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Archive for March, 2011

Hi! Wow, it feels like it’s been ages since I’ve posted. It’s been business as usual around here – I’ve cooked a few great meals this week (chopped salad with creamy cannellini beans, stuffed spaghetti squash and fettuccine with zucchini and mixed peppers), but shame on me for not getting photographic evidence of any of them! Tsk, tsk. Anyway, hopefully this week I’ll feel more inspired to capture my dishes on camera, but in the meantime here are some of my favourite ingredients of the moment:

Indulge: Bunner’s Vegan Bakery

This place just opened in Toronto and it’s sooo amazing- they have everything from vegan cupcakes to donuts to homemade pies. My fav was the red velvet cupcake with the heavenly icing. Mmm, I can’t wait to go back!

Watch: The End of the Line

Although its cinematography may not compare to Planet Earth or The Cove, The End of the Line is a powerful documentary that I encourage everyone to watch. It offers a chilling account of the extreme over-fishing of our oceans that has been occurring since the fifties and the toll it is taking on our planet. It doesn’t hurt that the film is narrated by vegan/silver fox Ted Danson either.

Remix: Kitchenware

Don’t worry, this is not my foray into interior-decorating. But I did happen to have an extra sugar dish lying around and a ceramic egg container looking quite lonely in my fridge, so I decided to put them to good use on my usually over-cluttered dresser. I used the egg dish to hold earrings and rings I wear often, and the sugar bowl turned out to be the perfect container for all my favourite lipsticks!

I am very fortunate to get to enjoy these small luxuries, and have been feeling very grateful lately in light of recent global events. I am trying to appreciate the small things in life that bring me comfort and I hope you all take a moment to do the same.

xo robin


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photo by pwisenberg

When we ate here in NYC, I was thrilled to see this vegan pizza on the menu- so thrilled, in fact, that I decided to recreate it myself! The super thin crust (recipe here) is topped with a sweet balsamic reduction, creamy homemade hummus and chewy sun dried tomatoes. Add a generous sprinkling of fresh basil and it’s time to feast!

Guilt-free vegan pizza
Makes 2 large or 4 medium-sized pizzas

homemade pizza dough
hummus recipe (see below)
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp cornmeal
salt and pepper to taste

Hummus
Makes enough for the pizzas with lots left over

2 can chickpeas
3/4 cups tahini
1 1/2 lemons, juiced
zest of 1/2 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Combine hummus ingredients in food processor until smooth and creamy (adding the olive oil slowly as you blend). Roll pizza dough as thin as possible and place on a baking sheet that has been dusted with cornmeal. Brush the top of the dough lightly with olive oil, making sure not to forget the edges- this will help the crust to become golden brown. In a small saucepan, simmer the balsamic over low heat until it has thickened and reduced by about one third. Drizzle onto the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border all around, and season with sea salt and cracked pepper. Next, add a thick layer of hummus, followed by the sun dried tomatoes. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Top with fresh basil and cool slightly before slicing.

Happy first day of spring everyone!

P.S. My apologies for the overabundance of hummus/chickpea recipes lately, it’s gotten a bit out of hand! I’ll try and mix it up more from now on, I swear…

 

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Soup du jour

photo by pwisenberg

Homemade soup is always better than store-bought, and this simple recipe is no exception. I used a variety of different beans and added hot chili flakes for some extra kick. The dry roasted croutons added the perfect crunch. The best part? It provided Paul and I with a delicious and easy lunch all week long.

Bean and tomato soup with crunchy croutons
Serves 8-10

1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups mixed beans, dry or canned (I used dry beans that I’d pre-soaked and cooked)
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stocks, diced
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp oregano
splash cider vinegar
1 small can diced tomatoes
4-5 cups veggie broth
2 bay leaves
4 slices day-old whole wheat baguette, cut into cubes

I know it looks like a lot of ingredients, but trust me it’s soo worth it when it means no work for the next few meals! Start by heating the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Once slightly softened, add the brown sugar, lemon juice, chili powder, chili flakes, and oregano. Cook for a few minutes before deglazing with a splash of vinegar. Next, add the beans, canned tomatoes, vegetable broth and bay leaves. Stir to combine and simmer for at least 30 minutes, the longer the better! Meanwhile, sprinkle the bread cubes with sea salt and black pepper and bake at 400 degrees, turning occasionally, until golden brown- about 10-15 minutes.

Happy Friday lovely readers!

 

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Going green

photo by pwisenberg

Last night’s dinner. So good. I used this drool-inducing sauce and remixed the recipe by serving the tempeh with a medley of healthy green veggies- broccoli, bell peppers, green onions and kale. All I can say is yum!

Asian tempeh with green veggies
Serves 2-4

this sauce recipe
1 package tempeh, cut into bite-sized cubes
1 cup brown rice (I’d make 2 if I were serving 4 people) and necessary cooking liquid
1 green bell pepper
1 head broccoli, including the stems
1/2 bunch of kale, chopped
4-6 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup bean sprouts
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
lime wedges for garnish

Begin by brining your rice and cooking liquid to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 40 minutes until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Split it into 2 bowls- in one bowl, coat the tempeh and in the other, the pepper, broccoli, kale and onions. Heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high and add the tempeh cubes (no oil required). Cook until golden brown and crispy on the outside, turning often, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside until later. Add the veggies t0 the wok and cook over medium until the sauce has reduced and the broccoli is fork tender (about 15 minutes). Re-add the tempeh, as well as the bean sprouts and heat everything thoroughly. Rectify the seasoning if necessary (it willl likely only need a bit of fresh pepper as the sauce is quite salty). Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro and lime wedges. This dish is seriously satisfying!

I don’t know about you guys, but we are finally getting some nice weather here is Toronto, could this really be spring? I hope you all get to enjoy the sunshine over the weekend, I know I will! I am going to brave the St. Patty’s Day crowds later to catch up with my sister over a glass of wine. Tomorrow it’s lunch at my favourite vegan cafe Fresh with my parents, who are visiting. And Saturday, I get to cook dinner for one of my dearest friends who I haven’t seen in far too long. I wish you all a wonderful weekend, and highly recommend picking up a bunch of fresh tulips, as they’re sure to brighten anyone’s day.

xo Robin

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photo by pwisenberg

I tweaked this recipe from an episode of Chef at Home. Michael Smith was trying to come up with a way to get his son Gabe (the cuuutest) to eat carrots, so he decided to make them taste like apple pie. The carrots are simmered in apple cider and cinnamon and finished with raisins and chopped walnuts (my idea!). The result is a sweet and healthy side dish that anyone (even 3-year olds) will love!

Apple pie carrots
Serves 2-4

1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup apple cider or juice
pinch each of cinnamon and salt
one pat of Earth Balance butter
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Simmer the carrots in the cider, butter, cinnamon and salt until just fork-tender. Drain the excess liquid and toss with the nuts and raisins. That’s it!

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photos by me & pwisenberg

Siiiigh… what do you get when you combine mushrooms, onions, garlic and baguette? Pure gastronomical bliss, that’s what. This is one of my absolute favourite indulgences and it’s so so easy. Just sauté the onions, garlic and mushrooms in a little oil… and maybe a little butter too (dairy-free of course), spoon it onto some toasted bread and voila!

Mushroom garlic crostini
Serves 2

6 slices fresh baguette
1 cup mushrooms, sliced (I used button mushrooms and portobellos)
4 scallions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Earth Balance butter
2 tbsp vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly brush bread with olive oil and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the garlic for a brief moment before adding the onions and mushrooms. Season with salt, pepper and chili flakes and cook for several minutes, until the mushrooms have lost most of their water. Add a splash of veggie stock and simmer until the liquid has evaporated. Spoon this delicious mixture onto the crostini and revel in its savoury scrumptiousness. Mmm, I kind of want some right now…

 

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Brighten up

photo by me

I have a slight obsession with both quinoa and hummus, so why did I never think to combine the two before? This was a little salad I came up with for lunch yesterday and it was as good as I had hoped. Be sure to add a touch of olive oil to the quinoa one it has cooked so it doesn’t dry out. Other than that, add whatever veggies you have on hand and a generous dollop of delicious hummus! Almost too easy, right?

Easy-peasy quinoa salad with hummus
Serves 2

1 cup quinoa cooked with 1 1/2 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp hummus
1/4 cup each of cucumber, tomatoes and bell pepper
1 tsp fresh dill, chopped
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Add quinoa and water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all of the liquid has absorbed. Toss quinoa with olive oil and fresh dill. Top with hummus and veggies. Lastly, season everything with salt and pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Good eats!

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