Monday, September 15, 2008

Every Course is Covered!

I think I've made enough new things when put altogether would serve as a 10-course meal!

I was feeling a little under the weather, but Vcon's Chickpea Noodle Soup hit the spot! I think it was so dark since I didn't have any light miso. Cool thing about this soup - it turns into a noodle casserole the next day!

This looks like next day's Chickpea Noodle Soup, but is actually some spaghetti recipe from an old copy of VT. It said to roast the spaghetti first in the oven before adding it to broth to cook, as it would give it a nutty taste. I didn't notice any difference and was annoyed at the time it took to do that extra step. It's served with some delicious potatoes from our garden that Kyle cooked up.

Speaking of Kyle cooking, here is his delicious salad!

Shaved Carrots (garden)
Honey cherry tomatoes (garden)
Beefsteak tomatoes (garden)
Lebanese cucumber (garden)
2 cloves garlic (garden)
Basil (garden)

3 parts olive oil
1/3 part balsamic vinegar
1/3 part lemon juice
Salt-pepper-onion powder

I made VwaV's Gigantoid PB Cookies with a few of the moms in my mom's group has celiac issues, and the other is severly allergic to nuts! So I made these with soy nut butter (which really doesn't taste like a nut butter at all much to my disappointment) and rice flour. There were OK, but I really do prefer the original recipe and am thankful I don't have any allergies!

Ah, summer...time for Peach 'Custard' Pie! Peaches, sugar, soymilk, flour and nutmeg...delicious! I think I've blogged about this before!

I think this was from VwaV...these Stuffed Peppers were AWESOME! The black bean-quinoa filling is so great and can be eaten as a grain side dish, or a stuffing for squash or anything!

From a recent VT...Peanut Butter Coconut Ice Cream. Of course I added chocolate chips. I think I'll stick with Vcon's Ice Cream recipe since I found this one to be very 'icy' - and I don't mean too cold.

I was watching Ricardo and Friends on the Food Network, and he made this cool sandwich from a loaf of hollowed out round bread. I imitated using layers of pesto, roasted veggies (eggplant, zucchini, peppers and onions), Tofurky slices and VwaV's Tofu Ricotta. I weighed it down and kept it cold. It was delicious!

I was craving something with peanut butter again, so I made up the sauce for the Cold Udon Noodles from VwaV, but added warm noodles, coriander, red pepper, cucumber and cubed tofu that I cooked up. Yummy and easy.

How to make a fast birthday cake - take a graham pie crust, add some softened neopolitan soy ice cream and freeze for 4 hours. Spread some ganache on top and top with nuts, and re-freeze for another 4 hours minimum. Then serve! Just like Baskin Robbins! In this case, I topped with fresh strawberry slices before serving.

Another fast snack - tortilla chips tossed with sugar and cinnamon. The first time I tried it I warmed them in the oven then sprinkled with organic sugar and cinnamon. They were like Beaver Tails that I used to eat as a kid. However, they are easier to make when simply tossed in a bag with a little icing sugar and cinnamon (no photo). This time they were like waffles that we used to get an old southern Ontario amusement park.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Summer Vacation

During the summer months, I’m not very creative in the kitchen. One reason is that I’m not very hungry when I’m warm, and the other is that we are busy spending time outside running, cycling, walking and swimming before being cooped up for the long winter. Because of that, I’ve just made the old standby meals that we eat all the time and therefore have nothing interesting to blog about.

To celebrate the last few weeks of summer, we took a family vacation to Niagara Falls. After googling for vegan restaurants in the area, we concluded that the honeymoon mecca of Ontario really wasn’t a vegan paradise. We brought a lot of snack food with us.

Upon arriving, we drove down the main drag wearily looking at steakhouse after steakhouse. We checked into our hotel then walked by the falls.

Getting back to our room, a rainbow appeared in the mist created by the falling water.

Getting hungrier by the minute and after concluding that Wolfgang Puck’s wasn’t a good choice for us, we noticed a couple of Italian chain restaurants, notably East Side Mario’s and My Cousin Vinnie’s. We have East Side’s at home so tried out My Cousin Vinnie’s. That was a mistake. There weren’t many vegan items. Pete settled on a veggie wrap without feta which was okay but overpriced and I had a spinach salad with mango, red onion with poppyseed dressing. It sounded better than it tasted. There were precious few vegan items for kids, other than pasta with tomato sauce. We left feeling deflated.

Breakfast was included with our room and we didn’t do too badly – there was oatmeal with raisins and almonds, bagels with strawberry jam and fresh fruit. Just bring your own soymilk.

The next night we met my grandparents who live close by for dinner at a local restaurant named Betty’s in Chippewa (8921 Sodom Road). Apparently it started more than 50 years ago as a homemade pie stand and grew to a large restaurant catering to the aging population of the Niagara Region. The restaurant smelled strongly of beef and fish upon entering, but we were pleasantly surprised to find a vegetarian dinner on the menu. It consisted of a plate of penne with seasonal cooked veggies in a balsamic reduction and tasted fresh and homemade. They had the wherewithal to serve parmesan cheese on the side in a sealed container instead of on the meal by default. Pete had a huge slice of vegan peach pie. We were happy and returned to our room satisfied.

Avoid watching captive dolphins perform tricks and black bears being fed marshmallows by zoo patrons at Marineland and get your family fun at the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark, billed as the largest indoor waterpark in North America. We all had a blast. Afterwards, we headed to the Rainforest Cafe for veggie burgers and a great family atmosphere. The giftshop is schlocky but the burgers were supreme, and our server was extremely good with kids.

We travelled along the Niagara Parkway to the botanical gardens and the Butterfly Conservatory. The flowers were stunning. We kept going to the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake which was gorgeously decorated in cascading bouquets and plantings. This is a town of mainly upscale boutiques and galleries, so we only had a tea and walked around.

On the way back, we stopped at a local vineyard and picked up a couple of bottles of Merlot and a roadside fruit stand. The Niagara region is Ontario’s major fruit growing region and we scored a basket of ripe peaches. I was so excited to discover seedless Concord grapes! I love juicy Concords but find the seeds annoying. These babies are pure candy.

For dinner, we decided to check out Taki Japanese Restaurant at 5500 Victoria Ave. It seemed very authentic down to the fake food on display in the entrance. We feasted on miso soup, edamame, veggie sushi, and agedashi tofu (ask for no bonito flakes on it). This is a hidden gem among the tourist traps and the meal cost less than any we had in Niagara Falls.

We had a great time, but have vowed to make our next vacation one where we have a hard time choosing which vegan restaurant to patronize.