More Ottawa and Montreal

We’re finally home from our little trip! It’s true that it’s nice to get away but it’s even better to come home. Fortunately for us, we ate like kings while we were away…

The brunch at Café My House was calling our names and I’m so glad we decided to give it a try.

IMG_1680 IMG_1681

IMG_1682 IMG_1685

 

THOSE SMOOTHIES!  The green one was mine and it was mango-cilantro.  It tasted a bit like a fresh roll in the best way possible.  I’m growing cilantro on the balcony this year and I’ll definitely be throwing some into smoothies.  Jenn’s was a typical cocoa-banana concoction which was super tasty as well, though not as interesting or refreshing as mine.

Jenn and Trevor both had the waffle BLTs with coconut bacon.  I had the tempeh benedict, which was fresh baguette, kale, eggplant, smoky tempeh and a really amazing hollandaise sauce.

And my favourite restaurant ever, Aux Vivres in Montreal.  I don’t know what it is about that place, but the food is just incredible and fresh, and I just love Montreal, so it all comes together to create such a lovely experience for me every time.

IMG_1698 IMG_1700 IMG_1697 IMG_1695 IMG_1694

Jenn got the Bouddha Bol, I got the coconut bacon BLT (they were one of the first places around doing coconut bacon!), Trevor got the tempeh burger.  I also got le creamsicle smoothie, which is coconut milk, orange juice, carrot juice, dates and vanilla and tastes exactly like its namesake.  Also, the chana paratha appetizer is INCREDIBLE.  I have to master paratha at home.

Another day, Trevor and I went back and we got more of the paratha, this time with their house veggie butter.  SO GOOD.
I also got their famed Dragon Bol which has an incredible Dragon sauce, and the Coconut Cashew Pie was my birthday cake, since this meal took place on my 30th birthday.

IMG_1749 IMG_1751 IMG_1753

 

Soooo much amazing food to be eaten.  More to come!

 

 

Tempeh Asado Tacos, Braised Kale and Lime Cilantro Rice

A light summery evening called for dinner on the balcony.  What’s more summery than tacos?  Okay, probably a lot of things.  But really, who needs an excuse for tacos?  Tempeh tacos!  Tempeh asado tacos!

We made the tempeh asado from Viva Vegan (you can find the recipe online in Google Books here!) which is one of our absolute favourite ways to eat tempeh and it’s dead easy.

To assemble, lay 2-3 pieces of tempeh onto your tortilla and kind of smoosh with a fork to break them up.  Then, top with shredded cabbage (ours was marinated in a vinegary jalapeno dressing like the Curdito salad, also from Viva Vegan), thinly sliced radishes and tomatillo salsa.  Perfection, thy name is tempeh taco.

Paired with the lime cilantro rice (also from Viva Vegan) and a simple side of garlicky braised kale, it made for perfect balcony dinner food.

– Crystal

Tempeh and Ale Pie

I’ve never actually had steak and ale pie, but wandering through one of the many festivals that happen in downtown London, I saw a vendor selling an assortment of British meat pies and thought I really wanted to make one.  The recipe still needs some tweaks before I’m ready to share it, but just imagine this – succulent cubes of marinated tempeh, potatoes, carrots and peas smothered in a savoury ale-and-Marmite gravy, topped with a fluffy, flaky, buttery crust.  Sound good?  Damn right.

Perhaps the most disgusting photo posted on NVL yet.  It really was delicious, though.

I’m trying to get back into the good habit of making fruit smoothies.  This one had banana, vanilla soy protein powder, soy milk, orange juice and some giant handfuls of wild blackberries my dad picked for us, hence the brilliant colour.

– Crystal

Scarlet Barley and Tempeh Stuffed Pepper Squash

Scarlet Barley is probably one of my favourite grain recipes out there!  It’s got the earthiness of beets with the nuttiness of barley, it’s just a winning combo.  I knew I wanted to have that with dinner and came up with the idea to combine it with some tempeh and put it in a baked squash bowl.  This was really lovely and very healthy, I’d make it again.

The squash was cut in half and deseeded, then baked cut-side down on a baking sheet with a bit of water at 400° for 40-45 minutes or until soft.  During this time, the tempeh was cubed and boiled for 10 minutes then drained.  Steaming tempeh in this way readies it to absorb marinade.  After it is drained, I drizzled a generous amount of equal parts soy sauce and white wine vinegar over the tempeh and tossed to coat.  Set aside.  Make the Scarlet Barley (I found the recipe for you folks who don’t have Appetite for Reduction online here).  Once the tempeh has sat for a while absorbing the marinade, give it a quick panfry with a bit of oil to brown up the cubes a bit.  Once that’s done, combine with the scarlet barley, remove your squash from the oven and stuff the cavities with the mixture.  Pop back in the oven for 15 minutes.  Remove and serve with garlicky sautéed kale because you are a good vegan who loves their greens like everyone should.
– Crystal

Roasted Vegetable Pasta

I’ve been trying to cook from my pantry these last couple weeks, so there has definitely been some pasta dishes.

This was a simple dish with roasted vegetables (portabello mushrooms, yellow peppers, cherry tomatoes) with creamy white beans, tossed with some nice olive oil, white wine vinegar, a bit of an Italian seasoning blend, “nooch” and sea salt and fresh pepper, all with pasta shells.  Simple, sort of Tuscan inspired.  Nice in the summer to roast some veggies on a pan in the oven and walk away from the kitchen for a while since it’s so hot!

Bonus:  summertime means outdoor festivals galore in this fair city, and I scored this big plate of food at one last weekend.
Rice and beans, cabbage curry, potato and pea curry, and an unfortunately not vegan slaw that I left for the squirrels to eat up.
And also, my superpuffyheart favourite, the Tempeh Wingz from Don’t Eat Off The Sidewalk.  Oh my god, so good.  Served with some sautéed kale and I whipped up a really simple dill dip for the wingz – 1 part vegan sour cream, 1 part vegan mayo, and dried dill and chives to taste.

– Crystal

Taco Talk-o

No kiddin’, we love latin food.  We eat lots of tacos and are always trying new things to put in them.  Vive Vegan by Terry Hope Romero is for those of us who like a little latin gusto in our lives.

From that, we have our first taco, stuffed with Tempeh Asado from Vive Vegan.

Tempeh asado, shredded cabbage and carrot, vegan sour cream, salsa and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.  Super good.  See the end of the post for the recipe for the tempeh, which is super easy, nutritious and most importantly, flavourful.
Next up, a chipotle seitan and kale taco with avocado, salsa, sour cream and daiya cheese.  The seitan was the famous Seitan O’ Greatness recipe, which will follow below.  
And another latin inspired plate.  From top left, going clockwise:

Vive Vegan’s Mexican Street Corn, Vive Vegan’s Curdito salad, fried plantains, some rice and a random bbqed potato.  Seen in the far top left of the photo, lime juice and hot sauce…two perfect condiments for all of this.

Tempeh Asado

1 (8-ounce) cake tempeh

Steaming tempeh in a microwave is fast and less messy. Place the sliced tempeh in a glass microwave-safe bowl with a lid and add 1/2 cup water. Toss the tempeh to moisten. Cover and microwave on high 5 to 6 minutes, or until the tempeh has softened and absorbed some of the liquid. Drain the excess water. Your tempeh is now ready to marinate!
Marinade
1/3 cup light-colored Mexican beer or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely grated
1/2 rounded teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, crumbled by rubbing between your palms (releases flavor and eliminates any coarse leaves)

1. Slice the entire tempeh cake in half length-wise, then slice it into thirds. From here you can either slice each third on a diagonal to form triangles (good if serving as an entree) or leave as rectangles for use in sandwiches or tacos. Steam the tempeh in either a steamer basket, a covered sauce pan with 1 cup of water over high heat, or a microwave as directed above. Be sure to drain it of any excess water before adding to the marinade.

2. In a square pan or glass baking dish, whisk all of the marinade ingredients together. Add the tempeh and flip each piece over a few times to help it absorb the marinade. Let sit for 10 minutes at room temperature. While this is going on, you can heat a cast iron grill pan over medium high heat. If pan-frying the tempeh, generously oil the pan with peanut or canola oil. Using metal tongs, place the pieces of tempeh on your grill or pan, taking care not to crown the pan. Brush with some of the extra marinade. Grill on each side for 3 or 4 minutes, flip and keep brushing with marinade, using up the rest of the marinade on the tempeh as it cooks. Tempeh should not cook for more than 6 to 7 minutes total, or it may become too dry.

3. Serve hot tempeh immediately. To serve in tacos, cut the tempeh into squares as directed above, grill, and coarsely chop the hot tempeh into bite-size bits. Serve in soft corn tortillas with sliced radishes, chopped cabbage, salsa, and a sprinkle of lime juice.

Seitan O’ Greatness


Can be used in just about any application that calls for something meaty, including just slicing and eating as-is.

1.5 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cups nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cumin
1-2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup cold water
4 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce

Preheat oven to 325°.

In a large mixing bowl mix dry ingredients. Mix the rest of the ingredients (liquid ingredients) in a smaller mixing bowl. Whisk well until mixed.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well, then knead for several minutes.

Form into a log (6-8″ long), wrap tightly in foil, twisting ends. Bake for 90 minutes. When done baking, unwrap and leave out to cool all the way. Then wrap it foil or plastic and refrigerate. Slice to use as desired.

– Crystal
 

Easter Cupcakes & Spinach Salad

Hi!  Life has been so busy lately and I’ve been terribly slacking on the blog and on cooking in general.  Today was Easter dinner with my parents, my mom had dinner covered (Tofurky roast and all the other fixins, yum!) so I made my Any Berry Crisp and some cupcakes.

Both the chocolate cupcake recipe and the buttercream recipe are from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.
Trevor has been working late nights lately and I haven’t been inspired to cook for just myself.  I made a lot of spinach salads last week – baby spinach, tempeh bacon, cremini mushrooms and a dijon balsamic dressing I made – a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, salt and pepper.  
More soon, I promise!
– Crystal