Tag Archives: vegan

Simple n’ Sweet Potato Chutney

23 Oct

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This recipe for sweet potato chutney is one of my favourites due to its simplicity and freshness. Great served cold with cheese and crackers or -even better- heated up and with a fried egg after coming home tipsy from the bar.

Try out this sweet potato chutney for your next event/dinner party/hangover cure.

Sweet Potato Chutney

1 large sweet potato, peeled, cooked and mashed
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon anchor powder (powdered mango) (optional)
Chopped fresh cilantro (to taste)

Combine all ingredients until smooth. Let sit, refrigerated for at least 1-2 hours before serving. This allows the flavours to blend and intensify. The result is tangy, smooth and strangely addictive.

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I made a big batch and it kept really well, at least a week, in the fridge. It is really versatile stuff that can be used to enhance many dishes, sandwiches and snacks. TIP: make sure there is enough lemon juice. It is supposed to be tangy, and a but crunchy from the onion.

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This was a pretty cheese and chutney plate I made for Thanksgiving. The others are mint, and a spicy bottled one that was a gift from The Netherlands with ingredients I could not begin to understand.

Dutch is a weird language.

xo

M

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Vegan Scones with Chipotle, Green Onion and Thyme

7 Oct

I’m a bad blogger. Not that I’m bad at it (cough), just that I’m un-disciplined.

I didn’t do my favourite things list for August (Camping! Family reunions!) OR September (Las Vegas! Utah! Wedding!)

But I’m back.
It is fall.
A fresh start.

And have lots of new recipes to share.

I made these today. They turned out so delightfully that I ate three straight out of the oven and ruined my appetite for the rest of the day. Such a sucker for a savoury scone.

These scones substitute coconut oil and coconut milk for regular butter and dairy, so I like to think they’re a bit healthier than the average scone.

What’s great about them is you can really add any flavour combination you like, non vegan too (Jalapeneo Cheddar? Garlic Rosemary? Black pepper Lime?) They can also be sweetened up by adding more sugar and teaspoon of vanilla (Apple Cinnamon? Blueberry Basil? Lemon Ginger?)

Vegan Scones with Chipotle, Green Onion and Thyme
Recipe adapted from The Vegan Delicious

Makes about 15

– 1 1/4 non dairy, creamy milk (I used coconut)
– 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
– 3 cups all purpose flour
– 2 tablespoons baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 cup sugar (add another 1/4 cup if making sweet scone)
– 1/2 cup non- hydrogenated vegetable oil (shortening) or coconut oil (cold)
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (optional)
– 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
– 4 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)
– 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 375

2) In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.

3) In a separate bowl combine coconut milk with apple cider vinegar and let rest 5-10 minutes. This creates a “buttermilk” like curdle.

4) Add the coconut oil to the dry mixture. It is important that the oil is fairly hard. I refrigerated it for about 10 minutes prior. Mix with wooden spoon. Finish mixing by hand, crumbling the oil into the flour (without melting it!). It should turn the flour into a “pebble-y” texture.

5) Stir in the milk and olive oil with the wooden spoon. Do not over mix.

6) Line baking tray with parchment paper and scoop batter onto pan with large spoon. These puff up quite a bit, so make sure they have lots of space!

7) Bake for 15-20 minutes until they become golden and crispy on the outside. Cool on baking wrack.

So tasty! I was at times skeptical, but they came out extremely light and fluffy. Let me know if you try these out!

Very simple.

xo M

Chilled Sesame Tahini Soba Bowl

15 Jul

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You guys. I am so very excited to share this recipe with you (!!).

I had a very ho-hum week in the kitchen. Some recipes I tried fell disappointingly flat.

Obviously, I want to share only my favourites. As a blogger, this can be a frustrating process when trying to come up with fresh content!

And then- Hallelujah!- I whipped up this dish and I knew I had to share. The flavour was out of this world.

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These cold soba noodles are basically a vehicle for this awesome sauce (NOT to be confused with “awesomesauce”- cringe) which called for tahini and a shocking amount of sesame oil.

I’ve always thought sesame oil was to be used rather sparingly, but here it totally works.

Colour me surprised!

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This can be consumed hot (loved it), cold (also loved it) as a side dish (yum) or as a meal (did that!)

Try it out and tell me what you think! ( Based on this recipe from foodnetwork.com)

Cold Sesame Tahini Soba Bowl

20 minutes, serves 4

– 1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari
-2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
-1 tablespoon molasses
-3 tablespoons sesame oil
-3 tablespoons tahini
-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
-3 cloves garlic, minced
– pinch or two of hot red chilli flakes
-1/2 fresh red bell pepper, sliced thinly
-1/2 cup peanuts
-1 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
-1/2 cup chopped spring onion
-fresh cilantro
-wedge of fresh lime
-1 package soba noodles

1) In a small saucepan, bring soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and garlic to a boil. Turn heat to low and stir in molasses and return to simmer until reduced about 1/3.
2) Remove from heat and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add sesame oil, tahini and sprinkle of chilli flakes. Whisk to combine. Add salt if desired.
3) In large pot, bring water to boil and add noodles. Stir and watch until they soften (should take 3-5 minutes). Do not over cook!
4) Have ice bath ready. Drain noodles, plunge in ice bath and drain again. Rinse well with running water.
5) Combine noodles and sauce and rest of ingredients. Garnish and serve.

Feel free to add chicken or tofu to hearty it up. Although I found it rather filling on its own and the peanuts added good protein.

I want to make more. Right now.

M

The Beet’s Mushroom Walnut Quinoa Burger (Vegan)

1 Jul

The most popular posts I’ve ever done on Food, Mostly are vegan.

Coincidence? I think not.

In my opinion, vegan cooking requires just a little extra creativity and innovation. It is one of the reasons I enjoy preparing it so much. And it seems as though there are a lot of you out there searching for vegan inspiration! 

The number one, hands-down most popular post on the history of this site is this recipe for tofu “butter chicken” (and one of my personal fave recipes ever). The second is for this balsamic and honey glazed tempeh bowl, and tied for third is this recipe for veggie burgers made with black beans, mushrooms and walnuts from a few years back.

Every so often I like to revisit old recipes (as I believe I’ve improved in the kitchen/blog over time). However, this time I stole a similar recipe from the kitchen at work.

I present to you, The Beet‘s famous Mushroom Walnut Quinoa Burger

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You’ll Need:

2 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups mushrooms, sliced (I used half white, half crimini)
1 large white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons almond butter (can substitute tahini, as I did)
1/4 cup tapioca starch (can substitute corn starch)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil to coat mushrooms

1. In large roasting pan, combine walnuts, onions, garlic cloves and mushrooms. Coat with olive oil, sage, salt and pepper.
2. Roast for 30 minutes at 400.
3. Meanwhile, cook quinoa on stove top.
4. Once roasted, drain off excess moisture and combine mushroom mixture in food processor with 1 cup of cooked quinoa (reserve other cup) along with tahini (or almond butter) and tapioca starch. Leave oven hot.
5. Once blended, add rest of cooked quinoa and mix (so the quinoa remains whole)
6. Taste for salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
7. Form into patties (makes approx 8) and put on greased baking sheet. Bake burgers at 400 for 15-20 minutes.
8. While baking, prepare your toppings.
9. Serve hot!

They’re not the prettiest but any stretch, but they’re tasty, filling and easy to prepare.

Note: these burgers are not crispy. They are a bit soft. For a crispier (and more decadent) effect, coat in cornmeal and fry in coconut oil. Also, taste for flavour again after adding the quinoa, as I find it can dilute the depth a bit.

Load up with your favourite toppings! I chose fried balsamic mushrooms, old cheddar-not vegan!!-, hummus, avocado and BBQ sauce.
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Or…if you’re just plain lazy and happen to be in Toronto, come visit me at my adorable little home-away-from-home, The Beet!

xo

M

#TBT- My Best-Ever Vegan Chilli

15 Apr

Just wanted a re-vamp, or throwback if you will, to one of my personal and cult favourite posts: My Best Ever Vegan Chilli.

I have made this recipe countless times and it never disappoints.

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Find the original recipe here

The best part is the versatility, meaning you can use up any veggies you have on hand. Provided that the spices are consistent and you don’t burn it, this recipe is pretty much fail- proof!

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Chilli love, now with better photos.

Happy Thursday!

M

Vegan Thai Green Curry with Tofu

21 Jan

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Things I Dislike:
1) being windswept
2) fluorescent lighting
3) the term “amazeballs”

Things I Like:
1) great cover songs
2) magazine subscriptions arriving by mail
3) green curry

Hopefully you like # 3 too.

Here is a simple recipe that really hit the spot on a cold, cold night.

Vegan Thai Green Curry

(30 minutes. Serves 2 with some leftover)

  • 1 small white onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 red pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 handful fresh green beans, sliced thinly
  • 5 mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 small head broccoli
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 package firm tofu, cut into smallish cubes.
  • 1/2 can coconut cream
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons green curry paste
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1.5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
  • Zest of 1/2 fresh lime
  • 3 kafir lime leaves
  • Sesame seeds (for garnish)
  • Coconut oil (for frying)
  1. In a hot pan, fry thinly sliced onion, mushrooms and red pepper with coconut oil until soft. Add curry paste and mix well.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add crushed garlic. Cook until fragrant and stir in the coconut cream and almond milk.
  3. Add kafir lime leaves. Bring to a low boil.
  4. Reduce heat and add tofu and seasonings (sugar, soy sauce, lime zest, lime juice). Adjust according to personal taste.
  5. Finish with broccoli, green beans and cilantro (do not over cook). Remove lime leaves. Garnish with sesame seeds.
  6. Serve immediately with rice!

Notes: 

In Thailand, restaurants usually have four condiments on the table:  sweet (sugar), sour (lime juice or vinegar) , salty (fish/soy sauce) and spicy (chilies) . People generally customize their dishes according to their preferences. Feel free to try this! Or, if you trust me, this recipe is balanced to what I think is just perfect.

I used Aroy-D brand green curry paste. It is pretty hot! Depending on your taste, maybe add less curry paste to start off.

I used Arvinda’s kafir lime leaves. They are like bay leaves, but have a lush flavour that add dimension to this curry. You can buy them at most grocery stores.

Coconut milk varies widely from full fat to lite. For this dish, I used coconut cream (about 6 tablespoons or 1/2 can) of the full fat version.  Coconut cream is the really thick creamy stuff that rises to the top of the “light” versions. If you want to use lite coconut milk, add the whole can and reduce the almond milk to only 1 cup.

Cut the peppers thinly, and the green beans too. I sliced the beans in half lengthwise (slightly tedious) , but worth it for the overall texture of the dish.

Please add fresh basil to this dish if you have it! I sadly, did not.

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Enjoy!

M

Food and Frivolity, 2013 in Photos and Recipes

30 Dec

It was rare for me to conceptualize my life in arbitrary segments of time (i.e. Jan-December, 2013) before I started blogging, but there’s something nice about documenting time in this way. It feels organized. It feels official.

Although I already sorta knew it to be true, writing this post has made me realize what a fun year it has been. Which is a lucky thing, is it not?

I’ve chosen to share some of my favourite recipes of each month (note: there was a rather large summertime gap in posting (May-September) but as you will see I was clearly busy travelling and carousing).

Besides, it’s been quite some time since I’ve injected some “mostly” into Food, Mostly.

So this is my 2013 roundup. These are my highlights. A virtual time capsule on my tiny corner of the internet. Let’s begin.

January

In the middle of a frigid Canadian January, I turned 27. I got an amazing gift that day, a gorgeous Cannon G15 camera from Scott, which I believe has helped the blog photography tremendously (see below photo- post new camera. Terrible! Although I’m still no expert).

January birthdays are a bit bittersweet. There are no fun birthday BBQs or camping trips, inevitably, there is always a snow storm. However, having a birthday at this time does make the month a little brighter and breaks up the winter tedium a bit! At least for me. Suckers.

This recipe for potato leek soup surprised me at how tasty it turned out to be. I remember that this was my first time cooking with leeks. I bought them mistakenly thinking they were anise. Ha. Anyway, the  result was awesome.

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February

February stands out only a little. There was a huge snow storm that cancelled classes.  I did a sugar-free, gluten and dairy free cleanse. And instead of studying I made these black bean, walnut and mushroom burgers. This recipe is  hands down my most popular in terms of hits and searches.

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20131230-191011.jpgI enjoyed watching this neighbourly act transpire spontaneously. I wasn’t much help, I guess.

March

Hmmm….looks like I didn’t post anything in March! Must have been consumed with essays. We were also getting ready to move. Next.

April 

This dish was apparently made in March(that’s the old kitchen!), but posted in April. It was a recipe created by a friend of mine, who makes excellent Indian food. In 2013, I have followed suit in experimenting with Indian cooking. I think curries are my favourite thing to make now. Here is the recipe that started it all: Erin’s Chana Masala.

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 May was a doozy! Here’s when I took a long summer’s nap from blogging (tsk tsk). It was a busy month. My cousin Mark got married in Arlington, TX. We went down for the wedding and took a side trip to Austin and San Antonio. There was a lot of eating, drinking, exploring and shenanigans.

Absolutely loved Austin. I’d like to go back again sometime for a music festival or two. The food, notably the Mexican, Tex-Mex and BBQ was outstanding and seemingly endless.

Here’s my little bro at his first baseball game. Red Sox versus Rangers. Rangers won!

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Scott, giving JFK the business

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Contemplating getting tattooed over margaritas (always wise). Did we or didn’t we?? Hmm…

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Favourite thing we ate in Austin, the enchiladas verdes gratinadas from El Naranjo, 85 Rainey Street. This resto started as a food truck that became super popular. God, I love me some tomatillo salsa! Cute backyard patio in a cool neighbourhood, where all the old historic bungalows have been turned into bars and restaurants. Kinda reminds me of Markham Street in Toronto. But way better.

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Here we are off Rainey Street at G’RajMahal (great name), an outdoor Indian restaurant in a converted garage slash tent compound (91 Red River) . I believe the kitchen is actually a food truck. We were joined by our local tour guide, April. I have no recollection of what we ate, just that it was awesome and we were stuffed and we brought our own booze. Then we went to a bar that had $5 beer/ tequila shot combos. Hence the nervous faces in the middle lower photo.

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If May wasn’t exciting enough, Scott turned 30, and our friends Mike and Brittany visited from California/Utah. We spent a week hanging out in Toronto, and had a big backyard birthday party. Because it was Brittany’s first time North of the border, we brought them to Montreal too. I didn’t take a lot of pics in Montreal for some reason(too drunk?) . We rented an awesome Air B n’ B apartment in Le Plateau, and spent every night chilling on the back patio enjoying  beverages purchased from the local dépanneur. A novelty which never ceases to amaze visiting Ontarians.

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Here they are humouring an aggressive street performer. This was eventually abandoned because after about twenty minutes,  nothing much was happening, except for this manic man running around making racist jokes in a French Canadian accent. Au revoir.

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It was so nice to spend time with these two. We were sad to say “farewell”.

June. 

The highlight of June was Field-trip, an outdoor festival at Fort York put on by Arts and Crafts. The highlights were hometown bands, Timber Timbre, Feist and Broken Social Scene, who played one of my all time favourite albums You Forgot It In People front to back. It was an awesome day.

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July

We drove to The Windy City for Pitchfork Music Festival. I fell in love with Chicago. Musical highlights included Joanna Newsom, Bjork, MIA, Killer Mike, Blood Orange and Phosphorescent. Also getting caught after the show one night in one of the most epic rainstorms was memorable (in a good way). Drenched. I must admit, Pitchfork puts on an awesome festival. Good sound, good crowd flow, decent food, and it is the perfect size (way more chilled out than Bonnaroo). Only downside is no in-and-out privileges, which would have been ideal. I’m dying to go back to Chicago.

20131230-192717.jpg Frickin’ love that bean thing!

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Must also include this kale taco salad that had spicy peanuts and cranberries in it from Antique Taco, (1360 N Milwaukee Ave). We returned two days in a row just for this ridiculousness!

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Also in July, my beautiful friend Grace had her baby shower. Here she is about to burst. Soon her baby, River, would join us in this world.

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August

August was rather uneventful. Although I did host a clothing swap, which has become one of my absolute favourite things. The thrilling thing is you never know what you’re going to get. Some winners! Some duds! Some wildcards! All for free! I’ve found some of my favourite items this way.

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I should have taken more photos of the food. These gals didn’t skimp. We had quite the feast.

September
September was my triumphant return to blogging! These Bourbon-Miso pork chops shoved themselves into the limelight. Delightful. I made them twice, the second time for my mum on the eve of our quick four-day trip to the beautiful Isla Mujeres, Mexico. We stayed in the Privilige Aluxes Isla Mujeres, a stunning resort. The island itself is tiny, only 7 kilometers long. We, along with other silly tourists,  drove around on golf carts. It was fun.

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Another September highlight was the labour day weekend we spent at Scott’s grandparents chalet at Beaver Valley with Mike and Kiara. Fun and games, is what it was. And wine.

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October

October was a productive month in the kitchen. I think my favourite post was this Persian Eggplant Stew. It renewed my faith in eggplant.

November
Was my best ever month on Food, Mostly. My average daily views doubled that of my previous best month (January, 2012). Exciting!

My favourite part of November was cooking this Indian feast for friends that helped us move way back in April. It was labour intensive, but I think really elevated my skill in cooking Indian food. I’ve included my recipe for chicken Vindaloo.

We had Scott’s family over a few weeks later, and I replicated and tweaked some of the recipes I used. With practice the cooking was more effortless and the result was, dare I say, even tastier?

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December

It was cold and icy, but Christmas was toasty and warm.

My favourite December recipe was hands down this vegan “Butter-Chicken” with fried tofu. So easy and so delicious. I’ll definitely be making more of this in the new year.

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Upon reflection, I’ve been very “in the moment” this year. Maybe too much so. I don’t think I really realized how good 2013 was until right now. Good friends, good family, good food, good fortune.

What more could a girl ask for?

Thank you for reading. I hope you continue to follow along and share my posts! It makes my day!

Happy New Year Y’all!

xo

M

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Vegan “Butter Chicken” with Fried Tofu

3 Dec

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I realize that my blog has been rather meat-centric lately. Although I’ve had some vegetarian posts here and there,  it has been awhile since I’ve shared any vegan dishes.

I’m certain come January when I’ve had my fill of Christmas-y cheese puffs, sausage rolls and pâté that I will concentrate on super healthy, veggie-filled recipes again.  That’s the plan. 

So, this one is for you in mind, vegans. And for me, a little head start on 2014.

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To continue on with my Indian kick, I present you with…

Vegan “Butter Chicken” with Fried Tofu 

  • 1 fresh green chili (I used jalapeno)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 heaping tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat is best)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (for frying spices and tofu)
  • dash liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 package extra-firm tofu
  • Salt (to taste)
  1. Cut tofu into thick slices and press between paper towels to remove moisture for about 20 minutes, while preparing the sauce. Top with something heavy, like a cookbook.
  2. Meanwhile, in a pan at medium-high heat melt coconut oil and add 1 tablespoon garam masala. When it begins to puff and bubble, add garlic, ginger, chopped green chili and tomato.  Cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add remaining spices and cook another few minutes until well mixed and fragrant.
  4. Stir in tomato paste, and then tomato puree. Bring to boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Add coconut milk, sugar and liquid smoke.
  5. Using a hand blender, blend sauce so that it is creamy and smooth, and all the spices are incorporated. Simmer until liquid has reduced about 1/4 (25 minutes or so). Add fenugreek leaves.
  6. Meanwhile, in separate pan, fry tofu slices in hot oil with salt until browned and a bit crispy.
  7. Remove from oil and chop into smaller bite sized pieces. Add to sauce.
  8. Serve curry with basmati or naan, top with fresh cilantro or more dried fenugreek leaves.
  9. Enjoy!

As for you meat eaters, fear not. This recipe is a real spicy, rich, hearty winner!

The sauce makes a great base, that would be good with almost anything; chicken (duh), chickpeas, tempeh or even pineapple. This recipe is pretty quick and easy as far as curries go. It smells amazing while it’s cooking and makes a pretty decent yield.

On a side note, in terms of views, November has high and above exceeded October (my previous best)  on Food, Mostly. It is super exciting to see the blog growing, slowly and steadily. I really appreciate all the sharing and comments from you guys. I love the engagement (that’s the whole point!), so if you like what you read, I encourage you to keep writing and sharing. It makes my day!

A sincerest,  “Thank You”

Maddie

Persian Eggplant Stew, Fattoush and Baba Ghanoush- an Ode to Aubergine

31 Oct

I don’t cook with eggplants much. When I think of eggplant, what usually comes to mind is that cold, suspiciously slimy and bland ” filling” of roasted veggie sandwiches, the type found at Starbucks or the airport terminal. Blech. Although I find its deep, glossy purple colour and shape absolutely gorgeous (in the same odd way that I find sliced avocados and fresh lemons to be beautiful) the appeal of eggplant has long eluded me. I’ve bought them with false hope a few times, only to see them wither in the fridge, neglected. However,when I saw this tasty-looking recipe for Khoresht-E Bademjan, aka Persian Eggplant Stew, at Della Cucina Provera, It gave me fresh inspiration.

Half way though the cooking process, after I dehydrated it a bit and fried it in olive oil and plenty of salt, I could not stop snacking on my few favourite food, undisguised! Eggplant.

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Deceptively difficult to take a good photo of something so pretty.

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This recipe was sooooo tasty. It was a bit of a process, I suppose, about 3 hours start to finish. It’s not a quick “whip up” recipe, but I find cooking supremely relaxing, so for me it was no biggie.

Once I started with this stew, I was inspired to take the Middle Eastern theme and run with it. With the other eggplant I ended up making baba ghanoush, and then a fattoush salad with toasted pita. I served the stew on couscous mixed with chopped dates, and doused everything with plenty of fresh lemon juice. The whole thing worked together deliciously.

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Baba Ghanoush

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2 table spoons tahini
  • 1 roasted eggplant (next time I’d used less chickpeas and more eggplant, probably 2)
  • 4 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil ( about two tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon smokey paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sumac powder (and to garnish)
  • Fresh thyme to garnish.

1) Blend in food processor.

Fattoush Salad

  •  red pepper
  •  tomato
  •  cucumber
  • 1/4 onion, thinly sliced
  • Pita bread, toasted
  • fresh parsley and mint ( I had none, but this would be ideal!)

Dressing:

  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • sprinkle sumac powder
  • sprinkle ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey

Cut pitas into strips and toast in oven with olive oil and plenty of salt at 400 for 10 minutes, or until browned and very crispy. WARNING!: Highly addictive.

Persian Eggplant Stew, Khoresht-E Bademjan 

  • 1 lb stewing beef
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1.5 teaspoons red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Water
  • Fresh thyme to garnish
  1. Peel eggplant and cut into 1 inch strips. Salt on both sides and lay the strips between layers of paper towels. This draws out the bitterness. Let rest for 20 minutes or so.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot, brown onions with red pepper flakes, garlic and beef.
  3. Once meat is browned, add turmeric, cumin and cinnamon. Then cover with water and stew for one hour or more.
  4. While the meat is cooking, fry eggplant in olive oil until cooked and a bit crispy (This is where I began snacking!). Set aside to cool.
  5. Once meat is tender, add tomatoes. Let simmer for another hour.
  6. Lastly, add eggplant, and season with salt, pepper, honey and squeeze of lemon juice.

Serve over rice, couscous or quinoa. For a (quicker!) vegan option, substitute the beef for lentils or chickpeas. It would obviously change the dish, but would still be good. OR check out this post I did for a veggie Moroccan Stew.

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The plate of spicy stew, sweet dates, tangy salad, crunchy,salty pita chips and garlicky dip all worked together amazingly well. I can’t wait to make this meal again, for guests or family or just us.

It’s turned me into a total eggplant convert! Next on the list: eggplant bharta.

Fun Fact: “Eggplant is an excellent source of digestion-supportive dietary fiber and bone-building manganese. It is very good source of enzyme-catalyzing molybdenum and heart-healthy potassium. Eggplant is also a good source of bone-building vitamin K and magnesium as well as heart-healthy copper, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, and niacin” (www.whfoods.org)

On a side note, October was my best-ever month for Food, Mostly. The comments and views have been really encouraging. Thanks for all the support after a long break of inactivity! I’ve felt much more inspired lately to cook and contribute, and I look forward to growing my blog over the next few months.

Merci,

M

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Kensington Market, Carlo’s House of Spice, and my Curried Carrot Coconut Soup

27 Oct

Oh, Toronto.

You aren’t so pretty, all street car tracks and telephone wires, parked cars and concrete.

Noisy and sprawling with expensive taxis, glacial transit and grubby pigeons.

But you’ve got character. For all the shopping malls and chain stores, there is plenty of independent and creative spirit alive and thriving in Toronto

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Perhaps nowhere more so than Kensington Market

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One of my favourite things to do is spend the afternoon poking around, grabbing coffee and eating lunch with someone lovely tucked away somewhere in this neighbourhood.

One of my favourite shops is Carlo’s House of Spice. Because I’m a huge fan of spices! Did you know?

He’s got everything, including personal blends.

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This place is my Mecca.

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I like to go and buy obscure spices I have yet to experiment with. This trip I procured sumac powder, amchur powder (mango powder), curry leaves and fenugreek.

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For vintage shopping

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People watching

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And the obscure,

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Kensington Market always puts me in a good mood.

The last last time I visited Carlo’s, I bought his custom hot madras curry powder. I’ve twice made this curried carrot coconut soup, which was so delicious, healthy and simple, my fave combo.

Great for an appetizer, lunch, or in instances requiring immediate night-vision.

20131027-215551.jpgCurried Carrot and Coconut Soup 

  • 1 big bag/bunch of organic carrots (2 lbs?)
  • 2 medium sized onions
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder (of your choice)
  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat for maximum richness)
  • Appox 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock. Water will do too, in a pinch.
  • salt n’ pepa
  1. Roughly chop carrots, and add to boiling water, peels on. Boil until soft
  2. In the meantime, thinly slice onions and fry in coconut oil until soft translucent over high heat.
  3. Add curry powder and mix. Add 1 tablespoon more oil so spices do not burn. Cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Drain carrots of water and add stock to the pot. Add onion and spice mixture and coconut milk.
  5. Blend with hand held blender until smooth.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Let simmer for about an hour

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This soup was even better he next day, as most soups are. It was hearty, spicy, satisfying, and healthy too!

I can’t wait to experiment more with my growing spice collection, and share it with y’all!

Oh, and if you’re ever in the Market, make sure to check out Carlo’s.

Fun Facts:

Carrots: protect against Cardiovascular Disease, are high in antioxidants and Vitamin A, and are extremely low in calories.

Coconut milk: although high in fat, it is “good” fat, which makes you feel fuller, longer. It is also packed with vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5, and B6 as well as iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. It is an anti-viral, coconut milk contains a fatty acid called lauric acid, which is quite valuable to the human body. When it enters the body, lauric acid is converted to monolaurin, which is a compound that has antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Onions: the phytochemicals in onions improve the working of Vitamin C in the body, thus gifting you with improved immunity. They also contain chromium, which assists in regulating blood sugar.

What are your favourite new spices to cook with?

 

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