Sunday, May 20, 2012

Kale Obsession

Found this on my phone... I ate an entire bunch of kale.. Would have had more if I didn't fall into a food coma after!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Thai-Inspired Lentil Salad

There is an awesome Thai restaurant in Edmonton call Numchok Wilai and they have a mango salad there that is to die for. I am not sure if it is vegan or not... It may have fish sauce in the dressing... but until I know for sure, I get this salad when the craving hits. I know there are plenty of vegans out there that probably don't like my approach here. I do my best. I made a commitment to eat vegan and sometimes moments like these come up and I make a judgement call. A couple days ago, I made plans to go for some Thai food next week and ever since, I have been craving this salad in a bad way.

So with a little guilt over the whole is it vegan issue on my favourite dish combined with an overwhelming craving to have this salad now, I decided to look in my own kitchen to see if I had ingredients to make my own version.

Something about Thai food that I really love. They have a way in many of their recipes to hit the perfect combination of sweet, spicy, sour and salty. What more could you want? It hits all cravings in one knock-out punch.

What I ended up making was an extremely loose play on what they actually serve in the restaurant... actually I don't think there are any ingredients that are the same.. but the flavour profile is similar enough that my craving went away. Plus I think my version has the benefit of being a little more filling as it is made with lentils as the base instead of shredded mango.

Not Thai Mango Salad
*Serves 3-4 takes 1 hour 

  • 1 cup of green lentils, rinsed
  • 2 cups of veggie broth or water
  • 1 can of pineapple (I used cubed, crushed would be good, maybe better)
  • 1 red hot chili
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp fresh mint (have an extra Tbsp for garnish)
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro
  • 1 lime, zest and juiced

First thing you want to do is cook your lentils. This can be done in advance and if so, this salad takes just a few minutes to prepare. Add the lentils and the stock to a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 - 45 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Lentils seem to vary quite a bit. I heard that the older the lentils are, the longer they can take to cook. Start at 30 minutes and then tests. If they taste cooked and there is water in the pot, just drain it... No biggie.

While the lentils are cooking, seed and mince the red chili, mint and cilantro. Add the Chili, walnuts and one tablespoon of the fresh mint to a mortar and pestle and grind it up into a paste. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you could do this in a food processor, but it is such a small amount I don't know how well it would work. If you have neither, just chop it all very fine. Zest your lime and add it to the mixture.

After... can't believe I only purchased this a few weeks ago...
awesome way to bring out flavour

Once the lentils are cooked, let them cool.. preferably to room temperature if you can. If not, It should effect the flavour to serve hot, but it is really best cold or at room temperature. Combine the can of pineapples (with the juice), the walnut chili paste, cilantro and lime juice and stir well. Top with the extra mint.

Nothing really Thai about this, but still... yummy.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Asparagus Potato Soup

It's spring and the last thing I should be wanting to make is soup, but I came across a recipe and it sounded so good, I had to give it a go. I love asparagus and I even more love potatoes. Seemed like ultimate comfort food to me.

I actually made this soup quite a while ago.. and have been trying to post ever since.. So here is the recipe. I think there are a lot of ways to adapt it beyond what I came up with, but I don't want to delay getting this posted so here is the basic recipe. I'll try and update with some ideas to change it up a little later.

Roasted Asparagus Potato Soup
*Adapted from Vegan With a Vengeance
Serves 4, takes 45 - 60 min

  • 1 lb potato (Any kind, I used half red skin and half peeled russet)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus (I always get skinny ones. I think they taste better than fatter stalks)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 Shallots, diced
  • 3 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups of veggie stock
  • 1 can of navy beans
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp fresh dill
  • Siracha 
First, dice the potatoes into a 1 1/2" and boil for about 15 minutes or until cooked through. Drain and set aside. Roast your asparagus: cut the ends of the asparagus off and coat in 1 Tbsp of olive oil. sprinkle a couple pinches of salt on top and roast in the oven at 400 F for about 8 minutes. Check them half way through and give them a shake. Once cooked, chop into 2" pieces and set aside.
Roasted / grilled asparagus are seriously the best thing ever.
Was hard to save these 

As always prep first... if you're like me..
not prepping leads to forgetting ingredients.

Prep your vegetables if you haven't done so yet and heat the remaining olive oil in a large pot to medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes or until translucent. Next add the garlic and the salt and pepper and cook another minute. Now deglaze the pan with white wine (Not totally necessary, I just happen to have a bit let in a bottle). Now add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the beans and the lemon zest and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the asparagus and the potato and continue to cook for about 5 more minutes.
Soup is almost done. Not the prettiest picture.. it looks better when it's blended.

If you have an immersion blender, get it and blend the soup to the consistency you like. I tend to keep it a bit chunkier and blend about 3/4 worth of the soup. If you prefer smooth, go for it!

Before serving, squeeze lemon juice over top of the soup, add some siracha to taste and garnish with a little extra dill.