Organic Box Mystery

Flickr photo by Genista

One of the most wonderful things about receiving an organic delivery of food once a week is the surprise. Food is chosen by locality and freshness of the season so the contents are sure to vary. There have been quite a few things that I would have normally walked right by in a grocery store, of just not recognized at all.

I find that early season brings a few of the more unfamiliar food types, so figuring out what to do with them, and getting a preschooler to eat them can be a bit of a challenge.

This week had it’s staples, sweet potatoes, apples, broccoli, but it also came with red chard. Red chard is one of those things cruised by in the past. I know it’s good for you, really it is, but that’s probably the reason why I couldn’t imagine steaming it and putting in front of a 4 year old.

But voila:


Prep time about 20 minutes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 bunch of red chard
1 Cup water
1 16oz can mixed beans (or just red or white kidney, pinto or black would do too)
1 cup tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (soy)
2 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp corriander
dash cayanne
8 whole wheat 6″ flat bread
sour cream (tofuti – optional)


Heat a large sauté/frying pan to a medium temperature, dice the onion and begin to sauté as it softens, (about 2 minutes) then add the minced garlic, watching carefully not to allow it to burn.

Rinse the chard well and trim ends and remove stems. Finely chop the stems and add them to the onions. Add 1/2 cup of the water to help to steam it. (Add more if it evaporates, making sure the stems just stay moist.)

While the stems are becoming tender, rinse the beans and add to the pan. Chiffonade the chard leaves and sprinkle over the salt and spices. Toss in the chard leaves, adding the remaining water, keeping the mixture just moist.

Taste to adjust seasoning and remove everything from the heat once the chard stems are soft and the leaves are tender.
In a long oven proof dish, spread half of the tomatoes.

Shred the cheese and build the enchiladas starting with the flat bread. Spoon about 2-3 tablespoons across the centre, sprinkle lightly with the cheese and roll the opposite ends together. Repeat until everything is folded and rolled. Cover the enchiladas with the remaining tomato sauce, dot each one with sour cream and an olive. Sprinkle the last of the cheddar and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Serve with an extra dollop of sour cream, if desired.

Veggie Burgers

The classic scenario:

It’s the little man’s birthday and the festivities are upon us… that and it’s summer!

Both sets of parents are naturally in attendance. First says yes to meat the other, no way and we only have one barbque.

The solution? Fire it up and make a big salad or two with something everyone will enjoy.

There are probably a million veggie burgers out there (give or take a few). Some are dry, inedible, filled with corn and kibble while others are great. Unfortunately many of the tasty ones contain dairy in some form or another if you read the label closely enough.

This recipe is strictly about flavour and satisfaction.

Find the corn, on-the-cob at one of your next backyard gatherings, not in the burger…


3 Portobello Mushrooms
1 Medium Onion
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Margarine
1 Package Firm Tofu -Drained and Crumbled
1 1/4 Cups Textured Soy Protein
2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast,
1/4C Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dried Rosemary (crushed with your fingers)
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
½ teaspoon Onion Powder
¼ teaspoon Dried Thyme
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt


Heat the oil in large pan. Mince onion and sauté until soft. About 3 minutes.
Dice and add the mushrooms.
Add margarine, 1 T vinegar, and spices. Continue cooking until the mushrooms are tender and cooked through.
Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

To a large bowl add the tofu and mushroom mixture, combining well.
Add the nutritional yeast, textured soy protein and soy sauce, mix well.
Add the flour in batches to combine.
In 1/2C measures of the mixture, shape into six 1/2″ thick (1 cm) pattties and lay them on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
(These will fit a good sized, real bun.)

Freeze the burgers for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Preheat the barbecue to medium. Grill, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes per side.

Serve on whole grain buns or grilled bread with your choice of toppings and condiments like Roasted Red Pepper Relish.

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup



2 Tbsp oil
1 Onion diced (red if you can)
3 Cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 C Dried porcini or shitake mushrooms
4 C Sliced mushrooms – white, porcini, portabello, shitaki approx. 2 medium portabellos and 6 cremini. (the earthier the mushroom the richer the flavor)
3T Cognac (optional)
1 Potato (peeled and cubed)
2T Flour
1 Sprig of fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp Salt
¼ tsp Freshly ground black pepper
2T Large leaf parsley (finely chopped)
10 C Water
1 C Soy milk
2T Arrowroot powder


In a large bowl cover the dried mushrooms with 6 cups of boiling water. Allow the mushrooms to re-hydrate for at least 20 minutes. Strain the mushrooms with cheesecloth or a clean tea towel to reserve the liquid. Set the mushrooms and the liquid aside.

Prepare the onion and garlic and heat the oil in a large stock pot. Sauté the onions and garlic until they are soft and translucent (about 2 minutes), add the cognac and cook the alcohol down for about 1 minute. Add the raw mushrooms and in batches if necessary not to overcrowd the pot for about another 2 minutes. Listen for a persistent sizzle, stirring occasionally to cook evenly.
Add the re-hydrated mushrooms, salt, pepper and rosemary.
Toss the mushrooms with the flour, stir to coat.
Add the reserved liquid from the mushrooms and the remaining 4 cups of water, scraping any “bits” from the bottom of the pan. Add the potatoes and bring the soup to a rolling simmer for about 30 minutes.

Once the potato is soft, remove and discard the rosemary sprig and reserve about 1 cup of the mushrooms, stir in chopped parsley and set aside.

Purée the soup using a immersion blender or in batches with a food processor.
Dissolve the arrowroot powder in the cold soy milk and drizzle mixture into the hot soup.
Adjust seasoning.

Serve garnished with reserved mushrooms and brushed garlic crustini.