Saturday, October 22, 2011

Middle Eastern Style Tomato Chickpeas

Chickpea in the city
I love saucy chickpeas and beans.  From late night munchies at local middle eastern joint Ghazale to the delicious, saucy broad beans I had for breakfast in Istanbul, to my grandmother's Pasta e fagioli.
This dish was my attempt to finally capture the essence of the oily, long stewed beans you dip crusty bread into, or savour over rice.  I think I nailed it.

I took an onion, half a carrot and red/green/yellow pepper and sauteed them in a healthy glug of olive oil with some fennel and cumin seeds and some cayenne until they were soft and fragrant.  
Then I added in half a jar of loose tomato puree (conserva to my fellow wops) and two cloves of chopped garlic.  Following that, I patiently boiled the bejeezus out of the mixture for probably half an hour on medium high heat until it started to thicken and get slightly dark. I removed half of the mixture and pureed it with my stick blender and returned it to the pot, then added about two cups of chickpeas.  I seasoned it with salt and pepper and cooked it a little longer, and voila!  Delicieux!  

     Fall can be dreary, so here's some inspiration: during trying times, with lots of illness in the family my elderly grandmother still found time to garden this spring, and to share some of the bounty with me when I visited.  She grew, shucked and froze 27(!) little packets of her own beans for the winter.  That is one self-sufficient lady! <3

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Great food link: Food, Curated

DOUGH Donuts: A Far Cry From The Old Fashioned from SkeeterNYC on Vimeo.

The above video comes from, a wonderful site that I came across and spent way too much time on this week.  It features videos from small scale food producers and store owners, mostly in the New York area.  If you're looking to be inspired, you should check it out.  It seems like a great project!

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Radishes seem to be insinuating themselves into my life in the past few months.  Never was a radish seen at my family table growing up, and I was probably 25 before I even tasted one. Reading Daikon pickle recipes I found instructions to hang the radish to dry in the sun for days and days.  
Digitizing photos at work of Dawson from the Klondike Gold rush, I found a photo of a woman watering radishes on the roof of her tin shack.  And then this still from the Korean film 'Barking Dogs Never Bite'.  
I need to learn more recipes that involve these bad boys!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Amazebowls (Vegan Rainbow Lunch Bowl)

I took way too long to take the above picture, but I finally gave this purple Kale the glamour shot treatment.
I made this bowl to deal with double-shift lunches.  I cooked up enough yums for three days, including tofu, broccoli, spiced onion and kale, chickpeas, black rice and fresh corn.  I made a 'fresh' type saucy gravy of Korean miso or Denjoeng, tahini, apple juice, vinegar, coconut milk and strawberry puree. Kiss my ass hotdog truck!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Working Class Foodie

I have a few old favourite youtube cooks, and today I was delighted to add a new one. Working Class Foodie teaches you how to make all sorts of delicious things. Here she is teaching you how to make your own seitan!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chew your smoothie - popsicle time!

This popsicle maker is going to change my life.  Okay, that's a bit drastic, but this week it's going to be around 30 degrees every damn day, and I have no a.c.
Enter the popsicle.
This one is a raspberry/banana/soymilk smoothie popsicle, with about a teaspoon of sugar.
I used the raw ingredients for a small smoothie (1/2 banana, a handful of raspberries, a tsp of sugar and about 1/8 cup of soymilk), blended them as I would a regular smoothie and then spooned the mixture into a popsicle mold and froze overnight.
This is maybe my favourite way to eat my fruits!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I wanna (Mulberry) Jam it with you

I'm very inspired by the group Not Far From the Tree, who gather volunteers to harvest fruit and sap that would otherwise go to waste from Toronto trees. They share it with community groups and with the volunteers and I think they do a wonderful thing.
For the last 5 years, I've worked near a tree that exploded with mulberries every year.  The tree looks ancient, and 80% of its berries are out of reach to a shorty like me.  Every year I told myself I'd get a ladder and some coworkers and shake that shit down.
Last week most of my coworkers and I found out we were being laid off next month. So now or never, right? 
I made this jam from between 6 and 8 cups of mulberries, and I got six small jam jars full--that's enough to share with all the gleaners, and an extra one for me to eat with my welfare cheese in a few months (just kidding)
Kate, Mike and Liz star in 'The Gleaning" - Photo by Carly
 I kind of flew by the seat of my pants for this jam...there really aren't many mulberry jam recipes out there. 
All told, it took about 5 hours (phew) of stemming, washing, boiling and jarring.  I added a pinch of cinnamon and allspice because I was curious, and it turned out very well!  I think you can use any basic jam recipe, with or without pectin, and this will work.
I see many more jams in my future!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I love Panzanella in the summer.  I'm not certain, but I think that the name either comes from the Italian word pane (bread) or panzo (belly/stomach). This simple bread salad is very refreshing during hot days, and is one of those dishes that gets even better if you make it in advance.
This dish uses up stale bread nicely as well. 
For two servings: 
1/2 loaf of stale crusty bread (no wonderbread, yo.)
1/2 a cucumber, chopped
1-2 med. tomatoes, chopped, with juices (or 1/2 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes halved).
A thin slice of onion, chopped finely
One clove of garlic chopped finely
1/4 block of tofu, cubed (optional)
a few torn leaves of basil
1/4 to 1/2 cup of olive oil/wine vinegar total (in whatever proportion you like)
s & p to taste.
Roughly tear the bread into chunks.  If it's very very stale, soak it in water for a minute, then squeeze most of the water out gently and put it into a med. bowl
add vegetables and tofu and basil to the bowl
pour dressing over, tossing well (pressing down if necessary to get the bread to absorb all the juices)
add salt and pepper to taste
allow the salad to sit, refrigerated, for at least 30 min before serving.  This is great after it has chilled overnight as well.
Enjoy the shit out of this mofo.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Quickles! Quick Daikon Pickles

I love Guu Izakaya, a Japanese Izakaya-style restaurant in Toronto.  Last time I went, I had a mixed pickle appetizer that reminded me how much I love pickled Daikon.  (In Banh Mi, especially)These pickles are dead easy to make.  All it took was:
1 med Daikon, cut into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices.
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup of vinegar (rice vinegar is preferable, but white vinegar is what I used this time)
1/4 tsp salt

Toss the sliced Daikon with the salt in a bowl, and allow it to  sit for 20 minutes or so.  This pulls a lot of the water out of the daikon.
Rinse the daikon and squeeze the excess water out of it, then place it in a jar with a lid.
Add the vinegar and sugar to the jar, and adjust either to taste.
At this point, I added several drops of food colouring to the vinegar solution, because the pickles I have in Japanese restaurants often have a vibrant pink colour.  If I had had a beet, I would have added a slice of it to the jar and it would probably have achieved a nicer, more natural result.
The shape of the cells in the Daikon really stand out when you add something coloured to the liquid.

Vegan Coconut Caramels

Last weekend I went to Montreal, where I tasted delicious American made coconut caramels.  Looking at the ingredient list, I was convinced that I could make these myself.  There were only 4 ingredients: Cane sugar, brown rice syrup, coconut milk, and sea salt!
So, with the help of DicedTomato, and some minor adaptations, Caramels were made!  
I'm not super happy with their firmness (this might have happened because I don't have a candy thermometer) but goddamn, are they delicious.
What's in them?
1 cup of cane sugar
1/2 cup of brown rice syrup
less than 1/2 cup of Earth Balance (salted, otherwise add a little salt)
1 cup of coconut milk 
a pinch of sea salt

First I simmered the sugar and the syrup on medium/medium-high heat, not stirring, for about 10 minutes.  It got darker, reduced by a small bit, and when I swirled it, I could no longer hear any sugar granules.
In another pot, I warmed the coconut milk and melted the Earth Balance.  Then I removed the sugar from the heat and added the coconut milk mixture, stirring it in quickly and well.  Then the pot went back on the stove and bubbled away for probably another 15-20 minutes, while I stirred it frequently.  Because I have no candy thermometer, I tested it for doneness by dropping a small amount in a bowl of very cold water.  If it dissolves in the water, or forms a string, it's not ready yet.  When it starts to form itself into a soft ball that holds up when you touch it, it's about ready.
Following DicedTomato's instructions would probably be a better idea if you have access to a candy thermometer.

I then poured the mixture into a lined, greased baking tin (if you have a silicone baking tin, you can skip the lining probably and just grease it) topped it lightly with kosher salt, and let it set overnight.  This morning I still found it a bit too soft to cut, so I put it in the freezer for a few minutes, and then used a sharp knife to make rectangles.  Oh man, I like these.  Next time I will try coating them with chocolate (maybe making a little ball or square).


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Baby's First Benny!

Just a quick note to share the pride (mixed with shame).  I made my first Eggs Blackstone at home!  Now, I haven't had eggs or fish in my fridge in nearly six months, but the other day I got an uncontrollable craving for my favourite breakfast dish, and thought I'd tackle it myself.
I deleted the rude thing on my counter for you

Verdict: tricky!  I have a lot of respect for those who work the brunch shift at restaurants, and crank out dishes like this every day.  The timing of having everything ready at once is very delicate, and I'd worked up a sweat by the time I could finally sit down and eat.  Would the eggs be too runny?  The salmon too cold?  Would the Hollandaise get clumpy?
So I proved to myself that it can be done and- although I'll never do it again-I was quite proud of myself :)
Do you really need a recipe for this?  
Buy some smoked salmon!
Make some toast!
Make some hollandaise (2 egg yolks + 1 tbsp lemon juice stirred constantly over low/med heat until it's "saucy".  Then add 1/4 cup of butter or earth balance and stir like crazy until all is incorporated  Add salt. pepper and chili powder or paprika to taste.  Use IMMEDIATELY!)   
Poach two eggs!
Combine and eat!
Nap! (You deserve it)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Homemade Makgeolli! (Korean Rice Wine)

I did it!  I made my own booze :) 
I had this drink in S.Korea when I visited in 2009, and haven't been able to find it in Canada.  A wonderful story about this rice wine: I visited the local Korean grocer after watching this video, armed with the names of the ingredients I needed.  I asked the old Korean man at the store for 'Nuruk' (wheat yeast) and he pointed me towards a shelf and quizzically asked "Makgeolli?".  We both had a laugh when we realized that he and I both knew I was going home to make hooch.  Then he showed me a bag near the Nuruk that read 'Makgeolli Mix'!  There's already a kit with rice, yeast, and a filter bag that you can buy to make your own Makgeolli!