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Archive for April, 2011

photo by me

Hello readers and fellow foodies! First of all, I want to give a HUGE thank you to WordPress for featuring me on their “freshly pressed” page earlier this week! It’s truly amazing to receive so much positive feedback from all you readers out there and it really inspires me to keep churning out yummy recipes. Enter: the simple smashed potatoes pictured above. This dish was one of those classic “what do I do with this bag of potatoes that won’t last much longer?” dishes. I had a few fresh herbs on hands, so I decided to boil and smash the potatoes and inject a ton of herbaciousness (a made up word?)! In addition to the herbs, garlic, lemon and olive oil, I threw in some diced bell peppers for some extra colour and crunch. This simple dish is low on the difficulty scale but packed with big flavour! What more could you want from a humble bowl o’ taters anyway?

Herby smashed potatoes
Serves 4 as a side

1 lb mini red potatoes (or whichever variety you happen to have)
1/3 cup olive oil
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1 small clove garlic, grated or pressed
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp fresh curly leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1/4 bell pepper, finely diced
salt and pepper to taste

Begin by bringing a large pot of water to a boil and add the potatoes in whole. Boil until fork tender, about 10 minutes or so. Drain the taters and and smash them with a potato masher, but don’t go overboard, chunks are your friend in this rustic dish! Stir in all of the other ingredients, making sure to add a generous sprinkling of both salt and pepper. Although this dish is just as tasty when served cold, I have to say that enjoying it warm is so much more comforting!

Have a delicious weekend my friends.

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These past couple of weeks have been great- an exciting opportunity has presented itself (more on this soon), I enjoyed a great night out with my girlfriends, went home to see my parents for Easter, and celebrated my, ahem, sixth anniversary with Paul! I wanted to spread a little bit of my happiness with you all so here are some of my current favourite ingredients…


Listen: Iron and Wine- Kiss each other clean

I first heard about this album through my friend Eric’s music blog, The Subjective Listener, and he’s completely right in saying that Iron and Wine’s latest is truly phenomenal. The instrumentation is reminiscent of Dave Matthews in its hay-day, while the lyrics have a hauntingly Freudian vibe (think: an abundance of mother/child references). The animal imagery of Kiss each other clean is pervasive and at times grotesque and confusing, yet Samuel Beam’s voice is so soothing that his disturbing words somehow feel like a welcome lullaby. The album seems meticulously composed as a whole, yet each song manages to hold its own as well. Even the artwork couldn’t be more perfectly crafted. The dark scene (completed with camouflaged birds, a burning barn and hypnotic eyes) is peppered with beautiful bursts of vibrant colours. I can’t understate the power of this beautiful music.

Go: District

If you’re from the Toronto area, eat here. Just do it. Paul and I enjoyed a wonderful anniversary meal here and I can actually give the experience a ten out of ten (believe me, I’m rarely this kind when critiquing restaurants). Everything- from the cozy bistro atmosphere to the spectacular vegetarian maki platter I ordered- was pure perfection. District is such a gem, I can’t wait to go back!

Do: Family Easter

My Easter weekend was truly lovely. On Friday, my mum made a scrumptious vegan chilli, which was followed with some very necessary euchre and boardgames. On Saturday, the fam opted to forego the traditional ham and scalloped potatoes in favour of a massive Asian-inspired feast (sake-tinis included). This, of course, made me very happy. My mum and I made dumplings for the first time, plus I got to show off my serious tofu-and-veggie-making chops. Sunday was a day of doing puzzles, reading books and eating a bit too much Easter candy. Such fun!

photos by me & pwisenberg

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photo by pwisenberg

Yes, that is a grilled cheese! Or should I say a grilled “cheeeese”? Since adopting a vegan diet, I’ve steered pretty clear of imitation cheese. But every now and then I crave the savoury and satisfying taste of ooey-gooey cheddar. I used a soy-based vegan cheese for this sandwich and was pleasantly surprised when it melted beautifully. To spice up this traditional sammie, I made a vibrant southwestern pesto complete with cilantro, jalapenos and even some chia seeds for crunch! And let’s be honest here, even the fanciest of grilled cheeses can benefit from a little ketchup.

Spicy vegan grilled cheese sandwich
Serves 2

4 slices good bread
Earth Balance butter for spreading
8 slices dairy-free cheddar cheese

Southwestern pesto

1 cup fresh cilantro
3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1 small avocado, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chia seeds
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

To make the pesto, pulse all of the ingredients in the food processor while slowly adding the olive oil. Butter the outside of each slice of bread, while spreading the inside of one slice with the pesto. Add the cheese and grill the sandwich in a small pan over low heat. Keep the pan covered to speed up the melting process. For best results, keep a close eye on the sandwich and cook each side for at least 5-6 minutes. Serve with ketchup and gobble it up!

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Don’t you just crave something fried sometimes? Well I do, and these veggie pancakes were the perfect solution for a tasty Friday lunch with a friend. I was inspired by a recipe that came with our biweekly organic box, they called for sweet potatoes and parsnips, but I only had one left so I substituted carrots instead. I think any root veggie would work well along with the potatoes. The cakes wound up having the most beautiful orange colour and paired perfectly with a simple mixed green salad.

Sweet potato & carrot cakes
Serves 4

1 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 pound other root veggies, peeled and cubed (I used 1 parsnip and 3 carrots)
1 onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1 cup bread crumbs (I used panko, mmm)
1-2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp cooking oil
2 big pinches of thyme (fresh or dried)
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups mixed greens (I tossed them in a simple vinaigrette of olive oil, lemon juice, dijon and maple syrup)

Cook the sweet potatoes, parsnips and carrots in boiling salted water until just tender, about 10 minutes, then drain well and set aside to cool slightly. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large skillet and cook the onion and garlic with a pinch of thyme, salt and pepper, until soft.

Puree the root veggies in a food processor with the flour and nutmeg (or mash by hand). Stir in the cooked onion and garlic and the rest of the thyme. Season to taste. Shape the mixture into rounds (add more flour if they are still too wet), and coat in the bread crumbs. Heat 2 tbsp oil in the same skillet until hot enough that a drop of bread crumbs sizzles right away, cook the cakes for about 6-8 minutes each, being careful not to break them when you flip .Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Sprinkle the hot cakes with a pinch of sea salt and garnish with a lemon wedge. Serve on a bed of lightly dressed greens and enjoy.

Happy Sunday! xo

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photos by pwisenberg

If you’ve ever wondered (because I’m sure you all have), what my ideal Sunday morning would be, it’s this. I made the yummiest ever fruit smoothies, that included pineapple, banana and tons of citrus and Paul and I enjoyed them with fresh bagels (a Sunday tradition). I topped mine with this amazing (amazing!) jalapeno cilantro hummus that I got from the One of a Kind Show on Friday. It’s funny that I went to the show expecting to get jewellery or scarves, and instead came away with hummus and this adorable hand-crafted mug. Go figure! Next, we took the domestic dorkiness to a whole new level by randomly deciding to go on a hunt for a jigsaw puzzle. Sadly, the only one we found was from the dollar store. But, on the plus side it’s a puzzle of the Toronto skyline, eh eh? Lastly, we just received a shipment from amazon which always excites me. I can’t wait to get reading- just need to finish Jonathan Franzen’s epic (read:way too long?) Freedom first…

I hope your weekends were as peaceful as mine. Here’s the delicious smoothie recipe:

Spring fresh fruit smoothie
Serves 4

1 pineapple, diced
2 bananas, chopped
zest and juice of 2 oranges
juice of 1/2 grapefruit
1 tray’s worth of ice cubes
splash of almond milk (optional)

Whiz it all together in a blender and enjoy!

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