Monday, December 05, 2011

Caulifower Cheddar Soup with Garam Masala

This is the prime example of what Lorne and I joke about what vegetarian cuisine is thoughtto be. Grey thin vegetable gruel. But this is great gruel! Cauliflower and cheddar are natural friends, so are cauliflower and garam masala. So why not involve everyone and have fun? I've never realized this before but curry and cheese DO go together. The results were delicious, eaten with buttery crisp slices of garlic toasted baguette.

2 tbsp butter
1/2 to 3/4 of a large cauliflower head, coarsely chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 potato diced
5-6 cups veggie stock
about 2-3 tsp garam masala (curry powder)
some fresh nutmeg
2 bay leaves
a few sprigs of thyme
1/2 cup light cream
about 100g old cheddar, grated.
salt and pepper

Melt butter in a soup pan, add chopped onions. Saute on medium heat until the onions are translucent, don't let them color. Add garlic and fry for a few minutes, then add the cauliflower and potato. Fry for about 10 minutes, then add the curry powder, letting it cook for another ten minutes. Add the stock, the bay leaves and the thyme. Let it simmer uncovered for about 30 mins, until the potato and cauliflower are tender. Let your soup cool a bit then add the cream and cheese. Let it heat just before boiling temp before serving. Serve with garlic toast and garnished with Italian parsley.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Squah/Zucchini blossom fritters

These are hard to come by, but if you know someone with a garden you can always pick a handful or basketful. Be sure to pick the male flowers (the one without the little baby zucchini or squash at its base)

As many blossoms as you can get your hands on-usually I try for about 15 to 20.
garlic-finely chopped
fresh basil
fresh parsely
4 or 5 eggs
1/2 cup of flour-(approx)
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese- you can also use feta.
(if you use feta change the fresh herbs to dill)
Sometimes I add yogourt, just depends on what I have around.

Wash and rough chop the blossoms, remove the stamin from inside the blossom before you chop them.

Chop up basil, parsely and garlic-put all fresh ingredients in a bowl.
Add the eggs and the flour.

The whole mixture should be about the consistency of crepe batter-runny.

Add parmesan cheese and yogourt (if you like). stir well.

Fry the pancakes in olive oil-use medium high heat as olive oil tends to smoke really easily.
I always do a test pancake first to see if I made the batter thick enough or too thin...add flour (too thin) or some yogourt (too thick) to adjust the consistency.

Cook until the edges get golden and then flip.
Serve pipping hot.

I usually serve these with a salad.

Monday, August 01, 2011

red sauce

This is a great multi purpose sauce for mexican dishes. I used to make it without the tomatillos and fresh tomatoes, which is still really good, but the tangy freshness of the tomatoes and tomatillos takes it to a whole new level! I find that it's best to always freshly grind your cumin, either with a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. The flavor is incomparable to the already ground powder. It's even better if you roast the seeds a bit in the toaster oven before grinding it, but not too much as burnt cumin is no good either. It goes great with enchiladas, chiles rellenos, burritos, whatever your heart desires. The awesome thing about this sauce is that you can improvise with the ingredients to make it your own by adding fresh cilantro, more chilis for heat, etc. This recipe is actually just an approximation of what I usually do as I tend to vary it depending on what I can find at the store/my fridge,

I large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapeno chili, diced (optional for extra heat)
2 tsp freshly ground cumin
1 tsp freshly ground coriander seeds
1 tbsp honey or sugar
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 diced ripe tomatoes
3 diced tomatillos, husked
1 cup vegetable broth (less or more depending on how thich you want the sauce)
1 tsp masa harina (optional to help thicken the sauce)
1-2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
salt to taste

Roast the cumin for a few minutes in your toaster oven until just lightly browned, grind them to a powder with the coriander seeds. Fry the onion, garlic, and jalapeno if using until the onion is transluscent the add the spices. You will smell the most wonderful aroma as the spices release their goodness. Add the masa harina, cook for a few minutes on medium heat. Add the rest of the ingredients, and cook on medium low heat until the tomatoes and tomatillos are cooked down into the sauce for about a half an hour, help them out by breaking them up with a wooden spoon. Add some fresh chopped coriander if you wish. If you want a smooth sauce, you can blend the sauce with an immersion blender. Deeelish!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Green Beans

1 lb green beans (washed and ends snaped off)
1 red pepper
2 tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic
olive oil

Wash and snap ends off the beans. Rough chop all the other ingredients.
Heat olive oil in a frying pan and add the tomatoes and red peppers. Cook for 5 or 10 minutes, add garlic and green beans.

Cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes and then lower heat to medium and put a lid on the pan. Cook until beans are bright green and tender. Stir occasionally.

Add salt and fresh basil and a sprinkle of feta or parmesan cheese

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kung Pao Tofu Burgers

Adapted from vegetarian times...

I was camping in Quebec last week and after eating one too many hot dogs I started craving a nice fresh vegetarian meal. I was especially jonesing for these tofu burgers, a recipe in vegetarian times I had read but had never tried. When I got home, after showering and nursing my black fly and mosquito bites this was the first thing I made. And they were good, damn good. I added ginger and garlic to the tofu marinade of course. The vegetable slaw that goes on the burgers adds a great crunch and the kung pao inspired dressing is really a great combination with the tofu. I've decided I love slaw, so slaw it to me baby. Oh yeah.

For the tofu:

1 block of extra firm tofu, drained
4 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger

For the slaw:
3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp mayo
2 tbsp natural peanut butter
5 tsp honey
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
ground black pepper
pinch cayenne pepper
3 medium carrots, grated
1 zucchini, grated
About one cup grated red cabbage
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut the tofu into 6 burger friendly pieces. Whisk together the marinade and pour it over the tofu, marinate one hour.
Grate the the vegetables, then whisk together the dressing. Add the dressing then chill the slaw while you're baking the tofu.

Transfer the tofu to a lightly oiled baking dish then bake for 25 minutes each side until crispy (you can baste a little with the marinade as you bake).

Fill buns with 1 tofu slice and slaw. Serve with sweet potato fries and spicy mayo. YUMMMMM!!

Sorry I didn't get a picture of the finished product - we were too hungry so we ate them all.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

simple squash soup with lots of fresh herbs

I usually make curry squash soup, but sometimes I want a light and simple squash soup that tastes only of delicious buttery squash and aromatic fresh herbs that's not too thick. This soup makes me feel amazing when my energy levels are low and my tummy is upset. For some reason, thyme and squash have a friendship made in heaven.

2 tablespoons butter
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
few leafs of fresh sage
about 4 or five fresh thyme sprigs, stalks removed
2 bay leaves
one big butternut squash, or a small butternut mixed with a small acorn squash, or any buttery orange squash, about 2-3 cups of pulp after its roasted
6 cups vegetable stock, or more if you want it more soupy
salt and pepper to taste
fresh lemon juice to taste
about 100ml of cream (optional)
1/2 of a nutmeg pod, grated

Cut the squash in wedges, then toss it with half the thyme, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Roast it in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the flesh is soft, scoop the flesh out from the peel (you can peel the squash before if you want).

In a large soup pot, melt the butter, add the onions, cook on medium until translucent but don't let them brown. Add the carrots and celery, cook until soft, then add the nutmeg, thyme, sage, and fry it gently for a few minutes. Then add the stock, the squash, the bay leaves, and the salt and pepper. Simmer the soup covered partially for about 30 minutes until the carrots are tender. Puree the soup with a hand blender then add the cream if you're using it. Add the lemon juice and season to taste with more nutmeg, salt and pepper. You can also add more stock if you want the soup to be thinner. Beautiful!

Monday, April 18, 2011

spaghetti frittata with swiss chard, zucchini, and parmesan

Made this for brunch the other day, it was a delicious surprise for a Saturday morning. I served it with a dollop of creme fraiche, fresh parsely, and some hot chili sauce on the side. A big hit.

2 cups cooked cold spaghetti
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup coarsely grated parmesan cheese
About three leafs swiss chard, stalks separated and chopped
1/4 cup chopped shallots or red onion
handful of chopped parsley
pinch of fresh thyme
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 cup of cream
1-2 small zucchinis in half moons
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in an oven proof saucepan. Fry the onions and swiss chard stalks until tender, add garlic, thyme, zucchini and swiss chard leaves until the leaves are wilted and the water has cooked off. Add the parsley. In a bowl, combine eggs, cream and cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the spaghetti to the vegetables, making sure it is well incorporated. Add the egg mixture, smooth the top and cook until the edges are set. Put the fritatta in the oven for about fifteen minutes, you might have to broil it for the last few minutes so the top browns a bit. The eggs should be moist but not runny. Take the frittata out and serve in slices alongside some tomato slices, creme fraiche and hot chili sauce. Yummmm!

Kind of like having macaroni and cheese for breakfast.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Vegan Macaroni and "cheese"

Olivia is lactose intolerant so I'm constantly trying to figure out yummy cheese alternatives. She said this recipe wasn't the best but she really liked it...I don't know, I guess that is 7 year old logic.

A pkg of penne or elbow pasta


1 tablespoon of miso
2 or 3 tablespoons Tahini
1/4-1/2 cup of nutritional yeast (you can get it at most grocery stores)
2 Tablespooons of sunflower oil
1/4 cup of water
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon of tumeric

Add all the sauce ingredients together in a food processor or blender.
Blend until smooth. You may taste for saltiness and add more miso or soy sauce if it needs to be saltier.

Combine cooked pasta and sauce in a casserole dish, sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

eggplant and red pepper panini with gouda and spicy mayo

All I can say is yummmm...drool drool

1/2 eggplant, sliced into one inch thick rounds
1 red pepper
gouda cheese
1 cup breadcrumbs
flour for dredging
1 egg, beaten
olive oil
one clove minced garlic
few tablespoons of mayo
teaspoon of hot chili sauce like sambal oelek
panini bread

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Salt the eggplant slices and let drain for about ten minutes. Squeeze out the excess liquid. Coat the eggplant with flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs and put the slices in a baking pan drizzled with olive oil. Bake, flipping the eggplant once for about 15 minutes until the slices are browned and cooked through.
Take the eggplant out of the oven and put the red pepper directly in the oven. Broil it for about 10 minutes or until its charred on all sides, then when its cooled run it under cold water to remove the skin, slice it up!

Mix a few tablespoons of mayo with one clove of minced garlic then add the chili sauce.

Toast slices of panini bread with a bit of olive oil if you like. When the bread is lightly toasted, put a few slices of gouda on the bread and broil until the cheese is melted. Take the bread out of the toaster oven and spread on some mayo. Add one or two slices of eggplant and some red pepper.

Squish the sandwich a bit, then enjoy! Would also be good in a panini press.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Avocado Iced Shake

This is a very delicious, very simple shake that Patrick and I first tasted in Indonesia.

The recipe is as such:

1 avocado + lots of condensed milk + 1% milk
blend it together (you can also put in ice if your blender can handle it)
and voila, avocado shake!

I put it in the freezer and stirred it every 1.5-2 hrs. After about 4-6 hrs you have something similar to avocado ice cream. A creamy, delicious, refreshing dessert. Yum.

Monday, February 14, 2011

granola bars

1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
3/4 cup of brown sugar
3/4 cups of butter (cold)(1/2 cup of butter plus 1/4 cup of sunflower oil)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup of rolled oats
2 or 3 tablespoons of chocolate chips

Add the flour, sugar, butter and salt together, using a mixer or by hand make a dough. (it may look crumbly or sandy at first but keep mixing it)

Once it form a dough, add the rolled oats.
Press into a pan as thick as you like granola bars.
Then sprinkle and press chocolate chips on the top.

Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

(Variations: Add 1 cup of toasted coconut to the dough
keep 3/4 cups of dough aside and press dough out and spread raspberry jam on top, then sprinkle the dough you've set aside on top.
use a variety of healthier grains and flours-I'm going to try seven grain cereal,
Use flax seeds)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tempeh Bacon

Tempeh Bacon

1 pkg of tempeh
2 tablespoons of soy sauce/tamari
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of mirin (optional)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
2 or 3 cloves of crushed garlic
a few shakes of black pepper

Slice the tempeh into slices as thin as you can make them (but not so they fall apart). Marinade in the liquid/spice mixture for a few hours.

fry them up in a frying pan (i used sunflower oil but any oil will do)
brown on both sides.

I use this in sandwiches in place of bacon.

I've tried Tempeh, Lettuce and Tomato, Tempeh and Avacado and red onion, Tempeh and cheese and tomato (grilled)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sticky Date Pudding

Recipe from the show "A la Distasio". Cara I think you wanted this recipe.

For the cake:
2 cups of pitted dates
2 cups hot water
2 tsps baking soda
1/2 cup of butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar (I think we halved this)
4 eggs

For the caramel sauce:
3/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup cream 35%


For the cake, soak dates in hot water and baking soda while you prepare the other ingredients.

For the sauce, melt the butter and add vanilla. Add brown sugar and cream, whisk with a fork and bring it to a boil. Take it off the heat and set aside.

For the cake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs, one by one mixing after the addition of each one. With a wooden spoon, mix in the four. In a seaparate bowl, puree the date mixture, then add them to the cake batter. Mix well, then add to a square 8 inch pan that is buttered and floured. Bake for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and make about 30 holes in it with a chopstick. Pour about 2/3 of the caramel sauce over the cake and bake for another 30 minutes. Serve the cake with the rest of the sauce and a spoonful of sour cream.

Vegetable split pea soup

I don't know what to call this soup, because there's lentils in here, lots of vegetables, and never hear of barley in a pea soup. Plus its quite soupy, not as thick as a pea soup. So I guess its more of a winter vegetable soup with lots of split peas. The chunks of bacon (purely optional) give that smoky flavour that is best buds with the split peas. Or if you want to make it pure veg a spoonful of chipotle puree or adobo sauce is so smokily good as well. I feel like this soup would be good in a slow cooker or a pressure cooker, but as I do not own either of these things, I will never be able to test this hypotheses.


1 cup dried split yellow peas
1 cup dried split green peas
1/2 cup red lentils
2 carrots, cubed
2 parsnips, peeled and cubed
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
8 cups vegetable stock
1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
2 bay leaves
a dozen peppercorns
few sprigs of thyme
1/2 cup barley
one spoonful chipotle sauce
Salt to taste

Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat and fry the onions until transluscent, then add the rest of the vegetables. Add a bit of salt. Cook a few minutes, then add the garlic. Then add the peas, lentils, tomatoes, stock, and herbs. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 2 hours, until the peas are almost mushy. Add the barley and simmer about 30 minutes more until barley is tender. Serve with bread and your favorite cheese.

If you like bacon, cut it into pieces and fry it to render out the fat. Drain it then add it to the soup as its cooking. I bought a chunk of artisanal bacon at one of those fancy meat places. If you don't add the bacon, its a very good vegan soup.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Carrot-Ginger Soup

This one is nice and easy.

1 onion (chopped)
3-4 cloves of garlic (sliced)
2 inches of ginger (grated)
4 large carrots (sliced or chopped)
3 cups of veggie stock or water
1 cup of coconut milk
1 lemon (juice)
1 orange (juice)
1 tsp cumin

Sautee the onion, garlic, ginger and cumin until onions are translucent.
Add carrots and sautee for about 10 minutes.
Add water/veggie stock and the juice of the orange and lemon, bring all the ingredients to a boil. Lower heat to medium-high and cook until carrots are tender. (It took about 20-25 minutes)

Add cup of coconut milk and salt to taste.
Then using either a hand blender or blender puree.

Serve with chopped cilantro and Siracha hot sauce.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Pineapple Miso Dressing

I might have posted this one before, but it's SOOO yummy that I had to make sure you had the recipe. So good as a salad dressing over a crisp green salad or thinly sliced cabbage. It might even be good with tofu, although I haven't attempted it yet.

1/4 cup unsweetened crushed pineapple
1 tablespoon miso
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 garlic clove, cushed

Whizz it all up in a food processor. YUM!

Pasta e Fagioli

My Dad's recipe.
1 onion
4 to 5 cloves of garlic
3 stalks of celery
3 large carrots
olive oil
1 can of stewed tomatoes/1 jar of tomato sauce
fresh or dried basil (about 1 tablespoon of dried or a handful of fresh)
1 pinch of dried oregano
2 cans or 2 cups of cooked kidney or white beans.
Cooked pasta (amount will depend on your how thick you want the soup)

Chop and Sautee
1 onion
4 to 5 cloves of garlic
3 stalks of celery
3 large carrots
3 tablespoons of olive oil (although I rarely measure)

Cook until the carrots are tender.

Then add 1 can of stewed tomatoes or 1 can/jar of tomato sauce.

Add in fresh basil (generous amount)and a smal pinch of oregano. (Dried basil is fine too)
Cook for about 5 minutes and squish up the tomatoes if you used whole stewed variety.
Add in 2 cans or 2 cups of cooked kidney beans or white beans or one of each.

Let this simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
Add 2 cups of vegetable stock or water at this time and lower the heat.

Let this thicken up a bit.
Add cooked pasta (macaroni or fusilli are nice)

Garnish with chopped flat parsely.

Serve piping hot.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Easy Chocolate Cake

I made this in one bowl using my Kitchen aid mixer, but a bowl and large wooden spoon will do.

3 cups of flour (I actually used cake flour with added salt and baking soda, yes I'm totally lazy, you can find it at most grocery stores, if not add 2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt)
2 cups of sugar (white or brown)
2/3 cup of cocoa powder
2 cups of water or brewed coffee
1 cup of sunflower oil
2 tablespoons of vanilla
3 tablespoons of apple cidr vinegar

Whisk all the dry ingredients together first. Add wet ingredients. Stir well.
Pour into a greased pan or pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for 15 minutes, remove from the pan and let cool further if you are going to use icing. It is really moist and yummy on it's own.

I made mine in two round 9 inch pans and then spread raspberry jam in between each round. I iced with chocolate icing and whipped cream after the cake has cooled.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sambar- A South Indian Vegetable Stew

From: my Nana, transcribed by my father in an email

Sambar is best described as a lentil soup that is chock full of vegetables. It may be served over rice with other savory accompaniments such as a dry ground meat curry, meatballs, fried potatoes, sautéed shrimp, potato chips, fried fish etc. I especially love it with idlis or dosai accompanied with coconut or lentil chutney. All of these are (for me), quintessential Andhra flavors from my childhood. As far as I have tasted so far no restaurant can touch the flavors in this recipe for Sambar. Quite simply it is the best. This recipe was transcribed during a conversation with my mom. She is often imprecise about the amounts and tends to leave out certain ingredients at times.

Feel free to search the net for other recipes and modify the list of spices in the recipe or change the proportions to adjust the taste.

The key to making a good powder (podi in telugu) is to roast the spices individually as they all have different “burn” points. When mixed with some toasted urad dhal powder and salt the spice mixture makes a nice snack when mixed with some hot rice and butter. A squeeze of lime or lemon is optional.


Sambar Podi (or powder):

1 tablespoon Urad Dhal (pan roasted by itself)
1 tablespoon Channa Dhal (pan roasted by itself)
½ tablespoon black Mustard seeds (pan roasted by itself)
1 tablespoon Cumin (Jeera) seeds (pan roasted by itself)
8 tablespoon Coriander (Dhania) seeds (pan roasted by themselves)
Several dried red chilies to taste (pan roasted by themselves)
½ teaspoon Asafoetida (Hing)
1 teaspoon Fenugreek (Methi) seeds (pan roasted by themselves)

Procedure for the podi:
Dry roast all the ingredients one at a time till they are a golden brown color and start to be aromatic. Grind to a fine powder and mix them together thoroughly. Store the podi in a tightly closed jar in the fridge. It will keep for several months. Mix with some finely shredded, unsweetened, coconut before using in the Sambar


1 to 2 cups of Toor or Moong (red) lentils
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
Lemon Juice or Tamarind pulp (the latter is better particularly if home made)
2 to 3 Onions chopped into large pieces (you can use little pearl onions whole as well)
4 to 6 radishes sliced
1 or 2 carrots sliced
2 to 3 cups of vegetables chopped: Okra (frozen is OK), Eggplant (Brinjal, Baingan or Vankaaya), Zuchini, Opo squash, Drumsticks (Munaga Kaaya, not chicken – check your Indian store) and other vegetables that can stand up to cooking and not fall apart.
2 tomatoes chopped
½ to 1 cup Coriander leaves (Dhania, Kothamary)

Talimpu or Tadaka (tempering):

2 to 3 tablespoons of Canola or other oil that can stand high temperatures
1 or 2 dried red chilies
1 or 2 cloves of garlic (I like to sliver mine)
1 or 2 teaspoons of Black Mustard seeds
¼ to ½ teaspoon of Asafoetida (Hing)
A generous amount (scant handful) of Curry leaves (Kurvepakku)

Wet Ingredients:
Cook the red Dhal in sufficient water to result in a thick, runny slurry with salt and some cumin seeds and the onions (a little extra garlic at this point couldn’t hurt either). When the dhal is cooked add the vegetables in order of toughness and cook till they are tender. The order is important if the vegetables are to have the desired consistency: very tender but not completely mushy. Add the Sambar powder, tamarind (or lemon juice) and coriander leaves to the hot mixture and set aside. You can cool the mixture and freeze portions at this point if you want to use them later.

This process of tempering is a basic Andhra cooking technique that is used in many recipes. Organize yourself with all the ingredients pre-measured and ready for use at a moments notice. It is really easy to burn this mixture if you have to divert you attention for even a few seconds. Keep anything that is wet away from the hot oil.

In a separate sauce pan heat the oil and fry the red chilies till they are dark brown. When the start to turn color add the brown mustard seeds and fry till they pop like popcorn. At this point add the garlic and continue till the garlic is golden brown. Add the Hing and curry leaves and fry for a little while (10 to 30 seconds). Pour the contents of the sauce pan into the dhal mixture. Be careful. There will be a little explosion of sorts. Rinse out the sauce pan with some of the Dhal mixture to get all of the flavors out.

Correct the saltiness and sourness to your taste.

Serve your Sambar with hot rice and savory things as suggested above (even potato chips or deep fried fish work well). Sambar is absolutely essential with Iddlis or Dosai.

Don't know what Iddlis or Dosai are? Well that is a whole'nother post.