Tuesday, March 31, 2009

legume consciousness

hey peeps!  if you're looking for a warm earthy soup for the rainy season, try this soup from the home country... i did and twas delicious.  
warning: it makes like 5 thousand servings 
bonus: no fancy blender required! 

modified from Ina Garten's recipe... 


1 cup dry green lentils 
1 onion 
1 leek 
2-3 garlic cloves
3 carrots
5 celery stalks
1/4 can tomato paste
6 cups broth 
1 glass white wine
olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, lemon juice 
cumin, thyme, red pepper flakes, s+p 
*chop all the veg into bite size pieces..

1. In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain. 
2. In a large pot, sauté onion, leek and garlic in olive oil. add spices and cook until the veggies are translucent and tender. approx 20 mins. Add the celery and carrots and cook for another 10 mins.  oh yeah i didnt have cumin, thyme or red pepper flakes so i added tumeric, terragon and cayenne pepper... makes it nice and spicy. 
3. Stir in tomato paste....i also didn't have this so i subbed in a few sundried tomatoes and half a diced fresh tomato, worked for me! 
4. Add a tablespoon each of vinegar and soy sauce. Add the white wine and let it boil down. Then add the broth and LENTILS. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, until the lentils are cooked through. 
5. Stir in lemon juice and serve hot and sprinkled with some cheese...preferably parmesan, but any hard cheese will do..  Enjoy! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

Some people like to rub chocolate on themselves. Personally, while I'm not against rubbing it on myself or others, I prefer eating it. I especially prefer it in loaf form accompanied by fruits and veggies. Recently, I'm enjoying my chocolate with zucchini, and I think you might too! Thus, I present a recipe.

P.S. I have no pretension of presenting this as a healthy recipe. Though, for those concerned:
based on slicing this mo-fo into 10 tranches there are this many nutrient-thingys per serving: 262 calories, 11g fat, 5g protein, 38g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 0 cholesterol, 266mg sodium. This will be different if you don't use eggs or the nuts.

You will need:
- ingredients (duh!)
- an oven
- some bowls
- a loaf pan

* 1.5 eggs (for those who prefer sans-oeuf thats about 1 small or 3/4 regular
sized mushy banana)
* 1/4 cup canola or sunflower oil
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
* 1/3 cup milk (vanilla flavoured soymilk works great too)
* 1 cups sugar
* 1.25 cups flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/4 cup cocoa
* 1 cups grated zucchini (about 1 medium sized zucc)
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
* 1/4 chocolate chips (optional, but I highly recommend it though)

Here's the scoop:
1. Grate the zucchini with a cheese grater (regular grated cheese size) and pat dry with paper towel or dish cloth and set aside.
2. Mix together "eggs", oil, vanilla, milk and sugar
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and cocoa.
4. Slowly incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix together (can be done by hand with a wooden spoon or a mixer).
5. Stir in the zucc and walnuts.
6. Spray loaf pans with Pam or use a little vegetable oil into the pan and be sure to cover the entire pan in a thin layer. Then drop a bit of flour into the pan and shake it around until the whole pan is covered with light dusting of flour.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Let cool on racks for a couple minutes.
9. Devour immediately. Best served with a cold glass of milk.

why vegetables are cool pt. 2

Monday, March 16, 2009


Why vegetables are cool....

This recipe is dedicated to Chef James, who inspired me last weekend to to use my zucchini in a whole new way. This week: zucchini "noodles". Perfect "green" dish for our happy "green" day tomorrow.

Super easy...and SO. DAMN. GOOD. I even made my roommate taste it and she agreed and immediately demanded that my recipe be posted on our fridge. I'm too cheap to buy ink for my ridiculously expensive printer so I promised I'd put it up here and send her the link. So now you all get to enjoy.
Alright, so in this recipe we are making "noodles" out of shredded zucchini. A healthier twist on pasta. The best thing is it's super easy, and super quick, and requires no "special" equipment - except a carrot peeler, which is not even remotely complicated. So no complaints (eric!).

You need:
1 large zucchini
2 tbs olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced (I used leftover roasted garlic from last night's pizza)
5-10 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup chickpeas
lemon juice

  1. Clean zucchini well. Use carrot peeler to make long, thin, fettucine-sized shreds of the zucchini. Keep shredding it out, until you hit the core with the seeds. If you want to make it prettier try and get a little bit of the green on each shred. They obviously don't have to be perfect, but it is fun to see how much you can get it to resemble pasta. I went about half-way around my zucchini. For a large appetite, or for 2 peoples, use the whole zucchini (just toss the core and seeds).
  2. Add olive oil to a small saucepan, and heat to medium-low. Add in sliced garlic, and sautee a few minutes until the oil has soaked up some of the garlic flavour and you can smell the delicious garlicky aroma in the air :) Add in your zucchini "pasta", season with the herbs (rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano - as much or as little as you want) and sautee a few more minutes, until it starts to heat up, soften, and the white part turns ever so subtly translucent. Try not to overcook the "noodles" as you don't want them to get mushy. Transfer all to your plate/bowl.
  3. In the same saucepan, add chickpeas and halved cherry tomatoes. Add enough lemon juice to cover the bottom of the pan (probably a couple tablespoons worth). Sautee the chickpeas and tomato for a few minutes, until all of the lemon juice is absorbed.
  4. Top your zucchini "pasta" with the sauteed chickpeas and tomato. Season with extra oregano, and S&P. If you are not vegan (that would be...lets see, all of you), a sprinkling of parmesan would also be enjoyable with this.

Stay tuned to see how I use my zucchini in a whole new way next week.

Nomnomnom. :)

Peace 'a' Pizza

El Delicioso "Rustic Roasted Vegetable Pizza"!

I never thought vegan pizza could be remotely tasty..... blah blah blah, I was surprised how good it ACTUALLY is.

Here's your recipe. As far as the toppings go, you can basically improvise and put on whatever sounds good to you. But here's what I did, and it was delicious!

Option A: Buy One
Option B: Make it yourself (this is what I did, with a recipe very similar to this one, except I used 1/2 whole wheat flour)

Now the fun part...

Roasted Veggies:
5 or 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 green pepper, sliced into smaller pieces
1/4 red pepper, sliced into smaller pieces
3 cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 to 1/3 garlic bulb (depending on how much you like garlic)
handful of pine nuts
rosemary, oregano (or italian herb mix) for seasoning

pizza/pasta sauce (homemade, storebought, whatever)
pesto (homemade, storebought, whatever)

  1. Crust: Make/buy your crust. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Roast the vegetables: First, place your sliced veggies into a medium-sized bowl. Brush or drizzle them with olive oil, and sprinkle on some rosemary and oregano to season. Next, toss them, or spin them around in the bowl so that they are coated with a then layer of the oil and herbs. Put them onto an oven-friendly dish or tray, and bake them on the *top* rack in your HOT oven for 10-15 minutes (maybe more), checking every few minutes, until they begin to brown and soften up. Feel free to get in there with a spatula or a spoon to move them around a bit to cook them more evenly. The peppers may even get a couple dark, burnt spots - this is okay. After you feel they are sufficiently roasted, remove the tray and transfer the veggies to a new plate or bowl.
  3. Make your pizza: First, the preliminary pizza sauce slathering - you know how that goes. Next, put a few large dollops of pesto sauce randomly onto the pizza. Layer on your roasted veggies. Top with pine nuts, and season with rosemary and oregano, and S&P if desired. Bake all this in your 500 degrees oven for about 10 minutes, until the crust begins to brown.
  4. Remove from oven, cool for a few minutes on a cutting board, slice away...and enjoy!!! If you have a small-normal appetite this will last you 2 meals :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

health foods is overrated.

This week I learned there are some asshats in this world who are blind to the beauty of a simple salad.  Instead, they will belittle you in public and insist on complicating their meals with expensive foreign cheeses (really.. in this economy!)  but friends, these snobs are dead wrong. because all the most attractive chefs agree: delicious food doesn't always have to be mad complicated, as long as it's tasty.  so, i will continue to post simple recipes (see below) just to spite you. 

The other day i was searching around for snackies and i found half a bag of Natural Raw Almonds (NRA?) in my cupboards.  i guess i was on a 2 second health kick when i bought them - le pivik does that to me sometimes... anyways, these plain almonds were kinda boring me so i got the idea to candify them! like candied almonds you get at fairs? i was slightly unsure how to go about this and kinda burnt them on the 1st attempt :/ but i'll take that as proof that im not a carnie?  the 2nd try was much more successful. or at least they were eaten up by the roomie and guest. and me. 

1 1/2 cups natural raw almonds  
1 1/2 cups sugar 
1/2 cup water 
1 tsp vanilla 
wooden spoon 

1. Mix your water, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a pot and bring to a boil. 
2. Once the mixture is boiling, pour in the almonds, lower the heat to medium, and stir stir stir! if you don't stir constantly it will probably burn the almonds and/or ruin your pot . . . 
3.  Its kinda fun to watch the sugar in action (like chem class!) as it caramelizes then dries out again. At this point you want to stir your concoction just a while longer so the sugar slightly melts again. 
4. Spread the almonds out onto a baking sheet to cool for a few minutos.  if the almonds aren't roasted to your liking - just pop them in the oven (@350) for a bit, just watch that they don't burn...   

chomp! chomp!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Spinach Pasta

This is one of the better meals I have made in the past little while. So I thought I would share the love. It is uber simple and needs NO BLENDER or any other ‘fancy’ gadget.

What you will need:

• 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes.
• 1 (19 ounce) can cannellini beans (still have no clue what this is, so I used chickpeas), drained and rinsed
• 10 ounces fresh spinach, washed and chopped
• 8 ounces penne pasta
• 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese


1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water.
2. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes and beans in a large non-stick skillet. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.
3. At this point add your favourite herbs and spices.
4. Add spinach to the sauce; cook for 2 minutes or until spinach wilts, stirring constantly.
5. Serve sauce over pasta, and sprinkle with feta.

Enjoy every mouthful!

Killer Salad Recipe

Although some may see salad as a ubiquitous staple, not worthy of a post on this blog, I for one would strongly disagree. I have therefore decided to post this salad recipe in the hope that all will begin to appreciate this culinary marvel.


- 1 carrot, chopped (I have found Owen’s technique absolutely essential: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uICYQxKO5eo)
- 1 (ripe) Tomato, diced
- 5 (green, clean) leaves of large lettuce
- olive oil (un petit soupçon!)
- balsamic vinegar
- a pinch of Dijon mustard

N.B. No black olives!


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Macadamia Chocolate Chip Cookies

Macadamia Chocolate Chip Cookies

You will need:

2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c butter or hard margarine softened at room temperature
3/4 c brown sugar
3/4 c white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c white chocolate chips
1/2 c macadamia nuts coarsely chopped


  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter or margarine, sugars,and egg until the mixture is light.
  2. Stir in the vanilla, then add the flour that has been mixed with the baking soda and salt. Add the chocolate chips and nuts and mix well.
  3. If the mixture looks dry, add water, one tablespoon at a time until the batter is no longer crumbly.
  4. Drop by tablespoons on an ungreased baking sheet about one inch apart. Bake at 375F for 8 minutes until lightly browned. Cool the cookies for a few minutes on the baking sheet and remove them to a rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Liquid Lunch

So I went to the gym and did a lot of running around this morning, and came home around lunchtime feeling very hungry and craving some vitamin c!

I have been experimenting lately with smoothies (mostly just with putting greens in them), and thus, liquid lunch seemed like a great idea.

Here's what I did:

2 cups chopped, rinsed kale
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
1 banana
1 small-to-medium orange, separated
1 scoop protein powder, if you have it (I use Heartland Gold Brown Rice Protein)
Water (or milk, soymilk, etc if you don't have protein powder)

Put it all together in a blender (kale at the bottom, followed by protein powder, berries, orange, banana, and just a bit of water - you can always add more later) and whiz away! (I can't believe I just said 'whiz away'). You might find that you have to stop blending and push the fruit down a bit. Just don't do this while the blender is running (TRUST ME.) and you, and your smoothie, will be fine.

Now the great part - I get to tell you about all the fantastic things in this smoothie!

First off, I want to point out that this smoothie packs 2 servings of vegetables (kale) and 3 servings of fruit (orange, banana, berries). That's almost all your recommended fruit and veggies in one meal! Best of all, you get your leafy greens in a highly digestive format (blended) and you can't even taste them with all the other yummy stuff in the smoothie.

Second, I discovered this website that calculates the nutritional info of recipes. I plugged in this smoothie's contents (minus the protein powder, because they don't have it on their list). Here's what came out:

Nutrition Facts
Calories 280.8
Total Fat 1.7 g
Saturated Fat 0.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 69.9 mg
Potassium 1,309.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 67.1 g
Dietary Fiber 12.9 g
Sugars 8.8 g
Protein 7.6 g
....plus a whole whack of other vitamins, including
Vitamin A 7 16.3 %
Vitamin B-6 56.9 %
Vitamin C 339.3 %
Vitamin E 12.6 %
Calcium 28.0 %
Folate 26.0 %
Iron 18.0 %

My protein powder adds 80 calories, 2g fiber, and 16g protein. So my smoothie had roughly 360 cal, 15g fiber, and almost 24g protein. Not bad!