Victoria Day


For about 150 years, Canadians have been celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday on the Monday on or before May 24th with a statutory Monday holiday.

So, we’re occasionally quite thankful we are still held by a monarchy.

Commonly referred to as “May-Two-Four”, most celebrations are spent starting gardens, camping, opening cottages, getting stuck in traffic and of course, gathering. Marked as the unofficial beginning to our shorter summer season, people like to get outside.

In honour of a casual slow food get together, visiting, Canadian beer and fireworks we’re having some laid-back group fare.

This recipe is dead easy, and so worth it in the returns…

GRILLED EGGPLANT

2 Large Eggplants (Look for ones unblemished, with fresh, green tops)
1/2 Cup Soy Sauce (Use a low sodium, good quality variety)
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/8 teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
1 Tablespoon Fresh Summer Savory (Chopped)

Preheat your grill to medium.
Trim the ends from the eggplants. Slice lengthwise about 1/2″ thick.
Add the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Combine well.
Dip the eggplant slices into the marinade to coat both sides and add to the grill.
Do not discard the remaining marinade.
Reduce the heat to a medium-low.
Select a sunny holiday beverage of your choice.
Brush each of the eggplants with more marinade, flip.
Allow to grill for 2 – 3 minutes, watching closely not to char, repeat until eggplants nearly fall from your flipping utensil.

Serves 4 – 6

Guacamole


With the thought of guests and summer on its way, guacamole is a classic.

I’ve seen about a million different variations of the recipe, the traditional Mexican Guacamole only has a few ingredients, the obvious being avocado, then onion, chilies, fresh tomatoes and salt. I’ve heard some controversy over the tomato. I am of the nay side…

Like everyone else though, I thought that I’d add yet another variation. There is something not only distinct about lime flavours in Mexican dishes but the citrus in combination with cilantro is fresh and crisp. It also keeps the avocado from browning which is a bit more appealing.

This version is light but complex. A truly great combination of flavours, if I do say so myself.

Having generation birthday gathering arriving at my doorstep, I’ve mashed a little more than my usual consistency. But if the delightful soft chunks of avocado makes you happy, go with it!

Either way, grab a tortilla, a carrot or use it as a spread on your next sandwich.

SUMMER GUACAMOLE

3 Avocadoes
1 Red Grapefruit
1 Lime (juice of)
3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1/2 Jalepeño pepper, seeds and membrane removed, minced
2 Tablespoons Red Onion, Minced
2 Tablespoons Red Pepper, Minced
2 Tablespoons Cilantro, Chopped
1/4 teaspoon Salt
Pepper to taste

Method

Slice the avocados around lengthwise, twist and separate.
Remove the pit by knocking the knife into the center and turn to lift it out.
Scoop the fruit from the peel and set aside.
Peel the grapefruit with a knife, removing the pith along with the peel.
Cut away the segments, chop and reserve whatever juice is collected.
Set aside.

In a food processor, or by hand, finely chop the onion, peppers and garlic. Add an give the cilantro a quick whirl or a rough chop.

In a separate bowl, roughly mash the avocado and add half of the chopped grapefruit. Stir in the onion and pepper mixture and the salt. Stir in the lime juice and check the consistency and flavour.

Add the remaining grapefruit to your liking and adjust the seasoning.

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…

PORTABELLO BURGERS

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

Method

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.

Everyone’s Favourite Banana Cake


In honor of Mother’s Day it’s all about all things sweet.

… and not to mention comforting. With banana cake here’s certainly both.

Call it banana bread or call it cake, I don’t know any mom who hasn’t cut out a slice after the need has arisen to use up some over ripened bananas.

So perfect for a Mother’s Day luncheon, especially if your Mother in Law happens to be vegan, as is mine.

There is certainly no reason to deprive any woman on her big day!

As most moms will tell you this is the best way of using up those bananas. In our house we’re pretty particular over the colour yellow so once bananas are streaked with brown they’re destined for the freezer where they keep wonderfully until something delicious is ready for them.

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

EGGLESS BANANA CAKE

3 Ripe Bananas
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1 teaspoon Salt
Replacer equal to one egg (+ water to package direction)
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/2 Cup Soft Whole Wheat Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Pieces
1/2 Cup Broken, Toasted Pecans (optional)

Method

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

In a large mixer, cream the bananas with the oil, sugar and vanilla.

Prepare the egg replacer as to the package directions and add it and the salt to the banana mixture.

Once well combined, add the baking powder and soda, followed by the flour, adding it in batches.

Stir in chocolate pieces and nuts, if using.

Oil and dust a 8″ round pan with flour. Pour in the batter and bake on the centre rack for about 40 -45 minutes.

Check bounce at the centre of the cake or insert and remove a toothpick. The cake is moist but it should come out fairly clean.

Allow to cool slightly and dust with confectioners sugar.

This recipe will also make a great loaf (55 – 65 minutes), 12 muffins(18-20 minutes) or 24 mini muffins (about 13 – 15 minutes).