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new year!

5 Jan

Hey all!  I hope you all had enjoyed the holiday season!  Although it went by way too fast, mine was quite lovely. During of which, my mother shared with me a copy of the holiday edition of Canadian Living which did a feature of vegetarian entrees to serve at the holiday dinner table. This is something that I found very interesting as I’m almost always at a loss of what to prepare for my rather picky vegetarian sister and myself, something that would be welcomed by everyone’s palates. In this article, there was a recipe for a vegetarian tourtiere which is, although something that I have never tried before, sounded like it would a perfect addition to New Year’s Day dinner. Tourtiere is a traditional French-Canadian dish served around the holidays and usually isn’t very vegan at all. But the recipe Canadian Living provided was completely animal-free and sounded pretty good.

new year's day dinner

It turned out amazing and was not only approved by my skeptical sister but by my equally as skeptical non-vegetarian mother!  I wasn’t planning on taking a picture and sharing it with you all (I mean, it’s not very pretty…) but I decided to anyway just because it’s so tasty.  I mostly followed the original recipe, only subbing their TVP for tempeh and using the crust recipe from Veganomicon.  So maybe the holiday season is over and the number of guests at your dinner table is tapering off, this would make an excellent winter meal when you need something warm, hearty and comforting.

Vegan Tourtiere
Makes 8 servings

1 package of tempeh
2 tbsp olive oil
3 ribs of celery, diced
2 onions, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups cubed peeled potatoes
2 tsp tamari
1 1/2 tsp dried savory
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 bay leaves
2 cups vegetable broth

*You will also need a double-pie crust, I used my favourite from ‘Veganomicon’

1. Bring a pot of water to boil, add tempeh, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain, set tempeh aside to cool.

2. In a large pot (or dutch oven if you have one), heat olive oil over medium-high heat; cook celery, onions and garlic, stirring every so often, until golden, for about 10 minutes.

3. Stir in potatoes, tamari, savory, salt, pepper, allspice, cloves and bay leaves. Crumble in tempeh (hopefully it’s cool enough so you don’t burn your fingers!). Cook, stirring often for about 5 minutes or so.

4. Stir in the vegetable broth and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.

5. Smash most of the potatoes with the back of a spoon. Simmer, uncovered, until thickened slightly, 7 to 10 minutes. Let cool.

6. Roll out your pastry. Fit bottom crust into 9-inch pie plate. Spoon in filling. Roll out your top crust and place over filling. Brush the top with water, pierce pastry with fork or cut steam vents.

7. Bake at 400 degrees for about an hour.

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Christmas Cookies #1: Linzer Cookies

8 Dec

Phew. I am officially done school for the semester. To celebrate, yesterday I baked Christmas Cookies and watched Elf which is one of my favourite Christmas movies (and I have a lot of them).

Last year for Christmas I received a set of Linzer Cookie cutters as a gift and decided yesterday to finally try them out. And because I’m still in study-mode, here’s a cookie history lesson! Linzer Cookies (or Linzer Eyes and related to Linzertortes) are an export of Austria, believed to have been first baked way back in the 1700s in the City of Linz (hence the name!). They are a sandwich cookie with the top cookie that is cutout with a small shape so that the pretty jam filling can be seen and dusted with a layer of confectioner’s sugar. I thought that this pretty cookie would be the perfect cookie to jump-start my holiday cookie baking venture for the next few weeks so here they are, Linzer Cookies!

Linzer Cookies

I simply veganized a recipe of Martha Stewart’s and they turned out wonderfully. Using my cutters, they made way more than her estimated count of 16. I can’t remember my final quantity, I forgot to count and they disappeared rather quickly. I’m going to say about 30ish? Or more?

Linzer Cookies

1 cup of unblanced hazelnuts
1 cup (2 sticks) of Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon table salt
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Jam for spreading the sandwiches with (I used strawberry but traditionally raspberry or black currant preserves are used)

To toast the hazelnuts
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Place hazelnuts on baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, watching them so they don’t burn.
3. Remove hazelnuts from oven and place them in a clean kitchen towel and rub them vigorously to remove the skins as much as possible. Set aside the nuts to allow them to cool.
4. Process the hazelnuts in a food processor until they are finely ground and set aside until they are completely cool.

To make the cookie dough
1. In a large bowl, cream the earth balance and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the soy yogurt and beat until smooth. Stir in Vanilla.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the ground hazelnuts, flour, baking soda and spices. Add this to the earth balance and sugar mixture and beat until combined.
3. Divide dough into two discs and chill in refridgerator for at least an hour.

To bake the cookies
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface and cut out an even number of tops and bottoms.
3. Bake cookies for 8 minutes, until the edges are ever so slightly golden. Allow the cookies to cool on wire racks.

To assemble the cookies
1. Sift a layer of confectioner’s sugar on to the cookie tops (the ones with the cutout).
2. Spread the cookie bottoms with a thin layer of jam.
3. Make the top cookie and the bottom cookie kiss and there! You have a linzer cookie! 

Enjoy them with your favourite holiday movie.

Happy Canada Day!

1 Jul

It’s nearing the end of my five day vacation and today (day 4) I finally got to soak in a bit of sunshine.  I seriously think I’m cursed sometimes as days 1, 2 and 3 were all overcast and rainy.  Oh well, I have one more break in August so *hopefully* I’ll be enjoying sunny bliss then.  Anyways, Happy Birthday Canada!  The big 1-4-1!  Awz, you’re growing up so fast.

How did I celebrate?  By eating of course!  The other day my mom and I spied a roadside fruit stand (definitely one of my favourite sights of summer) and purchased a flat of strawberries.  That’s a lot of strawberries.  I think after this weekend I’m all strawberried out.  We ended up freezing a lot of them (yay smoothies!) and today I used them in a special Canada Day Dessert.  But first, here’s what I made from breakfast this morning:

Canada Day Brunch

Waffles! I used the recipe I always use and as usual they went over very well with my family.

I wasn’t sure what to make for dessert. I was playing with the idea of baking a cake but then after the arrival of the flat of strawberries I knew exactly what to make. It has been a tradition to have Strawberry Shortcake on Canada Day in my family for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure why, could it be that the red and white colouring is a demonstration of national pride? Or is it that strawberries are always conveinently in season and my family just really really loves these sweet little berries? It’s probably the latter but whatever the reason, I made Strawberry Shortcake today.

Strawberry Shortcake

This turned out to be one of my most proudest accomplishments in the kitchen. The one you see in the photo above wasn’t the most prettiest one (I always serve everyone else first then I photograph mine and it takes awhile sometimes so the whipped topping got a little melty) so this probably just sounds silly but whatever I’m damn proud of the presentation of this dessert. So how did I do it? First I baked up my favourite biscuit recipe (make these biscuits, you will thank me), mashed up 2 pints (maybe pints? you know, the little baskets) of berries with a little bit of sugar and made a coconut cream whipped topping (chill a can of coconut, scoop off the cream that formed at the top then whip it with a couple tablespoons of icing sugar). Then to put it all together, I just split a biscuit, scooped some of the strawberry mixture over one half then some of the whipped topping, place the other half over it all (strawberry sandwich!), spoon more strawberry filling on top, then whipped topping and finish with a single whole strawberry on top.  There, a simple yet totally fancy dessert fit for only the most awesome country in the world (ha! just kidding.  kinda).
 

Happy Easter!

21 Mar

Hey all!  It’s been too long!  I have a backlog of food to blog that will hopefully make an appearence in the coming days.  But for now, here’s something for this long weekend’s special occasion. 

easter cupcake

These are Celine’s Vanilla French Cupcakes and ladies and gentlemen, I have my new favourite cupcake. The texture of these are divine! So moist yet with a wonderfully tender crumb (speaking of which when the liners are peeled off these cakes, not one crumb sticks!  Not one!).  I frosted these with a purple-tinted vegan buttercream recipe, to meet the standards of a easter bunny.

 Enjoy your long weekend, everyone!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

14 Feb

happy valentine's day!

Golden Vanilla Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

…and I’m off for a few days (6 1/2 bus ride here I come), have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Christmas Eatin’

25 Dec

Hope everyone had a great and relaxing (ha ha right?) holiday!   Mine was spent with my family and consisted of many memorable-in a good way!-moments.  It was also filled with delectable food…particularly of the sugar variety.

Peanut Butter Balls

I made these Peanut Butter Balls on Christmas Eve and I found that they were quite addictive.  For the cookie crumbs I called for, I just processed rice crispies-type cereal and used them.  Instead of swirling the chocolate on the balls, I dipped them in to the chocolate for an even more decadent touch (hey, it’s the holidays, we’re supposed to splurge).

I also made Softly Spiced Nuts  and Roasted Red Pepper and Almond Hummus from Eat, Drink and be Vegan.  They were both perfect appetizers. I think next time I’ll add some cumin to the nuts to increase the heat factor though the flavouring was lovely anyway.  The hummus was also tasty (although I seem to have a vinegar sensitivity, when I can detect it I find it’s taste overpowering so I’ll decrease it next time), I have been enjoying it very much on toast.

Gingerbread Apple Pie 

And finally, the grand finale, I served Gingerbread Apple Pie from Vegan with a Vengeance for dessert on Christmas Day dessert.  It was a huge hit, it’s spiced perfectly and is so simple to make (I despise rolling out pie crust).  The photo shown is it prior to baking as out of the oven the edges were a tad burnt.  Next time (and they’ll definitely be a next time), I’ll add foil to the edges to combat that (although I always say this when I bake a pie yet I never seem to remember).

So the big day’s finally over, hope Santa was good to you (he was extremely generous at my house)!

 PS-Despite the fact I work retail and therefore heard it constantly, I will miss the Christmas music.

Looking for a Last-Minute Gift?

22 Dec

Taking a break from the sugar high (well, almost) with an idea that I know my fellow bloggers would be able to put to use (with their endless supply of delicious recipes)…

I was stuck on what to give my youngest sister for Christmas this year.  I had already bought some clothes I knew she had wanted to give to her but it lacked a personal touch.  She has just started to get into baking, specifically cupcakes.  Vegan cupcakes.  So inspired by this I made her a Cupcake recipe booklet.  It not only contains recipe cards for various cupcakes but personal anecdotes accompanying each recipe (like the time I made her Pina Colada Cupcakes and accidentally melted her birthday cake is mentioned in the Pina Colada Cupcakes recipe). 

I happened to find the card completely by chance (isn’t it cute?), I wasn’t even looking for a cupcake card, just one with a pretty design, but when I saw this I knew it would be perfect.  I even (again without looking) was able to find a spatula and apron that completely matched the colours in the card.

I hope that this simple idea might be of assistance to you in these last frenzied hours before the big day.  This was a lot of fun to make, a gift that I would definitely make again, it’s fun to personalize recipes and give a gift that not only will definitely make the recepient smile (I know my sister found the melting birthday cake incident quite humorous as I have yet to live that one down) but keeps on giving (who doesn’t need a recipe for vegan sugary treats?).