saved me having to make sauce which was nice since I was making this for a quick lunch. I sprinkled the top with nutritional yeast and baked it for a bit longer than Giada since my sauce was room temp not warm. Then I served it up with toasted ciabatta and lots of broccoli. Everyone really enjoyed it (even my eggplant phobic mother) so I would definitely make it again!

I don't really use a recipe for the tofu ricotta, it's become sort of an amalgamation of a few different recipes I've tried. I usually take a whole pound block of tofu and tear it into smaller pieces and put it in the food processor then add 3/4 cup of cashews or pine nuts (depends on the day). I blitz this up then add nutritional yeast, yellow miso, a few cloves of garlic, onion powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper then stream in some unsweetened soy (or almond) milk until it reaches the consistency I want/looks ricotta-ish. I never add the same amount of anything or measure, it's more of a taste and see what it needs kind of thing.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

August Vegan Food Swap and A Winner!

Sorry it has taken so long to reveal the winner from last month's giveaway for a copy of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! It has been a hectic few days around my house with my mom returning from vacation and getting some much needed bulk cooking out of the way. The freezer is refilled with pierogi for another few meals and we have a bunch of peach jam and butter now too. Next I am planning on making some pickled turnips and something with scapes since I picked up a bag at the Brewer Park Farmer's Market last weekend.

For the draw, I took all the names and put them in one of Mac's many hats (everyone has a hat bucket, right?) and asked him to pick a winner. He picked...Sandra of Vegan Mother Hubbard! All her sandwich work last month has paid off in the form of a free copy of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! thanks to the generous publishers of the book at Fair Winds Press! Thank you to all of you that entered, I hope I have inspired you to add this amazing book to your wish list and pick up a copy soon! It really is a must have!

On to my Vegan Food Swap parcel which came a little late this month but it was totally worth the wait! Thank you to Chris at And Mommy Makes Three for the amazing parcel! Mac was literally doing a happy dance when I opened it up and found a bag of Dandies. These are a favourite around here but they are not to be found in Ottawa so we have to mail order them if we get a hankering. Chris also sent along the cutest note I've received! It was a foam hand print covered in animal stickers that I'm guessing her little ones had a hand in and I love it!


Here's a photo of it all tucked in the box it came in. Chris also sent along a bag of Macro Kelp. I will admit I am afraid of it. I'm not very experienced when it comes to sea vegetables. I will have to look online to find out what I am supposed to do with it. Also there was a package of Indian Curry Veggie Ground which I am excited to try. I love Indian spices and flavours and I think this will make a great, quick supper some night soon! And last she included a Vega Sport Protein Bar. Thanks again to Chris! If you would like to join in next month, check out and sign up soon!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Food Network Monthly Cookalong Theme - September

It's heading into fall now and I'm feeling like something a little hearty and rustic and the first food that comes to mind is Italian comfort food. This month's theme will be Everyday Italian with Giada De Laurentiis! There are over 600 recipes on from this show so I'm sure anyone can find something they love! Of course, you could always just make your favourite Italian inspired dish and blog about it. Giada's style is to infuse the Italian food of her family's lineage with the Californian cuisine she grew up around. Maybe you can take your family's heritage and fuse it with Italian and see what you can come up with. Get your pasta water boiling and show us what you made! As usual, at the end of the month, send me an email with a link (or links) to your blog posts and I will include them in the monthly roundup!

Links for inspiration