Tag Archives: gluten-free

A Love Affair with Eggplant

Eggplant is one of those strange foods that confuse children (what do you mean its an egg plant, it doesn’t look like and egg and it definitely doesn’t taste like one) and adults aren’t always sure if they like it or not (eggplant poorly done is pretty gross). I love getting my eggplants from Lufa Farms, they are always just the right size and the idea that my food grew on a warehouse rooftop right in the middle of my major city is, well delightful. Especially since whenever I try to grow anything the squirrels get fat and my planters end up empty. I had one in my fridge from my last order and although I really wanted to eat it, cooking in 30 degree weather isn’t really pleasant. So I needed something that required minimal time in front of the stove. And the following two recipes were born.

I love salt, so if you are less of a salt affectionado the first one may be a bit too salty for you, my kids didn’t really go for it (they aren’t used to salt, as I do not cook with it as a primary flavouring very often.) So I cannot in my right mind suggest you try feeding this to your kids either, but its a nice side dish for a summer dinner.

Finding ways to make tofu more interesting is an ongoing experiment, my kids love it but I get tired of eating the same protein with the same flavourings over and over again. Since it was again too hot to bake in the over my BBQ tofu was out (I do not have a grill, I really want one now but its not convenient in apartment living and I am pretty sure I would set fire to my place anyway) Since I had some indian insipired rice a friend had brought over during my recovery from surgery (I had one of my heart issues corrected a few weeks ago!) I decided to stick with similar flavours and it turned out quite nicely.  This, the kids ate.

Photos to come, I need a new phone or camera and so photos for the moment are pretty few and far between.

  

 Pan Seared Eggplant and Tofu
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 brick extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 medium eggplant
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 2 tsp Coriander
  • pinch of cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp dried currants 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Method:
cut tofu and eggplant into bite sized cubes,  put in large mixing bowl and toss with currents, salt and spices. (you can adjust these to your taste)

Heat oil in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat (or use a bit more oil in a conventional pan) – you may need to work in two batches if you pan is small – put eggplant and tofu in pan in a single layer making sure all pieces contact the bottom of the pan, stir to flip the pieces every 3-4 min until eggplant is softened and tofu is browned.

Serve over rice or quinoa with a soy sour cream mint sauce (Sour supreme, lemon juice and a lot of dried mint.) 

Eggplant Patties
serves 2

Ingredients:
1 small eggplant of 1/2 medium, sliced into circles
1/2 cup Braggs soy alternative (or soy sauce)
1 tbsp PB2 (or 2 TBSP natural peanut butter)
1 green onion, sliced
3 tbsp chickpea flour
2 tsp olive oil

Heat oil in pan over medium heat.
toss eggplant with the rest of the ingredients in a medium bowl, be sure to cover the eggplant generously. if its too thin and doesnt stick to the eggplant add more flour.

in pre-heated pan place the patties and turn after 6-7 min, you may need longer depending on thickness of your slices, the eggplant is ready when it is completely softened. (the skins edges will sorta curve in and will become transparent)
wonderful served on brown rice cooked in veggie broth.

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Sweet potatoes…. I love you, I love you not

IMG_4493We hung out with our cousins one weekend this summer (well many weekends, but one particular weekend inspired this post). It was fun, and I discovered that their kid too used to love sweet potatoes and now turns his nose up at them. I’ve heard this strange story from other parents too. I understand sometimes liking things sometimes not, I understand liking only certain preparations of foods, but going from basically a sweet potato monster to absolutely refusing to eat them, this fairly typical toddler transition baffles me.

For us, and my cousin, this happened sometime before their 3rd birthdays. Now, just after their 4th birthday I am starting to see a sweet potato revival. I have continued to cook with and serve sweet potatoes. Usually accepting that the leftover sweet potato dish would be my lunch.

I really like sweet potatoes, it was the magical food on holiday plates. Cooked in generous amounts of butter and brown sugar candied sweet potatoes and I are good friends. Yet even prepared this way (with vegan butter) my children refused to touch them, I was baffled. I still am because I am drooling just thinking about these!

I tried mashing them with vegan butter, brown sugar, pumpkin pie type spices and still nope. I tried plain and boiled
(sometimes with toddlers the simpler the better) big nope. I tried in soups and stews, which worked only if accidentally ingested. I tried fries (only if the frozen variety, made by the grandparents and served with mayo). I roasted them in very shape I could think of (nope). I was out of ideas. Then my mother had a craving for sweet potato chips. So we made some. In the oven, with olive oil and salt. And 2 out of 3 preschool aged children ate them. (The lone hold out has since relented to these) We had a collective mom mouth drop and a way to make sweet potato chips for the future:

Sweet Potato Chips

serves: 6                prep time: 15minutes          bake time:40min approx

Ingredients:
3 sweet potatoes cut into chips, carefully!, with mandolin or by hand
1-2  tsp olive oil
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper

Method:
Pre-heat oven to 400
Lay sliced potato out on a parchment paper lined baking sheet (you may need to make 2 batches) sprinkle half the salt and the pepper over the potatoes drizzle the oil over them toss with your hands to coat them all toss with rest of salt and the lay in a single layer on the baking sheet, any that don’t fit just keep aside for the next batch.
Bake for about 45 min turning once or twice, watch carefully as they go from perfect to burnt very quickly. They are still a little soft when “perfect” allow to cool a few minutes on a cooling sheet or wooden board. They will crisp up a bit more as they cool.

Easy, healthy (use other seasonings, or salt preparations like herbamare to cut back on the sodium content), and sweet potato hating kid approved!

Since this particular weekend, homemade sweet potato chips and fries go over extraordinarily well. We even had a french fry dinner.

 

Pumpkin Soup for Halloween (or anytime)

I think this is the absolute easiest soup to make, it requires so few ingredients, takes no time to cook and it is delightful. It requires a lot of tasting, which makes me feel like a real chef! I have make this when I have opened canned pumpkin for something else (like my honey cake).

pumpkin dinner

My first Rosh Hashanna featured this soup!

Pumpkin Soup

Serves 8             prep time: NONE!       cook time: 15min

Ingredients:

1 can pure pumpkin puree or approx 2 cups homemade
4 or more cups of vegetable broth (to desired consistency, I often use up to 6 cups)
3 tbsp maple syrup (adjust to taste)
1/2 tsp ginger,
1/4 tsp allspice
a dash of nutmeg  or add a tbsp of pumpkin pie spice mix instead of all spices.
optional: dehydrated onion, or fresh onion. parsley as garnish
about 1/4 cup Tofffuti Sour Supreme (or regular sour cream)

Method:
if using fresh onion chop very finely and saute in a little oil until soft and transparent.
add all the pumpkin and vegetable broth and dehydrated onion flakes if using that in a large pot, whisk together over medium heat. add more broth until the consistency is smooth and not too thick. add maple syrup and spices,  (sometimes I make this only with nutmeg) and bring to a gentle boil (do not let it get to a rolling boil) reduce heat to low and allow to simmer 5-10min. Serve with 1-2 tbsp of sour cream, garnish with some flat leaf parsley.

apumpkins Happy Pumpkins for a fun “holiday” of giving and receiving candy. In religious communities there may be a lot of debate and disagreement about such a day, but my sweet children dressed as a Brave princess and a fireman are anything but violent, pagan or inappropriate. I have no problem with the day as long as it is just about having fun, enjoying some fall produce and maybe a little (or a lot) of sugary treats.

As for the soup: My kids enjoy the sour cream part, they do not really like creamy soups, but they enjoy mixing the sour cream into the soup and will eat a decent amount just because of this novelty. Since this is not a meal soup I have no problems with this and it allows them to experiment a bit.

Pizza and pumpkins and pumpkin seeds

A few weeks ago the medium-sized pumpkins were 2 for 3$ at the grocery store. Perfect for medium-sized twins. We coloured on them and put them in the window for sukkot. Now Halloween is approaching so we will carve the sukkot pumpkins for some secular fun. And eat the seeds. This last part is very important. Seeds are good for you but seeds are also super yummy. especially covered in salt and spices. Continue reading Pizza and pumpkins and pumpkin seeds

Cauliflower and eggplant curry

I watch way too much house hunters. I am watching it now and there is such a thing as a “keeping rooom”. I need this. A room to “keep” the kids in while I cook. What a wonderful idea. Safer than when I run into their room wielding a kitchen knife because it sounds like the toy closet just fell on someone’s head. (True story, but nothing fell it was just that girl twin couldn’t get her shirt on this morning). As for the keeping room, I probably find us a house first ;).

This was an experimental dish that turned out to be fantastic. But I forgot to write down the exact proportions of the spices. The beauty of spices in a curry though is that it’s pretty much up to your tastes. This dish turned out so much better than I ever imagined.

Cauliflower and eggplant curry.

Serves: 6 Prep time: 15 min Cook time:30min

Ingredients:

1tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 onion very thinly sliced
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 small eggplants, cubed
1/3 of a zucchini, sliced/chopped
1 can no salt added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 can organic diced tomatoes
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste. Especially if your canned things are no salt added.
Water (about 1/2-1 cup)

Method:
In a large pot heat oil, add cumin seeds and garlic and roast until fragrant, add onion and cook until softened. A brown layer will likely form on bottom of pot this is ok, when you add onions you can add some water and this flavourful layer will mix into the onions. Add the rest of the ingredients except spices and cook until cauliflower and eggplant is tender. (20 min or so). Be sure to add at least 1/2 cup of water. The exact amount needed depends on how much liquid you add from the tomatoes. When eggplant starts to darken you can add the spices, I find this keeps the flavours from dying out too much or over concentrating in the eggplant.

Can be frozen, delicious alone or served with Naan or rice.

No eggplant? Try it with potatoes instead.IMG_0258.JPG

Slow cooker fajita soup

Cooking food for my kids and I to share means cutting back on my love of spice. So every now and then I like to make something that is warm and spicy. My kids don’t mind some spice but I am pretty sure it’s cayenne that they immediately respond to with “it’s too spicy”.IMG_5373

This dish was a trial of sorts. It was delightful though I finished this bowl and wanted more, but had already put away the rest! I had leftovers from Thursdays tofu fajitas ( I make it for them without the spices, or just a dash and  some onion and garlic sauteed with the veggies). I had a lot of unused onions and peppers already cut in strips. I didn’t think if I stir fried them I could effectively freeze without the defrosted version tasting like mush.  The idea of a slow cooker fajita rice bowl came to mind. The results of this recipe was more soup like so I split it up left myself a serving of soup with the broth and the rest I froze with very little liquid (there was a lot of broth left over so this recipe could easily make plenty of soup for everyone but my goal was to serve over rice with fresh tomatoes and avocado another day (this recipe below).

This mildy spicy soup is great on a rainy cool day with some fresh toasted rye bread. I use a slow cooker because I do not want to dirty excessive dishes or spend time breaking things into steps. So like all my slow cooker recipes this is easy.IMG_5371

Slow Cooker Fajita “soup”

SERVES: 4-6                           Prep: 10min                                  Slow cook: 5hrs

Ingredients:

1 can black beans, drained
1 can low sodium tomatoes
1-2 onions (I like red onions) cut into strips
3 peppers, cut into strips
1/2 yellow zucchini, thinly sliced
1-2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 cup water
2-3tbsp favourite Mexican spice mix (I used taco seasoning)

Method:

Dump the ingredients into your slow cooker and cook on low for 5hrs stirring once after 30-40min. (my guestimate would be 2hrs on high)IMG_5369

Slow Cooker Fajita Rice Bowl

The alternative for this recipe is to leave all the “broth” behind, ( I would totally save the broth for a day when home with a cold) (quantities for 4 people)

Ingredients:
1 batch fajita “soup”
2 Cups cooked brown rice (I use a wild and brown mix from PC Organics)
2 Chopped fresh tomatoes
1 Chopped fresh avocado (toss with lemon juice) or guacamole
1/2 cup Toffuti sour cream or soured cashew cream (mix a dash of lemon juice into your cashew cream).
4 tbsp Fresh cilantro

Method:
Put 1/2 cup of rice in bottom of each bowl, top with generous amount of cooked veggies and beans, add 1/4 of the toppings to each bowl garnishing with the fresh cilantro.

We may be having this for dinner tonight, watch for pictures on facebook if we do!

Red Pepper Dip (Dairy free and vegan)

dip3 Quick and easy this dip was a hit! It has been a personal challenge to make good, dairy free dips for the dip lover in the house. This was a win.

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Serves: 4                                                                                       Prep time: 5 min

Ingredients:
2 tbsp  mayo (Nayonaise)
2 tbsp sour cream (Toffuti)
2 tsp roasted red pepper from a jar (S&F)
1 tsp  garlic from same jar (if your jar doesnt have garlic, I am sure you can use fresh just press it with a garlic press and use  little less)

Method:

Mince the garlic and pepper and mix all ingredients together.

If you are 4, swirl with ketchup while you eat.

Goes great with all kinds of oven fries.

dip4Share me!!!