Fresh Asparagus Salad (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy Free and Raw)

069

For us here in Quebec (and many other parts of the northern hemisphere), asparagus season is here. There are few things more exciting to me than the table of long, thin and wild-looking asparagus that pops up at the farmer’s market every spring. It looks a little odd compared to the thick and uniform asparagus we see the rest of the year, but more than anything it means the sweetest and brightest tasting green vegetable you can imagine.

10300162_10152043462431470_258215216064455300_n

I wanted to show case the special nature of local asparagus, picked the morning you bought it and that meant one thing – raw! If you don’t have access to local asparagus, you can totally blanch and ice bath these babies up, but the fresher, the better here.

095

Serves 2, as a side

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed, tips preserved and sliced thin
20 French tarragon leaves, pulled off stems
10 mint leaves, chiffonaded to the same size as the tarragon (is chiffonade a verb?)
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
Juice of one lemon
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Small handful of raspberries

Snap off the ends of the asparagus. Cut the tips off, leaving them whole. Slice the stems thinly, on a bias, if you like. Toss together with the tarragon and mint. Whisk the lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil together until it changes colour slightly and becomes a little creamy looking. Lightly dress salad, tasting after every spoonful, so as to ensure you do not overdress. Salt and pepper, if you feel it is needed (I did not). Top with raspberries.

078

Tropical Mousse (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free and Raw)

This recipe is so easy! It’s fresh, creamy and so refreshing! Summer is fast approaching in the northern hemisphere and mousse like this makes for a perfect warm-weather dessert.

mangomousse1
Makes 2 servings (but I won’t judge you if it’s just one)

2 ripe ataulfo mangos
1 cup pineapple cubes
1 cup full fat coconut milk
Juice of one lime
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
Raspberries and mint, for garnish

In a food processor or high powered blender, combine the mangos, pineapple, coconut milk, lime juice and lime zest and blitz until soft and creamy. Pour into serving glasses, layering with fresh raspberries and topping with mint leaves and more raspberries.

mangomousse

Spicy Perogy Pizza (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

pizza

Potatoes on pizza? All you need, really. This is a recipe that I am very excited about! When I was a teenager, my mother cleaned the local Boston Pizza and worked out a deal that meant a lot of free pizza for us and our friends. A long time has passed since I was swimming in that pizza, but one particular creation has always stuck with me – the spicy perogy pizza. Enter the challenge: a soft, pillowy gluten free crust. Anyone who’s ordered the local pizza joint’s gluten free crust knows that it is thin and hard (and often burnt). Worry no more, I have the vegan solution you’ve been waiting for along with a zippy potato topping to get everyone talking.

IMG_0011

If you want to skip the homemade dough, go right ahead. Just try the topping. On the plus side, I’m working really hard to convert this pizza dough into a possible gluten free baguette, so that’s something to look forward to!

IMG_0014

Pan Pizza Crust (Heroically adapted from this very not-vegan recipe)

3 tablespoon ground flax
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon isolate soy protein (gives flax more stability)
2 tablespoon agave nectar
3/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup canola oil (any neutral oil)
2 cups tapioca starch
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup potato starch
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons xantham gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Canola oil, for greasing

In a food processor, blender or stand mixer combine the ground flax with the water and whip for about 5 minutes. A gel should form quickly but keep whipping. Sprinkle the isolated soy protein over the flax mixture and whip until fully mixed in. I”ve included a picture, so you have a visual idea of what the flax should up up like. Transfer to a large bowl, if necessary.

 

IMG_0005
In a small bowl, combine the agave nectar, warm water and oil. Add that to the whipped flax and mix to combine. Next add the dry ingredients and beat the hell out of it. You really want to work air into the dough and because there is no gluten, you have no risk of overworking the strands. Go for it. The dough is going to end up being what should like a very thick cake batter. Grease an 11 inch pizza pan (really, any size you have – it’ll just be thinner or thicker, you know?) and spread the dough out to your desired shape using your hands. It will help to wet them a little because the dough is sticky.  Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise (rest, really) for about 45 minutes in a warm place.

Spicy Potatoes

4 cups thinly slice potatoes, skins on
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin


potatoes

In a large skillet over medium high heat, combine all ingredients, except canola oil. Bring the potatoes to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and let them simmer until the water has been absorbed and the potatoes are soft, but not falling apart.

Assembly

1/2 cup non-dairy sour cream, plus more for serving
Pinch cayenne pepper
Prepared potatoes
Prepared pizza crust
1/4 cup vegan cheddar shreds
1/4 cup vegan mozzarella shreds
1 bunch green onion, sliced thinly

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spread the sour cream out on the pizza crust, as you would tomato sauce. Sprinkle with a pinch of cayenne. Spread cooked potatoes out even over the crust. Top with vegan cheeses. Bake for 35 minutes, checking after 30 minutes. Turn the oven off, crack the door and let sit in the oven for 5 minutes before pulling out. Place a dollop of sour cream in the middle of the pizza and cover with green onions and serve hot.

005

Comments: Vegans, there is no substitute for whipped egg whites that is readily available and that can be cooked. I’m working on it, I’m working around it and I am sad about it.

Basic Chocolate Cupcake (Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free)

This recipe is great for a pinch when you want something homemade but don’t need to pull out all the stops. People love them! They’ll never know you made the cake in one bowl (but I’ll know). I used a very slightly adapted recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking, which is a totally amazing starting point for vegan bakers. As far as I know the simplicity of the recipes is owning to the fact that it is a war-time invention meant to give you cake through the rations.

I’m going to go ahead and say it: Be careful how your choose to pipe the chocolate frosting on or it will look like, well, something you don’t want it to look like. Alternatively, you might choose to do another flavour like vanilla or raspberry.

IMG_0015 (1)
Chocolate Cake

Makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (mine)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup canola oil (or any other neutral oil)
1 cup cold coffee (I used brewed and cooled espresso)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place liners in muffin tin. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and whisk. Add the liquid ingredients and whisk until smooth. If you’re using gluten free flour, there is no risk of over-mixing, so relax. Scoop into liners, filling them 2/3 full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cake springs back at your light touch. Let cool.

Basic Chocolate Frosting

1 cup non-dairy margarine, softened
3/4 cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean pod, scraped (optional)
4 cups icing sugar
2 – 3 tablespoons non-dairy milk

In a large bowl, using a hand or stand mixer, whip the margarine for 2-3 minutes, until it starts to lighten in colour.  Add the cocoa, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean (if using) and mix until combined. Slowly add the icing sugar, thinning out with non-dairy milk as needed. Pipe onto cupcakes.

IMG_0010 (2)

Fried Tomatoes

tomato3

This wouldn’t be much of a Harry Potter food project if I didn’t get to these fried tomatoes at some point. Easy and classic, there’s not much more to say. I used my standard gluten-free flour mix with no troubles and no substitutions made.

tomato4

If you’ve never had tomatoes with your big weekend breakfast spreads, I highly suggest giving them a whirl. 

Serves 2

1 ripe tomato, sliced not too thin
1/4 cup gluten-free flour (mine)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons canola oil (whatever neutral one you have on hand)

Whisk flour, salt and pepper together in a shallow bowl. Dredge sliced tomatoes in flour. Heat canola oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Fry each slice of tomato until that ideal golden brown colour is achieved on either side.

tomato1

 

French Country Vegetable Soup for Two (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free and Oil-Free)

In my quest to make quick and easy dinner recipes in small portions, I’ve taken to testing them out in the day in between my other activities. This helps ensure they are really low-prep. This soup is inspired by Amy’s Kitchen’s French Country soup but is lighter in consistency and richer in herb flavour.

IMG_0018 (3)

Ready to go in half an hour! The ingredients are really flexible, so add or subtract as you see fit. You want to add a potato or a handful or rice, go ahead! Red pepper or fresh basil? Do it! Soup is fun and easy!

soup2 coup1

Soup

1 cup white beans (any kind you like, really)
540 ml canned tomatoes (diced, whole, stewed, anything)
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
1/2 teaspoon lavender (if your herbs de Provence does not contain it)
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons dried chanterelle mushrooms, re-hydrated according to package directions.
1 litre of water
Handful of leafy greens, your choice (optional)
Black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients, except the leafy greens and black pepper, in a pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and let simmer for fifteen minutes, or as long as you have! Just as you’re ready to eat, toss the leafy greens into the soup, taste for seasonings and serve hot.

Easiest Buckwheat Waffles (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

I wanted to create a gluten free waffle for folks who can’t eat gluten to enjoy but more than that – an easy waffle anyone can make for themselves or their gluten-free friends. Buckwheat flour is widely available and makes for fantastic crepes, pancakes and now waffles!

IMG_0012 (2)

I never feel great after eating pancakes and they’re a lot of work when you don’t have a griddle, so they automatically become the main. I stopped making them when I stopped eating gluten. The problem is, I really love a bit of something sweet alongside a full breakfast. Enter the waffle – mix, pour and forget! I whipped these together in less than 15 minutes! They’re perfectly crispy on the outside and unbelievably fluffy on the inside. They reheat perfectly in the toaster.

IMG_0010 (1)

Makes 8-1/2 cup waffles

2 cups buckwheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground flax + 1/3 cup water, mixed to form a gel
2 cups non-dairy milk (plain or vanilla)
1/2 cup canola oil (or melted non-dairy margarine)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Create a well and add the wet ingredients. Whisk until smooth. Set aside. Turn on the waffle maker. You’ll want a thick batter, but you can thin it out with a little more non-dairy milk before cooking. Cook each 1/2 cup waffle for about 5 minutes. Serve with maple syrup or whatever you like.

IMG_0007 (2)