Archive for October, 2011

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Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Nut Spread

October 24, 2011

Happy Monday!

So I’ve really been digging cashew nut spreads (or cashew “cheese”) these days. Up to this point, however, I’ve basically been alternating between only two varieties: Gena’s Zesty Orange Cashew Cheese and Gena’s Cashew Ginger filling for nori rolls. These two recipes are fantastic, and I really think I could just stick to making these two spreads all the time, but this weekend I wanted to change things up and try something new. And given my recent love affair with Angela’s Ultra Creamy Red Pepper Hummus, I thought it’d be interesting to try throwing some freshly roasted peppers in with some cashews. The result: excellence.

The recipe is simple, and posted below. Like most cashew nut spreads, this is a very versatile treat which can be incorporated into sandwiches or nori rolls, used as a dip, or served on top of some of Earth & City‘s fantastic flatbread, like so (and it’s even better with some pea shoots from Kind Organics thrown on top!):

Anyway, if you want to make it for yourself, here’s all you gotta do…

Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Nut Spread (makes 2 cups)

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups cashews
  • 3 roasted red peppers
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 6 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp nootch
  • pepper to taste
  • paprika & red pepper flakes for garnish

Instructions

  1. Roast your peppers! (If you need some instructions, Angela’s easy-to-follow guide is what I always turn to when I need a refresher.)
  2. Mix everything in a food processor, drizzling in the water a little bit a time.
  3. You’re done! Now consume!

Happy eating!

VeganMoFo #24/31

Until we eat again,

Willie

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Farmers’ Market Profiles: Kind Organics

October 23, 2011

Ah, another Sunday, and this month that means another Farmers’ Market Profile! Today I’m highlighting Kind Organics, a small farm located forty minutes north of Toronto that specializes in micro greens, sprouts, salad blends, and more. They started in 1999 just doing sprouts, but now they offer an impressive range of delectable, edible greenery.

I’ve known about Kind Organics for a while now, and what I like going there most for is their sprouts (which make the perfect addition to one of my Colossal Confetti Salads). Kind offers a wide variety of sprout options, ranging from their crunchy bean mix (my personal fave) to their spicy lentil mix (another favorite) to the unique broccoli brassica to their “Ancient Eastern” or “Flavour Fusion” mixes. Each bag runs for $5, but they are packed to the brim with sprouts—more than enough to last a week’s worth of salads, at least for me.

But Kind does so much more than just bean sprouts. They also sell buckwheat and sunflower sprouts…

…and these cute little pea shoots!

They offer bigger greens as well. Here, for example, are their swiss chard and spinach blends…

…and here are the massive bags of pre-stemmed, pre-cut kale they sell! (These really make salad preparation a snap.)

Kind also sells little boxes of “petite greens”, such as petite fennel and petite dill. I don’t really understand what this means, except for the obvious point that these greens are small(er than usual). Also, in the middle you can see some of their colorful edible flowers!

Kind Organics also offers herbs and wheatgrass, so as you can see you always have a lot to choose from. If you’re looking to sample any of these fantastic options, you can find Kind…

But for the most up-to-date information, always check the main page of their website (and scroll down a bit). Enjoy!

VeganMoFo #23/31

Until we eat again,

Willie

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Vegan Apple Fritters… for Two Hundred!

October 22, 2011

Hello friend! Let me introduce you to a delicious vegan dessert I just recently discovered…

Those are apple fritters, recipe courtesy of the Sweetest Vegan (warning: link is a video recipe!). These little treats are a snap to make, irresistible to eat, and the perfect use for all the great autumn apples in season right now. Topped with a super simple and perfectly paired lemon icing, you will not be able to stop yourself from eating these no matter how hard you try. Indeed, I liked these fritters so much, I decided to make 200 of them!

Okay, that’s probably closer to 180. But still. You should get the point: I liked these. A lot.

Curious to know why I shallow fried dozens upon dozens of apple fritters by hand? Although I’d love to say “just for fun!”, I actually was helping to cater a lecture reception at UofT as part of a team of fellow volunteers from the Hot Yam!, the university’s volunteer-run vegan food collective. It’s a great little organization full of great people, several of whom helped keep me sane as I attempted to orchestrate the production of all these fritters in just under 4 hours. And we were actually able to finish right on time (yay!), getting to the lecture hall just as guests were starting to file in. We quickly set up our food, and we were ready to go!

In case you’re wondering, the lecture we were catering was part of a series of World Food Day events happening throughout the city this past week. Our particular event was a talk by Carolyn Steel called “Sitopia: Changing the World Through Food”. Carolyn was a charming speaker, and had a lot of enlightening things to say about the intimate relationship between food and the city. It was a great event, and I was really happy to be part of it!

At the end of the night, we left the event with both of our big bins empty and no fritters left uneaten. But that’s not really any surprise, because these fritters are just so darn good. Try them for yourself—you won’t be disappointed.

VeganMoFo #22/31

Until we eat again,

Willie

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Foc Yeah Focaccia Bread!

October 21, 2011

So this happened over the weekend:

Yes, yet again I spent my days off baking bread, this time tackling Peter Reinhart’s focaccia bread from The Break Baker’s Apprentice (could I possibly recommend this book any more?). The fun thing about focaccia (or at least this focaccia recipe, which is the first and only one I’ve tried), is that you shape it right in the pan, and that’s where the dough does most of its rising, like so:

This flat loaf, soaking in herb oil, actually sat in my fridge overnight before I put it in the oven. Then, after only twenty minutes, it was ready!

And oh how good it was. I was very impressed with this bread, and not just because it’s so full of oily, herby goodness. The crust came out superb, opening up to reveal and incredibly soft and melty crumb inside.

I could honestly eat this focaccia bread for every meal. Or just all the time without even stopping.

I don’t think I’d get fat. Why would I get fat?

Bread makes you fat??

(I hope someone got that.)

VeganMoFo #21/31

Until we eat again,

Willie

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Hell Yes: Guacamole Naan Pizza

October 20, 2011

Oops! I did it again. I think I have a new favorite vegan pizza recipe.

Longtime readers will remember my first “new favorite vegan pizza recipe”: this delicious White Bean Pizza. Then less than a month ago, I blew that recipe out of the water with “my (new) new favorite vegan pizza recipe”: this even more delicious Roasted Pesto & Hummus Pizza. But now I’ve come up with something even more new and favorite: Guacamole Naan Pizza!

Surprisingly, I got the idea for this pie not from one of the many food blogs I follow, but from the travel blog Uncornered Market, run by two amazing world travelers whom I happened to cross paths with while I was in Berlin in July. They recently published a post detailing the amazing Berlin “Gastro Rally” they got to experience—a whirlwind tour of Berlin’s food scene, as well as its history and culture. It’s a fantastic post, and you should really check it out for yourself, but the important point for our purposes is that one of the dishes they were served was a guacamole naan pizza—a delightful fusion dish I had never even imagined, much less heard of, before. After seeing it, though, I knew I had to make it—and stat.

Mere days later, I did in fact make my own guacamole naan pizzas, for me and some friends. It was actually fairly easy, since I already had some experience with the pie’s different components. First, for the naan, I used the naan recipe I always use, because it’s the best naan recipe there is: this one from Manjula’s Kitchen (vegans: you’ll need to sub in soy yogurt for the regular stuff). This naan always comes out so good, and thankfully it still worked out rolled out into bigger pizza crust rounds. Here’s a couple of my naan breads right after they came out the oven; the one on the left is a future pizza crust, the one on the right is just a regular piece of naan.

After that I simply whipped up some guacamole (Gena’s Classic Guacamole is always a good fallback recipe option if you don’t already have one you like to use), slathered that on the naan, and topped it off with some baby spinach, roasted cherry tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, and some freshly squeezed lemon juice. The result: perfection.

The only thing is—and this was something brought to my attention by my dinner guests—this isn’t really a pizza. And I guess that’s right: it’s more of a big piece of naan topped with guacamole and vegetables. However, being a veg*n for as long as I have, I’m pretty used to names never really fitting what I make (cashew ‘cheese’, anyone?). I cut this like a pizza, I ate this like a pizza, and regardless of what it tasted like, and regardless of its utter lack of any tomato sauce or cheese, it’s still a pizza in my mind.

But enough talk—let’s just sit down and eat!

Oh, and by the way: that Great Divide beer you see hanging out in the background there? It’s pretty great. Just sayin’. Now go make yourself some guacamole naan pizza!

VeganMoFo #20/31

Until we eat again,

Willie

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Toronto Café Tour: The Green Grind

October 19, 2011

Time for another review in my Toronto Café Tour series! This one’s from The Green Grind (yes, another café on my Indie Coffee Passport). Although I don’t spend too much time in Little Italy, I was surprised to discover this little coffeeshop tucked away on the corner of College and Manning. My feelings towards the place ended up being sorta mixed, though; here’s what I thought in more detail:

Latte: First of all, this soy latte was expensive: $4.62, one of the steepest prices I’ve seen in the city. And second, this soy latte wasn’t very good. Perhaps it’s just my personal tastes—I just don’t like lattes with super airy layers of foam on top, or lattes served in tall glasses. What can I say, I guess I’m just a mug-gy sort of guy. But I really wasn’t impressed with any part of this drink, and further disappointed by how much it cost me.

Wifi: Yep! (Although I did have a few connection problems at certain points, especially when a lot of other people were in the café.)

Atmosphere: This is where The Green Grind really shines. From my first step inside, I loved everything. The interior pops with color and everything is really well decorated. The space itself is also fairly large, and there are plenty of seating options, with some good variety in style (I sat at the head of their long oaken banquet table—so cool). I comfortably worked here for hours, which is a very good sign in my book.

Food: Didn’t look too closely at their food options, but I did notice some items specifically marked as vegan on their menu. Awesome!

Final Verdict: This is a tough one—I really loved Green Grind’s atmosphere, but I hated its drink. I could definitely see myself going back and ordering something else, so if you’re going to check it out—which you should—just be sure not to order the soy latte.

VeganMoFo #19/31

Until we eat again,

Willie

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The Perfect Vegan Frozen Dinner: Indianlife

October 18, 2011

Hi guys and gals!

I don’t usually like buying frozen foods, and rarely ever do. What can I say—I’m just not that into processed, pre-fabricated foods. But sometimes they really are a welcome convenience, especially when after a weekend away one is returning home to an empty fridge and a lot of already-closed supermarkets. On such occasions, I like to plan in advance and stock my freezer with a couple easily heatable dinner delights, and for a long time now my go-to option has been Indianlife and their line of naan and vegetable wraps.

The nice thing about these wraps is that they’re actually made completely from all-natural—that is, perfectly pronounceable and readily recognizable—ingredients: no chemicals or weird preservatives here! On top of this, they are delicious and filling, and thus an extra nice treat to come home to. You can either microwave or bake these puppies, but I prefer baking them, since it keeps the outer wrap crispier and more satisfying.

I should note that not all Indianlife products are vegan, but many are, and it’s very easy to figure out which. I really enjoy their naan wraps in particular, but everything I’ve tried from them is really great. Plus, they’re Canadian (even though based in BC). Their products are well stocked at my nearby Fiesta Farms grocery, but I’m sure you can find them elsewhere in Toronto as well. Check them out sometime! They’re the perfect quick and easy vegan meal.

VeganMoFo #18/31

Until we eat again,

Willie

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