Tag Archives: holiday

Valentine’s Day 2016 – Pizza and Roasted Vegetable Hearts

Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

“Tom” and I created another lovely Valentine’s Day supper to share with each other. This year we decided to stay with the heart theme dominated by red and white. We made heart shaped Margherita pizza with roasted heart shaped beets and potatoes.

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Margherita Pizza

individual pizza shells (store bought or make your own)

spicy tomato sauce such as Arribiata or Marinara (store bought or make your own)

cheezy cashew sauce *

vegan pesto **

1 or 2 tomatoes

3 large leaves fresh basil, chiffonaded

If making this for Valentine’s Day, cut the pizza shells into heart shapes. Otherwise, leave as is. Spread a bit of spicy tomato sauce onto the pizza shells. Put dollops of cashew sauce all over the pizza, then dollops of pesto in between the cashew sauce. Arrange thinly sliced tomatoes (I used 3 slices for each individual pizza). Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. After removing from the oven, add a few strips of fresh basil to each pizza.

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Before baking, all ready to go in the oven.

*  Cheezy Cashew Sauce

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for a few hours

3/4 tsp garlic powder

1 clove garlic, minced

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup water (or more)

1/8 tsp salt

a few grinds of black pepper

dash of cayenne

1/8 tsp dried basil

1/8 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp nutritional yeast

Put everything in a blender and blend for 5 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed and adding a bit more water as needed. The consistency needs to be thickish so be careful about the addition of water.

** Pesto

1 avocado

1/4 cup vegetable broth

7 fresh basil leaves (approx.)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 tsp salt

2 tsp white wine vinegar

Put everything in a mini food processor or blender and blend until well combined.

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After baking, with a little bit of fresh basil added on top.

 

Roasted Heart Shaped Vegetables

2 beets, peeled

2 largish, round potatoes, peeled

1 tsp vegetable oil

Cut the beets and potatoes into slices, about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the slices into heart shapes with a heart shaped cookie cutter. Toss the vegies in the oil, arrange on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then flip the hearts and bake for another 5 minutes until lightly browned on each side.

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Check out these lovely striped beet hearts cut from Chioggia beets.

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Oh, and we ended our meal with more hearts … watermelon hearts! And chocolate of course!

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Dill Pickle Chip Dip

I’ve probably  mentioned it a time or two on this blog, but I’ll say it again … I LOVE POTATO CHIPS! Have you noticed at this time of year, potato chips are on sale? You can’t afford to not buy them when they’re such a deal! So, of course, I have chips in the cupboard. Actually, they’re on the table right now. Right beside the computer while I type this. Open bag. Testing the recipe while I type!

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Earlier today, I thought I might like to have a potato chip snack and I started reminiscing about potato chip dips. The ones that we only had at Christmas time. The ones full of dairy! Well, I wanted a dip, a vegan dip, to go with my chips, darn it, so I just … made one! Here it is:

Dill Pickle Chip Dip

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1/2 cup organic, raw cashews

2 dill pickles

2 to 3 tbsps. dill pickle juice

1 tsp onion powder

Soak the cashews for several hours (or if you’re in a hurry like I was, soak them in boiling hot water for 20 minutes). Chop up the pickles, reserve about a tbsp. for garnish. Throw the drained cashews, pickles, 2 tbsps. pickle juice and onion powder into a blender and blend for about 2 minutes. If you need a bit more liquid, add in the extra tbsp. of pickle juice. Continue to blend for another 2 to 3 minutes. Pour into a bowl, garnish with the reserved chopped pickle and eat with your favourite potato chips.

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Here’s the dip chillin’ in the fridge just after I made it.

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is over in two hours, but that’s not too late for me to publish some greetings and some feastings! For the 11 Valentine’s Days that “Tom” and I have shared, we have tried to bring something special to the day and almost always that something special involves food. We have eaten out or ordered in a time or two, but the thing we usually do and prefer to do is plan a few special dishes which we prepare and eat (obviously) together. This is often a day when we cook something new or something fancy or something expensive. We set an attractive table – you know, flowers, candles, tablecloth, red and white theme … that sort of thing. During the years when we were sharing our house with other people, we would create a private dining space somewhere in the house where we could be alone and focus on each other.

So what did we do this year? Well, this year was kind of a special year because Valentine’s Day fell on a weekend and on a shared day off! That meant we could take a little more care and time for our planning. We thought out a menu yesterday, then “Tom” shopped for needed items (and then some!) while I went to Yoga. Guess where I got my menu inspiration from! Pinterest! In particular, Paint + Tofu and Maple Spice. We wanted to do red, pink, white food and we wanted hearts, so we made:

Roast Potato and Beet Hearts

and

Heart Shaped Ravioli on Tomato Sauce

imageAnd here’s how we made it:

Roast Potato and Beet Hearts

2 beets

3 potatoes

olive oil

fresh rosemary

Wash the beets and cut off the ends. Wrap in a foil packet and roast in a 400 degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the beets. When cooked, remove from oven, open foil and set aside to cool. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/4″ discs. Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut hearts out of the potato discs.

imageWhen the beets are cool, peel, then slice into 1/4″ discs. Cut heart shapes out of the beet slices using the heart shaped cookie cutter.

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Arrange the beets and potatoes on a lightly oiled baking pan and lightly brush the tops of the beets and potatoes with oil.

imageRoast at 395 degrees for 15 minutes, then flip all the hearts and roast for another 10 minutes. During the final few minutes sprinkle rosemary sprigs about the pan.

imageRemove from oven and serve.

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imageHeart Shaped Ravioli on Tomato Sauce

Filling

olive oil

1/2 small onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

4 or 5 button mushrooms, finely diced

1/2 tsp dried thyme

grated zest of 1/2 lemon

juice of 1/2 lemon

3 or 4 handfuls spinach, finely chopped

1/8 cup pine nuts, finely chopped

splash of white wine

a few grindings of black pepper

Heat a bit of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for several minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook and stir. Add the mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms release their moisture. Stir in thyme, zest, juice. Add spinach, pine nuts and wine. Cook until spinach is wilted and the wine has cooked off the alcohol. Set aside to cool.

Ravioli

3/4 cup flour + more for rolling

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup water

1 tsp olive oil

Mix flour and salt together. Mix water and oil together. Add wet to dry and stir with fork to form a dough. Knead the dough ball for 10 minutes, adding flour if necessary. Let sit, covered, for 10 minutes or more. Divide the dough in half. Roll out each dough ball into a thin sheet. Onto one sheet of dough, make heart shaped imprints using a large heart shaped cookie cutter. (Or, if you have such a thing, use a heart shaped press). Spoon filling onto the hearts, spreading to the edges. Lay the second sheet of dough over the first sheet and the filling. Re-press with the heart cutter and press down right through the dough.

imageRemove the excess dough. Crimp the edges of the ravioli hearts with a fork.

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imageMove the ravioli hearts carefully onto a floured surface. Cook the ravioli by lowering carefully into boiling oiled and salted water. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove carefully with a slotted spoon and place directly onto a plate of tomato sauce.

imageTomato Sauce

6 Roma tomatoes, skinned

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 small onion, chopped finely

1 tsp dried oregano

couple of grindings of black pepper

Put the tomatoes in a pot and cook/simmer with the garlic, onion, oregano and pepper until the tomatoes begin to fall apart. Chop up with a spoon while cooking. Stick an immersion blender in the sauce and give it a few spins to evenly break up the tomato chunks.

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Mincemeat

Merry Christmas everyone! And Happy Winter Solstice! Whatever you celebrate, and wherever you are, I hope you were able to spend time with loved ones and to eat delicious food. I hosted the Christmas dinner today. Along with the turkey I cooked for my omnivore family, and to satisfy tradition, “Tom” and I also made mashed potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts and carrots, garlic-white wine mushrooms, and peas. This is our usual fare for Thanksgiving and Christmas and there isn’t much leeway allowed on these food choices by the traditionalists in the family. Where there is a little more room for experimentation is dessert. Often I will make Apple Crumble or “Tom” will make one of his sensational pies, but this year, I decided to be traditional and new age at the same time. I made vegan mincemeat tarts. When I set out to make the mincemeat, I remembered that years ago, when I used to do a lot of baking, I would make vegetarian mincemeat – no animal suet used in the making. I searched through my extensive recipe file for my mincemeat recipe and I searched through the internet looking for a vegan mincemeat recipe. I couldn’t find what I was looking for in either of those places. So, I decided to make my own version of vegan mincemeat based on my memory and on a few ideas I found online. Here’s what I came up with:

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1/2 cup apple juice

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 apples, peeled, cored, diced

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup currants

handful chopped dried cherries, optional

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp allspice

1 tbsp. brandy or rum or whiskey

Heat the apple juice and brown sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Combine all the ingredients together, including the sweetened juice. Stir well, then let sit for an hour or more to allow the dried fruit to plump up and to let flavours develop.

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I made mincemeat tarts with my mincemeat, but you could also make a mincemeat pie or even just serve the mincemeat straight up with a bit of vegan ice cream or cashew cream. To make my tarts, I made some pastry dough, rolled it out fairly thinly, cut out large circles using a small bowl as my cut-out, then lined a tart pan (like a muffin pan except the sides are more sloping) with the pastry circles. It’s a bit tricky doing the crust for tarts – you have to gently press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the openings in the tart pan, and the dough will overlap on the sides, and you have to press and flatten and make sure it isn’t too thick and make sure that you’re careful and the dough doesn’t rip. Whew! I ended up making just 6 of these tarts. Then I found some pre-made tart shells in the freezer and I filled 4 of these with mincemeat. Finally, I  made a larger tart using what I call a patty-pan. By then, I had run out of mincemeat and I was done working with pastry!

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Before serving, I heated the tarts up a bit then served them with cashew cream. They were a big hit. Even my cynical-about-vegan-cooking brother declared them “delicious”.

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