Lox and Cream Cheese

Végélox, bottom left

When we were in Montreal in June, we ate at Aux Vivres as it had been recommended to me several times.  Even though I was advised that I HAD to get something with the smoked coconut bacon, when I saw they had something called végélox on the menu, I had to have it; I really liked smoked salmon in my pregan days.

It was amazing.  I made “mmmmpfffhh!” sounds and with my mouth full, said, “ommhhhhyygoood” several times.  When we made the trek home a few days later, I felt bad that I may not have that sandwich for another another long while until we get back there.

When I got home, one of the first things I did was google: “vegelox recipe” and this popped up!  It seemed like a weird recipe but I thought I’d give it a go.  Turns out, it is the real thing, just like the one in the restaurant.

At the restaurant, they stuff a chapati bread full of tofu cream, végélox, capers, mayo and lettuce.  I think the tofu cream is pretty necessary to the taste and texture of the sandwich, so I made my own dupe, trying to remember what it tasted like.  I’d say it was a complete success.

Aux Vivre’s Végélox (vegan smoked salmon)

1 cup organic carrot pulp
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tbsp dulse flakes (You can find dulse, a seaweed, at your health food store. In order to make dulse flakes, dry it in a warm oven and grind into a powder.) [Crystal’s note:  I used crumbled nori and it worked great]
1/2 tsp salt
3-4 dashes of liquid smoke
Mix everything together and adjust seasoning to taste.
Tofu Cream
1 block extra firm tofu, crumbled into food processor
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp olive oil
1.5 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp agave nectar
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
black pepper
In a food processor, add tofu with liquid ingredients first and blend, scraping down the sides periodically, until it is a smooth texture.  Add nutritional yeast, salt and pepper and pulse to incorporate.  Taste for salt and adjust seasonings accordingly.
Sandwich/wrap assembly:
Spread a generous amount of tofu cream, a good amount of lox spread, top with vegan mayo, capers and lettuce.  For a real Aux Vivres experience, get a nice, soft chapati.  Really great in a sprouted-grain wrap, cut into cute pinwheels, or on a sandwich.  Or just as a canapé – a smear of tofu cream, topped with lox and a couple capers.  
So, while it doesn’t recreate the experience of being in Montreal at this lovely place, it at least will tide me over until I can return.  Now I just need to recreate one of the drinks I had there, le creamsicle.  Coconut milk, orange juice, carrot juice, vanilla…mmm.
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Furthermore, it’s almost time for the Toronto Veg Fair again!  Each year, we have have a great time and I look forward to it a whole bunch.  This year, Isa freakin’ Moskowitz is going to be demoing, as well as the lovely Terry Hope Romero from NYC, and Taymer Mason is coming all the way from Barbados.  We’ve made a lot of stuff by those 3 ladies and I’m honestly so excited to see them all and meet the ones I haven’t before.  Also, there’s going to be a meetup of some people I know from the PPK, so that should be really fun.

All in all, it makes me feel warm and squishy to be surrounded by so many people who are so passionate about veganism, animal welfare, activism, environmental issues, etc.  It serves as a real reminder of why I am vegan and how it’s impacted my life in a profound and wonderful way.

– Crystal

BBQ Tofu, Smoky Mac and Cheese and Collard Greens

The closest I’ve been to anything remotely Southern US-like is driving through Tennessee and Georgia on our way to Florida when I was 8 years old.  So it’s a pretty far stretch to say I know anything about culture in those parts.  What I do know is that I love adapting the flavours of what I think a good old Southern meal should have and making it vegan.  This was a quick, weeknight version of a comforting Southern-style meal.  Another great thing is, while you may think of Southern food as being high on the heart-attack-as-soon-as-you-finish-your-meal scale; this one wasn’t.  Totally cholesterol free (like all vegan food), and low in fat.  
The smoky mac and cheese is whole wheat macaroni, smothered in the Easy Breezy Cheezy Sauce from Appetite for Reduction (with an added 1/2 tsp liquid smoke stirred in when the sauce is finished cooking).  So good!  So quick!   
Since our little barbecue is covered in a foot of snow right now, the tofu was cut into triangles and then dry-fried in a pan until it was golden with some nice charred bits.  Then it was doused in a generous bath of some locally made BBQ sauce we found at the farmer’s market – smoky, sweet and hot.  Yum.  It was left to bubble and thicken on the tofu for a while before serving.

The collards were made using a recipe from Appetite for Reduction, the Ye’abesha Gomen (Ethiopian Collards) recipe. Regardless of it being called Ethiopian Collards, the recipe produces tender, soft collards that complement the heartiness of the rest of the meal.

Also, last Sunday we went to try out The Early Bird, a new diner/greasy spoon place that just opened up and is run by one of Trevor’s oldest and dearest friends.  They have a vegan soup option each day, and a couple of sandwiches on the menu which can easily be made vegan by removing the dairy element and replacing it with some nice, grainy mustard.  I had the Ginger Beer Battered Tofu Sandwich with a bowl of Ginger Carrot Soup.  Good stuff!  It’s always great having new places to go and get something to eat.

Show posters everywhere at The Early Bird 

– Crystal

Mango BBQ Beans

A late dinner tonight, Trevor is working late and I spent a good chunk of the evening at the gym and came home with an appetite but not much desire to spend the rest of my evening in the kitchen.  Thank god for Appetite For Reduction, the latest cookbook from Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  Don’t let the title fool you, it’s not a weight loss book, really; it’s more health-conscious than it is calorie-counting.  What I love about it is how quickly the recipes come together.  The Mango BBQ Beans have a prep time of 15 minutes.  I can get down with that.  Did I mention that it’s absolutely delicious?

Served with sweet and salty glazed carrots and a simple salad, that’s dinner.