November 4, 2012 § 3 Comments
I’ve always been the friendly vegetarian. The one who will admit to loving the smell of roasted chicken and chuckle at your unoriginal bacon jokes and say nothing while my dinner date eats steak. I don’t often talk about being vegetarian and I don’t eat goji berries or drink kombucha.
But with more of my friends becoming vegetarian lately, even vegan, I have been feeling a bit bold. Empowered, you might says. Perhaps even smug. I am beginning to take pride in being a vegetarian and have begun eating fewer eggs, less milk and cheese. I have been eating and making silken tofu chocolate mousse and eating cookies at Bunner’s and just the other morning I had vegan huevos rancheros at Sadie’s Diner.
If I could eat the huevo rancheros at Sadie’s Diner every day I think I would. It had scrambled tofu instead of eggs, tapioca cheese instead of cheddar, guacamole, salsa, lettuce and beans on a couple of corn tortillas. It was so damn tasty. And, perhaps best of all, I left Sadie’s Diner feeling satisfied and full but not weighed down with dairy or guilt of any kind. If you are in Toronto and have not been to Sadie’s Diner, I am telling you that you should go. On any given Saturday morning you will find the tiny, turquoise diner full of hungry, hungover vegans devouring their own plates of huevos rancheros because the food at Sadie’s is generous, delicious and good for both your body and your conscience.
Oh, and they serve breakfast all day, so, you know, there’s that.
October 29, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I almost didn’t share this since it is such a simple lunch but I think the simplicity is what makes it so wonderful: A couple smears of avocado, a few slices of tomato, a handful of artisan lettuce and some asiago cheese. These kinds of lunches may not have a long list of ingredients or any complicated cooking methods but I like that about them. I like that you get to taste the natural flavour of the vegetables themselves. The bright, beautiful tomato, the bitter lettuce leaves, the creamy avocado and the soft asiago with just a bit of salt to bring it all out.
October 29, 2012 § 2 Comments
In a couple of days I’ll be moving from my small, shared apartment to a (somewhat) larger, bachelor apartment nearby. I have lived in my apartment with its black and white checkered floor and broken bathroom door for two and a half years now and time to move on to better things. I will be moving into an old apartment with weathered hardwood floors and an antique radiator and deep windowsills. There is even a window in the shower. I cannot even begin to tell you how happy I am to be moving.
To get ready for moving day, I have spent the last little while packing my life into cardboard boxes. Bottles of wine and high heeled shoes and books that I have yet to read. I have also started to eat up the all the food in my cupboards and fridge. That heavy can of chickpeas, that bag of potatoes, the last of the oatmeal.
That is what this meal is. Its me using up the leftover tomato sauce in my fridge, the ciabatta buns from my parents and the lentil meatballs that I made a while back. Although it was a thrown together meal, this lentil and ricotta meatball sandwich was so good. I haven’t had a meatball sandwich since I went vegetarian and this one was as tasty and satisfying as I remember. The tomato sauce was flavourful (and all over my face), the ciabatta buns were chewy and firm, the lentil and ricotta meatballs from Sprouted Kitchen were meaty and rich.
Lentil and Ricotta Meatballs
Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen
2 cups of cooked lentils
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup of ricotta cheese
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 tbsp of finely chopped parsley
1 tsp of salt
2/3 cup of breadcrumbs
1 tsp of black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F
2. In a blender, blend the lentils until they are mush.
3. Put the lentil mash in a large bowl and stir in the eggs, ricotta, parmesan, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Then stir in the breadcrumbs and let it all stand for about half an hour.
4. Now you can roll the lentil and ricotta mash into small balls, brush them with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
5. Bake them in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Then gently turn the lentil balls over halfway through baking and bake for another 10 or 15 minutes.
October 21, 2012 § 3 Comments
Everyone has a gift. For some it singing. For others its jumping hurdles. Some people are good at swimming or telling jokes or calculus. And then there are those people who have the natural talent to make incredibly fresh, ridiculously tasty salads. My friend Leah is one of those people.
I recently spent an afternoon at Leah’s house as we reminisced about our small hometown, discussed our plans for after graduation and whined our way through pages of foreign affairs and contemporary Canadian literature. When we took a break for lunch, Leah effortlessly threw together one of the best salads I have had in a long time. A pile of romaine lettuce, a couple handfuls of corn, chickpeas and sunflower seeds, some chopped tomato, aged balsamic vinegar and a dollop of carrot and butternut squash purée made for the most wonderful salad.
The tomatoes were so bright and flavourful and the the corn and sunflower seeds gave the salad a nice crunch. I also could not get enough of the aged balsamic! I also loved the sweet carrot and squash purée, which I would never have thought to put on a salad.
Ever since I had lunch at Leah’s that day, I have been getting creative with the arugula and the oak leaf in my fridge and I can’t wait to start sharing more salads with you!
October 20, 2012 § 4 Comments
This blog has changed a lot since it started and I have decided to start making a few more changes. The more I read other blogs (see: Keepin’ It Kind, The Inquiring Chef) the more I learn what I like and don’t like about other food blogs and my own.
I don’t like when the photos on other food blogs have all kinds of small silver spoons and folded napkins and tiny bowls of this and that. I don’t like when each photo is perfect and there are pumpkins rolling around carelessly behind a bowl of steaming chili or blueberries scattered all over the table. And yet, ever since I started this blog, a part of me always wanted to be that girl that has rustic, autumnal flatware and an arsenal of adorable utensils. But I’m not. I like clean, white bowls and a plain background and a sprig of parsley if I’m feeling fancy. I am an honest, realistic, straightforward girl and I want the photos and the words on this blog to reflect that.
I have also learned a lot from Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest. I love being able to search for healthy food on Instagram and find hundreds of dishes that I can throw together myself just from looking at the photo, being creative and working with what I’ve got. I want this blog to be a bit more like that. I want to be able to show you what I actually eat. Not just what I eat when I take the afternoon to bake four batches of Martha Stewart muffins or when I labour over some Mario Batali lasagna. I want to show you the delicious pumpkin oatmeal that I made before going on some cold and early morning run. I want to show you the creamy mushroom risotto that I threw together when I thought I had nothing in my cupboard or fridge. And so that’s what I’m going to do. Along with the bright, beautiful photos that I take now, I am also going to start sharing some Instagram snaps of what I actually eat.
I’ll start with this: Cranky, tired and worn out from school, Jason and I threw together some potatoes, leftover orzo salad with roasted mushrooms, onions, peppers, feta and some artisan lettuce for dinner a while back. I wanted to share this dinner with you because, to me, it was perfect. It was all about using up what we had in the fridge, enjoying our fresh farmers’ market finds, cooking simply, throwing it all in a bowl and not following any kind of recipe.
This is the kind of food, the kind of life, that I want to share with you. Let’s see where it goes.
October 2, 2012 § 2 Comments
Do you have any foods that you forget how much you like? For me its carrots, hard boiled eggs and olives.
September 17, 2012 § 4 Comments
Its back to school time and you know what that means: Sandwiches. Lots of them.
July 30, 2012 § 4 Comments
The other day I took the boy to Kensington market. He had never been to Kensington and its pretty much a home away from home to me so we had to spend a sunny afternoon there. We browsed the shops, bought a couple of vintage shirts, smelled every incent from patchouli to lemongrass to chai latte and, before we knew it, worked up a bit of an appetite.
There are so many places in Kensington that I have wanted to eat at (Sublime, Bellevue, Last Temptation, Sadie’s) but we decided to grab lunch at Cafe Unwind. Cafe Unwind is a small, simple cafe with rustic barstools, a chalkboard menu and lots of natural light. The owners are friendly and full of laughter. Jason and I just had sandwiches but the soup and salads looked so delicious, healthy and wholesome.
I had a mushroom sandwich with garlic hummus, gouda and spinach. Being vegetarian, I’ve had more than a few mushroom sandwiches and this was the best! The mushrooms were fresh and firm and the slice of gouda was a match made in mushroom heaven. And that bread! I don’t know what kind of bread they use at Cafe Unwind but I’d like to find out because it was toasted to crispy perfection on the outside but the inside was soft and light.
Jason had the jerk chicken sandwich with jack cheese, roasted red peppers and mango chutney. I didn’t have a taste of his sandwich but Jason said a couple of times how much he liked the jerk spices and the mango chutney. It definitely looked tasty!
We ended with a couple of lemon shortbread cookies and headed back to Kensington to wander for a while longer before heading home.
July 25, 2012 § 1 Comment
I can’t be the only one who rolls their eyes every time they hear a chef or cookbook author say that their dishes are inspired by the fresh, vibrant fruits and vegetables of their local farmers’ market. Don’t get me wrong. Fresh and local are wonderful. Farmers’ markets are wonderful. I just have this image in my head of Giada De Laurentiis at a California farmers’ market on a sunny Saturday afternoon, holding a zucchini in her hand and crying “Aha! I’ll make an asparagus and zucchini crudi!” Cue the big, white Giada smile.
Well, I hate to say it, but this cherry tomato and chickpea salad was inspired by the farmers’ market.
As many of you know, I work at the Ryerson farmers’ market. On Tuesday I sat beside the Vanhart Farms stand and spent the entire afternoon admiring their bounty of zucchini, carrots, basil, peppers and, of course, cherry tomatoes. The orange, yellow and red cherry tomatoes looked so colourful and fresh that I had to take some home and make this salad for myself and my cherry tomato loving boyfriend later that evening.
This salad is so easy to make and it is just bursting with fresh basil and tomato flavour. It is definitely one that I’ll be making again!
4 cups of cherry tomatoes
1 1/2 cups of chickpeas
8 basil leaves
1/4 cup of balsamic vinaigrette
1 tbsp of lemon juice
salt and pepper
1. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and place them in a large salad bowl.
2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and add them to the bowl.
3. Now chop the basil leaves into thin strips and add them to the bowl as well.
4. Stir the balsamic vinaigrette and lemon juice into the salad. Finish with a bit of salt and pepper.
5. Allow the salad to cool in the fridge for about an hour and then serve with crusty bread or toast.
July 23, 2012 § 3 Comments
You know how at the start of every summer you always vow to have the best summer ever and come up with a long list of things you’re going to do? Picnics in the park, riding your bike to the farmers’ market, going to concerts and lots of casual weekend trips to the cottage? I do, and every summer I end up half asleep on the couch in my parents’ air conditioned house watching reruns of The Wedding Singer on W Network.