Broccoli Yakisoba

My poor neglected blog! Life has caught up with me lately.  Midterms, essay deadlines,  and family gatherings are certainly an excellent way to eat up your time! I’ve barely had any time to develop new recipes, I cannot count the number of bean burritos I have nuked this last week.

But i am hoping for everything to be back to normal soon enough. That said, I have returned with a treat for you: my delicious yakisoba!

Stuffed full of broccoli and other delicious veggies, what more could anyone ask for?

What you need:

1 head broccoli,  roughly chopped

1 onion

1/2 head of cabbage, roughly chopped

4 carrots, sliced

2 sticks celery, sliced

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

1 tbl hot sauce (I used franks red hot)

2 packets oof dry ramen noodles

What you do:

Combine all veggies in the Sautee pan and heat until everything is cooked to your liking

For the sauce: Combine soy sauce, ketchup and hot sauce. Set aside.

Cook the ramen noodles in boiling water. Discard the seasoning packets they come with.

Pour the sauce into the Sautee pan of veggies, and stir so that everything is mixed evenly.

Add the noodles to the Sautee pan and mix everything together.

Serve.

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The Great Divide + Raisin Chili Pancakes

I love to read, always have. But even more I love food. Combine the two and my favourite thing to read is recipe books, food blogs, and chef autobiographies.

I have most recently obtained a copy of The Flavor Thesaurus by Niki Segnit. This book contains flavour combinations for a number of different ingredients,  some classic and some that are new and slightly obscure.

Reading this book has opened my eyes to new ideas and new combinations i had never tried nor thought of. And it has made me keen to try out flavour combinations of my own.

And the first thing I come up with? Chili and raisin pancakes. An odd sounding idea but it was truly delicious. The cool of the raisins cuts through the heat of the chili flakes. Amazing what you can do with food!

What you need:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup raisins
1 tbe red chili flakes

Combine the flour, sugar, egg and milk. Stir until everything is combined and there are no lumps of flour left in.

Now add the raisins and chili flakes and mix until they are distributed evenly.

Using a skillet or griddle on a medium heat, pour in enough batter for a single pancake.

Cook on the bottom side until you start to see it bubble and the edges go brown.
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Flip and cook through until golden.
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Mouths Wide Shut

I have lost count of the number of times the topic of food has come up and I have essentially been told that because I don’t eat meat, I shouldn’t have opinions about food at all. I remember one time complementing a wonderful green bean casserole and having an aunt reply with “how would you know, you don’t eat anything”.

As it happens, I eat a lot of foods. A lot of different foods. There isn’t much within the plant world that I won’t happily devour. But the fact I don’t eat meat apparently makes me a picky eater.  I have family members that won’t eat anything that is green, others with no gluten,  I have an aunt who is on a new diet every month. But the most inconvenient person at the dinner table always seems to be me.

Why?  If there is a family dinner I always take my own food, I don’t expect anyone to make me anything. I also don’t comment on what everyone else is eating.

I am often told that my diet must be boring but i am far more creative with my food now than i ever was before.  I remember coming home from school and while my siblings were making bologna sandwiches for their snack, I was there sautéing up some peppers and mushrooms with a few chili flakes or some garlic salt, or filling tortillas with hummus and raw veggies.  I remember planning out my after school snack while riding the bus home.  I eat more fresh fruits and vegetables than anyone else in my family. And every big dinner that I’ve been to, I have never taken the exact same thing twice.

I don’t count myself as a picky eater because of my food choices, I’m not picky, I just made a choice.  I don’t feel like it should inconvenience anyone, I don’t expect anything separate or different,  I’m more than willing to bring whatever I need myself.

When I was an omnivore, my diet was a lot more limited than it is now. Partly because I had no idea what kind of foods were out there.  Partly because what my parents always made was never particularly creative so I wasn’t exposed to very many foods. Getting out into the food world myself, I discovered a lot of things that I never knew existed.

Is my diet limited? No.

Autumn + Carrot Soup Recipe

Autumn is my favourite season of the year. Perhaps it is because, living in Canada, the seasons go from winter to summer to winter, with only a little bit of spring or autumn in between. Autumn seems to be such a short season here, and almost all of it is spent waiting for and preparing for the snow.
It is always so glazed over. The stores already have their christmas merchandise in. Autumn is like the middle child, forgotten in the rush. Perhaps that is why it is my favourite season. Because people rarely stop to notice the little things, the little changes that come with autumn, and because before they know it winter will have arrived.
I love to see the changing colours of the leaves, the cool of the evening, when it is still warm enough to go out for a midnight stroll without a jacket, but not so hot you feel as though you are stepping into a sauna as you do in summer. I love the crab apples that start to fall from the trees, I can spend hours gathering a bunch to bring home for some baking.
Here, you never quite know how long autumn will last. Snow can arrive anytime between the end of September and halloween. And because it can be so brief, that is why it is so magical.
October brings with it a time of celebration: thanksgiving, halloween, my birthday. Time to spend with friends and family and just enjoy before the stress of the christmas season hits.
The Canada geese start to leave, migrating for warmer climates, and new wildlife start to emerge. The baby deer have antlers now, and you can still spot them in the city as you walk around at night.
Autumn is beautiful.

Autumn also brings with it the cooler air, the lower temperatures, and the joy of fresh pumpkins to roast. And best of all, it brings with it my favourite carrot soup.
During the summer it is too hot for a soup, something that simmers away on the stove for a couple of hours if not my idea of fun when it is 50C+ outside, and pretty close to that inside. But on an autumn evening, a soup is a welcome delight.

When making soup, I like to use two different pans. One for the base vegetables and stock, and one for the extra bits.

Carrot Soup

Ingredients:

1lb carrots, peeled and sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 cup shallots
1 turnip, sliced
1 tbl paprika
1 tbl vegetable spice
salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, bring salted water to a boil. Add 3/4 of the carrots and 1/2 of your turnip. Boil until soft.

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In a skillet, saute the onion, shallots, and the rest of the carrots and turnips. Add the spices and salt and pepper. I generally cook them until the onions and shallots are starting to brown.

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First put the boiled carrot mixture into the blender with a cup of the water you used to boil it in. Puree until smooth. Leave 2 cups worth of the carrot, turnip mixture out and set it to one side.

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Now add the sauteed onion mixture to the blender with another cup of water and puree until smooth.

Add the mixture back into a saucepan and add the  reserved veggies. Serve.

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The 60 Day Vegetarian Challenge

One of the most common problems I hear from fellow vegetarians is that they don’t always know what to cook. Maybe that is you, maybe you’re a long time vegetarian stuck in a rut with your current meal rotation,  or maybe you are just looking for some inspiration for adding more meatless meals to your diet.

Over the next 60 days I am going to post 60 different vegetarian meals. I will include ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner,  and hopefully offer up some tasty treats!

Transitioning To Vegetarianism Part 1

Becoming a vegetarian can be a little overwhelming at first, especially if you don’t have the support you were hoping for from family and friends. It is a lifestyle change, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult one.

Choose The Type Of Vegetarian You Want To Be.

Lacto Ovo Vegetarians eat dairy and eggs, but no meat, fish or poultry.

Lacto Vegetarians eat dairy, but no meat, fish, poultry or eggs.

Vegans do not eat any meat, fish, poultry, eggs or dairy.

If you are just starting out as vegetarian, I would recommend starting as Lacto Ovo, at least while you transition to eliminating all meat products from your diet. It can be a little intimidating to immediately go cold turkey on everything.

Learn To Read Labels 

As well as the obvious foods that are meat, you will also need to eliminate the foods that contain meat products. That includes all meat stocks, fish stocks, anchovies and gelatin. You will need to get into the habit of checking the label of everything you buy before it goes into your shopping cart (or mouth if you are still buying meat for family members or roommates). And I mean everything! I have found sugar cookies with beef fat. Borscht generally contains beef stock. Caesar dressing contains anchovies, as does Worcestershire sauce. Marshmallows and most jellied candies contain gelatin, as do some yogurts. And just because the product didn’t contain meat products the last time you bought it doesn’t mean it is vegetarian this time. Always check!

Consider The Vegetarian Foods You Already Like

You probably have more vegetarian meals in your current diet than you realize you do. At the beginning of your transition make those foods regularly, to help you get into the habit of cooking vegetarian. It will feel a lot less like going into the unknown.

Grilled cheese sandwich

Baked potato with various toppings

Macaroni and cheese

Pasta with tomato sauce

Tomato soup

Beans on toast

Forgive Yourself The Slip ups

Everyone has had it happen from time to time. There have definitely been times where I have been happily tucking into a yogurt and on checking the label halfway through discovered it changed gelatin. In the beginning, you won’t always remember to check a label, or you won’t notice your favourite brand of cookie has changed the ingredients to add beef fat until you’ve finished the pack. Mistakes happen, don’t beat yourself up. Even people who have been vegetarian for years make them occasionally. You haven’t failed, you will just remember next time to double check before you eat it.

Other People’s Reactions

Everyone you know will have an opinion on your new choice, and you will hear it whether you want to or not. Don’t make your change a HUGE deal, and instead become a silent role model. If people ask questions answer them, but don’t feel the need to get defensive about your choices. Understand that your choice has made them feel defensive, as if they have to defend their choice to continue eating meat. Show them that are still the same person you were before, and whatever you did with them you can still do, and that is better than any argument about the merits of meat vs veg.

Stay tuned to Vegetarian Deliciousness for tips and recipes to help your transition to vegetarian!

Turnip Fritters

Turnips are sometimes a forgotten vegetable, but they used to be considered a staple well before the potato ever was. The turnip is an excellent source of vitamin C, and just 1 cup of cooked cubes of turnip contains 30% of the daily recommended amount.

Turnip fritters are one of my favourite ways to enjoy turnip. It is relatively quick and easy, and doesn’t take away too much of the flavour from the turnip itself.

What you will need:

1 cup turnip, cubed

1/2 red onion, diced

1 sprig of mint, roughly chopped

Boil the turnip until it is relatively soft. It wants to be soft enough that a fork can go into it easily, but not so soft that it falls apart.

While the turnip is cooking, fry the onion in a saute pan with a little oil. When the onion is cooked add the mint for the last couple of seconds.

Remove both from the heat. Drain the turnip and combine with the onion and mint mixture. Mix everything together so that it is evenly combined.

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With your hands, roll the mixture into balls. If the balls aren’t forming easily, try mashing some of the turnip with a fork.

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Once you have made enough balls, bake in the oven at 400F for 15 minutes.

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