Saturday, 29 October 2011

Holy Mochi!

I know you may be thinking, "What the heck is mochi?".  Or possibly, "How are you so beautiful AND smart?".   I can't answer all of the questions in one sitting so I'll focus on the first.

Mochi is a crispy, gooey and amazing bit of heavenly goodness.  This is amazing considering that it is only brown rice steamed and smashed into a hard cake.  What happens when you cook this stuff is MAGIC!  No, really.  We're witches so we are qualified to define something as magical.

There are a few ways to cook mochi, though we have only tried a quick fry.  It is so good that way, we have gotten stuck.  Mmmmmmm ... gooey and fried mochi ... yummy ...

OK, I'm back.  Mochi can be cooked with a waffle iron, and I am dying to buy a waffle iron if only to try this.  It can apparently be baked.  Once cooked you can use it as a crouton / dumpling in soup.  But this is not how we love it.

Heat up some oil in a pan, just enough to cover the bottom.  Cut the mochi up into 1 - 1 1/2 inch squares.  On a medium heat, cook the mochi for 7 - 10 minutes on each side, and watch it get crisp and puff up and change shapes.  MAGIC!!!

Serve drizzled with maple syrup, or brown rice syrup, or whatever sweet goodness you choose.   YUM!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Taco Salad, Meal of the Goddesses

I love taco salad. Oh, I supposed I should say something else as this is a blog.  I suppose you need to understand why I love taco salad. I've loved taco salad, in all it's various incarnations, for the last 24-25 years. The first taco salad I ever made was when I was 15, my mom had a little buy-at-the-grocery-store mexican cookbook.  There was a recipe for a taco salad. It was very similar to the taco salad you'd get in a mexican place.

When I first made it, I was not vegan, or even vegetarian back then. It was made with hamburger (barf) and  real cheese (barf). I used to make it with iceberg lettuce (which you could still use, it has a nice crunch thought not the most nutritious, or romaine if you like). I now make it with spinach. Since Denise's gall bladder removal, she cannot eat (digest) lettuce. Only spinach. Doctors say it has nothing to do with gall bladder removal. But she ate lettuce a lot before op, after op could not eat a bite without lots of pain. NO connection. Right.

Anyway, back to the joy of the taco salad. when we started this blog, I was excited because I knew we would be sharing my (Denise likes it a lot too) fave meal. It's the meal we have when we have something to celebrate, when we have people over, on holidays (usually on Christmas, as we have our Tofurky on Yule) or when we need some comfort. This salad might serve 4, but we don't roll like that, so it would be a big meal for 2. A very big meal.  (With lots of leftovers for lunch the next day, which is the best thing EVER!! ~ Denise)

Taco Salad

2 really big clamshells of baby spinach (or greens of your choosing) 10-12 cups, rinsed
1 package Daiya (we use cheddar)
1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
2 tbsp minced onion
1 package veggie ground round (or similar)
1 tbsp oil
1 packet taco seasoning (or, if you want to keep away from processed, you can use a blend of spices to make taco-y, but you might want to add some thickener as well)
1 big bag tortilla chips (we love the que pasa ones) crushed
1 container vegan sour cream
1 jar salsa (or homemade if you prefer)

Ok, in a small skillet, add oil and ground round. Saute till sightly browned, then add 1/3 cup water and add taco seasoning, stir and simmer till thickened a bit.

In the biggest bowl you have, add minced onion, chopped tomatoes and toss. Add greens. Toss. Add crushed tortilla chips, and then add cheese, toss very well.

Now it ready to serve. Put greens mixture on plate, add some ground round, then a dollop or two of sour cream, and pour some salsa over it and you have a happy, happy taco salad.

I love it so much, I hope you love it too. This is my favorite meal. Ever.

-Melina  : D

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Frackin' Fabulous Falafel

Melina says; I'm so friggin' happy with this recipe. I was downstairs, taking photos of some new stuff for our Etsy shop. I started to smell really good things. Nevertheless, I worked away, 'snap, snap,snap'. I finish up, walked upstairs, and without seeing what it was Denise had made, I told her I didn't know what she was gonna eat (when we say that, we mean we are going to eat ALL of whatever it is, so the other one would need to look for food elsewhere).

It was amazing. I will be nagging Denise to make this again, and again. Or, I may try to make it myself. As I still don't love Denise in my kitchen. The falafel is well worth the making. I will never make any other.

Denise says - We are budgeting.  It is no fun, but what WILL be fun is buying a house in the country, and that is the goal.  So, with this in mind we have been trying to find some cheap meals.  This is why Melina allowed me to cook.  I have a knack for reading recipes and knowing what will be good.  More than once I have told my bestie that something sounded yummy and she thought I was full of poo, only to admit later she was wrong.  I won't lie; I enjoy this a lot.

I grabbed a homemade cookbook that I received as a gift from my friend Katrina several years ago.  She put together all of her favourite recipes, so I should qualify that I have no idea where the original recipe was found.  In this yummy collection was a recipe for homemade falafel and sauce.  I have been thinking a lot about making falafel from scratch lately because we have a stockpile of cans of chick peas that we got on sale.  I never expected them to be this yummy!  I will say in advance that they were baked, not fried, but still got quite crispy.  They did not hold together very well, so I might use a scoach more liquid in the next batch.  That's all I would change.


1 19 oz can of chick peas
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup minced onions
1/4 cup sesame seeds
3 T tahini
1 1/4 t cumin
1 T parsley
1 T soy sauce
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cayenne pepper

I squished the chickpeas with a fork, and then blended all of the ingredients together.  Form into patties and bake a 350 degrees for 20 minutes on each side.  Voila!


1 1/2 cups water
2 t soy sauce
1 1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t pepper
1 cup tahini
1/4 t salt

Mix it together, drizzle on top, thank me later!  And thank Katrina too,


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Sweet and Sour and Never Bitter Tofu

Yup, that's what we think of every time we plan a meal with broccoli.  And we have been known to sing it.  CHOPPIN' BROCCOLI!  With FEELING!

Today's broccoli comes to us courtesy of Bob and Lorraine, my (Denise's) parents.  Whenever they come to visit they stop at a lovely market and arrives with gobs of vegetables.  Take note: if you plan on visiting a vegan any time soon, arrive with vegetables!  You will be loved.  And you may get offered a meal.

Today at work we were deciding what to do for supper, and we did something we do sometimes.  I give my initial thought and tell Melina to run with it.  Today it went something like, "I'm thinking broccoli.  I'm thinking tofu.  I'm thinking garlic.  GO!"  And this is what happened.  Take it away Melina!

Sooooo, as you can see, Denise has had me hard at work in the kitchen for the second night in a row. Hahaha. Well, I do love to cook. Every day at work, Denise nags me about what we are going to have for supper. And, as I'm at work and usually working, I try to either think of something quick, or ignore her... Which just pisses her off.

Anyway, so today she comes up with what I thought would be another annoying idea ( I occasionally resent that she has an opinion, even worse, a right to one) but it was actually a good one. Normally they sound pretty gross to me, but that is because I am a creature of cravings. If I crave something, I will do almost anything to have it.

She suggested tofu and broccoli with a sauce. I pictured fried tofu with a really nice sauce and some sweet steamed broccoli. Yeah, oh man, that would be good. Yeah, ok Denise, great idea. Then I remembered that she made an amazing sweet and sour sauce once. Yeah, that is what I was gonna do. I'd never made sweet and sour, but I knew there would be fresh ginger in it.

So, I sort of made my own version, as I like the sweet, and wanted lots of fresh ginger and garlic in it, as people are getting sick at work.

And fried or pan seared tofu, oh, yum.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

1 tsp olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tsp tomato paste
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp arrowroot starch
1- 1 1/2 cups cool water
2-3 tbsp sweetener

Heat oil with the minced garlic and ginger. Sauté for about 5 minutes. While that is heating, combine the arrowroot starch with the water and stir till starch is dissolved. When the garlic and ginger are heated and fragrant add tomato paste, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar and sweetener. Mix till well combined. Then add water with arrowroot, and simmer on medium to low heat, stirring a lot till the sauce get thicker and a bit more translucent. Take off heat when done.

Take some tofu (we used a 454 gram package) and cut up and fry or pan sear. I fried mine in canola oil. So good.

I took two bunches of broccoli and cut up the heads, and rinsed well, and tossed in a wok with a bit of water in it, popped the lid on, and let it steam for about 5-8 minutes, till tender.

Denise wanted udon noodles ( I don't like them) so I put them in boiled water to soften.

Next, we assembled our meal.

It was so good, and I have to give props to Denise because she thought of a great idea. It will now be in our dinner rotation.

- Melina

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Bad Ass Messy Bean Burritos

Recently, I've had a bit of a burrito obsession. Denise had to put a stop to every night burritos. Sometimes I can over do it. I have had things so much that I have to take a year off from them. I am a delightfully enthusiastic eater, who simply must obey her cravings. And I generally do.

So, after two or three weeks off the burritos, she suggested it last night, and I was all over that. I believe I hopped to the grocery store. But, as is always the way of two silly, tired, hungry, Aquarians in the 'G' store, we forgot the refried beans. Denise was kind enough to go back in to get them. My hero.

Bad Ass Messy Bean Burritos

2 tortillas (we like Ezekiel)
1 tbsp canola oil
1 gardein scaloppini piece, microwaved 2 minutes, slice length-wise
2 sweet peppers, julienned
1 jalapeño, sliced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 onion, sliced
1/2  cup refried beans
1/2 cup Daiya cheddar cheese
(Melina makes her own Mexican seasoning based on a recipe in The Kind Diet.  You can use your own, or pre-made.  YUM!  - Denise)

Some vegan sour cream, salsa, guacamole of whatever other condiment you like.

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in a large pan, toss in onion and sauté till soft. Then add gardien, sauté 2 more minutes. Then toss in the peppers and the mushrooms. Cook till peppers are soft-ish. They are still gonna cook in the oven.

Next, place the tortillas on a baking sheet, and spread 1/4 cup of the refried beans on each. When the peppers are cooked, divide mixture in the sauté pan onto each tortilla. Add 1/4 cup Daiya cheese.

This is where it gets messy. Try to wrap tortilla around contents and put open section face down on baking sheet. Make sure you have parchment paper or have oiled your baking sheet first! This is messy business folks.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes.

Carefully move from sheet to plate. It is gonna be messy, and there will be lots left on the sheet. Scoop the remains (ooooh) onto the plate. Add the condiments of your choice. Enjoy!

P.S. You might need a napkin or two.

- Melina. :D

Friday, 14 October 2011

Foxy Flax-y Pizza Crust-y

I love pizza. No, really, love it. One of my favorite meals growing up was the evil big food company mini cheese pizza's. OMG. As a vegan, it was one of the few things that would give me pause. Should I be vegan? It is hard. I love the mini pizzas. Animals should not suffer. But the tasty-saucy-crunchy-yummy-ness did give paws, oops, I meant pause.

In the end, I'd always end up with the only decision I could make and look my little kitties in the eye without guilt or regret. Mind you, I would grumble and mutter and be in a foul mood till properly appeased with other food stuffs.

Now, life is so very different. It's like the vegan sun came out. I have the veganized version of my cheesy mini pizzas. Bliss. And not just one, but two different options. There is a ready made and homemade cheesy pizza choice. Today, I did the homemade. I will discuss the ready made in a later blog post, no doubt.

Your going to laugh when I tell you where I got the basis of this amazing pizza crust recipe. Don't friggin' care either. 'In the Kitchen With Rosie, Oprah's Favorite Recipes' by Rosie Daley. Oh, just put a sock in it. It is really good, and I've veganized it too. Crispy, delicious and good for you too.

This is the recipe I use. I basically took out the honey, and used maple syrup instead. Agave would work too, but being Canadian, maple it is. Also, another thing I change is I use half unbleached white flour and half whole wheat. And I added ground flax meal. Don't tell Denise.  (I like it.  She is crazy. - Denise)

Pizza Dough

3/4 cup warm water
1 tsp maple syrup
1 packet dry active yeast
3/4 cup unbleached flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup semolina
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp olive oil

Mix water and liquid sweetener in the bowl of a mixer or food processor. Add yeast, and set aside for 20 minutes in a draft free spot. I usually turn the oven on low to make sure it's warm enough.
Yeast mixture will be all crazy and full of bubbles.

Add most of the flours, semolina, and sea salt into the food processor or mixer, and turn machine on low till it forms a ball. Continue to process for about 2 minutes, it ball of dough is smooth and sort of elastically. Yeast doughs are really nice to work with. I love the smell, and it sort of feels like a living thing, sort of like magic. Wow, back to the recipe...

Rub the inside of a big bowl with the olive oil, and turn out ball o' dough, and roll it around till it's all covered in oil. Cover with a clean dishtowel. Let rise in that nice warm spot for and hour. It will double in size unless you used bad yeast. Check your yeast. Ewww.

Preheat over to 400 degrees.

Scatter some cornmeal on a clean surface, and take a smallish ball of dough from the big ball of dough, and roll it out till about 1/4 inch thick-ish. I'm not terribly precise about what the crusts look like, they end up looking like amoebas most of the time. I don't spray my baking sheet with anything. The cornmeal prevents and sticking, but if you think it is in danger of sticking to your sheet, spray or grease it.

Bake them for about 4-5 minutes. I usually flip then and bake 2 more minutes. Then let them cool. I just toss them on a plate and stack them up. When they are cool enough to handle, you can put sauce and toppings and cheese on them right away, and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Or, if you make double or triple batches like I do, you can freeze them. When I make them from frozen, I put them in the over for 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

We had our buddy Kerry over and had a 'make your own pizza' party!

It was fun. And yummy.

- Melina : D

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Saucy Chocolate Cake

I love cake. Chocolate cake. Any cake really. Any chocolate, just about. Anything sweet. And vegan, of course. Oh, gods, I love sweets. Can it be genetic? I claim it is. I want it to be. Out of my control, you see. Nothing I can do about it. Nope.

Yeah, so....

Back to one of our house favorite desserts. Chocolate Saucy Cake. Well, that's not really what it's called. It is from the wonderful vegan cookbook, 'How it all Vegan' by Tanya Barnard & Sarah Kramer. Love, love, love.

It was one of the first vegan cookbooks we got. Ahhh, memories. You should see the page for the Miso Gravy (the page is extra dirty as I am the miso gravy maker - Denise). Many gems in that one, AND it's two buddies, AND they are funny, AND they have tattoos, AND they are Canadian. Wow.

Ok, back to the recipe.

Chocolate Upside Down Pudding Cake

1 cup flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup dry sweetener
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup dry sweetener
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cocoa, and salt. Add the sweetener, margarine, milk, and vanilla and mix together gently until 'just mixed'. Spread in a lightly oiled casserole dish or loaf pan. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the sweetener and cocoa. Sprinkle evenly on top of the cake mixture. Carefully pour the boiling water over the top. NOTE: DO NOT MIX THIS! It will do it's own thing in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes. To serve, scoop out portions and serve in a bowl with ice cream.

I like it as is, with the sauce all over it and getting it all over the place. So good, so saucy.