Monthly Archives: December 2011

Forgive me

It is dark and cold, and I am tired, and I have not been a very good blogger! So I hope you’ll forgive me, but I need to take a little bit of time to gather my energy for the new year! I will try to crank out one more Martha Stewart veganization, since I did promise 4, and so far have only done one!

Until then,

Sarah

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The Art of Tofu

Sorry for being MIA yesterday, tis the busy season! I did make a beautiful tofu that I wanted to share. Tofu can either be very boring, or very yummy, and I believe the key is in marinating. Tofu takes on the taste of whatever is around it, so if you just grill it up plain, it’s not going to taste like much. I normally cube my tofu and marinate it for about 10-20 minutes before frying it. But if you have a bit more time, I suggest the following baked method. Equally tasting, but a bit softer on the eyes. A great dish to impress guests with!

Tofu:

1 package firm tofu

slice into 1″ pieces, then cut on an angle to make triangles

 

Marinade:

Using my submersible wand I blended together:

1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce

1 tbsp miso

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 large clove garlic

a chunk of ginger

1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon

1 cup water

 

I placed the tofu into the dish I would be cooking it in and poured the marinade overtop, making sure each piece was covered. Then I baked it in the over for about an hour at 400 degrees. If you don’t have that kind of time, you can definitely fry it too, but this way the marinade made a beautiful gravy that got nice and thick and sticky.

This went perfectly on top of a big salad.

You might hear some controversy about tofu, or soy in general, so I’ll tell you what I know (remember, I am not a doctor or a scientist!). Soy is a phyto-estrogen, which means that it can mimic estrogen. The fear is that if we eat too much of it our body will think it has too much estrogen in it. While this may be true to some extent, I think it pales in comparison to the real hormones that we unknowingly ingest throughout our lives, from meat and dairy, from drinking water, high caffeine consumption which forces our bodies to create excess hormones… I do limit the amount of soy in our diet because soy can be over processed. It is easy to slip into having it every day  without realizing it. We drink almond milk instead of soy milk and coconut ice cream instead of soy ice cream. If you balance your soy consumption, there’s no need to worry. And if you’re really ambitious you could make your own…but I’ll leave that for another post!

–Sarah

 

 


Eat your heart out, Martha Stewart! The Christmas Cookie Edition

I’ve always wanted to be one of those women who does “Christmas Baking.” It seems like a nice thing to do, and then you can give the baking away to friends and family. I imagine the house full of yummy gingerbread smells, and I imagine the glee of the recipients of the baking, “You MADE this?!” But as we all know, I am not the world’s best chef, so I also wanted the apply an element of excitement to my baking. Hence, the Eat Your Heart Out, Martha Stewart Project was created.

I am taking 4 Martha Stewart Christmas Cookie recipes and veganizing the sh*t outta them. So it’s a bit of traditional oh-la-la mixed with some punk attitude.

My first recipe is Martha’s Chewy Chocolate-Gingerbread Cookies, forever re-named Chocolate-Ginger Goodness Cookies!

It was a bit more labour intensive than I usually enjoy, but I left the dough in the fridge for 24 hours, and it turned out fine. Also, you need to have plastic wrap and parchement paper on hand, and space in your fridge to chill the dough. Enjoy!

Line two baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks (if not using chips); set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or a regular hand mixer, or a wand, although NOT recommended), beat margarine and grated ginger until creamy, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.

Ingredients Unite!

In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat (I just mixed with a fork, it turned out fine) half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Ooooh yeah…

Some had to be taste-tested, you know, for quality control.

Yep, good enough!

And for your copy and paste pleasure:

Ingredients

  • 7 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate (I used Camino semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (I used one cup all-purpose, ½ cup whole wheat)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) Earth Balance vegan margarine
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed (I used demerara sugar)
  • 1/2 cup fancy molasses
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Directions

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks (if not using chips); set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or a regular hand mixer, or a wand, although NOT recommended), beat margarine and grated ginger until creamy, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.
  3. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat (I just mixed with a fork, it turned out fine) half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.
  4. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I will be tackling more cookies this weekend, so stay tuned!

-Sarah

 

 

 


Tempeh Time

It took me awhile to warm up to tempeh. Once I finally wrapped my brain around tofu, tempeh seemed pretty far out there. More fermented than tofu? Tempeh is to tofu what Guiness is to a Pale Ale? I started out slowly, by buying the Tofurky tempeh strips, already marinated and portioned out. They were tasty enough, and The Husband enjoys the strips on his sandwiches. Last week I ordered a package of tempeh in my organic bin, and finally yesterday I decided to give it a try.

 

I chopped it up and marinated it for about 10 minutes, then fried it up with some mushrooms. This went on top of a big salad, and I think it turned out alright, if I do say so myself. Tempeh has an interesting taste, almost bread-like, and the texture is denser than regular tofu. It seemed heartier than tofu somehow, with a bit more zip in it. I will definitely be eating it again, and I think I’m ready to start experimenting with it some more (I see it crumbled in a lasagne, or marinated in a bbq sauce). Here’s what I did:

 

Marinated Tempeh

 

1 package of Tempeh, cubed

 

Drizzle of olive oil

 

Drizzle of sesame oil

 

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

 

1 tbsp miso

 

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

 

1 large clove garlic, finely chopped

 

 Throw everything into a sealable container, and shake the container to coat the tempeh. Let sit for about 10 minutes, shaking every once in awhile.

 

Meanwhile, prepare your big salad (mine had lentils, boston lettuce, arugula, red pepper and tomato).

 

Fry tempeh on medium heat in a drizzle of canola oil with chopped mushrooms until browned.

 

Add to salad, dress (I used olive oil, cider vinegar and a teaspoon of tahini), sprinkle with walnuts and more nutritional yeast (and/or Sriracha sauce, no judgement) and enjoy!

 

 

 

How do you like your tempeh?

 

Tomorrow I will be posting the first “Eat your heart out, Martha Stewart” cookie recipe!!!

-Sarah

 


The Lessons of an Epic Fail

Have I mentioned I don’t consider myself a cook or chef? I like what I know and I know what I like, and that’s about it. I play around with recipes, I experiment here or there, but my mild dyslexia when reading recipes and my mild ADD which leads to little patience often limits me.

Lately I’ve been feeling more confident. Too confident. Last Thursday I embarked on a meal that may have been a bit…ambitious.

First I made some lentils. When I cook lentils from dry, I usually cook red lentils, that turn all mushy, like a really thick gravy, and always turn out perfectly. On this particular Thursday I used brown lentils, that don’t get mushy, but I didn’t realize that and I cooked them wayyyy too long. I mean, so long they burned. Black char kind of burning.

I can't even show you what they looked like after I was done with them...

Then I started experimenting with the leftover wild rice I had on hand. “Wouldn’t it be fun,” I thought, “if I could magically turn this plain old wild rice into yummy fried rice balls? That would be amazing.” Ah, so many good intentions. I mixed the wild rice with some oats and a flax egg (ground flax and water) and tried to mush it into balls. It didn’t stick very well, so I started adding some arrowroot powder. Then I added some more. Then some more, until finally they stuck together. Then I rolled them in oat flour and fried lightly in some canola oil. You know what they tasted like? Nothing. Kind of like eating plain oats, but maybe even less flavourful than that.  It reminded me of when I used to feed my dolls oats mixed with water, so we’re talking food that I was making when I was 4.

Looks promising?

Finally, I had thrown a squash into the oven at about 7:30pm, thinking it would take about 40 minutes to bake. Apparently, I had just encountered the world’s hardest squash because it did not take 40 minutes to bake. It took 2 hours. At that point, I wasn’t even frustrated anymore, I just left it in the oven, I think The Husband threw it out the next day.

I salvaged some lentils and dressed them with olive oil and vinegar.

The Husband made an omelette.

Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you want them to.

All you can do is look at the lessons. Here are mine:

  1. Be more mindful. Did I need to leave the lentils unattended? What was I doing that was more important in the other room? I need to be more present in the tasks I’m doing.
  2. Keep it simple. This seems to be a running theme in my life. What was wrong with the wild rice that I needed to make it more complicated?
  3. There is a time and place for everything. 7:30 at night might not be the right time to start cooking a giant squash. I could’ve steamed broccoli instead, and saved the squash for the weekend. Which leads me to my final point:
  4. Planning. I am not a planner, but maybe it wouldn’t hurt to start trying to do some more planning. My schedule is so busy with work and yoga, that I find I have less time than I’m used to. A little planning might not hurt.

I took a little hiatus from cooking this weekend, which culminated in some daiya cheese nachos on Saturday evening, but I’m geared up for this week when I start my December Project (aka: Eat your heart out, Martha Stewart!). This week I am hoping to tackle gingerbread cookies.

In the meantime, I am still enjoying my weekly bin from Ottawa Organics, but I have a question: Is local better, or is organic better?! The husband thinks local is better, but I am worried about pesticides and bad growing practices. Is it okay to be eating ginger from Peru and getting hot peppers from California just because they are organic? I am torn. Let me know what you think!

What’s more important?! Local or Organic?

Have a great start to your week!

 
Sarah

My day in food so far…

Getting ready to make breakfast...

 Winter Cinnamon Smoothie:

1 banana

¼ cup apple sauce

1 cup almond milk

1 tbsp peanut (or almond) butter

1 tbsp molasses

2 tbsp ground flax seeds

1 heaping tbsp hemp protein powder

1 tbsp cocoa powder (or chocolate chips might work if you have a high-speed blender)

1 tsp cinnamon

Top up with water for desired consistency

Blend, pour into mason jar, drink up!

I was out of greens, so I got creative with the cocoa and cinnamon!

 Finished product:

And then of course, I took it to work. Mostly because I like to weird out my co-workers.

Lunchtime worked out alright…

I went to La Belle Verte at lunch! A vegan restaurant near my work (on Eddy St. in Gatineau, for those who live/work nearby!). This dish is called Le Grand Cru (The Big Raw), and it was DELICIOUS!

And then this happened…

I can't go to La Belle Verte without getting a raw dessert. This was cranberry and raspberry I think. I ate it instead of the white store-bought cake that was available for a staff birthday. It's all about choices! I think I chose well...now back to my pie...

 Have a great Thursday, have you had your greens yet today?

–Sarah