Thursday, November 11, 2010

Vegan Survey/Quiz Thing, Round 2

What is one food you thought you’d miss when you went vegan, but don’t?

Cheese and hot wings.

What is a food or dish you wouldn’t touch as a child, but enjoy now?

I ate pretty much anything and everything when I was a kid, so there isn't really anything I wouldn't touch then but enjoy now. Although before I went vegan I thought tofu was gross. This was even before trying it, and it was more because other people thought it was gross and slimy so I just went with it. Then I had vegan pumpkin pie with tofu. It was the first time I ever actually liked pumpkin pie and had tried tofu. It was heavenly/wonderful/life changing/every other positive complement that you could ever think of.

What vegan dish or food you feel like you “should” like, but don’t?

Collard Greens. Sorry. I really want to like them, and I think it was just the timing that was wrong when I tried them (too early into my veganism, and then on a raw food stint that lasted about a month during which I ate a lot of food I wasn't crazy about and hated vegetables for some reason)

What beverage do you consume the most of on any given day?

Water. <3

What dish are you “famous” for making or bringing to gatherings?

Uh, maybe vanilla cupcakes with chocolate buttercream icing. Actually that's a lie. That's just my favourite. I try to bring something different to every get together, but it's always dessert.

Do you have any self-imposed food rules (like no food touching on the plate or no nuts in sweets)?

Haha, nope. I don't even eat things in order. I just randomly take bites from around my plate, making sure I get to taste everything.

What’s one food or dish you tend to eat too much of when you have it in your home?

Junk food/processed food in general, whether it's ice cream (Coconut Bliss is my favourite), bread, granola bars, granola, cookies (especially Oreos... yum), or whatever other processed foods I may have in my room.

What ingredient or food do you prefer to make yourself despite it being widely available prepackaged?

Everything. It's killing me to not have a full kitchen at my disposal.

What ingredient or food is worth spending the extra money to get “the good stuff”?

Hah, everything, but especially your produce. Organic apples are way better than conventionally grown apples. They're so much better, in fact, that I before I started eating organic I didn't like eating apples.

Are you much of a snacker? What are your favorite snacks?

Oh man, I love snacks. I don't snack as much and have larger meals instead now that I live on res (I realize that this is not a good thing but I don't really have much of a choice) because I never have any snacks in my room, but when I was at home and wanted a snack, I would snack on hummus with veggies and whole wheat pita, or whatever baking I had done recently, or sometimes Clif bars if I knew I was going to work out that day or really didn't have any time, or fruit. Yup. Long list. Whatever.

What are your favorite vegan pizza toppings?

Chickpeas, onions, radicchio, red peppers... uh, I can't think of anything else right now, but lots of veggies.

What is your favorite vegetable?

I love squash, swiss chard and sweet potatoes.

Fruit?

Fuyu persimmons, but they have to be ripe or else...

What is the best salad dressing?

Just a simple balsamic vinaigrette.

What is your favorite thing to put on toasted bread?

Earth Balance Buttery Spread, or peanut butter, or Tofutti Cream Cheese and jam (it tastes like cheesecake to me.)

What kind of soup do you most often turn to on a chilly day or when you aren’t feeling your best?

Homemade soup/stew with lots of vegetables and beans.

What is your favorite cupcake flavor? Frosting flavor?

Anything as long as it's vegan, but I usually don't go for chocolate cupcakes (I <3>

What is your favorite kind of cookie?

Oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip... or oatmeal raisin chocolate chip.

What is your most-loved “weeknight meal”?

Veggie stew with crusty bread and balsamic vinegar and olive oil on the side, or hummus with a whole wheat pita and veggies with a salad or two from Planet Organic. Their vegan potato salad, hail to the kale salad, moroccan cous cous salad, and quinoa salads were divine.

What is one dish or food you enjoy, but can’t get anyone else in your household to eat?

Nothing. My mom will pretty much eat anything that I eat, and my brother and my dad will usually eat anything I make.

How long, in total, do you spend in the kitchen on an average day?

Right now I don't spend any time at all (obviously), which is rather unfortunate, but at home I honestly loved spending the whole day in the kitchen. I should be a vegan chef.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Vegan Survey? Check.

I've seen this survey on so many vegan blogs that I decided I just had to do my own. If you do your own, then let me know and leave a comment!

1. Favorite non-dairy milk?

Silk holiday nog.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
Vegan chili, pumpkin cinnamon rolls and sweet potato gnocchi.

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?
Olive oil and pepper. SO GOOD!

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?
Raw soup. Ugh,

5. Favorite pickled item?
Pickles! So cucumbers I guess. Or jalapenos!

6. How do you organize your recipes?
By not organizing them. At home I have a pile of recipes in a cupboard, held together with a bulldog clip, and on my computer I have a bunch of websites/blogs/recipes I want to try either on my bookmarks bar or in the bookmarks menu, both of which aren't organized or cleaned out very often.

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
Compost if I eat at the caf because they actually have a compost bin (eek!), but otherwise just in the garbage. I recycle everything I can, though, and even reuse things that should be disposable.

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods…what would they be (don’t worry about how you’ll cook them)
Quinoa and cranberry stuffed squash, strawberries, and So Delicious Coconut Milk Cookie Dough Ice Cream.

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?
Eating polenta and gnocchi at my nonna's house. They're both vegan (at least when she makes them!), and now she even makes me my own tomato sauce... not that I need sauce because the polenta and gnocchi always taste so good by themselves!

10. Favorite vegan ice cream?
Oh my. I really have no clue. Anything by Luna & Larry's, or So Delicious, or Tofutti Cuties. Seriously, with all the vegan ice cream out there, it's hard to choose. Although I think my favourite experience with vegan ice cream would have to be in Italy. I always got sorbetto over gelato (lemon and pear, for anyone who's wondering) but at some places they had soy chocolate gelato! Going back just to try it is a good enough excuse.

11. Most loved kitchen appliance?
This is like the ice cream question. I can't choose! I love the oven, but I also love the stove, and the barbeque (um, hello, pizza on the barbeque anyone?), and my Kitchenaid standing mixer (perfect for vegan buttercream icing), and the little toaster oven I had at home (so easy to make sweet potato fries or vegan pizza).

12. Spice/herb you would die without?
Cinnamon. Or curry.

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?
I got a world cookbook when I was in grade three. I loved looking at the pictures of the cool fruits and vegetables. #foodnerd and born to be a vegan cook!

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?
A little while ago I got this delicious jam from the farmer's market. It's called plumbleberry and it is to die for!

15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?
Vanilla cupcakes with chocolate buttercream icing from VCTOTW. My friends all think they taste better than "the real thing." Success!

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?
Tofu, but I think that once I try seitan (probably for Christmas because I begged my mom to let one day this holiday season be completely vegan and am therefore making a seitan roast/loaf... recipes, anyone?) I'll love it.

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?
Any time! =)

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?
Spelt flour, pine nuts, whole grain pasta, multigrain pitas, an organic lemon (they cost the same as the conventional ones at Whole Foods!), a colander, and garlic from the farmer's market a month-and-a-bit ago.

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
Daiya Cheddar Style Cheese. That's it. The communal freezer is broken (my ice cream always melts!) and my personal freezer is much too small to put anything else in there.

20. What’s on your grocery list?
Chocolate, canned pumpkin, baking soda, baking powder, possibly corn starch, and then the usual, so vegetables, fruit, and maybe a bread or non-dairy milk. I think this week it'll have to be almond milk because I'm baking with a friend who has a soy allergy.

21. Favorite grocery store?
In Vancouver, it's Whole Foods aka Capers. In Calgary, it's either Planet Organic or Amaranth. <3>

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
Rene Roy Soy Hazelnut Chocolate Truffles. I'm not 100% sure if that's the correct brand name but I get it whenever I go to Amaranth. They're heavenly.

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
Dandies Vegan Marshmallows. I swear they're better than normal marshmallows. Once you start, you just can't stop.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

French Toast with Warm Fresh Peaches: College Edition

Hey world!

Thought I'd steal something from Dan Brown aka pogobat on YouTube. This morning my floor friend (friend on my floor) and I made brunch. Yesterday we went to the farmers market, which was a gruelling 45 minute walk one way, and I got some peaches, among other things. I'm pretty sure they were organic. I should have asked... whoops. After that I went by myself to Capers, which is just Whole Foods by a different name. No really, it's the same company. I have no idea why they changed the name for this location. Anyways, at Capers I got some spelt flour and bread and a whole bunch of other stuff but I won't bore you with that... well, except for the fact that they had green AND red dandelion greens on for 2 for $3! I'm going to freeze them and put them in soups and possibly salads.

This morning I got my F.F. to get some vanilla soy milk from the caf. She's totally addicted. I think this is a beautiful thing because I've introduced someone who isn't vegan to something vegan and they loved it. She also got me a vanilla chai soy milk, which I heated up after breakfast in a mug with a bit of cinnamon in the microwave and it was SO GOOD... or should I say soy good? ;)

Here's my recipe for french toast, stolen from Chef Chloe's blog. You should be noticing a trend here. Her stuff is just sooo good, though! I want to eat it all the time! If you have an oven/convection oven/toaster oven, you have to make her beach cookies. They are to die for! Also, feel free to substitute whatever fruit is local, in season or just on hand for the peaches.

French Toast with Warm Fresh Peaches
Serves 2


Ingredients:
Warm Blueberry Compote (Warm Peach Compote)
2 pints blueberries
(I used 2 peaches, sliced into eighths)
1/3 cup agave or maple syrup
(3 tbsp. brown rice syrup)
½ lemon, juice and zest
(I didn't have any lemon, so...)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
(more like a few shakes! Yummy!)

Cinnamon French Toast
1 loaf French or whole wheat bread
(6 slices bread. The bread I bought was a spelt yeast-free rye bread, and it was pretty much miniature sized.)
2 cups flour
(1/2 cup flour)
2 cups non-dairy milk
(1/2 cup vanilla soy milk)
3 tablespoons maple syrup + extra for dipping
(1-2 tbsp. brown rice syrup)
2 teaspoon vanilla
(approx. 1 tsp vanilla, but maybe less)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
(I used way more, simply because my friend and I both loove cinnamon!)
pinch of sea salt
(I didn't use any)
2 tablespoon canola oil
(I used a tiny bit of coconut oil in the beginning but it didn't even make a difference.)
powdered sugar for sifting
(We didn't use any but if you care about presentation then I would recommend in using it. Ours was sweet enough without this!)

Warm Fresh Peaches
In a microwave safe bowl, combine peaches, brown rice syrup, agave, cinnamon and lemon, if using. Microwave for 2 minutes.
Note: you will want to warm this up again right before serving, so if you would like to save this until you've got your last piece of toast in the rice cooker then feel free to do so. Next time I'm going to wait. =)

Cinnamon French Toast
Plug in your rice cooker and let it heat up while you prepare the french toast batter.
In a bowl combine flour, soy milk, brown rice syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. Once the rice cooker has heated up (about 5 minutes), start dipping your bread slice by slice into the batter, and then heat in rice cooker. After about 1-2 minutes, check on your bread and flip with a fork or spatula, if you happen to have one. Cook on the other side until done, and remove to a plate. Repeat until you're out of batter or bread. Serve topped with warm peaches.
Note: french toast always tastes better when it's warm, so either eat it right away while it's hot, or do as I did and reheat it when you are reheating your peaches (when the last piece is in the rice cooker).

Enjoy!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chef Chloe's Avocado Pesto Pasta, and a new cooking adventure

Hello there!

Since I last blogged, I've started college. Because I am no longer living at home, my access to basic kitchen appliances is limited, therefore I am being forced to improvise--not that I don't like being creative in the kitchen; I just prefer my place in front of the stove.

If you wish to live in residency and are under the age of 19 at my university, you are assigned to one of two residencies that both require meal plans. Around the time that I was purchasing my meal plan, I had completely given up on cooking anything in my room. I thought that, at best, I'd be able to have a mini-fridge, but wouldn't have anywhere to buy food to fill it. Assuming that I would be buying meals solely from the dining hall, I selected the Normal meal plan. Now I realize that this was a mistake. The food at the cafeteria, or at least the vegan options, is significantly below par. After two weeks of eating over-salted, over-done vegetables (also non-organic!) and dry rice, I've come to the conclusion that if I want to retain a healthy relationship with food, I'm going to have to start making my own food. Now, judging by the fact that I have a cooking blog, however new, you could say that I'm not exactly heartbroken about this, and I'd have to agree with you. I have almost everything you need. I have a rice cooker, a kettle, a Magic Bullet, a mini-fridge, and a lounge with a microwave to heat up leftovers and a full-size fridge with a freezer for anything that doesn't fit inside my fridge. The only thing missing from my collection? An oven, or a convection oven, since I don't think the university would be too pleased if I brought full-sized appliances into my dorm room.

I'm going to be blogging, hopefully every day, on what I'm eating and how I made it. My friends (new and old) have all told me that I should write a cookbook. I don't think I could do just that, but I think (hope, really) that I can manage a blog.

Today, I cooked for one of my friends on my floor. We had the Avocado Pesto Pasta from Chef Chloe's blog. It was so delicious and easy to make, and she kept thanking me for preparing such a delicious dinner and asking me how I made it. Below is how I did it.

Avocado Pesto Linguine
Serves 6 (I halved the recipe so it made enough for my friend and I with huge servings)
What You Need:
1 pound dried linguini (300 oz. whole wheat fresh linguini)
1 bunch basil leaves (about 2½ ounces) (3 handfuls)
½ cup pine nuts (1/4 cup approximately)
2 ripe avocados, pitted and peeled (1 avocado)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about ½ of a lemon) (I didn't have any lemon... whoops!)
3 cloves garlic (1 super huge clove of garlic that I got from the farmers market today. Seriously, it was the size of two.)
½ cup olive oil (closer to 1/3 cup of olive oil to compensate for the lack of lemon juice.)
Salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Boil 1.5 litres water in a kettle.
2. While water is boiling, put the avocado, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and basil in the Magic Bullet or other food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
3. Once water has finished boiling, put a little bit of olive oil in the bottom of the rice cooker (about 1 tbsp or less) and put in the pasta. Pour water over the pasta until the rice cooker is almost full, and replace lid on rice cooker. You don't need to have your rice cooker on during. If you don't have a rice cooker but you do have a big bowl, you could replace the rice cooker with a big bowl. Let the pasta sit for a few minutes, stirring and taste-testing occasionally until done.
4. Drain the pasta into a colander and then put back into bowl/rice cooker. Stir pesto into pasta. Serve and enjoy!