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

Baked Oatmeal


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The great thing about vegan cooking, especially in the time of a pandemic, is the know-how to cook with substitutes. There are chronic shortages of groceries, but not the desire to feed ourselves well.

Confined in a distancing bubble with teenagers, the need to eat is frequent – but so is boredom. When every morning has been leftover banana bread, waffles, cereal or a smoothie, I’ve been starting to get some shrugs. It’s been tough trying to please everyone in the middle of the apocalypse.

And yes, it’s only a Tuesday (I think) but I’ve got the time and we’re trying to stay healthy here so, I hit the pantry to see what was new. I got the glaze over when I mentioned oatmeal at first, but when I kept looking, I remembered the frozen fruit stockpiled for those smoothies and a fresh vitamin boost. So, to make it interesting, I realized if I could bake rice, I should do it with the oatmeal too.

I think mostly anything you have on hand could be replaced for the fruit in this.
We’ve been lucky to be part of Foodshare. It’s a great organization that not only delivers fresh fruit and veg to my doorstep every week, it also gives back to support the nutritionally vulnerable. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been surprised with a pineapple, so that was added to the frozen blueberries! You could try banana/blueberry, or raspberry with lemon zest and almonds or hazelnut – or if you have those, hazelnut and chocolate. Go crazy!

 

BAKED OATMEAL

2 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seed
1/3 Cup Almonds, chopped
2 Cups Whole Oats
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoons Baking Powder
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, melted
1 1/2 Cups Milk (Any kind)
1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
2/3 Cup Pineapple, finely diced
1 Cup Blueberries
2 Tablespoons Brown, Raw or Coconut Sugar, for sprinkling

In a small bowl combine the ground flax with 1/3 Cup water and set aside.
Roughly chop the almonds and scatter flat in a 9″x9″ baking pan.
Set the oven to preheat the oven to 350ºF. Add the almonds to toast (about 5 minutes), while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Peel and dice the pineapple so it is about the size of a large blueberry.
In a large bowl, add the oats, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and toasted almonds.
Pour over the milk, maple syrup, coconut oil and flax mixture. Stir well to combine evenly, then add the diced pineapple and blueberries to incorporate throughout.
Add mixture to the baking pan and sprinkle with the brown sugar.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until set. Cool slightly for about 5-10 minutes.

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.

 

 

 

 

Vegan Dumplings For A Health-filled New Year


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Happy New Year!

Lunar New Year is the extra bit of horoscope magic we like to celebrate in our house. Years ahead full of health and prosperity are good things to strive for. Sitting down and folding dumplings as a family is pretty amazing too.
Other than a lot of dicing, the filling comes together pretty quickly to make a dinner full of dumplings. Folding isn’t too tough either. There are lots of folds varieties to choose from. An easy triangle, to more complicated pleats, but the trick is just to get the air out and seal the edges well.
For these I started with an off point triangle and to fancy them up, folded each of the lower corners up to make a bit of a lucky dragon type of shape.

Gong hei fat choy!

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VEGAN DUMPLINGS

For The Filling:

1/2 Block Firm Tofu, pressed and finely diced (about 1 Cup)
3 Dried Shiitake Mushrooms, reconstituted and finely diced (about 1/4 Cup)
1 Medium Carrot, finely grated
1 Cup Napa Cabbage, finely shredded
1/4 Red Pepper, finely diced
1 Clove Garlic, finely grated (with a microplane)
1 teaspoon Fresh Ginger, peeled and finely grated (with a microplane)
1 teaspoon Cilantro, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Package Wonton Wrappers
1 Tablespoon Sesame Seed Oil, for frying
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil, for frying

Combine the filling ingredients together. To fill the dumplings, add about one teaspoon of the filling to one wrapper. Glide your finger along the edges of the wrapper to dampen the edges. Fold the dumpling into a triangle, working the air out and sealing the edges well. Fold the corners up to create a dragon fold, or bring them together and seal to create a more traditional wonton shape.
Collect the finished dumplings on a parchment lined baking sheet. If you’d like to freeze for later use, store in an airtight container.
To cook, add 1/4 cup of water to a large skillet. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce to medium and add the dumplings, with space in between, and cover. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and add 1 Tablespoon of sesame seed oil and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Loosen any dumplings, as necessary to get the oil under them, then leave them to fry for about another 3-5 minutes or until golden-crisp.

For The Dipping Sauce:

1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
2 teaspoons Sesame Seed Oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha
1 teaspoon Cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Seeds, optional

If using, toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat, stirring frequently. Once they begin to pop and brown, remove them from the heat.
Combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and sriracha. Stir in the chopped cilantro and sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds.

Makes 30 Dumplings

Versatile Meatless Meatballs


The other day, my friend dropped me a line asking if I had any meatball recipes.
You see, she was off to a Holiday potluck and being vegetarian, her and her husband wanted to offer something familiar on the carnivorous table, as well as have something to satisfy themselves.

I suddenly realized that the site was a bit lacking on the soy and meat replacement type options. I’d decided I was long overdue. Since the whole point of this site is to satisfy (everybody) I figured I’d better get cracking.

One option, other than just removing meat, is to just use breadcrumbs but since most meatballs are held together with eggs, I had a little more of a challenge ahead to make them stick. However, my biggest concern was, of course flavour and texture. With a combination of finely chopped mushrooms, crumbs and a glutenous flour to hold them together, they turned out pretty great, if I may say so myself:)

Hence the name, this recipe is pretty versatile, good for either marinara sauces or gravies.

MEATLESS MEATBALLS

1 Cup Breadcrumbs, coarse
1 Cup  Minced Mushrooms, I used crimini
1 Clove Garlic, finely minced (or 1/2 t garlic powder will do in a pinch)
2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast Flakes
3/4 Cup Vital Wheat Gluten Flour
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, vegan
1 Tablespoon Tamari or soy sauce
3 Tablespoons finely chopped baby spinach leaves*
1 Vegetable bouillon cube
1/2 Cup Hot Water

Dissolve the bouillon cube in the hot water. Add the worcestershire and tamari and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, mushrooms, garlic, nutritional yeast flakes, and flour.
Pour over the liquid and spinach.
Knead the mixture together to form a firm dough.
Pinch off 1 inch sized pieces to roll into balls.

Either heat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC) or heat a layer of vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat.
If baking, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and evenly distribute the meatballs so they aren’t touching.
Bake for 15 minutes then roll each of the meatballs over to brown the other sides, baking for an additional 15 minutes.

If frying, (I liked this version better) add the meatballs to the heated oil to fill the pan, without overcrowding.
Fry the meatballs, moving occasionally to evenly brown them on all sides.
Remove from the pan and allow to drain on a paper towel while you finish up any remaining meatballs.

*Depending on the end dish, you could choose to add additional seasoning such as parsley, thyme, oregano or basil for tomato sauces and rosemary or thyme for brown (mushroom) gravies.

Potato Leek Soup


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It’s unseasonably warm but damp today. Crazily enough, once winter takes it’s hold, at least for me, I just wish it would put us into it’s full throws. Cold, crisp, freeze your the inside of your nose, crunchy snow kind of winter. I find it a little easier warming up from the cold rather than the damp which is why today, I needed a little extra help.

Quick, satisfying, revive you to your toes help, like potato leek soup.

Potato leek is virtually the premise for most vegan “cream” soups, which is what makes it so perfect.
The simplicity leaves for the attention to details like the perfect potato, consistency, herb combination and finishing drizzles of infused oils and the like. It’s a free pallet that’s open for individual taste, but no matter what your preference, the satisfaction is all there.

I choose to keep my soup fairly au natural as possible – garnish with what you will: herbs, infused oils, chillies, maybe croutons, then jazzing it up with some little bite sized Walnut Rosemary and Kalamata Madeleines.
Mmmm savoury and delicious.

 

CREAMLESS POTATO LEEK SOUP

2 Large Leeks, light green and white parts only
4 Cups Yukon Gold Potatoes, about 2 large, peeled & diced
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons Dry White Wine
4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
1/2 Sprig Fresh Rosemary, finely minced, about 1/2 teaspoon
2 Bay Leaves
6 Cups Vegetable Stock
1 teaspoon Salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper or to taste

 

Top and trim the leeks. Halve lengthwise and rinse to remove any dirt between the layers. Thinly slice.
Peel and dice the potatoes.
In a large stockpot, heat the oil to medium-high.
Add the leeks to the oil and sweat until they are softened, about 3-5 minutes.
Pour over the wine and sauté for an additional minute.
Add the potatoes and stir well to prevent sticking.
Strip the leaves from the thyme stems by holding firmly and running your fingers backwards to the tip of the sprig. Remove the rosemary leaves from the stem and roughly chop. Add the leaves along with the stock, salt, and bay leaves. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.
Add the pepper and remove the bay leaves.
Blend with a hand immersion blender or a food processor until smooth.
Adjust salt and pepper, if necessary.

Garnish with truffle oil, chives, thyme, chilis or roasted garlic.