Wednesday, December 30, 2009

White Chocolate Key Lime Fudge

I whipped up a batch of "Key Lime Fudge" for a Hawaiian potluck at work, and couldn't believe just how easy this recipe was. Best part was they tasted great too and appeared to be a hit at the potluck as they were gone before I had a chance to finish my lunch! Many thanks to Julia for another amazing recipe!
Note: No need to seek out Persian or key limes for this recipe, a regular lime will do the trick just fine.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Spaghetti Squash Galettes

I wasn't too keen on spaghetti squash until I tried these galettes. Now I think I will most definitely be cooking with spaghetti squash more then the occasional twice a year ordeal. My only complaint about this recipe was that it didn't yield enough for lunch the next day! I will most definitely be making this recipe again, and doubling the ingredients to yield a larger quantity.

Recipe adapted from Citrone & Vanille
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 pinch chili flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Cut squash in half and place cut side down in a glass baking dish with a half cup of water. Bake for 40 minutes and set aside to cool.
  2. Once squash is cool enough to handle, scrape out flesh into a bowl and set aside.
  3. In another mixing bowl, mix egg with flour, salt and pepper, to form a thick dough. Add a touch of water if dough becomes too thick.
  4. Add oregano, parsley, tomato paste, chili flakes and a dash of salt and pepper to the squash and stir until well mixed. Use your hands to incorporate the egg/flour mixture into the squash. Finish by adding feta to mixture, careful not to break up feta too much.
  5. Heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat. Add heaping tablespoons of squash mixture to pan and cook until browned on each side. Keep galettes warm in a 200° oven while you continue to cook.
  6. Serve with a dollop of salsa or leftover hollandaise sauce like I did!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Shells

I have noticed that any type of “stuffed” food dish immediately get’s people’s attention. Throw in the ultimate comfort food (pasta & cheese) and you have yourself a real hit! I recommend that anyone who loves pasta and cheese should make this dish for the holidays. Unless of course you don’t want to be the holiday host next year!

Recipe adapted from (The Good Mood Food Blog)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1-796 ml can of diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 1-398 ml tomato sauce (no salt added)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped)
  • 1 tsp dried basil (or 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped)
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • 250g large pasta shells
  • 1 bunch spinach, washed
  • 1 1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • fresh ground salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
  1. In a medium pot saute garlic in olive oil for 30-40 seconds. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and red wine. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, add water if sauce becomes too thick. Season with salt and pepper making sure to stir frequently.
  2. Meanwhile cook spinach in a frying pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow spinach to cool before using your hands to squeeze out liquid. Chop and set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta until al denté.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, mix ricotta, herbs, steamed spinach, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl until everything is combined.
  5. Spread half the tomato sauce in a medium baking dish.
  6. Once pasta is cooked drain and allow to cool in a colander.
  7. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of ricotta mixture into each shell and place in baking dish with tomato sauce. Once you have added all the stuffed shells to the baking dish, cover with the remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan over top and bake 25-30 minutes at 350°.
  8. Serve with crusty bread, steamed veggies or a tossed salad.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Stollen

Stollen is a traditional German cake also known as Christstollen which is similar to the well known fruitcake found in grocery stores during the Christmas season. This particular recipe was featured in last month’s Martha Stewart magazine and was passed down from her mother Martha Kostyra. I encourage you to watch the video as it is really quite cute and gives you a good idea of how to work in the fruit. I used apricot brandy to soak the currants in as I didn't have any cognac. The picture above shows the texture of the two breads prior to icing.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mushroom Melt

If you have leftover mushrooms here is a good way to use them up for lunch or a quick dinner. Serve mushrooms over toasted bread like sourdough or rye.

  • white mushrooms, sliced
  • garlic, minced
  • thyme 1-2 tsp fresh or dried
  • cooking Sherry 1-2 tsp
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • toasted bread
  • Havarti, Mozzarella or Gruyere , sliced
  1. Heat olive oil in frying pan over high heat. Once the oil is heated through add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds. Throw in mushrooms and saute until they release their juices and begin to brown on both sides about 8-12 minutes.
  2. Stir in thyme, salt and pepper and deglaze pan with sherry. Cook until mushrooms have soaked up sherry about 2-5 minutes.
  3. Evenly spread mushrooms over toast and top with cheese slices.
  4. Broil in oven until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
  5. Serve with parsley and fresh pepper.
Tip: You can vary this recipe by using different mushrooms, cheeses or bread.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

I think I might actually prefer this recipe found in "La Dolce Vegan!" - Sarah Kramer's third vegan cookbook, to traditional gingerbread. Instead of margarine this recipe calls for vegetable shortening and a perfect array of spices.

What's neat about "La Dolce Vegan!" is that most of the recipes are submitted from people all over the world who have tried, tested and true methods for cooking vegan. Sarah Kramer is from Victoria, BC and her vegan cookbooks can be found at most bookstores and libraries or you can follow her website/blog at

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Asparagus with Vegan Hollandaise

For those of you out there looking for a low fat way to make Hollandaise sauce I highly recommend this recipe. My only suggestion would be to add 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and taste before adding remaining lemon juice 1 tsp at a time, until you reach your preferred tanginess.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Three Sisters Casserole

This recipe yields enough to serve 6-8 people. I used local pumpkin cut into chunks instead of kabocha squash and kidney beans as I didn't have any pinto beans. Although this recipe was unique and quite flavorful I don't think I would make it again.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cheater Apple Pie

I am yet to master the fine art of making pastry so until I do I have discovered a shortcut to making the "perfect pastry". Pillsbury now offers ready to use, unroll-and-fill pie crusts making it easy to make perfect pie in a pinch. This recipe features Grandpa's homegrown Okanagan apples!

  • Pillsbury double-crust pastry
  • 6 cups peeled, sliced cooking apples
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Place one pastry crust inside a 9-inch pieplate; set aside.
  3. Combine apple and lemon juice in a large bowl. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and next 4 ingredients, mixing well. Spoon over apple mixture, tossing gently. Spoon filling evenly into pastry shell, and dot with butter.
  4. Place the second pastry crust on top of pie. Trim off excess pastry along edges. Fold edges under and crimp with a fork.
  5. Cut three slits in top of crust for steam to escape.
  6. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350°, and bake 50 more minutes.
  7. Let pie cool for 1 hour. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Broccoli Pizza Roll

So I asked Mike what he wanted for dinner the other night and of course he requested pizza yet again! Since I wanted to make something different I sought out a recipe that had the properties of a pizza without actually being a pizza. I found a recipe that I adapted slightly to make vegetarian and opted to use my bread machine to make pizza dough instead of making dough from scratch. I served this bread with marinara dipping sauce. I will without a doubt be making this recipe again probably with different variations of vegetables and cheese.

Filling (adapted from flamingobear)
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup roasted peppers, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • sea salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup Parmesan
  • 1 cup Mozzarella
  • 1 medium bread machine pizza dough recipe (or make your own pizza dough if you prefer)
  1. If using bread machine dough start dough about 45 minutes before you begin cooking the filling.
  2. Cook onion in olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat until onions turn translucent. Add broccoli florets and roasted peppers and saute, stirring constantly, just until broccoli changes color, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, until broccoli is tender-crisp.
  3. Grease a cookie sheet and preheat oven to 475°. Once dough is ready begin to roll out into an 18x16 inch rectangle.
  4. Sprinkle broccoli filling and cheeses evenly over dough and begin to roll up from the longer side jelly-roll style. Pinch the edge of the dough firmly to make a tight seam. Turn the dough so that the seam is underneath. Pinch the ends of the dough firmly together and tuck them under.
  5. Lift the roll with both hands at each end and place on greased sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 475°. Lower heat to 400° and bake for another 10 minutes. Rotate pan and bake for another 7-10 minutes or until the loaf is golden brown all over.
  6. Brush loaf with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Roasted Soy, Lime, Chile and Garlic Eggplant

There are so many different ways to cook with eggplant. This particular recipe is very full of flavor with out the need to marinade. I opted to roast this eggplant in a 400° oven for 20-25 minutes.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Orange Bran Muffins

These are honestly the best Bran Muffins I have ever tasted! The only step I skipped in this recipe was the toasting of the bran (I used bran flakes instead). I love the added flavor from the orange zest. You would be putting this recipe to shame if you skipped the orange zest in this recipe. I think in the near future I will try to revise this recipe to cut out most of the oil but otherwise this recipe is golden.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cheddar and Leek Soup

Even though I don't think I would ever make this recipe again I believe that anyone who appreciates the flavor of ale would really enjoy this soup. There is a very unique and rich flavor that separates this recipe apart from traditional leek soup. I imagine the flavor will vary depending on the cheddar and ale you use.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Linguine with Balsamic Roasted Tomatoes

Recipes like this capture me in a dream where I am featured in last months Style at Home - Kitchen Special. I pull out one of those super shiny heavy bottomed skillets that are worth more then my entire kitchen set and place it on a beautiful gas stove. I can hear the tink, tink, tink of the gas flame coming to life and the sizzle of olive oil and garlic. It would be a dream come true to experience the sound, smell and sight of red wine and garlic simmering on a gas stove! Anyways, for a short moment this recipe takes everyday cooking to a gourmet level.

Recipe adapted from Luna Cafe
  • 8 vine ripened tomatoes
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • fine sea salt
  • freshly grated black pepper
  • 1 pound dried whole wheat linguine
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano or basil
  1. Arrange tomatoes and red onions in a greased baking dish.
  2. Top the tomatoes as evenly as possible with garlic, basil, and oregano. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  3. Roast tomatoes at 400° for about 30 minutes, until roasted but not dried out.
  4. While tomatoes are roasting, in a medium skillet heat up 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté garlic until slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add chicken stock and wine and bring to a simmer. Reduce to 1½ cups.
  5. While sauce is reducing, fill a large pot with cold water and add 1 tablespoon salt. Cover and bring to a rolling boil.
  6. When water is boiling rapidly, add pasta. Boil until just tender, about 6-7 minutes.
  7. Quickly drain and add to the sauce in the sauté pan, along with fresh parsley and oregano or basil. Toss to coat with the sauce.
  8. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl, top with roasted tomatoes and onions and drizzle with balsamic reduction from the roasted tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Garnish with shaved Parmesan.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pumpkin Pancakes

I picked up a locally grown sugar pie pumpkin at the market for $1.49 and decided to make pumpkin puree for pancakes. The pumpkin would have yielded about 5 cups of puree so I cut it in half and wrapped up one part for another recipe. What I forgot to mention is the decision to make pumpkin pancakes took place at about 10:00am Saturday morning and based on my hunger level I was forced to find a quick method for making pumpkin puree. I am happy to report that things worked out perfectly and this recipe will blow your socks off especially if you love pumpkin pie like me!

Method for making quick pumpkin puree:

Peel pumpkin and chop into 1x1" cubes. Steam on stove top until soft, about 10 minutes. Puree with a food processor or hand held blender in a bowl. Set aside until you are ready to use. You can freeze the puree until you are ready to use or if your pumpkin yields more then your recipe requires. 

The traditional method for making pumpkin puree is to cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out seeds and stringy fiber. Roast in oven cut side down in water until soft about 90 minutes. Scoop out flesh and puree with a food processor or hand held blender.

Recipe adapted from "First Look, Then Cook"
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coffee cream + 1/2 cup water (or 1 cup whole milk)
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Sift together first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. 
  2. Whisk milk, pumpkin, eggs, oil and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients; whisk just until smooth (batter will be thick).
  3. Preheat oven to 200°
  4. Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Spray with cooking oil or butter. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls into hot skillet. Cook until bubbles form on surface of pancakes and bottoms are brown, about 2-5 minutes. Flip over and cook for another 2-5 minutes or until they are cooked and nicely browned.
  5. Stack pancakes on a oven safe plate and keep warm in the oven while you finish cooking up the remaining pancakes. 
  6. Serve with maple syrup. 
Tip: This recipe yields about 14 pancakes so if there are only 2 of you like Mike and I you can save half of the batter in the fridge to cook up the next day.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Mint Chocolate Truffle Cake

If you like mint chocolate then I guarantee you will love this cake!

This cake was made especially for a colleagues birthday and I can't think of a better reason than that. Special thanks to everyone at work for being my guinea pigs and for the opportunity to practice my baking skills and experiment with yet another fantastic recipe.

As there is only a 6 hour life span for the icing from the original recipe I opted to revise the recipe so I could make this the night before.  I know this cake would be been exceptionally good with the original cream icing!

Mint Icing (revised)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar
  • 3 cups thawed Cool Whip
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  1. To make icing simply mix together sour cream, icing sugar, Cool Whip and peppermint extract in a medium bowl.
Link to Mint Chocolate Truffle Cake

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Honey-Glazed Tofu on Pumpkin Seed Couscous

Looking for a quick, simple recipe with a lot of flavor? You will be hard-pressed to find a recipe better then this one. My only advice is to have all your ingredients ready before hand as this dish cooks up in 10 minutes flat.

I made one small edition to this recipe by adding a 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro to the couscous.

Honey-Glazed Tofu on Pumpkin Seed Couscous

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hearty Lentil Soup

If you were to ask me off the top of my head what my favorite dish was I would have to say lentil soup. Mainly because I have tried so many amazing lentil soup recipes and partly because I crave lentil soup more then any other food (besides chocolate of course). I can't quite put my finger on it but I think that I just love the rich full flavor that lentils posses. There is no guilt involved in eating lentils as they are healthy for you and require very little preparation. As I mentioned in one of my past posts lentils have the third highest level of protein of any plant-based foods next to the soybean and hemp, making them very valuable to a vegetarian diet.
I buy lentils in bulk (1-2kg bags, not from the bulk aisle) for three reasons. The first reason being that they add color to my kitchen and look great in glass jars! The second because you save money and the last and most important reason being that I use them so often it saves me the panic attack when I realize I don't have enough to make my favorite food!
As I have the utmost respect for Deborah Madison and her fantastic cookbooks and because I will never alter this perfect recipe you will have to defer to the library or book store and seek out "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" to score this life changing recipe. I will however advise that there are people that have gone against the copyright laws and posted this recipe online....but that is all I am going to say.
One more important fact you should know about lentils - like a chili or tomato sauce they get better with time. This particular recipe is at it's fullest and best flavor served the second or even third day. So never cut this recipe in half and always reheat for lunch the next day!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Eggplant-Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream

It's not very often that I find a recipe that I am inclined to make as often as this one.  I am truly amazed by the perfect flavors in this dish.  I have to admit that this recipe uses just about every pot, dish and pan you have in your kitchen but it's well worth the effort and clean up!  There are three simple layers to this recipe - roasted zucchini, eggplant and potatoes followed by a rich tomato sauce with lots of shallots and a hint of cinnamon. Topped with the lemony pine nut cream (silken tofu), I know you could fool non-vegans into thinking there is no tofu in this recipe.

As I would never attempt to alter a single ingredient in this perfect recipe I urge you to at the very least take a boo at this fantastic recipe book next time your in the library or your local book store. You will notice over time that I have tried almost every recipe in this book and very rarely make any changes.  Isa and Terry you are my idols!

This recipe is from Veganomicon - The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero