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Archive for the ‘Main dishes’ Category

My mom’s no-meat pie

I didn’t think this was possible but my mom has improved her no-meat pie recipe! This is a traditional dish around here at end of year and her recipe is quite simply the best I’ve ever eaten. The texture is great, the taste is great and paired with her home-made green tomato chutney it is out of this world!

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Mom's no-meat pie and chutney

Mom’s no-meat pie and chutney

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Ingredients

  • pie crust
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) millet
  • 350 ml (1 ½ cup) water
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) sunflower seeds
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) pumpkin seeds
  • 400 ml (1 2/3 cup) cooked drained lentils
  • 120 ml (½ cup) corn meal
  • 120 ml (½ cup) Red Star nutritional yeast
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) tamari
  • 15 ml (1 Tbs) virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1 potato, grated
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 onion, minced
  • Dijon mustard
  • dried oregano
  • pinch cinnamon powder
  • pinch clove powder
  • pinch nutmeg powder

In a medium sauce pan, bring water to a boil and add millet. Cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes and drain.

In a medium size bowl, combine millet, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, lentils, corn meal, nutritional yeast and tamari and mix well. Reserve.

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat, add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook 3-4 minutes. Add onion, carrot and potato and cook 5 minutes or until the mixture begin to colour. Add seasoning and cook 2 more minutes.

Combine the vegetables and the millet mixture. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Reserve.

Roll out and put half the pie crust in a large well oiled pie plate. Spread the Dijon mustard on the crust.

Fill the pie crust with the vegetable and millet mix and spread evenly.

Cover with the second rolled out pie crust. Pinch  the edges of the crust to seal. Bake at 175 °C (350 °F) approximately 30 minutes or until the pie is a nice golden colour. Serve.

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Cold and rainy night… We’re having a very traditional winter meal. A homemade seitan roast stuffed with a carrot, leeks & mushroom brunoise, with oven roasted maple glazed root vegetables, potato purée and a simple pan juice & amontillado sauce. We’ll pair this with a simple musclum salad with dill & lemon zest and a lemon & olive oil dressing. And we’ll end things with an apple crisp, my favourite ordinary desert!

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roast meal

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Ingredients

For the seitan

  • 225 ml (1 cup) wheat gluten flour
  • 175 ml (3/4 cup) white mushrooms
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) porcini mushrooms
  • 1 small onion
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) powdered onion soup
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) rosemary
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) thyme
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) smoked spanish paprika
  • 1.25 ml (1/4 tsp) nutmeg
  • 1 glove garlic
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) strong vegetable stock
  • 2 litres (8 cups) strong vegetable stock for poaching

For the stuffing

  • 1 carrot
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) white mushrooms
  • 1 leeks (white part only)
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) vegetable oil

For the veges

  • 4 carrots, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 small rutabaga, cut in 1 cm wide sticks
  • 4 parsnips, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 small onions, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) maple syrup
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
  • salt to taste

For the purée

  • 1 kg (2¼lbs) potatoes
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) salt
  • 200 g (7 oz) cold vegan butter, in small chunks
  • warm vegan milk, to taste

For the sauce

  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) amontillado wine
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) vegan butter

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roast stuffed & tied

roast stuffed & tied

roast & veges ready to go in the oven.

roast & veges ready to bake
roast & veges ready to bake

To make

First make the seitan. In a large food processor finely chop the onions, garlic and mushrooms. Add flour and seasoning and pulse a few times. Add just enough stock to get a very firm dough. Process until smooth. Reserve.

Make the stuffing. Brunoise all the veges. Heat the oil in a sautéing pan, sauter the carrots for a minute, add leeks and mushrooms and sauter a minute more until vegetables are tender and golden. Reserve.

Roll out the seitan into a large rectangle about 1 cm thick. Stuff, roll and seal the edges with water. Tie the roast well.

Poach the roast in a large pot of strong vege stock for 10 mins. Remove and drain.

Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F)

Place roast in large roasting pan, brush with oil and seasoning.

In a bowl toss the vegetables with oil, maple syrup, crushed garlic and salt & pepper to taste. Arrange the veges around the roast. Bake for 45 mins or until veges are done and roast is golden brown.

While roast is baking, make the purée. Peel, slice and rinse the potatoes. In a large pot of water simmer potatoes until soft. Drain and rice the potatoes over a bowl containing the cold butter. When you are ready to serve reheat the purée very gently while gradually whisking in a little warm milk.

When the roast is ready, remove it and the veges to a serving plate. Put the roasting pan on the stove, medium high heat, and deglaze with amontillado, scraping the pan with a spoon to dissolve all the fond. Reduce by 1/3. Remove from heat. Adjust salt and pepper. Add butter a little at the time, stirring well after each addition to incorporate it. Keep warm.

Plate and serve.

Serves 4

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I’m back at my country place for summer! As I’m super busy working outdoors and as my kitchen here is equiped in a much simpler manner, food is quick & low fuss.

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Today this is how lunch is starting out. Add grilled eggplants & mushrooms, couscous and rosé of course!

Preceded by pastis and followed up by a nap…

Enjoy your weekend!

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Here’s the beginning of lunch today Pho being my go to cold weather fastfood…

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Almost a recipe here.

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Mushroom risotto and grilled asparagus, you’ve seen this before, it’s one from my classic repertoire! This version uses wild boletus picked earlier in the day and locally grown asparagus.

Wild harvested boletus risotto with grilled asparagus.

For the risotto

Ingredients

350 ml (1 1/2 cups) short grain rice preferably Carnaroli or Vialone Nano
750 ml (3 cups) homemade vegetable stock (or best store-bought, might have some left over)
115 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
1 french shallot, finely chopped
500 gr (1 lb) fresh boletus, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
15 ml (1 Tbsp) olive oil
vegan cooking cream (not coffee creamer!)
freshly ground nutmeg to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a small saucepan bring stock to a simmer and keep hot.

In a medium size heavy saucepan, cook the shallot and mushrooms in the oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes until mushrooms are done. Add rice and nutmeg and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Add white wine and simmer until evaporated. Raise heat to medium high and add hot stock gradually in small amounts while stirring gently, almost constantly. After approximately 17 minutes, when rice is tender and creamy-looking but still al dente, take off the heat, add soy cream, salt & pepper and stir well.

Cover to rest 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately after.

The asparagus were sprayed with olive oil and grilled a couple of minutes on each side.

I’ve plated this with thyme and nasturtium flowers from the garden and a sprinkle of Maldon salt.

Serves 4

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A paella is always a festive meal. It’s also fast and easy to make and party friendly. Give it a try!

Paella ready to be served

Ingredients

1 onion, chopped
2 large Portobello mushrooms, cut into thick slices
1 fresh fennel bulbs, trimmed, cut into 8 wedges
3 small zucchinis, halved lengthwise
4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
500 gr (1 lb) asparagus, trimmed
1 yellow pepper, cut into thick slices
6 fresh baby artichokes, trimmed and halved (or substitute canned)
125 ml (1/2 cup) fresh peas
125 ml (1/2 cup) fresh baby lima beans (or substitute frozen. Do not used canned)
60 ml (1/4 cup) piquillo peppers, cut into strips (or substitute roasted red)
500 ml (2 cups) bomba rice or other medium-grain rice such as arborio
1 L (4 cups) homemade vegetable stock
250 ml (1 cup) dry white wine
60 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
15 ml (1 tbsp) smoked spanish paprika
5 ml (1 tsp) saffron threads, crushed
salt to taste
18 olives
90 ml (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) fresh parsley, chopped
1 lemon, cut in wedges, to garnish

Preheat oven to 230C (450F)

Finely mince 1/4 cup parsley and garlic together. Transfer to small bowl. Stir in paprika, saffron and salt.

Heat 60 ml (2 tbsp) oil in paella pan or a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and parsley mixture; stir while cooking 2 minutes. Stir in the stock and wine; bring to boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 10 minutes.

toasting the rice

Add the mushrooms, fennel bulb, zucchinis, tomatoes, yellow pepper, baby artichokes, fresh peas and lima beans. Transfer the paella to the oven and bake, undisturbed, for 20 minutes. Turn off the oven.

add the stock than the veges
and more veges

Top the paella with pequillo and olives, cover and let rest in the oven for 15 minutes more or until the rice is tender.

Adjust salt. Sprinkle with remaining parsley, decorate with lemon wedges and serve.

 

Serves 6

Pair with a fresh and crisp spanish white such as a 2007 Casal Novo Godello Valdeorras

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This is really leftovers in disguise. I had some rice ready-made in the fridge and mini pumpkins which needed to be eaten. Combine that with a can of black beans and some dried mushrooms and you have a fast and easy dinner.

Mini pumpkin stuffed with a brown + wild rice, black beans and wild mushrooms mixture spiked with lemon zest. Served with a toasted hazelnut-parsley-pomegranate gremolata.

Here’s how to assemble it.

Cut the top off the pumpkins and clean them.

Rehydrate the mushrooms in hot water. Drain and reserve soaking water for an other recipe.

Sauté some minced onion and garlic. Add the mushrooms and cook 5 minutes untill the onions are golden brown. Remove from heat and reserve.

In a bowl combine the previous mixture with cooked rice and cooked beans. Season to taste with herbs (I used thyme and sage), lemon zest and salt & pepper.

Stuff the pumpkins with this mixture and bake in a 175°C (350°F) oven for 40 minutes or until the pumpkins are done.

Serve sprinkled with gremolata.

The variation possibilities are endless here, various squashes would work well. Just adapt this recipe to use what you have on hand.

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Cassoulet isn’t a spur of the moment thing but a labour of love. There are several steps involved and you can’t really cut corners. And unlike most of the recipes I’ve posted here, cassoulet isn’t light either. The classic version is a real pork and duck fat fest, coming up with a satisfying vegan interpretation was a little challenging but I’m quite pleased with the result. Here’s a very flavourful, winter, stick-to-your-bones sort of dish and a delicious one at that too.

So if you feel so inclined, this is how I did it.

The finished cassoulet being served.

Step 1 make the

Tempeh bacon

Ingredients

  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) maple sugar
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) smoked salt
  • 30 ml (1 tbsp) smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1.25 ml (1/4 tsp) cayenne pepper
  • 16 oz (2 packages) tempeh, thinly sliced
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) canola oil

In a large dinner plate, combine the maple sugar, smoked salt, paprika and cayenne pepper. lightly brush the tempeh with oil and dredge the slices one by one, stack them on a separate plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next day,  smoke the bacon for 30 minutes before you bake it. (Optional. To improve the smoky flavour. This step requires a special smoker)

Lay the tempeh slice in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet. Bake at 150°C  (300°F) for an hour or until crispy, turning once. Remove from oven and reserve. (Note: You cannot eat all of this before in goes into the cassoulet).

making the tempeh bacon

 

Step 2 make the

Roasted Tomato Confit

Ingredients

  • 6 plum tomatoes
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) fresh thyme, minced
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) sugar

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 100°C (215°F). Halve tomatoes lengthwise and place, cut-side up, on an oiled baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper, sugar and thyme. Roast until tomatoes are golden brown and semi-dried, about 4 hours. Let stand until cool and reserve.

making the roasted tomato confit

Step 3 make the

Smoked tofu confit

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp smoked salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • coarsely ground black pepper
  • 225 gr (8 oz) smoked tofu, cut into bite size
  • 500 ml (2 cups) vegetable oil (approximately)

Preheat the oven to 100°C (215°F). Arrange the tofu in a single layer in a baking dish. Season with salt, garlic, thyme and pepper. Cover with oil and cook for 2 hours. Remove from oven and reserve.

smoked tofu confit

For the cassoulet

Ingredients

  • 225 gr (8 oz) smoked tofu confit
  • 225 gr (8oz) tempeh bacon
  • 450 gr (1 lb) dried Tarbais or cannellini beans, picked over and rinsed
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil (I used oil left over from the tofu confit)
  • 6 roasted tomatoes confit
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onions, finely diced
  • 3 small celery ribs, finely diced
  • 1 head of garlic, unpeeled and left whole
  • 30 gr (1 oz) dried porcinni mushrooms
  • 2 L (8 1/2 cups) strong mushroom stock
  • 1 bouquet garni: 6 parsley sprigs, 4 thyme sprigs and 2 bay leaves, tied with string
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) smoked Spanish paprika
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) cup fresh bread crumbs

Soak the beans over night.

Drain the beans and put them in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the beans are done but still firm. Drain.

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Add the carrots, celery and onions, cook over moderate heat stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden, about 7 minutes.Add the head of garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth, dried porcini mushrooms, bouquet garni and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

 

the cassoulet ready to go into the oven

 

Remove from heat. Pick out the head of garlic and reserve. Discard the bouquet garni.
Preheat the oven to 165°C (325°F). Transfer the liquid mixture, the beans, tomatoes and tofu to a large earthenware casserole. Squeeze out the cooked garlic cloves and stir the paste into the ragout. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake the cassoulet for 1 hour.

Gently stir in the skin that has formed on the cassoulet. Add the tempeh bacon and top with bread crumbs, sprinkle with smoked paprika. Bake the cassoulet for 1 hour longer, until it is richly browned on the surface. Remove from oven and rest for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Serves 8

 

Wine pairing suggestion

In Toulouse, where Casoulet originates, the locals pour hearty, tannic reds to accompany cassoulet. But has this version isnt as fatty and contains no meat I would suggest you go with a lighter red such a Cinsault/Grenache/Carignane blend from the Languedoc-Roussillon region or more for a more unusual combination, try a lush and smokey german riesling. Its high acidity and touch of residual sugar will pair well with this rich tomatoey dish.

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Today is a cleaning out he fridge sort of day. Plus it is freezing cold and I crave simple comfort food, so I made a casserole as one does in these circumstances…

Ingredients

1 large eggplant, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
2 medium zucchinis, sliced
170 gr (6 oz) mushrooms, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
445 ml (15 oz) tomato sauce
235 ml (1 cup) homemade vegan ricotta
30 ml (2 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil
355 ml (1 1/2 cup) non dairy milk, warmed
60 ml (1/4 cup) flour
1.5 ml (1/4 tsp) freshly grated nutmeg
1.5 ml (1/4 tsp) smoke Spanish paprika
15 ml (1 tbsp) mixed fine herbs (dried. more is using fresh)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
60 ml (1/4 cup) breadcrumbs

In a casserole, layer eggplant, onion, zucchinis, mushrooms and tomato sauce, alternating. Sprinkle generously with garlic, herbs, salt and pepper every 2-3 layers. Cover and bake in a 175°C (350°F) oven for 40 minutes.

While this is cooking make a thick bechamel. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Cook until the mixture turns a light gold color, about 5 minutes. Add the hot milk to the butter mixture, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil and cook over medium-low heat 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Season with salt and nutmeg, and set aside until ready to use.

Remove the casserole from the oven. Top with vegan ricotta, bechamel and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake 15 minutes more uncovered. Finish under the broil for a couple of minutes until the top is golden and crispy.

Serves 6

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This is to winter what tomato sandwiches or fresh Vietnamese rolls are to summer, my default lunch.

Asian noodle (in this case fresh ramen) soup with loads of veges and a generous amount of sriracha, sambal oelek, gochujang or yuzu koshou, according to the variation du jour.

Fast, filling and very warming.

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Steamed artichokes with a mustard vinaigrette

Shaved fennel, blood orange and black olive salad
Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2007

King oyster mushroom “osso bucco” over orecchiette drizzled with truffle oil
Cantina dei produttori Nebbiolo di Carema, Carema Riserva 2005

 

Sorry for the radio silence, I will put up real updates in the coming days.

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Today looks and feels like the first sunday of fall. I warded off the end-of-summer-blues with 2 fail proof anti-depressants: pasta and amontillado. I used orecchiette but linguine or spaghetti would work well too. And try to get your hands on Pioppino mushrooms, their nutty flavour works real well here, otherwise porcini or other hearty wild mushrooms will do.

Ingredients

  • 450 gr (1 lb) pasta
  • 225 gr (8 oz) Pioppino mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 225 gr (8 oz) brown cultivated mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) canola oil
  • 1o ml (2 tsp) fresh thyme, minced
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)
  • 150 ml (5 oz) Amontillado Jerez

for the cream

  • 170 gr (6 oz) soft silken tofu
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
  • 1,25 ml (1/4 tsp) nutmeg
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) agave nectar
  • fresh black pepper to taste
  • salt to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente.

During this time, make the soy cream by combining all the cream ingredients in a blender and processing until smooth and thick as crème fraîche. Reserve.

Heat the canola oil in a sauteing pan over medium-high heat, add mushrooms and sauté until golden brown. Add shallots, garlic and thyme, sauté for a couple of minutes. Deglaze the pan with Amontillado and continue cooking until most of the liquid is evaporated.

Turn the heat down to minimum, add the soy cream, stir and simmer 2-3 minutes. Add the cooked and drained pasta, toss well to coat with the sauce. Serve garnished with minced fresh parsley and pine nuts parmesan.

Serves 4

Wine pairing

Try a lightly oaked Chardonnay from Alto Adige. If you must drink red go with a Alto Adige Pinot Nero.

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Classic thrown-together-leftover pizza. The result was decent but I still need a better pizza dough recipe (paging Jonny) and a proper pizza stone would be a plus.

I had some leftover grilled veges from the night before ready to go.

So I made the dough and whipped up a sauce out of fresh orange tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, fresh oregano, and a few chili flakes. Once the sauce was on, I sprinkled sliced garlic and fennel seeds.

We wanted 2 very different things so the left half was topped with grilled veges, sliced onions, black olives and fake cheese while my half was topped with olives and zucchini bacon.

After baking in a very hot oven for 20 minutes, fresh basil leaves were added to the left half. The right half was topped with lots of wild arugula and drizzled with olive oil. We were in a rush to dig in, the final photo didn’t quite happen but you get the idea…

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Seriously. I could eat this every day. It’s all my mom’s fault really… She’s transmitted her addiction on to us. We’re now contaminating the 3rd generation.

Orange zebra tomato sandwich with avocado and red curly lettuce.

No recipe necessary. Ingredients are super basic but must be the best and freshest you can get your hands on. Good rustic bread, toasted. Juicy and tangy homegrown tomatoes. Curly leaf or other crunchy, preferably homegrown lettuce. Homemade vegan mayo. Sometimes avocado or zucchini bacon. That. Is. It. Summer!

P.S. my #2 summer food is Vietnamese summer rolls and that addiction is almost as bad, at times even surfacing in the middle of winter…

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I had been craving zucchini blossoms for weeks and could not find them at all. It always blows me away when I can’t fin something in NYC. I mean seriously, this is NYC how could it not have XYZ?!? Specially food stuff. Why can’t I just reach for puntarelle, zucchini blossoms, chestnuts, preserved lemons, vin jaune, pain poilâne, vegan crème fraîche, ok maybe that last one is pushing it a little but you get what I saying.

Anyway, I finally found zucchini blossoms last weekend at the Grand Army plaza market. This is what came of it.

Stuffed zucchini blossoms with fava beans and garlic scapes
(sorry for the crappy photo, there was no light left at all)

For the Fava Beans

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kg (3 pounds) unshelled young fresh fava beans
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) garlic scapes, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup water
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • salt
  • lemon juice

Shell, blanch and peel the fava beans.

Sauté the garlic scapes in the oil until for a minute. Stir in beans, add water and simmer, covered, for 8 to 12 minutes until the beans are tender.

Add salt and pepper, turn up the heat and cook uncovered until the last of the water has evaporated.

Remove from heat and reserve.

For the stuffed zucchini blossoms

Ingredients

  • 18 zucchini blossoms
  • 350 ml (12 oz) beer
  • 75 ml (5 Tbsp) flour
  • 15 ml (1 Tbsp) corn starch
  • 60 gr (2 oz) firm tofu
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • one recipe of vegan ricotta
  • vegetable oil for frying

Trim the stems, remove the pistils and very gently wash and dry of the zucchini blossoms.

Prepare the batter by combining the beer, flour, tofu and salt and pepper. Process in a high power blender until creamy. Keep aside.

Use a pastry bag (or a small ziplock) to fill the blossoms with cheese. Reserve.

Heat the oil to 175ºC  (350ºF).

One by one, dip each stuffed blossoms in the batter and drop them in the hot oil. Fry in small batches until golden brown.

To plate

Put a few spoonfuls of beans on each plates. Drizzle with more olive oil and lemon juice. Top with blossoms. Serve right away.

Yields 6 mains or 10 appetizers.

Wine pairing

I would suggest a dry Italian white. Be adventurous, move away from the standard Pinot Grigio and try an herbal Sauvignon Blanc from Friuli, a more floral Vernaccia di San Gimignano or a crisp, mineral and citrusy Vermentino or Trebbiano d’Abruzzo instead.

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Here’s an other one from the country vacation folder. As usual it’s easy to make and can quickly be thrown together.

Pissaladière is a Niçoise onion tart eaten as an appetizer. The classic version does not have tomatoes and takes longer to prepare as you need to compote the onions first. Here I’ve made it with store-bought puff pastry which I had lying around but bread dough is more traditional.

Roma tomatoes over puff pastry, topped with homegrown golden oregano.
Just out of the BBQ.

Ingredients

  • store-bought puff pastry dough
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 6 Italian plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 20 oil-cured black olives, sliced or left whole
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) fresh oregano
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) fresh thyme
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pre-heat BBQ on highest setting.

Thinly roll out the dough and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet.

Spread the garlic, tomatoes, onions, olive and herbs out evenly on the dough. Spray with olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce heat to the lowest setting and put the Pissaladière in the BBQ. Bake with the lid closed for 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve hot or cold.

Serves 6-8

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This is my default country vacation meal.

As much as I love cooking, when I’m in the country I rarely go all out as I’m usually too busy building, planting or fixing something to take the time to make a gourmet meal. So I usually just slice up some fresh vegetables and season them up simply before tossing them on the BBQ. A green salad, some good bread and of course wine, rounds it up.

Grilled veges drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt.

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Bean tostada

Here’s an other “it’s too hot to bother with cooking” summer meal.

The tortilla was crisped in the oven instead of fried then topped with homemade bean chili which was kicking around the back of the freezer. I added chopped up lettuce, tomatoes, avocado and onions then some chipotle salsa and garnished it with fresh cilantro and a wedge of lime. Vegan crema or cheese could be added but I didn’t feel the need.

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Yes more morels and asparagus! This is the last one for a while I think, unless I dig up an other one from my archive folder…

Lemon risotto with sautéed morels and grilled asparagus.

For risotto

Ingredients

350 ml (1 1/2 cups) short grain rice preferably Carnaroli or Vialone Nano
750 ml (3 cups) homemade vegetable stock (or best store-bought, there may be some left over)
115 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
1 small onion, finely chopped
15 ml (1 Tbsp) olive oil
vegan cooking cream (not coffee creamer!)
freshly ground nutmeg to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
45 ml (3 Tbsp) lemon juice
30 ml (2 Tbsp) lemon zest, grated

In a small saucepan bring stock to a simmer and keep hot.

In a medium size heavy saucepan, cook onion in the oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Add white wine and simmer until evaporated. Raise heat to medium high and add hot stock gradually in small amounts while stirring gently, almost constantly. After approximately 17 minutes, when rice is tender and creamy-looking but still al dente, take off the heat, add soy cream, lemon juice & zest and stir well.

Cover to rest 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately after.

The asparagus were sprayed with olive oil and grilled a couple of minutes on each side. The morels were sautéed as per this recipe.

To plate

Use a form to make a little risotto cylinder in each plate. Arrange a few asparagus and several morels next to it and garnish with chives and a red pepper ribbon.

Serves 4

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This is from 3 weeks ago. It was my last ramps dish of the year and my first try making vegan soufflé. It worked out quite well. Unfortunately I was so eager to serve them before they cooled and collapsed that I forgot to take an after picture! Sorry about that. I’ll make it again and post a proper photo soon.

Ramps soufflés ready to go in the oven

Ingredients

  • 30 ml (2 Tbsp) olive oil
  • 1/2 bunch ramps, white and green part, chopped
  • 1 package of firm silken tofu
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) baking powder
  • 1 pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 15 ml (1 Tbsp) lemon juice
  • grated zest of 1/2 a lemon (organic and untreated is a must when you use zest)
  • 15 ml (1 Tbsp) fresh lemon thyme, chopped
  • 45 ml (3 Tbsp) fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt to taste

Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F) degrees.

Spray your soufflé dish or ramekins with oil and sprinkle with flour.

Heat the oil in a skillet, add white parts of ramps and sauté on medium heat for 2 minutes or until tender. Add green parts of ramps and wilt, 20 seconds. Remove from heat.

Put all remaining ingredients in a blender along with the ramps and process until smooth and creamy.

Pour the batter in the souflé dish and bake until puffy and golden brown, about 30 minutes

Serve immediately or watch it collapse!

Serves 4

Inspired by this What The Hell Does A Vegan Eat Anyway? recipe.

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Yup, an other rice and morels recipe… This one is from last year. I’m posting it now as it is seasonal. I can’t remember for the life of me what these foraged greens were. It was a bit like purslane but slightly bigger and had a very mild bitter taste. Any other greens would work in its place. The morels (these were quite large) were cleaned very well then stuffed with my vegan ricotta using a pastry bag and oven baked for 25 minutes.

Wild asparagus risotto, wilted greens and stuffed morels


For the risotto

Ingredients

  • 350 ml (1 1/2 cups) short grain rice preferably Carnaroli or Vialone Nano
  • 750 ml (3 cups) homemade vegetable stock (or best store-bought, there may be some left over)
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
  • 1 small bunch of tiny wild asparagus, cleaned, trimmed and cut into 5 cm lengths
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 15 ml (1 Tbsp) olive oil
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) vegan cooking cream (not coffee creamer!)
  • freshly ground nutmeg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring stock to a simmer and keep hot.

In a medium size heavy saucepan, cook onion in the oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Add white wine and simmer until evaporated. Raise heat to medium high and add hot stock gradually in small amounts while stirring gently, almost constantly. After approximately 17 minutes, when rice is tender and creamy-looking but still al dente, take off the heat, add asparagus and soy cream and stir well to make the texture as creamy and smooth as possible.

Cover and rest 2-3 minutes.

To plate.

Divide risotto between 4 plates, top with wilted greens and finish with a few morels per plates. Serve immediately after. Risotto does not wait very well at all.

Serves 4

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Here’s an other super easy spring inspired dish. Cheap to make if you forage your own morels but can get quite pricy if you buy them. This would also work just as well with chanterelles or other wild mushrooms.

morels2Polenta with morels, sunchoke chips and herbed oil

Polenta

Ingredients

  • 1 L (4 1/4 cups) water
  • 250 ml (1 cup) regular polenta
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) salt

In a large pot, bring water to a boil with salt and garlic, turn down heat and simmer 15 mins or until garlic is tender. Remove the garlic, puré and return to the pot. Bring water back to a boil then add nutmeg and polenta in a thin stream, whisking. Cook over moderate heat, whisking for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer polenta for 45 minutes, covered, stirring regularly. Remove from heat and serve warm.

Sunchoke chips

Ingredients

  • 250 gr (1/2 pound) sunchokes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 125 ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil for frying
  • salt to taste

Fry the sliced sunchokes in very hot oil until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel and dust with salt.

Sautéed morels

Ingredients

  • 500 gr (1 pound) fresh morels
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
  • 125 ml (4 tbsp) dry Jerez
  • salt and pepper

Clean the surface of the morels as best you can. Slice in half lengthwise and clean inside. Rinse well and drain.

In the skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the morels. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the moisture has almost completely evaporated, approx 20 mins. Add Jerez and cook, stirring until absorbed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.

Herbed oil

Ingredients

  • 125 ml (4 tbsp) sunflower oil or safflower oil
  • handful of chervil
  • handful of chives

Wash and dry the herbs. Place the herbs and oil together and a blender and process until puréed. Strain the mixture through a very fine sieve. Reserve the oil.

To plate

Divide polenta between 4 plates. Top with several sun choke chips and finish with the 1/4 of morels per plate. Drizzle oil around the polenta and serve warm.

Serves 4

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Yesterday I woke up craving crab cakes, god only knows why. Here’s the outcome. I should be good for an other 3 years or so. Or maybe not, those were pretty good.

Vegan crab cake with cilantro lime mayo and Sriracha sauce.

Ingredients

250 ml (1 cup) bread crumbs
250 ml (1 cup) non-dairy milk
450 gr (1 lb) firm tofu, drained well and mashed
1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
125 ml (1/2 cup) wakame seaweed, rehydrated and chopped finely
4 green onions, thinly sliced
60 ml (1/4 cup) fresh parsley, chopped
60 ml (1/4 cup)fresh dill, chopped
30 ml (2 tbsp) fresh lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1/4 cup vegetarian nuoc nam
1/2 tsp dried thyme
couple dashes chili sauce
salt and black pepper to taste

Extra bread crumbs for coating

In a bowl, combine 1 cup bread crumbs and milk.

Using a blender or food processor, cream 1/4 of the tofu. Add this to the bread crumbs and milk mixture along with all other ingredients and mix well. Go easy with the salt as the seaweed and vege nuoc nam are quite salty. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Form into 16 cakes. Coat in the remaining bread crumbs. Bake on a cookie sheet coated with oil, turning once or, pan fry until golden.

Makes 8 generous appetizer.

Note: You can buy vegetarian nuoc nam in large Asian supermarkets. If it is unavailable substitute with 30 ml (2 tbsp) lemon juice + 5 ml (1 tsp) sugar. But try to get your hands on it, it’s really great stuff.

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After several impatient tries, I finally founds ramps at the market. Here’s a simple and quick spring time recipe that lets them take center stage. Enjoy!

Spaghetti with sautéed ramps

Ingredients

  • 250 gr (½ pound) Ramps
  • 450 gr (1 pound) Spaghetti
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 15 ml  (1 tbsp) finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Maldon salt to taste

Clean the ramps by trimming the roots and removing the outer papery skin from the bulbs.

Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Drain and reserve 50 ml cooking water.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ramps and cook until the bulb is tender and golden. Add pasta, reserved water and lemon zest to the skillet. Toss gently to coat the pasta with sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with additional olive oil (optional) and serve immediately.

Serves 4

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I’m not a big fan of store-bought vege burgers. I find they have no taste and the list of ingredients frightens me. When I feel like digging my fork into something “meaty” I make my own variation.

Tofu burger with roasted garlic and mushrooms, shallots-Jerez jus, sautéed spinach and oven fries.

This is my recipe for vege burgers. For approx the same price of a box of boring store-bought stuff you’ll get something homemade and toothsome.

Ingredients

  • 454 gm (16 oz) extra firm tofu, mashed
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) vital wheat gluten flour
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 240 ml (1 cup) mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) smoked Spanish paprika
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) freshly grated nutmeg
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) fresh rosemary, minced
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) Jerez wine
  • sea salt to taste

Heat a sauteing pan on medium-high heat, spray with oil, add onions, garlic and mushrooms and cook until brown. Deglaze the pan with Jerez. Remove from heat and cool.

In a mixing bowl, combined above mixture with tofu, vital wheat gluten flour, chipotle peppers, paprika, nutmeg, rosemary and salt. Mix by hand until all ingredients are combined. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 200°C (400°F). Form 8 patties with the tofu mixture. Put on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 40 minutes turning once.

Serves 8

Tofu burgers just out of the oven

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