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Veganmofo: The Vegan Nacho

Maybe I’m just a bit of a nacho fiend, but down to the simplist corn chips and dip, to the white-trashy toffuties cheese slice, green onions and bacon bits, to the fancy restaurant styled cheese sauce, sauted veggies and freshly made salsa. I cannot get enough of these things.

One of the worst and most common cravings I get are for nachos. My Flicker account has seen it’s fair share.. So let’s explore some of the resent styles.

Heartwood vegan nachos with seasonal beet salsa!
The high class organic restaurant nacho: Uses seasonal ingredients, homemade vegan sour cream, fresh cheeze sauce (white and herbed), chunks of veggies baked together so the cheese sauce hardens giving it the combined velvet texture of smooth, creamy sauce and baked chew of cheeze products. The salsas and condiment (tofu based) are freshly made to order with local ingredients and fresh cilantro, but not to much avoiding the soapy taste. Perfection. These my friends are high class nachos.
With the surprising addition of beets and fresh grated carrot. No beans and we didn’t get guac yet somehow the magic persists. The mound of tofu creme wit fresh dill was fantastic and flavoury.

The White-Trash:Cheap commercial cheese melted in the microwave with stimulated bacon bits and jarred salsa. Affordable, greasy and best consumed with horror movies and pepsi.

The Homemade-Effort or Dinner Nacho:
unlike it’s trashy counter part, this made at home duo is hearty and meal like. Suited for superbowl parties or weeknight dinners. This is a simply veggie ground, cooked with veggies, cumin, onions, black beans and salsa until heated and done. Topped with more salsa and toss of nooch or vegan cheese. Served in a bowl and scooped with chips.
This could only be improved with a tofu cream sauce or dollop of lovely guac.

The Retro Night Nacho:
Oven Baked, raw onions, mashed beans-a-la-50’s-can. These are pipping hot, filling, greasy and arguably your getting the best of various worlds here. You have some nutrition, no greens, and the salty-greasy-gotta-have-nacho feeling.

Bonus points for 50’s inspired pyrex baking dishes and thawing out the salsa you made and froze last summer. Pickled jalapeƱo slices and you’ll be in heaven.

FoodNetworkFriday (FNF!): Spicy Cherry Ribz!

This week’s recipe, originally from Guy Fieri,, for sppicy cherry ribs. First off, this sauce is amazingly complex, like you can almost feel/taste it’s flavour changing in your mouth. Not at all what I would describe as a BBQ sauce, but yet still rich, smoky, sweet, spicy, savoury blending all at once.

I made a few changes because canned cherries do not exist in CANADA. I tried every store, spoke to managers, they were not having it. I could have cherry jam, cherry pie filling, frozen cherries or fresh. Fresh ones were on sale, so I used those (which was messy! but so good). I also didn’t measure my ginger/garlic, instead i opted to use purees of both 3 spoons of ginger and 2 heaping spoons of ginger. I was also tempted to add a little brown sugar to my sauce but held off.

For my ribz, I decided to utilize the beautiful and head sized portobello caps I had from costco. As such, I should have reduced the amount of spice rub used but didn’t. I sliced halfway through the caps to create tear-able riblettes. Brushed the top sides of the caps with mustard as the recipe suggests, and then just shorta dumped the rub on and mixed it a bit.

Then they went covered into the fridge for way longer than required (I sorta forgot about them for a week).
Mushroom version

Bringing us to today! I cooked up the sauce as the recipe describes, painfully pitting and chopping cherries. As a result my final sauce was kinda jelly like, thick with little sweet/sour cherry bombs throughout. I smushed them up while cooking, but I kinda liked the chunks. In the future I may try blending the final sauce for a smoother glazing approach.

I baked the rubbed mushrooms and last minute sliced a bit of seitan I had into sticks/ribs. The seitan wasn’t rubbed or marinated, just brushed on both sides with olive oil. I baked at 350 for 15 minutes on one side while the sauce cooked, flipped then another 15 on the other.

Reduced heat to 250, and here came the tough part. I couldn’t choose between a light glazing/brushing of sauce to create an extra crispy sell served with additional sauce OR if I should stick with the recipe and dump the whole mess into the pan to broil. I started with a light coating on side, baked for 10. It looked pretty good, but after reading all the other posts decided to flip everything and then liberally cover with sauce and bake for another 15. Then out and flipped once more with everything bubbling, stir around the sauce and broil for 5-6 minutes.


The results were amazing!!The seitan developed an amazing colour/glazed coating. Nice and crisp while soft and chewy in the middle. But the mushrooms really stole the show! they were moist, meaty, chewy and simply amazing. The texture was out of this world.

Seitan Riblet

Here’s the thing, through baking the mushrooms let out a LOT of water which I drained and all was good. But i really should have drastically reduced the rub because while baking, mushrooms sweating, spicy ribz rub ran everywhere and mixed into the sauce. So my ribz where extra hot! The baking and additional Cayenne really turned up the heat! So I would try halving the rub next time, or maybe try leaving it out. In the mean time I’ll be eating these tasty babies in small batches.

Mushrooms had such a unique meaty feel.

To round out the meal I mashed some taters in skin mixed with an amazing Vegan-mayo styled dill/chive/garlic dip from the Farmers Market. It was very similar to a super thick cream cheese/sour cream dip. Making a nice creamy, slightly tart, with a bit of bite, extra flavourful side dish! And added some steamed veggies for colour!
I even had enough for lunch for work! yum!

I’m also planning to use some of the remaining seitan/mushroom ribs for a rib sandwich if I can find a nice, easy, cooling,creamy slaw to serve it with. Another idea I toyed with was serving the ribs pho style atop a rich noodled broth with veggies.

More photos on Flickr.

Veganmofo: I cannot believe it is almost over!!! bonus dog photos!

It’s a sad, sad time of year when veganmofo comes to an end. But we all knew this day would come, I’m just sorry I didn’t get anything more interesting accomplished for you all!! But I am hoping this mofo experience will re-invigorate my internal blogger and get me out of this student’s rut and back into kitchen experimenting with posted results for you dear readers.

Tonight was another night out, eating sushi (the glorious dragon roll i posted about earlier). So here’s some older eats to keep you mofo’ers happy!

Up first is HeartWood’s Vegan Cafe’s TLT!
Reheated in the cast iron, yum.

Heartwood's TLT
This sandwich took a lot of compressing.

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And one of this month’s prouder moments, may I present to you dear internet
MOTHER FUCKING GRILL MARKS

Muther Fucking Grill marks!
hells yeah, all thanks to my George Forman grill

Tofu Grillin

Now the thanksgiving test-run, or the fist time I ever made isa’s Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy (Good god why did it take me so long?)
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Served it with some sauteed kale, mashed potatoes and chickpea cutlets. Yum!
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Another look at my thanksgiving plate
Plate x2

And the failed techno-colour cheese cake
Failed coloured cheesecake

Ceaser salad and garlic pita
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The studying hummus snack plate
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And now on to the Party photos:

Tought guy

And tired after a hard day of modelling.
Tired now

Veganmofo: Student’s best friend, the leftovers

Here is a just quick follow up post because I posted yesterday’s entry today (oops) which has put me a little behind. Anyway, to follow up on the vegan student’s chili I got some handy advice from the ppk on the many applications of leftover chili.

Poor Student's Chilli Noodles

Today I went with the chili spaghetti!Just use your chili in the place of sauce, great for a quick meal and good use of leftover chili (using yesterday’s recipe).
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Heat your chili (I added some extra garlic and basil to mine as it cooked), cook your noddles and if desired add some vegan cheese/nooch.

Voila! chilli noodle bowls.

After some coffee and a few bowls of this your ready to get back to the books for midterms.
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Plus if you are even more strapped for time, and microwave friendly. Zap your noddles in water add your sauce and zap some more until heated through.

Veganmofo: Student’s Chili

Here’s a simple and easy chili recipe. I threw this together last night for supper and it made enough for lunches for the next few days plus more the freezer. The main point of this meal was to make use of the last little bits we had running around. Depending upon what you use it can be fairly budget friendly as well.

Hungry Student's Chili

One thing I like to do with jars of salsa and tomato sauce (or really any kind of sauce, pickles, jams etc) is once the jar is empty to add hot water to the jar and shake to get all the little bits of sauce left. And I normally save these remnants for sauces, soups, stews and other dishes that cook for a while. Not only does this make cleaning the jars for later use a breeze but it also ensures you get every last bit of sauce

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Hungry Student’s chili

1 can kidney beans
3 cups leftover beans
1 pack veggie grounds
1 onion diced
3 cloves of garlic diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
leftover spaghetti sauce, salsa, black strap molasses
asian chili sauce
olive oil
cooking sherry

Spices:
Mustard seeds
cumin
garlic powder
crushed red pepper
paprika
Cayenne pepper
oregano
sage
thyme
dried rosemary
fresh ground pepper
fresh rosemary

Optional: corn starch

In a large pot heat your oil and add your onions mustard seeds and cumin. Sautee until onions are translucent while grinding in pepper. Once the onions begin to turn add your remaining spices and continue to stir, being sure to scrap the bottom. Now add your diced garlic and continue to cook until fragrant, keep scrapping the bottom.

Once your garlic is fragrant add your veggie grounds and cook until browned. De-glaze the pan with cooking sherry, keep the heat high and scrap the bottom. Now add more red pepper flakes, paprika and cumin.

Be sure to drain the beans if using canned. Add beans to pot and stir, cooking for 3 minutes and adding more pepper.

Now add your leftover bits of sauce, salsa and molasses. Stir and adjust for seasonings. Add your tomato paste and canned tomatoes, rinse cans and add liquid. Don’t forget the chili sauce if you have it, a tsp or so should do.

Continue cooking and tasting, adjust seasoning but be careful as your pepper flakes/overall spice will increase with the cooking time. Cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

If your chili seems to thin, remove some of the liquid with your spoon and place into a mug/bowl and create a slurry with a bit of corn starch. But sure to stir until starch is completely dissolved before adding back to the pot. Cook for an additional 20 minutes, repeating as needed.

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Remember chili gets better the longer it cooks. But once you cannot wait any longer dig in! And enjoy

Also this recipe makes leftovers, so freeze some for latter use.

Veganmofo: Easy school lunch

Now, the important thing to remember here is that I have never before made a grain salad. I wasn’t entirely sure how to, so perhaps this dish is really just cold rice and veggies. Having only ever sampled grain salads from grocery delis where every bean/rice salad seems to be flavoured with leftover sweet pickle juice (ew!!!). I was not a fan. I prefer my grains savoury, maybe with a hint of sour.

Grain Salad

Wild Rice and Bean Salad

1 cup wild and brown rice mix
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or water)
dash of salt
1/2 cup frozen white beans (is using caned you will need to rinse, and re-rinse. You may actually want to add more beans, I felt it could have had more)
1/2 medium onion diced
3 tsp minced garlic
1 red pepper diced (or vegetables of your choice. Red was all I had)

Herbs:
1 pinch sage
2 sprigs fresh Rosemary
2 dashes of paprika
1 pinch poultry spice
1 pinch basil
1 pinch thyme
salt and pepper

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 sherry
1/4 (just under a quarter) balsamic vinegar
Repeat of herb mix with the addition of fresh dill

Optional toppings:
Shredded nori
Sesame seeds
nut of choice

First coat a heavy bottomed pot with oil and cook your onions with pepper and mustard see until fragrant. Add garlic and continue cooking, deglaze pan with sherry is desired. Now add you rice and toast, before adding liquid and your selection of herbs. Bring to boil, boil hard for a minute, before reducing to a low simmer for 55 minutes (or until done).

Wild Rice Salad

Meanwhile dice your pepper and make your dressing, it can be made in the measuring cup and combined by whisking with a fork. Set aside.

Once rice is done allow to cool, if you have extra liquid drain your rice. Once rice is cooled (better yet, use this recipe to use up leftover rice!) add your pepper and dressing. Toss to coat and refrigerate overnight (at least an hour!).

Veganmofo: THANKSGIVING Photo HEAVY

Here is the sole reason I have missed two posts, vegan thanksgiving 2009. Our new cluttered apartment and ten guests. I think we were able to show this holiday who’s boss. As a result the past two days were spent cooking, shopping, and cleaning. Which left very little positing time.

Stove hard at work

The Glorious Choas:
Oven pulling triple duty

Once again, I apologize for the horrible lighting in our kitchen, but let us begin.

The first table spread:
Table Spread

And the second serving station
Secondary table spread

We started the day before as our oven has limited space, and wound up sending multiple dishes to cook at friend’s houses. But it all came together in the end.
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Night before AM prep, we watched the Buffy thanksgiving episode and peeled, washed, prepend, simmers and stewed. It was magic.

Night before, Second fridge plugged into hold overflow of preped dishes

We even had to plug in our mini fridge to hold all the prepped food, it is now holding all the left overs.

Made the night before were:
Broccoli Potato soup -Vcon
Mom’s Apple Crisp-Recipe to follow
Prepped potatoes (homegrown!) for mashed potatoes
Prepped carrots, roasted with olive oil, sage, thyme, pepper, fresh rosemarry, paprika, cumin etc
Baked four loaves of bread (family recipe to come)
Made stuffing from said bread (family recipe to come)
Lemon Herb roasted potatoes-Vcon marinaded over night
Portabello’s Marinaded in broth, sherry, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and spices

Seitan Roast

The next day, we sent all the potatoes to katie to cook along with carrots and squash (olive oil, maple syrup, cayenne, nutmeg, cumin, corriander, sage, rosemarry). Asparagus (semame style from VWAV only roasted and with balsamic vinegar instead of mirin) and sweet potatoes went to Blake, who also made amazing pumpkin pie and pumpkin shortbread.

Blake’s Pie
Blake's pie

Lemon potatoes:Lemon herb potatoes

Carrots: Carrots

Garlic tatter mound
potato Mound

Asparagus with sesame
Sesame Roasted Asparagus

In the morning we headed to the farmers market to get rolls and last minute produce, or produce not grown at Adam’s Dad’s farm.We also picked up some lovely fancy spiced almonds for the table and some homemade butter-pickles to go with the lovely jar of beets adam’s dad’s wife made.

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First thing prepped, tofurky and a pile of veggies to cook for 4 hours i also added chopped parsnips and x4 the marinade. It went into the oven.

Tofurkey

The squash was prepped and sent out to bake else ware along with the asparagus and sweet potato fries (VWAV).

There was vegan green bean casserole, which was gone in a matter of seconds!
Casserole, Vegan Green Bean
VEgan Green Bean Casserol

I also reserved half the squash for stuffing with Bryanna’s wild rice and mushroom stuffing (I added walnuts, so good!).
Roasted and stuffed squash

Wild Rice and mushrooms stuffing cooking:
Wild rice and mushroom stuffing

I also used some of the stuffing to stuff the roasted marinaded mushrooms:Stuffed and roasted portabellos

I also made Everydaydish’s holiday roast and tried the puff pastry addition for the first time. Although as I had a giant amount of stuffing underneath it and was adding vegetable broth to keep the stuffing moist it didn’t work so well. But other people liked it.
Seitan Roast

Punk Rock chickpea Gravy (VWAV) finished off the whole table nicely and my friend oliver brought kale and tahini sauce (VWAV).

My overgenerous plate
Plate of plenty

Plate x2

And the Blur-tastic desserts
Desert plate, sadly the best shot

And here are photos of everyone enjoying the festivities!

The feeding begins!
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Secondary Table spread
dinning coffee table

And post-food-consumption, everyone ready to explode.

Brad and Blake

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Adam feeding Party his share of the feast, after I had cooked him special sweet potato and squash.

Adam feeding Party his share of the feast

including Party
party is also full

And now, my friends I am off to rest.
photo

My special helpers!
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The ugliest scones the world has ever seen


With the help of my good lacky James, we made the pumpkin cranberry scones from Veganomicon, minus the pumpkin as I did not have any. Instead we used a cooked and pureed carrot and some apple sauce. We also made these into drop scones because the batter was wet and we are lazy, hence their hideous appearance.

We reduced the liquids a little to account for the added moisture of apple sauce, but obviously we could have reduced further. They also burnt a little on the edges (too close to the bottom element).
For an added twist (and because we lacked Pepitas to place on top) I ground some walnuts and brown sugar to sprinkle on top).Either way they taste great, and were delightful alongside coffee and allowed me to use my remaining soy cream.
Also here is just another shot of the coffee because it has been far to long since I last had some.

Ah, coffee my one true love.

A Return to testing

This is a test recipe from and upcoming zing called “Cooking with my Craw-Daddy”, this is a recipe for

Croquignole Banane. They are like a fried pastry or dough nut.

.Light sweetened goodness.

The recipe is really easy, these are a snap to make and their subtle banana flavour makes them outstanding. Really great treat, just be sure to watch your oil temperature for the start I had mine off a bit which resulted in slightly doughy centers. So be sure to keep a look out for the zine! And help support fellow ppkers!

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