After going to the Planted Expo event here in Vancouver over the weekend I thought it would be a good idea to post my favourite vegetarian recipe.
This is a hand me down family recipe from a woman in India given to a friend of a friend and finally handed down to me. You won’t find this in any Indian Restaurant because it takes too long to cook. I like to keep things fairly simple these days but the extra effort is well worth the end result.
It takes some time to prepare it all, but once everything is in the pot you’ll find it most flavourful. Not only is it super delicious but it’s healthy too. A win-win for those who love Indian curry.
Follow these steps:
Soak 3 cups of organic dried chickpeas in water overnight (some of the water will absorb – the rest you use in the recipe).
Two carrots, one mesh packet of ginger, 4 Tbsp of toasted sesame oil, for spices use 1 ½ teaspoons each of dried turmeric + ground cumin.
Sprinkling of cinnamon.
Squeeze 4 organic lemons (including pulp)
You can add fresh green chillies if you wish (fry them with the ginger).
Get the oil hot then fry the spices in the oil first for a few minutes then fry the sliced ginger strips until they get a bit crispy – about 5 minutes. Then add half of the sliced carrots. Cook a few minutes more, then add the chickpeas with soak water.
Cook over a boiling consistency for at least half an hour. The water has to reduce. When the water boils down you add the rest of the carrots until they’re cooked. You have to watch the dish so that the water doesn’t boil down too much so that you’re left with a nice tangy gravy.
When the chickpea curry is thickened but not boiled down all the way you can add the lemon juice. You put it in last because the lemon juice should not over cook. It’s to add flavour.
The end result should have a gravy like consistency.
Serve in bowls and add a sprinkling of pink Himalayan salt. Leftovers (if there’s any left) are always yummy.
Hasn’t it been a minute since I’ve posted a recipe? Seems my cooking skills have taken a little vacay and I’m slowly getting back to the kitchen. Easter/Passover has crept up on us and if you’re looking for a tasty side dish that most people (unless someone has an allergy or aversion to zucchini or squash – I don’t know anyone who does) will enjoy – this is it! This one is too easy and delicious to pass up.
And who doesn’t love a good casserole?
Zucchini Gratin with Yellow Squash is a luscious creamy cheesy medley of zucchini, yellow squash, onions and garlic. It is quick and easy to prepare. It will make a summer squash lover out of you! OK, it’s not quite summer yet but despite the name you may find yellow zucchini in most markets year round. If you cannot find it you can always substitute for winter squash like Butternut or Acorn which is readily available year round. By the way, did you know that zucchini is a summer squash? Yup!
In addition, yellow squash and zucchini are good sources of vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber, as well.
This delectable Zucchini Gratin takes about 15 minutes of your devoted time and then it is in the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes making it very doable for a weeknight meal or holiday side dish. This recipe will bring out a passion for zucchini and squash that you never knew you had!
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion thinly sliced
1 small zucchini sliced in rounds 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick (please see notes)
1 small yellow squash sliced in rounds 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick (please see notes)
2 large cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 cup shredded smoked gouda
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Melt butter in oven proof skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until the edges start to brown approximately 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for additional 1 minute. Add cream and simmer until bubbly and starting to thicken. Slowly stir in parmesan. Add zucchini and yellow squash and cook an additional 4-5 minutes.
Sprinkle with smoked gouda and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.
The zucchini used for this recipe was on the smaller side. Some zucchini are much larger. For those I would double the cream and the Parmesan. The large zucchini are sometimes a little tougher and may require additional simmering and/or baking time.
Original Recipe + Photo taken from: smalltownwoman.com
Everyone Likes Good Food and everyone likes convenience right?
No one will disagree that the year 2020 altered us in ways we never saw coming. Food wise, the flexibility of being able to go to any restaurant was definitely challenged. It even changed the way we shop for food. We had to do more planning. Even now people still have to quarantine for two weeks when returning home from another country. At least here in Vancouver. Which means either having to order groceries or have a friend or family member drop groceries off for you. Sometimes it’s much simpler to order directly from a store, especially if said friend forgets that one important ingredient that will complete your menu. But we won’t name that friend. The inconvenient truth.
Which brings me to the booming business of the Meal Delivery Service. While many have been around for some time now, more and more new ones have been popping up and have become very popular in the past 15 months. They’re a good solution for busy people or if you want to try something different. Some companies deliver fully cooked meals and other ones deliver only the ingredients.
A friend recently shared with me a Canadian online grocery subscription service called GOOD FOOD – inspired by the freshest ingredients, their chefs create eighteen unique recipes each and every week. They deliver meal kits, read-to-cook meals, and grocery products to your door each week. The ingredients for whichever recipe you choose are in the exact amount for dinner for two people. It might be fun to try something new. The photos look inspiring for sure. They target anyone from the novice cook to the seasoned chef. Makes it easy to follow. It can help to save time in the kitchen, and reduce unnecessary food waste. They let you know what they’ll be sending, what you need to cook it (like what size pan, if it requires parchment paper, etc.) and info like how many calories, total carbs, sodium, saturated fat, sugars and protein in each recipe. That’s pretty great.
You can pick and choose from an extensive list of awesome looking recipes.
They say that by cutting out the middlemen, they’re able to offer fresher, higher quality food than traditional retailers at up to 15% lower than super market prices. I realize this is beginning to sound somewhat like an infomercial…however the prices seem reasonable so might as well share the info.
It sounds great and I might try it although these days I don’t like to plan too much ahead of schedule. I’m one of those who, except for certain kitchen staples, I shop for what I need when I need it, which many times means on a daily basis, or every other day.
However if you’re very busy or live in an area not so close to shopping it might be an excellent choice.
I’m curious to know how many of you have tried something like this before… and if so, how did it work out?
This is one of my favorite Vegetarian dishes. It hits all the taste sensations; sweet, savory, sour and nutty.
One of the things I love best when ordering Thai food is Pad Thai. One of the things I like least when ordering Thai food is Pad Thai...when it is not up to par. I’ve been disappointed more than once. So I’ve been making my own.
Making Pad Thai is much easier than you think. You can tweak ingredients to your own liking and add chicken and/or shrimp to make it non vegetarian or omit the egg to make it vegan. Experimenting with flavors is best. For me personally, I love an excellent homemade vegetarian Pad Thai using rice noodles. Depending on my mood I might switch up the veggies or make more or less of the sauce. So this is kind of a non-recipe recipe.
Before we get started a few basics you should know:
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST PAD THAI
Prep your ingredients. Have all your ingredients prepped and ready before you begin. Cooking Pad Thai is a very fast process and by having your ingredients prepped and within hands reach, this will ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Continuously stir. I use a huge frying pan (you can also use a wok). You will need to continuously stir veggies throughout the cooking process to ensure even distribution of heat and even cooking.
Do not overcook the noodles. I always pre-cook noodles in a separate pot and add them last (they may appear a bit lumped together if you don’t use them right away, however they do separate once you add them to the pan). Cook the noodles according to package directions and drain. Cook veggies until the sauce dries. The noodles should still be firm and not mushy when you add them to the pan. Fully-cooked noodles will change color from transparent to white. If you are new to stir-frying noodles, I would recommend turning down the heat while cooking, as things move fast.
Serve hot. Pad Thai is best served immediately. Once the noodles turn cold, they will start to lose their texture and flavor.
Toppings are Everything. Serve Pad Thai topped with fresh bean sprouts, green onion (cut on the bias), cilantro, shaved carrot, chopped peanuts and lime wedges.
Ingredients (for two):
1 package Flat Rice Noodles (you can find ones specifically for Pad Thai)
1 Red Bell Pepper cut into strips
1 Onion thinly sliced
2-3 Garlic cloves, chopped
1 inch chopped fresh Ginger
Extra FirmTofu cut up into cubes
1 Large Egg, slightly beaten (optional and added to hot pan before noodles)
Handful of Snap Peas
1 Carrot (cut into small chunks)
The above is my go-to but you can also add sliced mushrooms and/or broccoli
Right before serving add the following:
Handful of Peanuts finely chopped
Fresh Bean Sprouts
Chopped Green onion
Cook the noodles according to package directions and drain.
You can use a combination of some or all of the below ingredients for the sauce. My suggestion is to try what I recommend at first and then adjust according to your taste. Omit any that don’t sit well with you. For instance, I don’t always use fish sauce.
These are general guidelines as I don’t have a set recipe.
2 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame Oil, 2 Tbsp. Rice vinegar, 1-2 Tbsp. Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce, 1 Tbsp. chili-garlic sauce, 2 Tbsp. Fish Sauce (optional), 2 Tbsp. store bought peanut sauce, 1 Tbsp. Lime Juice, 1 Tbsp. tamarind paste (not difficult to find in the Asian section of almost every grocery store).
TO MAKE *SAUCE:
Pour about 2 Tbsps of toasted sesame oil in a large frypan or wok. When hot. add the garlic, ginger, onion + pepper. Stir until fragrant. Add any other veggies (snap peas, carrot, tofu, mushrooms, etc.) and then add your rice vinegar, soy, fish sauce, chili-garlic sauce, tamarind paste and lime juice. With wooden spoon, stir veggies and coat with sauce. When all veggies are just about done, add the slightly beaten egg, then the noodles to the pan or wok.
TOSS together then:
Add peanut sauce to the pan; to taste. Divide mixture among two plates and top with bean sprouts, green onion, cilantro, shredded carrot and chopped peanuts. Serve with lime wedges. If you like it spicier add a bit more chili sauce.
Let me know how you like it.
*you can buy store-bought pad thai sauce to try if you like, but some of the ingredients are things like ketchup, corn starch and sugar. Some people making homemade sauce add ketchup and a bit of peanut butter to the sauce. I omit ketchup all together (really not necessary) but I like adding some spicy peanut sauce. It’s all up to personal taste.
A heavenly-spiced, double-decker cake iced with cream cheese frosting. Apple sauce makes it extra moist and delicious. Makes 12 servings.
I’ve tried several carrot cake recipes including my mom’s (which included in the ingredients crushed pineapple and some mayo). Sorry mom, it was always my favourite, however my carrot cake connoisseur boyfriend says this one knocks them all out of the park. But we’ll let you be the judge.
For the Cake:
1 ½ cups sugar (I always use organic cane sugar)
1 cup unsweetened apple sauce (if you have the time, making it yourself is best)
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups *flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
3 cups grated carrot
1 cup walnut or pecan pieces
1 cup raisins (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease and flour 2, 8-inch round cake pans.
To make doubly sure the cakes do not stick, cut 2 rounds of parchment (I swear by parchment – it’s a baking life saver) the same size as the bottom of the pans and set them in. Place the sugar, apple sauce, eggs and vanilla in a bowl and mix until well combined. Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices into another bowl, and then mix into the wet mixture until just combined. Fold in carrots, nuts and raisins. Divide and spoon the batter among the pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of each cake pulls out clean. Cool the cake on a baking rack in their pans for 30 minutes, then un mould and cool to room temperature.
To frost and decorate
250 gram pkg. hard cream cheese, at room temperature (I use Philadelphia)
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups icing sugar (I used organic icing sugar for the fist time and while still sugar; it made me feel better about eating it – it was also easier to beat ).
Place the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until quite light. Gradually beat in the icing sugar until fully incorporated. Set 1 cake layer, crowned-side down, on your cake stand. Spread a ¼ inch layer of frosting on it, and then set on the second cake, crowned-side down. Frost the top and sides of the cake, doing so as neatly and smoothly as you can (not so much for me this time).
If desired, after frosting, you could also coat the sides or top of the cake with unsweetened shreds of coconut and/or walnuts or pecans.
The Added Touch
You could also decorate the top of the cake with small carrots made of marzipan. To do so, color 100 grams of marzipan orange with **food color. Divide it into 12 pieces and roll each one into a carrot shape. Use the back of a pairing knife and make a few shallow, indentations on one side of each piece to give it a slightly wrinkled carrot-like look.
Arrange the carrots on top of the cake. As you can see, I omitted this extra special step this time around.
*You can easily make this gluten-free by substituting regular flour for gluten-free. This time I used “Namaste gluten-free Perfect Flour Blend” and it was divine. Having said that, I have to admit that using regular cake & pastry flour makes for a perfect tasting allover cake. I was quite pleased though with this gluten-free flour blend. Make sure you read the package to see how easily adaptable it is for baking – not all are created equal.
**Juicing carrots will provide you with a natural dye alternative that will emit NO additional flavor when used moderately. For a more saturated color, reduce the liquid into a syrup. This will produce a more vivid color, without changing the properties of the dish.
Canadian Thanksgiving is this coming Monday, October 12th. With whomever you decide to celebrate with, be it friends or family in your small group – here is an easy and delicious little recipe to add to your dinner. Or; just have them for breakfast or afternoon tea.
I used Wensleydale cheese only because I was looking for a good way to use up this cheese which is one of my least favourites, and I love cheese. This type of cheese is not easy to spread on crackers as it crumbles and it has a slightly sweet taste. However it’s awesome in this recipe. You can also use aged cheddar or a combo of cheddar/parmesan. I bet Gruyère would be good too. This recipe was supposed to be scones but I think they turn out more like biscuits. The lavender pepper is a nice added touch and something I’ll continue to use.
Cheese Biscuits with Lavender Pepper
1¾ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
5 Tablespoons cold butter, cubed
¾ to 1 cup buttermilk
1 cup shredded *Wensleydale (the one without cranberries) or other cheese
1 ½ teaspoons dried, culinary lavender flowers (or use 1 teaspoon fresh lavender flowers)
1 tsp. **Lavender Pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a shallow mixing bowl sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and lavender pepper.
Add the cubed butter and cut into the flour using a pastry cutter or a fork until butter is about the size of small peas.
Stir in the buttermilk, a quarter of a cup at a time, until it forms a wet dough. Stir in the cheese until completely combined.
Scoop onto a baking sheet by large spoonfuls and bake 12 to 15 minutes until tops are golden brown.
*Fun Facts: According to the official website of the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes, a.k.a. the company that produces Wensleydale Cheese, the first people to make this particular dairy delight were French Cistercian monks back in the 12th century. After arriving in Wensleydale and the nearby surrounds, they set about making their cheese, albeit with ewe’s milk rather than the cow’s milk typical today. I say Ewwww!
Wallace (of Wallace and Gromit fame) is an advocate of a good hunk of Wensleydale, but did you know that the Aardman Animations shorts helped revive the company back in the 1990s? It’s true! The brand was floundering, but animator Nick Park’s (coincidental) decision to namedrop Wensleydale Cheese helped boost sales. You can now even get Wensleydale Cheese wrapped in Wallace and Gromit branded packaging.
Another fun fact: I never watched Wallace and Gromit – but I think this marketing ploy was genius.
**To make lavender pepper combine black peppercorns with lavender flowers (half and half) and grind together using a clean coffee grinder or herb grinder.
The lavender works surprisingly well with pepper, offering a flowery note that stands up to the peppery bite without the bitterness. Also good to use on pork, chicken or beef.
Fall calls for making a transition in cooking. Going from lighter foods to more hearty and healthy meals. The barbeque gets exchanged for the oven, slow-cooker and stove top. After a long break I recently got the urge to make curries again.
There is supposedly an art to making curry, however it’s really pretty easy to make a wonderful curry from scratch. Once you follow a basic recipe you can tweak it to your own liking. A little bit more of this and a little less of that. A few years ago I made Red, Green and Yellow curry pastes – the base for all Thai curries. Then I ended up freezing them in 3 Tablespoon increments and thawing to use when the urge struck. I find 3 Tablespoons is enough for a medium spice.
Of the three, yellow is my favorite. Yellow curry paste differs from the others not only in color but also ingredients. It has ginger instead of the stronger galangal. It also has cinnamon, more coriander, turmeric and curry powder. When the dish is served, it is not garnished with kaffir lime leaves but with crispy fried shallots (optional). You can also use parsley or cilantro.
This paste is enough for about 4 dishes (depending on how much heat you can handle – more is more) of beef, chicken, fish or veggies. This recipe comes courtesy of the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Bangkok – tweaked by me of course.
7 dried hot red chilies (long ones of the cayenne variety). You can find them everywhere now.
1 cup chopped shallots
1 Tablespoon *fresh lemongrass that has been thinly sliced, crosswise.
10 small or 5 large garlic cloves, chopped
1-inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
½ teaspoon white pepper powder
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
½ teaspoon ground Cumin
1 teaspoon ground Coriander
½ teaspoon ground Cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground Turmeric
Original recipe calls for ½ teaspoon shrimp paste (or 3 anchovies from a can, chopped). I omitted this because I couldn’t stand the smell. It was still excellent nonetheless.
Soak the chilies in 5 Tablespoons of hot water for 1 to 2 hours (or; if pressed for time, put in the microwave for 2 minutes and then let them sit for 20 to 30 minutes).
Combine chilies together with their soaking liquid, into a food processor or a blender along with all remaining ingredients in the order listed above. Blend, pushing down with a rubber spatula as many times as necessary, until you have a smooth paste.
What you do not use immediately should be refrigerated or frozen and labeled.
For the Main Course:
14-once can coconut milk, left undisturbed for at least 3 hours.
2 Tablespoons peanut oil
3-5 Tablespoons (remember – 3 is medium heat) of curry paste
1 Tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon thick Tamarind paste
1 teaspoon palm sugar (or brown sugar)
Carefully open the can of coconut milk, without disturbing it too much and remove 4 Tablespoons of the thick cream that will have accumulated at the top. Stir the remaining contents of the can well and set aside.
Pour the oil into a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
When the oil is hot, add the coconut cream and the curry paste. Stir and fry until the oil separates and the paste is lightly browned. Reduce the heat to low. Add the fish sauce, tamarind paste, sugar, the reserved coconut milk, and 2 Tablespoons of water. Stir and bring to a gentle simmer. Taste for balance of flavors, adding more fish sauce, sugar, or tamarind paste if needed.
Add your already cooked chicken, beef or **vegetables to the pan and gently heat through for 2-3 minutes.
Garnish with the crispy fried shallots and torn up basil leaves. You can add chopped cashews too.
*To make it easier a lot of Asians now suggest using frozen lemongrass (Yes; it’s perfectly fine). You buy it in a chunk and break off only what you need.
**For this recipe I used extra-firm tofu which I first sautéed on its own. I crisped up shallots in another frypan. The veggies were first oven roasted and then added to the pan at the end along with the tofu. Served over jasmine rice, it was superb.
***I buy cumin and coriander seeds and coarsely chop them in a coffee grinder.
If you make it let me know what you think. I know it’s a lot of chopping, etc. but totally worth the while. I’m telling you It will taste better than any store bought version on the market.
Angie Quaale is a champion for ALL things local. She is a best-selling cookbook author (“Eating Local in the Fraser Valley,” Random House 2018), a chef and an entrepreneur. Angie lives in Langley, BC and has owned Well Seasoned Gourmet Foods Inc. since 2004. Well Seasoned (in Langley, BC) is a specialty food store, cooking school and catering company with a strong focus on supporting and promoting local producers and suppliers. Her recipes are tasty, straight forward and aim to share the importance of eating local. Here’s a good one:
Mexican Sweet Potatoes with Black Beans
1 lb. sweet potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 small cooking onion, finely chopped
2 tsp Mexican chili powder
½ tsp ground cumin
Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 ripe avocado, cubed
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ a lime
Tortilla chips or taco shells
Preheat your BBQ to medium high, about 400F.
Create a double layer, approx. 8-inch x 8-inch tin foil pouch.
In a large bowl, combine the cubed sweet potatoes, beans & onions. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. Toss to combine. Transfer the potato mixture onto the foil in an even layer. Fold the top of your tin foil pouch over the mixture and seal the edges tightly. Place on grill and cook for 18 -22 minutes until your potatoes are fork tender. Remove from the heat and carefully open the foil pouch, garnish with fresh cilantro, avocado, a generous squeeze of fresh lime, crumbled feta and serve with taco chips or warm tortillas.
Angie Quaale Tip:
This can be served as a side dish, a salad or as a filling for some killer tacos. Leave the cheese out to make the dish vegan and make extra. Transform the leftovers into a breakfast hash by adding a fried egg, guaranteed to cure even the most vicious hangover!
Thought I’d tell you about two local Foodie events taking place this month in the Fraser Valley
From Field to Table:
Celebrate our local, fresh and juicy strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries in the best way possible: straight from the field!
It’s no surprise that BC berries right from the farm just taste so much better, therefore Well-Seasoned Gourmet Food Store has partnered up with traditional berry producer in the Fraser Valley, Driediger Farms, for a legendary and “berry” delicious Farm to Plate Dinner. This four-course, family style dinner will be prepared by Executive Chef Carl Sawatsky and Angie Quaale in the farm fields. Besides the food, guests will enjoy local drinks and live music. It’s going to be an evening to remember!
Thursday, August 8, 2019 at 6 PM (dinner served at 6:45 PM).
Enjoy a welcome drink, local cheese & charcuterie and one glass of beer or wine along with a delicious four-course menu prepared by Well-Seasoned Gourmet Food Store. Cost: $150 per person + GST. More BC Wine, craft beer and cider will be offered at a cash bar for guests 19+.
From its humble beginnings on the Langley Bypass in 2004, Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store has not only established itself as the go-to for foodies in the Fraser Valley, but it has also gained recognition across the country for its vision, trendy food creations, and championing the support of eating local.
From the start, owner Angie Quaale’s goal was to make Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store a launch pad for small scale food producers and locally grown items. Over the last 15 years, Well Seasoned has supported hundreds of brands and even created many of its own. Now it’s time to celebrate all they have accomplished.
Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store is celebrating its 15th birthday! Join the party during the Hot August Nights Open House tasting event on Tuesday, August 13 from 6-8 PM , at the Well Seasoned store (#117-20353 64 Ave, Langley BC).
This free, giant open house is where you will sample and shop tons of delicious local products, meet with the makers, and wish Well Seasoned a happy 15th birthday. The more the merrier!
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