Archive for May, 2011

photo by pwisenberg

Doesn’t it look like it’s just comin’ right at you? Nom, nom, nom! This was my first attempt at making homemade veggie burgers and they were mighty successful! I adapted the recipe from one found in this book, but added several of my own touches. The patties are made from a combo of black beans, mushrooms, onions and bread crumbs and came out crispy on the outside yet soft and creamy in the centre. Since the burgers were seasoned with cumin and chili powder I figured I’d go with the tex-mex theme and top them with salsa, fresh tomato and guacamole. Seriously seriously delicious.

Black bean burgers with guacamole
Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 package button mushrooms, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeno, diced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp mexican chili powder
2 tbsp beer (optional)
1 can black beans, drained but not rinsed
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
4 whole wheat burger buns
4 thick slices of tomato

Easy-peasy guac

2 perfectly ripe avocados
zest and juice of half a lime
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 green pepper, chopped
1 tbsp jarred or fresh jalapeno, chopped (if using jarred, I add a splash of the liquid too)
salt and pepper to taste

Begin by heating up the BBQ to medium-hot. Next, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat on the stove. Add the onion, mushrooms, garlic and jalapeno. Season with salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder and cook the veggies until soft and slightly golden, about 10 minutes. To soak up all the bits of flavour on the bottom of the pan, deglaze with a splash of beer (whatever you happen to be drinking is fine) and simmer until the liquid has been cooked off.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse together with the beans and cilantro until well-combined but still quite chunky. Rectify the seasoning with more salt and pepper if necessary. Spoon into a bowl and stir in the bread crumbs (roughly 1/2 a cup is what I used, but you may need slightly more or less). Form the mixture into 4 large patties (or 6 smaller ones) and brush them each lightly with oil to prevent them from sticking to the grill.

Grill the burgers until crispy on the outside and thoroughly heated through, roughly 5 minutes per side. Meanwhile, combine all of the guacamole ingredients and set aside until ready to serve. Serve the burgers on grilled buns with salsa, tomato, lettuce and tons of guac!


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Gimme sum

photos by pwisenberg

Dim sum, that is! I mean come on, it’s Thursday, it’s raining, why not make some dumplings? In case you missed ’em on One Green Planet last week, here’s the recipe for these tasty little suckers.


  • 1 package round egg-less dumpling wrappers
  • about 3 tbsp vegetable oil


  • 2 cups button mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ red pepper, finely diced
  • ½ orange pepper, finely diced
  • 2 cups spinach, steamed, dried and chopped
  • 1 baby bok choy, steamed dried and chopped
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • ½ tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • black pepper to taste

Spicy soy dipping sauce:

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • ½ hot chili, minced
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 1 green onion, minced


  1. For the filling, quickly sauté the mushrooms and garlic over medium heat until soft. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. To the bowl, add the remaining filling ingredients and set aside to cool.
  3. Once cool, spoon half a teaspoon of the mixture into the center of each wrapper. For the fried dumplings (or pot stickers), seal in a half moon formation. The steamed ones can be twisted into adorable little pouches.
  4. Steam the half moons for about 45 seconds, while heating some of the vegetable oil in a large skillet, about one tablespoon per batch. Once slightly softened, fry the pot stickers on medium-high heat until golden brown and crispy, about 1-2 minutes per side.
  5. For the purses, simply steam them for 3-4 minutes each until soft to the touch and glossy on the outside.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, chili vinegar, sesame oil and green onion to create the delicious dipping sauce.
  7. Serve with chopsticks and the spicy soy dipping sauce and enjoy!
Ciao bellas! xo

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photo by pwisenberg

Happy Sunday! This recipe is my take on pasta with meat sauce, except in lieu of the meat I opted for crumbled tempeh. The tempeh holds its firm texture and makes the sauce hearty and filling. I also happened to have some Daiya pepperjack cheese (so good!) lying around so I threw that in and it proved to add just the right amount of rich creaminess to sauce. Comfort food at its best!

Penne with tempeh tomato sauce
Serves 4-6

1 package whole wheat penne
2 tbsp olive oil
1 package tempeh, crumbled
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 tsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp each of dried thyme, oregano and crushed chilli flakes
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 18-0z can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded non-dairy cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste

Begin by heating the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot, add the onions, garlic and bell pepper, season with salt and pepper and cook until slightly soft. Next crumble the tempeh by hand and add it to the pot, stirring it gently until it starts to get brown and crispy. Add the tomato paste, thyme, oregano and chilli flakes and stir until all the flavours have combined. Deglaze the bottom of the pot with the balsamic vinegar and allow the liquid to cook off, this takes a couple of minutes. Next, simply pour in the crushed tomatoes and allow the sauce the simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it becomes thick and rich, about a half hour. Add more salt and pepper, if needed. Meanwhile, add the penne to a large pot of boiling, salted water. Cook the pasta until al dente and then add the noodles to the sauce, stirring in the cheese until it gets melted and gooey. Garnish with fresh ribbons of basil and enjoy!

P.S. Forks over Knives comes out this weekend, I can’t wait to see it!

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One Green Planet

Hello all!

I’m so happy to announce that I’ve been invited to contribute a monthly recipe column to the fabulous site, One Green Planet. My first submission was published yesterday and I couldn’t be more excited!

Please check it out here!

Happy Friday xo

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photos by pwisenberg

Apart from this week, where it’s been nonstop rain (I finally caved and bought this jacket), it’s safe to say that spring is finally here! This means any time not working is spent biking around town (cherry blossoms are in season), walking through the neighbourhood to our fav coffee shops, enjoying avocado sandwiches on a sunny patio and posing for late night photo shoots after a few glasses of sangria…

Recipes coming very soon my lovely readers!

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photos by pwsisenberg

A trip to my neighbourhood organic grocery store inspired me to make this recipe. The ingredients looked so gorgeous, they practically begged me to take them home- thick green spears of asparagus, hearty portobello mushrooms and beautifully-hued bite-sized grape tomatoes. This warm salad was easy to make and satisfying enough to eat for dinner. Plus, it just feels so spring-like with the seasonal asparagus and charred taste from the grill. The veggies were marinated in olive oil, herbs, garlic, dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar, a flavourful bunch if I do say so. The thick slices of portobello are so savoury and filling and the grape tomatoes add a much-needed burst of freshness. I garnished the salad with toasted pumpkin seeds for some extra crunch and served it with grilled crusty bread, perfect for sopping up that delicious marinade.

Warm asparagus and portobello salad
Serves 4

3 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1/2 red onion, thickly sliced
1/2 package grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
8 small slices whole grain bread, brushed with olive oil


1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
salt and pepper to taste

To make the marinade, whisk together all of the ingredient in a bowl until well combined. Taste and rectify the seasoning if necessary. To assemble the salad, begin by coating the mushrooms, asparagus and onions in the marinade and brushing the bread with olive oil (a little sprinkling of sea salt doesn’t hurt either). Grill the veggies over high heat (we used a grill pan for the mushrooms and onions, but it isn’t necessary), until the asparagus spears are just fork-tender and the mushrooms begin to get a golden brown crust, about 10 minutes or so. Meanwhile, grill the bread on the periphery of the grill where the heat is not so high, about 3 minutes per side. Top warm vegetables with the grape tomatoes and pumpkin seeds and serve with the grilled bread. Couldn’t be more simple, couldn’t be more yummy!

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Hi! As I sit sipping wine and watching Paul and my bestie Sarah duke it out in Wii Sports Resort, I thought I’d take a minute to share some of my favourite things as of late. There really are so many right now, it’s hard to choose…

Do: Sunday spring strolls 

The weather in Toronto today was unreal. After a seemingly endless winter, the warm sunshine could not have been more welcomed. While strolling around the east end, our day mainly consisted of  goofing off, admiring rows upon rows of beautiful flowers, and even jumping a fence. This happened.

Watch: Project Nim

James Marsh, the creative mastermind behind Man on Wire, has done it again. Project Nim is outstanding. The documentary follows the life of a loveable chimpanzee named Nim who was the star of a groundbreaking experiment back in the 70s. The best thing about this film (yes, even better than watching little Nim learn how to use sign language) is that Marsh respects his audience enough not to moralize the situation on our behalf. He lets his viewer formulate their own opinions about what ended up happening to Nim. Project Nim is a beautiful, yet incredibly challenging, movie that has left me shaken.

Listen: Fleet FoxesHelplessness Blues

Whenever I hear a Fleet Foxes song, I can’t help but feel happy. Their music is folky and cute and melodic and everything I would want from a band with both alliteration and a furry animal in their name. Their new album is as whimsical and catchy as their last, and the title track has been stuck in my head for days.

Read: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

I consider myself somewhat of a self-help book skeptic, but when this one came recommended to me by both my mum and my sister, I approached it with an open mind. The book is short, easy to read and totally worthwhile. Ruiz’s philosophy is simple: follow four basic principles to achieve happiness. Sounds sappy and preachy, I know. But his wisdom comes from the intuitive simplicity of the agreements, namely to be impeccable to your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions and always do your best. One of Ruiz’s ideas that has really stuck with me has to do with not taking other people’s judgments personally (obviously easier said than done, but important nonetheless). Ruiz likens the negative opinions of others to “emotional garbage”, and if you take them personally then “you eat all their emotional garbage, and now it becomes your garbage”. Okay, so maybe the eating analogy sold me, but either way I feel a little more peaceful and a tiny bit wiser from reading this book, and that’s gotta count for something right?

photos by pwisenberg

Enjoy: Grill season

My new favourite dinners are living proof that vegans can enjoy the good ol’ bbq as much as meat eaters! Apart from my newfound obsession with Yves zesty Italian veggie sausages, I’ve been enjoying a plethora of charred veggies in the past few weeks. And although I can’t resist the smoky, savoury flavour of all things grilled, my main source of barbecue joy has come from the fact that Paul does the grilling! He made this beautiful meal for me last weekend (okay, I may have planned, seasoned and prepared mostof it, but still), which consisted of crispy tempeh strips with a lemony-tahini dipping sauce, button mushrooms tossed in fresh parsley, and charred asparagus and red pepper. So good!

Lastly, I couldn’t post today without mentioning one of most favourite people ever- my mum! Mum, you can take sole responsibility for my ever-increasing love of cooking and eating and I wouldn’t be the strong young woman I am today without your endless support. Happy mother’s day!


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