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Archive for June, 2011

photo by pwisenberg

If that’s not an up-close and personal photo of a cookie, I don’t know what is! But trust me when I say, if you’re gonna get intimate with a cookie, this is the one to choose. They basically include everything you’d want in a dessert (heck, in a meal!) all in a couple of tasty bites. They are made from quinoa, coconut, banana and chocolate chips. Now, you all know I am quite the quinoa lover, but I never would have thought to use them in a cookie before. I adapted the recipe from this book by Peggy Kotsopoulos, a gift from my friend, and fellow-vegan, Lindsay. She raved about these cookies and yesterday morning’s gloomy weather provided the perfect opportunity to finally bake up a batch. So that’s it folks, a simple cookie that’s just sweet enough to satisfy your cravings, and just nutritious enough to go back for another. Or two.

Quinoa cookies
Makes about 2 dozen 

4 ripe bananas
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup uncooked quinoa flakes
1 cup shaved coconut
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Begin by preheating your oven to 380 degrees. In a large bowl, add the bananas and mash them until smooth. Stir in the vanilla, quinoa, quinoa flakes, coconut and sugar until well combined. Add in the chocolate chips. Take a nibble, just cause. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add tablespoon-sized drops of the batter. Free-form is good, the more rustic, the better. Bake for about 14-18 minutes, until still soft, but crispy around the edges. Delish!

On another note, I am headed back to New York this weekend and I can’t wait! We’re doing another road trip with friends and so far plans include strolling through Central Park, checking out the Brooklyn Flea, trying my first ever vegan soft serve and, of course, going back here and here. Please let me know if you have suggestions for places to visit, shop or eat!

xo robin katherine

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photo by me

Isn’t this trio of crostini just the prettiest thing you ever did see? We had this for dinner recently and enjoyed it outside with a glass of wine. The toppings were actually very simple to prepare and they were all distinct in their flavours- a fresh bruschetta, ginger soy mushrooms and lemon maple asparagus all topped on grilled slices of bread, mmm mmm!

Trio of crostini
Serves 2 as a meal

12 slices whole grain baguette, lightly brushed with oil

Bruschetta 

2 tomatoes, diced
1 bunch basil, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Ginger soy mushrooms

1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp chilli garlic sauce
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger

Lemon maple asparagus

1/2 bunch of asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp dijon mustard
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Begin by turning on your grill (or stove) to medium-high heat. While the grill heats up, combine all of the mushroom ingredients in one bowl and the asparagus ingredients in another. Spread them out on a grill pan but keep the two toppings separate (or add them to 2 pans on the stove if you don’t have a grill). Cook for about 10 minutes, until golden and slightly charred. Meanwhile, prepare the bruschetta mixture by simply combining all of the ingredients in a bowl then set it aside until ready to eat. Lastly, grill the baguette slices (or toast them in the oven) until golden and crispy. Top the bread with the delicious toppings and dig in!

Side note: I hate to choose favourites but if you can only make one of these little beauties, I implore you to make the ginger soy mushrooms. They are rich and savoury with just the right amount of kick from the chilli sauce, a winner if I do say so myself!

Happy summer eating my friends! xo

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Through the haze

Photos by pwisenberg & I

Sigh. I love summer. Especially when it includes finishing puzzles, climbing trees, wearing breezy skirts, picnicking in the park, enjoying simple meals and gazing up at cloudless blue skies in this city I love with all my heart.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

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Guys- I’m on a cooking show! And not just any show, but The Hot Plate, a popular internet show hosted and produced by the two lovely ladies, Amanda and April. This was my first foray into cooking on camera, so excuse my sporadic shifty eyes and awkward smiles. But hey, I tried, right? AND this quinoa recipe of Amanda’s is so delicious, I’ll definitely be adding it to my repertoire.

Please have a look and share your thoughts!

Robin xo

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photos by pwisenberg

Despite our proximity to summer, we’ve still been getting steady doses of gloomy weather here in Toronto. Friday evening was chilly and grey so a warm pasta seemed like the perfect dinner. I knew I wanted to include asparagus and mushrooms and Paul couldn’t resist the urge to grill them. The charred veggies wound up being the perfect compliment to the smooth spaghetti which I tossed in a light cream sauce (onions, garlic, white wine and Tofutti cream cheese did the trick). I added cherry tomatoes at the last minute for some colour and acidity. And voila! A simple pasta perfect for a cool summer night.

Creamy spaghetti with grilled vegetables
Serves 4

1 package whole wheat spaghetti
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into thirds
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup Tofutti vegan cream cheese
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
starchy pasta water

Begin by coating the asparagus and mushrooms in the veg oil, chilli flakes, rosemary and salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat until slightly charred, about 6-8 minutes. Back in the kitchen, bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt and add the spaghetti.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet and add the onion and garlic. Season with S & P and cook until soft. Add the white wine and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. Using a wooden spoon, slowly stir in the cream cheese until it has melted to form a smooth sauce. Thin with starchy pasta water if desired, one or two ladle-fulls should do. Stir in the grilled mushrooms and asparagus along with the cherry tomatoes and toss so that all the veggies are coated in the sauce. Lastly, drain the spaghetti and toss in with the vegetables and the sauce.

Enjoy piping hot with a glass of wine and some good company.

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Dog days

photo by pwisenberg

No, you’re not dreaming- that really is a vegan chilli cheese dog! Sometimes, ideas like this just come to me and I feel the need to make them right away. Such was the case with these show-stoppin’ dogs I made for a couple vegetarian friends of mine. I used Yves‘ hot Italian sausages and smothered them in homemade chilli and Daiya cheddar shreds. The one you see pictured was excessively topped with both items (for photographic impact, of course) but, who am kidding, I ate the whole thing! Hey, at least I added a salad for good measure.. right?

Vegan chilli cheese dogs
Serves 4 

4 Yves hot Italian sausages
4 whole grain buns, grilled
1 package Daiya cheddar shreds
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp each of cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika, chilli powder
1 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp beer
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can beans of your choice, drained but not rinsed
salt and pepper to taste

To make the chilli, begin by heating the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, bell pepper and jalapeno and cook until soft. Next add the spices, bay leaves and salt and pepper. Stir together until flavours appear combined and everything starts to smell yummy. Stir in a squirt of ketchup for sweetness and then deglaze with a splash of beer. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated before adding the tomatoes and the beans. Stir everything together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes until the flavours have developed and the chilli is thick and chunky. Remove the bay leaves before serving and rectify the seasoning if necessary.

Meanwhile, heat your BBQ to medium-high. Add slits to the hot dogs so they heat more thoroughly. Cook the sausages until the outsides are slightly charred, turning occasionally. Next, grill the buns until hot and crispy. Now you’re ready to assemble these little babies! Once the dog is in the bun (did I really just say that?), add a spoonful of chilli and a handful of the cheese. Top with another spoonful of chilli to speed up the melting process. Wrap the whole thing in tinfoil and place on the grill. Cover and allow the cheese to melt, about 5 minutes (waiting is the hardest part). Finally, eat the damn thing!

Oh, and don’t forget the salad.

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photos by me

This kind of food makes me so happy- colourful, healthy, fresh and straight from the farm to my bowl! After picking up a beautiful assortment of veggies from a local farmer’s market earlier in the week I couldn’t wait to enjoy them in their purest form. This salad could not be easier to make. I simply chopped up the vegetables and added diced avocado for richness, walnuts for texture and a splash of olive oil and lemon juice to tie it all together. I loved it on its own, but Paul threw the mixture on some bread for a hearty sandwich and tonight I’m tossing it with quinoa for a yummy dinner. Ahh veggies, so versatile!

Fresh farmer’s market salad
Serves 4 

1 orange bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
4 mini cucumbers, chopped
2 tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped
4 green onions, sliced
1 avocado, diced
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
juice of 1/2 lemon
drizzle of olive oil
sea salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste

In a large bowl, toss all of the ingredients together and add the olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper. Couldn’t be easier, right?

xo Robin

P.S. Tomorrow I’m off to Toronto Island for a picnic with friends, do you have any must-try recipe suggestions?

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