Sunchoke (Jerusalem Artichoke) Risotto

January 5, 2012

Who’s in the mood for a brand new risotto recipe?!

Apologies to anyone hoping to gawk at some attractive food photos today: risotto’s never pretty, and these were ugly photos to boot. The good news is that the dish itself is delicious, despite appearances.

So what is it? None other than Sunchoke Risotto, an original recipe I came up with the other night in my continuing efforts to discover as many different ways to enjoy sunchokes while they’re still in season. I’ve already raved about my Sunchoke Soup and Sunchoke Hummus, and I also made a Cream of Sunchoke Pasta not too long ago (although I still haven’t gotten around to blogging that). Using sunchokes in a risotto was an idea I got from my mother, and I was excited to try it out, especially since it’s been a while since I’ve made a risotto.

My basic plan was simply to follow this fantastic Broccoli Risotto recipe from VeganDad (which I once called here “the best vegan risotto I’ve ever tasted”), subbing in sunchokes for the broccoli. More specifically, I boiled some sunchokes for a while to create a sunchoke broth, then used that broth to cook the arborio rice, adding in the cooked sunchokes at the end. Although this was a slightly long process (about an hour and a half from start to finish), it was very easy and straightforward to execute, and came out tasting awesome, as anticipated.

Sunchoke Risotto
(makes about 6 large servings)


  • about 2 cups sunchokes, left unpeeled and diced into small bite-sized pieces
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • about 8 cups water or light vegetable broth
  • 1 glove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • oil, 3 tbsp vegan butter, salt, sugar, pepper, and thyme


  1. Start by cooking your sunchokes and making a sunchoke broth (a process very similar to the one I use in making Sunchoke Soup). Heat some oil in a large pot and add half of the sliced onion. After a few minutes, add in the diced sunchoke pieces and a few generous pinches of salt and sugar. Stir around and let cook for several minutes, until lightly caramelized. Then add about 8 cups water (or light vegetable broth, if you have it), bring to a boil, and then simmer for 10 to 20 minutes, until the sunchokes are soft.
  2. Strain your broth, saving the sunchokes and onions in a colander, and collecting the broth in another pot or bowl below. You don’t want anything to go down the sink here; you just want to separate about the solids from the liquid. Now you’re ready to start the risotto!
  3. In the same pot in which you cooked the sunchokes (which should now be empty), heat 1 tbsp of oil and 1 tbsp of vegan butter. Add the other half of the sliced onion and the chopped garlic and cook for a few minutes until soft but not brown.
  4. Add rice and stir around for a few minutes, until it starts to look translucent. Add some salt and pepper (don’t worry too much about amounts; you can add in some more at the end to taste) and then 1/2 cup of your sunchoke broth, stirring around constantly, until it’s absorbed, adjusting the heat as necessary.
  5. Add the 1/2 cup of wine and do the same thing: stir around constantly, until it’s absorbed.
  6. From here on out, all you have to do is use up the rest of your broth, adding it in 1/2 cup increments and stirring everything around until it’s absorbed. You should’ve ended up with between 6 and 7 cups of sunchoke broth from before. Once you get near the end of your broth, start testing the rice for doneness. I found that I only needed 6 cups of broth for the rice to be done. If you need more and have run out of broth, just use some water.
  7. When you add in your last 1/2 cup of broth, add in the cooked sunchokes and onions as well. Mix everything together, remove from heat, and then stir in the 1/4 cup nutritional yeast and 2 tbsp of vegan butter. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme to taste and serve.


Until we eat again,



Sweet Potato Curry Hummus

January 2, 2012

Happy New Year, folks!

Sorry I’ve been absent from the blog lately; the end of 2011 was keeping me plenty busy, and I just couldn’t find the time to blog! I’m ready to get back on track now, though, and to celebrate my return—and the new year—I’m here today to share a quick new hummus recipe I came up with this weekend: Sweet Potato Curry Hummus!

I got the idea for this hummus from the success I had with Oh She Glows’s excellent Spicy Curry Butternut Squash Hummus. Wanting to do something similar but a little different and yet still seasonal, I thought sweet potato would make an interesting substitute for the squash, especially if I replaced the tahini with peanut butter. The result was fantastic, although a little thicker than my hummuses usually turn out (and this despite all the water I added!). Anyway, this still turned out delicious. I hope you enjoy it too! (And if you are going to make it, don’t forget to check out my general tips on how to make hummus, if you haven’t read them already.)

Sweet Potato Curry Hummus
(makes about 3 cups)


  • 2 cups chickpeas, cooked
  • 1 medium sweet potato (should end up with 3/4 to 1 cup after it’s roasted)
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • approximately 10 tbsp reserved chickpea liquid, or water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp curry powder


  1. Start by roasting your potato. Preheat your oven to 400°F or so, and then either: (a) peel and dice your yam, toss in a little bit of oil, salt, and pepper, and then spread out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet; or (b) leave your yam unpeeled, poke a few times with a fork, and put it on your baking sheet whole. Bake until the flesh is very soft (at least 30 minutes, possibly more), then remove from oven. If using the unpeeled method, wait for the sweet potato to cool, and then scoop out the flesh, discarding the peel.
  2. Now simply whip everything together in a food processor, adding reserved chickpea liquid/water a little at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
  3. Garnish with crushed peanuts and cayenne powder if you’re being fancy, or not if you’re being lazy.

Mmmm. Can’t think of a yummier way to ring in the new year.

Until we eat again,



Toronto Café Tour: The Big Guy’s Coffee Shop

December 22, 2011

Interested in reading yet another Toronto Café Tour review? Well then I’ve got just the thing for you: my recap of The Big Guy’s Coffee Shop in Parkdale!


Latte: The Big Guy’s soy latte costs only $3 for a regular, and I really liked this drink, though I can’t quite place why. It’s not a show stopper or anything, but for its price, it’s probably the best $3 latte I’ve tasted in this city.

Wifi: Yes!

Atmosphere: There’s lots of character to this café, which sports a spacious interior and more different seating options than you could hope for: wooden chairs, couches, and armchairs, placed around both small tables and big tables, making it an ideal place for however you want to while away your time.

Clientele: Big Guys is definitely one of those nice neighbourhood establishments: many of the patrons seemed like regulars from the community, and overall there was a very gregarious mood to the whole place. However, there were several quietly working students there, as well, so I did not feel out of place.

Music: A shuffled, Pandora-style mix of hipster indie rock was playing when I first arrived, featuring Timber Timbre, Ohbijou, and the Weakerthans, among others. This was followed up by a classic rock mix for a while, and then Fever Ray started playing I think? Which is to say: the music was all over the map; however, it was a map I liked.

Food: Some, but not much, and nothing particularly eye-catching.

Final Verdict: Big Guy’s is a wonderful little place, with plenty of space to work and good, cheap drinks to boot. If it weren’t so out of the way for me, I could definitely see myself becoming one of their regulars, but even despite the distance, I’m sure I’ll be back before long.

Until we eat again,



Toronto Café Tour: The Scoop & Bean

December 21, 2011

Today’s Toronto Café Tour review is coming at you from the cute little Annex shop known as The Scoop & Bean. Despite living nearby in the neighbourhood for over two years, I had never noticed this café before a friend tipped me off to its presence, but once I got wind of it, I was excited to scope it out. Here were my thoughts…


Latte: The Scoop & Bean soy latte comes in at only $3.10, which is definitely cheap for this city. However, this was a poor drink. It was just so watery, with no creaminess to it at all. I might’ve just come in on a bad day, but regardless, this did not make a good first impression.

Wifi: Yeppers!

Atmosphere: The Scoop & Bean is cozy: there are only a handful of indoor seating options available, all snugly squeezed in next to each other. Nonetheless, the seating they do have is comfortable, their tables are a good size for doing work, and café traffic wasn’t all that high the day I stopped in, so the space all worked out pretty well.

Clientele: The Scoop & Bean crowd was a little older than other cafés it seemed; many more parents coming in with their children and whatnot. Not too many loiterers here, either; most of the customers seemed to be more of the grab-and-go type.

Music: When I first arrived, they were playing through Dylan’s Desire (awesome). This was then followed up by the new Real Estate  album (more awesome). Anyway, I heartily approved.

Food: The Scoop & Bean definitely has a good deal of food on offer, including some ice cream that many patrons seemed to be coming in specifically for. However, their vegan offerings seemed slim, or at the very least unannounced as such.

Final Verdict: My overall impression of The Scoop & Bean was fairly average, with the musical selection being the high point of my visit. However, its location is very convenient for me, and it’s low-key enough that you could comfortably hang out there for several hours it seems, so I very well may be back before too long.

Until we eat again,



Yet Another Winner: Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese (from Oh She Glows)

December 18, 2011

Oh, Oh She Glows, you’ve gone and done it again…

And by “it”, I mean ‘provided me with yet another amazingly awesome recipe’. Should I even be surprised at this point? If you’ve been reading this blog for the last six months, you’ll surely recall some of the many OSG dishes I’ve raved about here: Nanaimo Bars, Roasted Tomato Pesto, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Roasted Tomato Coconut Soup, Spicy Curry Butternut Squash Hummus, and her Vegan Gluten-Free Cookies that found their way into my Half-Moon Spectaculars. At this point, I am convinced not only that Angela can do no wrong, but also that she can do no just-okay. Everything she makes is fantastic, and hands down some of the best food I’ve ever tasted. So, first off, thank you oh so much, Oh She Glows! And secondly, if you’re reading this blog and not reading hers, we need to have a talk.

But let’s get down to today’s business: yet another Oh She Glows knockout, her Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese. I’ve already made this twice, including at my American Thanksgiving blowout dinner, where it was a big hit, and it will be making another appearance at my family’s Christmas Eve Dinner next week. It’s just that good, and made so primarily by the excellent butternut-squash-based cheese sauce it utilizes:

I’ve tried a lot of vegan macaroni and cheese recipes in the past, but this cheese sauce bests them all. I especially love how it’s vegetable-based (although it still uses some nutritional yeast, for extra cheesiness). Poured over some brown rice macaroni and paired with some roasted squash and broccoli and some lightly cooked greens, this is a damn near perfect plate.

So be sure to consider this recipe in your holiday planning this year! It’s a big crowd pleaser, whether your crowd be veg*n or no, and it’s a great use of what’s in season. And in case you didn’t get the hint, start following Oh She Glows, if you aren’t already. Happy eating!

Until we eat again,



Sunchoke (Jerusalem Artichoke) Hummus

December 11, 2011

Hi all!

It’s been busy around here lately at UWEA plaza (that is, my life), but I had to make sure to find some extra time today to quickly share this amazing new hummus recipe I recently came up with: Sunchoke Hummus! (If you don’t already know about the wonders that are sunchokes/Jerusalem artichokes, you’ll probably want to check out my previous post about Sunchoke Soup for a refresher.)

Now I have to admit, I can’t actually take all the credit for this amazing new recipe. In fact, it all started when I (like any obsessive-compulsive blogger) was checking out my blog stats and looking at the search engine terms people had used to reach my blog. One user got here by searching “sunchoke hummus”—but before this post was ever written. (Or was it an internet searcher from… the future?!) I guess Google took him to my Sunchoke Soup page or something, which must’ve disappointed the searcher, but which fortuitously let me in on the searcher’s excellent idea. Sunchokes are so smooth and creamy and have such a wonderful taste, why wouldn’t they work in hummus? So, in a sort of self-fulfilling search engine prophecy sort of way, I decided to come up with my own recipe for Sunchoke Hummus and post it here, both for the searcher and, of course, for you.

But that wasn’t the end of the help I got with this one. After posting my Sunchoke Soup post, I received several comments, including this one, which had the excellent idea of adding a bit of thyme to the soup mix. Thyme struck me as such an excellent complement to the flavour of the sunchokes that I couldn’t resist throwing some in with this hummus as well, and I think it really elevated the dip to new heights!

And thus was Sunchoke Hummus born. Read below for the recipe, and enjoy!

Sunchoke Hummus


  • 1 cup sunchokes, boiled until very soft
  • 2 cups chickpeas
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 4 tbsp reserved chickpea liquid (or water)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp thyme


  1. Put chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, and tahini in a food processor.
  2. Pulse until mixture becomes smooth. Slowly add reserved chickpea liquid/water a little at  a time, until you get the mixture to your desired consistency.
  3. Season with salt and thyme, adding more to taste.
  4. Empty into a serving bowl and sprinkle with a little extra thyme.

Hope you like this! And, if you’re looking for more excellent hummus recipes, you’d do well to check out Oh She Glows’s recent Spicy Curry Butternut Squash Hummus. It looks sorta like this…

…and it tastes sorta like heaven! Try it out for yourself!

Until we eat again,



“Hot Date” Spicy Mexican Chocolate Brownies (Vegan, Gluten-Free, & Nut-Free!)

December 7, 2011

What’s that? Sorry, I can’t talk right now. I have a hot date:

A hot date brownie, that is!

What am I talking about, you ask? Just the latest and greatest sweet treat to come out of my kitchen is all! Seriously, I am super excited to be sharing this recipe with you all today. These brownies are rich, decadent, and irresistible—yet vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free!

The secret? I’m pretty sure it’s the dates. I like using dates in sweet things because they’re a whole food and a superb natural sweetener. They’re extra perfect for brownies, because they naturally have that sticky, gooey texture that brownies need. And this weekend, as I was poking around the internet for gluten-free date-based brownie recipes, I had an excellent idea: why not spice things up a bit while I’m at it?

And so these Spicy Mexican Chocolate—or as I’m calling them, “Hot Date”—Brownies were born. I worked off of this excellent chocolate date brownie recipe from Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free, and then added some hot pepper and chili spices to the batter to make them extra hot. The result was divine—chewy, rich, spicy, and finger-licking good. This is definitely a recipe I will be returning to soon, and one you should get on ASAP! Here’s what to do…

“Hot Date” Mexican Chocolate Brownies
vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free
(makes 16 to 20 small brownies, 9 medium brownies, or 1 really big brownie)
adapted from this Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free recipe


  • 1 cup pitted medjool dates
  • ¾ cup hot water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup garbanzo-fava flour mix (other GF flours would probably work here too)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • a handful of chocolate chips (totally optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper and spray with spray oil.
  2. Place pitted dates, hot water, vanilla, and coffee granules in a bowl and let sit as you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. Mix together all the other ingredients, except for the optional chocolate chips.
  4. Place date mixture into a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides if necessary.
  5. Once date mixture is nice and smooth, add the flour mixture and process some more. You should have enough space to do this even in a very tiny food processor (mine only holds 3 cups). The final mixture will be fairly sticky and viscous.
  6. Pour mixture into the prepared baking pan, and do your best to spread it out. Silicon/rubber spatulas are a boon here, but even they can only do so much with this batter.
  7. If you wish, sprinkle the top with chocolate chips, and press down into batter.
  8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The toothpick test won’t work with these brownies, so just use your best judgment as to when they are set.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Once they’ve cooled down, they’re ready to eat!

And that’s all you got to do! Hope you enjoy this one, guys!

Until we eat again,



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