Sunday, August 31, 2008

I've Decided

I like eggplant. Yay for new veggies! Of course, this means that I get to play some more in the kitchen to find my favourite uses for this nightshade fruit (yup, it's a fruit along with it's fellow tomato and pepper plants). This was just the first of my recipe ideas, and it was perfect for a warm summer day when turning on the oven or stove just is not the idea of fun!

I'm sending this delicious, nutritious pasta and veggie meal off to this week's roundup of Ruth of Once Upon A Feast's event Presto Pasta Nights... crazy early I know, but with school starting on Tuesday I need all the headway I can get! Abby from Eat the Right Stuff is playing host this week, so don't forget to take a look-see on Friday for what else is being served up!

Nuclear Nightshade Pasta
Serves one, easily multiplied
2oz dry whole-wheat rotini (all I could find was leftover p'sketti)
6oz eggplant, cubed (peels on or off, up to you)
black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
3/4 cup diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
  1. Cook the noodles 5 minutes (it will still be underdone). Drain, reserving 1/4 cup liquid.
  2. Combine eggplant, spices, cooking water and tomatoes in a covered microwaveable dish.
  3. Microwave 3 minutes.
  4. Top with the noodles and re-cover.
  5. Microwave on HI 8 minutes, stirring and uncovering halfway through.
  6. Mix lemon juice in well and serve.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 261.7
Total Fat: 1.3 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 335.1 mg
Total Carbs: 58.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 11.8 g
Protein: 9.2 g

Friday, August 29, 2008

What Rainy Summers Mean...

Big farmer's market hauls! My mom and I "braved" the grey, gross drizzle this morning to hit the local farmer's market that gets set up every Friday in the mall's parking lot, and we had to make multiple trips to the car with our goodies! Seems that the ugly (for us humans) weather means that the produce gets gargantuan!

Along with a big bag of sweet corn, a basket each of Ginger Gold apples, peaches and three kinds of plums, we ransacked the leafy greens sections of the kiosks and wound up with this:

Yes... that would be a (very) large cabbage sitting on my countertop. One of two, actually, that we bought this morning. And... you know what that means?? Oh yeah. Cabbage rolls!!!

My mom is famous for her cabbage rolls, and she agreed to help me come up with her recipe for them. Though she claims that "it's just rice, ground beef, spices and tomato sauce", they are so much more than that. Never exactly the same twice over, but close enough that nobody complains when they find out what's for dinner!

Actually, the last time these were for dinner, it was Andrew and I that put them together (with the pre-written instructions from Mom, of course). The leaves we didn't snack away on after boiling the head of green were filled with a simple blend of stuffing ingredients before being baked off under a veil of plain tomato sauce. To try and ease in some nutrients (this was back when the family was very much the "white pasta, white rice, white potatoes, white bread" crowd), I mixed pre-cooked white and brown rice, and drained away the fat left from browning the beef and onions. That batch used a "normal-size" head of cabbage, about 2 pounds total, so I'll use that as the base for my recipe proportions. Even then, the recipe made a good two casserole dishes worth (each one about 2 qts), and we had to use our turkey roasting pan to cook them all! Thank God they freeze beautifully and microwave in minutes whenever you need a quick dinner fix!

Mom's "Guesstimate" Cabbage Rolls
Serves 12, about 2 rolls each
1 head green cabbage (2 lbs)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 lb lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp each dried oregano and basil
2 tbsp chili sauce (like ketchup, not hot sauce)
3/4 cup cooked, long-grain white rice
3/4 cup cooked, long-grain brown rice
2 cups crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup red wine
2 tbsp fresh-grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp fresh parsley
  1. Bring a very large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Remove the inner core of the cabbage by cutting a deep cone shape around the outer stem end.
  3. Gently (using two spatulas or roasting forks) lower the whole head of cabbage into the boiling water. Cook 15 minutes and remove from heat, allow to cool while preparing filling.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium flame.
  5. Add onion and cook 5 minutes, stirring.
  6. Crumble in beef, add in garlic, paprika, pepper, salt, oregano, basil and chili sauce.
  7. Cook, stirring, about 3-4 minutes. Beef will not be completely cooked. Drain off excess fat.
  8. Combine cooked meat with rices in a large bowl until well blended. Set aside.
  9. In a measuring cup or jug, combine crushed tomatoes, red wine, cheese and parsley.
  10. Pour a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a large, covered casserole dish or roasting pan.
  11. Preheat oven to 350F.
  12. Once cabbage has cooled enough to handle, remove single leaves, setting aside.
  13. Place a heaped mound of filling inside each leaf (near the core end).
  14. Tuck the ends of the leaf in and roll or fold it into a small parcel.
  15. Place parcels seam side down on sauce, layering rolls with thin layers of sauce until all filling has been used.
  16. Top the final layer of cabbage rolls with remaining sauce.
  17. Bake, covered, for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  18. Store leftovers in covered plastic containers (fridge: 1 week, freezer: 2 months).

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 193.3
Total Fat: 9.7 g
Cholesterol: 28.9 mg
Sodium: 258.6 mg
Total Carbs: 16.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.7 g
Protein: 9.9 g

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Have Sum Dim Sum!

The first time I had steamed BBQ buns (or baozi), it was at an international day event my elementary school was hosting. Teachers and parents (who didn't work, apparently) would cook mass amounts of ethnic, traditional recipes and bring them in for us kids to taste. Amazingly, on those afternoons, even the pickiest of eaters would at least taste everything there was to offer. Samosas, chow mein, cabbage rolls, haggis (I know!), souvlaki and even vegetable tempura were on the menu, as were these delicious, pork-filled balls of dough served piping hot from one of three steamer baskets that were working overtime to fill demand.

Years later, I decided it was time to reclaim that taste of my childhood... vegan-style. Ground soy crumbles (ah, yes, my beloved TVP!) and some diced water chestnuts stood in for the traditional shredded pork, and I made more of a "teriyaki" style BBQ sauce to rehydrate and bind the filling together. For the dough, I took a basic ratio I found on and switched it up to make it whole-wheat (with some gluten flour for structure). They freeze wonderfully too, for weeknight meals (but put them on a flat sheet to keep them from sticking together).

So, it may not be traditionally Chinese, but it is truly tasty!

Steamed Teriyaki Buns
Serves 4, about 16 buns
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 cup warm water, divided
1 cups vital wheat gluten flour
2 cups whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp boiling water
1 tbsp ketchup (I have low-carb on hand, use what you have and like!)
3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp each onion powder and ground ginger
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup dry TVP granules
4 oz water chestnuts, minced
  1. Combine yeast, sugar and 1/3 cup warm water in a small bowl. Allow to stand 10 minutes, until foamy.
  2. In a large bowl (or stand mixer fitted with dough hook), combine flours, remaining water and yeast mixture.
  3. Mix well until hydrated, then knead (by hand or mixer) for 6-7 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
  4. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow to rise 3 hours.
  5. Meanwhile, combine boiling water through red pepper flakes in a microwaveable bowl.
  6. Stir in TVP granules and microwave 1 minute.
  7. Allow to stand 15 minutes, until hydrated. Stir in water chestnuts.
  8. Punch down risen dough and turn out onto a floured surface.
  9. Roll into a log, and cut dough into 16 equal pieces, rolling each into a ball.
  10. Flatten each ball into a 3" circle.
  11. Cover the dough pieces you aren't working with to keep them from drying out.
  12. Place a heaping teaspoon of rehydrated filling mixture in center of each dough round.
  13. Gather up edges to enclose the filling, twisting edges together and pressing to seal (this takes some practice... keep trying!). Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
  14. Line a steamer basket (either bamboo or metal works) with perforated parchment, cheesecloth or cabbage leaves.
  15. Place as many buns as will fit (at least 1" apart) on the lining.
  16. Place the remaining buns in the fridge or freeze for later cooking (to cook, thaw completely and proceed with recipe).
  17. Cover steamer and cook buns 20 minutes.
  18. Serve immediately.
  19. Leftovers can be refrigerated 1 day or frozen 1 month.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 472.0
Total Fat: 1.9 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 744.3 mg
Total Carbs: 70.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 13.1 g
Protein: 46.6 g

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Few things are as perfect for lunch at the end of a Summer day than a simple tomato-on-toast sandwich. It may not be sophisticated food, nor is it the type of meal likely to grace the pages of Bon Appetit, but it is the epitome of all things warm and sunny.

Mind you, it's probably one of the most seasonally-sensitive recipes out there. No way can you truly appreciate the glory of a tomato when it's been shipped miles in a cold, icy truck bed in the middle of November, even if it's on the best slabs of artisan bread and graced with home-made mayo. On the other hand, a ripe, red beefsteak plucked fresh from your garden (or your neighbours', if you are so fortunate!) is perfectly delicious on toasted, white Wonder bread with a dollop of Miracle Whip. Today, though, I savoured mine on lightly broiled sourdough spread with Nayonnaise, salt and pepper. A post-golf game snack never had it so good.

Do you do the tomato sandwich? What's your favourite combo?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Melancholy Week

Ugh. Who actually likes the last week of August? It's so weird, school starts in a week! I swear only yesterday I was picking up my sister from her last exam and planning my trip down to Niagara Falls! Sigh... where does the time go?

Next week will mark a point of substantial change in my life - going back to school for the first time in two years! I'm excited and scared at the same time, though I know I'll be perfectly fine grade-wise (though math class at 6 PM on a Friday?? Ew!) it will be a definite shift. I'm hoping to keep any changes to this blog minimal and I will keep posting as much as I can (quit cooking? Puh-leeeze!) but they probably won't be as frequent or long! Mind you, the more boring a class is the more likely you'll see a long, whiney post (hahaha...).

Anyways, enough of that crap. I bought my first eggplant this past weekend, and I have a couple ideas of what I'm going to do with it (it's fairly large and I'll be the only one eating it I believe...) but I actually found this recipe from my mom (another Classic!) so I figured I'd pass it on today. My mom loves to eat ratatouille, and would make this over the Summers when the veggies were perfect and it was too hot for stovetop cooking! I always remember her eating it with rice and a chicken breast (we were a pretty predictable family) but then the next day she'd bring cold leftovers to work. Who knows? If I decide I like the taste (pretty likely, I love zucchini and I hear tell it's similar), you may just be seeing more of it popping up, and then I'll have a great lunch idea for school!

Micro - Touille
Serves 4
1 eggplant, chopped small
2 medium zucchinis, halved and sliced
1 large sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
28oz. can stewed tomatoes, drained, reserve juice
2 tbsp Italian herb blend
Crushed red pepper, optional
  1. Chop and place the vegetables in a large microwaveable covered casserole.
  2. Cover the dish and cook on HI for 25 minutes, until soft.
  3. Stir in the herbs, pepper flakes (if using) and about 1/3 cup reserved tomato juice.
  4. Cook on HI 2-3 minutes.
  5. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 107.7
Total Fat: 0.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 498.4 mg
Total Carbs: 25.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.9 g
Protein: 4.0 g

Monday, August 25, 2008

"Spring" Cleaning

Andrew gave me a huge bunch of rhubarb the other day, and though I have plans to make jam with a portion of it, there is so much left over that I lucked out and got to pick a new recipe to make! Being as much of a strawberry-rhubarb fan as I am, I knew that it would have to be a player. I originally wanted to make the truffles that I spotted over at Bounteous Bites, especially since I had all the ingredients, but seeing as I had just made another batch of cherry-rosewater cake balls with Andrew I wasn't too keen on doing more chocolate-coating work just now, especially since I'm still nice and oh-so-sick. Comfort food is where it's at, people, and today it came in the form of a warm, gooey, pudding made from the spoils of more deep-freezer diving.

This is a great, healthy (and pretty much any diet-friendly) breakfast or mid-morning snack all on it's own (especially when warm - cold it's a bit too tart for my tastes), but I'd bet that over rice pudding for dessert or even Challah bread with a cup of tea it would be a sure-fire hit. Any berry would work well in this recipe, too... I just happened to have a gigantic zipper bag filled with last summer's halved strawberries in my freezer. Mind you, I have bags of cranberries, peaches, blueberries, pineapple chunks, "mixed berries" and cherries too... come next shopping trip I'm going to pick up some pectin and make freezer jam (if I remember, that is!).

If you are someone who doesn't do Splenda for whatever reason (and please don't innundate me with emails or comments on it's health dangers), simply swap it out for an equal measure of sugar (superfine or "fruit" sugar will work best here).

Berry Rhubarb Pudding
Serves 4
2 cups diced rhubarb
2/3 cup Splenda granular
1 cup water
1 cup frozen strawberries
2 cups water
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
  1. Combine rhubarb, Splenda and water in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes.
  3. Stir in berries and 2 cups water and cook 5 minutes longer.
  4. Whisk together cornstarch and remaining cold water, then slowly add to the simmering mixture.
  5. Cook, stirring, until thickened - about 5 minutes.
  6. Serve warm or cover surface directly with plastic wrap and chill.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 40.5
Total Fat: 0.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 3.5 mg
Total Carbs: 13.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.9 g
Protein: 0.7 g
WW Points: .5

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Home-Made IS Better!

Hahaha! I have renewed my faith in celebrity chef abilities! This is important, especially after the Korova disappointment and my previous (mostly pre-blog) problems with Anna Olson recipes as well. Well, I knew Alton Brown wouldn't steer me wrong (or at least guide me wrong, since all my substitutions and results thereof are all my fault).

I had been on the search for a good hard pretzel recipe like the kind made by Pepperidge Farms (Goldfish-style) because (as I mentioned before) Andrew fell in love with the bites when we went stateside. Since we can't get them here (along with a gazillion other yummy things, I'm finding), I wanted to set out making my own "bites" that were a) healthier and b) better tasting than the packaged ones (which admittedly are quite tasty).

When I found Alton Brown's recipe online (after seeing his pretzel episode a couple times) I took it as a sign, and set to modify it as per my nutritional goals (i.e.: whole wheat flour, egg white instead of egg yolk) and my own personal tastes (I like what the baking soda bath lends to the dough). Personally, I think I succeeded. These are delicious - better tasting by far - not to mention healthy, llightly salty, super crunchy and best of all fat-free which means I CAN EAT THEM!!! Or, I could, but they seem to have mysteriously disappeared...

The photo I took was just for fun (oh yes, pretzel balls in a beer stein!) - it's actually one of my dad's from his (college, I think) days, he nicked it from their local pizza joint... my mom did the same, so we have 2. All I have from a restaurant is a couple coasters!

Hard Pretzels
Makes about 36 (.8-oz) servings
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 package instant yeast
22 oz whole wheat flour
14 oz warm water
Water, for boiling
2 tbsp baking soda
1 egg white + 1 tbsp water (for wash)
Coarse pretzel salt

  1. Combine all the "dry" ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook, stirring well.
  2. Add warm water, stir to combine, then knead for 6-7 minutes, until elastic.
  3. Place dough into an oiled bowl and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Divide dough into 36 1-oz pieces (use a kitchen scale for dead-on accuracy if you like), and form into sticks, knots or whatever shapes you desire.
  5. Keep the dough you aren't working with under a damp towel.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F.
  7. Bring a half-filled pot of water mixed with the baking soda to a boil.
  8. Carefully add shaped dough 4-5 pieces at a time.
  9. Cook in simmering until they float, about 30 seconds - 1 minute.
  10. Remove from water and place on greased or parchment-liked baking sheets.
  11. Repeat with remaining dough.
  12. Brush pretzels with beaten egg white mixture and sprinkle with salt.
  13. Bake 50-60 minutes (for full 1-oz pieces) or 30 minutes (for "bite-size" pretzel balls).
  14. Cool completely, and store in a covered container.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 60.9
Total Fat: 0.3 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 8.5 mg
Total Carbs: 13.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 2.4 g

These are great nibbles, and ones I'm passing along to Bread Baking Day 13: 100% Whole Grains at Apple Pie, Patis, & Paté.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Following the Herd

You should know the drill by now, this list's been all over the foodie spectrum in almost every form imaginable - Bittersweet's vegan version, the vegetarian one at Feeding Maybelle and the original one written up at Very Good Taste. There's a lot to look at in the world of food - I didn't even know some of these things existed!

Sorry for the crappy formatting, too, Blogger is sucking majorly today!

General rules for all lists:
= have eaten
unhighlighted = haven't eaten
struck out = won't ever eat

Vegetarian 100
Click on the (?) if you need an example. Thanks to Maybelle's Mom for the original list and links!
1. Edamame (?)
2. Cha Soba (
3. Arame
4. Earth Balance Buttercream
5. "Homemade" sprouts
6. Green Bamboo Rice (
7. Absinthe
8. Eat at a raw restaurant (
Fresh (real) wasabi
10. Deep fried pickle

11. Fiddleheads (?)
12. Garlic stuffed olives
13. Smen (
14. Goji Berries (?)
15. Shiso or Perilla (
16. Amaranth (?) – I had this as callaloo... didn't know they were the same!
17. Pomegranate molasses
18. Water convulvulus (Water Spinach) (
19. Pea eggplant, Thai eggplant, green eggplant, Japanese eggplant, Indian eggplant, Sicilian eggplant (
?) – Can't wait to try some recipes I have saved, though!
20. A Zen Buddhist Vegan Meal (
?) – If home-made counts.
21. Kohya Dofu (
22. Wild Asparagus (?) (I've had wild foraged asparagus though)
23. Elderberry (
24. Candlenuts (kemiri) (
?) – Probably won't get a chance... too high in oil for me!
25. Salsify
26. Nutritional Yeast (
27. Pandan (?)
28. Roman cauliflower

29. Anything with acorn flour
(?) – Would LOVE to try it though!
30. Poi
(?) – When I go to Hawai'i... ooh yeah!
31. Chaya (tree spinach)
32. Pitahaya (dragon fruit)
33. Asafoetida (?) – Reeks, but yum!
34. Fried plantains – SOOO yummy!
35. Basil seeds
36. Cardoon
37. Durian
38. Ground Cherry or cape gooseberry
39. Fresh waterchestnut
40. Cashewnut cheese – Oil content again! I'd love to taste it though...
41. Nettles
42. Fake duck from a can, Tofurky, or any prepared vegetarian product to resemble meat – yup! Almost so much it's scary, actually. Though I do want to try the duck. (
43. Kimchi
44. Masala Dosa
45. Lotus Seed
46. Matcha
(?) – Awesome stuff... go Tea Ceremonies!
47. Loubie Bzeit
48. Quince
(?) – Only as jam though, but it was GOOD!
49. Blue Potatoes
50. Injera
(?) – On my to-do list!
51. Nasturtium
(?) – Go gourmet salads!
52. Turkish Delight or Lokum
(?) – Christmas candy list!
53. Spruce tips
(?) – Teaghan had spruce tea once, and promptly got sick. I'm thinking not so high on my list!
54. Breadfruit
55. Mangosteen
(?) – Only the juice, but if I can get the fruit I'll give it a shot!
56. Swede or Rutabaga (
?) – Not yet, but I have my eye on some oven fries with them!
57. Garlic Scapes
(?) – Sooo good in pasta!
58. Lavash
(?) – Yummy with Baba Ghanoush.
59. Candied Angelica
60. Rambutan
(?) – Seen it, not eaten it
61. Sambal
(?) – I never buy this when I see it, why not??
62. Bhutanese Red Rice
(?) – I was pretty underwhelmed... it's rice... I like Forbidden Rice though!
63. Candy-cane or Chioggia beets
(?) – Grew these last year and YUM! Sooo much better than the standard ones!
64. Mango – Not often, but it's so good!
65. Ras el Hanout
(?) – Definitely on the "to try" list... but with what?
66. Vegan marshmallow
67. Umeboshi (?) – I'd possibly do it once, just to say I did.
68. Red Currants
(?) – Straight from St. Lawrence Market!
69. Puy or French lentils
(?) – Not often, but yup.
70. Millet – Only in part of a pilaf, though. Too "odd" for me alone.
71. Fresh Bamboo shoot
72. Jerusalem artichoke
73. Wild strawberry
(?) – My childhood best friend had these in her garden.
74. Jambool
75. Po cha or Yak butter Tea
76. Adzuki beans
77. Shirataki (?)
78. Manioc, yuca, cassava
79. Quinoa
80. Ramps
81. Chufa
82. Purslane (
?) – Eh, probably not again though.
83. Curry Leaves (Kadipatta)
(?) – I can't find these anywhere!
84. Sorrel
85. Sumac
(?) – In something, can't remember what!
86. Vegan cupcake – Made my own, thank you!
87. Montreal bagel
(?) – Best damn bagels ever!
88. Peri-peri (
89. Syllabub

90. Chartreuse
91. Kamut berries
(?) – Berries, puffed, cake-form and flour!
92. Kalamansi Lime (
?) – Only in Ponzu
93. Aloe
(?) – Thank you Auntie Janice!
94. Morels
95. Raw "bread" (?)
96. Dandelion wine

97. Rosti
98. Loomi
99. Stinky tofu
100. Something grown by you – All the time!

Vegan 100

Thanks to Bittersweet for the reference links! I've added as I saw fit.
1. Natto (
2. Green Smoothie (
3. Tofu Scramble (
4. Haggis (
?) – Not this particular version though.
5. Mangosteen (
?) – See above
6. Creme brulee (
?) – I didn't even know this existed in the vegan world!
7. Fondue – Chocolate all the way!
8. Marmite/Vegemite (
?1) (?2)
9. Borscht (
?) – Pretty good!
10. Baba ghanoush – I like
this recipe for it, though
11. Nachos – Pre-vegan? Yes, but not vegan.
12. Authentic soba noodles – Yup! Yum!
13. PB&J sandwich – I think this is a given for most people
14. Aloo gobi (
?) – Way too good to be a vegetable!
15. Taco from a street cart (
?) – We don't have these suckers here
16. Boba Tea (
?) – The bubbles aren't my thing
17. Black truffle – I WISH!
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes – Strawberries, yumyumyum!
19. Gyoza (
?) – Good in a pinch
20. Vanilla ice cream – Not the vegan version, and probably never... too high in fat!
21. Heirloom tomatoes – Growing them, loving them!
22. Fresh wild berries – Every summer at Beausoleil!
23. Ceviche (
?) – This recipe looks great though!
24. Rice and beans – Oh yeah!
25. Knish (
26. Raw scotch bonnet pepper – Hahaha, never again! My mouth is still scorching from years ago!
27. Dulce de leche (
?) – It looks so good!
28. Caviar (
?) – Once I get my hands on it!
29. Baklava – Damn straight!
30. Pate (
?) – No thanks...
31. Wasabi peas
32. Chowder in a sourdough bowl – Not a vegan version, yet! I'm looking at
this one though.
33. Mango lassi (
?) – Not likely, but who knows!
34. Sauerkraut – Once, it's not too bad!
35. Root beer float – Not a vegan one
36. Mulled cider (
?) – Yum!
37. Scones with buttery spread and jam
38. Vodka jelly (
?) – Don't do the alchy!
39. Gumbo
40. Fast food French fries – Oh, yeah!
41. Raw Brownies (
?) – I like my sweets baked, and can't do the nuts.
42. Fresh Garbanzo Beans (
?) – If I ever see 'em, I will!
43. Dahl (
?) – Yummy, especially at a little place I can no longer remember the name of downtown !
44. Homemade Soymilk (
?) – I'm too lazy to make it myself!
45. Wine from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more – Again, don't drink, so nope.
46. Stroopwafle (
?) – Topped with ice cream and caramel!
47. Samosas (
?) – One of my old MLCP teachers made the BEST!
48. Vegetable Sushi – One of my standards when we go out!
49. Glazed doughnut – I worked at Tim's, people!
50. Seaweed – I love sushi!
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi – See above
53. Tofurkey (
?) – Sure, why not?
54. Sheese (
?) – I can't get this here, and I think it's too high in fat for me.
55. Cotton candy – Every summer!
56. Gnocchi – Yup, nothin' special
57. Piña colada – And EWWW!
58. Birch beer (
?) – Not really a "yum" factor with me.
59. Scrapple (
?) – No thanks.
60. Carob chips
61. S'mores – Not veg ones, though
62. Soy curls (
?) – Generic counts, right?
63. Chickpea cutlets (
?) – Might give 'em a go, though
64. Curry – Love it!
65. Durian – See above
66. Homemade Sausages (
?) – I have a different recipe though I haven't made it yet.
67. Churros, elephant ears, or funnel cake – Oh yeah, Wonderland staples!
68. Smoked tofu – Not yet
69. Fried plantain – Sprinkled with sugar and nutmeg!
70. Mochi (
71. Gazpacho – Made it too... ick
72. Warm chocolate chip cookies – Oh yeah!
73. Absinthe
74. Corn on the cob
75. Whipped cream, straight from the can (
?) – Used to be able to find it, can't now!
76. Pomegranate
77. Fauxstess Cupcake (
78. Mashed potatoes with gravy – Not veg gravy yet.
79. Jerky (
?) – Only saw it in the States
80. Croissants (
?) – Too high in oil... sigh
81. French onion soup – Not my cuppa soup, though.
82. Savory crepes – Once, don't think they were vegan though.
83. Tings (
?) – Nope.
84. A meal at Candle 79 (
?) – That'd be pretty sweet...
85. Moussaka (
?) – Not a veg version.
86. Sprouted grains or seeds
87. Macaroni and "cheese" – Have a
recipe though.
88. Flowers
89. Matzoh ball soup
90. White chocolate (
91. Seitan – I will make it!
92. Kimchi (
?) – Ew, though.
93. Butterscotch chips (
?) – Totally didn't know they made vegan ones!
94. Yellow watermelon
Chili with chocolate
96. Bagel and Tofutti (
97. Potato milk
98. Polenta
Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Raw cookie dough

Omnivore's 100
The one that started it all! Thanks to Andrew for most of the reference links – I've added to them as needed.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros (
4. Steak tartare (
5. Crocodile
Black pudding
Cheese fondue
9. Borscht – See above

10. Baba ghanoush – See above
12. Pho (
PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses (
17. Black truffle
Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream – Not so crazy about it.
Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras (
Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese (
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda (
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea (
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal (
?) – I so would...
Goat's milk
Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu (
47. Chicken tikka masala (
48. Eel
Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin – Want to!
51. Prickly pear (
52. Umeboshi – See above
53. Abalone (
54. Paneer
McDonald's Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle (
57. Dirty gin martini
Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine (
Carob chips
61. S'mores
62. Sweetbreads (
63. Kaolin (
64. Currywurst (
65. Durian
66. Frogs' legs
Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis (
Fried plantain
Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost (
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu (
77. Hostess Fruit Pie – Road trip!
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong (
80. Bellini (
81. Tom yum (
Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky (
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant (
Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash (
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate (
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab (
93. Rose harissa (
94. Catfish
Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor (
Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

So, yeah, I think I'm done now! There's a ton of stuff I haven't tried! What's on your list?

Friday, August 22, 2008


When recipes come along to me from good sources, whether blogs, chefs or family members, I often clamour to make whatever it is according to their recipe and the acclaims that follow it, knowing that whatever emerges will be impressive and a surefire hit.

These cookies, well, weren't.

I hate to say that.

Although, I have to say that my unimpressed reaction to Dorie Greenspan's Korova cookies was partially my fault. All the while I was making these, all I could think was "yeah, so they're chocolate-chocolate chip cookies... whoop dee doo". I'm pretty sure that my apathetic stance while mixing, rolling, chilling and finally baking these cookies led to my total frustration when it came time to take them out of the oven. True to form, they were chocolate-chocolate-chip cookies. I don't know what I did wrong, but they didn't exactly leap off the sheets at me screaming "eat me!". And it isn't as if I'm an apathetic chocolate eater, either. Just the opposite. I NEED my chocolate - more than 1x a day if I can swing it - but I wonder if it's possible that my physical inability to enjoy these butter-filled bites played a critical part in my disappointment with them.

Seeing as I can't taste-test these for you to read about, I've passed on the fruits of my labour to Andrew's family and my mom to give me the final verdict on my batch - hopefully their impressions are more favourable than mine! Update: my mom ate two in one sitting, and Andrew nicked one out of his "goody bag" and deemed them amazing... I guess the nuances of the cookie are lost on me I want to like these cookies, really I do! But, if "yays" are not to be with my lab rats, there are glowing reviews out on the 'net from some awesome bloggers, and I'll probably give these another go around Christmas, but for now these are "just okay" in my books.

What definitely helped was having a recipe with ingredients in weight (this is where I channel all I learned from my highschool days of scaling 10kg of flour for doorstopper chocolate chip cookies and combine it with Alton Brown's more fun method of teaching... the TV!) - I definitely notice a difference in my baked recipe outcomes when I weigh rather than volume-measure ingredients. I did play with the recipe a touch - just to help me unload some more pantry space - using part Kamut flour and part all-purpose, and because I had no Fleur de Sel I used what I had... coarse sea salt. Those were my only change... I promise! I even went all-out and bought butter, which I never do, to make these. And I used top-grade Amedei 70% chocolate coupled with some leftover Lindt, and I definitely agree with quality counting here!

The best part about making these cookies is that I get to cross off a "must make" item from my baking / cooking list! Remember that one I started back at the end of last year? Well, it pretty much went to hell has evolved beyond anything it looked like before.

I do have a whack of "what if" scenarios for using these cookies (you know, if indulging in chocolate upon chocolate upon butter isn't good enough... you'll hate me for posting the nutritional info if you're a dieter!). What about using them to sandwich a scoop of cheesecake (or salted caramel!) ice-cream? Or layering cookies with fresh berries and cream for a parfait?

Here's my take on the cookies, with apologies to Dorie for not finding them as exponentially wonderful as the rest of the globe did!

World Peace Cookies
Makes about 36
3.4 oz (3/4 cup) flour
3.4 oz (3/4 cup) Kamut flour
1.8 oz (1/3 cup) cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
5.5 oz (11 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
4.25 oz (2/3 cup) packed brown sugar
1.7 oz (1/4 cup) sugar
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small bits
  1. Sift together the flours, cocoa, and baking soda - set aside.
  2. Beat butter and shortening together with electric beaters until fluffy.
  3. Beat in sugars and salt, followed by vanilla, until well blended.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients, beating only until just blended.
  5. The mixture will be crumbly, but don't add any liquid and don't overwork the dough.
  6. Fold in chocolate pieces by hand.
  7. Squeeze and shape the dough into logs about 1 1/2" across.
  8. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and freeze 1 hour.
  9. Preheat the oven to 325°F, and line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.
  10. Slice the logs into 1/2" thick slices and space them 1" apart on sheets.
  11. Bake only one sheet of cookies at a time, for 12 minutes. The cookies will not look done or firm.
  12. Cool completely on sheets.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 96.5
Total Fat: 5.4 g
Cholesterol: 6.9 mg
Sodium: 2.1 mg
Total Carbs: 11.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.6 g
Protein: 1.0 g
WW Points: 2

As a total and completely different side note (after that rant!) I wanted to say a big THANK YOU! to Kitchen Flavours, who gave me the gift of the 'Wylde Woman Award'. Now I must pass it along - here are the rules!
  • Give it to one or 100 or any number in between - it's up to you. Make sure you link to their site in your post.
  • Link back to this blog: Tammy can go visit all these wonderful men and women.
  • Remember the Purpose of the Award: To send love and acknowledgment to women who brighten your day, teach you new things and live their lives fully with generosity and joy.

Wow! There are so many deserving bloggers out there and it's so hard to pick out a couple (though most of them will have recieved this award already!), but here are a few that I'm passing this on to:

Jess - The Domestic Vegan
Deb - Altered Plates
Chocolate Covered Vegan
Peabody - Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
Jules - Domestic Goddess in Training
Maggie - Dog Hill Kitchen
Mandy - Fresh From the Oven
The Food Allergy Queen
Allergic Girl - Please Don't Pass The Nuts

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Anything But Ordinary

Sometimes, when I get requests for baked goods from either friends or family, the specific details make be laugh. It isn't often that I even get requests for my cooking, since three quarters of the time I'm way ahead of the game as far as that goes (I mean, come on - I made the PBJ Cupkins, these cookies and the forthcoming Korovas without being asked!), but it does happen!

Like the lemony cookies I'm detailing today, for example. Andrew (my life's muse) and I had been talking about cravings, and the random ones that would pop into our heads for no reason other than to torture us. For me, it was a desire to make cookies of any kind, or to try my hand at making hard pretzels like the Goldfish crackers Andrew fell in love with last week in Niagara Falls (why the heck don't we get any of the good stuff up here?).

After I mentioned my hankering for cookie-making, Andrew offered up his services as an indulger taster, provided that the cookies I made "were normal, without anything weird added in...".
"Weird... like what?"
"You know, like tofu or anything... different. Like if you're making lemon-poppyseed cookies, make them with normal ingredients."

Sigh. Okay, Andrew, I'll make them without any tofu. Seeded lemon cookies it is.

Notice I didn't specify what kind of seed I was using. Therein lay the critical turning point. I did, after all, have an overstocked pantry to clean out! Poppy seeds gave way to something a little more eclectic and - dare I say, nutritious - a mix of hulled hemp hearts and chia seeds! I'd written about these before when I made my West-Coast muffins, and I threw some of the leftovers into this batch of otherwise basic lemony sugar cookie dough. I doubt that Andrew can tell the difference if he doesn't read this blog before having a cookie! It's not like I lied, after all... there isn't a speck of tofu in sight!

Lemon - Seed Cookies
Makes 12 large cookies
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp lemon zest
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp hemp hearts
1 tbsp chia seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 375F, and line a cookie sheet (I used the Silpat Andrew gave me).
  2. Cream together shortening and sugar.
  3. Beat in egg, extract and zest.
  4. Gently stir in the dry ingredients.
  5. Drop 2" apart on sheets.
  6. Bake 10 minutes.
  7. Cool 5 minutes on sheets before removing to a wire rack.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 160.8
Total Fat: 9.4 g
Cholesterol: 17.7 mg
Sodium: 5.5 mg
Total Carbs: 16.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.7 g
Protein: 2.2 g

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Digging Deep... Freezer Style

I admit it... I'm a hoarder. If you saw yesterday's photo, you know that I have an unbreakable addiction to Bulk Barn, and not enough time or ideas to use up all the stuff! I spent this morning (or the part of the morning that I was upright for, at least) trying to organize my stuff so I could store it more efficiently. While putting a bag of nuts into the basement freezer, I came across one of the *4* bags of frozen fruit that I had saved from earlier in the year, and with space at a premium these days, I decided it was time for some of it to meet it's maker.

I also had peanut butter, which is a very good thing in this household because not only do I love the stuff (as you can tell by my mug's inscription, sucks that it no longer likes my body!) but Andrew and the rest of the family are partial to it as well. Inspiration struck, and I set about making these light, rich and oh-so-perfectly yummy "cupkins"... a cross between muffin and cupcake, good for breakfast or dessert!

Given that the berries came from the nether regions of my deep freezer, I'm going to send the recipe off to Mele Cotte's Deep Freeze Summer Challenge! Now to make my way through the rest of the frozen fruit / nut / seed / flour stash...

Note: I apologize for the shameful length of the recent posts... I'm not feeling up to par these days!

PBJ Cupkins
Makes 12
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup peanut butter, warmed until runny
1 cup strawberries, lightly crushed

  1. Preheat oven to 375F, grease 12 muffin cups.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and sugar.
  3. In another bowl, combine water, vanilla, peanut butter and strawberries well.
  4. Blend gently into the dry ingredients.
  5. Bake 12-14 minutes or until they test done.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 154.5
Total Fat: 3.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 25.7 mg
Total Carbs: 28.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.2 g
Protein: 3.6 g

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I have this theory... it isn't that I have too much stuff in my pantry, it's that my pantry is too small. And that I only have one oven... which today was in constant use making dried tomatoes. I tried doing them this time the way David suggested ("face down" on racks), but I have to say I kind of preferred the "raisiny" tomatoes - especially since they dried faster (aka I could pick them off the sheet sooner). Tomorrow's task is going to be making Korova cookie dough (with luck) and finding out ways to use the assembly of bulk ingredients I've collected (and finally labelled today!).

Once I do that... then I'll have a new recipe post for you!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Boring Yumminess

My lunch today is not a photogenic one, so I'm opting out of a photo this go around. However, it IS a delicious concoction, and one that Andrew is completely responsible for inspiration wise. Thanks honey!

The main star of today's lunch salad (I'm so predictable... always salad!) is a new ingredient that I threw into my cart on the last grocery impulse buy shopping trip... So Soya+ Meat Substitute Slices. I've used TVP (textured vegetable protein) before, but only in "ground" form with things like sloppy joes, my famous "Redwall Pasty" and chili (I've also combined it with "real" meat as an extender... works very well to flesh out the meal and the budget! Yes, it's soy, no, it's not gross!). This was something that I wasn't too sure what I was going to actually do with it, but I was game to try anything new, tasty and my restricted-diet-friendly. I was really really glad that I took the plunge, though, and when a box gives you 6-8 servings and only costs $5, it's worth it!

Basically, what came in the package are dried out "chunks" of pure soy protein made from defatted soy flour, that you need to soak in hot liquid (be it broth, water, juice, etc) for about 15 minutes before you can use them. This is where Andrew gave me a spark of genious - yesterday when I first tore into the package and rehydrated it with some vegetarian "chickenish" broth for lunch (which he graciously agreed to taste test with me) he commented how adding some poultry seasoning would really amp up the flavour of the bits and make them a great base for a chicken salad sandwich. At the time it was kind of late (we got sidetracked browsing through Crappy Tire) and I didn't think we had any of the spice lying around so we did without, but he did make himself a "yummy, and really filling" sandwich on toast and I stir-fried my share up with a spicy teriyaki sauce. These are crazy filling, no word of a lie, and since they really soak up whatever flavour you choose for them the stir-fry worked nicely too.

Today I had more time on my hands (or stomach, as it were), so I was able to "pantry dive" - lo and behold, we actually did have (relatively fresh) poultry seasoning! Mixed with some simple boiling water, it was a great broth, and intensely flavoured the bits. After they had soaked and I drained them I set about making a dressing for my salad. It turned out to be a variant of one that I remember my grandma making once or twice to mix with leftover turkey after Thanksgivings, and it was awesome! I have sort-of measurements for the recipe today, and no nutritional analysis, but I know it's very low fat and reasonable with the calories (a generous serving of the slices is only 95 cals and is fat free), especially served over lettuce and fresh tomatoes like I did today. I'll probably stick this in a wrap for school later on this year, too.

Oh, and if you're in photo-withdrawl, here's Andrew's and my latest mini Roma haul. A bunch of that bowl's already gone, too... yay for tomatoes!

Chickenish Salad
Serves one
1 serving (35g dry) So Soya+ slices
Boiling water
Pinch poultry seasoning
Pinch salt
Lettuce - as much as you want
Tomatoes - ditto
1 tbsp (or thereabouts) Fat-Free Nayonnaise (yay USA shopping!)
2 tsp yellow mustard
1 tsp cranberry sauce (I make my own with stevia in place of sugar)
Black pepper (next time I'll swap in horseradish... maybe wasabi!)
  1. Put the soy slices into a bowl.
  2. Combine the boiling water, poultry seasoning and the salt. Pour over the slices and let sit 15-20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. Shred lettuce and chop tomatoes, toss into a bowl (I sometimes add in dried oregano too)
  4. Add Nayonnaise, mustard, cranberry sauce and pepper to the rehydrated soy, stirring well to blend and coat everything.
  5. Add soy mix to the top of the lettuce and eat!

*Note: You can make the chickenish mix ahead of time and pop it in the fridge for later, make sure you add the mayo mix to it while it's warm, though - it soaks up the flavour better*

Thanks to a great note from Kitchen Flavours, I'm just in time to submit this post (albeit without a photo, sorry!) for Jihva for Ingredients: Soy, being hosted at Monsoon Spice. It's a new event for me, and it looks yummy!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Taco Time

Summer vacation is in it's last leg for this year, the back-to-school ads have been out for ages and the last time I was at the grocery I saw HALLOWEEN candy on the shelves! Good Lord - if they begin the Christmas carols before November I swear I'll go off the deep end! It's still AUGUST, people!

Yes, August is still with us, and that means picnic and BBQ fare is still fair game. I'm including something in this post today that's fairly odd for this teetotaler's blog - an alcoholic punch - because when I read about it in August's Toronto Life it looked too good to keep all to myself. It's the invention of a restaurant in Toronto known as Spice Route, and would probably be a perfect pairing to some Summer rolls or a light Asian-style slaw salad. Definitely pop over to the article and read the take on the drink by the author, though... it's too funny to pass up!

Serves 4
1 1/2 cups papaya juice
1 1/4 oz Asian pear sake
1 1/4 oz plum wine
1 1/2 oz of mandarin vodka
1 cup frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
1/2 cup blackberries
1/2 cup raspberries
1 lime, sliced
1/2 lemon, sliced
1/2 blood orange, sliced

  1. In a pitcher, stir together juice, sake, wine and vodka.
  2. Stir in berries.
  3. Float citrus slices on top and serve.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 97.7
Total Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 4.9 mg
Total Carbs: 14.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.6 g
Protein: 0.2 g

Looking for a side dish for the fruity drink that isn't Asian? Well, I made these cornmeal tortillas a while back and think they'd be excellent as grilled pizza shells. Of course, you could go completely Mexican and make tacos or burritos too...

Cornmeal Tortillas
Makes 10
2 cups flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons non-fat dry milk
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 cup warm water

  1. In a medium-sized, mix together all of the dry ingredients, then cut in the shortening.
  2. Gradually mix in the water and knead briefly, just until the dough is smooth.
  3. Divide the dough into 10 pieces, weighing about 2 ounces each.
  4. Round them into balls, flatten slightly, and allow them to rest, covered, for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat a heavy frying pan over medium heat.
  6. Working with one piece of dough at a time (keep the remaining dough balls covered), roll balls out until they're about 8 inches in diameter.
  7. Fry in the ungreased pan for about 45 seconds on each side
  8. Stack wraps on top of one another as you fry them to keep them soft and pliable.
  9. Store, tightly wrapped, in a plastic bag at room temperature. For storing wraps longer than a couple of days, freeze them.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 162.3
Total Fat: 3.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.3 mg
Sodium: 11.3 mg
Total Carbs: 29.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.6 g
Protein: 4.1 g