Sunday, June 24, 2007

Dinner and a Mystery

Thank you to everyone who left such heart-warming congratulations! We thoroughly enjoyed our week. I didn't do a lot of cooking and we dined out a lot, which isn't all that easy as a vegan sometimes. Mostly I take photos of what I make, but I had to blog about the most spectacular meal of the week, at Sacred Garden on Bank at Riverside. It is a completely vegetarian Thai restaurant. We've been there once before and were impressed, but this time we were totally blown away. I'm just getting used to taking my camera out of the kitchen, and had polished off the amazing Tom Yum Soup before it dawned on me to take a photo of it. The second course was the Green Papaya Salad.

I don't think I'd ever be able to reproduce it since green papayas have eluded me in the grocery store. It was excellent.

For the main course, we had Red Panang Curry.

The menu describes it as a dry curry, and being a lover of juicy things, I was pleasantly surprised that it had a creamy coconut sauce and was absolutely to die for.

We also chose the less exotic Pad Thai, which was really good.

Last, off the specials board, I noticed a dessert advertised as vegan, which I had to order just because the restaurant knew that having a vegan dessert was important. Since we were both full, Pete and I decided to share. It was the very best dessert I have ever had in my life.

Sweet and icy coconut milk surrounded soft fresh coconut slivers and tiny pink tapioca pearls. Pete graciously let me have the last spoonful. Perhaps he saw the crazed look in my eye and became a little frightened.

If you live in Ottawa and are veg*n, or just looking for a fantastic meal, try the Sacred Garden. Maybe the fake shrimp in the soup will freak you out a little, but the food will be exquisite.

On a seasonal note, the local pick-your-own-berries farm opened!

We're thinking that given one week of sunny days, there will be so many ripe strawberries on the plants that you can just sit in one spot and fill a basket.

This mystery vegetable arrived in our CSA box this week.

Does anyone know what it is or what to do with it?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Our Special Day

Yesterday we celebrated something very important to us.

Pete and I wanted to have an intimate, relaxed ceremony at home with our family. And of course, it had to be vegan. Being the busy day that it was, I only got a photo of the whole table after the hungry guests had a few bites.

We had a veggie tray from Farmboy and Dairy-free Ranch Dip from April 2007 VT, a fruit tray with a dip that I made from soy yogurt, strawberries, a banana and agave nectar, Vietnamese Vegetarian Salad Rolls from the Barrhaven Vietnamese Restaurant, hummus and pita, nachos and Farmboy salsa, Parisien Bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and veggie sushi from Ebi Sushi. The owner was sweet enough to open her restaurant early to have the sushi ready for us, and it was excellent. Here is the pre-party tray.

And the piece-de-resistance, a two-vegan-sister effort, with a little help from Isa and Terry, our wedding cupcakes.

Sarah made the Coconut Lime Cupcakes and the Lemon Macadamia Cupcakes (although she subbed almonds for the mac nuts) which were both absolutely spectacular. I heard many compliments about the Lemon Cupcakes in particular, and it is rumoured that Kyle deserves credit for the idea of the lemon rind heart at the top of the icing swirl. I made the Pistachio Rosewater cuppers, which I really liked too. Just a note for anyone that wants to make them identical to the cover of VCTOTW - I think they used the alternate topping suggestion, the Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting, to make them look like that. I actually preferred the Rosewater Glaze for this cupper - it was delicately sweet and didn't overpower the flavour of the cupcake.

We "cut the cake" and enjoyed each of Sarah's cupcakes.

It was a fabulous day and we're grateful that we have so many wonderful people to share it with.

I loved the wedding flowers, by Anika's Arts and Flowers, also in Barrhaven (I gotta plug the local businesses - buy local!)

We're on our honeymoon now, and we didn't even use any fossil fuels getting here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Second Box

The second CSA delivery yielded:

1 head green leaf lettuce
1 bunch of red and green swiss chard (mixed)
1 bunch of spinach
1 box of peas
1 bag of spring mix
10 stalks of rhubarb
1 beet
2 radishes
1 bunch of green and red (?) basil
2 green onions

and four of these unique carrots - they are almost red on the outside, but orange on the inside. I've never seen carrots like them. Are they heirloom carrots?

For dinner, I sauted the swiss chard with the basil and green onions, sundried tomatoes, chickpeas and artichoke hearts and served it over brown rice pasta. Princess gobbled up the carrots and tried a radish - then determined that she isn't fond of radish.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

On the Doorstep

Our first CSA box of the season arrived!

It was so much fun to see what was hiding under there - the box contained a bag of baby greens, a huge bunch of green swiss chard, red swiss chard, a GIANT head of romaine lettuce, half a daikon, one sweet beet, one red beet, 8 snow peas, a small bunch of mint and cilantro, seven stalks of rhubarb and two big green onions. For dinner we had a stirfry and for dessert, rhubarb crumble (as suggested by Sarah). I used slivered almonds instead of ground as that's what I had. The dish was really tart, but good! I would have loved to top it with a scoop of vanilla soy ice cream, but we were out :(

This week, we'll be eating LOTS of salad.

*For anyone in Ottawa, the contact info for the CSA is:
Tim and Roshan Aubin

Sunday, June 03, 2007

In the Backyard

Kyle and I are busy with our garden, after having planted many veggies last weekend, we've relied on the only thing that's ready for harvesting so far - rhubarb. While I'll stick to making strawberry rhubarb pies with all of my stalks, these muffins were OK, but a little too moist and sticky for my liking.

We've also got ourselves composting this year. After spending an extravagant amount on this composter from Lee Valley Tools, we're pretty happy with the results thus far. It spins around, doesn't smell, and stores the leftover 'tea'. We've been using it to store kitchen scrap waste for about a month, and are already seeing great results.