Thankful


On a recent trip to the country side, it was easy to absorb the surroundings and be thankful for what we have. The warm autumn days have brought with it a tremendous bounty.

While on the road, we were fortunate to experience one of the more remarkable pumpkin patches of recent memory. Flooded by the sea of orange, we washed up by the barn only to be further delighted by the classy heirloom varieties our hosts, the Nauman’s, had so knowledgeably grown over the past 100 days or so.

Beautiful and rarely seen French and Italian heirloom pumpkins soon filled my cart once only destined to carry orange carvers. Pink, red, blue and green classics, fit for a princess’s coach were on their way into my life to nobly, and tastily end theirs.

During the purchase of my great pumpkins, I naturally dreamed of creamy, spiced pies but thoughts shift creatively with vegan visitors and Thanksgiving at your doorstep.

Cracking into my vibrant Rouge Vif D’Etampe, I couldn’t help but imagine it’s outcome. This stunning, old French heirloom is also known as Cinderella’s Carriage, as it was used as the artist’s model in the Disney classic. It’s lovely, dense, creamy orange interior yielded about 5 cups of puréed intention. Ideal for baking, the Rouge Vif is smooth and easy to relieve of any excess liquid. This pumpkin easily puts any Holiday can of pie to shame and is well worth the small, extra effort.


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Five Things And A Basket Of Peaches – Part Three


After so many sweet peaches I wanted something savoury. To get over the top of the mid-week peach, I decided on a chutney. Perfect along side anything roasted, grilled, atop some chèvre on a cracker, or as individual tarts with pistachio and parmigiana. You can make it as spicy as you’d like, or even double the recipe, it’ll last for a while in the fridge.

SPICED PEACH CHUTNEY

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Red Onion, finely chopped
3 Slices Candied Ginger or 1″ fresh ginger, grated
1 Clove Garlic, minced
Juice and Zest of One Lemon
1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
3 Peaches, peeled
1 Green Scallion
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 teaspoon Coriander Seeds
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes, or one dried, red chili
3 Peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon Dried Cumin

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan.
Peel and finely chop the onion and sauté until translucent; about 3 – 5 minutes.
Peel and cube the peaches into small, bite sized pieces.
Using a mortar and pestle, crush the ginger, coriander, chili and peppercorns.
Add the garlic, spices and salt to the onion, followed by the peaches and sugar.
Once the peaches have begun to release their juices, add the vinegar and finely chopped scallion.
When the chutney has thickened, remove it from the heat and adjust any necessary seasonings.
Cool slightly and store in a seal able container or jar in the refrigerator.

Summer Fresh Tomato Sauce


Can’t you just imagine the tomato flavour? Pure as the day it was grown, this no cook sauce is a cinch to make and creates a perfect way to highlight light or stuffed pastas.


FRESH TOMATO SAUCE

2 Tomatoes, skinned and seeded
1 Clove Garlic, Puréed
pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Bring a large pot of water to boil.
Prepare a bowl of ice water.
Score the bottom of the tomatoes and drop them into the boiling water for about 1 minute.
Remove and plunge them into the cold water.
Core the tomatoes and remove the skins; slice and remove the seeds.
Mash the tomatoes with a fork and add the puréed garlic, salt and olive oil; mix well.

Brown Butter Zucchini


It’s Farmer’s Market Day – again. As I began to troll the stalls, I was almost sure it would be the standard fare – until I spotted these. Baby everything! Courgettes, patty pan squash, they even had silver dollar cauliflower, such a great way to get through the overwhelming number of summer squash!

For a super easy side dish worthy of a gourmet status, just rinse and steam the vegetables until fork tender. In a dry sauté pan, toast a handful of pine nuts. When they are golden on all sides, add about 3 tablespoons of butter (or the vegan variety) to melt and turn a pale brown. Pour it over the little steamed squash and serve immediately – family style. I’m a citrus addict, so I added a touch of lemon zest along with some freshly ground black pepper, but I’ll leave that up to you.

Simple and quick, but when I do it again I’ll have to make more – I ate the whole plate.

Raspberry Tart


After a meal last week, I thought about some of my recipes on the site.
You see, my sister in law, along with being vegan, suffers from Celiac Disease which is a gluten intolerance restricting her diet of all wheat, rye and barley products.
No meat, no dairy and no bread. Poor girl.

To her, wheat shows it’s ugly head often. It’s in so much more that the mere loaf of bread – it’s in cakes, pastries, muffins, most veggie burgers, hot dogs and soy sauce.

This was the problem I feared when I first met with my vegan cooking challenge. I’ve gone on about creating a satisfying meal for my guests. I have to admit I feel just awful when I see her eating only hummus or grilled vegetables then skipping dessert, all while we’re all slathering our freshly toasted buns with bar-b-qed goodies.

It’s not the full meal, but here’s a little more than a popsicle for your next dessert; a gluten free, no bake raspberry tart. Happy early birthday, my dear. I hope you like it.

RASPBERRY TART

You will need about 2 Pints (3-4 cups) of fresh raspberries for the final topping.

CRUST

1/3 Cup Almonds
1/2 Cup Oatmeal
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Margarine
1/8 teaspoon Salt (pinch)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a saucepan, melt the margarine. Add the vanilla and brown sugar; mix well.
Simmer over a medium heat and allow to simmer for 2 -3 minutes.
In a food processor, combine the almonds and half of the oats, until well ground.
Add the remaining oatmeal, cinnamon and salt; pulsing to combine.
Empty the dry mixture into a medium sized bowl and pour over the hot syrup.
Once the crust mixture is well combined, transfer to an 8 inch tart pan.
Spread out and evenly press the mixture along the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
Chill to set, about 20 minutes or just while you prepare the filling.

TOFU CREAM

1/2 Package Soft Silken Tofu
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
4 Tablespoons Confectioners Sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Arrowroot Powder
2 Tablespoons Soy Milk

Combine tofu and sugar in a food processor and process until smooth.
With the machine running, add the arrowroot, soy milk, lemon juice and vanilla through the feeder cap.
Taste and adjust vanilla and soy milk for flavour and consistency, if necessary.

Pour into the waiting crust and return it to the refrigerator.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE

1/2 Cup Chocolate Pieces, vegan
1 Tablespoon Margarine
2 Tablespoons Soy Milk

Melt the chocolate pieces in a double boiler or in a heat safe bowl fitted over a pan of simmering water.
Stir in the margarine.
Whisk in the milk to combining until smooth.
Pour over chilling tart.

Top with raspberries and dust with confectioners sugar, if desired.
Chill until ready to serve.

Granola Bars


Yummy. Can we say waay better than store bought? And the kids like ’em too.

GRANOLA BARS

1/4 Cup Vegan Margarine
1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar (packed) – Check your source
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
1 teaspoon Vanilla
3 Cups Rolled Oats (regular, not quick)
1 Cup Rice Krispies
1/2 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Banana Chips (crushed), optional
1/2 Cup Hazelnuts (crushed), optional

Method

Combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla and margarine in a saucepan.
Melt the sugar and bring the mixture to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for about two minutes.
Remove the sugar mixture from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
Combine the oatmeal, rice, banana chips and half of the chocolate pieces (or other dry ingredients) in a large bowl.
Pour over the brown sugar mixture, stirring to coat everything well.

Spread evenly in a 13″ x 9″ dish.

Press remaining chocolate over top to incorporate and flatten the bars.

Refrigerate for about 2 hours or until set.

Cut into bars (or squares).

Alternates to try

Omit the banana chips and chocolate for one cup worth of the following combinations:

Dried cherries (1/4C) and chocolate (1/2C) with slivered almonds (1/4C)

Dried coconut (1/4C), banana chips (1/2C) and sunflower seeds (1/4C)

Dried cranberries and hemp seeds