I’ve been talking about my need for crunchy things left, right and centre, to the point that I cave and head for the chip aisle. This is where scenes like this one, with my friend Kendra, usually play out:
(Standing side by side, staring at the chips…)
Me: I just really want something crunchy. I mean, I could have celery.
Kendra: There’s celery.
Me: Oooor not…(as I grab ALL the chips and put them in the basket…)
My friend Tami calls it the “crunch factor” — all meals must include it or you’ll feel like something is missing; for me, this has definitely been the case recently. Obviously celery is the
responsible HEALTHY choice when it comes to crunch factor. When I mentioned this to my friend Matt, he sent me this fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants salad recipe. It’s got celery for crunch, avocado for creaminess, mango for sweetness and I added red cabbage for colour, which all combine to make it quite satisfying and full of good-for-you vitamins, minerals and fibre. You can make enough for one or two days, just keep the mango and avocado separate to prevent sogginess.
I had a hankering for a good burger the other day. I find I’ve been cooking vegetarian and/or vegan mostly at home — though I do indulge in burgers of the meat variety every so often — and I just happened to have some red kidney beans soaking without a plan for them. Legumes are a staple in my diet recently because of a) being a student and b) being a student of holistic nutrition. I needed a dish for a potluck as part of a class I’m taking and thought veggie burgers would not only satisfy my burger craving but also the variety of eating styles that exist in most nutrition-related classes.
These burgers turned out so great! Perfect chewy consistency with lots of flavour. I served them on top of raw shredded squash and cabbage with the dressing from my Edamame, Arame and Sweet Potato Salad. I also garnished with a little arame, cilantro and a drizzle of extra dressing. Make a double batch and freeze them before (or after) baking for easy lunches and dinners.
One of the great things about being back in school is that there are many other people who are going through the same what-am-I-going-to-do-after-this-is-all-said-and-done phase as me. It was a big decision to up and move and almost as soon as I got here people were asking me what I was planning to do after school and if I wanted to stay in Vancouver or head back to Calgary. The answer is: I don’t know. All I do know is that I want to help people get back in touch with the kitchen and their food: I love sharing recipes, showing people how easy it is to make delicious and good-for-you meals, and giving nutrition/life/friendly advice when asked. But for now, I’m just along for the ride!
I made this Mulligatawny Soup for a potluck with some classmates on the weekend (yes, potlucks go hand-in-hand with nutrition school) and reminded myself how much I love it! This version is vegan-friendly, but traditionally it has chicken, beef or lamb in it. Either way, it’s one for keeps!
If I could eat all the caramelized onions in the world, I would. The slow cooking process draws out the water and sugars from the onions making the final product naturally sweet and satisfying.
I whipped this dip up the other day for a Young Agrarians potluck. Sara Dent organized the event and what an excellent gathering of people with farmers, foodies and new friends to meet. Can’t wait for the next one!
Bean Medley Dip w/ Caramelized Onions & Cilantro
2 cups mixed beans (1 cup dried beans, soaked and cooked — I used Black Garbanzo, Zuni and Navy)
3 onions, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
2 limes, juiced and zested
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
2 tsp honey
Ever since I left Calgary I’ve been craving a gathering just like #yycMNSC that my friend Dan started. So after meeting Annie, a longtime Twitter friend, in-real-life, we decided to start it up here!
Ready for their close-ups.
Monday Night Supper Club is about trying new recipes and restaurants, going on excursions, connecting with food and the food industry in our city, and, of course, making new friends. The inaugural potluck was yesterday (yes, I know it was a Tuesday) at my tiny studio apartment and what a blast we had! Breanne brought a Pumpkin Cashew Dip that I swear you could use as a body mask; Celia brought Quinoa Falafel Cakes; Carissa brought Savoury Sausage & Cheese Muffins and Chocolate Avocado Pudding; Annie brought Homemade Bread & Garlic Bruschetta; and Erin brought Raw Chocolate Nut Clusters. A very delicious evening indeed!
Coffee Grinder + Spices = Spice Grinder
I modified this Lentil & Barley soup recipe from a favourite healthy-eats cookbook called Enlightened Eating (written by a fellow Canadian Holistic Nutritionist!) and it was a total hit with the group. I like to use whole spices wherever possible and grind them as I need them. Instead of using a mortar and pestel, I just use a coffee bean grinder (that’s never met a coffee bean!) As a general rule, I always double recipes when I’m making soup so I’ve got lots leftover to freeze. Yum!
My friend Steve is an excellent photographer and offered to come try out some food photography with me. We discovered it’s a lot more complicated than it looks, between garnish, cutlery placement, layering of textures, lighting, other accessories…the list is endless!
photo by Steve Coutts
I cooked a few simple dishes to experiment with. This is the first dish we shot, which I think turned out pretty well and it was delicious! I modified this recipe from Simply Organic: A Cookbook for Sustainable, Seasonal and Local Ingredients. It called for mustard greens but I used swiss chard because I had lots on-hand. I think any greens that sauté well would work.
Stephanie over at Clockwork Lemon, our friend Rachele, and I had had a baking date a few days earlier where we made this Whole-Wheat and Rye Swirl Loaf. I cut a bunch of slices into triangles, drizzled with grapeseed oil and toasted them in the oven. The hint of caraway every few bites added another touch of deliciousness too!
I made these a few days ago for the Interactive Monday Dinner hosted by Casel Marche. It’s a dinner to introduce new people to Market 17 and J. Webb Wine Merchant using Cassis Bistro’s space. Not only do I love introducing people to good food, I love any opportunity to have free reign at a grocery store!
My theme was Breakfast (my favourite meal) for Dinner. I knew I wouldn’t have a ton of time to cook, so I chose simple items that still packed the wow-factor.
These biscuits from Canadian Living were so melt-in-your-mouth, even I was surprised! Whenever I’m making a cheesy pastry, I like to double the amount of cheese, so add as much or more of what’s called for in this recipe.
I made this soup last week after a trip to the dentist – I’ll spare you the details – left me only able to eat soft foods for a few days. I had one small pie pumpkin left, an abundance of carrots and some fresh sweet potatoes (or yams, depending on who you ask).
What resulted is a rich and creamy soup (without cream!) that’s perfect for fall days and sore mouths.
Pumpkin Carrot Sweet Potato Soup
2 medium sized yams, cut into 1″ cubes
1 small pie pumpkin, cut in quarters, seeds removed
3 medium sized carrots, cut in 4
1 onion, small dice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup orange juice
1 lemon, zested and juiced
salt and pepper to taste
Roast yams, pumpkin and carrots on a parchment lined baking sheet at 350 F for 30 minutes, until just starting to brown.
Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, saute onions in olive oil until translucent. Add thyme and garlic and saute until just fragrant.
When roasted mixture is done, add it to the pot along with stock and orange juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. When cooled slightly, partially or fully puree mixture and pour back into a clean pot. Add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves. Can be frozen or kept in fridge for up to 5 days.