Saturday 8 October 2011

Green Lentil & Dill Salad

1 cup raw romaine lettuce or kale, chopped 3/4 cup cooked green lentils
1 large tomato, sliced
1 large beet, sliced
1 small cucumber, sliced
1 small grilled eggplant
Handful of fresh dill, chopped

Makes 2 appetizer-sized servings, or 1 main-course serving.

Enjoy :)

Grilled Eggplant

Although it's usually cold by this time in October here in Toronto, this week is unusually warm. I took advantage of the warm weather this Saturday and did some grilling.

The following is a simple recipe that can be enjoyed as a stand-alone side dish or as part of a salad, etc. Enjoy! :)

Grilled Eggplant

3-4 small eggplants (preferably some sort of small, round variety)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
Juice of 1/2 lemon (1.5 tablespoons lemon juice)


Mix the oil, salt, and lemon juice in a small cup or tiny bowl. Set aside.

Using a knife, cut off the tips of the eggplant off and "stab" the eggplant all over, until the eggplant is thoroughly punctured throughout.

Roll the eggplants through the oily mixture and pour an extra teaspoon or 2 onto each one, or until the eggplant is thoroughly covered in the mixture (making sure to get some oil into the holes you punctured with the knife).

Last but not least...

Grill away! (Remember to flip the eggplants over at least once or twice while grilling, so that all sides of the eggplant get grilled.)

The eggplants should now be very soft and easy to take apart into small pieces.

Enjoy as a stand-alone appetizer or use in a salad, etc.

Sunday 2 October 2011

Shredded Brussel Sprouts with Apples and Pecans

Like Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is a chef and author who's really become a household name in the vegan community. Sometimes called the "Vegan Martha Stewart", she regularly promotes veganism online and in public presentations.

As I've mentioned before, I'm not too terribly interested in talking about people that everyone already knows about - but I also believe in giving credit where credit is due. The following recipe is from one of her cookbooks, called "Color Me Vegan". The book is an interesting collection of antioxidant-rich meals.

That is, antioxidants are basically molecules found in plants that help the plant protect itself from damage from the sun's powerful rays. When humans eat plants (fruits, vegetables, etc), our bodies absorb the antioxidants, and the molecules are transferred to our bodies, where they help our bodies fight off disease. A diet high in antioxidants (i.e., high in fruits in vegetables) has therefore found to protect us against a variety of diseases, from Alzheimer's to heart disease and beyond.

Antioxidants also give fruits and vegetables their bright colours - for example, the bright orange colour of carrots comes from the high levels of beta-carotene found in them (which is great for your eyes). "Color Me Vegan" groups recipes according to their colour - orange, green, purple, red, yellow, blue, brown, etc. Each colour corresponds to certain antioxidants - orange is for beta-carotene, blue/purple is for anthocyanian & saponins, yellow is for lutein, and so on. Each antioxidant has distinct properties that benefit your health in various ways.

The following is a "green" recipe. Brussels sprouts are a source of indole-3-carbonil (which has been shown to ward off cancer in the body) along with vitamin C, vitamin K, B-vitamins, and potassium. Although I'm not usually a fan of Brussels sprouts, the following is a tasty and easy-to-make way to enjoy this healthy vegetable more often.


Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Pecans

1 tablespoon olive oil
1.5lbs slightly undercooked Brussels sprouts, shredded
2 small~medium green apples, cubed & unpeeled
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 lb pecan pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Juice from one lemon (optional)


In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shredded Brussels sprouts and 1/2 teaspoon salt and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes until the sprouts have brightened and are soft.

Add the apple cubes and maple syrup, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the apples are heated  through but not too soft.

At the end of the cooking time, add the pecans and salt (to taste), and lemon juice and toss.

As always, you'll have to forgive me for my less-than-great photography skills ;)

Bon apétit!

My apologies...

Before I get back into posting recipes on a regular basis here, I just wanted to say that I'm terribly, terribly sorry for not having posted for so long.

Since that's obviously not going to suffice, I should explain what's been going: y'see, when I started this blog, I got into a sort of "pattern" (or habit, if you prefer) of posting regularly. Continuing to post regularly was therefore quite easy, since it merely required me to keep on doing what I was already doing. In August, some stressful changes happened at work that resulted in me working longer hours in worse conditions, and I stopped posting - and going back to (teh horror!) school has done nothing to lessen that sense of disorientation.

Put another way: if you're a pilot stearing a plane and you're already in the air, it's easy to keep going because you've already got momentum. But if you have to stop and land somewhere half-way, getting back up in the air can be annoying, because you're not really in the swing of things. That's basically what happened to me with this blog.

Anyway, expect to see 2 (sometimes 3) recipes posted here weekly from now on.

In the meantime, stay vegan (or go vegan, if you aren't already), and keep on fighting the good fight - non-violently, of course :)

Happy eating! And remember:

Peace :)

Friday 5 August 2011

Gazpacho Soup

Gazpacho is a raw tomato and bell pepper soup originating from Andalusia region of Spain. It is served cold, usually in the summer months. Although it is not usually served as a meal on its own, it could easy be made into a light lunch if you add some of the garnishes mentioned below, and/or served with a small side.

The following recipe is from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen - an excellent book that proves itself once again as an exceptional source of authentic, flavourful reipes. Having been to Spain myself and having tried authentic gazpacho soup, I can say that this recipe is the best/closest thing I've seen to what I had in Spain.



2lbs vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seedes, & coarsely chopped, with juices
1 medium yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 bunch thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts, seperated
1 slice stale Italian of French bread (28oz), crusts removed, soaked in water and squeezed dry
2 tablespoons sherry or balsamic vinegar
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
Pinch ground cumin (optinal)
Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup water
Pinch sugar, or to taste
Optional garnishes: croutons, avocado slices, toasted chopped hazelnuts, diced cucumber, etc.


In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, place the tomatoes, chopped bell peppers, white parts of the scallions, bread, vinegar, garlic, cumin & cayenne (if using). Process until smooth and foamy. With the motor running, add the oil and water in a steady stream. Transfer to a large bowl; cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Add sugar, or to taste. Serve chilled, with optional garnishes, if desired.

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Dal-Vegetable Stew

This is the 2nd post on this blog with a recipe from The Indian Vegan Kitchen.

I didn't have the mung beans and red pigeon peas recommended in this recipe, so I used romano beans and black-eyed peas instead. The combination of beans, lentils and vegetabels in this dish make it a more or less complete meal, but feel free to serve it over a bed of rice or with a side dish (such as stuffed banana peppers).

Dal-Vegetable Stew

1/3 cup toor dal (pigeon peas)
1/3 cup mung dal (mung beans)
1/3 cup pink lentils, rinsed
4 cups water
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 cups butternut/acorn squash or pumpkin, peeled & cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes

Ingredients for the paste:

1 tablespoon garlic, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon ginger, peeled & coarsely chopped
1 cup tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped

1. Pre-cook the toor and mung dal for about an hour, so they that are just slightly under-cooked.

2. In a deep skillet, combine the toor/mung dals with lentils, salt, turmeric, squash, eggplant, and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the dals and vegetables are very soft.

3. In the meantime, prepare paste: in a blender, combine garlic, ginger, tomatoes, cumin seeds, garam masala, coriander, cayenne pepper, and water. Grind to a smooth paste. Set aside.

4. In a large frying pan, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add onion and fry 1-2 minutes until slightly browned. Add the paste and fry until oil seperates, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Add the oil and paste mixture to the stew in the skillet. Add 1/2 cup water, or more as needed, for desire consistency (should be thick and stew-like). Bring to a boil, reduce heat a low boil, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Sunday 31 July 2011

Stuffed Banana Peppers

This recipe is the first in this blog that comes from The Indian Vegan Kitchen - a great cookbook that I recently got with lots of authentic, flavourful recipes. Banana peppers are mild, but the filling used in this recipe is very spicy, so beware ;)

Stuffed Banana Peppers

8 banana peppers
2/3 cup besan (chickpea flour)
1/3 cup dry-roasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely ground
1/8 asefetida powder (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon & 1 teaspoon oil, seperated
1/3 cup water

Wash and dry the peppers. Make a slit on one side from the stem end to the tip of the peppers, making an opening. Do not cut through the peppers. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together besan and ground peanuts. Add asefetida/garlic powder, cumin seeds, turmeric, salt, coriander, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice. Mix well. Add 1 teaspoon of the oil and the 1/3 cup water into the mixture, making it crumbly. The mix will be thick and sticky.

Fill the peppers with batter. Using your thumbs to pry them open, add the batter, and with a finger spread the batter evenly into the opening. Fill the peppers about half full with batter. (Besan batter is sticky and hard to work with - some of it might stick to the outside of the pepper, but try to avoid it.)

Heating the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a largey nonstick fry pan on medium-high heat. Add the stuffed banana peppers in a single layer, filled side up. Cover up with lid and cook for 5-6 minutes until the peppers are tender (they change colour and appear transparent; the besan filling will harden and fill the peppers). Turn the peppers occasionally using tongs, making sure to evenly brown all sides. Remove the lid and cook for another 2 minutes, turning occasionally.

Using tongs, transfer peppers to a serving dish. Discard any remaining oil.

Serve with a stew or lentil curry.