Blueberry-Walnut Phyllo Pockets with Blueberry-Cashew-Coconut Cream

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Greetings, friends. I have a new post for you all. I’ve been sitting on this one for a couple weeks, but it’s a really good one. I’ve decided to commit to keeping this blog updated once a month. Truth be told, I’ve never worked with phyllo dough before and I quickly discovered that if it isn’t at room temperature, you shouldn’t bother with trying to use it at all. It can be a bit fickle, but this recipe is worth it. The basil makes it. I originally set out to make nice little triangular phyllo shapes, but as you can from the photo, that didn’t really work out. So, I’m going with phyllo ‘pockets’ instead of ‘triangles.’ It might not look pretty, but they didn’t (completely) fall apart and they’re damn tasty.

Ingredients
¾ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and strained
½ coconut milk
1/3 cup blueberries
½ of a large banana
¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
Sea salt, to taste
Blueberries
Walnut pieces, toasted
Fresh basil, chopped
Phyllo sheets, room temperature
¼ cup to ½ cup vegan margarine, melted to a liquid in a saucepan

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a blender, combine the soaked cashews, coconut milk, 1/3 cup blueberries, banana, shredded coconut, lemon juice, sugar, and a small pinch of salt. Purée until smooth.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine however much blueberries, walnut pieces, and basil you’d like with the blueberry-cashew-coconut cream; just make sure the mix is still very creamy. Add more sea salt, to taste.
4. Stuff your phyllo pastries with the mixture and brush the tops liberally with the melted margarine. Use this video for help if you’ve never worked with phyllo sheets. Pop them into the oven until golden (about 15 to 20 minutes). You can dollop the pockets with any leftover cream you have.

Spinach-Artichoke Dip

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Hey friends. The plan was to post this a couple weeks ago, but life got in the way. Stuff got really busy and this post got put on the back burner. I swear to you, that’s what happened, I’m not letting this blog slip back into the bloggosphere’s nebulous limbo… at least not yet. While the restaurant, and the 60+ hours a week that it sucks from my soul, is clearly my life’s priority, I do enjoy making and archiving these little recipes for both myself and whomever is out there reading this. That being said, I had a very busy February. I just got back from a little mini vacation to Philadelphia, which was great. Ate some good food, drank some good beer, and met up with some friends that were down there playing a concert. It’s a wonderful city and I suggest you check it out if you haven’t yet already. Some recommendations for food and/or drink: Blackbird Pizzeria and Memphis Taproom. Before my little getaway to Philly, nearly every second away from the restaurant was spent in search of a new apartment and I’m happy to say, my new roommate and I found one couple weeks ago for April 1st. Now, the downside of this is that Warren, whom you may or may not know takes all of these nice photos for me, will no longer be living with me come next month. Sad indeed.

This recipe is super easy to make. Now, if you’re like most people, myself included, sometimes you buy a bundle of fresh herbs, use them in one thing, and let them go bad in the back of the fridge. This recipe only calls for a couple tablespoons of fresh dill and we all know that isn’t quite a full bunch’s worth. Try using the rest up in this recipe, or maybe this recipe. Or this recipe. I think the last one was a joke.

Ingredients
3 cups spinach, sautéd
1 14oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
1 heaping tablespoon tahini
Juice of 1 lemon (about ¼ cup)
2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
Daiya cheese, shredded mozzarella flavour

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and sauté the spinach until wilted.
3. In a food processor, combine the spinach, artichoke hearts, tahini, lemon juice, white wine, and dill. Process a few seconds until the artichokes are broken down. Season to taste with salt and drizzle in some more olive oil (a couple tablespoons approx.) while the processor is running.
4. Pour your mixture into an appropriately sized oven safe dish, top it with as much Daiya and you want, and pop it into the oven until the cheese is melted. Easy peasy.

Black Bean-Sweet Potato Quinoa

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Are people still crazy about quinoa? Is that still a thing? Whoooo cares, this dish is mad good. I eat a lot of quinoa, mostly because there’s a health food store around the corner from my apartment that sells it in bulk for $2.99/pound, which is really good for around here. Brown rice is still a lot cheaper, so I switch it up every few days. Basically, my three go-to grains/starches when I make myself dinner are quinoa, short grain brown rice (Lundberg, word up), and rice noodles. Physically, I always feel super great after eating a bunch of quinoa, although I feel a bit more satiated after brown rice or noodles, and almost as vital as after eating quinoa. Ya know? Where is this going? I don’t know. Are you bored yet? I am.

So the recipe. This recipe is allllll about the fresh ginger, chilies, lime juice, and cilantro. Those four ingredients are the big bright flavours, going in fresh after the quinoa is done cooking, that make this dish. The ingredients list below call for them to be added to taste, so go nuts, it’ll be good, I promise. Also, for the ginger, I highly suggest investing $15 in a Microplane zester; the perfect tool for all your fine grating needs!

Ingredients
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups sweet potato, cut into small cubes (important, so they cooked all the way through)
2 cups quinoa, rinsed
2 teaspoons tamari or shoyu soy sauce
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon sea salt
3 cups water
2 cups cooked black beans (or 1 regular-sized can), rinsed
Sea salt, to taste
Lime juice, to taste
Cilantro, to taste
Chilies, minced ,to taste (I used red ones. Leave the seeds in if you’re crazy for da spice)
Fresh ginger, finely grated or minced, to taste

Instructions
1. In a large-sized saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the the onion and garlic. Sauté, stirring frequently, for a few minutes until the onion is softened and fragrant.
2. Stir in the sweet potato, quinoa, soy sauce, cumin, and the ¼ teaspoon sea salt. Continue to sauté, stirring frequently for another two or three minutes. Sauteing the grains like this will allow them to toast a bit, which will make them tastier after they’re cooked.
3. Add the water, stir, and turn the heat up to high. Once boiling, turn heat down to low, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, still covered, for another 15 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with a fork to make sure the quinoa has absorbed all the water.
4. Transfer the whole thing to your biggest mixing bowl and the remaining ingredients. Season it all to taste! Make it yummy!
Makes: 4 to 6 servings

Roasted Garlic-Apple-Celeriac Soup

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Alright, it’s been a long time since I’ve lasted posted. And perhaps a longer time before that. Every now and then, this blog still comes up in conversation and even though during the past year I generally haven’t had any real interest in reviving it, a part of me still missed it a little bit. Well, I think I’m finally ready to pull this site from the blogosphere limbo and keep it alive with semi-regular posts. And by semi-regular, I mean once every two weeks or so. The restaurant keeps me busy, but it shouldn’t keep me too busy to not be able to crank out some new recipes every now and then. I’m at a point right now with Hot Beans where it becomes counterproductive to be working there for more than 50 or 55 hours a week. I’ve found that constantly working long hours six days a week, while being a great labour cost saver, leaves me in a stagnant place creatively. When I’m done work, I don’t want to think about food, and when I don’t want to think about food, it bums me out, and when I’m bummed out, I don’t think positively about the restaurant, and when I don’t think positively about the restaurant and where it’s going, it’s harder to push it to the next level… and you can see the vicious cycle. Anyway, long story short, I’ve been taking a few more days off each month, and using that time to try out some food and cookin’ stuffs that’s on my mind. And I feel good! I’m thinking about food in a fun and creative way again, it feels good. This is a good outlet for those ideas. It’ll keep me sharp (hopefully).

Alright, onto the recipe. This is a good one. Simple too, not a lot of ingredients. It calls for 1/2 head of garlic, which is a little weird, but I found that a full head was going to make it too garlicky. Just spread the other half on toast or something, it’ll be delicious. Look for fresh thyme that doesn’t have thick, woody stems. That will make it easier to work with, because if the stems are thin and delicate, you can just mince them up with the leaves. If they’re woody and thick, you gotta pick the leaves off and it’s just more tedious and time consuming. Celeriac is kind of tedious too, but not really. Once you get past how gnarly they look, it’s not that hard. Just peel as much of the skin as you can and pare off the rest of crazy root part on the bottom. It oxidizes once peeled (like potatoes, but not as fast as potatoes), so don’t keep it exposed to the air for too long before you roast it. The roommate, ol’ W, came up huge as always with the photo taking.

Ingredients
1/2 head garlic, roasted (click here and follow the nice lady’s instructions for how to roast garlic, it’s easy peasy)
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds celeriac, peeled and cut into small chunks
3 apples (McIntosh or Gala), peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
Fresh thyme, minced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, toss celeriac and apples with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Lay onto an lightly oiled baking tray and roast for about 30 to 40 minutes, until the celeriac is tender. You can roast the garlic at the same time.
3. In a large sauce pan or a small stockpot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion and minced garlic for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until onion is softened.
4. Add the roasted garlic, celeriac, apples, white wine, and a pinch of salt. Stir together and sauté for another two minutes or so.
5. Stir in the water and sugar, turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat off and stir in 1 tablespoon of minced thyme.
6. Now get out your upright blender and transfer in batches. Purée until smooth and season to taste with extra salt and pepper as needed. If it’s too thick, add more water. Tip: drizzle in a bit of olive oil while the blender is running for some extra richness.

Chick’n Chimichangas with Orange Mole Sauce

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It’s been over 9 months since my last post. I’m due.

The following recipe is a testament to the deliciousness of the newly minted tradition of Super Mug Monday. Some back story is needed: my friends Richard and Paul Marc recently moved into a decent new condo building in the King West area of Toronto. Hereafter referred to as The Suburban Embassy (its tenants and frequent guests often hailing from the suburbs west of Toronto). Shortly thereafter, the Embassy became our weekly Monday evening meeting spot to nerd out on fine beers that we had either bought in preparation of our little snob fest or had been procured for us by Bill as a result of his frequent journeys to the States in search of choice American craft brews. In addition to imbibing moderate to large amounts of great beer, we recently started making food, which invariably ended up being deep fried.

For the last Super Mug Monday, I attempted to make us chimichangas, the deep fried version of a burrito popular in Southwestern cuisine. It was something I had wanted to try for a while. The real star of the show in this particular case was the mole sauce which the burritos were smothered in. Mole is typically a chili pepper sauce in Mexican cuisine that often involves chocolate of some sort. The beer pairing was spot on for our chimichangas: the Maharaja Imperial IPA from Avery Brewing Company, based out of Colorado. Delicious malts balanced with strong and bitter hops that had a great floral citrus taste. It went killer with the bright flavours going on in the burrito. Another Super Mug success. Will I have to put these on the menu at Hot Beans? A weekly special perhaps? Chimichanga Tuesday? Chimi Chewsday? All signs point to… maybe.

Orange Mole Sauce
Ingredients:
4 ancho chilis, stems removed
¾ cup orange juice concentrate
1½ cups water
½ small clove garlic, minced
½ cup canola oil
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Juice of 1 lime
Sea salt, to taste

Instructions:
1. In a dry medium skillet, toast the ancho chilis until soft and roasty smelling.
2. Combine the toasted chili peppers, orange juice concentrate, water, and garlic in a blender or food processor and blend until the anchos break apart and the colour is a deep orange.
3. Drizzle in the oil while blending.
4. Heat skillet over medium heat and pour in the ancho-orange mixture. Add cocoa, sugar, cumin, cinnamon, lime juice. Bring to a boil.
5. Once boiling, turn heat down to low and let simmer for about 8 minutes. Season to taste with a big pinch of salt.

Chick’n Filling
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon canola oil
Yellow onion, sliced
Red and green bell peppers, sliced
Vegan chicken breasts or filets, sliced (I used Gardein)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon good quality soy sauce (tamari or shoyu)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon chili powder
Juice of one lime
Small handful cilantro, chopped

Instructions:
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion, peppers, and chicken breasts for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add cumin, coriander, chili powder, and lime juice. Sauté for another few minutes.
2. Turn heat off and stir in the cilantro.

Burrito Fixins
Refried beans (click here, or just buy a can; Ducal is a decent brand)
Guacamole (click here)
Cooked rice (season your rice, bland food is bad)
Chick’n filling (see recipe above, duh)
Orange mole sauce (again)

Instructions:
1. You’re going to need to make a paste with some flour and water that will act as a glue to keep the burrito from exploding in the hot oil. Just whisk the flour and water together with a fork until there’s no lumps. Don’t make it too thin, it should be the consistency of Elmers glue, maybe a tad thinner.
2. I don’t feel like explaining in detail how to roll a burrito, so just watch this video. Except when you’re watching it, just pretend that there isn’t a hamburger broken into three pieces inside your burrito. Also, pretend that the guy is wearing a shirt like normal people do when they are cooking in a kitchen. Jesus.
3. Before you finish the roll, spread some of the flour glue around the edges of the tortilla. It should seal. I was actually surprised at how well it worked. Heat your oil to about 375°F. Be careful if you’re using a pot of oil and not a deep fryer. Hold the burrito in the oil with tong until it’s golden brown all over. It’s important to do this, because if you let it sink to the bottom of the pot, it won’t cook evenly and just get scorched on the bottom.

Potato and Smoked Tempeh Perogies with Cashew Sour Cream

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This is more or less three recipes in one blog entry, which is good, because I plan on posting far less frequently in the upcoming months due some very interesting and exciting career developments which will be keeping me extremely busy! I’m opening a restaurant with a couple of fine friends/business partners! It’ll be opening up in Kensington Market at 160 Baldwin Street and the concept is a vegan taco and burrito take-away joint with a small seated bar area for people to sit and eat. It’s all very exciting/scary and has kept me extremely busy over the last week or two since we signed the lease and got the keys. It’s seriously been non-stop. We don’t have an exact date for the grand opening, but I’ll be sure to keep you up to date with all the happenings here on the blog. Oh yeah, and the name of the place: Hot Beans. Get ready, it’s coming.

Cashew Sour Cream
Ingredients:
1 cup cashews
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
heaping 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions:
1. Soak the cashews in water for at least 12 hours in the fridge. This will make them nice and soft, which is essential for getting as smooth a cream as possible.
2. Drain the cashews and give them a bit of a rinse. Add them to your blender along with the rest of the ingredients. Process them until the cream is as smooth as its going to get. This is where a heavy duty blender like a Blendtec or a Vitamix comes in handy, both of which will give you a silky smooth consistency almost immediately. This recipe will make a good amount of sour cream, so you can cut the recipe in half if you want, but it might be trickier to blend together because it’ll be so little an amount going into the blender. It should keep in the fridge for about 5 or 6 days.

Maple Smoked Tempeh
Ingredients:
1 8oz. package of tempeh, thawed (if frozen)
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon tamari
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Instructions:
1. Steam the tempeh in a steamer pot for about 4 or 5 minutes. This will make it easier for the marinade to soak into it.
2. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until well combined and the sugar has dissolved.
3. Slice the tempeh into thin strips and place into either a ziplock bag or a resealable plastic container. Pour the marinade onto the tempeh and seal. Let marinate in the fridge for at least 12 hours.

Potato and Smoked Tempeh Perogies
Ingredients:
3 Yukon gold potatoes, roughly chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 teaspoon rosemary
3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
Marinated tempeh, about 3/4 of the package, diced small
1 8oz. package cremini mushrooms, diced
1 stalk green onion
Few handfuls of spinach (optional)
Dumpling wrappers

Instructions:
1. Boil the potatoes in a pot of salted water until cooked through, about 10 to 15 mintes. Drain cooked potatoes and set aside.
2. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the cooked potatoes, onion, rosemary, and a big pinch of salt and pepper. While sautéing, smash up the potatoes into a rough mash. Fry them in the pan, tossing occasionally, until the potatoes are golden brown. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes, maybe more. A cast iron pan is ideal, since you’ll be able to get some nice crispy browning on the taters, but if you don’t have one, a non-stick pan will do.
3. In another skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and diced tempeh. Sauté, stirring frequently for about 8 to 10 minutes, until the tempeh is browning.
4. Add the mushrooms and a bit of salt and pepper, to taste. Continue to sauté for another 7 minutes or so. Stir in the green onion and optional spinach and cook just until the spinach begins to wilt.
5. Mix the tempeh and mushroom mixture into the fried potato mash and set aside. Make the dumplings by putting a small amount directly into the center of each wrapper and folding over, sealing the rounded edge with fork. To make sure they stick when you fork them down, just dab your finger in a bit of water and use it to wet the edge of the wrapper before folding it over the filling.
6. To cook the dumplings, you can either boil them until they float, steam them for a few minutes, or fry them with the potsticker method from this recipe. All methods will yield a tasty dumpling. Serve with sour cream and sliced green onions.

Beer and Barley Stew

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Aside from making simple beer batters to coat various foods in before deliciously deep frying them, I haven’t really cooked much with beer. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now. My dad got me a 9 pack (yep, 9 pack. Strange, eh?) of an auburn ale brewed by a local craft brewery in Oakville, Ontario named Cameron’s. I had previously tried their cream ale and lager at bars and in backyards, but wasn’t really that impressed by either of them. I found the auburn ale, however, to be quite tasty. I decided I’d pour it into a stew and see what happened. The end result was delicious, which was great, because the auburn ale is a pretty hoppy beer and I was worried that that would make the stew’s broth too bitter. I wanted to make it extra meaty tasting, so I used a bunch of portobello and crimini mushrooms, the latter of which are actually baby portobellos. Also, I went out and bought some vegan worcestershire sauce, which is something I haven’t had in my pantry for years. As soon as I twisted the cap off, the smell instantly reminded me of my dad, who used to put Lea & Perrins sauce on everything from meat to salads to toast. It was weird.

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 small onions, diced
3 cups carrot, sliced
1 package (8 ounces) crimini mushrooms, diced
1 portabello mushroom cap, diced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5 cups white or Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons tamari (or other good quality soy sauce)
3 tablespoons vegan worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup barley
1 bottle (12 ounces) dark ale
5 cups water
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced (about 2 sprigs)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced

Instructions:
1. In a stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, onions, and carrots. Sauté, stirring frequently, for about 4 to 5 minutes.
2. Add both types of mushrooms and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Continue to sauté, stirring often, for about 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add the potatoes, tamari, wostershire sauce, and barley. Stir together and sauté, stirring often, for another 2 minutes.
4. Pour in the beer and then the water. Be careful not to pour the beer too fast so it doesn’t foam up too much.
5. Add the tomato paste and fresh rosemary. Stir until the paste is mixed in well. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, immediately turn down to medium-low, cover with a lid, and let simmer for about 50 minutes, or until the potatoes and barley are cooked through.
6. Remove lid and stir in the fresh thyme. Let cook for another 5 minutes and then remove from heat. If needed, season to taste with more salt. Serve with mug of ale and plenty of crusty bread to mop up the goodness at the bottom of the bowl.
Makes: 5 to 7 servings


Welcome!

My name is Ross. I'm a food loving vegan and these are some of my recipes. I'm also the owner of Hot Beans vegan takeout in Kensington Market, Toronto. Check out my 'about' page for more info. Enjoy!

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All images and recipes (unless otherwise noted) Copyright © Ross Corder and Vegan Eats Blog, 2009-2013. All rights reserved. Please do not re-post or otherwise duplicate without permission. Thanks! Also, the "gluten-free" recipe tag is meant primarily for cataloging purposes and does not necessarily ensure that the recipe is completely gluten-free. Be careful to read the labels of any pre-packaged products to ensure that they are indeed gluten-free!

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