Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tomato, Pear and Swiss Chard Salad with Garlic Scape Pesto and Zucchini

All the ingredients for this salad came from our CSA basket. (Except for the pears). I also added some smoked char to the top of this but it would be completely vegan if you left off the char.

Starting from the bottom layer:

Layer 1 - Wilted Swiss Chard with Balsamic Vinegar
Roughly chop 12 - 14 leaves of swiss chard. Place in frying pan with a little oil until the leaves wilt and add 1 - 2 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar. Take off heat and put aside. (I also fried the stems separately to use as garnish)

Layer 2 - Tomato and Pear Salad with Garlic Scape Pesto
Dice one large tomato and half of a pear and mix in a bowl. Add 2/3 cup of garlic scape pesto (Or regular pesto) and mix. 

Layer 3 - Smoked Arctic Char (Optional)
Slice the char into very thin layers.

Layer 4 - Quick Pickled Radishes
Slice 3 - 4 radishes very thinly. In a bowl mix radishes, 1 Tbsp of rice wine vinager and 1 Tbsp of sugar. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.

Layer 5 - Roasted Zucchini
Slice one zucchini into thin layers, about 1/4 inch thick. Place on baking sheet and drizzle with oil, salt and pepper. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 - 15 minutes until soft and slightly brown.

To assemble:
Using a ring mold, add a one inch layer of the swiss chard mixture, press firmly down. Fill the ring mold to the top with a layer of the tomato, pear and pesto mixture, again press firmly down. Take ring mold off carefully and wrap the salad with two pieces of zucchini. Top with a few pieces of smoked char and add the pickled radishes. Pour a tsp of the radish liquid over the salad and add some swiss chard stalks as garnish if you like.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Vegan Garlic Scape Pesto

We received some beautiful garlic scapes in this week's CSA basket. They are really delicious and have a very sweet and garlicky flavour to them. I decided to make some pesto with them.

Garlic Scape Pesto
6 - 7 garlic scape stalks, roughly chopped
2/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds (or use pepitas)
2 tsp lemon juice
10 basil leaves
2 sprigs of marjoram
2/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Put everything into a blender and blend until smooth. Use on pasta, as a dip or sandwich spread or any other place you would use pesto.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tuesday Food Basket

This week's delicious CSA basket.

In this basket - Lettuce, Tomatoes, Kohlrabi, Radishes, Yellow and green zucchini, Swiss Chard and my favourite Garlic scapes.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Vegan Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches with Basil

Normally I am pretty humble about the food I make but let me tell you, these ice cream sandwiches were awesome. I wanted to use some fresh basil growing on my balcony so I added it to chocolate chip cookie batter. The basil flavour was pretty mild though so next time I would also mix some fresh basil into the ice cream.

Basil Chocolate Chip Cookies
3 cups spelt flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup Earth Balance, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 "eggs" using egg replacer
1/4 soy milk
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup fresh basil, julienned

In a medium bowl mix dry ingredients.

In a large bowl mix together butter and sugar. Then add egg replacer, soy milk and vanilla.

Fold dry ingredients into wet to form dough. Mix in chocolate chips and basil.

Prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper and roll dough into walnut sized balls. Place on cookie sheets one inch apart and bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes on pan before transferring to a wire rack.

To Assemble
Let cookies cool completely. Take ice cream out of fridge (I used coconut and chocolate dairy free sorbet) and let soften for 5 - 10 minutes. Here is where I would add some more fresh basil.

Take a cookie and scoop some ice cream onto it. Top with another cookie and squish the sandwich together slightly. Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Repeat using all cookies. Put cookie sheet into freezer for an hour or two until cookies and ice cream are frozen again. Then serve or transfer to an air tight container to store them.

1. Solo Fruit Sorbet 2. Cookie batter 3. Cooled cookies

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rosemary Iced Tea

This is a great drink for a hot summer day.

Rosemary Iced Tea
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
Handful of fresh mint
2 litres water
2 green tea bags
4 Tbsp agave nectar
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Put 2 rosemary sprigs aside. Roughly chop the remaining rosemary and mint. Place a large pot with 2 tea bags and fill with 2 litres of water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Take off heat and add agave nectar and lemon juice. Taste and adjust flavour with agave or lemon.

Strain the mixture into a glass container (I used two - 1 litre jars) and add the remaining whole rosemary sprigs. Let cool and store in the fridge.

To serve pour into a glass with lots of ice and cut a small section of rosemary from the jar as a garnish.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Vegan Rice Bowl with Savoury Rhubarb Sauce

This sauce is one of my favourites and in our first CSA basket of the year we received some beautiful fresh rhubarb. Rice, some veggies and this sauce make a great combo.

2 cups cooked brown rice
Savoury rhubarb sauce recipe (To this recipe I add some water to make the whole thing blend easier)
8 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp garam masala
3 beets, very thinly sliced
6 radishes, very thinly sliced
1 green onion, finely sliced
Fresh mint for garnish

Begin by cooking rice and then follow this recipe to make rhubarb sauce. If the ingredients don't blend well add some water to the blender. Meanwhile clean and chop spinach and cook in a large pan on medium heat until spinach begins to wilt. Add honey and garam masala and take off heat. You can leave the beets fresh or cook them for a few minutes until tender.

To assemble
Place rice in a bowl and top with some wilted spinach. Cover with rhubarb sauce and top with beets, radishes, green onion and garnish with a mint sprig.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Yann Haute Patisserie

We had some delicious macarons at Yann Haute Patisserie in Calgary. This little place is tucked away in Mission but is easy to spot - just look for the bright yellow house.

The owners are from France and make delightful and seasonal treats. I tried the Blackcurrant and Violet and my friend had the straight up Lemon. I am no macarons specialist but these were light, crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle and the filling had a strong but not overly sweet taste. My verdict - yummy.

1. Blackcurrant & Violet and Lemon macarons ready to eat 2. Outside of Yann 3. My first bite 4. Display filled with so many pretty colours and flavours

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jelly Modern Doughnuts

P and I were back in Calgary visiting for a few days. We met up with some friends and went to this new gourmet doughnut place that has has just opened up called Jelly Modern Doughnuts. They had some great flavours and everything was really yummy and fresh.

1. Valrhona chocolate doughnut 2. Hand filled lemon curd doughnut 3. Selection of mini doughnuts 4. S'mores doughnut with handmade marshmallow filling 5. Marshmallow filled doughnut 6. Special of the day was strawberry and cream filled doughnut.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

BBQ mushrooms with Mashed Yams and Asparagus

This was a simple dinner I made the other night. The whole thing is vegan if you leave out the smoked Arctic char which I brought back from Iqaluit as a special treat.

BBQ Mushrooms
4 portabello mushrooms
1/3 cup BBQ sauce (I used Amaya's Indian Spiced ketchup)
1-2 Tbsp water

Clean and de-stem the mushrooms. Mix the BBQ sauce and water together in a shallow dish and marinate mushrooms for a 1/2 hour or more. Cook either on a BBQ until tender or in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Mashed Yams
3 yams peeled and cut into cubes
2 -3 Tbsp maple syrup
2- 3 Tbsp Earth Balance
1/4 cup soy milk
1 scallion chopped finely
1 tsp cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil a large pot of water and cook yams until soft. Drain and mash with maple syrup, Earth Balance, soy milk until smooth - you may need to add more of these ingredients to get the texture you want. Then mix in the scallions, cinnamon and salt and pepper to taste.

I love asparagus when it is is cooked very simply. This were cooked in a pan with some finely chopped onion, fresh thyme, salt and pepper and some lemon juice.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tuesday Food Basket

I am so happy our CSA basket from Jardin de Tessa has started again for the spring and summer. This was our first one of the season and look at how delicious everything is.

This basket included two types of lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, radishes, asparagus, green onions, potatoes and rhubarb.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New York New York

Firstly I must say sorry for the extremely long time between posts. I was in Iqaluit, Nunavut for work twice in May and in between P and I met up with his family in New York City.

The culinary scene in Iqaluit wasn't much to talk about (Except for this smoked Arctic char and the Ungava Gin we got to try) But we ate lots of yummy food in New York.

I didn't get a chance to take pictures at every place but here are some highlights from the trip.

Breakfast at our hotel lovely hotel Muse. Smoked Salmon bagel with cream cheese, capers, onions and tomatoes.

Lunch at Le Pain Quotidian. I didn't realise this place was such a huge chain - but we had a really yummy lunch there. This is my white bean soup and soy latte.

We went for pre theatre cocktails at a little bar (whose name escapes me). The boys had this lovely organic English Ale which I thought was pretty cool.

The thing I was most looking forward to on this trip was finding the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck and we did! Sure we had to stand in line for 25 minutes but it was worth it. P had the Salty Pimp (1) - Vanilla soft serve infused with dulce de leche and sea salt and dipped in chocolate. I had my own creation (2) of vanilla soft serve in a cone filled with pomegranate balsamic reduction and rolled in curried coconut flakes. P's brother had the Monday Sunday (3) - Swirled chocolate and vanilla soft served with a nutella filled cone and dulce de leche, sea salt and whipped cream. SO GOOD.

 This was my breakfast at a little place close to the hotel called Brooklyn Diner. The "Vernon Brown" omelette with mushrooms, tomatoes, and scallions plus home-made challah bread and super tasty polenta nuggets which were delicious. P and I really liked our breakfast there because so much was made in house. Even the orange juice was fresh squeezed. We decided to take P's family there a second time however the it was a disappointment as the service was terrible.

We also had the most amazing diner at a place called The Lambs Club - however I was to embarrassed to take photo's that evening. I had the crab and green grape gazpacho to start and then ate the most amazing scallops at this place - seriously so freaking yummy. I finished with the honey pistachio cake.

New York was great and I can't wait until our next trip there!