Smashed Summer Potatoes


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Can you tell it was a market day? These days are some of my favourite and I’m still trying to figure out what is the best summer food.
One might guess asparagus, berries, tomatoes or corn… but then there is the humble potato. Nothing screams summer dinner to me more than every including a cob of fresh corn, green beans and early treasures like baby potatoes.

There are about five thousand varieties of potatoes and ALL of them have to start out as babies.
These small, young, thin-skinned delights have just started to be robbed from the ground and sent to market on the same day. They are waiting to be boiled up and melt in your mouth.

Super easy, crazy delicious!

 

SMASHED SUMMER POTATOES

12 – 15 Baby New Potatoes
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil (about)
1 Tablespoon Chives, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon Dill, finely chopped
Zest of 1/2 Lemon
Salt & Pepper to taste.

In a large saucepan, boil the potatoes until fork tender.
Drain and score the bottom of each potato crosswise. Place knicked side down and smash each potato with your thumb or the back of a spoon to flatten.
Heat olive oil on medium high and sauté each side for about 3 – 5 minutes or until equally golden and crisp.
Remove potatoes to serving plate, reserving the remaining oil in the pan.
Sprinkle with salt, cracked pepper, herbs and lemon zest.

Serves 4

Skillet Sautéed Brussels Sprouts


These are almost crazy how easy these are. You almost don’t need a recipe. Just a nice hot pan!

People are often pretty shocked to hear that I ever hated any kind of food. I mean, I flew to Noma just for the chance to eat dinner, yet I still have a childhood story of hating something so much, I had to sit and stare at my plate until the lights were turned off.
The battle of the mighty brussels sprout of 1986. I won.

Fast forward to being an adult and again trying to eat everything. While telling my own kids they have to try things at least three times, I had a revelation…

My friends, when you don’t boil a sprout to death, it doesn’t taste like fart!

In fact, brussels sprouts are bitter-sweet and begging for a little heat and acid. They actually make one of the best and quick side dishes around. brusslesprouts

SKILLET SAUTÉED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

25-30 Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Chilli Flakes
1/2 Lemon, juiced and zested
Sea Salt and Pepper, to taste
Trim the bottoms and thinly slice the brussels sprouts – either a knife is fine, but a mandoline makes it quick.
Heat your cast iron pan over medium-high heat and add the of olive oil.
Add your sprouts and don’t stir them right away.  You want a few well browned bits.
Take this time to grab a lemon and zest it over, along with the chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Now stir. There will be some nice charred brown bits and steamed goodness in there. Add juice of 1/2 of the lemon and stir again. They should be about done now. Taste for seasoning and serve.

Feeds 4-6 people as a side.

Vegan Longevity Chow Mein Noodles


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Noodles are traditionally served at Chinese New Year’s feasts. Ancient Chinese belief says that long noodles are the key to a long life  and good fortune, so don’t cut those noodles as you eat!  Longevity noodles are usually stir fried and so are these.

These noodles are fresh, store bought, egg-free Chow Mein, but you can use vermicelli,  ramen or whatever you have available.

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CHOW MEIN LONG NOODLES

1  8oz (225g) package Eggless Chow Mein Noodles
1 ½ Tablespoons Neural Oil, vegetable or sunflower
1 Block Firm Tofu, diced into ½”cubes
1 Clove Garlic, finely minced
1 Carrot, sliced into thin strips
2 Cups Shredded Napa Cabbage
½ Cup Sliced Sugar Snap Peas
1 Cup Mung Bean Sprouts
4 Green Onions, finely sliced – divided
¼ Cup Dark Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
¼ Cup Water
¼ teaspoon Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
¼ teaspoon Red Chilli Flakes, optional
¼ Cup Cilantro, torn for optional garnish

 

Bring water to boil in a large pot. Add the noodles and cook for one minute. Drain and rinse well with cold water. Shake well to remove all water. Drizzle over the sesame oil and set noodles aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté tofu for about 3 minutes per side until golden and crisp.  Remove from pan and set aside.
To the skillet, add the garlic and carrots to sauté for 1 minute. Add the cabbage, peas, bean sprouts and 3/4 of the green onions. Continue to toss for another minute, until the cabbage has wilted.
Add the reserved noodles and tofu and toss well to combine with the vegetables to warm through. Add the soy sauce, salt, a few grinds of pepper, chilli flakes and the water. Using tongs, continue to toss until all ingredients are just mixed together.

Remove from heat and transfer to a platter to serve. Top with remaining sliced green onions and cilantro, if using.

 

 

 

 

Just Visiting?


So it’s January. Or as I’ve also heard, Veganuary…  A month of clean eating repent for the holiday glut. Maybe, it’s the start of a year long commitment to eat more plant-based. But here, there is no judgement. Try it out. I’m here to help! I know, I know, the idea of doing something new is tough. New is unknown, but after over a decade of writing hundreds of Vegan Visitor recipes, I’ve learned, and tasted so much. Thirteen (!) years later,  it’s easier than ever to practice a plant-based diet — even if you’re just visiting. Diets seem to be ever evolving, but vegetables never go out of food fashion.
Easing into plant-based eating and feeling forgiven to be on that veggie grayscale can make it so much more comfortable. Testing the waters and eating this way part time, may be less of a commitment, but come February, you’ll discover clean eating isn’t that tough and will not only make you a bit more fit, but happier. It’s great to feel healthy, but you’ll be doing a little bit to lighten your “food-print” too!

Being on both sides of the food fence, I know what I need to feel satisfied during a meal and these recipes will leave you happy, healthier and satiated too.

Vegan isn’t as tricky as some might think to adapt into their everyday, so don’t fret! I’ve been doing this a long time and have put a lot of recipes to the test.

There’s everything from comforting classics to tasty one-tray dinners, simple pasta dishes to hearty winter stews. Start with this deliciously simple idea from my forthcoming book for lunch! It’s probably everything you have in your pantry already, so no stress. Adapting plant-based isn’t supposed to be. It’s here to make you feel better, ease the planet in the process.

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Creamy White Bean & Arugula Toasts

1 Can White Cannellini Beans (260g)
3 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Cup Baby Arugula, packed
3-4 Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
1 Lemon, zested and juiced.
¼ teaspoon Salt
Crack of freshly ground pepper to taste
Chilli Flakes

Drain and rinse the beans. Heat olive oil over medium low. Add the garlic to lightly sauté, followed by the beans, salt and pepper. Once warmed through, about 5 minutes, mash the beans slightly with the back of a wooden spoon to break down and make everything even creamier. Add the arugula to wilt, basil and lemon zest, tossing to combine.

Toast some grainy slices of bread and top with some the bean mixture. Lightly drizzle it with more olive oil, if desired and top with more arugula, lemon  zest, some flaky sea salt and chilli flakes.

 

 

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Greatest Grampa’s Cookies


My Grampa is almost 85, so I guess you could say he’s the man who has just about everything.
…But there is one thing he never forgets to ask for; these cookies:

I’m so glad that I could find something that he really loves. I’m sure he’s tasted a few great things, so I’m pretty flattered. We have always made the trip up to see him and Greatest Nana after the holidays. Recently in addition to celebrating, the kids and I often pack along a few things to stock their freezer with into the New Year.
Even though I’m sure he knows what he’s getting. Along with the soups and staples, the care package wouldn’t be complete without these little surprises. Just to be festive, I’ve fancied them up a bit with hazelnut butter. I really hope he likes them.
Continue reading Greatest Grampa’s Cookies

Whole Garden Gnocchi


Who knew I could feed myself from a front yard garden alone? Other than the flour, I grew everything for this dish in my small, urban yard; potatoes, garlic, chard, tomatoes and squash.

I may have mentioned my front yard transformation last spring. With the help of a great neighbour, a dumping of dirt, a seed catalogue and some eager kids, we transferred lawn into an edible space.

Less the brussels sprouts and the chard, most of the garden now harvested. There were the three varieties of potatoes; Peruvian Reds, Blue and Russian Fingerlings, Rainbow Swiss Chard, Butternut Squash, sweet Yellow Pear Tomatoes just for this dish alone. (It doesn’t even hint at the edamame, peas, beans, beets, asparagus, blueberries, herbs, okra, cabbages, zucchini, pumpkins… corn… wow!)

After digging up a surplus of potatoes, I needed a few ideas on what to do with them. With BBQ season pretty much a thing of the past, potato salad wasn’t topping my list as much as the gnocchi. Besides, I just had to when I saw the light pinkiness of the potatoes and the great texture that was perfect for such a thing.

Feeding yourself all on your own, that’s local.
Now, that’s something to be thankful for!

PERUVIAN PINK POTATO GNOCCHI

1Lb Potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed (you can use other starchy potatoes, like Russetts as well)
1 Cup All Purpose Flour, plus more for rolling.
1/4 teaspoon Salt

In a large bowl, finely mash the cooked potatoes so they are lump free.
Add the salt and half of the flour then add 1/4 cup at a time stirring to combine and bring everything together in a smooth dough. You may not need it all.
Depending on your work surface, third or quarter the dough. Take one piece and cover remaining pieces.
Roll the dough into long “snakes” and cut into 1″ pieces.
Roll each piece off the back of a floured fork and repeat finishing all of the dough.
Drop into salted boiling water and cook gnocchi until they float; about 3 – 4 minutes.

While the gnocchi were boiling I made the “sauce” of tomatoes, chard, squash and garlic.
I cubed the peeled, cleaned squash and sautéed it, covered in a large, lightly oiled pan. Once the pieces began to soften, I removed the lid to let the stem escape and pieces brown.
I added two cloves of finely chopped garlic and the chard to cook for another two minutes.
Once the chard had wilted, I added 1 cup of sliced yellow pear tomatoes, salt, pepper and a palmful of chopped basil.
Simple and delicious.