Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Vegetarian meals for one and this week's BK video: Saffron

My omnivorous beau started a new gig requiring that he be on the road 2 out of every 3 weeks. This is my first week as a loner at the dinner table. I’m used to cooking for 2 everyday, and although I will cook vegetarian meals for both of us, I tend to go a little heavy on dairy and fat to try and please his palate (and pack pounds around my waist).

As soon as he left for the week, I went through the fridge and cleaned out all the leftover meat products and made room for my groceries. I stocked up on two days worth of veggies and two pieces of mock chicken. 

Yesterday, I made myself oatmeal in the morning, and for lunch, I had a tex-mex salad in a bag – yes I’m lazy and work full time folks – and added one piece of the mock chicken.  I then had dinner at university; I’m taking one class per semester to keep the gray matter moving.

At lunch, I had fake franks and chipotle beans. I then went to the market to pick up broccoli, red bell pepper, shitake mushrooms, Portobello mushrooms,  oyster mushrooms, button mushrooms, firm tofu  and udon brown rice noodles to make myself my broccoli and tofu stir-fry.  I’m starting to feel under the weather and there’s nothing like ginger, garlic and mushrooms to ward off any lingering bug. 

And let’s not forget our month long collaboration with the bodacious Nadia G. This week, we are discovering saffron, or maybe not. :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Celebration Menu Ideas for a Vegetarian Thanksgiving

The holidays are upon us with Canadian Thanksgiving behind us and now American Thanksgiving this week, I'd like to propose some festive menu ideas for small and larger crowds.

  1. My first and foremost favorite is Tofurkey. It's amazing. I love getting the Tofurkey kit with the dumplings, jerky wishbone and mushroom gravy. It's so simple to whip up that you can focus on the sides that will make your celebration plentyfull. I've had many of my omnivorous friends that have been pleasantly surprised at just how good a mock bird it is. With its bread and rice stuffing and seitan/vegetable/tofu outer shell. simple, delicious, a great center piece. On its own, it easily feeds 4 to 6.
  2. If you are more of a do-it-yourself person, you can make your own vegan turkey roast using Brian P. McCarthy's recipe at Everyday Dish TV, it even includes a great instructional video.  I love this site!
  3. The next item is my "scalloped" squash and blue potato bake. You can easily veganize this recipe by using non-dairy milk to build the bechamel.  This offers enough sides for 12.
  4.  If you prefer a lighter side, the stuffed pumpkin with harvest vegetables could do the trick, and can also offer enough sides for 12.
  5. Why not serve a side of mock chopped liver, also known as mushroom pate? It's amazing served as little hors-d'oeuvres with some kind of port berry jam.
  6. One thing I always like to keep on hand when entertaining for the holidays is maple roasted nuts. Vegetarian Times has an amazing recipe for pecans but you can basically substitute with any kind of raw nut. I like to mix almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds and hazelnuts.
  7. In terms of beverages, mulled wines and ciders are always warming and festive.  Pick any wine or cider you like, and slowly simmer with cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, cardamon, orange and lemon slices for 10 minutes, then serve in sugar rimmed mugs and a long cinnamon stick. Add in some brandy if you want it to have an extra kick.
So what are your festive menu ideas for Thanksgiving? I'd love to hear them. 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Great ad for the International Vegetarian Union

And now for something completely different, a brilliantly designed  advertisement promoting vegetarianism.

I came across this great vegetarian ad through one of my daily guilty pleasures: The Daily What. What great use of vegetables to showcase the beauty of internal organs.

I don't think I'll be able to look at cauliflower and gingerroot the same way ever again!

This ad promotes the International Vegetarian Union.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Lunch Review of TribuTerre (Formerly Tibet Libre) NOT 100% Vegetarian

I decided to treat myself to lunch today and headed for TribuTerre on 2ieme Avenue and Cremazie. Under the Tibet Libre name, it was boasted as a vegetarian pizzeria, but they’ve changed their name, location and took on a broader vocation of being dedicated to all things fair trade and artistic. I was so excited to know that there was finally a vegetarian restaurant within reasonable distance from my office...

Although the new locale is gorgeous, bright and the live piano music is enchanting and service is decent; I left disappointed, still hungry and $18 short. To make matters worse, they’ve included meat items – prosciutto – to their dishes but still find a way to get listed on vegetarian sites. Sure they have “clearly marked vegan options”, it’s still misleading as you have to ask the stupid question you want to avoid in veg eateries if you just want something meat free: “does this contain meat?”.

The menu items are expensive, a lunch time table d’hôte at $13.95 for soup and main course – which was minuscule. The African Soup (sweet potato) was ok, but came to life with the salt from the foccacia bread. The spring roll – an anorexic looking roll filled with carrots and next to no noodles served with a funky tasting sauce - and warm salad – sad looking warm coleslaw with more sweet potato left me cold and severely over charged for less than 2 cups of foodstuff.

My verdict, don’t bother.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Scalloped butternut squash and blue potatoes

Scalloped butternut squash and blue potatoes

I had guests over from France and we decided to throw a typical thanksgiving potluck dinner with family and friends. I made a delicious casserole with blue potatoes and butternut squash. I did use dairy but you can easily recreate this using unsweetened soy milk and olive oil to build your roux and béchamel.

For this recipe, I used:

· 1 small butternut squash, peeled and sliced thinly – I used my food processor with the slicer blade

· 7 small blue potatoes, washed but not peeled and sliced thinly

· 1 large onion, diced

· ½ cup of non-bleached white flour

· 3 tablespoon olive oil

· 3-4 cups of milk – if using soy, add in a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast for cheesy flavour

· 1 cup shredded cheese (melting non-dairy cheese can be used here)

· Plenty of salt – taste and salt as needed

· Pepper to taste

· Pinch of nutmeg

I pre-cooked the sliced potatoes and squash in the microwave on the baked potato setting. Be careful not to overcook as they will be difficult to layer. Once the two are pre-cooked and cool enough to handle, layer them in a 9” by 14” baking dish. I did 5 alternating rows of orange and blue. Set that aside and pre-heat the oven at 350F.

In a large skillet, I heated my olive oil on medium high heat. I added in the onions and cooked until translucent, being careful not to let the onions burn by stirring constantly. I sprinkled the flour over the onions and stirred to saturate the flour in oil and kept stirring until the flour took on a slightly golden color. Then, lowering the heat to medium, I slowly stirred in the milk, 1 cup at a time, until the flour dissolved and sauce thickened. Once the sauce has a nice consistency with 3 to 4 cups of milk, I added the pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. I then poured the sauce over the potatoes and sprinkled the cheese over the dish. I baked it for 45 minutes.

It was a hit with everyone at the party!

Win a Bitchin' Kitchen Cookbook!

Cassie's Kitchen has partnered with Bitchin' Kitchen to bring you a month long promotion where you can win awesome BK swag. What's up for grabs today? The great Bitchin' Kitchen Cookbook.

This week Bitchin’ Kitchen is at war...coffee war that is! Check out their latest video and let them know what you think in the comment section. Commentators will be entered in a draw to win the awesome Bitchin’ Kitchen Cookbook by Nadia G.