Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Recipe: Pumpkin pudding

(Painting by Bierstadt Albert)

It's not technically the fall for a few more days, but if you live in Canada (and not on the balmy west coast) then you know that the real first day of fall is September 1st. This recipe is a celebration of the beginning of fall. It's like pumpkin pie filling, minus the crust and with some extra protein thrown in.

A few of my fellow grad students at my new campus invited me to join their "lunch club". I told them that I'd love to... but I'm vegan. To my surprise and great delight, they decided that we would have a vegan lunch club! On a rotating basis each of us will prepare lunch for everybody else in the lunch club. Today was my first day being the cook for our lunch club. I brought delicious thai-inspired sweet potato burgers and this pumpkin pudding. I think they were both a hit!

Recipe: Pumpkin pudding
Serves 8

1 can of pure pumpkin puree (796 ml)
1 package of soft tofu (350 g)
1/3 cup maple syrup, or to taste
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 tbs orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1. Put the coconut oil in the microwave for a few seconds to melt it. Alternatively, you could make a hot water bath to melt the coconut oil.

2. Place all the ingredients in a blender. Blend until very smooth.

3. Serve immediately or allow to chill in the refrigerator before serving. The cooler its temperature, the thicker the pudding will be. Enjoy!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Easy recipe: Grilled refried bean sandwich

Back when I was vegetarian instead of vegan, I used to love grilled cheese sandwiches. The oily crunchiness of the fried bread and the gooey cheese just provide so much satisfaction. I liked dipping my grilled cheese in ketchup, with the contrast of the hot salty sandwich and the cool sweet ketchup. There's a grilled cheese sandwich restaurant near my new place. That's right -- a restaurant that sells only grilled cheese sandwiches. I would say that it's cruelly taunting me, except that I know a secret. Shhhh, come close and I'll whisper it to you: you can make a grilled anything sandwich. It doesn't need to be cheese. There are plenty of other things that taste just as amazing in a grilled sandwich. And plenty of other things that don't. Trust me, I've done a lot of grilled sandwich experimenting. So far, I've hit on three different grilled sandwiches that I keep coming back to. (1) Avocado, (2) peanut butter, and (3) refried beans. The last one on that list is the one I want to tell you about today.

Grilled refried bean sandwiches are every bit as good, in my opinion, as grilled cheese sandwiches. They satisfy all the same needs, emotional, nutritional, and spiritual. They feature oily crunchy bread, soft satisfying insides, and are very dipable in ketchup. They would be served in every diner worth mentioning if we lived in a world where every diner was vegan.

Recipe: Grilled refried bean sandwich
Yields 1 sandwich -- multiply recipe as needed

 2 slices of bread
1/4 cup refried beans (homemade or from a can)
1 tbs salsa
1/2 tbs margarine or butter
1/2 tbs vegenaise or mayonaise (optional)

1. Butter one side of both slices of bread.

2. On the unbuttered side of one of the slices of bread, spread the mayonaise (if using). On top of this, spread the refried beans. Finally, spread the salsa on top of the beans.

3. Close the sandwich such that both buttered sides of the bread are facing outwards.

4. Fry the sandwich lightly, about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

5. Enjoy served with ketchup or more salsa as well as a side of pickles!

Monday, 1 September 2014

Recipe: Salade Vincent

Here's a classic from the Turney Family Cookbook. My grandpa puts out a new addition every few years for the whole family to enjoy. A couple years ago I was touched when he produced a special vegan edition just for me: Shaun's Choice Edition. I use this cookbook more than any other cookbook in my collection. One of my favourite salads in the cookbook is Salade Vincent. It's a cucumber salad named after Vincent Van Gogh for macabre reasons -- the way the cucumbers are sliced makes them look like severed ears! Gross, but it tastes refreshing and delicious. My partner and I had a ridiculous amount of cucumbers in our fridge and I immediately knew what we should do with them. Here I've modified the recipe to better suit what I happened to have in my fridge, but I make note of how to make the original recipe.

That's a lot of cucumbers for two people!Thankfully, a triple batch of Salade Vincent used up half of them in a delicious way.

A perfect summer meal with some adorable little potatoes and a field roast veggie dog.

Serves 4

1 large english cucumber
1/4 fresh chopped mint (original recipe calls for dill, not mint)
1/2 cup sprouted lentils (optional -- see this post about sprouting for instructions)
4 leaves of bib lettuce

1/4 tsp salt
1bst Dijon mustard
2 tbsp wine vinegar
3/4 cup virgin olive oil

1. Peel the cucumber and slice it in half lengthwise. Scoop and scrape the seeds out with a spoon. Eat the seeds as you scoop them out if you're like me, or discard them if you're a normal person. Slice the halves into thin crosswise slices (the "ears").

2. Mix together the vinaigrette ingredients with a fork.

3. Assemble the salad: toss together the cucumber, sprouts, mint, and dressing. Serve on a bed of bib lettuce. Enjoy!