29 June 2012

asian carrot salad

as promised, today i'm sharing the recipe for the asian carrot salad that i brought to a potluck earlier this week.  and i almost feel a little guilty holding out on it too given that it's so deliciously quick & easy! 

this salad is colourful, fresh, tangy and especially sweet if you use real, homegrown carrots -- you know, ones that actually taste like carrots?  it's funny how my tastebuds forget until i get that first sweet, crunchy bite of a farm-fresh organic carrot each season...  (yes, i know i'm getting a little ahead of myself here as it's not even july yet, but we lucky enough to score some carrots still remaining from last season's harvest from our csa farmers and even after spending a winter in cold storage, they taste 100x better than anything from the grocery store.  yahoo!)

asian carrot salad
serves 4-6
6 cups thickly grated carrots (i used my food processor)
1 block extra firm tofu
1/8 cup sesame seeds (i used black & white toasted seeds)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
6 tbsp tamari, divided
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar

start by pressing the water out of your tofu.  (i do this by wrapping it in a clean tea towel and placing something really heavy on it for 5-10 minutes.)  then slice it up into about 10-12 pieces and place them in a shallow baking dish to marinate in 2 tablespoons of the tamari.  after about 15 minutes of marinating time, give the tofu a quick spritz of cooking oil and place under the broiler for 5 minutes to crisp up.  remove, flip tofu, spritz again with oil and then return to the oven to crisp up the other side.  remove, cool & cube.

place the carrots, tofu & seeds in a large bowl.  whisk the remaining ingredients together to make a dressing, drizzle over the carrot mix, toss & serve.

submitted to wellness weekends.

i think i might make this again on sunday for a canada day long weekend bbq. 

what about you -- any big long weekend plans in your future?

27 June 2012

vegan weekend wrap-up

wait, it's hump day already??  and here i am just about to ask you about your weekend!  hopefully it was so lovely that it's still fresh in your mind and hopefully another weekend is coming your way in a few short days.  here's what i got up to...

our weekend kicked off with hosting two nights of shows at the record store.  it all started with a quick mexican meal for the band prior to their show friday night.

then there was said show - which was amazing.  dan romano is a serious talent to be reckoned with.  this song that he closed with always makes me swoon... and he's got a spify new custom-sewn & studded suit to boot! 

there was some serious talk of queen after the show.

i then travelled south in order to attend a lovely high tea in honour of one of my oldest friends who's getting herself hitched later this summer. 

there were so many details abound at this shower (including a special set of vegan-friendly treats!)


i also got to put in a little mom time :)

and the weekend wouldn't have been complete without a little marlowe time!

and a great big backyard family dinner.

i'm a lucky, lucky girl.

ps - this week's no slouch either... last night we had an amazing turn out to the Northern Veg monthly potluck!  here's a sneak peak of what i brought.  recipe soon my friends....

23 June 2012

weekend send off

hope your weekend is off to a great start!  after downing a smoothie and some quick weeding in the garden, i'm off on one of my whirlwind 24 hour trips down to burlington.  in the mean time, here are some fun things to distract you.

this heart i found waiting for me in my garden this morning!

getting crafty with pretty radicchio.

the cutest how-to pie crust ever {spoiler alert: goats as sous chefs!}

how about some rainbow juice?

i am loving stripes lately - isn't this dress great?

and this has been all over the web in the past few days, but in case you missed it.  (be prepared with tissues...)

happy first weekend of summer!


21 June 2012

farm fresh salad with grilled tofu

ah, summer solstice loveliness...  what a gorgeous day i enjoyed yesterday to ring in the season!  

i took in an outdoor yoga class of sun salutations downtown in the sun surrounded by amazing people which was a joyous experience even in the crazy heat.  (a few of us joked that this was as close to bikram's as we would get!)  a special thank you to the incredible women of cedar street yoga for organizing it and sharing their energy.

then a bit later on in the day came the first csa pick up of the season - picked up via bicyclette.  i love this time of year when my grocery trips begin to dwindle to next to nothing and the bulk of my food comes directly from the farmers who grew it.  this week's share included 3 varieties of lettuce, green onions, spinach, garlic scapes, carrots (storage crop from last season), strawberries & frozen honeydew melon (storage crop from last season).

after a short cycle home and some waving at other friends passing by on bikes (don't you just love that?!), feasting was in order.

dinner was inspired by the lovely greens and then need for something light and cooling for dinner.  i washed up a mixture of all the lettuces and then grilled some marinated tofu & sweet potatoes.  paired with a tangy mustard vinaigrette it was perfect.

farm fresh salad with grilled tofu & sweet potato
serves 2
1 head of lettuce or equivalent (i used red leaf, green leaf & what i think was a type of buttercrisp)
1/2 block extra firm tofu
1 medium sweet potato
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp tamari
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

wash and dry the lettuce and set it aside.  press the water out of the tofu and then slice it into 4 even slabs.  whisk together the oil, vinegar & tamari and then place the tofu in the mixture to marinate, turning every so often.  meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to boil.  slice the sweet potatoes and parboil them until just fork tender.  drain and rinse them under cold water and then add to the tofu to coat.

next, fire up your bbq and grill the tofu & sweet potatoes for about 5-6 minutes a side.  remove from the grill, toss with any remaining marinade and then pile them up on a bed of fresh lettuce.  dress with you favourite vinaigrette.  i went with a simple olive oil - red wine vinegar - dijon mix.

i think the only thing truly missing from my day was a swim in the lake, but i'm hoping to get in there today!

happy summer friends!

what did you do to ring in the season?

19 June 2012

agave & maple sweetened vanilla cake

i bet a lot of you could go for an ice box cake today.  holy moly, welcome summer swelter!  the thought of popping a cake into a piping hot oven might be the last thing to appeal to you this week if you're sittin' pretty in a heatwave too, but when birthdays happen sometimes cake isn't optional.

so since my sweet vegan hubby celebrated a birthday over the weekend i decided to make this cake again - and this time i kept my notes.  so lucky you, here's the recipe.

the cake itself is subtly sweet and really tender and the texture was awesome.  i left out the organic cane sugar that i usually bake with and instead opted for an agave/maple syrup combo which i loved!

agave & maple sweetened vanilla cake
3/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

preheat your oven to 350f.  lightly grease & flour 2 6" cake pans and set aside.  whisk together the almond milk and vinegar and leave it to curdle a minute or two.  add in the oil & sweeteners and mix well.  sift in the dry ingredients and mix to incorporate and until no lumps remain.  divide the batter between your cake pans and place them in the oven to bake for 25-40 minutes.  cooking time will vary depending on your oven, the size of cake pans you use.  so keep an eye on them and take them out once the tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.  once cakes are completely cooled, ice them with coconut frosting.

*a note on sweeteners... you can also opt to go all in with agave at 2/3 of a cup and leave out the maple.  that's what i did with the cake in the photographs - my cake this time around was just a little darker in colour if that matters to you.

light coconut frosting
1/2 cup coconut oil, softened but still solid
2-3 tbsp almond milk
1/2 tsp coconut extract
2 cups icing sugar

whip the coconut oil until it's light and fluffy.  add in the milk and coconut extract and whip again, then slowly add in the icing sugar to to create a light and lovely coconut frosting.

you can choose to either spread a layer of the frosting between the two layers of cake or your favourite preserve would also be yummy.  i tried it with a raspberry jam and it was lovely!  then ice the rest of the cake that throw a bit of unsweetened coconut at it until it sticks.

et voila, let them eat cake!

ps, i will totally forgive you if you opt to bookmark this recipe and wait until winter to bake again.

11 June 2012

oh you...

thank you for your blogiversary wishes!  i had every intention of sharing the recipe for that with you today but sadly i lost my notes.  {i guess that's what happens when you get busy with other things for over a week and forget about said good intentions!}  and it's a travesty really, because the cake was awesome.  i do promise a do-over again soon though, as a certain someone i married has a birthday fast approaching.

but this much i can tell you:  it was an agave vanilla cake and the icing was light and coconut-y and topped with more coconut.  and strawberries.  

yum.  in the mean time though, miss caitlin shared her very own amazing strawberry cake from her friend's recent wedding (that she hosted too!  can she be any sweeter?)

here's a little kitchen success from last week - raw swiss chard wraps stuffed with cashew cheese, avocado & arugula pesto & shaved carrots.  so fresh and flavourful, yet so rich from the cashews and avocado. 

and i think this might have been my first ever swiss chard wrap - - - um, hello, what took me so long to join this club???  again, no recipes per say, but it's all about intuitive cooking sometimes, right? 

01 June 2012

today we eat cake.

exactly one year ago today i started this wee little blog. 

i had no idea what kind of amazing community awaited me - and i feel all warm and fuzzy that you're still here reading along.  so to my fellow bloggers, thank you for welcoming me into this community of vegan awesomeness and to those who read - thank you for allowing me to blabber & for saying hi once in a while.  you totally make my day.

today we eat cake. 

xo, jess.