Hot Weather Cookin’

In case you haven’t heard, it’s been unseasonably warm in our part of the world.  Yesterday was a record-breaking 37C (99F) – and that’s not including the humidex.  Our little window air conditioner isn’t really cutting it these days.  Needless to say, the idea of spending as little time as possible in front of a hot stove is pretty appealing.

Mmm, big salads.  This one was on a bed of mesclun mix that I grew on the balcony, with candied walnuts, pumpkin seeds, strawberries, cucumber, dried cranberries and a simple balsamic dressing (probably something along the lines of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, agave syrup for a bit of sweetness, and a touch of dijon mustard).
Tonight’s was a big plate of fresh Vietnamese salad rolls.  Thin rice noodles, fried tofu, mango, mint, lettuce.  With a simple peanut sauce for dipping – I’m sure you can find a million recipes online, my basic non-recipe is natural peanut butter, water, hot sauce, soy sauce, agave, rice vinegar – to taste.  Throw in some crushed peanuts and you’ve got yourself a really good sauce.

Oh, and some miso soup with chives from the balcony, just because.  

Stay hydrated, folks!  Drink lots of water and eat tons of fruit, it’s full of water and vitamins to rehydrate.  Frozen grapes are a godsend.
– Crystal

Miso-Glazed Eggplant Sammiches

We made a batch of this Miso-Glazed Eggplant and have been eating it in sandwiches for days!  It’s super easy. My only advice is to thin the marinade quite a bit, otherwise it’s almost like a paste and will spread on too thickly and be very salty.  Also, we skipped the scallions since we were using it for sandwiches.

Spread with a little vegan mayo, mustard, mixed greens, hot sauce, and whatever else you’ve got kickin’ around, it’s a delicious sandwich.
We went to the London event for the Worldwide Vegan Bakesale on Saturday!  It gets bigger every year.  All proceeds from the London bakesale go to benefit Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary, so it’s baked goods you can feel good about.  This is what we got:

Yum!  Speaking of YUM, my dear friend Ronald from the Netherlands sent me an amazing care package.  He included all my favourite foreign goodies (so many tins of tartex paté!  speculoos spread galore!) as well as about a million other great things I had never had before.  I’ll never have to buy sweets again!

– Crystal

Miso Hungry for Miso Soup

“Miso, miso – fighting in the dojo – 

miso, miso – Oriental prince in the land of soup!”
The Mighty Boosh

This light, brothy, flavourful soup is rich in minerals and calcium and is just so good.

I came from a pretty sheltered, uncultured small town with only a couple chain family restaurants in it, and my family really didn’t do “ethnic” food aside from Hungarian at home.  When I grew a bit older and started hanging out with Trevor, he introduced me to eating Japanese food. Miso soup (pronounced mee-so) was one of the first things I had and I was in love immediately – with the soup and him! – so it has kind of a special place in my heart.  My love of all things Japanese is deep and abiding.

4 cups water
1/3 cup miso (can be found in Asian markets and health food shops)
3 green onions, chopped
1 tbsp shredded nori or wakame seaweed
1/2 block firm silken tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
dash soy sauce (optional)

Bring water to a slow simmer and add seaweed. Allow to simmer at least 5-6 minutes. The longer you simmer the seaweed, the less of a salty fishy flavor it will have.

Reduce heat to very low and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir until miso is well dissolved. Its best not to boil the miso, as this will ruin some of its healthy properties as well as change the flavor of the soup. Makes 4 servings.

Additional add-ins: soaked shiitake mushrooms are really nice in it, as are sliced button mushrooms.

Note: Miso soup at restaurants often has bonito (dried fish flakes) in it. Don’t forget to ask!

– Crystal