Isolation cooking continues through this Covid - 19 pandemic. I love cooking obviously, but the truth is, it is cooking that will get me through this situation we are all in. I hope that everyone is able to tap into something they love if stuck at home as I am. I'm an introvert and being alone is pretty easy for me, but there is no question that this situation is difficult. I'll tell you what though, I am taking this time being in my home, able to cook and work on my blog and recipes, truly as a gift. Yes the circumstances are shit, but to have a stretch of time where I can focus on this. I'm grateful. Watching the community come together in an online capacity has been another silver lining. My coworker and fitness trainer Darcey is posting free live HIIT workouts every morning. I'm in better shape today than I was 2 weeks ago, probably the best shape of my life. So my mind is wrestling with the fact that it takes a pandemic for me to feel the most creative, and the most balanced that I've probably felt in a few years. I hope that when we come out of this there is shift in our collective consciousness. Even for the most thoughtful and balanced folks among us, this is undoubtedly a wake up call....on SO MANY levels. We are all connected...and to ignore that fact at this point would be a travesty in my mind. I might not know all the ins and outs of how this crazy world works, but I know that by living with love and compassion for all people and creatures...and the planet.... to the best of our ability is a step in the right direction. It's not always easy....but that is what I keep coming back to. Man, I live alone with my dog and haven't had any real human contact in like 10 days. These blog posts might start taking on a life of their own ha. ONTO the fried rice recipe. It's quick, easy, & delicious. I love you all.
OK so, I love how simple fried rice is and it is easily veganized. Once your rice is cooked and cooled this meal comes together in no time. I chose to use brown rice for this dish. It is healthier than white rice and it has a nutty flavour that I am a big fan of. I included tofu not only for the added protein, but because it simulates the egg that would typically be stirred into a non vegan fried rice dish. The texture is convincing and it's YUM. While I can totally understand tofu isn't everyone's thing, I do think in this recipe it's accessible for even non tofu fans. Tofu takes on the flavour of whatever you put with it and because it's broken into such small pieces I don't think it's so recognizable compared to just searing off a chunk of it and taking a big ol bite. So if you fall into the "I hate tofu" category - give this a whirl, you might just surprise yourself.
I set out to make a vegan bolognese to eat up with some cooked cabbage I had an abundance of. (I've always loved eating bolognese on cooked green cabbage instead of spaghetti...just like deconstructed cabbage rolls and feels a bit lighter if you aren't in the mood for pasta)
Anyway, I think I nailed this recipe. Like... cracked the vegan meat sauce code. Sure I haven't eaten anyone else's vegan bolognese, but after eating this I'm not sure why I would. This is going to be the recipe I use every single time! I'm kind of excited about it... if that's not yet evident.
I used a combination of beyond meat burger & sausage. If you haven't tried or heard of this product I'd be surprised. It's all over the place, fast food joints, grocery stores, and even at food supplier shows I've gone to through my work. It's a game changer. I don't eat products like this everyday. It's just not my normal, but the fact that I can buy these products and make something that I believe would fool any omnivore into thinking they were eating a legit meat sauce? Well, that's kind of the whole point of these things. We can have the flavour.... we can have that same taste experience that we all crave, with less cruelty. I believe this is the direction the world (albeit slowly) is going, we will continue to see advancements and new products that will change the way we look at our food, and challenge the entire concept and need of mass animal agriculture. The next 10 - 15 years will be fascinating.
Ok veganism rant done, back to the recipe. I added some lentils to this sauce. They kind of helped thicken it up and gave me the consistency I was after. I added a bit of smoked paprika when I was tasting and thinking it was missing...something. Good choice. My other do not leave out of this recipe suggestions...are the toasty garlic panko crumbs to garnish on top, and a little sprinkle of chile flakes. I really really think that bit of added heat rounded it all out. The only thing I DIDN'T add to this sauce that would make it even better, is some red wine. The liquore stores just shut down in PEI for how long I don't know due to Covid 19. I have 4 bottles of wine and there is no way I'm cooking with any of it ha! They are tucked away for emergency wine consumption.
I used a bit of my "5 minute sundried tomato sauce" in this recipe. I keep it in my fridge to add flavour to all sorts of things. You could probably get away with leaving it out but it really is a great condiment. I'll link to the recipe below.
Vegan Bolognese with Beyond Meat & Lentils
Garlic Panko Crumbs
Yield: 4 - 6 sandwiches (depending on size of bun)
I had a lot of fun making this sandwich! Roasted Portobello Mushrooms shredded and mixed with sautéed onions and a smoky homemade BBQ sauce. All piled on a toasty bun with a simple kale cabbage slaw. The BBQ sauce recipe is one I've been tweaking and using for years in restaurant kitchens, it's a crowd pleaser.
If you have a grill or smoker at home, I would definitely use that instead of an oven to give your mushrooms some extra smoke flavour. I live in an apartment and have neither of those things, but I do have something called a smoke gun. Kind of a fancy kitchen gadget that most home cooks probably wouldn't have. Don't worry though, this was still delicious without any added wood smoke. The BBQ sauce has smoked paprika and liquid smoke to fill that void.
The only other thing I would say about this sandwich, is make sure you make it saucy! I'll warn you though, it was very messy to eat. I personally don't mind that, especially when I'm eating alone. I'll lick my plate clean. A fork and knife wouldn't go astray though. Lastly, treat yourself to some kettle chips! Something about crunchy salty potato chips beside a sandwich like this - it's perfection. Oh and pour a pint of your favourite brew to have with too! It's the middle of March, so still cold and wintery out there in PEI, but this kind of food has me thinking about warmer days, and the type of fun food to cook up and enjoy on a sunny summer evening.
Recipe: BBQ Pulled Portobello Sandwiches with Kale Cabbage Slaw
Portobello Mushrooms + Onions
For this I just bought a bag of pre made kale crunch slaw, then mixed in some shredded cabbage. I also think some julienned apple would be nice tossed in here too. I used about 1/2 cup of slaw on my sandwich, but the buns were big so you might use more or less depending on size of your sandwich.
I whipped up a very simple dressing, just whisk together the following ingredients. Taste and you can add another splash or so of vinegar/sugar to balance it out perfectly if needed. It should taste zippy but the BBQ sauce is sweet enough that it doesn't need lots of sugar.
** The 2nd time I made these I used my smoke gun to add smoke to the cooked mushrooms and onions. A super fun kitchen gadget if you are so inclined. It just burns mini wood chips, I used hickory.
I will never look for another Lemon Cake recipe again. It is moist, lemony & one of the best cakes I've made vegan or otherwise. I love the sugared lemon peel as a garnish. It's super simple but really adds to the finished cake.
I adapted this from a recipe by Nora Cooks. I used a different method in order to get a 6 inch cake with 3 layers (method below). It requires an extra few steps but it is simple. If you can't be bothered with all of that, just use 2 x 8 inch cake rounds and call it a day. I like the 3 layer cake because it looks impressive. You will need one 6 inch high sided spring form cake pan and a sheet of acetate paper (available at craft, baking or office supply stores)
**This recipe calls for Aquafaba. It's an ingredient you might not be familiar with unless you do a lot of vegan baking. Don't let it stop you from trying this cake because it's so easy. Just open a can of chickpeas, strain and reserve the liquid. (the liquid is called Aquafaba!) It whips up just like egg whites, and is also the base of many vegan mayo recipes. I will usually just whip up a batch of hummus with the chickpeas.
Recipe : 3 Layer Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttercream
Assemble the cake (3 layer 6 inch)
The inspiration for this salad simply came from a bag of bean sprouts kicking around my fridge. I used them as garnish for one meal & needed to come up with a way to use the other 95%. My brain immediately went to some kind of Asian inspired slaw. Bean sprouts, red pepper, julienned carrot, scallion, water chestnuts, roasted peanuts, cilantro and a tasty dressing made with soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, ginger, garlic & a little sugar.
I definitely think this bright slaw would be perfect beside something rich & indulgent. Fried tofu, crispy spring rolls, or tempura. This recipe makes a big batch, (enough for a crowd) but regardless, leftovers are awesome and it gets better after hanging in the fridge awhile anyway...
This did require a bit of knife skills. I happen to love perfectly cut veggies and enjoy the process of julienning carrots etc. If you don't enjoy it or don't have the time, just pick up a bag of slaw mix at the store and call it a day. I wouldn't hesitate to mix up the type of veggies in this at all. Just needs to be crunchy & fresh. Onto the recipe.
Recipe: Asian Slaw with Soy Ginger Dressing
This dish, also known in Arabic as ful medames is a vegan stew of fava beans, cumin & other ingredients. My friend Tareq made this meal for me awhile back, a staple breakfast dish in Egypt. (where he's from) According to Wikipedia there is some evidence that Ful can be traced all the way back to ancient Egypt. (woah) There are variations to the recipe, but this is how he made it and what I wanted to recreate at home. Fava beans simmered with onion, garlic, tomato & cumin then topped with a quick tahini sauce. Add a sprinkle of parsley and plenty of warm pita bread for scooping... it's delicious. I love simple food and now that I've made this a few times at home I know it will be something I revisit often. It's a nice change from a typical North American breakfast....or any meal of the day for that matter. I discovered a bit of spinach or baby kale wilted in at the end is a nice addition too.
Recipe: Fava Beans with Tahini & Pita Bread
Hey! I'm Trisha