Sunday, January 15, 2017

Savoury Winter Pie




If you asked Mr. Downright Vegan if we ate out or ordered in too often he would say yes we do.  So we are making a concerted effort to cook more and eat at home as much as possible.  Plus, today is Sunday, and instead of going to my father's house for dinner as I usually do, where I have meals prepared by my vegan sister, I stayed home, so I had to cook.

I am always on the lookout for a good recipe, and when I'm reading mainstream magazines I like to consider how I would veganize a recipe.  The inspiration for this Savoury Winter Pie, as I am calling it, was in this month's Country Living UK magazine, only it was made with lamb - how utterly cruel. I substituted Gardein Beefless Ground, a vegan meaty substitute. This is a superior vegan product, in my humble opinion.  You could also use lentils and rice in place of these if you wanted to avoid vegan meats.




Ingredients

1 lb of Gardein Beefless Ground
1 medium butternut squash  chopped into one inch chunks.
1 large onion chopped into the size you like (i like larger pieces, but I know some prefer tiny bits)
1 large carrot chopped into the size you like
2 ribs of celery chopped into the size you like
3 cloves of garlic, chopped/minced as you prefer
Oil for the pan - I used Wegman's basting oil, which is simply cooking oil with herbs in it
I 300 ml can of fire roasted tomatoes
Sweet potatoes

Pre-heat your oven to 350 F



Put the cubes of squash into a bowl and drizzle with a little oil and the herbs of your choice.
Place the squash on a parchment covered cookie sheet and cook in the oven until tender, which takes about 30 minutes.  Set aside.



Place the chopped onions, carrots and celery into a frying pan with a little oil and cook on medium heat, stirring from time to time, until the onions are translucent and the carrots and celery are al dente.

Add the garlic and stir to combine.

Add the can of fire roasted tomatoes.

Add the Beefless Round to the pan.

In the meantime, while the veggies are cooking, scrub your sweet potatoes, and leaving the skins on, slice them in uniformly thin slices.  I tried using a mandoline but I was frankly afraid of slicing my fingers off even though I was using the pushing gizmo, plus I felt that the slices were too thin.  I ended up giving the too thin slices to the squirrels in my backyard.  Using a sharp knife, I cut the sweet potatoes by hand, about 1/4 of an inch thick.

Now increase the heat on the oven to 400 F

Put the cooked squash pieces into the bottom of a pie plate, making sure they are evenly distributed.

Add the contents of the frying pan, and then place the sweet potato rounds on top of this in a single, slight overlapping layer.  Brush the sweet potatoes with oil and season to your liking.  I used the wegman's basting oil and black pepper.



Cook until the sweet potatoes are soft.



Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Mainstream Magazine with On-Purpose, Not Accidental, Vegan Recipes

The latest issues of Idées de Ma Maison, a French Canadian magazine, has an article about vegan recipes.  The recipes are good and look tasty.

If you don't read French, you can use the visual translating feature of google translate to take a picture of the recipe and translate it into English.

The muffins look particularly tasty!

This magazine can be downloaded from the Toronto Public Library.  It's worth taking a look at this.

I Feel Like No One is Listening

Sometimes being a vegan is a lonely business.

I do not like sitting down to dinner with my family and have them eating poor dead animals beside me.  I appreciate that I was once a person who ate animals, but I have seen the light, and i have acknowledged how cruelly animals are treated in the food industry and i am trying to make amends by writing this blog and no longer using animals in any way.

I can't stand the smell of cooked meat.

Last week i was out for lunch with a group of retired teachers and we were at a restaurant with only one vegan option, which I ordered.  One of the teachers asked why i don't eat free-range eggs because after all, they are allowed to wander around the farm at will.  Of course this is not true, but I only said, no I do not eat those eggs because of all of the male chicks that are ground up alive and because when the hen stops laying "enough" eggs (whatever that means) she is sent to the slaughterhouse.  I said there is no animal product that you can eat or wear that does not have the slaughterhouse at the end of it.

And then there is this article in today's Mercy For Animals email.  Read it, and weep.  And if you have not stopped drinking milk, perhaps this article will nudge you in the direction that you know in your heart is the right move to make.

http://www.mercyforanimals.org/heres-how-mfa-is-taking-on-canadas-largest

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Dinner, Part One

Last night we celebrated Christmas with Mr. Downright Vegan's family.

I brought along a Field Roast Celebration Roast with roast veggies, and a gluten-free, vegan Christmas cake for dessert.

I enjoyed this very much.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Maple and Toasted Walnut Biscotti



I have been thinking about biscotti lately, and found a number of intriguing recipes on-line, but they all contained eggs and butter.  This recipe is adapted from a Foodland Ontario recipe, but I have veganized it, removing cruel ingredients and replacing them with vegan ones.

These are wonderful biscotti, and are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee.  I am going to make a batch to take to my veterinarian's office for a Christmas gift.  It's a great office that does so much for my furry boys.  On a side note, when my vet was newly qualified, he worked for a while for the federal government, inspecting welfare at slaughterhouses.  What he saw there turned him into a vegetarian.  That's food for thought. 



Maple Walnut Biscotti

1/2 cup (125 mL) vegan butter, at room temperature - I used Earth Balance from the tub
1/2 cup (125 mL) packed vegan friendly brown sugar
2/3 cup (150 mL) maple syrup
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
Vegan egg replacer to the equivalent of two eggs - I used Ener-G egg replacer
2-3/4 cups (675 mL) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Maple Glaze
1/2 cup (125 mL) vegan friendly icing sugar
3 tbsp (45 mL) maple syrup



I used dark maple syrup for this because i find it has a more intense flavour and aroma, but you can use any maple syrup you like.  Some people prefer a more subtle maple flavour.  My local grocery store has an interesting maple syrup that is flavoured with blackberries.  I think that it might be fun to try this recipe with that maple syrup and maybe add some dried berries to the mix - but that is an adventure for another day!

First, things first: Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread one cup of walnuts on it.  Bake the walnuts for ten minutes until they look toasted.  Your kitchen will take on a delightful scent as the walnuts toast.  Take the walnuts out of the oven and let them cool.




Now reduce the heat of the oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda and the salt. A light whisk or stir with a wooden spoon is all that is necessary here.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer, combine the vegan butter and brown sugar until they are good and mixed, then add the maple syrup,  vanilla and vegan egg replacer.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until there are no pockets of flour left.  The dough will be fairly sticky.   Add the cooled, toasted walnuts and stir them into the batter.

Divide the dough in half.  On a lightly floured surface, with lightly floured hands, shape each half into a roll about 10 to 12 inches long, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, about three inches apart from each other.

Bake them in the 325 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until they are a nice light golden colour. They should feel slightly firm to the touch.



Now further reduce the heat of the oven to 300 degrees.

When the logs have cooled enough to handle - about 15 minutes - transfer them to a cutting board, and cut them into 3/4 inch slices.  Stand the slices on their bottom so that the cut sides are to the side, not touching the bottom of the pan.  Make sure the slices are not touching - they should be at least 1/2 inch apart.  Bake them in the 300 degree oven for about 30 minutes. At this point they should be almost dry.  Let them cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.



When the biscotti are cool, drizzle the maple glaze over the tops of them.  The glaze will be set in about 15 minutes or so.



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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Vegan Sloppy Joes

I made vegan sloppy joes this evening with Gardein crumbles and a can of Manwish sloppy joe mix, which is vegan.  I added some sliced carrots and sliced celery for crunch, and also added some freshly ground pepper.

We have not had this in years.  It was fabulous - and very low in fat which is great for my DH who is suffering with a wonky gall bladder just now.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

V-Bites



Earlier last week i was in Brighton, a sea-side town. The day was glorious for the end of October - sunny and mild - the perfect day for a stroll along the strand.

I am travelling with my sister, and she and I had lunch in V-Bites, a vegan restaurant in town. I ordered the burger and sweet potato fries and my sister ordered fishy and chips. Both meals were excellent.