21 May 2011

This Week in My Kitchen: Cauliflower Leek Soup, Rainbow Pasta Salad, Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cauliflower Leek Soup
I don't even really like cauliflower. I've always thought of it as a bland, white broccoli wannabe, and I love broccoli. So what possessed me to buy a head of cauliflower? Who knows? It sat in the fridge forever, and my friend Stephanie suggested I make soup. Good call. Three leeks came in the Spud delivery that very day, so cauliflower leek soup it was.
I cut the cauliflower into florets and the leeks into half-inch strips and put them into a pot with about 2 cups of vegetable broth. I covered the pot and let it cook for a little while, maybe 15 minutes, then pureed it all. I added some salt & pepper and there you have it. It was probably the simplest soup I've ever made, and it was delicious. Kirk raved about it and ate two bowls.
Maybe cauliflower is alright after all...

Rainbow Pasta Salad
My new favourite pasta is Mrs. Leeper's Corn Rotelli. The beautiful golden colour is what attracted me. The ingredient list is what convinced me: 100% organic corn flour. That's it. Sold.
For this pasta salad I cut a shallot, a yellow bell pepper (red would have been prettier, but yellow's what I had), and some baby carrots into pea-sized bits. I boiled the pasta and added the veggies, plus some frozen peas, in the last few minutes of cooking just to blanch them. I drained everything and added the dressing I made from Spectrum Eggless Canola Mayonnaise, dried dill, salt, pepper and a bit of turmeric for colour.
After chilling it for a couple if hours we dug in. It was pretty good and very pretty and fed us for two days.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
I had a sweet tooth the other night and made the Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. The last time I made them they came out a little greasy, so I used a bit less canola oil and a pinch more flour. They came out good. Not fabulous, but good.

17 May 2011

Vegan Eats Vancouver: Romer's Burger Bar

Burger Bar? A burger bar on a mostly vegan blog? I know, it sounds weird, and Romer's Burger Bar on West 4th is definitely a meat-lover's paradise, but I've discovered they can feed me well too. Kirk had a burger craving (of the meaty variety), and he'd been to Romer's before. He knew they had a veg option and he convinced me to give it a try.

Romer's is a pretty typical Kitsilano yuppie hangout. It's definitely a step up from most Vancouver casual burger places (read: Vera's and the like), both in menu and decor. The service was good, and so was the food. They use lots of local ingredients, which I appreciate, and everything is fresh made in-house. And for Kits the prices are totally reasonable.

They scored their first point with me by featuring Ginger Beer on their drink menu. I had a bottle of Fentiman's Natural Ginger Beer, which was heavenly. I also had their Maple Whiskey Ginger Martini, which is made with Canadian maple whiskey liqueur, maple syrup and ginger beer. It was a great after-dinner drink. They also have a cocktail called the Dark n' Stormy, which features Appleton VX rum, Fentiman's ginger beer, lime juice and cane syrup. Next time...

Their vegetarian option is a stack of roasted veggies sandwiched between two roasted portabello mushroom caps. It's served with red pepper vinaigrette, some salad greens and a peperoncini pepper. I asked for no goat cheese. Kirk and I shared a basket of the garlic fries - probably not a good first date option, but after 9 years we don't care about garlic breath - which were heavenly. The portabello stack was good, but not special. It's a nice change from the typical veggie burger options, though, so I'm not complaining and I'd order it again. But I can't lie - if I were to go back it would be for the fries and the cocktails!

Romer's Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

15 May 2011

This Week in My Kitchen: Vegan B.L.T., Gnocchi n' Cheeze, Spicy Szechuan Stir Fry with Quinoa

I'm finally starting to get back into the habit of cooking at home. For a few months we ate out all the time, which is disastrous for our waistlines and our budget!

Vegan B.L.T.
Lately I've been having more of an appreciation for fake meats. I was never huge on them, and I don't know what brought this on, but I'm going with it. Yves Veggie Bacon (which I've never tried before) was on sale at Safeway this week, so this morning I made a B.L.T. for breakfast. I toasted two slices of Silverhills Squirrely bread in the toaster oven with two slices of bacon on top of each. That way the bacon cooked with minimal effort and dishes, and it kept the bread from toasting on both sides, which is how I prefer it for sandwiches. I put mustard and Spectrum Eggless Canola Mayonnaise on the untoasted sides and layered the bacon, some sliced tomatoes and salad greens in between. It was delicious!

Gnocchi n' Cheeze
Kirk and I are big fans of gnocchi. It's light and fluffy and yummy, and best of all, cooks up in no time! For dinner one night I whipped up some of this cheeze sauce and served it with mini gnocchi. Yum! Definitely not a nutritionally-balanced meal, but great comfort food.

Spicy Szechuan Stir Fry with Quinoa
The stir fry is a vegetarian staple, isn't it? I can't even count how many bad or just bland sir fries I've been served at dinner parties, restaurants, and even weddings! But at home it's a different story - you can experiment with ingredients and flavours to your heart's delight. One night this week I realised that we had some veggies in the fridge that we needed to eat before they went bad. I washed and cut up some green beans, an onion, an orange bell pepper and some mushrooms and stir fried them with garlic and Szechuan sauce. Near the end of cooking I added some chopped spinach. Since I didn't add any protein to the veggies, serving it over quinoa was an obvious choice, and I sprinkled black and white sesame seeds over the top. Bam - a healthy, cheap, nutritious meal in 20 minutes.

14 May 2011

New art: Kate

I haven't been very creative lately. Between working a lot and other recent events, I just haven't had the time or the inclination.

Then I saw a photo of my friend Kate that inspired me to make a portrait of her. It was fun, and now I'm raring to go on more creative projects.

13 May 2011

Vegan Eats Vancouver: The Templeton

The Templeton is one of my favourite restaurants in Vancouver. If I didn't hate going downtown so much I'd eat there a lot more often.

The Templeton is a cute little retro diner on Granville Street, with mini jukeboxes on the tables and updated diner comfort food. The service is always amazing, despite the fact that they are always busy, and they have a creative vegetarian food selection that's not just veggie burgers. They even have Italian sodas made with coconut milk! Yum!

Last time I was there for dinner I had my old standby, the Vegan Lentil Loaf with fries and mushroom gravy. The loaf, which is made with lentils and nuts, is always delicious, although it was a little overcooked and dry around the edges this time. The gravy fixed that, and I enjoyed it immensely. The fries and gravy are made in-house and are SO delicious! As good as their side salad and garlic mashed potatoes are, I almost always choose the fries because good home made fries are just irresistible.

Why don't I ever make lentil loaf at home? Anyone have a good recipe?

The Templeton on Urbanspoon