Monday, June 27, 2011

Quiche fit for a mom brunch.. and Granita!

Wow, my hiatus was much longer than I expected! My apologies. No excuses, I got busy and then at home laziness took over, but I am back now and ready to share some recipes!

This may be my last decadent recipe for then next little while. I am about to embark on some mega dieting to fit into a bridesmaid dress. That, I am not looking forward to. I hope to find some tasty low calorie salads to get me through the next few weeks. Please send along suggestions!

Now before I ran away from the blog world, I was invited to attend a mom's group brunch party. I am not a mom, but somehow I got my in. Of course, I had to get some vegan treats involved in what is normally a meat/dairy fest style meal. I went to my vegan bible, veganomicon and decided to attempt a vegan quiche. I wanted to avoid the usual tofu-based dish since this was being served to a group on non-vegans. I don't know why, but something about tofu can freak the omnivores out. I think this group would have been fine, they were pretty cool and with the except of some scary birthing stories, it was an excellent time! I think the quiche was a big hit, and I certainly went for seconds. My sister, the vegan flirt, got into the groove and made an amaaaazing watermelon granita. So, so tasty; I could have ate the whole tray (you can see why a diet may be in order for me)
First off, the quiche:

Asparagus Quiche with Tomatoes and Tarragon (From Veganomicon)
  • 1 pie crust
    • 1 1/2 cups of flour
    • 1 Tbsp sugar
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp baking powder
    • 1/3 cup of vegan shortening
    • 1/4 cup of cold water
    • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Lbs (about half a large bunch) of asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 can of navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup of tarragon, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp tarragon, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pepper
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 4 slices of a large tomato
First, make the crust (I did this the night before to save some time for sleeping). Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the shortening in small batches and cut it into the flour mix until it is crumbly and pebbly. Combine the vinegar and water and add to the flour in small batches and stir with a fork until well combined. The dough should hold together when you pinch it. You may need to add some extra water, add by spoonfuls. Now, take the dough and kneed a few times. Prep a work space with parchment paper and flour. Roll the dough out until it is about 12". Then use the parchment paper to transfer it to the pie plate.

The trick to making the dough is to make all ingredients as cold as possible. Keep even the flour in the fridge if you can. The colder the better.  In the end my crust was tasty, but the heat in my apartment made it a bit tougher than it should be. Hot apartment dweller beware!
OK, back to the quiche! cut the tips off of 4 asparagus spears and set aside. Heat a skillet to medium heat and add the oil. Saute the asparagus for about 5-7 minutes. While it is cooking, add the walnuts, 1/4 cup of tarragon and the nutmeg in a food processor and pulse into crumbs.
Remove the asparagus from the heat and set aside. Saute the shallots in a bit more oil in the same pan and saute for 3 minutes. Next add the garlic and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Transfer this to the bowl with the asparagus to cool.

Now, add the veggies to the food processor and pulse a few times. Add the beans and puree until smooth. Add the cornstarch and process again. Put the mixture back into the bowl and cool for 45 minutes or so.

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Cover the pastry in the pie plate with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Once done, add the mixture into the pie crust and smooth it out. Sprinkle half of the breadcrumbs and drizzle with oil. Add the sliced tomato and asparagus tips on top then sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs, pepper, salt, and tarragon. Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake the quiche for about 45 minutes. Let it cool a bit before serving!

Whew - a lot of ingredients and a lot of instructions, but the plan is simple. Cook the veggies process it all together and bake in a prepped crust! It took about 90 min from start to finish. Two changes I will make next time, add some cornmeal to the pastry crust. I made a crust like this before and I think it would do well here. At the party Tara suggested that I don't fully process all the walnuts and asparagus to give more texture. I think with would make it even better! But the recipe alone is a hit. If you have some time, try it.

Now, the granita... this recipe came from Colour me Vegan by Colleen Patrick Goudreau and as my first granita, I am sold. I want to eat granita every day. It is not labour intensive, but you do need to be at home for like 3 hours to make it.
Watermelon Granita (From Colour me Vegan)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 4 cups of watermelon chunks (about half a watermelon)
  • Juice of one lime
  • Mint leaves for garnish
Make a simple syrup by combining the water and sugar on the stove over high heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.
Add the cooled syrup, watermelon and lime to a blender and puree. Pour the mixture into a shallow dish (casserole or something similar) and put it in the freezer. after one hour, take it out and rake it with a fork. Put it back in the fridge and repeat this 3 times. Serve in pretty glasses and garnish with watermelon slices and mint (Don't forget to spank the mint for a beautiful aroma).
Perfect treat for a summer night... or morning!

Whew, this recipe was way less to write about. I hope to make this one again and maybe adding different fruit. A must try and a total hit of the party!

OK, coming up this week will be some salad recipes I think and other low calorie ways to eat vegan (It is harder than you may think!) I vow not to become a stereotype of living on guinea pig food, so I will be trying to find some for real tasty low calorie treats!

Bye for now!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Gone Incommunicado

Hey all, I am taking a bit of a blog break... back on Sunday with quiche and a plan for some super healthy food so I can fit into my bridesmaid dress in 6 weeks!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Late Night Chocolate Pecan Muffins and Coconut Butter

I didn't go grocery shopping today like I normally do and I really wanted to make some muffins for breakfast... and a late night snack. So I found a really tasty looking recipe that I thought I could pull off (Found Here at the Baking Sheet).
Unfortunately, I was out of the following: whole wheat flour,vanilla, vanilla soy milk and walnuts! It is really hard to make decent baked goods without vanilla and the whole point of these muffins were that they had walnuts in it! Dammit! I decided that I didn't want to wait until tomorrow and went ahead with the recipe anyways. I had to modify it though to incorporate the fact that I lacked a couple key ingredients. Here is what I did:

Late Night Chocolate Pecan Muffins
Makes 8
  • 3/4 cup of stone flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup of soy milk
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts and 8 more for the garnish
Line or grease a muffin tin and preheat the oven to 350 F. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix. Combine the Maple syrup, milk, and oil in a small bowl and mix. now pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined. Add the chopped pecans and the coconut and stir again. Fill the muffin tins about 3/4 of the way and bake for 18 - 20 minutes.

Learned this trick to cooling muffins without a rask from

I served these up with some homemade coconut butter. How do you make this? Take a couple cups of unsweetened coconut (DO NOT use sweetened, I tried and it didn't work. Then I found this warning while searching online to figure out why) and put it in your food processor.

This is about 5 minutes into processing
and... 10 min later - Buttah!
Processor for 10 - 15 minutes, scarping down the bowl once in a while. The coconut will first shred and then will start to clump up and when you think you can't bear the sound of your food processor anymore, voila! It will be pretty soft at first, but will harden if you leave it at room temperature. I was shocked at how easy this was..If you like coconut, give it a try!
So the question - did these work without the vanilla? Every time I forget or omit the vanilla I regret it, but I didn't notice it so much in these. They were light and chocolaty and the pecans were a great added crunch. I still stand by the rule, never omit the vanilla, but these do not feel like they are lacking in anything.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fried Singapore Noodles AKA Getting Rid of Leftover Veggies

A quick recipe I made yesterday that I wanted to share. I was trying to get rid of a few left overs before things started to go bad on me. Ingredients that I was trying to get rid of: half a head of cabbage (left over from some pressed salad), about 8 spears of asparagus, Singapore noodles, and a half of a red onion. Kind of a weird mix up of veggies. I once made a really good recipe from the Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone that was a fried Udon noodle dish and it was really good. It also called for onion and cabbage. I figured I could adapt that recipe to save these ripe veggies from hitting the trash.

Fried Singapore Noodles *Adapted from The Kind Diet
serves 2-3

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • One package of noodles (Singapore, udon or other)
  • half a head of cabbage, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • half large onion, sliced
  • handful of asparagus (ends trimmed), chopped and steamed
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • pinch of pepper flakes (omit if you don't want spicy)
  • Other vegetables if you like (Broccoli, Kale, collards, chard, mushrooms etc)

First cook the noodles until al dente and set aside. I steamed my asparagus on top of the noodles cooking. While the noodles are cooking, take a skillet and add 1 Tbsp of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the cabbage and cook for about 15 minutes or until the cabbage is soft. If it starts to burn, add some water.

Once the noodles are cooked, get a second pan (large one that will fit everything in the end, I used my big pot) heat the remaining oil and add the onion. Cook until it is soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, paprika and the Chili flakes and cook for another minute or so. Add the cabbage and mix well. Add the asparagus and the noodles and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until everything is well combined and heated through.

And serve.

I just ate this on its own, but to make a more balanced meal, have it with a salad and maybe some grilled tofu or something. Not totally necessary as I found this to be satisfying and filling on its own, but we know it is better to be balanced right?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Summertime Succotash!

It seems like it has been a while since I put something healthy up and I also had an abnormal amount of frozen lima beans hanging out in the freezer, so it seemed time that I do something with them. Perhaps something healthy.
Photo Credit: Joseph De Leo (

Like many other legumes, are fat-free and an excellent source of fibre which is important for lowering cholesterol. In addition to that, the fibre in lima beans prevent blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, so if you are diabetic or hypoglycemic, these are a particularly good choice of food. When combined with a whole grains, they become a very good source of protein.

Now these benefits are similar to other legumes, but lima beans are an excellent source of molybdenum, which is a trace mineral the detoxifies sulfates which is a preservative used in wine, beer dried fruit, potatoes and sometimes on salad bars. Limas have over 80% of the daily intake of molybdenum in one cup.

So, Limas obviously have some great health benefits, but what to make? Succotash seemed like the obvious choice to try. I searched online and the tradition recipe for succotash is not really so healthy. Most of them called for nearly a cup of butter and granulated sugar. So I got out the Kind Diet for their vegan version and it was much better looking. Only a little butter and really I think you could cut it down even less if you wanted. I don't think having a bit of butter (vegan butter that is) is such a bad thing. Here is the recipe. it says it makes six servings, but I halved it and it seemed like it makes 1-2 servings if you are eating as a meal. Three, if you are having it as a side.

Summertime Succotash
From The Kind Diet
  • 1 Tbs Earth balance Butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup of red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 package of frozen limas, thawed (I think this about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup of frozen or fresh corn
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp basil, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp of white or red balsamic vinegar

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the onion and cook for five to seven minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the garlic and cook another minute.

Stir in the lima beans ans saute for five more minutes. Add the cord and the tomatoes and cook until heated through (don't heat so long that the tomatoes start to cook, you want them to hold their shape). Remove from the heat and add the parsley, basil and vinegar.

Serve warm or cold. I tried both and warm was my favourite, but cold was pretty good too!

My thoughts on this dish? Easy to make with ingredients that I generally have around the house. It is quick and tasty and portable. While cooking I wondered about adding in cooked quinoa to the mix when you throw in the limas. You would need to up the oil/butter and the vinegar I think, but it would be a tasty addition for a one pan meal.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Apple Crisp with a Twist

My mom is not known for being big into cooking. I think to her it was much more of a chore than it was a hobby. However, she has saved over the years a select amount of recipes that are so, so good. I never gave her a lot of credit for this, but her small stash of recipes are top notch. Last night, I was craving one of these: Apple Crisp.

Apple crisp is an easy recipe and found on many menus in Edmonton and probably found in a lot of kitchens too. Ingredients are generally simple and the steps are fairly easy to put together successfully. Apple is one of my favourite foods. I am not able to pass up apple dishes when I go out and I take my apple crisp very seriously.

The trick to an amazing apple crisp is to make sure that it isn't too sweet, has a bit of salt and a bit of spice. You also need to ensure that the crisp is crispy. My mom's recipe accomplishes all of these things, so of course I stole it and veganized it. Then I jazzed it up a bit because.. well... I also was craving peanut butter. It was just one of those nights. I am not sure who to give credit for this recipe. I suppose my mom. She obviously got this recipe out of a newspaper about 20 years ago, so who ever came up with it, thank you! The peanut butter caramel topping I adapted from Veganomicon.

Apple Crisp
  • 4 apples, washed, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of quick-cooking oats (I used regular)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup melted margarine or earth balance
Peanut Butter Carmel Topping
  • 1/3 cup of peanut butter (not the kind that separated, the regular stuff)
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 2 Tbsp chopped Pecans

Preheat your oven to 375 F. While that is heating up prepare your apples and put them into a large casserole dish. Now prepare the topping, combine the flour, oats, sugar, salt, cinnamon in a bowl and combine. Add the melted margarine and mix until everything is coated. Pour on top of the apples and bake uncovered for about 30 minutes.

While the crisp is cooking, prepare the topping. In a sauce pan combine all the ingredients except for the pecans. Heat over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture pours off your spoon in a ribbon. Add the pecans and stir again. (Note: make this just before the crisp is ready so it doesn't harden on you).

When the apple crisp is ready take it out of the oven and drizzle the topping over it. You should let it chill for a bit before serving, but I usually risk the burns and dig in immediately. I have very little self-control when it comes to dessert. If you want to fancy it up, sprinkle a little powdered sugar and garnish with mint.