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No Knead Bread

21 Nov

Do you want people to think you are way more impressive than you actually are?

Ya, me too. Casually whip this sucker out as the bread with dinner when you have people over. A fresh crusty home-made loaf of bread. They won’t stop talking about you.

Thankfully, this recipe is fool-proof and involves about 3 minutes of actual work.

All it takes is some patience. Of which I have none. So the fact I still manage to make this means a monkey could do it.

No Knead Bread (from the New York Times)

Makes a 1 1/2 pound loaf

Ingredients:

3 cups of all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp instant yeast

1 1/4 tsp salt

1 5/8 cup of water (I know this is the strangest measurement – blame the New York Times – what can I say, it works)

In a large bowl combine the flour, yeast and salt. Add the water and stir until the dough is blended. It will be shaggy looking and sticky. That’s ok. If you have any excess flour once you have stirred as much is as possible just shake out the excess.Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm room temperature place for 12 to 18 hours. (this is where patience kicks in).

When the dough is ready the surface will be dotted with bubbles. Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Sprinkle with a bit more flour and fold over on itself a few times. Take a tea towel and cover it in flour so the dough doesn’t stick. Place the dough in the tea towel seam side down. cover with the edges of the floured tea towel and leave for 2 hours.

Before your dough is ready heat the oven to 450 degrees and place your cast iron pot in the oven. Heat the empty pot for 30 minutes. Place the Dough seam sided up in the pot and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to bake uncovered for 15 to 30 minutes.

Remove loaf from pot and cool on a rack.

As I type this I am eating this bread toasted with bacon, avocado and fried egg on top. Amazing. Less Amazing is that it is 10 p.m. on Monday night and this is my dinner that I am only eating now. Dammit!

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Stir-fried Bok Choy

17 Nov

During my walk to work today a bird pooped on my head. True story. Then i got told over and over again how it’s good luck. There is nothing good luckish about this. All it meant was that I had to stand in the bathroom picking poop out of my hair at 7:30am. My day then went on as normal with no lottery wins or out of the ordinary events. fml.

Today is brought to you by simple side-dishes. In keeping with the simple theme this is going to be short (minus the rant above).

This is a great side when you need some greens. Goes well with pretty much any dish, but it really compliments any main dish with Asian flavours.

Stir-Fried Bok Choy

Serves 4

Ingredients:

8 cups bok choy (you can use any size bok choy you want)

1 garlic clove pressed with a garlic press

1 tsp grated ginger

1 tbsp soy sauce (use tamari for a gluten free dish)

1 tbsp oyster sauce (if you’re vegetarian or vegan leave this out)

Heat a large fry pan, preferably a wok, to medium high heat. Add a splash of oil and the boy choy. Saute for a few minutes.

Add the ginger and garlic and saute for a few more minutes. Add the soy sauce and oyster sauce, saute for one more minute. Serve.

I’m pretty sure it’s more fun if you eat it with chopsticks.

Mayonnaise Free Potato Salad

13 Jun

I am not a mayonnaise hater, I just find sometimes it weighs things down. Potato salad doesn’t have to be terrible for you. It can be light and fresh and easy on the waist line. In the summer I eat a significant amount of potato salad and this recipe is my fail safe!

I make this to last for days so we can eat it all week. It’s the perfect accompaniment to some fall off the bone ribs, herb marinated chicken kebas, lemon pepper fish kebabs or blue cheese stuffed burgers. Basically, if you BBQ it, throw this on the side!

I’ve kinda got a thing for herbs. They really liven things up (geeze that statement makes my life sound thrilling…..)

mayonnaise Free Potato Salad

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

1.5 lb of mixed small potatoes (by mixed I mean purple, white and red – it looks prettier this way). If you live in Canada President’s Choice makes what I use – found here. If mixed aren’t available to you, simple small red or white potatoes will work just fine!

1/2 cup olive oil

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

the juice of one lemon

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp whole grain dijon mustard

5 grinds of black pepper

5 green onions, diced

1/3 cup of chopped fresh cilantro (if you are a cilantro hater, totally fine, leave it out, or replace it with flat leaf italian parsley)

1/3 cup of chopped fresh basil

1/3 cup of chopped fresh dill

Bring a large pot of water to boil and boil the potatoes until they are fork tender. Strain and slice the hot potatoes in half, placing them in a large bowl. In another bowl, or a glass measuring cup whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, dijon mustard, whole grain dijon mustard and pepper. Pour the dressing over the potatoes while they are still hot* and toss. Allow them to cool to room temperature.

*As a side note I want to talk about putting the dressing on while the potatoes are hot. I find they absorb the dressing very while they cool. I make sure to give them a toss every 15 minutes or so as they cool to ensure they are all getting enough dressing attention.

Once the dressed potatoes are room temperature I toss them with the fresh herbs and green onion. Now you can either serve or refrigerate until later.

If you refrigerate until later they may seem a tad dry when you take them out to serve. When I say dry I mean they may seem like there is very little dressing on them (b/c it has been absorbed by the potatoes). If this is the case I squeeze another lemon over them and toss with a few tbsp of olive oil.

This is such a versatile side dish.

Perfect to store in the fridge if you have large numbers at the cottage for the weekend. Or to keep you going all week-long with a side dish.

Seriously, purple potatoes are pretty cool.

Colourful Vegetable Quinoa with Tahini Dressing

31 May

I’m back! Sometimes I get a tad busy with work and, well, other things. Don’t be fooled. There’s still a stack of laundry yet to be touched, a list of rooms that MUST be cleaned last week, yet somehow remain untouched, and many other tidbits. What to do when you can’t squeak out more than 6 hours of sleep a night on a good night? why teach yourself to bake of course!! This rationale makes perfect sense when standing next to your sparkly new kitchenaid stand mixer. I haven’t posted any of these recipes yet b/c “teach yourself” are the key words here. As much as I love to cook I’ve never been a baker. I don’t like sweets (bitch about me later in private please), so I usually only bake twice a year. Once for Mark’s birthday and the other time for an annual Christmas party. Lately, that has changed. As soon as I figure out how to not add inappropriate amounts of salt I will share some sweet treats with you all! Until that time, back to quinoa.

We were gifted a wonderful cookbook by wonderful friends the other weekend. It came in very handy after an over the top long weekend at the cottage (spritzers and caesars? Yes please!). This was a great recipe that hit the spot as a much-needed light dinner. (Although, I would not be afraid to use it as a tasty side dish either). I obviously had to make a few changes to the recipe (this is where I fail at baking…).

Colourful Vegetable Quinoa with Tahini Dressing (adapted from Sophie Dhal’s cookbook, Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights)

Serves 4 as a dinner and many as a side dish

Ingredients:

2 cups quinoa

1 cucumber quartered and sliced

4 green onions, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 orange bell pepper, chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

Tahini Dressing

3/4 cup olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce

3 tablespoons tahini

1 clove of garlic

Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. Let cool to room temperature (it’s ok, I normally can’t wait that long either – I think I lasted 15 minutes. I just stirred it a lot so that the heat could escape faster).

In a food processor, or with an immersion blender combine the dressing.

In a large bowl combine the quinoa, chopped vegetables and dressing.

Geeze that was easy! Pat yourself on the back, it’s been a long day!

This keeps nicely in the fridge, so go on and make yourself a big batch.

After a few more weeknight dinner posts I’ll blow your minds with oreo cheesecake bars. BAM!

Tabouleh

17 May

The recipes I have been spewing as of late have been a bit heavier. I am going to lighten things up. Easy, quick weeknight food is important to me. Although I have a lot more time to blog on the weekends, when I cook more elaborate food, I am trying to make sure this space is filled with lots of easy and healthy mid-week dinners (that double as lunch the next day).

This keeps in the fridge for a few days, so even if you don’t have time during the week you could always whip it up on a Sunday and enjoy it for a few days.

Without further ado.

Tabouleh

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 bunch of curly parsley, washed and finely chopped

3/4 cups of bulgur (cooked according to the package directions) – I couldn’t find bulgur for the longest time, so I used quinoa instead. This was great b/c it also added protein.

1/4 cup of fresh mint, finely chopped

2 tomatoes, diced

1/3 of a cucumber, diced

the juice of one lemon

2 tbsp olive oil

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.

Toss. You’re done. Hard work eh?

This is delicious in a pita with hummus. Or all on its own as a side.

I also love this along side falafel. I haven’t posted my falafel’s yet. I’ll get on that.

Greek Potatoes

9 May

I stumbled across this recipe through google. One of my best google search finds EVER! The blog I got this from has become a real regular read of mine. He is great. Also, I know everyone knows my love of Greek food.

So he’s a class act and calls this recipe “patates sto fourno”. I am not as classy and have dumbed it down to Greek Potatoes. Don’t be fooled. It’s perfect!

I have no idea what I googled at the time to lead me to it, but I am so glad I did. These are AMAZING!

I take no credit. Check out this blog. The recipes are drool worthy!

Greek Potatoes (I never do this, b/c I always change recipes, but this one I haven’t touched, so it is not adapted, it is perfect how it is. Straight from souvlakiforthesoul.com.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4-5 medium sized potatoes (I used white potatoes), washed, dried and cut into wedges

1 tablespoon of dried oregano

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 – 3/4 cup of olive oil

1/4 a cup of water

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Start off by drizzling a very small amount of olive oil on the potatoes.  Proceed to toss them in the oregano along with some salt and pepper.

Place the seasoned potatoes in a shallow baking pan.

In a bowl mix together the remaining olive oil, lemon juice and water.  Pour the mixture in between the gaps created by the potatoes (if you pour these over the potatoes you will wash off the oregano!)

Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour (check half way through – as it may be necessary to add a little bit more water). Potatoes are cooked when they are pierced with a fork and feel soft and tender and are nice and browned.

I made this for a friend and we went nuts over it. Mark likes to top them with some crumbled feta.

It paired perfectly with Roasted chicken.

Greek food is to die for. These potatoes reinforce that feeling.

Do it! You won’t regret it!

Sesame Quinoa with Roasted Sweet Potato and Spinach

15 Apr

I wasn’t feeling well the other day and the idea of cooking an entire meal wasn’t working for me. I felt like just grabbing a simple solution on the way home that hit the spot. But when you’re not feeling well I belive (disclaimer – do not listen to me , I am probably the last person you want to listen to re: how to feel better b/c I don’t belive in pills) healthy nutritious food is the way to go. This is a simple solution that not only made me feel 100% the next day, but it also took 20 minutes to make (meaning I got to bed by 9pm).

Who out there is obsessed with Whole Foods? Ya, me, ok. I am sure I am not alone. I tried to copy one of those beautiful pre-made salads you buy at their pre-made food counter. My Mom (who is a fantastic cook) loves this concoction that Whole Foods has created. So I tried to re-create it for her. (Mom I hope you’re reading…..I know you are…you may be my only reader). The smart thing to do would have been to go and read their ingredient list b/c they post it. I didn’t. Whoops!

Sesame Quinoa with Roasted Sweet Potato and Spinach

Serves 4 as a side dish

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of dry quinoa

2 sweet potato, diced into bite sized pieces

1 cup, packed firmly, baby spinach

1 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1/2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tsp soy sauce (if you’re gluten-free use tamari)

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. toss the sweet potato pieces in a little bit of olive oil and roast on a baking sheet for 20 minutes (flipping after 10) until slightly browned.

Cook the Quinoa according to the directions on the package. Once done toss with the spinach and put the lid on the pot and leave for 5 minutes.

Add the sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce (or tamari) and roasted sweet potato and toss. Serve at room temperature or cool.

Out of respect for Whole Foods and all that they do I won’t mention the price differential. Infer what you will.

(if everyone could please ignore the random piece of quinoa on the side of the bowl. Again, alone for photography, left to my own devices. I am a maniac I tell you. I hate to admit it, but I took about 8 shots before I noticed. Then as luck would have it I decided I needed to use this shot b/c it was one of the better ones. Ya, we’ve already gone over how I suck at photography. I’m working at it (not really, my photographer has just been away).)

What is my favourite part about cooking with quinoa? protein without thinking about a protein source. Genius!

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