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Posts Tagged ‘Vegan recipe’

Grilled spring onions to me equals fiesta! Mexican Cambray onions or Catalan Calçots, spring onions with their slightly bulbous base and tender, delicious flesh are the perfect thing to trough on the grill. I buy mine at my local Mexican grocery. They’re the perfect snack or side. You’ll see it’s so easy to make, this hardly requires a recipe.

Freshly picked Cambray onions

Ingredients

  • 20 Cambray onions
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • coarse salt to taste
  • 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges (to garnish)

Prepare your grill.

Clean the onions and trim the ends, leaving about 15 cm (6″) of green stalk and coat them with oil and salt.

Grill over glowing coals for 5 to 7 minutes, or until softened and lightly charred, turning them a few times (Alternatively, you can broil then for 10 to 12 minutes.)

Serve immediately, garnished with lime wedges.

Serves 4

The sweet, lightly charded onions would pair well with simple German Riesling, but then again, what doesn’t!

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Good morning!

whole wheat + rye homemade no-knead bread

I’d been moaning that my neighbourhood is lacking a proper bakery ever since I moved to the area… Then I decided to solve that problem, if only for myself.

With the no-knead method described in my previous post, I have fresh-baked bread every morning in about 5 mins of work per day. Considerably less time and effort then tracking down decent bread.

If  you think making bread is time-consuming and hard, think again. This recipe is kitchen-challenged-busy-body friendly. Give it a try and see for yourself.

A note: If you are making whole wheat bread, make sure to add about 20% gluten flour to your mix or it won’t rise properly.

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Are you baking your own bread yet? If not, you’re all out of excuses. This method requires a big 5 minutes of your time and is pretty much fool-proof. Try it right now.

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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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Fruitcake, after the holidays… You think I’m nuts and well, you’re right. See, I didn’t have time to make this before the holidays and I needed a little fruitcake in my life. This one is moist, rich, dense and sweet like most fruitcake yet it is relatively low-fat and low-sugar. Obviously if you’re one of them fruitcake haters well, don’t make it!

To reduce the sugar further you could replace the maple sugar by unsweetened orange juice concentrate. Adding candied orange peel and candied ginger would be a good variation.

This cake would easily keep a week if you didn’t eat it all way before that. It also freeze well.

Ingredients

  • 235 ml (1 cup) orange juice
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) rum
  • 235 ml (1 cup) carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 235 ml (1 cup) raisins
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) maple sugar (or sub vegan sugar of your choice)
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) pomegranate molasses
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) ground cinnamon
  • 1.25 ml (1/4 tsp) ground cloves
  • 1.25 ml (1/4 tsp) ground cardamom
  • 1.25 ml (1/4 tsp) ground mace
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil (I use canola)
  • 470 (2 cup) whole wheat flour
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) baking soda
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) baking powder
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 470 ml (2 cup) mixed dried fruits, coarsely chopped (I used cranberries, figs, apricots)
  • 235 ml (1 cup) dried currants
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) hazelnuts
  • zest of one orange

Combine orange juice, rum and raw carrots in a blender and process until puréed. Put this mixture in a sauce pan with the raisins, maple sugar, pomegranate molasses, and spices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 165°C (325°F) and spray two 1L (1 quart) loaf pans with oil.

In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the dried fruits and nuts and combine. Add the liquid mixture and the oil and mix well. Pour into the loaf pans and bake for 75 minutes. Invert on racks to cool.

Makes two medium size cakes.

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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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The perfect quick and easy soup to warm you up. Unlike other legumes, lentils cook super fast and do not require pre-soaking, so you can whip up a batch for lunch in minutes.

Prepping the ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 L (8 cups) mild vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 small onion,  coarsely chopped
  • 500 ml (2 cups) masoor lentils
  • 2-3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 ml (¼ tsp) turmeric
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2.5 cm (1 inch) piece of fresh ginger
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) mandarin orange zest
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) mandarin orange juice
  • salt to taste
  • fresh coriander, chopped for garnish (optional)

Rinse lentils thoroughly until water runs clear. In a large pot, bring the stock to a boil. Add onion, lentils, lime leaves, turmeric, garlic and pepper and bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils are cooked (about 25 mins). Add ginger and mandarin orange zest and process with an immersion blender until smooth. Simmer 5 more minutes. Adjust salt to taste, add mandarin orange juice, stir well and serve.

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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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To be happy I need a generous daily dose of straight up greens, relatively unaltered and preferably raw. Here’s what it looked like today.

Kale and wakame salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 20 gr wakame seaweed, rehydrated and drained well
  • 3 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 30 ml raw tahini
  • 30 ml toasted sesame oil
  • 30 ml wheat free tamari
  • 45 ml rice wine vinegar
  • 60 ml water
  • 15 ml sriracha hot sauce
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 45 ml sesame seed

Clean and chop kale. Rehydrate wakame in plenty of warm water until tender. Drain well. Thinly slice scallions. Combine these 3 ingredients in a large salad bowl.

Put tahini, sesame oil, tamari, rice wine vinegar, water, sriracha, garlic and ginger in a blender and process until creamy and smooth. Pour the dressing on the salad, adjust seasoning to taste and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Let sit for an hour for flavours to combine.

Unlike many other salads, this one keeps well in the fridge overnight.

serves 6

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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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Do you see a pattern emerging here?… What can I say, tomatoes are in season and my tiny urban garden is bursting with them! This salad was homegrown except for the crunchy little Persian cucumbers. Grow your own food, it tastes so much better!

Cherry tomatoes and Persian cucumbers salad.

Ingredients

  • 500 ml (2 cups) cherry tomatoes
  • 500 ml (2 cups) persian cucumbers
  • one handful fresh lime basil leaves
  • one handful fresh mint leaves
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) Extra Virgen olive oil
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) apple cider vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Trim and cut the cucumbers in quarters length wise then slice across thickly. Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves. Roll up the basil leaves tightly and cut into thin strips. Repeat with mint. Combine all ingredients into a large salad bowl. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve.

Serves 4

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I’ve been reading up about Puglia and apparently it’s influencing my food choices… Doesn’t get much simpler then this.

Pasta with roasted stem tomatoes, garlic scapes and bush basil.

Ingredients

  • 500 gr (18 oz) orecchiette pasta
  • 20 small vine tomatoes, left on the stem
  • 115 ml (1/2 cup) garlic scapes, chopped
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) fresh bush basil leaves
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) very good Extra Virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 200 °C (400 °F).

Put the cleaned tomatoes, still attached to the vine, on a baking sheet and roast in the over until done, about 20-30 minutes. Keep warm.

While the tomatoes are cooking, boil pasta in plenty of water until al dente. Drain, reserving 115 ml (1/2 cup) of cooking water.

In a large skillet, heat up 15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil. Sauté the garlic scapes for a few minutes until tender. Add pasta and reserved water and cook for a minute. Turn off heat when most of the water is evaporated. Add remaining olive oil, basil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine well and serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a main dish.

Wine pairing

Try a simple and good value Salice Salentino from Puglia.

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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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The first fresh shell peas of summer are a gorgeous thing. This super fast and simple recipe is all about them.

Fresh shell pea soup garnished with pea shoots and peas.

Ingredients

  • 15 ml (1 Tbsp) olive oil
  • 1 french shallot, chopped
  • 700 ml (3 cups) fresh shelled peas
  • 1 L (4 cups) homemade mild vegetable stock
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) soy cooking cream
  • 1 spring fresh lemon thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

Garnish to taste

  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Fresh pea shoots
  • Chopped chives
  • Croutons

Directions

In a stockpot, heat oil on medium heat. Add shallot and sautée until soft, about 5 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil, add peas then reduce to a simmer. Cover pot and cook until peas are soft, about 7 minutes.

Remove from heat, and add soy cream. Blend soup with stick blender, or process in a blender until completely smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle soup into individual serving bowls and garnish with your choice of ingredients.

This soup is also nice served chilled garnished with plain soy yogurt and mint.

Chilled fresh pea soup with mint and soy yogurt.

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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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Not much of a recipe here, just a beautiful cauliflower roasted to perfection. I find that roasting cauliflower brings out its sweet nuttiness. And it looks great too.

Clean the cauliflower and leave it whole. Spay an oven proof dish with a little olive oil, put the cauliflower in it and spray with olive oil as well. Sprinkle with salt and roast in a 200°C (400°F) oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown but still firm.

Delicious served with a sage brown “butter” or a bechamel sauce.

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I love baby artichokes! Specially the tiny purple artichokes from Provence called “Poivrade”, so tender they can be eaten raw. They’re hard to find on this side of the ocean but so worth the hunt. Here’s a simple recipe that lets them shine.

Spaghetti with crispy baby artichokes, lemon, capers and parsley.

Ingredients

  • 16 baby artichokes
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) capers, drained
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
  • 3 shallots, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 60 ml (4 Tbsp) olive oil
  • 500 gr (1 pound) spaghetti
  • juice of one lemon
  • zest of one lemon, grated (organic and untreated)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 60 ml (4 Tbsp) fresh parsley, chopped

Have a bowl of water with the half the lemon juice standing by. Pull off the outer leaves from each artichoke, leaving only the inner, light green ones. Cut off the sharp tips and trim the stringy parts from the bottoms. Drop the trimmed artichokes (still whole) into the water & lemon juice mix, so they don’t discolor.

In a large frying pan, heat 30 ml (2 Tbsp) olive oil and sauté the garlic, shallots and capers until lightly browned. Season with sea salt and pepper. Remove and set aside, leaving the seasoned oil in the pan.

Using a sharp knife, slice the artichokes into 1/4-inch slices length wise. On a medium-low heat sauté until crispy brown on both sides. Work in batches, removing the finished slices to a paper towel to drain. Drizzle the pan with more olive oil as needed.

Cook the spaghetti in salted water. When you drain the pasta, reserve 2 cups of the pasta water.

Deglaze the pan with 30 ml (2 Tbsp) olive oil and 1 cup of the pasta water. Put the capers-garlic-shallots sauté back in the pan. Mix well and reduce the volume of the liquid by half. Add the spaghetti and toss to coat. If the sauce needs more liquid, add a little more pasta water. Add the lemon juice and zest. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste and toss well.

Serve the pasta topped with the crispy baby artichoke slices and chopped parsley.

Serves 4

Inspired by a New York Times recipe.

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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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Sometimes one needs chocolate… And it doesn’t get much more chocolaty than this. My friend Julie introduced me to this decadent vegan version of the classic a couple years ago and it has since become the base of most of my chocolate desserts. Plan for very small portions, this is way lighter than the original but feels and taste just as rich. The lemon sabayon balances it out nicely.

Chocolate fondant with lemon sabayon, orange zest and wild violet.

For the chocolate fondant

Ingredients

  • 1 package of firm silken tofu
  • 200 gr (7 oz) dark chocolate (my favourite is Green & Black Dark 70% which is organic and Fair Trade)
  • 45 ml (3 Tbsp) maple syrup
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) pure vanilla extract

In a double boiler, melt chocolate stirring constantly. Carefull not to overheat.

Using a blender process the tofu until creamy and smooth. Add the melted chocolate, maple syrup and vanilla and process until well combined.

Pour into a medium shallow glass dish and refrigerate overnight.

For the lemon sabayon

Ingredients

  • 1 package of firm silken tofu
  • 100 ml (1/2 cup) sweet Jerez
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 30 ml (2 Tbsp) lemon juice
  • 30 ml (2 Tbsp) lemon zest, grated
  • 30 ml (2 Tbsp) orange zest, grated (for garnish)

In a blender combine all ingredients, except the orange zest,  and process until smooth and creamy. Adjust sweetness to taste but keep tart. Put in a double boiler to warm gently.

To serve

Using an oiled cutting shape, cut small individual portions of the cold fondant and center on plates. Add a few spoonful of warm sabayon around it and garnish with orange zest.

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Choose smallest, most tender, violet or poivrade baby artichokes for this recipe. This smaller variety has almost no choke and the inner half is very tender and are entirely edible. They have a mild bitter taste with notes of hazelnut.

Baby purple artichoke salad

Ingredients

  • 16 baby artichokes cleaned and very thinly sliced
  • Vinegar or lemon juice for soaking
  • Zest and juice of a lemon
  • 60 ml (4 Tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil, more as necessary
  • 1 Purple shallots, minced
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) Fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped finely
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Wash the artichokes carefully. Remove the outer leaves, cut off the top 1/2 cm (1/4 inch). Slice thinly with mandoline. As each artichoke is finished, drop slices into a bowl of cold water with about 10 percent vinegar or lemon juice.

Prepare the vinaigrette:  In a bowl, combine the zest and lemon juice, olive oil, shallots. Reserve.

Remove artichoke slices from water and dry. Toss with vinaigrette. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and parsley and serve.

For a variation, you could had thinly sliced cultivated mushrooms to the artichokes and serve on a bed of aragula.

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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I’ve been too busy to blog lately so I’ve got some catching to do with the spring recipes… This one is from mid-April when the wild violets were in bloom.

I love cooking and eating wild food. This simple salad is made of market bought “wild” arugula and small pea shoots augmented with foraged wild garlic mustard, violets and sassafras flowers, topped with almonds slivers, black sesame seeds and cherry tomatoes. The dressing was a simple vinaigrette made with olive oil, Dijon mustard and white wine vinegar.

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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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