Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Blog

Hello Everybody,

My blog has moved to a new location with a new name - Plenty Sweet Enough.   You will find all the content and comments from this blog at the following address:


I hope you will all join me there, I love reading your comments and look forward to sharing many more meals with you .


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hearty Stew

Hearty Stew

I've had Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's lovely book The Vegan Table for quite a while now but haven't taken the time to explore it thoroughly.   Even though we are in the middle of summer, tonight I decided to make the Hearty Stew recipe featuring tempeh, potatoes, carrots and onions.  It's aptly named and was extremely simple to put together.  Even a novice cook could not possibly screw this up.  All the veggies get chopped up and thrown into one pot with veggie stock, a bit of tomato paste and some herbs including thyme, marjoram and tarragon.  You don't even need to peel the carrots and potatoes if you're feeling really lazy.  

I have a bit of a love hate relationship with tarragon.  I find the aroma quite strong and a little off-putting but can enjoy the flavour as long as it's balanced with other ingredients.  I was really happy with how the stew turned out and even happier that it took so little time to prepare.   There's something very satisfying about potatoes cooked in a savoury, saucy stew and the tempeh remained slightly firm while absorbing the flavours of the broth.   Yum.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Surprisingly Efficient Cook or Just Crazy?

Oatmeal Cookies
I recently took on a large project completely unrelated to cooking and strangely enough, instead of limiting my cooking experiments in the kitchen, it has inspired me to try about 20 new recipes over the last three weeks. I have been a cooking machine in the short time I’ve allowed myself to prepare food for the family. One tool that I find quite helpful in keeping me organized is a website called Cookbooker where I am able to keep track of every single recipe I try from my cookbooks, magazines, blogs or elsewhere. I’m always trying to get more people to use the site because the more individual ratings and reviews that are entered for each book, the more useful the site becomes. Even if I don’t blog for lack of time or a failing to take a decent photo, I can still keep notes about every single recipe I try. So there ends my plug for Cookbooker! Check it out.

I thought I’d mention some of the highlights from the recipes I’ve tried lately. I only have a photo of one because the other two were not very photogenic dishes. Coleen Patrick-Goudreau’s newest book Color Me Vegan is home with me from the library and I have so far cooked 6 recipes. Tonight we ate the Carrot and Avocado Salad and it was a surprise hit. I wasn’t expecting such a delicious contrast of flavours and textures from a relatively short ingredient list. The creamy avocado and crisp carrots combined beautifully with an acidic dressing and the roasted sesame seeds added a surprisingly awesome burst of yum with each bite. I love when my low expectations for a recipe are exceeded!

Last night I was starving and had a baguette home from the market but no ripe tomatoes to make the planned for bruschetta. My friend Lisa helpfully suggested I try a bean and garlic spread so I looked for and discovered a recipe for White Bean Aioli in Veganomicon. Honestly, it was outstanding. I was amazed at how a few simple ingredients were transformed in a matter of minutes with the help of my food processor into a creamy, lemony-garlic delight. Move over hummus! I slathered the Aioli on some toasted baguette and gobbled it down. I even snuck downstairs later (much later) when everyone else was asleep to eat some more. Talk about comfort food!

And last but not least something sweet. I’m just going to mention one dessert for now, Oatmeal Cookies from The Peaceful Palate. These babies are dark, chewy, and extremely addictive. I’ve actually made them twice in the last couple of weeks. I justify the second batch as an experiment to make them more kid friendly because my daughter was not impressed with the strong molasses flavor. Even cutting the molasses in half, she still didn’t completely go for them the second time around so my husband and I had to suffer through eating the whole batch. Life is tough eh?

My buddy Kathryn is also cooking from Color Me Vegan this week and she made the Orange-Glazed Tempeh. Take a look at her dish here along with her comments about the book.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A So-So Soup and a Delicious Dip

Tomato-Rice Soup with Roasted Garlic and Navy Beans

Father’s Day shone bright and sunny outside but inside the kitchen some of my efforts were not quite as successful.  I started by baking a chocolate cake which is always a hit and then popped two full bulbs of garlic in the oven for “Tomato Rice Soup with Roasted Garlic and Navy Beans” from Veganomicon. The soup is not exactly a summery selection but it was the only one I had all the ingredients for and it sounded hearty enough to anchor a meal. As the soup got underway, I whipped up an intriguingly titled “Mediterranean-Style Cashew Cucumber Dip” also from Veganomicon which the cookbook authors claimed as one of their favourites.

I’m happy to say the dip was delicious; much richer than the traditional dairy based tzatziki which inspired it. The cucumbers added a welcome freshness to the cashew base. I ended up slathering the remains on toast when we ran out of toasted bits of pita triangles.

The soup was disappointing but I shouldn’t have been surprised. The recipe called for two large cans of crushed tomatoes and I almost always find tinned tomatoes to have an awful flavour unless combined with many other ingredients or spices and then cooked for a very long time. The texture of the soup was good. The brown rice gave it a wonderful chewiness. It was a major disappointment to not be able to detect so much as a hint of the roasted garlic over the canned tomato. I think this soup could be very tasty if the canned tomatoes were replaced with fresh tomatoes plus tomato paste and some veggie stock. I’m glad I tried it because I enjoyed the rice and beans combination and look forward to experimenting with the soup base.

For our weekly cooking challenge, the dedicated and always on time Kathryn has posted a scrumptious (and easy!) looking recipe for Dark and Fabulous (Vegan) Chocolate Pudding on her blog.  Check it out here

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake
Since I love tofu and eat it just about every day, I borrowed Tofu Cookery (25th Anniversary) by Louise Hagler from the library.  It's an older book and I wish the photos were more attractive but I'm interested in trying quite a few recipes.  Today was a beautiful, sunny, Sunday afternoon and I didn't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  This recipe for Strawberry Shortcake caught my eye and the whole family was happy with my choice and the results. 

I thought the shortcake dough (which contains silken tofu) was rather sticky but they baked up perfectly.  I'm not used to working with biscuit dough so I'm sure it was fine.  They were tender and not too sweet, the very bottoms where browned from the baking pan were slightly tougher.  The Sweet and Creamy Topping which I also made from silken tofu (although the recipe called for regular), had a mild sweet flavour.  I added an extra couple of teaspoons of lemon juice because I thought it was initially a bit too bland.  We ate the shortcake and cream with fresh cut strawberries which makes this a great summer dessert but next time I think I will add some type of strawberry sauce or maybe just macerate the strawberries for a while before serving to make them juicier.  All in all, this was a successful dessert despite my nit-picking and I will definitely make it again. 


Kathryn made the most delicious looking Black Bean Tempeh Stir-Fry dish last week (she's ahead of lazy me again) over at The Hedgehog in the Kitchen.  Check it out here!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chickpea Cashew Surprise Loaf

Chickpea Cashew Surprise Loaf

My friend Lisa and I started a discussion group on Goodreads (a social networking site for readers) called Vegan Cookbooks and Cooking where we discuss many topics related to vegan cooking along with our favourite recipes from the hundreds of vegan cookbooks out there. One of our members recently told us about this fantastic website and program called the Magical Loaf Studio designed by Jennifer McCann author of Vegan Lunchbox and Vegan Lunchbox Around the World. On the website you can plug in a variety of ingredients and SHAZAM! - Out pops a recipe with your chosen ingredients in the correct proportions for an Adventist style loaf.  As soon as I took a look at the website I was dying to give it a try and tonight was the night!  I picked all my favourite ingredients along with the seasonings I thought would complement them and it actually turned out really moist, flavourful and delicious. I encourage everyone to give this a go and kudos to Jennifer for creating such a simple, yet effective way to create a custom veggie loaf.

As an accompaniment to the loaf I made mashed potatoes, sautéed broccoli, all topped with the Silky Chickpea Gravy from Appetite for Reduction. The gravy was hearty and quite strongly flavoured with thyme but we all enjoyed it and there’s a lot leftover for tomorrow. I had to add quite a bit of extra water to thin the gravy because it was quite thick. Here follows the recipe for the loaf I created but there are endless variations if you want to try it for yourself.

Chickpea Cashew Surprise Loaf


1/2 cup cashews
2 TB olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 cup mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
2 cups cooked garbanzo beans, partly mashed
1 cup dry whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable broth, as needed
1 heaping TB flaxseed meal
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 TB nutritional yeast flakes
2 TB ketchup
Several dashes vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce
2 TB soy sauce


Preheat the oven to 350º. Spray a loaf pan or 8x8 square baking pan with non-stick spray and set aside (an 8x8 pan makes a crisper loaf).

Grind the cashews into a coarse meal using a food processor or spice/coffee grinder. Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Sauté any vegetables you've chosen in the olive oil until soft. Add to the large mixing bowl along with all the remaining ingredients. Mix and mash together well, adding only as much liquid as needed to create a soft, moist loaf that holds together and is not runny (you may not need to add any liquid if the grains and protein are very moist). Add more binder/carbohydrate as needed if the loaf seems too wet.

Press mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until cooked through.

Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a plate or platter and slice. Serve with potatoes, vegetables, and vegetarian gravy, if desired.

Cold leftover slices of Chickpea Cashew Surprise Loaf make a great sandwich filling.


My cooking challenge partner and friend Kathryn continues her exploration of Appetite for Reduction with three yummy recipes including those OMG Onion Rings that I want to stuff my face with!   Check out her post at her blog The Hedgehog in the Kitchen

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin-Mustard Tofu

Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin-Mustard Tofu
I've been working my way through Isa Chandra Moscowitz's Appetite for Reduction with great success and this recipe was no exception.  In fact, I've made four more recipes from the book this week and been pleased with every single one.  The great thing about this book is that most of the recipes don't require a long prep time and none seem daunting or complicated.  As an every day cookbook that incorporates a variety of flavour profiles and cuisines, I think this is a winner.  
I wasn't sure if I was going to like this Hoisin-Mustard combination but I was curious enough to try it and I'm happy to report it was delicious. If you like honey-mustard sauce then you will probably enjoy the blend of  ginger, garlic, mustard and the Hoisin barbecue sauce making for a great sweet and savory bite. Wrapping the tofu mixture in lettuce provided the perfect crisp, fresh complement. I used Romaine instead of iceburg and my husband and I gobbled this dish up.


For our cooking challenge, over the Easter weekend, my friend Kathryn made a Polish sweet bread called Babka which looks and sounds delicious.  Check it out here.