Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pilau Rice with Coconut and Coriander Pesto

When I want a really authentic tasting Indian dish, I turn to Indian Vegetarian by Mridula Baljekar.  It hasn't let me down yet.  Last night, I got ambitious and set out to make a tasty rice dish for myself.  I have a garden full of mint right now, and a crisper full of asparagus from the market.  So I chose Pilau Rice with Coconut and Coriander Pesto (page 162) and paired it with a simple cucumber raita.

This reminds me a bit of a dish that I learned to make in my friend Usha's kitchen all those years ago.  She called it Indian Rice with Potatoes and Vegetables, and she used frozen mixed vegetables and a diced potato, as well as the requisite onion.  Mridula's take on it is a bit more sophisticated!  She suggests frozen peas and fresh green beans, but I used what I had on hand.
My ingredients:
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and soaked for 30 minutes
1 tbsp vegan butter
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 slivered onion
15 g chopped mint
15 g chopped cilantro
4 cloves
4 black cardamom pods, crushed
1 small cinnamon stick
1 green chile, finely chopped
1/2 cup frozen edamame, shelled
10 spears asparagus, chopped
1 small piece of ginger, grated
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut soaked in 1/2 cup water
1 oz raw cashews
1/2 cup sour almond yogurt
1/4 cucumber, diced
pinch of cumin
salt to taste
I started out by browning the cashews in the butter & oil, then putting them aside for later.  I combined the coconut & soaking water, garlic, mint, cilantro, green chile & ginger in the pestle & mortar and pounded it until fairly smooth.  This is a sort of pesto that I put aside for a few minutes, while I got to work on the rice.
I added the onion to the pan with the remaining butter & oil and sauteed it until golden.  Then I added the cloves, cardamom & cinnamon for a minute, then the drained rice.  I let this cook for a couple of minutes, then added the pesto and salt to taste.  A few minutes later I added the edamame and asparagus, then 2 cups of warm water.  Once this came to a boil, I turned the heat down and let it simmer for 8 or 9 minutes.  Then I stirred it, turned the heat off and let it sit with the lid on for another 10 minutes.
I quickly made a raita with the amazing, sour almond yogurt I buy at the market.  I added chopped cucumber, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of cumin and stirred it all together.  This is one of my favourite side dishes, especially for anything spicy.  Finally, I uncovered the rice and sprinkled it with the toasted cashews.
This was an amazing dinner, with so many flavours but nothing overwhelming.  Lots of green, lots of veg, I loved it!  And lots of left overs too.  :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Baked Oatmeal for breakfast!

I was ambitious last night, so thought I'd combine everything to make a recipe from Oh She Glows for baked oatmeal.  Then, when things were cooler in the morning, I could just pop it in the oven.  I've never had baked oatmeal, so I was intrigued.

It was pretty bowl for your dry ingredients (oats, spices, baking powder and a bit of coconut sugar) and one for the wet (maple syrup, applesauce, vanilla, and almond milk).  Pour the wet over the dry, add some diced apples & pears, and spread in a greased baking dish.  Scatter some walnuts over the top, cover and refrigerate until needed.


This morning I popped it into a 375F oven and boy, did the house smell good!  I let it cook for about 40 minutes, then let it cool before portioning it up.  I took a container with me to work for breakfast, and ate it at room temperature with a bit of soy milk over the top.  What a treat!  My daughter took a container to work with her and ate it for dessert.  She said she loved it....kind of between a fruit crisp and oatmeal cooked on the stove. It's so easy and quick to make, I think I'll be making it often.

I need to eat from the freezer as much as possible this week.  I'm not sure what all is down there, which is never a good thing.  I know there are some turkey burgers and some chicken quarters, for sure.  Bread, vegan cupcakes (what?), dairy-free perogies, edamame, beef burgers, veggie burgers, tuna steak, shrimp, who knows what else?

Monday - BBQ burgers (beef & turkey), sausages, potatoes, beets, sweet potatoes
Tuesday - homemade pizza night
Wednesday - cashew & edamame rice with cilantro, mint & coconut chutney, served with cucumber raita (from Indian Vegetarian by Mridula Baljekar)
Thursday - chicken, potatoes, broccoli
Friday - left overs

Monday, May 25, 2015

Smoky Kipper Pâté

I had intentions of making a pasta with the remaining smoked trout.  However, I started flipping through cookbooks, came across this super simple recipe, and dinner was served!

476.  Smoky Kipper Pâté (Save With Jamie, page 258)

The weather here has gone from cold to hot overnight.  We had frost on Friday morning, and by Sunday the A/C was back on.  The last thing I wanted to do tonight was heat up the house, so this was perfect - no cooking involved.  Jamie mentions that smoked trout will work in the place of kipper. So I put the rest of my trout in the food processor with some Daiya havarti-style "cheese" block, the zest and juice of half a lemon, a bit of grated nutmeg, and a good dash of pepper.  I whizzed it up until it formed a ball, then put it in a bowl and spiked it with a bit more lemon juice.

I cut up some raw veggies and toasted some buckwheat chia bread (which is gluten-free).  The pâté, spread on toast, is to die for.  And I'm saying that as someone who usually hates pâté.  Wow.  Can I also say how impressed I am by the picture in the cookbook of Jamie's two youngest kids chowing down on this?  Good on him to get little ones eating smoked fish.  I wish I'd done it.  I did give them frozen fish fingers, but now they wouldn't eat anything fishy if you gave them a million dollars.  Which means I'll be finishing the rest of this spread myself for dinner again tonight!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Sobey's Maple Wood Smoked Trout and Roasted Kale, Coconut & Tomato Salad

I bought this frozen filet of trout at Sobey's last month because I'm a sucker for Jamie products.  LOL  I defrosted it this afternoon to go along with a salad for a quick dinner.

Jamie Oliver Discovers Canada:  Manitoulin Island Maple Wood Smoked Trout (tender and flaky with a hint of maple syrup)

Sobey's JO Product Page

Text on back of package:  "This organic Canadian trout is from Manitoulin Island, known for some of the best freshwater fishing in the world.  It's maple wood smoked and flavoured with a hint of organic Canadian maple syrup, for a sweet, delicate taste.  It makes the perfect effortless party centrepiece.  It's equally delicious flaked into a fresh salad, whizzed into a pate or tossed through fresh pasta. Beautiful."

Ingredients:  organic trout, organic maple syrup, salt, sugar, maple wood smoke.
Nutritional Info: (per 1/4 package - 55 g)
Calories 110
Fat 5 g
Cholesterol 45 mg
Sodium 430 mg
Potassium 220 mg
Carbs 1 g
- Fibre 0 g
- Sugars 1 g
Protein 14 g
Vitamin A 2%
Iron 2%
I made this warm salad last night, from Anna Jones' book A Modern Way To Eat. The ingredients are unusual....not things I would think to combine:  roasted tomatoes on one tray, kale and coconut roasted on the other, with lime zest.  The dressing is a mixture of coconut oil, tahini, miso, lime juice, ginger, chile & honey.

I had a simple dinner of salad with flaked trout and artisanal sweet potato & curry bread.

The trout was as nice as any smoked fish I've had.  I will most likely use the rest up in a pasta dish as Jamie suggests.  This was a nice, light meal that went well alongside the flavourful salad.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Food Revolution Day - Blackberry & Apple Crumble

Last week's goal was to eat less gluten (but not sure I succeeded!)  This week I need to focus on keeping my sugars down.  Of course, it was a holiday weekend and I splurged a little bit, but from today on I am going to start tracking them again.

I had a family BBQ Saturday, with chicken souvlaki skewers with homemade tzatziki sauce, potato & egg salad, deviled eggs, Caesar salad, vegan cupcakes from the bakery, and a rhubarb & berry crisp with whipped cream. Last night, I threw together a stir fry with veggies I needed to use up, crispy fried tofu and some rice noodles.   I also had a few meals out, but my fridge is still full of left overs. 

I don't really have any plans to cook much this week.  I will most likely throw together either a big pot of minestrone soup or a curry, to use up more veggies.  I also have a large smoked filet of trout in the freezer that I've been meaning to get to.  So no formal meal plan for me.

I went through Farm Boy the other day and bought a lot of fruit on the reduced rack.  Last night I decided to make another fruit crisp, since I want my son to eat up the rest of the whipped cream in the fridge.  I thought it would be cool to follow one of Jamie's recipes this time.

475.  Blackberry & Apple Crumble (Food Revolution Day website)


I liked this because it had a lot less sugar in it than I used in the one I threw together on the weekend.  It calls for four apples and about a pound of berries.  I used a frozen berry mix that contains blackberries, blueberries & raspberries, since our berries aren't quite in season here yet.  You sprinkle one tablespoon of sugar over the fruit, then mix up your topping.  It's a combination of flour (I used Nutri-Blend with oat fibre), oats, butter (I used vegan margarine) and 75g demarara sugar.  The other, unusual ingredient is crushed hazelnuts.  I used a small pestle and mortar to crush them, and then spread this mixture over the fruit base.  It bakes at 400F for about 50 minutes.

I really like the texture of this dessert!  It's plenty sweet on it's own, but I had to top it with a small scoop of coconut ice "cream" for fun.  The hazelnuts give the topping a nice crunch.  If my calculations are correct, if I cut this into 8 pieces, each piece should have about 11 g of added sugar (almost 3 teaspoons).

Friday, May 15, 2015

Food Revolution Day - Squash It Sandwich

I love a lettuce-free salad!  Not that I have anything against lettuce, but I find that most people consider lettuce to be the main part of the salad.....and that's so not necessary.  There are so many other things you can add to a salad, like veggies, herbs, fruit, nuts, seeds, and legumes.  I've been keeping current with the #FoodRevolutionDay media: I signed the petition, I watched the video, and I found this great little recipe on the website.  :)

474.  Squash It Sandwich (Food Revolution Day website)

I started making this salad at 6 a.m. this morning.  I chopped up orange carrot, white radish, green cucumber, yellow pepper, purple cauliflower, and a red apple.  Talk about eating the rainbow!

Then I wrapped them in a tea towel and bashed them up a bit with a rolling pin.  I may have woken up my son, but hey, he needed to get up anyways.  :p

In a large bowl, I combined a tbsp of balsamic vinegar and another of extra virgin olive oil.  Then I added some torn basil and mint, some snipped cress (homegrown!), some left over kidney beans from last night's dinner, and some raw cashews.

I combined the veggies with the herbs and mixed everything into the dressing with my hands.  I put half into a lunch container for work, and the other half in the fridge for later.  I also packed a couple of slices of pumpkin seed & cranberry bread, so I could form a sandwich at lunch, or just eat it as a salad with toast......whatever I fancy.  :)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Speedy Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Going vegan is easier than ever these days.  I've discovered multiple restaurants and bakeries here in London that are either fully vegan or vegan friendly.  There are meat and dairy substitutes at most grocery stores.  You could conceivably go vegan without eating many veggies at all!  But what would be the point of that?  It certainly wouldn't be very healthy.  Eating VEGan should be all about the VEGetables. This next recipe speaks to that. 

My son wanted quesadillas for dinner.  I grabbed a pack of flour tortillas, some shredded cheese, a jar of salsa and some sour cream for dipping.  I could have substituted Daiya cheese and just had one (there's certainly nothing wrong with that, I've done it) but this time I wanted to veg it up a notch!

Speedy Sweet Potato Quesadillas (from A Modern Way To Eat by Anna Jones)


At first glance this recipe looks complicated.  But when I realized that it only takes 5 minutes to prepare, I was sold.  I peeled and grated a sweet potato and opened a can of white kidney beans.  I sautéed the sweet potato in a bit of olive oil, with a tablespoon of maple syrup, half a teaspoon of smoked paprika, half a chopped chile and seasoned it with salt and pepper.   I combined this in a bowl with the drained beans, and mashed them all together.  In another bowl, I scooped out the flesh of an avocado, added the juice of a small lime, and some chopped cilantro.

Then I just spread the sweet potato/bean mixture on one half of a tortilla in a hot, dry pan, folded the other half over the top, and charred it on both sides, as usual.  The effect of the orange veggies is amazing - it tricks your mind into thinking it's cheese.  The combination of the smoky paprika, the chile and the sweet  maple syrup is strangely delicious.  The avocado on the side complements it perfectly.

Anna says try this once and you'll never look back, and I believe her.  What a satisfying yet healthy and balanced meal!  I bet even my fussy, anti-vegan kids would like these (if I could convince them to try one).  This is quite the recipe to have up your sleeve on a busy night with not much left in the pantry.