Food Plant

asparagus & tofu linguine in lemon tomato sauce with leeks & oregano
June 1, 2009, 12:29 am
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450 grams linguine, cooked al dante
1 large bunch of asparagus, tough ends discarded, bite-sized
1 package “firmer” la soyarie tofu (or another brand’s extra firm) cut into small (1cm) cubes

-olive oil, black pepper and chicken-style broth powder, for baking the above at 400f until the asparagus is tender and lightly charred, and the tofu is chewy/starting to crisp.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks, middle sections only, halved lengthwise and sliced
3 ripe medium-sized tomatoes, diced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon each of flour and nutritional yeast
a splash of water and white wine, or all water, or a light broth
juice of 1 large lemon

small handful of fresh oregano leaves, chopped
kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

(recipe and photos at some point, when i’m back.)


a break
October 24, 2008, 5:50 am
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i’ve been so busy. not that i assume anyone is waiting for my posts with bated breath, but FYI it’ll be a couple of months before i can regularly update again.

the good news? i promise to design a fetching and organized layout when i get the time, and document a wider variety of my meals (yes, i make a lot of things that aren’t dessert.) i’ll also be going to israel in january, and i’m excited to document the local food and cook with different ingredients.

i’ll leave you with a photo of the scarf i’ve been working on. who knew knitting was such a slow process? it’s already freezing and after weeks of work i’m only halfway done.

September 11, 2008, 7:01 am
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there is something that i don’t get about snickerdoodles.
it seems that almost all the top searched recipes call for small amounts of both cream of tartar and baking soda,
and wikipedia says that cream of tartar lends the snickerdoodles their distinctive taste.

now, all the vegan snickerdoodle recipes i’ve seen seem to call for baking powder in place of the cream of tartar and baking soda.
if you look it up, you’ll find that baking powder is made up of cream of tartar and baking soda in approx. the same ratios as non-vegan cookie recipes call for.

i’m assuming there are a few additions to modern baking powders, ones that perhaps affect their taste, but is it really so much of a difference to necessitate calling for the fairly elusive cream of tartar? is it merely a matter of tradition?

i’m wondering because i made a tiny batch of vegan snickerdoodles just now, and they were rather heavenly but i do wonder if they tasted  like the traditional cookie. they didn’t seem to crackle on top as much as ones i’ve seen in photos, and although they expanded they didn’t considerably flatten. the outter part was crisp and spicy from the cinnamon sugar, and the inside was soft and buttery-tasting, maybe a little bit acidic? i’d describe the entire experience as fresh, christmasy, and a little too rich for this time of the night. let me know if this sounds about right!

p.s. these are the ones i tried, if it helps.

smoky baba ghanouj
August 24, 2008, 6:47 am
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bear with me; i have several recipes to share and zero motivation to write.  i know i should though, or else i’m more than likely to forget how i made these things and tragedy will be upon us.

i’ll start with the eggplant goodness – which funny enough, i’ve never made before and haven’t had a bite of since childhood. i used to be a big fan of baba ghanouj as kid (known as “eggplant salad” where i come from. don’t ask me why we refer to dips as salads, but we do it to tahini sauce and a few others as well.) much like in the case of avocado, i decided one day that the concept was gross and never looked back. that is, until lovely dark eggplants started growing in our community garden plot, and a sizable one arrived in our CSA share.  i wanted to turn them into a dip that peter’s mom made for us when i visited their house in niagara this summer. she called it baba ghanouj, but it contained fresh minced onion and no garlic, which tastes different enough to count it as its own thing.

as it turned out, i didn’t have any onions but i did have all the ingredients for a more traditional recipe.  i took an hour to compare various recipes and online discussions, and came up with a variation that we were both incredibly pleased with. keep in mind that i actually made a very small batch, using two medium-small eggplants and half of the other ingredients that i will list here. taste as you go and adjust the amounts to your liking!

this makes a creamy eggplant dip that’s thick enough to eat as a spread.

2 large eggplants (the purple/black kind. choose firm ones with non-wrinkly skin.)
1 lemon, juiced
1 large clove garlic (or 2 small,) grated finely or pressed
1/4 to 1/2 cup tahini. i use the larger amount, but if your tahini is the bitter, thick and grainy sort, use less and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
1/4 tsp. hot smoked paprika (you can use different paprika, but the subtle smoky enhancement does wonders.)
salt to taste

heat the oven to 400F.

cut the stems off of the eggplants and pierce them all around with a fork.
roast them whole, directly on the rack (or with a sheet of foil underneath) for 45 minutes to an hour, until they look collapsed and the skin is wrinkly and charred.

slit the eggplants along their length to open them up. if the insides contain lots of juices, drain the eggplants in a colander skin-side up.

using a fork, scrape the insides of the eggplants into the bowl of a food processor (feel free to discard some of the dark seed clusters – these, along with the watery juices, are the eggplant’s more bitter parts.) add the lemon juice and pulse. add the tahini, pressed garlic, paprika and a bit of salt and process until smooth. taste and adjust flavours if necessary (it’s always better to start with less and work your way up with this recipe.)

serve at room temperature in a bowl, drizzled with olive oil and more paprika.

photos do no justice to the deliciousness of this baba ghanouj on fresh crusty bread, even if pita may be the more obvious choice.

August 20, 2008, 5:44 am
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let’s all politely ignore my continual neglect of this blog.


so i haven’t stopped making food, i just never got around to writing down my adventures. i had the best intentions and planned entries about, amongst other things, a white lasagna with homemade fresh pasta (which turned out more work than it was worth, but i’ll revisit the idea when i have more time) and a completely improvised, walnut scented apple-raspberry cake, pictured here:

i also baked a couple of birthday cakes, leading to the realization that i could really benefit from a cake decorating course.

this one, pictured in our packed and messy fridge, was made for anna’s 20th birthday. it’s made up of two layers of lemony french cake with a centre of strawberry filling and bryanna clark grogan’s lemon curd. the icing is of the strawberry cream cheese kind, made with tofutti cheese and torani strawberry syrup. white chocolate chips, melted into a disk to create shavings, saved the little decorating disaster that occurred when the filling started oozing from between the cake layers.

meanwhile, kay insisted on carrot cake for her birthday. i used a winning recipe from vegweb that i modified a bit, mostly to reduce the sugar to allow for headache-free seconds. the frosting was a lemony cream cheese this time, and the “toddler drawn” style carrots were formed by mixing icing sugar with a few drops of soymilk and colouring paste to the consistency of very sticky playdough. it tasted soooo good, especially the next day.

i was going to add two recipes at the bottom of this post, but i can barely keep my eyes open! new posts tomorrow, if you can even trust my word at this point.

tips from gil
June 26, 2008, 8:20 pm
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these instructions are incomplete, do not attempt unless you’ve worked with similar recipes before! (avoiding burning the sugar can be tricky)

toffee sauce:

2 parts light sugar

1 part coconut milk or vegan heavy cream

caramelize the sugar until all crystals dissolve,

stir in cream, bring to a boil and stir until homogenized. chill. (should be sticky and somewhat elastic when dripped on cold countertop.)

shortbread: 1 part sugar, 2 parts margarine, 3 parts flour, add a bit of lemon zest, tahini and coconut milk (for binding)

roll out dough, bake and chill. cover with a layer of toffee sauce, sprinkle toasted pecans, cut out cookie shapes

another use for toffee sauce:

roast pumpkin and sunflower seeds, mix in a bowl with finely chopped dried fruit, mix in enough toffee sauce for binding. roll between two parchment paper sheets, bake and cut into cookie shapes when cooled.

convenient sweet potato oven fries with white bean roasted pepper dip
June 3, 2008, 7:13 pm
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i’ve been out of updating habit again, but any day now i’ll be making a lasagna to write about.
in the meantime, let me tell you what i’m eating right now!

yesterday evening i got a call from alex, asking if i’d like to go grocery shopping at loblaws. i enjoy that place for being somewhat fancier than the nearby foodshops but always end up with the nightmare of carrying giant grocery bags on the packed bus home, so getting a ride is not an offer i could pass.

alex kept true to his status as “fancypants” with quality groceries to last a month, and i got a little carried away accordingly, including a few prepared items that i would normally make from scratch. although i typically hate spending the extra money on convenience food because it hurts my foodie pride, these minor exceptions were worth it.

first, loblaws started carrying a white bean and grilled red pepper spread in their hummus area, under the “president’s choice” brand. THANKFULLY they had the decency to avoid calling it a “white bean and roasted red pepper hummus”. it’s lower in fat than hummus and is thinner, a little spicy and quite awesome.

the ingredients make it seem easy to replicate at home in a blender/food processor deal:

white navy beans,

grilled red bell peppers,


lemon juice,

olive oil,

sea salt,

garlic puree,

brown sugar,

and “spices”.

the spices i detect are cracked black pepper, small amounts of cayenne and cumin, and a mystery dried herb that could be any of thyme, oregano, parsley, basil, crumbled bay leaf, etc.

the other thing i bought was a giant bag of pre-cut sweet potato “spears”, that is to say, fries. of course i could have bought sweet potatoes and chopped them myself, but i find them more difficult to cut through than your average root vegetable, and normally end up breaking up freeform chunks by starting a cut and jiggling the knife around.

so! i take thee, sweet potato fries, sprinkle you with salt, pepper, lime juice and shawarma spice (cumin would do), spray you with a mist of olive oil, and off to the oven for 20 minutes at 380f or so. then i dip you in white bean and pepper spread and you’re sweet, spicy, zesty and delicious.