Vote For Me & Your Favourite Party Food


I have to say that I was not only pleasantly surprised but pretty proud that vegan choices are shortlisted over at the Marx Holiday Party Food Contest.
I was contacted last night and told that my recipes had made the finals, just in time for everyone’s last Holiday weekend of food prep! Finally, I think that it’s so great that options are out there for vegans and other Holiday guests with allergies or diet restrictions. Plus with a grand prize of $400, we could see some really fancy truffle recipes in the new year! Yum!

Since it’s the season of giving, please go and vote for me. For every vote that I get, no matter the outcome, I will be donating double that in a dollar amount to our city food bank.

Palak Paneer Phyllo Triangles


Perfect for using up left overs on just on their own, these little triangles make a great appetizer or side for a soup.

It took me a while to dig into Palak Paneer, the Indian creamed spinach with homemade cheese.
It wasn’t until a friend of mine returned from an extended stay in India and reintroduced me to a few more traditional dishes, that I realized spinach is a very welcomed side to a spicy curry.
Of course for a vegan version, I make my “paneer” from a diced, fried, firm silken tofu which is soft and mildly flavoured, like the paneer which satisfied my cheese knowing tongue.

For the triangles I add just a little more to the flavour combination with minced red bell pepper and some fresh basil.

PALAK PANEER

5-6 Cups packed Spinach
1 Cup packed arugula (optional)
1/2 Package firm silken tofu
1 Medium Sized Onion, minced
2-3 Bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Minced Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Minced Garlic
1/2 teaspoon Green chili paste
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp. Black pepper
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, finely diced
5-6 Large Basil Leaves, finely chopped
Vegetable oil as required

12 Sheets of Phyllo DoughMix ginger and garlic into a paste, add green chilli paste and water to combine.
Add the spinach and arugula to a large pan with a fitted lit.
Pour the ginger-garlic-chili liquid over the rinsed spinach and arugula.
Cover and steam for about 7-8 minutes.
Cool slightly and drain excess liquid.
Cut tofu into 1/2″ cubes.
Heat enough oil to just cover the bottom of a sauté pan. Fry the tofu pieces over a medium heat till they are slightly browned.
Remove tofu with a slotted spoon and continue to drain tofu on paper and set the aside.
Drain all but 1 tablespoon of oil from sauté pan. Fry bay leaves and cumin seeds. Add chopped onion. Sauté until the onions become tender.
Add salt, pepper, and garam masala. Stir well.
Remove bay leaves then add onions along with the spinach to a food processor.
Purée, adding tablespoonfuls of water as necessary until smooth.
Transfer spinach mixture to a bowl and stir in tofu, basil and red peppers.
Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Lay one sheet of phyllo on a cutting board and brush it lightly with oil.
Carefully lay another sheet on top of the first then cut into 3 strips, lengthwise.
Cover the remaining sheets with a dampened cloth to keep them from drying.
Scoop a heaping tablespoonful of the prepared spinach mixture onto the end of one of the cut strips.
Fold over once to cover then flip the left corner up and over to form a triangle.
Continue to fold the straight ends over to keep the triangle shape, finishing the length of the phyllo.
With a moistened finger, wet the last edge of the phyllo to seal.
Repeat with the remaining phyllo sheets, cutting them into strips, filling then folding over into triangles.
Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 12 – 15 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.
Makes 18 triangles.

Surpisingly Easy Hors D’oeuvres That Don’t Involve Opening a Chip Bag.


I don’t know about you, but I typically go one of two ways when I’m on hors D’oeuvres duty; Chips and dip or stress with what will impress.

I like entertaining and I quite like the reputation that guests don’t need to eat before a gathering at my place. Lately I’ve found a few speedy plates that are quick to keep everyone happy and you chatty while you catch up with company.

The eggplant caviar only takes a bit of prep time with the roasting but with a food processor, everything was so speedy quick that I also threw together some whole grain flat bread in the meantime. Sure, you could buy crackers but this way, you not only know what’s in them, but it’s up to you and your taste buds to add what goes on them. Roll them out and cut them into dainty shapes or go fast and fun and leave them just so. They’re thin and crisp and cracking a piece off to spread some paté just lays things back a little.


Continue reading Surpisingly Easy Hors D’oeuvres That Don’t Involve Opening a Chip Bag.

Eggplant Caviar




EGGPLANT CAVIAR

1 Eggplant, halved and roasted
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
1 Head Garlic, roasted
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1 Tablespoon Parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Salt, or to taste
Black Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Halve the eggplant and lightly salt each side.
Lay cut side down in a roasting pan.
Cut the top stem from the head of garlic.
Drizzle over a small amount of olive oil and wrap tightly in foil.
Bake the eggplant and garlic for 30 minutes or until both are tender.
Once cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the eggplant and add the pulp to a food processor.
Squeeze the garlic from it’s skin and add it and the lemon juice to the eggplant.
Pulse to combine.
Add the parsley, salt and pepper, mixing to incorporate.
Adjust seasoning to taste, adding more salt, if necessary.
Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Mushroom Paté


MUSHROOM PATÉ

2 Portabella Mushrooms, finely chopped
10 Shitake Mushrooms, 3/4 Cup trimmed and sliced
1 Leek, white and light green parts only, well rinsed and finely chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon Dried Rosemary, ground
1/3 Cup Red Bell Pepper, finely minced
3 Tablespoons Brandy
2 teaspoons Parsley, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Chives, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Arrowroot Powder or Cornstarch

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan and add the garlic and leeks.
Once the leeks are soft, add the mushrooms, salt, pepper and rosemary.
Sauté over a medium high setting until the mushrooms are tender and have begun to dry.
Add the peppers and brandy continuing to sauté for 2 minutes more.
Toss in 1 teaspoon of the parsley and remove from heat.
Cool then add to the food processor pulsing to chop.
Firmly press mixture into ramekins.

To make the chive gelée for the topping, add 1/3 cup of water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
Add the chopped chives and remaining parsley.
Dissolve the arrowroot powder in 1/4 cup cold water and add, stirring to thicken.
Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
Spoon an even layer over the prepared mushroom paté and refrigerate until set and ready to serve.