Food Plant

tips from gil
June 26, 2008, 8:20 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

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
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

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.

cream of mushroom and asparagus bruschetta
April 18, 2008, 11:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,


it was a good one. the asparagus bruschetta is based on the recipe from vegan italiano, although i think that donna klein cuts her asparagus in small pieces. the idea is simple: take a bunch of asparagus (tough ends discarded,) arrange it on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and spray with olive oil, and roast at 400F for ten minutes or so, until they’re a little browned but still juicy inside. once out of the oven and a little cooled, coat the asparagus with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar (and very optional: a few drops of truffle oil. actually, truffle-things are shady from a vegan standpoint. why is this oil so popular with writers of vegan recipes?)

this deliciousness then goes on top of toasted slices of bread that were rubbed with a garlic clove.

for the mushroom soup, i threw together a few things i had at home. like the bruschetta, the ingredient list is a bit fancy but preparation is simple.

i used…

2 tablespoons Earth Balance spread

2 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 cup (approx.) unflavoured soy milk

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

5 – 10 grams dried porcini mushrooms, rehydrated in 1/2 cup water

900 ml vegetable broth (one tetra box. you may use water and bouillon cubes.)

1/2 cup red wine

1 box of sliced brown mushrooms (227 grams or 8 ounce)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves (or a teaspoon of dry)

1/2 tsp dried crumbled thyme

cloves from 1 head of roasted garlic

freshly ground pepper + a pinch of salt (you won’t need much if your broth is salted)

optional: 2 tablespoons cashew pieces

optional: 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

in a medium soup pot over medium-low heat, melt the margarine and whisk in the flour. whisk constantly for 5 minutes, until the roux stops smelling like raw dough and the shade is a tad darker. take off the heat, and add a few drops of soy milk while whisking to combine. continue adding small amounts of milk and whisking until the mixture stops sizzling when more milk is added. add the rest of the milk and whisk until all lumps are gone.

add the 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast and the soaked mushrooms along with their water. mix in the broth, wine, fresh mushrooms, herbs, roasted garlic and spices. partially cover the pot and gently simmer for about 40 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and the flavours deepened.

remove half the soup to a blender (about 2 cups of soup) and let it cool a bit. add the cashews and lemon juice to the soup in the blender, and blend until smooth. pour the blended soup back in the pot, mix and serve.

while the soup isn’t the prettiest in this photo, kay vouches that it’s “oh my god” delicious.

stuff i’ve been up to
April 12, 2008, 5:35 pm
Filed under: main, sweet

i forgot to mention the very successful experience i had with baking susan’s mini tofu quiches in traditional (that is, EB laden) pate brisee crusts. i made the little things for a lunch potluck that took place during the last lecture of the semester. not only did no one realise they were made with unusual ingredients without being told, i got several unsolicited compliments, my favourite of which was “your quiches are off the hook!”

so it’s exam period, which means that i shouldn’t spend time on new and time-consuming dishes, but i do it anyhow. yesterday i ended up making two. the first was an old israeli favourite that originally involves poached eggs and i decided to try using the tried and true quiche batter (actually, the slight variation that susan uses for omelette.)

shakshooka is in the same category as hummus in the sense that it’s a popular israeli dish of arab origin that has a working-class charm and simple ingredients, and yet is the subject for endless arguments over the proper ingredient list and preparation method. everyone seems to think theirs is the tastiest and most authentic, if the 200 comments under every recipe online are any indication.

the ingredients generally agreed on are tomatoes, eggs, olive oil (and salt and pepper, but those are too obvious to mention in the wiki article!) beyond that, common additions are bell peppers and garlic, onion, cumin, paprika or various middle eastern chili pastes. some further fancy it up with fried eggplant or more pointless animal products. and here i am, shaking things up even further by saying: no eggs! the sauce is the tasty part, anyway. the sulfuric things are mostly there for some added richness and a texture contrast, so nothing irreplaceable there.

speaking of texture contrast, i won’t post a recipe until i managed to make the tofu batter a bit firmer and played around with the sauce (i think i might be in the anti-onion camp.) here are some photos for now:

the second thing i made were my first ever cupcakes for home consumption. to be honest, i find cupcakes much more fun to make and decorate than eat. the exception would have to be a cupcake that isn’t overly sweet and comes in an interesting flavour. i’ve been planning to try london fog cupcakes for awhile, but an unexpected sogging of the loose earl grey bag led me to finally make them yesterday. the concept is simple:

make an earl grey cupcake and top with vanilla buttercream, preferably one that’s flavoured with vanilla syrup for drinks instead of an extract. again, i won’t post a recipe until the tea ratio is measured and perfected, but if you can’t wait it might help to know that i used modified versions of golden vanilla cupcakes and raspberry buttercream from “vegan cupcakes take over the world”, with a dash of cinnamon on top.

reminder to self: today’s stir fry
April 2, 2008, 2:02 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


1/4 cup natural peanut butter

a bit less than that braggs

juice from half a lime

1/2 tsp spooky fermented bean curd in chili oil (not a must)

2 tsp red curry paste

2 Tbsp coconut milk

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 -2 tsp ginger, grated

small squeeze of agave

some water for thinning


onion, mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, green bell pepper, tofu, baby corn

start by cubing extra firm tofu medium-small (3/4 package)

pat/press cubes with paper towel, toss with a splash of braggs

fry in vegetable or peanut oil until golden, remove to a paper towel and let the pan cool a bit before pouring out most of the oil.

stir fry vegetables in the order mentioned until just tender, mix the sauce in and cook until the flavours absorb, 2-3 more minutes. add sriracha or salt if needed, serve on jasmine rice.

no photos, but it served three and kay and julia loved it.

recipe review: mini crustless tofu quiches from fatfree vegan kitchen
March 31, 2008, 12:03 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I just tried these little quiches and they were such a nice surprise!

I added some chopped broccoli to the vegetable mix that was called for, and only had dry chives and rosemary, but it all worked well – I’m pretty sure you could go with whatever fillings you like and still end up with yummy quiches.  Extra-firm silken tofu might work better than firm next time (they were very light and a bit crumbly) and I will definitely double the recipe, because something this tasty and healthy should last for more than a few bites. Word of advice – use a good flexible spatula to scrape out the tofu mixture into the pans, or else you’ll end up wasting quite a bit, especially if you make it in a blender.

Mini Crustless Tofu Quiches | Fatfree Vegan Kitchen

March 29, 2008, 11:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

soy yogurt blended with mango, raspberries, rosewater and agave turned out very well.

my recent flickr food pics:

pumpkin babka with a chocolate chestnut filling

messy slice of chocolate pudding cake (flavoured with rum and coconut, and “fattened” with Earth Balance – i find that it makes for a firmer pudding than oil)

double/reversed and pecan powered chocolate chip cookies

thin crust pizza with cashew-tofu ricotta and olives/mushrooms/spinach

veganyumyum’s sweet & sour crispy tofu, which i really like but will try with less sweetness and more heat next time.

french lentils and sundried tomatoes stew on lemon basil mashed potatoes

the last one was really easy and delicious, so here’s an explanation of what i did:

roughly chopped up and caramelized an onion in olive oil, added a few chopped cloves of garlic, a bit of allspice and 3-4 dry tomato halves (not the oil packed stuff.) glazed with a good amount of red wine and added the rinsed french lentils, covered in twice as much water and added salt and pepper. after bringing to a boil, this simmered for about 40 minutes half covered.

in the meantime, i boiled a few red skin potatoes, roughly chopped up some basil (but it might be nice to chop it fine for a green effect!) and mashed them together with lemon juice and some finely grated zest, earth balance and the requisite salt and pepper. that’s it!