Becoming increasingly popular, kelp noodles are a sea vegetable that is formulated with–you guessed it!–kelp, sodium alginate, and water. They are naturally gluten-free and vegan, and I’m pretty sure every bag I have seen says “gluten-free” right on the package. Continue reading
For the past six years, St. Catharines has been home to a Greek festival, a three day event that celebrates Greek culture through food and festivities. Because I am posting up old Standard articles and recipes for now, I figured that last September’s article on the Greek fest would be timely.
I’m not Greek, nor do I have any sort of Greek in me. But I did try to make these rather authentic, speaking to others and combining authentic recipes to make ones that worked for me. I was a little less generous with the olive oil in some cases, and did do a riff on souvlaki with tofu… but the marinade itself would be delicious on anything.
The recipes include Briam, a layered vegetable casserole; tofu souvlaki, with a delicious and simple marinade; and Maroulosalata, a super easy and flavorful lettuce salad. Continue reading
I’ve tried shiritaki noodles in the past and didn’t like them. No amount of rinsing/boiling could do away with the fishy taste, and despite the mounds of sauce I covered with them, the taste lingered.
Needless to say, I wasn’t a fan.
The other day I was at a (somewhat local) health food store and eyed PastaSlim, a newish shirataki noodle that boasted it was better. And no precooking/boiling was necessary.
Intrigued, I decided to give it a whirl. Continue reading
Check out my latest article, highlighting ways to rejuvenate yourself this Spring with simple, nutritious, switches.
The article features three Spring/Easter recipes:
Roasted Asparagus with Caramelized Tofu, Toasted Pine Nuts and Garlic
This easy side dish puts simplicity in the foreground. Each component is easily done, and then it’s tossed together at the end for a sure-to- please main course complemen.
Jumbo Shells Stuffed with Roasted Spring Vegetables, with Creamy, Fresh Dill Sauce
Roasting the vegetables adds a smoky flavour to whole grain stuffed shells with a new twist. The creamy sauce is deceptively rich, infused with garlic and fresh dill.
Pineapple, Pecan and Coconut Crisp
This raw recipe features nuts and dates and the primary components, added to fresh pineapple, make a no-bake, fresh springtime dessert.
The article can be read here
As always, all recipes are gluten-free and vegan, as well as high in nutrition (okay, and taste!)
Enjoy, happy Easter!
April already! And April showers there are. Today we were pelted on by rain, although the grass smelled beautiful and the birds still sang their song.
A recent trip to Ottawa for a few days required some careful pre-planning – one that a celiac knows all too well.
I spent the evening prior packing up food, and made a delicious combination inspired by my equal love for greens, tofu, and homemade pasta sauce.
We planned to hardly have a meal out, stocked up (our hotel room had an apartment sized fridge), and I called a few restaurants in advance.
Okay, in actuality, I called approximately 35, tapping away on my Blackberry in the hotel room asking if they are familiar with the gluten-free diet (and if I got that far, if they had vegan offerings, and knew about cross contamination with gluten and casein). It didn’t go over so well.
Along with some fresh fruit, vegetables, homemade goods, and other foodstuffs, I also brought my night before creation of stuffed collards (and I’ll supply the make-shift recipe).
Tofu “Ricotta” Stuffed Collards Smothered with Marinara
- 1 250g package of extra-firm tofu, made into your favourite version of ricotta*
- 1 bunch of collard greens, the stems cut off and the thick spine pared down
- about 5 cups of your favourite, homemade pasta sauce (mine was roasted garlic and fresh basil)
- a saute of leeks, red, yellow and orange bell peppers, and cremini mushrooms
*for my ricotta, I mash the tofu, add nutritional yeast, garlic, oregano, basil, and other Italian seasonings, a squeeze of lemon.
Distribute tofu, and some of the vegetables, in each collard leaf. Roll up, place in pan. Top with sauce. Bake at 375F for about 20 minutes.
If you aren’t keen on tofu, I also made a few with quinoa and veggies for my soy-free mom. Delicious.
On another note, I did finally find a restaurant, and have never been treated so well in my life. I highly recommend this restaurant to every celiac, vegan, dairy-allergy, wheat allergy, gluten-free individual in the world. Oh, and every other person, too.
The place is called Taj Indian Cuisine. Here is a breakdown of the ridiculously incredible visit:
- I called the day before and he was certain I would be taken care of. When I asked about ghee (I had heard that some Indian restaurants don’t think of it as dairy) he scoffed, “of COURSE, no ghee!” I was pleased
- The next day, we appeared and he remembered my voice and assured me again it would be okay
- He came over and placed and recommended an order for us
- He double checked each ingredient, ensuring we could have them (vegetable oil, certain foods, et cetera)
- He also catered to my mom, who cannot have legumes (difficult in the cuisine we were in!)
- He had a talk with my mom while I went to the bathroom, telling her that I was in good hands, and he didn’t want me to be sick. How important it is. How everyone should cater to celiacs like this.
- He apologized profusely for “all Indian desserts containing dairy”
- He asked for my number, to make sure that I wouldn’t get sick the next day (he called)
- I told him I was going to recommend it to everyone and he said, “No, no, I just don’t want you to to be sick”.
And so on, and so forth. Seriously.
I’ve eaten out about 6 times since being diagnosed nearly four years ago. Three times I got sick. This was incredible!
Oh, and frankly, it was the most delicious Indian cuisine ever. EVER!
With March Break on its way in, it’s fun to engage the kids in some hands-on activities. My most recent article in the Standard featured just that: KID approved (March Break: Cooking together with your kids is fun and (shhh!) educational, too) was featured the Wednesday before March Break, getting your kids started in the kitchen.
The article featured a “Cheezy” Fondue with Roasted Vegetables, Tempeh Sloppy Joes, and Super Simple Breakfast Bars.
I really like stuffed foods. They go along with my other favourites, such as knee socks, the sunshine, and yellow mustard.
In generally, I don’t usually consume said stuffed-foods as a stuffed food. I eat the filling, or separate all of the components as I am enjoying it on my plate, trying each one to savour their individual goodness, once in a while scoring a little of each on my fork or spoon.
In the midst of my baking, I whipped up a quick marinara and stuffed some portabellos. Amounts are approximate to taste, or you can use your own favourite versions of both the filling and the sauce. Served with green beans sauteed with leeks, roasted vegetables, and fresh breadsticks, this was a pleasing way to end the week.
Tofu-Stuffed Portabellos with Marinara
For the marinara:
Bell peppers (all colours)
Italian seasonings (thyme, basil, oregano, rosemary, anything you love)
Salt, fresh ground pepper
1 large can of tomato paste
Water to dilute
A squeeze of agave nectar
For the stuffing:
1 (350g) package of extra-firm lite tofu
Garlic powder (three dashes or so)
Nutritional yeast (about 4 tablespoons)
Couple squeezes of fresh lemon
Salt, fresh ground pepper
4 large portabello mushrooms
For the marinara: In a large saucepan, heat a little oil and saute the onions. Add the other vegetables, sauteing until slightly softened, a few minutes. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add seasonings, then tomato paste and water to dilute to a saucy consistency. Add a squeeze of agave to cut the acid, turn to low, cover, and simmer.
Meanwhile, drain and crumble tofu in a large bowl. Add all other ingredients, adjusting seasoning to taste. Use your hands and smush ingredients all together, squishing it through your fingers to make it smooth. You can also do this in a food processor, but this is easy and doesn’t require you to get an appliance dirty.
Preheat oven to 425F. Take a little sauce and spread it on the bottom of a glass baking dish. Place in portabellos and pack in stuffing (I actually packed this into three, but they were quite packed). Bake until topping is lightly browned and mushrooms are soft, about 15 minutes, depending on thickness of mushrooms.
I love stir-fries and I love tofu; I’m one of those tofu-lovers who like it any way – even just without marinade, a quick pan fry, and dipped in mustard. The other day I discovered my favourite way of cooking tofu and wrote about it in my Standard article.
I had a myriad of delicious stir-fry vegetables: broccoli, mushrooms, snow peas, bean sprouts, carrots, green onions, red peppers, baby bok choy. In the mood for something other than my standard stir-fry concoction, I found this recipe the other day and was intrigued, but like many others, can’t follow a recipe without altering a thing or two.
Orange-Tofu Stirfry [adapted from this recipe]
This served three
1 (350g) block extra-firm lite tofu, frozen, thawed, and pressed, then cut into cubes or wedges
A little canola oil for frying
2 medium navel oranges, juiced and zested
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
3 tablespoons wheat-free tamari
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
cornstarch + cold water slurry, for thickening
4 cloves of garlic, chopped + vegetables for stir-fry + oil for frying
wild/brown rice mix for serving
Cook rice according to directions. Combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Return to a boil, add cornstarch slurry, then reduce until thickened.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a non-stick skillet, and fry tofu ’til nice and browned and crisp on all sides. Toss with about 1/3 of orange sauce. Set aside.
Fry garlic and vegetables. Toss with remaining sauce. Mix in tofu if you’d like, or divide with vegetables and rice onto plates.
Giving it some further thought, I probably would have added more ginger and garlic, and some cashews if I had them.
Christmas Baking Extravaganza Part IV went underway on Sunday afternoon, when I plugged away in my kitchen to prepare three new things. Alas, I ended up with two, as I had a relatively tight schedule, but the next day, finished off the third. This entailed some tasty Ruldolph cookies, complete with an almond butter base, chocolate chip eyes, pretzel antlers, and a Hot Tamale nose (the only red safe candy I could find!). Sweetened with agave, these slightly chewy, slightly fluffy cookies are definitely my favourite thus far – the base I will save and work with more and more. These were a trial – perhaps adjusted later for my book – as they cracked a little and weren’t up to par. The taste, though, is excellent. The look – eh, not so much.
I also made some cranberry cookies, dotted with tart, fresh cranberries, half-dipped in melted chocolate, and rolled, then, in toasted, chopped almonds. The last one – to be continued the next day, was a Eggnog (eggnot?) Glazed Nutmeg Cookie.
These are “to be photoed”, as I was baking primarily in the evening, and will get them up once the Christmas trays start being assembled.
Monday was also the day I finally handed in all of my forms to finish my masters degree (yay!) so I celebrated on Tuesday with a yummy tofu quiche and a greek salad.
I have made tofu quiche with both silken and regular tofu and find that both are tasty, but really enjoy the hearty non-silken version. If you use silken, add a couple tablespoons of a preferred flour or starch to help bind it together.
Tofu Quiche with Millet Crust
3/4 cup millet grits
2 1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
salt, fresh ground pepper to taste
for the filling:
350g package of extra-firm lite tofu, squeezed of moisture
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped
10 button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
For the crust:
Lightly oil a 9″ pie plate. In a saucepan, bring water to a boil and add millet grits. Turn down heat, and let simmer until water is absorbed, about 12 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Remove from heat and let stand about 10 minutes, covered. Uncover and stir in nutritional yeast, salt, fresh ground pepper. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
For the filing. In a blender or in a deep bowl with an immersion blender, puree tofu with non-dairy milk. Stir in nutritional yeast, garlic powder, turmeric, salt, and mustard. Set aside.
Go back to the millet and sample for seasoning. Adjust accordingly, and dump it into the pie plate. Using a spatula/spoon/back of fork/your fingers, smooth into the pie plate on the bottom and up the side, into a crust, pressing firmly. Set in fridge.
In a non-stick skillet, heat a little oil and saute onion for about 3 minutes. Add the remainder of the vegetables, sauteing until cooked through and softened, about 5-7 more minutes, depending how thinly you sliced them. Remove from heat and add into tofu mixture, stirring evenly.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Remove millet crust from fridge and dump tofu mixture into the crust. Carefully spread it evenly into the crust.
Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool about 10 minutes or longer – this is great at room temperature and excellent the following day.
Makes one 9″ quiche, about four large servings.
I understand that it is the holiday season, last minute gifts are consuming our thoughts, our bellies long for grandma’s stuffing, and we try to remind ourselves the “reason for the season.” I circled around the region today, getting gifts here and there, crossing town to get certain things at certain stores, enjoying the joy exuded from clerks, Salvation Army performers, and children laughing and smiling.
I do, though, neglect to cluster in the majority of shoppers into that category, the ones that are angry, impatient and, well, not very Christmas-y, if you ask me. Yes, I tell them (in my head), Costco is, indeed, busy, but you don’t need to push as there will be another shrimp tray/Wii game/pointsetta if you can wait a moment. No, the light is NOT green yet, I think, as they honk their horn for me to get moving. Perhaps, I wonder, if it is all worth it to you, your sneer/look of frustration as you pick of various Legos/Polly Pockets/video games at Toys ‘R Us.
It does not faze me, but I do wonder to myself how one can be so, well, seemingly angry at this time of year, where family, love, and (frankly) good eatin’ is abundant.
Coming home, a little weathered from the rush, I enjoyed pan-frying some TVP burgers I formed this morning. I didn’t take a photograph, but enjoyed them immensely. They were a little loose but hold nicely on a bun or in a pita/tortilla. I would recommend a tablespoon or so of almond butter/cashew butter/tahini for some extra holding power if you’re keen to it. I didn’t quite measure, but this is about right. I would have used more kasha, about 1/4 cup, if I had it.
1 cup dry tvp (Bob’s Red Mill TVP is gluten-free)
1/2 teaspoon (or so) of EACH: oregano and basil
1/4 teaspoon (or so) of EACH: onion powder and garlic powder
4-5 grinds of fresh ground pepper
Scant 1 cup boiling water
3 tablespoons of kasha (Bob’s Red Mill is gluten-free)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari (I use San-J Wheat-Free Tamari)
2 teaspoons egg replacer (I used Ener-G for this one)
3 tablespoons sorghum flour (or other gluten-free flour)
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together tvp, herbs and spices. Pour in water and let sit ’til absorbed. Meanwhile, cook the kasha according to package directions, either in the microwave or on the stove top.
When TVP has absorbed the water, mix in tomato paste, mustard, soy sauce, til combined. Stir in cooked kasha. Add egg-replacer and mix well.
Add flour and stir to combine. If it is a little wet, add another tablespoon or so of flour, just a tad at a time.
Form into patties on pieces of waxed paper (this is really messy). Refrigerate for awhile – I happened to be out all day, so these were in the fridge for about 5 hours.
When ready to eat, heat a little canola oil in a non-stick frying pan to medium-high heat. Pan fry til browned on each side, about 5 minutes.
Serve with a LOT of yellow mustard …. It’s my favourite condiment. I can eat it solo as salad dressing. Delicious!