Meatless Monday – The Tortoise or the Hare (Easter)

Leave a comment Standard

The only animals being eaten around here are chocolate bunnies.

This year Easter Monday falls on Meatless Monday. The Substantial Salad for this occasion is Moroccan-inspired with some ingredients borrowed from carrot cake: Carrot and Raisin Salad. The main spices used to flavour this salad are cinnamon and cumin.

Cinnamon has been used as both food and medicine. The essential oil extracted from the steam distillation process is also used in therapeutic aromatherapy applications. Amongst highlights of this spice’s benefits are anti-microbial properties and regulation of blood sugar. Cumin has a significant amount of iron, is good for digestion and has anti-carcinogenic properties.

The salad part is easy. Just mix a handful of raisins with some cooked carrots. Use as many as you like but a couple big ones will do for a 2-serving salad. There is more anti-oxidant bang for your buck by cooking the carrots so try lightly steaming them and then finish off the cooking in a pan with a little argan oil, garlic and powdered cinnamon and cumin. Add a splash of liver-detoxifying lemon juice (and perhaps some orange blossom water to get into the Moroccan spirit) to complete the flavour profile. Almonds also make a nice addition to this salad to ground it and give it a hit of protein. This salad can be eaten warm or cool and is naturally vegan.

Resources:
The World’s Healthiest Foods – Cumin
The World’s Healthiest Foods – Cinnamon
Medicinal Food New – Cooked Carrots May be Better than Raw Ones

Yentl Lentil

Leave a comment Standard

Shaking up the Seder

Only one more day left in Passover and of course I am performing my recipe alchemy to make creative use of matza.

Vegan matza balls
Substitute the egg with water and flax-seed (3:1 ratio). Make a vegan soup with nutritional yeast, celery and carrot and add these dough balls to make vegan dumplings.

The Yentil Lentil
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; there exists an Ethiopian Jewish community known as the Falasha. It has often been said they refer to themselves as Beta Israel (House of Israel) and believe themselves descended from the son of King Solomon and Queen of Sheba i.e. Menelik.
Though considered chametz by some believers, lentils combine with matza meal in this recipe to form Ethiopian inspired ‘wheatballs’.

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

 

-1/4 cup each of dry red lentils and matza meal
-1 teaspoon of Ethiopian berbere spice and tomato paste/natural organic ketchup and olive oil
-1 small garlic clove and half of a small shallot, chopped finely
-a sprinkling of powdered ginger
-1 egg or vegan substitute for egg
-salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook lentils in water or vegetable stock. Add raw shallot and garlic; stir.
2. Add spices and matza; continue stirring.
3. Lastly add tomato and oil and stir until combined. When mixture has cooled, add the egg and mix to combine.
4. Bake in a 350ºF oven for about 15 minutes, depending on the size of your ‘wheatball’.

Soup crackers
Break up matza crackers and put into a bowl of cream of celery soup. The salty celery pairs well with the ‘plain Jane’ matza crackers.

Of course, if you are a practicing Jewish person and strictly adhere to the laws of Passover, make sure all these ingredients are kosher and approved for holiday consumption.

Busy Bea Baking…Hoppy Easter!

Leave a comment Standard

There’s nothing like a spot of enriched bread after a long hard Lent without sugar. Easter bread is often laden with the sweet stuff and eggs too make an appearance in the different types of Easter bread that abound at this time of year.

Pane de Pascua, Babka, Tsoureki, Hot cross buns…

The following photos are my festive hot cross bunnies made with organic spelt flour. Decoration is done with white and dark chocolate from Lindt. These will now be officially part of our Bakers’ Dozen bake club menu.

 

Hot cross bunnies Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Hot cross bunnies
Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Hot cross bunnies Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Hot cross bunnies
Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Easter indulgence is chocolate. I admit I do like the Cadbury Easter eggs when I’m craving a sickly sweet treat with just a hint of real chocolate. The following are pictures of my own ‘healthier’ version of the cream eggs. Chocolate is from Lindt and the yellow colouring is courtesy of turmeric, the spice that makes mustard and curry powder yellow and incidentally has anti-inflammatory properties.

After the first bite... Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

After the first bite…
Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Waiting to be capped Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Waiting to be capped
Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Carrot cake is another popular spring treat. The following are carrot cake doughnuts, carrot cake muffins and a lone hot cross bunny. I confess that I forgot to add the sugar to the doughnut but seeing as it was covered in a white chocolate cream icing, no one could tell.

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

I Passed Over Meatless Monday

Leave a comment Standard

Befallen with headache, fatigue and general achiness, I felt too lethargic to put fingers to keyboard for my weekly posts. Surely my dietary spring cleaning must be working. These are amongst the common symptoms one experiences temporarily when the body is ridding itself of toxins. As a result I ‘passed over’ Meatless Monday. Luckily it is officially Passover so I can spin my delinquency into a timely post.

Passover or Pesach is the holiday that commemorates the Israelites liberation from slavery in Pharaonic Egypt. The term ‘pass over’ is derived from one of the ten plagues that was inflicted upon the Egyptians by God.

As God’s messenger, Moses was sent to the Pharaoh with a message. If this were a musical, he would be singing the lyrics “Let my people go.” The Pharaoh did not listen and after several warnings, the wrath of the ten plagues was unleashed on the Egyptians. The last one was the killing of all first-born, which happened at midnight on the 15th of Nissan (Hebrew month). God ‘passed over’ the Children of Israel and they were spared this tenth plague.

With any significant event, there is always food to mark the occasion. The star of Passover Seder* is matza, an unleavened flat bread. In fleeing Egypt, the Israelites had no time to let their bread rise and thus took the bread with them as is; matza is symbolic of this. Any foods considered chametz** (certain grains that have fermented) are prohibited during Passover. The preparation of matza requires that a special Passover flour be cooked within 18 minutes of coming into contact with water.

*holiday feast
**wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt and also corn, rice and legumes for some believers (i.e. the Ashkenazic Jews)

Other culinary features of the Passover Seder are the consumption of bitter herbs and the drinking of Passover wine. Many big cities or towns with a significant Jewish population will stock Passover-friendly food in the local supermarket.

Though not Jewish, I decided to partake in the consumption of certain Passover food and am currently working my recipe alchemy on creating vegetarian and vegan friendly interpretations of traditional offerings. And as an African-Canadian, I too can appreciate any commemoration to emancipation.

When is Passover in 2014?
The 8-day holiday begins midnight April 14th and finishes at nightfall on April 22nd.

For more on Passover, start with these links:
What is Passover? from www.chabad.org
Judaism 101: Pesach: Passover

Meatless Monday – Icebergs Belong in the Ocean

Leave a comment Standard

This month’s culinary theme is spring cleaning. Some foods lend themselves well to a diet detox and springtime is when a number of them are in season. For April Meatless Monday will feature Substantial Salads that help cleanse the body, are nutrient dense and of course taste delicious.

The way it used to be:

A typical salad on a restaurant menu: the nutrient bimbo of all lettuce-iceberg, tasteless tomato and cucumber if you’re lucky.

“Rabbit food”

“You’re vegetarian? Well we can serve you salad for dinner.”

Salads don’t have to be the sidekick of a meal; they can be the star. Complete with macro nutrients (fat, carbohydrates and protein) for energy and chock full of micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals), salads have the potential to be innovative and nutritious.

Today’s salad du jour is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. It is the Middle Eastern salad known as tabouli. Traditionally it is made with bulgur wheat, parsley, mint, tomato, lemon juice, olive oil, onion and garlic but can be tweaked a little to suit tastes and dietary needs. For the gluten-intolerant substitute the bulgur wheat with quinoa, a complete protein that is gluten-free. It also adds a nutty taste.  For something different, use freekah wheat instead of the bulgur. Freekah is a wheat grain harvested when young and then roasted. This process allows it to retain a high level of nutrients. Tabouli is primarily a raw salad which helps to preserve the health benefits of the ingredients.

Cleansing highlights
lemon-supports liver function and cleanses the body
garlic and onion-contain antioxidants which help rid your body of toxins and combat free radicals
parsley-a diuretic

Recipe and nutrient content for Mediterranean Tabouli Salad from the website The World’s Healthiest Foods.

 

Holiday – Celebrate

Leave a comment Standard

April 3rd is National Chocolate Mousse Day! (Who comes up with this stuff anyways? But we’re glad you did!)
Chocolate mousse is light in texture yet heavy on calories and fat. The usual suspects found in a chocolate mousse recipe are:

  • chocolate
  • whipping cream (35% milk fat)
  • sugar
  • vanilla
  • eggs

Espresso/coffee, butter and gelatin may also be used. For the health-conscious vegetarian/vegan there are a few changes that can be made to turn this chocolate foam into edible ‘om’.

  • Use dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids). This is the chocolate of which they speak in the studies touting the antioxidant properties of chocolate.
  • Use coconut milk or a combination of half coconut milk and half non-dairy milk (soy, almond)
  • Only fair-trade unprocessed sugar please!
  • There is no substitute for the real thing. A Tahitian vanilla would be lovely in this dessert.
  • No eggs? No problem. Can I get an ‘A’ for avocado that is. A chocolate mousse made with avocado is both raw and vegan. Recipe follows…

“I Did It My Way” Chocolate Avocado Mousse
half an avocado (use the other half in a salad)
1 teaspoon of Tahitian vanilla
1/4 cup each of cocoa powder (fair-trade) and agave syrup
6 Tablespoons of rice/almond milk

Blend thoroughly and put in fridge to chill. It can pass as a mousse or pudding. And as for the avocado, no one will suspect a thing.

Photo by Kimberley (c)2013

Photo by Kimberley (c)2013

 

 

 

National Chocolate Mousse Day

Celebrate Good Yeast, Come on!

Comments 3 Standard

It’s National Sourdough Day. Did you celebrate? I had a sourdough bonanza on the weekend and made the following breads. The long and round breads are sourdough rye and the buns are pumpkin. Both were made with the last of my 100% sourdough. I shall be doing a 60% Red Fife flour sourdough next. Stay tuned…

National Sourdough Bread Day – Information

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014

Photo by Kimberley (c)2014