Melon, fruit, and mint summer salad

Last week I had a homecooked dinner with my friends to celebrate the end of the semester and to welcome spring. I created a spring inspired menu, with fresh flavours. Here is a salad that is easy to pack for lunches and picnics and looks great because of all the colours.

You will need a round/spherical spoon (like a mini ice cream spoon) to make little fruit balls. You could also just cut the fruits but that makes them extra pretty. You can find them at any kitchen store I think!

I only used honeydew and strawberries from last summer (frozen, thawed, and cut in half) but you could use any of these fruits

  • 1 watermelons
  • 1 cantaloup
  • 1 honeydew
  • Strawberries
  • Fresh fruits in season
  • Frozen berries
  • A small bunch of mint
  • Not necessary but 1 tablespoon of organic canadian (quebec) maple syrup.

Method:

  1. Use the spoon to cut out melon balls
  2. Slice the strawberries
  3. Thinly slice the mint (chiffonnade)
  4. Mix everything in a big bowl (with the mint and maple syrup)
  5. Put in the fridge at least 1 hour before serving!

summerlunch

 

Other things on the photo: tomato tart, local brewed cidre, lentil soup, apple/walnut salad, mustard vinaigrette 

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Pizza toppings

Hi all, it’s been a while since I updated my blog. This is a special post about pizza toppings for my friend!

  • onions, roasted peppers, tomatoes, zucchini
  • spinach, seasoned cauliflower (cumin, paprika, thyme)
  • grilled asparagus, lemon, thyme
  • pesto, portobello mushrooms, spinach (on top, right before service)
  • aubergines, peppers, tomatoes, pesto
  • potatoes (mandoline, very thinly sliced), onions, rosemary
  • zucchini, squash, red onions, walnuts

these are all my ideas so far 🙂

Spicy Vegan Chili

Here is a winter favourite. Serve with hot thick slices of whole bread. Perfect for those nights in. The recipe has a lot of room for modification, add in whatever vegetable or legumes you have on hand.  Recipe adapted from A Cozy Kitchen.

Portions: 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 2 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup of vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 small can of corn

Method:

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, zucchini, and jalapeño chili peppers. Cook for about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add tomatoes and vegetable stock.  Add  spices: oregano, paprika, cumin and cayenne.  Let simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the white beans and kidney beans. Stir in the corn. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Prepping ingredients for the chili...

Prepping ingredients for the chili…

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

You know it’s fall when the PSL hits the cafĂ©s, Here’s a cheaper at home version, that taste really similar but without the additives and artificial flavors.

Portions: for 2 people

I suggest making a little jar of your own pumpkin spice mix: Combine:

  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

Now the actual latte:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of soy milk
  • 2 tablespoon of 100% pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoon of sugar (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of the pumpkin spice mix (see recipe above)
  • 1 cup of dark coffee

Method:

  1. Heat 2 cups of soy milk, pumpkin and sugar in a saucepan.
  2. Meanwhile, make yourself 1 cup of coffee. Reserve.
  3. Once the milk is heated, remove from heat, add pumpkin spice mix.
  4. Pour in the coffee.
  5. Stir and pour into two pretty mugs.

Soft Pumpkin Cookies

It’s fall, which means…pumpkin everything!!! If you are into that, these would make a great base for whoopie pies!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powde
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 vegan margarine (or 1/2 cup applesauce)
  • 2 cups (500g) of tinned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Glaze ingredients:

  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 3 tbs soymilk
  • 1 tsp melted margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven at 350F
  2. Combine flours, baking soda, baking powde, cinnamon, nutmg, ging, clove and salt in a large bowl. (Mixing Bowl 1)
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, cream suga and vegan margarine until well blended. (let’s call it mixing bowl 2)
  4. Add in the pumkin, and vanilla to the mixture in mixing bowl 2 and combine until smooth.
  5. Gradually fold in the flour mixture (that was in mixing bowl 1).
  6. Grease a baking tray or line a baking with parchemin paper.
  7. Scoop 1 tablespoon portions of cookie mixture on the baking tray.
  8. Bake in the oven for 1-18 minutes until the sides are firm/medium brown.
  9. Remove from oven and let them side for 2-3 minutes.
  10. Transfer the cookies to a rack, to cool to room temperature.
  11. Make a glaze!!
  12. In a new mixing bowl combine: all the glaze ingredients (see above). ADD liquid LAST. Gradually add the liquide until the desired consistency is reached. Blend until smooth.
  13. Spread over cool/room temp cookies.

Roasted Veggies and Grilled Tofu on a bed of coucous

I think I’ve had this 3 days this week. It’s so good, and can easily be made under 30 minutes (30 minute meals with Patricia…anyone??). For 1. Double for two (obviously)

Ingredients

  • 1 pepper
  • half an onion
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/8 cup couscous
  • boiling water for couscous
  • 1 teaspoon of vegetarian oyster sauce (it’s mushroom based, also happens to be vegan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 block of firm tofu

Method

  1. Start by prepping your veggies. Quarter your onion, dice your pepper in about 1 inch pieces.
  2. On a baking tray,  lay your vegetables, paprika, cumin, cayenne and oil and toss. Use your hands and toss everything!! I usually eyeball seasoning and spices so feel free to do the same.
  3. Put the tray in the little oven at 400F for about 30 minutes.
  4. Use a boiler to boil water. Once boiled pour little by little on couscous, cover and wait until all absorbed. It’s better to add water after, because you obviously can’t remove it if it’s too wet.
  5. All things are cooking, steaming, off to do the tofu.
  6. The marinade is simple. Ratio of 2:1:1. Oyster sauce, maple syrup, oil.
  7. Cut tofu blocks in 6 slices and marinate them.
  8. On a grilling pan, heat medium-high, grill you tofu! Don’t move them around because you want those nice lines. After 2-3 minutes check if they have the right look. Turn them over, cook on medium heat.
  9. Done 🙂
Roasted Vegetables and marinated Tofu on a bed of Cousous

Roasted Vegetables and marinated Tofu on a bed of Cousous

Miso Soup

A simple, quick miso soup — under 10 minutes! Serves 2-3 people.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons of organic white miso paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried seaweed (wakame)
  • 1 block of tofu (diced in 0.5cm cubes)

Method:

  1. Bring water to simmer and add wakame. If you’ve never used wakame before, it may seem like not much but they will absorb water and expand a lot. Simmer for 5-6 minutes.
  2. Lower heat to low and add miso paste and diced tofu cubes. Stir until miso is fully dissolved.

Igname Noodles with peas and carrots

I found some igname noodles at the asian supermarket. They are zero calories!!! Crazy. and it was enough to make a dish for 3 people! This recipes very cheap to make as well. You should be able to find igname noodles in the fresh pasta aisle, near  fresh tofu and such. They are packed in liquid. (ps: they are also called yam noodles, miracle noodles or shiratake noodles)

Ingredients

  • 1 packaging of igname noodles
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • a little bit of oil
  • soy sauce (2 tbs)
  • rice vinegar (1 tbs)
  • sesame oil (2 tsp)

Method:

  1. Julienne carrots, finely dice onion and garlic. Take the stem off the peas (not sure of the technical word in english…”parer” in french) and cut them in half.
  2. Heat oil (about 1 tbs) in a stir fry pan on high, and add all vegetables. Stir fry for 3 minutes.
  3. Remove veggies from pan, transfer to a big bowl.
  4. Rinse noodles in a colander. Transfer to heated pan (same as before) and add 1 tbs of soy sauce. Cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Transfer noodles to the bowl with the veggies. Add sesame oil and rice vinegar. Toss.
  6. Serve with some crunchy sesame seeds. This dish can be eaten alone, or as a side with some grilled, marinated tofu for a source of protein.

Pain Doré

A nice easy breakfast to do when you have to many ripe bananas and don’t know what to do with them. Delicious with maple syrup. (No matter what people say, no. agave syrup will never replace maple syrup!!!!)

Ingredients

  • Slices of bread (not fresh) (i used some local organic multigrain)
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cups of soy milk
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • vegan margarine

Method:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a shallow/plate/bowl thing until lump-free. Except bread and margarine.
  2. Heat your pan on medium heat and put a knob of margarine.
  3. Soak the slice of bread in the mixture until well coated (you really want to “inside” to be soaked too because otherwise you’ll just end up with banany-toast)
  4. Lightly scrape excess off bread and fry up in the pan. Let it brown on one side (don’t touch it too much) then turn it until both sides are brown.
  5. Serve two per person. Would taste delicious with maple syrup, some crème anglaise, fresh fruits (I had banana and blueberries), and a sprig of mint.

Pain Doré with fresh blueberries and banana slices

Raw Zucchini Pasta with Pesto

What to do when you are having a successful zucchini season? Make some raw zucchini pasta! I’ve been seeing a lot of these on the internet and they looked pretty so I gave it a try.

Ingredients:

  • one zucchini
  • one cup of basil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • lime juice 
  • pine nuts 
  • olive oil
  • cherry tomatoes or tomatoes

Method:

  1. If you have a mandolin, make some long thin ribbons of zucchini. If you don’t, it’s the perfect time to put your knife skills to test! Make just enough for what you’ll eat, don’t waste! 🙂
  2. It’s pesto time. In a blender, blend basil, a teaspoon of lime juice and pine nuts. Gradually add olive oil until desired thickness is obtained. You could also use water instead of oil, or just to make it less thick.
  3. Mix the pesto (just enough, not the whole thing!) with the pretty zucchini pasta. 
  4. Quarter the cherry tomatoes or slice the tomatoes.
  5. In a plate, serve a good portion of pasta, some tomatoes on top and a little basil leaf for full-on impressive effect!