Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kudos for a Fellow Blogger - and a link to watch it happen!

GREAT NEWS: PCRM's Food For Life TV has actually highlighted - AND done their cooking segment on - my dear cyberfriend, mentor and publisher Erin Dame's own _Vegan Done Light_ e-cookbook and in particular on his incredibly innovative recipe for Cherry Hummus (believe it or not, it's delicious!). Congratulations, Erin! That's a huge feat. Fantastic, my friend!

See the video on Erin's site at:

I don't know about the rest of you, but I think something like this kind of kudos for another vegan blogger vindicates all of us for our huge efforts in trying to maintain and develop healthy recipes that are low in fat and, in Erin's Case, gluten-free as well as low-cal and full of all good things.

So have a look at the video - and while you're at it have a listen/look to all the excellent advice for vegan health from the Food For Life TV team. It echoes so much that Erin and many of the rest of us strive for in our recipes.

Oh, and write down the recipe for that cherry hummus as it's playing - it's a winner :)

Exciting!!! Way to go, Erin!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mushroom Crepe, Spiced Mushrooms - and chat

[Edited because this got posted before I had finished! Slight changes to food descriptions, etc.]

It's a while since I recommended anything on this blog - other than great food - but the following article (see link below) on the vegan diet, its 'stick-to-it-edness' and its benefit for those with diabetes or at risk for the disease is very important. Published in Canada's national daily 'The Globe and Mail' 4 February. Do please have a look - it will lighten your heart, brighten your day, and give you loads of ammunition against all those omnivores and even some vegetarians who are suspicious of a vegan diet.

And now on with the lovely safe and healthy vegan food! I love mushrooms and eat them almost daily.


This made a lovely lunch, along with a green salad. I took some mushrooms, enough for two persons (although I show only one crepe), seasoned them with a little chopped onion, two or three cloves of garlic, a tsp or so of grated ginger root, a little mirin (I was out of sherry), a dash of low-sodium soy sauce, a dash of cayenne pepper, some mixed herbs and put them all together in a skillet, adding a tsp or so of water at a time to keep them from scorching. I kept them pretty plump - dried-out mushrooms aren't my idea of fun.

The crepes I made of a mixture of wholewheat flour and cornflour (plus liquid of course) but you could use a mix of your choice. I made them very very thin and did not attempt to flip them. I gave the pan a hint of cooking spray (olive oil) and I slid each gently onto a plate when cooked to keep it warm, covered, at the lowest possible oven setting. Then I simply scooped the mushroom mixture onto the centre third of each crepe and rolled the other two sides to enclose it. Delicious.

For my next trick -


This time I mixed cremini mushrooms with portobellos and shiitakes and added 4 cloves of garlic, a healthy pinch of crushed chilies, 1 Tbsp grated ginger root and a good shake of dried tarragon (had no fresh) to the pan before I started the steam-sautee process. I made a little mix of warm water and about half a tsp or so of dark miso (to dissolve the miso), a small amount 1/2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce, 2 Tbsp tomato paste and 1/4 cup of red wine and added it to the half-cooked mushroom mix.

When the mushrooms were just done (and the sauce well reduced) I stirred in a couple of chopped green onions and some chopped home-roasted peppers and used the mushroom mixture to top a heated wholewheat wrap - this was to catch what sauce remained. (I use Weight Watchers wraps, low fat and only 90 calories each, for things like this. They keep well in the freezer.)

I topped the mushrooms with a couple of strips of the roasted pepper too - and wished I'd had some nice fresh herbs to add, but perhaps that would have been painting the lily.

I was in a terrible hurry to get a meal on the table, so I had raided my emergency bin in the freezer right at the beginning and thrown some tiny potatoes, baby peas and miniature corn into a pan to steam so that I could serve them alongside the mushroom dish. Worked just fine! I think this is a major way we will have mushrooms from now on.

Althoughhhhhh, I'm still working on my mushroom paprikash/stroganoff recipe. It's good too!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bonus with 'Wake Up To Spice'


Just to inform you all that my e-cookbook Wake Up To Spice now has a bonus attached: When you buy the cookbook this month (February) you get, free, Erin Dame's special report 7 Strategies to Successful Weight Loss! (This is normally a $5.00 cost, given for the rest of February to those who wish to dowload WAKE UP TO SPICE.)

In any event, you can sign up for Erin's free newsletter and download a sample recipe from my collection for only a click of the mouse. Not a bad deal!

Take a look and see what you think! You can find the whole deal HERE.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Baked Eggplant & Tomato Casserole, plus some old favourites


Around four days ago I had an eggplant that was burning a hole in my pocket, so to speak, and a yellow sweet bell pepper that was threatening to leave home. So I decided to put together a mix of compatible vegetables with some Italian-type herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme, you get the idea) and a hastily chopped chili and the usual suspects, including half a large can of tomatoes.

I heated the oven when these were cooked (in a little stock in a skillet) and made a quick cheezy sauce from a package of tofu which was soon to be past its prime. The eggplant mixture went into a round baking dish, the tofu topping (with some lovely spices in it) went on top and I popped the whole thing into the oven while I was fixing the salad.

I had one serving (Okay, it was a big one) and my dh polished off the rest (shock horror!). So I guess it was a success and yet so easy. Oh I'm too modest - It was great!

I promised myself, and probably you, that I'd post what I was eating from time to time - apart from salads and fresh fruit. The thing is, we have been going more in favour of old favourties, including one my dh adores: POTATO PEA & MUSHROOM CURRY from India. This is a good standby for us whenever we find we're in a hurry, want something comforting, and have no special ingredients in the house. Potatoes? Sure, always have a few lying around I guess (although I have been known to run out). Peas? Always in the freezer, just in case. Mushrooms? They're a staple. As for the rest of the things - garlic, ginger, onions, spices, well they're in the fridge and cupboards all the time too. So this meal can be had ready for the table in the time it takes to chop the veggies and cook the potatoes (the smaller the dice, the quicker the meal). We had this about three days ago. Lovely as always.

Another quick and reliable recipe is this soup - TOMATO CABBAGE SOUP Which is usually ready in twenty minutes from start to finish.

It's hot, it's light and it's satisfying. Eat it with cornbread, wholewheat rolls, muffins or, as here, with a simple salad (and faux hamm) wrap.

We'll be finishing off the soup this evening!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Dry Cauliflower Curry with Dhal

This is something I thought I'd try again (after some years) after having it in New York just over a week ago. (See Well, I had something like it, and this version was indeed good, but I'm going to have to mess around a little with the spices to recreate the original, if that's at all possible. Still, my husband raved about this and we ate every scrap, so perhaps the other we had was simply different :)


1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger root
1-1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground fennel
large pinch or more of crushed chilies (to taste)
approx. 1 lb cauliflower (trimmed pieces, a little over bite-sized)
water to cook
pinch of salt, optional
garam masala to taste
2 or 3 spring/green onions, chopped, to be stirred in at the end
handful fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) - optional - to serve
fresh squeeze of lemon to serve

Put the onion, garlic and ginger root into a skillet and add a little water to 'saute' until onion is translucent. Add the cumin seeds and stir until they decide to pop. Add the other spices quickly along with the cauliflwer and, again, just enough water to steam the pieces nicely without overcooking. (The cauliflower in the photo had a bit longer to cook than was needed.) Add the salt if using. You want the cauliflower to be just done, and you want the curry to be pretty well dry, so only allow for enough water to cook - the vegetable should be moist but there will be no sauce.

When the cauliflower is cooked, taste for seasoning and add a shake or two of garam masala. Add the green onions, the lemon juice and stir. Add chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) if you like them and serve.

We had ours, as you see below, without the coriander leaves - which we love - because we found we had none at all in the refrigerator. What a disaster! Nevertheless, it tasted great and I shall be sure to make this simple dish again.

We also made a dhal from an old Australian Women's Weekly cookbook, using red instead of brown lentils. It was excellent.

The thing about dhal is that it keeps so well and it is a nice counter to dry curries because of its usual wetness. Besides that dhal is GOOD!

I think it's so easy to forget that cauliflower is a 'green' vegetable full of all the good things that cruciferous veggies offer and yet low, very low, in calories. Not being as strong in flavour as, say, broccoli, it also lends itself to a variety of flavour additives - spices! - to ring a change on it from time to time. From crudite to soup to main dishes, the humble cauliflower shines.