I’ve had weird pancake cravings lately. All of a sudden all I want is a syrupy plate of them. Adam made me some wonderful buttermilk pancakes from the Bunners cookbook on the weekend, and we put chocolate chips in them & slathered them with peanut butter! Perhaps a little too desserty for breakfast?
My recipe is one I’ve tinkered with to make vegan, and then subsequently gluten free. They’re fluffy without being ridiculously thick, and they’re really easy to amend to include spices (a dash of cinnamon, or perhaps some pumpkin spice mix?), throw in a nice half cup of blueberries, or even a little lemon juice & zest for freshness. These are great just with syrup, or as a side to a killer full breakfast of tofu scramble, home fries and tempeh bacon!
Gluten-Free & Vegan Pancakes (makes approximately 6 pancakes 5 inches/12cm in diameter)
1.5 cups gluten free all-purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/4 tsp Xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1.5 cups soy or almond milk (or any dairy-free milk, really)
2 tbs vegetable or canola oil
Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder together. Add the milk and mix well. Then add the oil and mix well until there are few lumps left.
Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat; pour batter and let it spread to desired diameter. When bubbles start to appear, flip the pancake and let it cook for another 30-60 seconds (I usually let it go 30 seconds then check it doesn’t overcook and is nicely brown).
When they’re done, flip ’em out on a plate and devour with maple syrup, or however you dig it.
Every so often I’ll realise I have this weird little cache of recipes I’ve tinkered with stored in my Google Docs, and share one. So here’s my chickpea salad recipe, which I came up with back in my cafe days. It is a fab substitute for tuna salad which is super gross and I make a face just thinking about it. This is great for sammies (as pictured) and also to throw on top of a nice green salad. Or get fancy and make vegan salad Niçoise!
Chick Pea Salad Ala Nicole! (vegan, gluten free, soy free option)
1 can (15oz) chick peas, drained
1.5 stalks celery (1 if you want it a little less crunchy)
½ green onion (only the white part)
4 small pickles (I love the Maille ones!)
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp pickle juice
4 Tbsp or ¼ cup dijon mustard
4 Tbsp or ¼ cup vegan mayo (for soy-free you could make your own mayo, or sub in something like avocado)
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Using a strainer, rinse chick peas well. Using food processor, process chick peas until no chick peas are left whole (approx 5-10 seconds). If you don’t have a food processor, you can go at this with a potato masher until mostly all of the chickpeas are smashed.
Empty mashed chick peas into a large bowl. Process the white part of the green onion, garlic, celery and pickles for a few seconds, until well chopped, but still chunky enough that the celery will offer some crunch. Add this to the chick peas. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Store in a tightly sealed glass or plastic container in the refrigerator. Use within 3-4 days. Nom on a sammie or a salad, or throw it in a bowl and scoop with some Crudités. Yeaaah!
When I posted my yogurt/granola snack yesterday, some folks asked me to share the recipe so here we go!
I don’t know what took me so long to make granola at home – it’s the easiest kind of baking there is! I started with the recipe from Babycakes Covers the Classics, but modify the flavours and add-ins pretty much each time. I’m still tinkering with the cooking time as well – for the temp/time combo they list, it’s too much in my oven. Everything gets too crunchy on the top, even with a lot of stirring. Next time I think I’ll try spreading out onto a couple of trays to get a more even crunch without ruining it. Below is the Babycakes basic recipe with asterisks where there are mentions/alterations in my notes after, as I don’t go off the original recipe anymore! It’s quite easy to tinker with this for different tastes and whatever you might have in your cupboard.
4 cups gluten free oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1 tsp salt *
1 Tbsp cinnamon *
1 tsp ground ginger *
1 ½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut *
1 cup pecans (optional, or use almonds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts) *
1 cup dried berries (cranberries, blueberries, cherries, raisins)
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup agave nectar *
I made it the first time with the coconut/pecan/cranberry combo. After that I halved the salt, subbed in pumpkin seeds instead of the coconut, and added a 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground cloves and 1/8 tsp allspice to make a fantastic autumnal pumpkin spice granola. I’ve since run out of pecans, so have been going with the coconut/pumpkin seed/cranberry mix with a few raisins thrown in, and keeping the pumpkin spice elements. I don’t think I’ll chance that, honestly. I think I’d like to try a date and almond one next, perhaps with a vanilla tinge. Maybe some walnut/cherry/hemp seed would be great. And I bet using maple syrup on occasion instead of agave would be amazing. Infinite granolas!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine oats, salt, cinnamon, ginger, coconut, pecans and berries and mix together. Add the coconut oil and agave nectar and toss until the oats are covered.
Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet, spread out and bake for 15 minutes. Give the mixture a stir and continue baking for 10-15 minutes more. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Store granola in a covered container.
The wind is cool and the leaves are all almost turned. It’s weather for hats and scarves and rugging up, toting a cup of tea or coffee around to keep your hands warm. I love wandering around in the autumn weather! It’s so beautiful out there, and still no sign of snow.
Being able to have a later start morning meant I could spend some time with Jake, and go for a good long walk in the ‘hood with him. We’ve had a busy week which means he’s been a bit lonely, poor little bud. I had the evening at home last night with him too, so that was nice – especially for him scoring scraps while I cooked! Little dude LOVES kale. Who knew.
I’m excited to see all the new board game releases coming out of the Spiel game fair in Essen, Germany! It’s like San Diego Comic Con for board games, and as exciting as hearing about new Apple product releases. So far there’s a couple of things that look awesome – a tile version of the great cooperative game, Hanabi, and an expansion to the terrific city building game Suburbia. Keeping my eye out on Board Game Geek daily to see what the buzz is!
Remembering the trip I took to Paris/London with Adam last year after he’d attended Essen. This was taken at the British Museum, almost a year ago to the day. Adam was a sweetheart and surprised me with a ticket to meet him there, and it’s legit the most romantic thing anyone’s ever done for me.
Daiya have been rolling out a lot of new products in the past 6 – 12 months. Cheese blocks, cream cheese, slices.. and now PIZZAS! All gluten-free and vegan. Swoon. I’ve tried the fire-roasted vegetable and the roasted garlic and mushroom, and they’re awesome. Texture of the crust is great – crispy but not tough – and the topping/cheese ratio is just right. My only complaint is they could stand to be a little bigger (especially when having to share with Adam!). But a half a pizza plus sides is a great meal. I’ve only seen them at Noah’s (Bloor/Spadina) so far, but I’m hoping to see them pop up in the wider array of health food stores I visit regularly.
I am fortunate to know a lot of wonderful vegans in the city of Toronto, who in turn also know other awesome vegans and offer to host a big ol’ potluck for a big group of us. Marissa is a superstar host, and she made sure we were all at home and comfortable to enjoy the wonderful company and incredible food. She also got a bunch better photos than me last night, so I may have grabbed a few from her Instagram stream! Thanks, Marissa xo
What i’d like to say before launching into the photos is this: it’s an incredibly positive experience spending an evening with like-minded people who have come together with at least one thing in common (veganism) to share their food and hang out together. It is so nice to be surrounded by friends at the best of times, but to not have to justify myself and my choice to be vegan at any point, and to focus on the deliciousness and variety of food rather than it being singled out as vegan (and usually inferior, depending on the crowd..). I am thankful to have spent my evening in this way! Thanksgiving isn’t something I grew up with, but as a reason to get together for company, food and fun – I’m definitely going to continue that tradition. Now, photo time!
A selection of the Lovely people from my couch spot:
Marissa had a spread of appetizers out and ready to go when we arrived. Home made vegan cheeses, GF breads, crudite, pickles and olives (yay!). It was hard to not fill up on this deliciousness.
There was so much going on for main courses that it doesn’t even all fit in this shot! We contributed the GF vegan sausages on the left, and in addition there was: corn casserole, 7 layer shepherds pie, roasted root vegetables, kale salad, quinoa salad, spicy okra, roasted potatoes, Field Roast Celebration roast, Tofurky, gravy and soup! Oh man.
The crowd at the buffet:
I piled my plate pretty darn full, if you can make everything out here:
And not to be outdone, we pulled out all the stops for dessert, too! In addition to some mulled cider, Adam made a banana maple rum cheesecake to bring (omg). In addition, there were pumpkin spice donuts, a pumpkin pie pudding, some chocolate from Chocosol, whipped ‘cream’ and a wonderful apple cranberry crisp. Mmmm!
Getting creative with wrapping my leftovers, I made a foil turkey!
And we capped off the evening with some board games!
As a food-enthusiastic person, I’m lucky to live in a super-vegan-friendly city & also have a bunch of wonderful vegan friends who are just as food enthusiastic as me! (I met a lot through my knitting group, and we do much more going out to eat than knitting anymore when we get together!). Without much of a disposable income, making tasty stuff at home & for sharing is mostly what i’m up to, but every so often splurging on what Toronto has to offer!
Brunching at Hogtown Vegan: I’ve tried two new things from the brunch menu since the last time (ohhhh peanut butter banana french toast!), and both were great! I loved the texture and flavour of the ‘omelette’ and the filling was incredible – I would’ve like more mushrooms, but it was very tasty. The BLT uses the crispy tofu ‘bacon’ they have on the club & on the PB-french-toast brunch item, and it’s just a nice basic sandwich – but man, I would’ve loved a brown bread option (I went with white cos I don’t like rye) without it having been fried on the grill, too. And ALWAYS HOME FRIES as a side. Although my friend Laura suggests upgrading to the Caesar is awesome.
A simple breakfast with local berries & maple syrup on Canada Day:
I had cilantro (fresh coriander, southern hemispherians) and parsley in the fridge for some reason, so made a big batch of chimichurri sauce from this PPK recipe. It’s such a fresh and flavourful sauce! It’s really nice to marinate tempeh in this (although i’m sure it’d be great with beans or tofu), and we made use of it for a couple of tasty summer meals (although the corn was a bummer).
Cool treats – although we’ve made good use of our popsicle mold at home, there’s some lovely sweet cool summer treats on offer out there at the moment. One particularly hot day in the Junction I sampled the following.
The best thing about get togethers is seeing what people bring and the amazing spreads that happen at BBQs and potlucks. My friends Andrew & Val were nice enough to host a BBQ in their shady backyard a few weeks ago & share with us some of their stunt-meat hauls from the US; I made a potato salad I forgot to photograph & my friend Laura brought a growler of homebrew kombucha which is the most delicious i’ve ever had! Mmm. (She also wrote a far superior account of the BBQ which you should check out.)
The weather’s been perfect for getting outdoors without being too horribly hot/sunburny – so some friends and I took advantage of this to spend a lovely afternoon picnicking on the Toronto Islands! I took a photo of the whole spread, but here’s the first of a few bowls I powered through. You should read about how Laura made these incredible little pickles perched on top of it all, too! Finished up with snacking on flavourful raw granola bites (they’re candy-like!!) and some donuts. Mmmm. Best vegan friends bring the greatness.
I’m off to Winnipeg later next week, so I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on some of the fantastic vegan food in that city, too! Thanks for being so delicious, summer.
I’ve never ever had pulled pork, and never will. But there’s a couple of great establishments here in Toronto that do a mean Jackfruit pulled pork – Hot Beans & the Hogtown Vegan – that make my mouth water every time I eat their Jackfruit tacos or pulled pork sandwiches respectively.
I always marvelled at the culinary wizardry involved at taking a strange SE Asian fruit & making it into shredded savoury goodness. I figured it’d be too tough to pull at home, and wasn’t convinced I could have success with an ingredient I had no idea about. I Googled around a bit reading various recipes to get an idea of the process one would go through to create the magic, and also the different mixes of ingredients and flavours.
After a while I settled on this “Carolina Pulled ‘Pork’ Sandwich” recipe – I wasn’t going to make sandwiches, but tacos, but the ‘sandwich’ part of this recipe is more of a serving suggestion – and as a bonus, if you ignore the sandwich part, the recipe is automatically gluten-free. There was a good idea in the notes of what to expect of preparing the jackfruit before it even touched any other ingredients, which I liked. But what I was interested in were the flavours – especially mix of spices in the dry rub and how they’d complement the wet sauce mix – and that it also looked like the finished product was of about the right texture that i’d tried in the Hot Beans tacos. Away I went!
In the end, the process isn’t really that complicated – no more so than prepping a marinated tofu/tempeh dish, say. It’s pretty easy to get the ‘mise en place’ of your spice mix/dry rub and your wet sauce ingredients ready to go and then zoom through the process – it’s really only the cooking times that draw the jackfruit adventure out. Like the write-up on the page says, this is a pretty spicy recipe naturally – I liked it, but I think I would round it out better next time to not have that be so up-front. We just had it in simple corn tortillas with whatever green mix we had, plus some rice, tomatoes & chopped avo (sadly too firm for guacamole-ise). Next time I gotta get my sunflower sour cream action on, too.
Would I make this again? Well, I picked up two more cans of young jackfruit in brine while shopping in Chinatown this weekend, so hell yes! (Two cans because next time i’m making a double batch – we mowed through this in one taco sitting.) I think i’d also like to make a more saucy, possibly more BBQ-y type of pulled jackfruit next time too – perhaps something like Sarah Kramer’s BBQ sauce, but try and cut the richness down a little. Now I know what to expect out of the magical ingredient jackfruit texture/process-wise, the vegan pulled ‘pork’ world is my un-oyster!