Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Surprise Cookies and an Underwhelming Lasagna

Veggie "Basagna"
I had a request for "basagna" on the weekend and as much as I enjoy eating lasagna, I haven't yet mastered or found a vegan version that satisfies me.  There is always something missing, a richness or sauciness that I used to love about eating it in my pre-vegan days.   I guess I just haven't found the right recipe or combination of sauces and fillings. 

For my weekly cooking challenge I decided to combine ideas from three or four recipes.  It didn't turn out well enough for me to want to post the recipe but I'll keep working on it and share the improved version later.  I added sauteed scallion, carrots, red peppers and spinach to the tofu ricotta mixture which was quite tasty and I also added a layer of eggplant with the tomato sauce.   It definitely needed extra tomato sauce ladeled over the top when served.

While I was busy cooking components for the lasagna, my daughter was whipping up her own creation in a bowl on the kitchen table.  After taking a look at the mushed up fruit and nuts in the bowl I suggested we add a bit of flour and oats and see if her "dough" would bake up into cookies.   We were very excited to see if the experiment would work.  She insisted on adding a spice so we settled on nutmeg.   Here follows the ingredients with very rough measurements, it made seven cookies that were surprisingly tasty with no added sweetener!  I really enjoyed the peanuts in the cookies and although the name implies crunchiness, they were actually quite moist and soft on the inside. 

Yum-Crunch Delicious Cookies

1 banana mashed
1/4 peach chopped into tiny pieces
1 or 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts
1/4 cup rice crisps
1 tsp lemon Juice
2 tablespoons soy milk
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup oats
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Smush wet ingredients together with a potato masher until well blended and then add dry ingredients and mix well.   Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 18 minutes.   Enjoy! 

Yum-Crunch Delicious Cookies!


My friends Kika and Kathryn were busy in the kitchen last week.    Kika made a super delicous looking Mung Bean and Carrot Salad with a few variations, check it out at her lovely bilingual blog named Come Compa here. 

It looks like Kathryn baked a successful batch of Irish Soda Bread in honour of St. Patrick's day, here is her post at The Hedgehog in the Kitchen.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Flax-Berry Pancakes with Simso's Strawberry Sauce

Flax-Berry Pancakes with Simso's Strawberry Sauce

When I find a recipe I like, I sometimes get into a rut.  I've been making the same pancakes for over a year now and this morning decided to bust out a few cookbooks and look for something new.  My choice was Flax-Berry Pancakes from Vegan Planet: 400 Irresistible Recipes with Fantastic Flavors from Home and Around the Worldand to top it all off Simso's Strawberry Sauce from Vegan World Fusion Cuisine.  I must say, as a Canadian who can't imagine using anything but maple syrup on my pancakes this was a pretty radical idea.

The pancakes were tasty and easy, except for the bit where you have to scrape ground flaxseeds out of the blender jar.  I was a little more hesitant about the strawberry sauce it but exceeded my expectations.  The recipe called for chopped strawberries, water, a little sweetener of your choice (I used agave), mirin, a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of cardomom which I hate so I left that out.  My only complaint is that it only made enough for one person.   Next time I will double or triple the recipe.  All in all though, it was a successful breakfast and my weekly cooking challenge is complete!  


My friend Kathryn was way ahead of me this week and whipped up some tasty, savory black beans and rice for our challenge.   Go and check it out at The Hedgehog in the Kitchen

Happy cooking everyone!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Creamy Tomato-Cashew Lentils

Creamy Tomato-Cashew Lentils
I think I have the toughest taste tester in the world, a five year old daughter who would choose to eat pizza five times a week if I let her.  I'm always searching for ways to introduce new and nutritious foods while still appealing to her palate. 

When I tried cooking lentils this way a few weeks ago and she ate them, I felt like I'd hit the jackpot.  Indian recipes and spices often don't go down well even when I omit the cayenne or chilis.  I’ve made this dish three times now and each time she has eaten and enjoyed it in small amounts.  This is an easy and satisfying way to cook lentils and they taste just as great if not better reheated the day after.  It's very mild, made without any chilis or large amounts of strong spices.  The cashew paste adds a really yummy creaminess that balances out the acidity of the tomato.  I've used brown lentils as well as french lentils - both have been great! 

Creamy Tomato-Cashew Lentils

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon grated ginger

½ tsp cumin powder

½ tsp dried coriander

¼ tsp turmeric

1 cup lentils

3 cups vegetable stock or water

2 chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp agave nectar (or other sweetener)

½ cup raw cashews

1/3 cup water

In a medium sized saucepan, heat the oil on medium high.  Add the ginger, cumin, coriander and turmeric. Stir for about 30 seconds.  Add the lentils, stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and sweetener. Bring to a boil and then simmer covered for about 35 to 40 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

While the lentils are cooking, blend the cashews and water together until fairly smooth. When the lentils are tender, stir the creamy cashew liquid into the pot and heat for a few more minutes.  Season to your taste. 

Serve with rice or grain of your choice.