Monthly Archives: December 2013

Chickpeas and Cranberries Sandwiches

sandwich with christmas gearSo this is Christmas! Maybe you have some friends or family staying over for the night… Well, this isn’t my case this year, cause I live in a really tiny apartment. Instead, I’ll be at my in-laws place, but maybe I’ll be doing those sandwiches anyway! They are so good and easy! Perfect for a simple Christmas time lunch (the cranberries really add a Christmas feel).

The first time I tried those sandwiches, I could not believe how tasty they were! This recipe, that I took on The simple Veganista, really became one of our go-to recipe, cause most of the ingredients are always in our cupboard. Yep, this recipe isn’t only for Christmas!

Here is what you’ll need :

Ingredients :

Makes 6 servings (you can easily divide the ingredients by two, as I did for the pictures, or keep what’s left in the refrigerator for a few days)

For the sandwiches :

  • 3 cups cooked or 2 cans (15oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or chopped fresh cranberries)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup scallions (green onions), thinly sliced, white & green parts
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Any kind of bread
  • Lettuce or sprouts (optional)

For the dressing :

  • 6 tbsp (1/3 cup) tahini
  • 4 tbsp (1/4 cup) white wine OR cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup

Directions :

Start by mixing all the dressing ingredients together, until it is homogeneous.

In a medium bowl, roughly mash the chickpeas with a fork or potato masher. Add the celery, cranberries, nuts, scallions, salt and pepper. Also add the dressing, and mix well.

Assemble your sandwiches on any bread you like.

tahini sauce for sandwichesingredients for sandwichesmix for sandwichessandwiches with text on left

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Mint And Chocolate Macaroons

DSC_1294Holidays are coming! There’s going to be about ten Christmas dinners and New Year’s partys for which you’ll have to cook at least one dish! Well, my Mint and Chocolate Macaroons are here to help! They are really easy to do and completely yummy! Plus, as you can notice by the ingredients list, they are kinda healthy! Isn’t that great!?

Speaking of healthy dessert balls, I’ve been to Le Salon des Métiers d’Art yesterday and one of my friends (Hi, Isabelle!)  just happened to work for Tessier dit Lavigne stand. I didn’t know this company and I simply fell in looooove after just one bite of their delicious nut paste truffles! Yeah, nut paste truffles, no chocolate implied! With simple or funky flavours! Well, I don’t know if they ship their products all around the world but you should ask! Those truffles contains milk, so they aren’t vegan, but I bet we could do a special order with non-dairy milk… 😉

So, about my macaroons : I took the recipe on Simple Medicine and simply added mint, cause I looove the coco/chocolate/mint combinaison! What’s funny is that the author of the original recipe published it during a snow storm and wrote that those macaroons were “snopocalypse-esque dirty snowballs”… Well, I feel like this is completely accurate right now, cause snow keeps falling and falling and falling over Montreal! And my boyfriend keeps moaning about the fact that it is a “snowapocalyspe”! It’s still going to snow for the next few days and the roads are gonna be kinda dangerous for Christmas time. So, everyone out there, drive carefully!

For the moment, let’s get back to happy tasty snowballs, the ones I love the most!

Ingredients :

  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (if it’s hard like rock, you can put it a few seconds in the microwave)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp finely ground salt
  • 1 tsp pure Mint extract
  • A hint of Vanilla
  • 2 tsp cool water
  • 2 ounces of dark unsweetened chocolate (choose vegan if you want to)

Directions :

Mix all the ingredients except the last two (water and chocolate) in a bowl. Toss until everything is combined well  (I personally put some water on my hands and simply toss the mix with them).

If you feel like the mix doesn’t stick enough, add water, one teaspoon at the time.

Form some balls (a little smaller than a golf ball).

Put the chocolate in a bain marie and let it melt slowly, while whisking.

Once the chocolate has melted, carefully dip the macaroons, and then put them on a parchment paper so the chocolate will harden. If you have some talent with melted chocolate, you can also add some of it on the top of your macaroons. I seriously have no experience with chocolate, so my macaroons turns out looking a little bit like boobs (hihi!)

Now, put your macaroons in the refrigerator and let them harden for at least 10 minutes before you eat them. Yep, no cooking needed! Keep the macaroons in the fridge until you are ready to serve them, so they won’t get too soft.

mix for snowballssnowball mix2The two pictures above are before and after mixing the Macaroons ingredientssnowballs on baking sheetsnowballs on a plateHappy Hollidays, Veggie Pawa Followers!

Much love,

Marilyn

xox

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Vegan Malai Kofta made from squash

malai kofta with textDid you enjoy my pun : “Made from squash/made from scratch”? Hihi, I hope I’m not the only one to think it’s kinda funny!

This is a Squash and Squash post cause I wanted to talk about the new sport I’ve been practicing for the autumn : Squash! I’m not good at all for the moment but I’m really enjoying it a lot. It’s the first time since High School that I practice a racket sport. I really feel like a cool kid when I’m in the subway with my racket case… Hihi! And even though I’m new to squash as a sport, it’s not the first time that squash has helped me in a fitness matter… Guess how! As a medicine ball! Yep, I workout at home kinda often, and I don’t have a medicine ball so I’ve already use whole squashes to do some of my moves (like the russian twist). Beware, if you do the same, you don’t want the squash to fall over you! This could hurt!

squash gear

Now, let’s get back to the Squash Malai Kofta Recipe. Do you remember that I was going to my first cooking class last wednesday? Well, I totally loved it! I learned so many things and the atmosphere was just great! For all of you Montrealers, I strongly recommend you to try a class at L’Armoire du haut! I’ll be attending many more. Dominique Dupuis, the instructor, is really friendly and makes you feel like home. Plus, everything that we cooked turned out to be amazing. Wednesday’s class was about Indian Food, and Dominique knew a whole lot about it because of the trip she made to India and the cooking classes she took there ; it was so interesting to hear all of her stories about India! Plus, by the end of the class, I realized something totally weird : this recipe of Malaï Kofta I have planned to put on Veggie Pawa for a few weeks (I even had the pictures and everything), was in fact created by Dominique Dupuis! What a strange coincidence! I took the French Version of this recipe on the Association manger santé bio website, and didn’t change a think, as it already sounded good and healthy!

I warn you : if you are looking for a meatball replacement that tastes like meat, I can tell you right off the hook this isn’t your recipe. Those squash balls taste like squash balls, and I personally think they’re perfect that way! So if you feel like eating a lot of veggies in a really original and flavourful way, this is for you!

Ingredients :

For the Balls (Koftas) :

  • 3 cups Butternt Squash, shredded
  • 2 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 2 tsp Cilantro Seeds
  • 1 tsp Chili Flakes
  • 1/4 cup Ground Flax Seeds
  • ¼ cup Chopped Nuts
  • 2 tbsp Chopped Raisins
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Coconut Oil, for cooking

For the Sauce (Malai) :

  • 1/4 cup Cashew Nuts soaked in 3/4 cup non-dairy Milk for an hour
  • 1 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 2 small Onions
  • 3 Garlic Gloves
  • 1 inch fresh Ginger
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1½ tsp powdered Cilantro
  • 1 cup pureed Tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions :

For the Balls (Koftas) :

Put the squash in a bowl. Grind together the fennel seeds, and the cilantro seeds, then add them to the squash. Also add the chill flakes and the ground flax seed. Let this mixture sit for a couple of minutes so it really holds together. Add the nuts and raisins to the mix.

Form the balls in your hands (the size of a squash ball or a golf ball, or any size you like, really). Press the mixture together to form the balls and do not try to roll it between your hands; it would fall apart.

Heat some oil in a pan and heat the balls until they are golden on every side. Once they are cooked, put them aside on a paper towel to absorb the excess of oil.

uncooked kofta

For the Sauce (Malai) :

In your food processor, mix the onion, garlic in ginger so they turn into a puree.

Heat a pan to low/medium temperature (it could be the same you used for the koftas, or you can do both recipe at the same time in different pans). Heat the oil and put the onion/garlic/ginger mixture into it. Let it there — stirring once in a while — for about 10 minutes or until the puree starts changing color.

Add salt, turmeric, powdered cilantro and pureed tomatoes. Cook for 10 minutes of until most of the tomatoes water is evaporated.

Reduce the cashews and milk into a puree in a food processor with the maple syrup. Once the tomato mix is ready, put this cashew mixture in the pan with the other ingredients. Stir well and add the Garam Masala.

Add about 1 cup of water and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes. Then, add the balls (koftas) and wait until they are heated through.

It’s ready! No you can eat this with brown rice and/or chapati bread!

squash for kofta in vitamixI shredded my squash directly in my food processor (Vitamix). Made the process a lot quicker!pumpkin smoothie while cooking koftaI had to much Squash shredded, so I used my food processor to mix a squash smoothie I would sip while I was preparing the food!kofta while cookingvegan malai kofta 2

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Eat your Greens! Palak Tofu

palak tofu with text

Next Wednesday, I’m going to attend my first cooking class EVER! I’m really excited about that! I’ve been considering trying cooking classes for a while but I didn’t know where to go, as a Vegetarian (mostly Vegan) Health Nut Amateur Cook. Well, I’ve stumble across L’Armoire du Haut and I think it’s going to be perfect for me! I’ve subscribed for a course about Indian Food (miam miam!) where we’ll be making Chapati and Aloo Gobi, among other things. Yay!

This class gave me the idea of sharing with you one of my boyfriends favourite dish : Palak Tofu. When I tried this recipe for the first time, he was so thrilled he told me I should do it again and again and again! I’ve made it a couple of time since, and it keeps getting better each time! I’ve never been to India myself, and I wouldn’t say I know a lot about Indian Food (even though I totally fancy it), so I couldn’t say how authentic this recipe is. But it’s good, and I would say — at the risk of shocking some of you — that it’s all that matters to me…. As “cheesy” as it may seem, I could even say that nothing feels better than eating something good with the one(s) you love, and that’s all that matters. Don’t be fooled by my “authenticity insecurity”, this plate is good! Oh, yes it is! I took the recipe on Olives for Dinner and didn’t change it a lot (I tried to make it a little more simple by changing or combining some steps of the recipe). I love Olives for Dinner! Their recipes are totally my style, and the pictures are GREAT. Sometimes I wish my boyfriend could take my pictures and do all the editing (wink, wink, honey! Are you reading?!) He taught me everything I know about photography, but he really is a better photographer than I am! Ah, maybe someday I’ll be surpassing the master! 😉

Hum, seems like I have a lot to tell right now… Can you imagine I’ve been introducing my mother to vegetarian food today? Wow, this could be a long story! How can I put this? I’ve been raised by my mother as an omnivore, and she was quite a good cook! I’d say she was really into traditional cooking : we used to eat Lasagna, Beef Stew, Sheppard’s Pie, Chicken Breast and Pork Loins. Most of what we were eating was accompanied by a Salad or Steamed Vegetables. Even if my mother wasn’t at all into Nutrition, I guess she did a good job by instinct, balancing proteins with vegetables and grains without thinking about it. When I got my first apartment, a few years ago, my mother completely stopped cooking, cause she wasn’t enthusiast to do it just for herself. My mother was a good cook, but she didn’t like to cook. She did it all for me, and I can only be grateful.

Being on my own, I got more and more interested by food. It’s only recently that I went Vegetarian and really started eating clean (meaning non processed) organic food. I feel good about the fact that I’m a newbie to this lifestyle and that I still have so much to learn! So many years in front of me to grow better at cooking!

One of the thing that made me feel sad about all this habit change is that my mother knew I was a “good cook”, but I felt like she was afraid to eat at my place! Indeed, she was really doubtful about Vegetarian food. Well, not just doubtful, scared. Tofu and chickpeas sounded to her like weird things that could certainly not taste good. I had her eating a bit of tofu last summer, and she liked it. But today, I had her over for lunch and we ate delicious sweet potato and black beans tortilla with pesto (I’ll be posting the recipe soon) and she was so enthusiast over it! I even put sprouted lentils on top of the salad and she loved it all! Wow, I didn’t even think she would accept to try legumes someday! I was really pleased! One step at the time, I think I could get her to really enjoy healthy eating. I love my mummy. I want her healthy.

This wasn’t even the only culinary experience of the day for my mummy. We went shopping all afternoon and it was so late when we got at my place I offered to bring her to a restaurant. “Which one?” she inquired. “Lola Rosa“, I said. “Lola what?”, she responded. “Lola Rosa, a Vegetarian restaurant”. I must say I saw fear in her eyes. “Vegetarian? Is there going to be something I like? Something I can eat?” She even tried telling me she wasn’t hungry. Well, let me tell you we went to Lola Rosa and she love it so much she even looked sad when her plate was finished. She was joking about the fact she could lick her plate! She even took a bite in my boyfriend’s plate and loved it as well. She told me we would come back, with all my Aunts and Family. Gosh, this felt great. I made my mummy eating Vegetarian all day and she completely loved it! It’s kinda weird to say, but I feel really proud. And happy.

palak paneer closeNow, let’s get to that Tofu Palak recipe! Here’s what you’ll need :

Ingredients :

  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coconut vinegar (optional)
  • 1 block of extra-firm tofu, well pressed and cut into dice-sized cubes
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 5-6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 7 oz (1 cup) canned diced tomatoes
  • 16 oz (500g) bag of chopped frozen spinach
  • 1 cup of water
  • fresh cilantro, chopped, for serving
  • Brown rice and vegan naan, for serving (optional)

Directions :

Marinade the tofu cubes with coconut milk, coconut vinegar and a pinch of salt in the fridge for a few hours (optional but highly recommended).

Heath a non-adhesive pan to medium. Take the tofu out of the coconut milk and put it in the pan (you’ll use the leftover coconut milk later). Cook the tofu until it gets a little bit golden on every side. **I completely ruined this part by not using a non-stick pan this time ; all the golden crisp of the tofu stayed in the bottom of the pan… Oups!

Put the onion, ginger and garlic in a food processor and mix them until the mix is kinda homogenous. Transfer to a medium or big size pot with the coconut oil. Let this mixture caramelize to low-medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring a few times. Lower the heat a bit and add the spices (curry powder, garam masala, ground cloves and fennel seeds) to the onion mixture, then let it simmer for a minute or two. Add the diced tomatoes, the spinach and the cup of water. mix well and wait until the spinach are completely heated through. Add the tofu and the leftover coconut milk marinade to the pan. Mix it all together until everything is hot.

Serve the Palak tofu and garnish with coriander leaves. You can also add some Fleur de sel, to taste.

Time to eat! You can serve this Palak with naan bread and/or brown rice.

** In case you’re wondering how I put my rice in cute little spheres, I must say it’s incredibly easy. I simply take my 1/3 cup or 1/2 cup measuring cup (that is roundly shaped) and use it as a spoon to take the rice in my rice cooking pan. I tap it a little to make sure the rice in compacted well, then add a little bit if needed until the measuring cup is full. Then, I turn the cup upside down over my serving plate and leave the rice fall of the cup gently. As simple as this!

palak tofu in the cauldron

palak tofu 2 bowls

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