Best Vegan Visitor Recipes of 2008


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JANUARY

The citrus obsessed that I am decided away with diets and and that pink grapefruits were way underused:
Red Grapefruit Curd Filled Donuts

Every winter likes the cold and every winter I battle it with something extra warm:
Creamless Potato Leek Soup


FEBRUARY

This Chili continued to warm + what would the Superbowl be without it’s tailgate chili?
Superbowl of Chili

And this was just goood:
Cape Gooseberry & Raspberry Clafouti


MARCH

Daring Baker’s sent me the perfect gift. Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for my own birthday cake:
Perfect Party Cake

A March break get-away might have almost gotten me trapped by a snowstorm, but it was Montréal. I was hardly complaining:
Maple Madeleines


APRIL

It’s my daughter’s birthday in April and it just wouldn’t be tradition if she didn’t get her “Favourite Things Dinner”.  She’s six, I’ll give you one guess what her favourite thing is to eat:
Cheeseless Macaroni n’ Cheese

Spring and weeds. If you can’t beat ’em, EAT them:
Warm New Potato & Dandelion Salad

After breaking out the BBQ for the first grill of the season, I discovered one of the best soups ever with the leftovers:
Cedar Smoked Asparagus Soup


MAY

A peanut butter cookie bomb became one of my favourite desserts:
Peanut Butter Caramel Tarts

Mother’s Day brunch wouldn’t be complete without cake. And what better one than this coffee cake developed from my Nana’s own recipe box:
Also Goes Great With Tea Coffee Cake

JUNE

Squeaking it in for the last of the school year. I couldn’t resist buying more snacks for lunches, so I replicated them instead (even though I was made fun of for it):
Chewy Nut-Free Granola Bars

Getting sick of watching countless sandwich crusts go to waste, I came up with a solution. I saved the crusts and made bread pudding. Waste Not:
Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding
JULY

Summer’s in full swing with heat beaters and last minute evening parties. I took full advantage of the garden’s offerings with these easy recipes:
Rose Infused Strawberry Sorbet
Scape Salsa Verde Potato Salad
AUGUST

This was time consuming, but boy it was good:
Summer Pea Ravioli

The cherries were awesome this year, sweet and almost never ending. When I *almost* became tired of spitting pits, I decided I could finally bake with cherries more instead:
Cherry Streusel Muffins
SEPTEMBER

One of my favourite times of year. You know it, when there are too many tomatoes to eat at once. Never a fan of it as a kid, still I tried my own swing at it and will forever be changing my tune about tomato soup:
Heirloom Tomato Soup

Tree-fruit season YAY:
Gingered Peach Shortbread Bars
OCTOBER
Have I not yet mentioned how much I like autumn and the tree fruit? This was so easy, especially when tearing through a freshly picked bag of apples before our vacation:
Apple Upside-down Cake

Super good, super easy and quick autumn-y gnocchi with one of my most favourite flavour combinations:
Gnocchi with Butternut Squash & Spinach
NOVEMBER

Move over Charlie Brown, I’m the pumpkin patch junky. Never fails, ever November I find myself with, well, enough pumpkins to last me until next Halloween. This year I FINALLY made this:
Maple Pumpkin Butter

Everyone needs a quick go-to recipe to use up those browning bananas, and this one is it for us:
Ultra-Quick Banana Bread
DECEMBER

I took a scoop of that long over due pumpkin butter and added it to my favourite brownie batter. Why didn’t I think of this sooner?:
Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
Honestly one of the best gingerbread men I’ve ever bitten the head off of:
Classic Gingerbread Cookies

Wow. What a year! Wishing you and yours the happiest 2009!

My Sweet Vegan – Book Review


I was almost as excited when I was asked to review Hannah Kaminsky’s new cook book, My Sweet Vegan as I was tearing open the package sent with the book inside.
Inviting, fresh and bright, there are full page colour photos for every of the 77 recipes! Flipping through the pages there were so many delicious looking recipes I was ready to try.

Cooking vegan for my relatives, I almost always have a pantry prepared for just about everything. So, with one hand marking the pages of the many treats I wanted to try and the other preparing to grease my cake pans, I sat flipping eagerly, reading over each of the recipe ingredients. Sadly, I found that many desserts depended on specialty items like vegan eggnog, soy creamer, instant potato flakes or specific name brands like Ricemellow Crème. Without any substitution suggestions, my only option was to call around to the health food stores in the city or shop online. Either way, I’d be waiting to buy the ingredients, and if out of the city I might be out of luck for a while and that was way more than my urge to bake could handle.

Although disappointed, I did find the Bananas Foster Cake. Now, I don’t know too many people who wouldn’t love a banana cake and with five bananas in the mix, this one sounded fantastic.

The cake recipe was perfectly simple to mix up and the batter was light and fluffy. Although my baking time ended up a little longer that what was recommended, the cake looked delicious, even before it was doused in rum. I’m sure the golden and moist cake would have been more than perfect stopping right there!

…But Hannah couldn’t end her delicious dessert now, there was frosting and caramelized bananas to go.

Even though I’m not a fan of margarine, I opted to stick to the printed recipe. I had a tough time getting the frosting completely smooth and most of my testers (and surprisingly, my kids included) found the icing a bit sweet but admitted the caramel was a great combination with the bananas.

There is passion and talent all through this book. Hannah, who only just celebrated her 19th birthday, has has written a book filled terrific special occasion recipes and everyday treats. With all the photos and aThis is a book both you and your guests will love.

Now there are the rest of the earmarked pages for me to try. The tempting Pink Lemonade Tartletes, Pumpkin Toffee Trifle and the Silken Chocolate Mousse Cake are topping my list, I just have to wait for my order from the vegan surplus to come in.

Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.


…And read this book.

I probably can’t tell you how excited I was to snag an advanced copy of this book last week.
Already being a fan of Michael Pollan and specifically his last book, Omnivore’s Dilemma, this book is a continuation of his essay entitled “Unhappy Meals”, published in The New York Times Magazine.

It was wonderful to read about many opinions I already shared about what we’re being told to eat. The fantastic amount of precision and research put into this celebration of food is extraordinary. Being a “foodie” some facts regarding nutritionism was not something I’d thought of much but do believe in quite a bit. If you’re like me, this book may be redundant as to the ways you already appreciate food and if that’s the case, upon reading you may agree that this could be the book to send Michael Pollan on a Al Gore-esq road tour promoting respect for growers, quality of food, tradition and community in order play a hand in the relief of global warming as well as Western Diseases.

Buy this book, read it, and share it. In writing or reading a blog, it’s obvious we all appreciate food. We flock to quality ingredients, love preparing them and sharing with others. This book details the importance of all that and could be the tipping point that sits us down to the best meal of our lives.

Hosting


I am so excited I had to share the news of my hosting duties for the December edition of “Does My Blog Look Good In This?”
The ultimate hosting extravaganza, this side of Christmas is happening right now over at my other blog, Food+Photography.
If you haven’t visited yet, please do, this site was practically made for it.

It may be hard to tell, but I love taking pictures, almost as much as making the food for them. When I first began this blog I wanted a place to share my adventures in vegan cooking and to catalogue my recipes. I was surprised at my facination around the photos. I loved taking them and seeking new, beautiful shots out around the internet.

Imagine my delight when Andrew asked me to host this month’s DMBLGIT!
I’ve asked who I think are some of the most talented photographers within my personal sphere to judge the entries and they all accepted. I think this will be a very exciting edition of DMBLGIT.
Go and see then enter your best shots from November posts.

Wow!


Talk about an early Christmas present!
Although I haven’t won anything yet, Margot, over at Coffee and Vanilla has nominated ME, in her Inspiring Food Photography contest this month.
Although the competition is quite steep with the the utterly talented Matt and Chicka, I almost feel like filler, but I am so, so flattered all the same.

Anyway, check it out. For the past few months, Margot has scoped the food loving earth and found some really talented photographers. Trust me, I’ve certainly been updating my bookmarks!

Sushi Nights & Wasabi Fights


Back when I was younger and maybe a little more daring, dinners at home were sure tear jerkers.

My room mate and I at the time would frequently bring home or make our own sushi. In fact, it was our equivalent to most other twenty something’s macaroni and cheese.

About a bottle of sake later, the games would begin….
Starting with a fleck, then working up to a gob, we would up each other’s wasabi intake. For those unfamiliar with the powers of the great green Japanese horseradish, wasabi most closely resembles a spicy hot mustard sensation.

Serving our sushi with it’s typical Wasabi-joyu, soy sauce combination for dipping, we embraced the festivities, upping the ante with the additional blob atop the sushi itself. You see, when wasabi is a even a little over loaded, the sensation is nothing like the burning tongue of a pepper. Starting with a tingle, it continues, flurrying up your nasal passage, stopping only at the bottom of your eye, usually finishing with a tear and a jolt of adrenaline.

Watching someone suffer is not only entertaining, but addictive, which, I suppose is why we did it. As juvenile foodies, I’m sure there is much more mischief we could have been getting ourselves into. But oh, it hurt so good.


Continue reading Sushi Nights & Wasabi Fights