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

Middle Eastern Cuisine

The Covent Garden Market in London, Ontario features food from around the world; Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Polish, Serbian, and Middle Eastern, to name a few. This weekend we stopped at Nate’s for the falafel plate (as seen below) and a side order of vine leaves, or grape leaves (pictured above). This ended up being way too much food for us to eat.
For the unfamiliar, the grape leaves are stuffed with rice and spices. Weird spices, too. There has to be some mint in there. They are then marinated in a brine, and eaten warm. They are delicious, but definitely an acquired taste for the Western palette. The falafel plate includes not only deep fried falafel, but some garlic hummus, roasted potatoes, and a lentil dish which we think was Mujadarra. Delicious lunch.

-Trevor

Trevor’s Tofu Bacon (Terky Bacon)

When we’re looking for a quick lunch, I often throw together some sandwiches with this quick and easy tofu “bacon”. This is my own recipe, which was inspired by the Tempeh Bacon recipe in the book Vegan Brunch.  Using tofu instead of tempeh saves us the hassle of trying to buy tempeh, which is about as easy to find in London, Ontario as it is to find a stack of hay in a giant pile of needles. Say what? Sorry for the weird analogy.

 The trick with this is to use extra firm tofu, and to slice the tofu very thin (but not so thin that it falls apart).

Place the sliced tofu in a dish suitable for a quick marinade. Smother it with all the ingredients listed below and let it sit for a few minutes (or if you’re way too hungry to wait, just use it right away). Heat a little oil in a cast-iron pan and then lay the little bacons out and just fry them up until they are pretty dark and crispy. Splash a little extra marinade on them as they fry. Then chuck them on a sandwich with some lettuce, tomato and veganaise for a delicious BLT. Or put them in whatever kind of sandwich you want, I don’t care.  

Ingredients

Extra firm tofu (you won’t need much, just a few slices off of a block)
Olive oil (something like 2 tablespoons)
Liquid Smoke (a few splashes)
Soy Sauce (use dark or mushroom flavored if you have it)
Maple Syrup (enough to drizzle over everything lightly)
Salt and Pepper
Apple Cider Vinegar (just a splash)
Smoked paprika (enough to sprinkle over all the tofu lightly)

-Trevor

Sunday Lunch

Pita chips – fresh pitas cut to size and pan fried in a little oil until golden brown, then placed on a paper towel lined plate to absorb some oil before serving.
Homemade hummus – a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas, tahini (to taste), 2 cloves garlic, a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt and a little water in the food processor and blend, blend, blend.  Top with smoked paprika for a special treat.