Thursday, July 30, 2009

Roll Call! Know of a Vegetarian or Vegan Cooking Class Happening in Montreal?

September is coming up and as sad a thought it is that summer is waning, it's time for various classes and lessons to perk up. Among those are cooking classes. I want to list *your* vegetarian and vegan cooking classes happening in the Greater Montreal Area.

Why am I doing this? It's how I got introduced to the wonderful word of vegetarianism and gave me the tools necessary to make the switch when I was ready. It's also fun, and I'm looking to get someone else's take on a veggie lifestyle.

Do you know of one? Do you teach one? Looking for free exposure? Please send me an email at cooking-class [a] cassieskitchen.com and I'll be featuring your lesson in a special blog post.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cassie's Lentil & Walnut Salad

As per requested by my darling friend, Melissa, here's my oh-so-delish lentil salad. I found the original recipe online and adapted it, and it had bacon and chicken broth as part of the ingredients. This version is meatless for all vegetarians and vegans out there. This recipe does not work if you used canned lentils. Lentils are quick cooking compared to other beans and don't require any soaking so go ahead, make lentils part of your dry pantry items.

For this recipe, you will need:

For the lentils:
  • 1 cup lentils - I use DuPuy green lentils but brown lentils work here too
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 cloves of garlic - peeled and whole
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme or rosemary
  • 1 bay laurel leaf (optional)

Combine all of the lentil ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked but still firm. While the lentils cook, prepare the salad and dressing part of the recipe. Make sure your dressing is ready first as your lentils will be cooling in the dressing to absorb all the flavor. Once the lentils are ready, drain any excess liquid and make sure you take out the garlic cloves and bay leaf.

For the salad
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 2 small carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 green onions, sliced

Set aside.

For the dressing
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup apple cider
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp powered cumin - I like to grind mine from seed
  • 1 tsp dried crushed thyme - I crush with my fingers to release the oils into the dressing
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt & pepper to taste

In a large bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients together until emulsified. Add in the cooked lentils and combine well. The dressing will be absorbed by the hot lentils, and we want that. Stir in gently your salad ingredients and let cool. Once the lentils are close to room temperature, refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Enjoy!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cafe Dervish - The Best Chai in Montreal

I love my chai. I make it regularly throughout the year. I simmer my spices for a long time and I consider mine one of the best. But, I have found my match, and it is at The Dervish Cafe.

One of the owners, a good friend of mine that I met through a past career life, has a real passion for tea and spices and it shows. He doesn't just make chai, he offers a wide assortment of chais, from the simplest to the most complex. He offers dairy, soy and almond milk options to suit everyone's taste.

To top it off, Dervish offers a very reasonably priced vegetarian and vegan menu under $10. Ranging from simple pizzas, to curries, there's really something for everyone.

Their website: Salon de Thé Dervish

Where to find them:
Metro Sherbrooke or Berri-UQAM
2019 St Denis, corner Ontario
Phone: 514.816.1071

Opening Hours


Mon
8h00
03h00
Tues8h0003h00
Wed
8h00
03h00
Thurs
8h00
03h00
Fri
8h00
03h00
Sat
10h00
03h00
Sun
10h00
03h00

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Spicy black bean chipotle tomato soup

I made this soup today, after viewing Delicious TV's Roasted Tomato and Black Bean Soup video podcast on iTunes. I couldn't find any fire roasted tomatoes at the market, so I decided I would make it smoky with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to kick it up.

In my recipe, I used:

  • 1 can whole tomatoes - which I pulsed with my hand blender with juice
  • 2 19oz cans of Black Turtle Beans - drained and rinced
  • 1 or 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped - depends on how spicy you like it.
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 2 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoon Zapata spices (ground cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil to cook
In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil and cook onions until soft. Add in the garlic, chipotle peppers, and spices and cook for 2 more minutes. Add in the blackbeans and stir until heated though. Add in the tomato and add water to taste. This soup will get quite thick so add at least 2 cups water. Bring soup to boil and simmer 25 minutes. Serve with crumbled tortilla chips.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Vegan Friday Edition: BBQed Seitan Riblets and Grilled Mushroom, Zucchini and Yams

I'm having a friend over for dinner before we head out to the movies and I'll be making this Seitan Riblets (see video to see how to assemble) and ingredient measurements and instructions are here.

I'm also making yams -which I microwave for less than 2 minutes to precook in their skin until almost done, and then slice them lengthwise, skin on.

In a separate dish, I marinated the mushrooms and zucchini slices in no-salt seasoning, balsamic vinegar, oregano and olive. Just throw on a hot grill until cooked through and charred to perfection.

To accompany the meal, we had home made pita chips with hot curry powder and a spinach tangerine salad with a peanut dressing. (Not pictured)

Delicious!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

USDA Organic Label Under Fire, New Independant Non-GMO Project Rises

I've been in an editorial mood lately, which breaks away from my traditional recipe posting. I'm still cooking, don't worry about that. I'm thinking of new ways of presenting my content. I've been quite a bit involved in Twitter (follow me) these days and am coming across all these streams of worthwhile information I'd like to share with you. Thanks for reading!

---------------------------------

It's a sad state of affairs when you have to pay more to ensure purity of your food supply instead of having disclosure of the presence of GMO in your food. It's a well known fact that almost all sources of non-organic soy are genetically modified. In addition, for years now, the USDA organic certification's integrity is being heavily questioned and rightfully so. The big agri conglomerates want to get in the lucrative organics business but need standards lowered to include many synthetic products to extend shelf life.

Luckily, many non-governmental organic certification agencies have much stricter guidelines on what can and cannot be used in producing organic food. For example, Oregon Tilt, QAI, California Certified Organic Farmers, etc. In addition, a new project was founded as a response to the lack of reliability of the USDA label: The Non-GMO Project.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Discovered a great vegan video cooking show!

I'm probably last on the bandwagon to discover this, but there's a series on YouTube.com called Everyday Dish TV featuring vegan recipes.

Here's a few videos to wet your appetite!








A Vegetarian's Open Letter to FoodTV

Dear FoodTV,

After being a loyal viewer for 6 years to your television station, I have canceled my subscription. I'm consider myself a foodie. I blog about it, cook, create recipes and love watching cooking shows. However, after several months of tuning to your station, I haven't watched a single show in it's entirety.

Years ago, you had a show called Manic Organic, it was the reason why I subscribed to your channel in the first place. Then it got canceled. I started watching Good Eats, being thoroughly impressed with Alton Brown's culinary science, but then was deflated with his blatant endorsement of High Fructose Corn Syrup - Alton, what the hell?

None of your programming appeals to me as a vegetarian. Even though 2.5 percent of the US population is vegetarian, and the majority take the most time to prepare meals, your programming does not include ONE program focusing solely on vegetarian cooking. If we were to consider 24*7 programming in a week, with wanting to proportionally appeal to the population, you'd devote almost 4 hours of shows geared towards the non-meat eaters. Would that be so horrible?

Vegetarians and vegans are great food enthusiasts, we are probably the ones that pay the most attention to the origin of what we eat and how to transform our food to be versatile, nutritious and appetizing.

Your programming over time is moving away from food and focuses on shows glamorizing verbal abuse (why do people even like this?), decoration (Maybe TLC would be a better venue?), boobs (how many shows about pasta do we really need and why did you ditch the hot Italian guy?) and how to cook with canned goods! Any show that goes back to real cooking with raw ingredients has a fat slab of meat as the center piece to the show and the potential vegetarian side dishes are given meager air time. Sure, you had your vegetarian Saturday programming back in January. Feel free to pat yourselves on the back for that 4 hours out of the year....

I did write to you, suggesting you include vegetarian programming. I wasn't even given a confirmation of receipt that someone may have glanced at my email.

There are fabulous vegetarian and vegan chefs out there, just waiting to be given a chance. Need ideas? Just check the shelves FULL of veg cookbooks at your local bookstore. Scared of being too fringe?

But I guess having a man yell obscenities at apprentices and casual zoom ins on heaving bosoms gets more viewership than real cooking.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Just say no to invasive questions

I'm not the first vegetarian to have had this question asked: "Why are you a vegetarian?". I cringe at the very thought of having to talk about my diet with acquaintances and strangers, because I know, almost unavoidably, I will be asked "why?". I avoid mentioning my dietary choices now because I simply don't want to thread down the road.

Too many times, I've explained why I chose in October of last year to give up meat. Some have interrogated to the point of being invasive, seemingly wanting to break my spirit.

It happened again recently, after a person with significant authority was asking me why and was persistent at each and every question. For some reason, I didn't feel I could say: I'm not comfortable discussing this with you. And then, in explaining and justifying, the line was crossed, yet again.

After this incident, I decided I wouldn't explain myself anymore. It's ok, I don't have to.

It's like politics and religion. It's a personal choice, one that shouldn't be explained or justified. If it's problematic for you, too bad!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Most of what you eat is just rearranged corn products

Just how much to you know about the food you eat, and the false sense of diversity supermarket is giving you? Check out the latest documentary by Robert Kenner called Food, Inc. I'm going to see it this weekend.

In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment.


Panini grills are a vegetarian's best friend

As a telecommuter, I do have the benefit of working at home, but it still implies that I have an hour to get lunch heated and eaten. I don't pack a lunch since my office is a 10 step stroll from my kitchen, but it does make lunch time a bit more tedious to prep. I'm not a fan of microwaving everything, although extremely convenient. I prefer the taste and ease of heating my food with a panini press.

It distributes heat on both sides , and gives a nice crispy exterior, with nice char marks. I use it to heat up sandwiches, chimichangas, burritos, faux sausages and veggie burger patties.

My latest use for my grill has been to cook vegetables. It does a great job with bell peppers, zucchinis, mushrooms and asparagus.

For lunch today, I heated up some seasoned home fries and a frozen veggie burger in the same batch. It look 10 minutes to cook everything through and 2 minutes to assemble my plate. Now that's convenient!