Monthly Archives: September 2013

Asian Inspired Peanut Butter Tofu Sandwiches

asian inspired peanut butter tofu sandwichesAs you may remember, I’m a real peanut butter lover! So, I was quite please when my friend Vanessa chose, among some other choices, that I would make some Peanut Butter Tofu Sandwiches for our little get together. Miam! Those are so simple yet so good!

We had the perfect day, my friend Vanessa and I. We went apple picking at Hemmingford in the lovely Philion Ecological Orchards. The apples were delicious, the weather was perfect and the orchard’s employee were so sweet and helpful. They even thought us how to pick apples “the right way” and how to keep them longer by putting them in a plastic bag in the fridge. Cool!

Philion orchardsPhilion Orchards. Isn’t it beautiful!?

So, now that I have a ton of apples and pears, I hope I’m gonna be able to come up with some interesting recipes… I always do apple sauce, but I don’t have a lot of imagination to do other things and I’m not quite fond of regular apple pies. Of course, I’m also making some apple arrows, as I’ve show in a previous post, but I’d really like to come up with a vegetarian main course including apples. I hope I’ll be able to, cause I’m not a real prolific recipe developer…

So, lets get back to this meal I had with Vanessa and our boyfriends. I started it with a Beet Carpacio that was way beyond my expectations! It was so full of flavours!

I’ll post the recipe later this week, but just take a look at how beautiful it is.

beet carpacio

We continued the meal with an unpretentious asian inspired sandwich. I took the recipe on Oh my veggies and really didn’t change it at lot.

Vanessa brought some wonderful pastries for dessert! Miam! It’s so rare that I eat such rich dessert, it was just the perfect treat! My boyfriend, who is really picky when it comes to dessert (he doesn’t have such a sweet tooth) exclaimed himself with so much emotion when he tasted the praline rectangle : “oh my god! this is it! this is what I’ve been trying to explain! The perfect texture!”. Hihi, this was quite nice to hear!

desserts avec nessa

Well, let’s get back to the main course! Here is what you need to make 3 to 4 of those yummy sandwiches :

Ingredients :

For the tofu :

  • 1-14 oz. package extra-firm tofu, pressed for 30 minutes
  • 1 tbsp olive or coconut or peanut oil

For the peanut sauce :

  • 6 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tamari sauce
  • 2-3 tsp brown sugar (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • cayenne to taste (optional)
  • 1 to 4 tbsp coconut milk or water

For the sandwiches :

  • 1 small carrot, shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 4 sandwich wraps, pitas, tortillas, or vegan naan

Directions :

Cut the tofu block in 8 equal “steaks”. If you want to, you can cut them again on diagonal to have triangles instead of rectangles (I didn’t do it this time, cause my tofu block had an unusual shape).

Heat some oil to medium in a pan and put tofu there for about 5 minutes on each side or until crunchy. Put the tofu steaks on a plate and remove oil excess with some paper towels.

While the tofu is cooking, mix together all the dressing ingredients except the water (or coconut milk). When everything is mixed together, add the water (or coconut milk) one tablespoon at the time until you reached the desired consistency. You can do it with a whisk or a fork but I use my Vitamix to mix the dressing so I don’t even have to mince the ginger before I put it there…

Heat the bread your using (I had thick pita bread and heat it directly in a pan) and then put the tofu, the vegetables the dressing and the cilantro on one half of it, so you can flip the other one over and have a nice sandwich.

horace à notre souper d'amisHere is a curious cat who wanted to have a closer look at our sandwiches.

sandwich asiatique 1Marc et VanessaHere are my friends Marc and Vanessa! I’ve known Vanessa like… forever! She’s such a joyful girl! It’s quite funny how those two are our “Medical field friends” while we — Mathieu and I — really are the Literature couple. We are passionate about different things but we get along so well ❤

 

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Eat your Greens! Healthy Vegan Fettucine Alfredo with Rapini

vegan fettucine 2

I simply love “creamy” pasta dishes! In fact, I’ve been quite surprised, during the last few years, to realize that a lot of persons actually don’t like them(!) At the beginning, it just felt surreal to me… I mean, isn’t it a perfect comfort food!?

Well, this Fettucine Alfredo in particular is delicious, yet guilt free! I’ve been looking forward to eat healthy and really heavy dishes just lost some of their appeal to me. So, this lighter version of a comfort food classics is just like the best of the best! Yay!

I found this recipe on Vanilla & Spice, but I replaced the asparagus by rapini, cause I feel like this vegetable is simply underrepresented in the Blogosphere! I love rapini. I think that it’s taste is just so distinctive and interesting. I really feel that it is the perfect match for this Alfredo recipe!

As you may have noticed, I’ve decided to make a “Eat your Greens!” section on my website. Thanks to the rapini, this recipe qualifies for the “Eat your greens!” category. I felt that this addition would be useful to navigate through the archives when you’re looking for healthy recipes. I’ve been trying myself to add a lot more greens to my diet in the last few months, as those veggies are well known to be nutritionally dense. Leafy greens, especially, are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxydants and fibers. There is no reason not to eat your greens everyday, and Veggie Pawa wanna help you not to forget that! 😉

So, here is for today’s recipe :

Ingredients :

  • 8 to 9oz dry whole wheat fettucine
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (+ more for cooking)
  • 2 small yellow onions, peeled and pureed in a food processor
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1,5 cups almond milk
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 bunch of rapini, cut in florets
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest

Instructions :

Cook fettucine in salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In the meanwhile, heat some oil in a skillet to medium-high. Cook onion and garlic until brown (but not burn), between 5 to 8 minutes.

Cook your rapini in a steamer basket for 3 to 5 minutes. Set them aside and toss them one tablespoon of olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

In a bowl, stir together almond milk, tahini, salt, nutmeg and pepper until they are well mixed. Pour this “milky mix” in the skillet with the onion mixture and reduce heat to medium. Cook it for five minutes, stirring often. Add the lemon juice and parsley let it sit for another minute. Close the heat.

Mix the sauce together with the fettucine. Put the pastas in some plates and top them with rapini.

You can add additional lemon zest and/or parsley and/or pepper to serve.

rapinis pour fettucinivegan fettucine alfredo

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Red Velvet Veggie Smoothie

red velvet veggie smoothie

Beets taste good, beets are healthy, but most of all, beets looks f*cking fabulous. Doesn’t this smoothie looks absolutely amazing?!

Beets are so inexpensive at this time of the year it would be a shame not to use them in every possible way. Tonight, I’ll be trying to cook vegetarian borsch for the first time ever. Wish me luck! I hope it turns out great, but I don’t have a lot of experience in western european cooking (nor eating, as a matter of fact… so I guess I just won’t know at all if my borsch is okay or if it’s not…).

Anyway, for the past two weeks I’ve been (successfully) making this delicious smoothie, that was inspired to me by a juice I saw on Vegan Sparkles. I thought the juice looked so good and the ingredients were so promising that I gave it a try in a smoothie form, adding ginger and flax for extra flavour and health benefice.

I really am more a smoothie person than a juice person (hum, “juice person”, that sounds kinda wrong). I feel that both methods have their pros and cons. Juicing allows you to benefits from the nutrients of more fruits and vegetables, as you discards the fibre (and most filling) part of it by the process of juicing. But unless you systematically use all the pulp left in your cooking, I feel that it is an outrageous waste to throw away all the fibres of the fruits and vegetables! I’m more in “the most fibre, the better” way of thinking, which is the reason why I don’t have a juicer and systematically prefer making smoothies to homemade or store bought juice drinking.

Your body needs fibres, a lot of them. Fibres aren’t assimilated by your body but they help everything (including toxins) circulating through (and out of) your body. This is, to me, the main reason why it is so important to eat whole grains and whole fruits and vegetables. Having a fibre dense diet provides you intestinal health ; in fact, it is known to prevent colon cancer and other diseases.

With that being said, let’s get to what made you click on this page, the magnificent Red Velvet Veggie Smoothie! Here are the ingredients you’ll need :

Ingredients :

  • 1 beet (small to medium)
  • 1 apple (small to medium)
  • 1 carrot (small)
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1tsp flax seeds
  • ice cubes

How to :

Cut the beet and apple in quarters and the carrot in large trunk. Put all the ingredients in a high-powered blender like Vitamix. Add water until it covers all the ingredients. Also add some ice cubes (I’d say 2 or 3). Blend everything until smooth. You can add some extra ice for serving (or to keep it cold while travelling).

This is going to make around 750ml of smoothie. You can decide to share it or drink it all of your own just like I do! You can also save some for later or for the next day. You’ll just have to shake it well before you drink it.

photo-25

Have you noticed my cup lid? I love it so much ; it’s perfect to bring smoothies to school! It is a plastic lid to put on regular storing jars. I bought it on Cuppow recently and I’m in love with it! I took the bigger size cause I love to bring big smoothies with be, but it also comes in smaller sizes.

**Note that, if you are from Canada just like me, the shipping fees are quite hight… but well, I was so excited about this lid that I bought it anyway. And I don’t regret it!

**Did you know that Marilyn Monroe used to drink champaign in mason jars?!

photo-19Now this is a big smoothie! 😀 I almost have to hold it with two hands! Love it!

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Eco Friendly Tip : How To Make Broth From Your Kitchen Scraps

scraps for broth

A few weeks ago, I said that september feels like a huge turning point for a lot of us. Getting back to the routine, trying to be a better self, having some resolutions… I feel like this year is no exception! I’ve been cooking quite a lot, studying, looking for a job, beginning the organization of our second CRAS Comic Forum… and I even managed to get some of my friends in shape! As the Ultimate Frisbee season is over, some of them asked me to be their ” personal trainer “. I’ve no certification whatsoever but I’ve a lot of experience and a good drive (well, I think). We meet once a week in a beautiful park nearby so I can kick their asses! I even leave them homework (I’m such a schoolgirl!)

I feel like there’s a real empowerment for a little woman like me (I’m 5’3”) to kick some tall men butts! 🙂 Hehe! I love them guys, and I really hope I can convince them to keep up with the healthy lifestyle trough the winter… Does anybody knows a website or app. that would look like a calendar where each of us can write the exercises he’s been doing on each workout day? Does dropbox or google doc would do the trick?

Well, well, well, where were we? Oh, yeah : september. Good vibes, good resolutions. Making your own kitchen broth should definitely be one of them! Why? Because it is healthy (I mean, really healthy), eco friendly, easy, delicious and (almost) free! I took the idea from Feed Me Phoebe on last Earth day and never stopped doing it since! I think this idea is simply genius! Since I moved in my new apartment in june, I simply never used store bought broth again (oh my… “store bought broth”, try to repeat that 10 times fast).

Yeah, making your own veggie broth requires more motivation than simply buy broth in stores… But most of these commercial broths are so salty and unhealthy! I wouldn’t want to go back to this! Besides, making your own broth just become an habit after a few times… I don’t even think about it anymore.

But hey, if you think you won’t have enough motivation to do this on a regular basis, please, at least, invest in a good quality broth. I personally recommend “Better than bouillon” vegetable base. It’s saltier that what I do at home, for sure, but at least it is mostly made from real vegetables and ingredients you can actually pronounce.

Now, let’s talk about the real thing, our homemade veggie broth. Here’s what you’ll need :

Ingredients :

  • Veggie scraps (this means : parts of the vegetables you don’t use : the top and bottom of them, the skins… even the onion and garlic skins)
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • About 10 peppercorns
  • Water
  • Salt (optional)

How To :

I feel like the most efficient way to collect kitchen scraps is, like Phoebe suggests, to collect them from time to time by adding them in a freezer bag each time you cook. When your freezer bag is full, it’s time to make some broth! Put the content of the bag in a big cauldron and put the empty bag back in the freezer.

scraps in a bag for broth

Fill the cauldron with some water until it reaches the top of the vegetables. Add the pepper and the bay leaves. Bring to a bowl, then lower the heath and let the broth simmer for at least 1 hour and a half (you can let it there a lot longer if you want to). Take a look at your broth once in a while and add some water if necessary, cause some of it will evaporate.

You can add salt to your taste if you want to, but I personally don’t. I feel like it is healthier this way. I adjust my recipes when necessary and add a little salt then, but I prefer to have a clean, neutral base to work with.

When you feel like the broth has been there long enough, stop the heat. Most of the time I let it stand on the oven for an hour so it can cool a little. Drain the broth with a sieve or a mesh over a bowl to recuperate all the liquid. Then, put the broth in some small containers you’ll put in the freezer, so you can just take the amount of broth you need when you need it (heating it in a cauldron or in the microwave).

broth in cauldron

If you have some extra motivation, or if you simply want to have an idea of the quantity you can put in each of your container, measure the quantity of broth you put in every one of them and note it on a post-it. If you feel lazier, freeze it directly. You’ll measure it when you’ll need it. Don’t fill your containers to much of it’s going to overflow when it freeze!

I measured my last batch of this recipe it gave me seventeen cups and a half  of broth.

I usually do some broth every 10 to 15 days.

broth with measures

broth ready to freeze

So, I hoope I gave you the desire to try to do your own broth! You don’t have to do it on a regular basis like I do… Just once in a while will be better than noting at all!

Enjoy autumn, everybody! The breeze is amazing and I’ll bring you my favourite soup recipe really soon! 🙂

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Lunch Series : Quinoa Chili

quinoa chili1

This quinoa chili is vegan, healthy, easy to make, inexpensive and most of all… absolutely delicious! It has almost been the only chili recipe I’ve used for a year, and I can say that I make chili on a regular basis. I just don’t get tired of this one! I really like the fact that with the quinoa, it makes a complete meal of its own, and that there is a slightly sweet taste to it that makes it really different from all the other chilis I’ve tried. Plus, this meal can be prepared either on the oven or in a crockpot, which makes it really useful. In the slow cooker, it is a perfect unpretentious dinner to enjoy with some friends… As you can  prepare everything in the morning, there aren’t dishes everywhere in the kitchen when the guests arrive. Wonderful!

I took this recipe on savvy vegetarian website, which I really like a lot. This site has so many great recipes! It’s been online for more than a decade(!) and I think it is so sweet that every member of this family participate in their own way to the website. Much love to them!

Now, I just realized after choosing my recipes for the “lunch series” that two of them included molasses. This is a coincidence. Maybe I just feel like molasses has a earthy autumn vibe that was appropriate for september. Either way, molasses is a really interesting ingredient cause it is sweet, it has a distinctive taste, but it is also healthy, as it includes good to excellent amounts of minerals like manganese, copper, magnesium, potassium and iron, and it is also a very good source of calcium. Interesting!

ingredients for quinoa chili

Ingredients :

  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 can red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup unsalted tomato sauce OR 1/4 cup unsalted tomato paste + 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 1 celery stalk, diced (optional)
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic (2-3 cloves)
  • 2 tbsp minced jalapeño pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 green (or any other colour) bell pepper
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried basil leaf
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram leaf
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp light molasses
  • 1 tbsp tamari sauce
  • 1/4 chopped cilantro (for topping)

Stovetop Directions :

Rince the quinoa.

Heat the oil on medium-high in a large sauce pan. Cook the garlic, onion, jalapeño (optional) and celery (optional) until soft (about five minutes). Add the bell peppers and fry for another five minutes. Add the spices and herbs and stir for two minutes. Add the beans, water, molasses, tomato sauce (or paste) and quinoa.

Bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked and most water evaporated. Add the tamari sauce and adjust seasoning.

You can serve this with cilantro (most of the time I don’t add cilantro if I take this chill in my lunch), or top it with avocados or (dairy free) sour cream. One time, I added a few drops of liquid smoke and the taste was pretty interesting.

Crockpot directions :

In a pan, heath the oil to medium-high and cook garlic, onions, celery (optional), jalapeño (optional) and bell peppers for five minutes. Add spices and herbs and stir for two minutes.

Put this mixture in the crockpot and add the quinoa, water, tomato sauce and beans. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.

Add tamari sauce and molasses. Serve with cilantro and/or other toppings.

quinoa chili while cookingquinoa chili avec écriture

Don’t forget to remove the bay leaf and enjoy!

 

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Lunch Series : Earthy Lentil Salad with Walnuts, Herbs and Molasses

earthy lentil saladNow this is a really useful recipe to have on hand for lunches! Plus, it really is a change from the usual lentil salad with a oil/vinegar dressing. With grilled vegetables, mint, sun-dried tomatoes and a touch of molasses, the taste of this salad really is surprising (yet totally addictive)!

Original recipe is from website The Kitchn.

Ingredients :

  • 2 to 2 1/4 dried green lentils (or other kind of lentils)
  • 4 cups of unsalted vegetable broth (or water)
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 3 bell peppers, diced (ideally a mix of orange, yellow and red)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1 cup flat parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp molasses*

* the original recipe calls for unsweeted pomegranate molasses. As by boyfriend isn’t really into fruity tastes, we decided to replace it by regular molasses, and the swap was really convincing!

Instructions :

Rince the lentils well. Bring them to a boil in the vegetable broth, then lower the heat and cover the pot, letting them cook for about 25 minutes (or until they are soft, but not too soft). All the broth should be absorbed. Otherwise, drain the lentils in a colander.

While the lentils are cooking, put the sun-dried tomatoes in 1/2 cup of boiling water to get them rehydrated. Keep them in the water, you’ll need all of the mixture later.

Heat 1/4 olive oil to medium heat. Add onions, garlic and bell pepper and let them cook about five minutes, until onions are translucent but peppers are still crispy.

When lentils and vegetables are ready, but them together in a bowl. Add the sun-dried tomatoes with 1/4 cup from the water they were soaked into. Add the walnuts and herbs (mint and parsley), as well as lemon zest (you can keep some of the zest for topping). Add 1 teaspoon of salt.

In a cup, mix the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil with the remaining 1/4 cup “tomato water”. Add lemon juice and molasses. Mix all those ingredients together and add them to the salad.

Add salt and pepper, to taste.

This salad can be eaten warm or cold.

Voilà!

This recipe really is versatile. Next time, I’ll add kale, by cooking it with the onions and bell peppers. Mango cubes would also be an awesome topping for this salad! Have fun with it!

gros plan salade lentilleslentil salad petit bolecureuil sur mon balsonI had a visitor while I was cooking! I love squirrels so much. I’m glad to live in a city where there are so many of them… Even though they eat everything in the garden!

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