30 March 2012

good morning scones go gluten-free!

look, it's a basket of scones baked just for you!  actually, i really baked them for cara, but if you head on over to fork and beans  you can get the recipe for yourself...

oh, and one more thing - for you dear readers in the GTA, have you signed up to be a part of this amazing treat of the month club yet???  if i lived closer, i'd be there in a heartbeat to get me some of lisa & nicole's goodies....

now go on and have yourselves a fabulous weekend!


28 March 2012

cheezy garlic bread

confession: i'm a bit of a bread fiend.  if there is a gorgeous, crusty, artisanal baguette around, look out.  seriously, if you want to have some, best not to leave the room because it will likely be gone by the time you get back.  my mom has often said i'm such a nadel because of this bread love.  neither of my brothers are any better and my dad, well i think we got it from him.  she of course is a nadel by marriage and had managed to avoid the bread fiend trait.  {i'm no genealogist, but is it possible that bread love is genetic??}

needless to say, i try to limit the amount of bread we keep in the house.

but after all of the bread we ate recently in spain i've thrown caution to the wind and we've started treating ourselves a nice ace baguette when at the grocery store.  {sidenote: it's funny how i've found myself making several trips a week for grocery runs lately...}  sometimes in the afternoon when my hunger strikes, instead of having a little smoothie or chia pudding to get me through to dinner i've been making this:

cheezy garlic bread.  it's sort of my new obsession, and yes i realize that it's far from being a superfood, but sometimes just being super delicious is good enough for me.  {at least there's some nutritional yeast on it though, right?}

to make your own super cheezy garlic bread you'll need:
  • a few slices of your favourite artisanal baguette
  • earth balance
  • a pinch of dehydrated garlic granules {or go for fresh if it doesn't kill your stomach like it does mine}
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • nutritional yeast
  • a couple tablespoons of daiya
  • a pinch on dried basil

then simply toast your bread, spread it with earth balance, season with a little pinch of garlic & salt and then douse it with nutritional yeast.  finally, sprinkle liberally with some daiya and a little dried basil and finish it off under the broiler to get your cheese all melty. 

i think this is my new comfort food...

try it yourself! 

just don't ask me to keep an eye on it - i can't promise it will be here when you get back.

24 March 2012

kickstart quinoa salad

quick post for a quick lunch i threw together yesterday.  i still have one ripe mango left on the windowsill and i was tempted to just make a big quinoa salad with exactly the same fixin's as i used for these spring rolls but the wilting basil in the fridge got the better of me.  lucky for you, lunch worked out just fine.

sorry to not offer you more in terms of measurements here, but it's a salad.  you'll figure it out.  i have faith in you. 

kickstart quiona salad
serves 2 for a meal or 4 as a side
1/2 cup dry quinoa
grape tomatoes, halved
cucumber, seeded & diced
edamame, blanched
basil, chopped
green onion, minced
fresh lime juice
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
sea salt

cook the quinoa according to package directions and let it cool to room temperature.  fold in the tomatoes, cucumber, edamame, basil & green onion.  season to taste with a bit of olive oil, a big squeeze of fresh lime {i used half a lime} and a little sea salt. 

this is also a great salad to make ahead and keep in the fridge for an even quicker grab & go bite! 

so vibrant, fresh & amazing!

now aside from being a totally delicious protein-rich lunch, this dish also provides a good punch of iron from the quinoa {2.8 mg per 1 cup serving} and the edamame {1.75 mg per 1/2 cup serving}.  but not only that - it also offers you vitamin c from the tomatoes & the lime juice, which if you didn't know is actually really important for assimilating plant-based iron.  one green planet actually just published this post this week all about it - a great read for us all whether it's new-to-you information or just as a refresher.

happy weekend y'all.  xo.

22 March 2012

baked welsh cakes

earlier this week was our vegetarian society's monthly potluck and this month's theme was to bring something representing your cultural heritage.  m has some welsh in him and he loves wales so for his dish we brought welsh cakes.  also known as bakestones, traditionally these are skillet-fried sweet cakes that are something like a scone {although unlike a scone, apparently they're not usually served with an accompaniment}. 

welsh cakes  adapted from here.
makes 24-26 mini cakes
2 cups organic all purpose flour
1/3 cup organic cane sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of ground cloves
1/2 cup cold earth balance {or another vegan margarine}
1/3 cup currants, soaked
4-6 tbsp almond milk {or another non-dairy milk}

preheat the oven to 350f.  whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl and then cut in the cold earth balance until you get what looks like course crumbs.  drain the currants from their soaking water and stir them in.  add the almond milk one tablespoon at a time until a dry dough comes together.  using your hands, form the dough into a ball and then break off a good-sized chunk {about 1/4 of the dough}.  roll it out to be 1/4 inch thick on a piece of parchment or a lightly-floured surface.  cut out your cakes using a cookie cutter {or a glass will do in a pinch}.  twist the cutter back and forth to release it from the rest of the dough.  line up the cutouts on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.  remove, flip them all over and return to the oven for another 8-10 minutes.  they should be lightly browned on both sides but still soft in the middle.  sprinkle immediately with a little more organic cane sugar.  serve warm or a room temperature.

*for more traditional cakes, bake your welsh cakes on a griddle for about 5 minutes per side.*

being the non-traditionalist i am, i brought along some earth balance and my mom's homemade jam to go along with them.

these had actually been on my mental "to make" list since way back in july when my friend jenny brought some to our girls cottage weekend.  they weren't vegan so i couldn't try them, but i resolved to veganize them!  so here we are 7 months later and jenny is about to have a baby this week, so although these were for the potluck, they're really for you jenny & that beautiful baby who's bound to make an appearance sooner or later.  {hopefully sooner!}  xo.

oh yes, and in case you were dying in suspense wondering what else we brought to the potluck, for the other dish, the one to represent part of my background, i made my first ever kugel!  it looked great, and smelled amazing, and i came home from the potluck with an empty pan, but it wasn't quite good enough to warrant a recipe share.  yet.  it could have been that i couldn't find matzo meal in sudbury or maybe it just needs a tweak from joe {aka dad}. 

20 March 2012

mango, avocado & cucumber spring rolls

oh hi there, remember me?  you know, that girl who used to post recipes?  between m being away with our camera for all of february, then our trip to spain, followed by all of the recaps, it's been ages since i've shared something new from my kitchen!

oh my kitchen, how i love you with your breezy windows, sun streaming in, soft wood floors and music playing. this is just a quick lunch - something that i've been making all the time lately.  sometimes i call them salad rolls, sometimes i call them spring rolls, but i always call them delicious.  they're versatile as anything and oh so yummy.  {especially when served with a spicy peanut sauce!}

these beauties i'm sharing today were inspired by an armful of ripe mango's from m's mum.  sweet, juicy mango paired with creamy avocado & cool, crisp cucumber is always a good idea.  you can always leave out the rice noodles but sometimes they make for a good filler when you want to add some girth to your rolls.  although i guess it's a bit redundant isn't it, to fill rice paper with rice noodles?  kind of like stuffing a sandwich with croutons....

mango, avocado & cucumber spring rolls
serves 2
6 rice paper sheets
1 small mango
1/2 an avocado
4 inch piece of cucumber
6 sprigs of cilantro
1 cup of cooked rice noodles {optional}
toasted sesame seeds {optional} 

wash and slice up all of your fillings into long, thin strips and lay them out so they're ready to work with.  set up your working space with a clean tea towel, folded in half and get yourself a shallow pan or pie plate and fill it with an inch of hot water.

place one sheet of rice paper in the water to soften {this takes anywhere from 10 seconds to a minutes depending on the paper and water temp}.  once it's softened, remove it gently and lay it out on the towel being mindful not to rip it.  if using, sprinkle a few sesame seeds onto the paper before placing a little of each filling centered, near the bottom of the paper.  then fold in each side to meet in the middle and roll it up tightly like you would a burrito, making sure all of the fillings are tucked in.  repeat this process with all six sheets or until you've made as many as you need.

serve them whole, or cut them on the bias so that you can see the gorgeous pop of colour and serve them up with your favourite sauce.  mine is definitely a speedy version of this one except i don't even bother to heat it up - i just whisk away!!

*tasty tip!
make sure you have plenty of fillings ready to go once you start assembling your spring rolls.  you'll find your groove after the first few and it's a shame to have to interrupt the process to cut up more veggies.  i usually find i have some leftover fillings but those are perfect to just throw in a salad later on!

sunshine, springtime & salad rolls.  happy equinox and first day of spring friends!  xo.

17 March 2012

i had a birthday

so i kind of kept it on the downlow here on cupcakes and kale, but last week i had a birthday.  the celebrations spread out over a few days {as i reckon all birthdays should} and included a visit with family, my mom's first go at vegan cupcakes {2 thumbs up mama!}, a snowy walk to feed chickadees, good wine, a lovely surprise vegan dessert from my friend jake and a sushi date with m.

it was très low key, but given that i had just returned from a beautiful holiday and was excited to just curl up at home, it was perfect.  bring it on 31.

special thanks to ms. greenboots for capturing our chickadee walk & my candlelit treat.
elephant birthday via.

15 March 2012

vegan in granada part 2

oh granada, you are so full of life!  from sleepy cordoba you welcomed us with arms wide open and showed us a really good time.  if i could have, i would have stayed longer.  as always, m and i took to the cobblestone exploring as much as we could as seen here if you missed it.

i loved all of the moorish influence in the archways and tiled doorways, the jumble of a streets lined with tea houses, and the lively tapas bars full of people!  there seemed to be a great scene here and there was definitely a younger crowd out and about.

thank goodness for all of the walking because there was so much food to eat in granada!  there were definitely more vegetarian restaurants there as well as restaurants offering vegan options, and in addition to that there were also the many tea houses with veg-friendly moroccan fare.

and of course we had to give tapas another chance in granada because they do it the traditional way - free tapas with your drink!  i didn't believe it until i saw it but it's true - when you order your drink you're brought out a tapas of the bars choice.  two highlights from our night of bar & tapas hopping were el jergon and loop bar.

el jergon is a tiny little bar with maybe a dozen seats between in the bar and out front.  there's quirky, campy decor all around {a big wall mirror with plastic bugs glued to the frame, rubix cubes magically stuffed inside liquor bottles, etc} and posters advertising local events plaster the walls and it's definitely a locals spot.  along with our beers the gal working behind the bar gave us a plate of baguette topped with a red pepper puree and olives.  it was awesome and we wanted more so i asked her if i could see a menu and she explained that there is no menu, she prepares what she thinks of with what she has in the tiny corner of the bar!  how fun!  next up she brought us a plate of fried potatoes and a crostini that that unfortunately had cheese on it.  the potatoes were enough to get us to our next destination though!

my favourite bar of granada {and of the entire trip actually}, was loop bar & records.  this was a place we just happened upon when we noticed they had vinyl in the window.  and being that m & i love our records we had to check it out.  it's a tiny little place but get this - they're a bar AND a record store.  we had stopped for afternoon beers when we discovered it and then went back that night.  the girl working was so sweet, and when we only ate half of our first tapas {the vegan half} she went away and came back with a fresh salsa & guacamole toasts!  all that and amazing music - they were playing everything from destroyer, to pulp, to the national.  what a great place.

there's also a lot of graffiti art around - check out these 2 pieces we came upon:

i think this translates to humanity is measured by how we treat others... and measured by how we treat animals 

and this one - how many different animals can you see?? 

okay - but the meals.  we had a couple really great meals in granada.

hicuri was a very casual eatery with murals and paintings covering the walls, and in addition to serving breakfast, lunch & dinner it's also a place to drop in just for coffee and linger over the paper.  we stopped in for lunch after a cool morning up high at the alhambra i really wanted a warm drink.

finally a soy latte!  {other than starbucks, it was virtually impossible to get a vegan milk alternative in your coffee.}  i sipped while looking over the menu.  almost all of the vegan options were cooked dishes {rice, curry, pasta, etc}. i was a little sad to find out that the hiziki & mung bean croquettes had egg in them because that was what called to me most, but in the end i went with a seitan stir fry with lots of veggies on basmati rice.  it was really quite good and the seitan was definitely homemade.  mark on the other hand ordered the veggie bolognese and was not as impressed with it.  to start, it was covered in cheese and underneath he said it was a little blah.  but for dessert we shared a chocolate soy pudding topped with coconut and pretty much raced to the bottom of the bowl!

we scouted out paprika earlier in the day while on a walk and as soon as i saw the rustic, stone front i was sold.  when we returned in the evening it was a cozy, dimly lit room with brightly painted walls, exposed ancient brick and with an open concept kitchen.  we chose a romantic tucked away table and settled in.

although their menu isn't entirely vegan, it's very clearly marked with vegan & gluten-free items.  and if there is any doubt {i had a few questions}, our amazing server answered them {in quick, friendly spanish which i tried my best to understand!}.  if only we hadn't stopped for an afternoon moroccan coffee and hummus we might have had more room, but as it was i wasn't all that hungry.  after some wine, homemade bread and olives came our appetizer.  we started with the raw salad, a gorgeous plate of lettuce, carrots, cucumber, apple, figs, roasted nuts and an olive oil, tamari and lemon dressing.  it was so fresh and delicious!  next we had the tofu and seitan plate which was totally yummy but terribly unphotogenic.  and for dessert we went with their soyacotta.  i've never had panna cotta so i couldn't compare it to any memory of the dairy & egg-laden alternative, but i really enjoyed it.  

we both easily decided that paprika was our favourite restaurant meal of our trip.

our favourite non-restaurant meal though?  definitely up on our rooftop for another al fresco meal of fresh bread, tomatoes, olives & wine on our last day of the trip.  oh spain, you are so easy to love...

my top 3 picks for vegan-friendly eats in granada:
hicuri for lunch or a latte on calle santa escolastica {casual restaurant with vegan options}
el jergon for drinks & tapas on cuesta del realejo {vegetarian bar}
paprika for dinner on cuesta de abarqueros {vegetarian & vegan restaurant}

if you're still reading {sorry that was a big post!}, thanks for being a sport and letting me blab on about my trip!  it was wonderful to seemingly extend it by another week as i sifted through our photographs and wrote about it.  and about those photographs - must give credit where credit is due - my awesome husband took a solid portion of them.

13 March 2012

vegan in granada part 1

the streets, the cathedral, the alhambra, the vistas, the river... i don't actually think that words can do these photos {or my memory of them} justice.  so let's just let the photos do the talking and take in all in today...

not bad granada, not bad at all... now tomorrow i can get back to my geeky, foodloving self and gush about the meals. 

12 March 2012

vegan in córdoba

if sevilla was the land of oranges, córdoba was the land of geraniums.  gorgeous pops of potted colour everywhere!

cordoba was a bit of a switch up from seville.  in seville i had gotten myself used to spanish time, but soon after arriving we realized the city {or at least the old centre where we were staying} seemed to be a bit more on "tourist time".  the city seemed to come alive much earlier in the day and restaurants were filling up a bit earlier in the evening.  this led to the low point on our trip.  {cue ominous music.}

as we wandered the darkened cobblestone streets we felt like some places were actually closing up for the night - and we had yet to find a spot for dinner!  i am not a pleasant gal to be around if i miss dinner {m can surely attest to this}, so in a moment of panic we settled on a seemingly okay tapas bar.  i was pulled in by the promise of champiñones al ajillo, mushrooms sauteed with garlic, olive oil & lemon juice and typically seasoned with fresh parsley, salt and freshly ground pepper and served with crusty bread to mop up the juices.  we should have known something was wrong when the patatas bravas arrived and we found ourselves looking at a plate of french fries.  when the mushrooms arrived?  i found myself peering into a bowl of slimy, grey, sliced, tinned mushrooms!  blech! they were horrible!  but the worst part is that i know they were horrible because i was so hungry that i ate some of them!  

we couldn't get out of there fast enough, and quickly retreated to our hotels rooftop to gorge on red wine and larabars.  it's funny now, but at the time i had completely given up on spanish cuisine.  thankfully, each day is the chance for a fresh start.

we began ours in the early hours of the morning when a visit to the Mezquita is free.  groups aren't allowed in at this time of day and all visitors are meant to observe in silence.  mmmm, it was magical.  the seemingly endless brick & plaster arches were both breathtaking and hypnotizing.

the inner courtyard and gardens are free to enjoy any time of day, so we found ourselves coming back a few times to sit in the sun and wander through the orange trees.  it's so beautiful and serene, especially if you could find a little spot away from the tourbus crowds. 


after we took it all in we left on a mission - a mission for greens!

i had a serious hankering for greens so we found a great little covered market and stocked up on some lunch fixings: tomatoes, avocado, olives, fresh bread & the biggest, most gorgeous head of escarole i had ever seen.  people must have thought i was crazy as i wandered the streets eating handfuls of it!

for lunch we retreated to our rooftop and prepared one of the best sandwiches i've ever had.  it could have been the fresh heirloom tomatoes, it could have been the spanish sunshine, or it could have been that i was comparing it too the previous night's mega fail, but it was awesome.  córdoba had officially redeemed herself.

onward to dinner at amaltea, again recommended by both our lonely planet and happycow.  the resaturant was down by the river and full of roomy tables, dim lighting and brightly coloured walls.  we enjoyed the dedicated attention of the staff {we were the only ones there!} and shared our way through dishes again. 

to start we had cold couscous salad with raisins, cashews, pomegranate and mint.  following that, our salad was a big pile of mixed greens {hurray for more greens!} with dates, more cashews and avocado scooped out with a melon-baller.  this was all topped with a very sweet vinaigrette.  for our main we went with a fresh vegan pasta drenched in pesto with pinenuts and big grilled artichokes. 

it was all so good and my only regret is that we were too full for dessert!  i still can't believe we were the only ones there on a thursday night.  it must have been a fluke, because amaltea is wonderful.

the following day before catching our bus to granada, i took in one last blast of sun and caffeine and waved goodbye to córdoba.

my top 2 picks for vegan-friendly eats in córdoba:
el mercado for fresh fruits & veggies in the plaza de la corredera
amaltea for dinner on ronda de isasa {restaurant with many vegetarian and vegan options}

i'm a little sad to have had only 2 picks for córdoba - have you been?  if so and you found some other great spots that i missed, let me know in the comments!