Thursday, October 29, 2009


Best Blog Tips
Apple and Cranberry Oat Crisp

This has been a great year for apples and pears, and those of us with friends who are generous with their bounty are busy trying to use it up in ways that will insure that it does not get lost at the bottom of the freezer! (By the way, sometimes people are downright desperate to get rid of extra fruit this year. Don’t forget your local Food Banks, food salvage, gleaning and reclamation programs, church programs, and other social agencies that feed people.)

Having already made applesauce and apple butter, and also pear sauce (make it the same way as applesauce— smooth or chunky but with some ginger —it’s good!), I was searching for some low-fat ways to use up the rest of this bounty that keeps coming my way (I’m not complaining!). I didn’t want to make pies this year because we’re trying to keep off the weight we lost earlier in the year. (But, if you want to make pie, there are a couple of yummy pies on the recipe list below.) So, #1, I made pear chutney, because we love chutney and it keeps well, plus I had everything I needed in the house already.

I’ve been asked, “What do you serve chutney with if you don’t eat meat or cheese?”. Well, curries and other Indian dishes, of course; veggie “sausages” and seitan; smoked tofu (this is a terrific combination!) or tofu cream cheese on crackers—and that’s just for starters!

And, #2, I had some cranberry sauce leftover from Canadian Thanksgiving, and I decided to mix that with an impressive amount of apples to make a very large and low-fat apple crisp, some of which could be frozen for a future desserts. Both of these recipes were hits and now I’d like to share them with you.

Here are more pear and apple (including crabapple) recipes on this blog (Updated in Oct. 2014):

Breakfast, Beverages, Breads:
Frozen Delights:
Applesauce, Preserves, Miscellaneous:

Printable Recipe

Servings: 32
Yield: 4 cups

This chutney is both colorful and delicious.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 medium red bell peppers, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs ripe pears, peeled and cubed
3 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup organic unbleached granulated sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
freshly black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large pot. Sauté the onion, pepper and garlic in the oil over medium heat until tender. Add the pears, vinegar, water, mustard seeds, ginger, orange peel, salt, cayenne, cinnamon, brown and white sugars, and raisins.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes, or until the chutney is thick but the fruit still holds its shape. Taste for salt and pepper. Cool completely. Refrigerate in tightly-sealed jars until ready to serve. OR water bath can in sterilized half-pint jars.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per 2 tablespoons)
: 83.6 calories; 10% calories from fat; 1.1g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 216.1mg sodium; 144.9mg potassium; 19.7g carbohydrates; 1.6g fiber; 15.3g sugar; 18.1g net carbs; 0.5g protein; 1.4 points.

Printable Recipe

Servings: 12

This crisp uses up about 4 lbs of apples and makes a big 9 x 13-inch dish of delectable dessert! I only used 1/4 cup of Earth Balance for 12 servings, which works out to 1 teaspoon for each serving. I used some homemade cranberry sauce left over from Canadian Thanksgiving.

Oat Topping:
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups wholewheat flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Earth Balance (non-hydrogenated “buttery spread”)

4 lbs apples (approximately) (if they are organic, don't peel-- just cut away any bad spots)
2 cups whole-berry cranberry sauce
1 cup brown sugar or organic unbleached granulated sugar (or 1/2 and 1/2)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Grease a 9 x 13" baking dish with a little oil or Earth Balance.

Make the Topping by mixing together the oats, flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the Earth Balance with your fingers until crumbly-- set aside.

Core and slice the apples about 1/4" thick. In a large bowl, mix the sliced apples with the cranberry sauce and sugar, and then sprinkle with the cornstarch and cinnamon and mix well to evenly distribute it.

Pour the Filling into the prepared baking dish and spread it out evenly. Cover with the Topping and press it evenly over the fruit.

Bake for about 70 minutes. Cool it for at least 20 minutes before serving.

NOTE: you could divide this between two smaller baking dishes and freeze one of them for a later date-- that's what I did! In that case, bake for only 60 minutes.

Serve plain, or with nondairy milk or soy creamer poured around it; or with plain soy or coconut yogurt; or with your favorite nondairy whipped topping or nondairy vanilla "ice cream".

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving):
428.7 calories; 10% calories from fat; 5.1g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 149.1mg sodium; 410.6mg potassium; 96.0g carbohydrates; 7.5g fiber; 68.7g sugar; 88.5g net carbs; 4.7g protein; 8.2 points.


Thursday, October 22, 2009


Best Blog Tips

I'm knee-deep in details for the fundraising bellydance show I'm organizing for this Saturday (yikes!), so I'm not doing much cooking OR blogging! But here's a soup that we had the other night and it's a favorite of ours. A friend of ours who cooked in a local restaurant loved it so much that she asked permission to serve it where she worked. Of course, I said yes!

Printable Recipe

Servings: 4

This soup makes a great light lunch, or a starter to a company meal. It’s a variation of the Turkish Red Lentil Soup in my book “The Fiber for Life Cookbook”. PS: If you prefer, saute the onions in a little olive oil.

2 small (or 1 medium) onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
4 cups vegetarian broth
2 cups cubed, peeled sweet potatoes
2/3 cup red (or pink) lentils, rinsed
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Freshly-ground pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
Paprika or smoked paprika sprinkled on each bowl (you can sprinkle it in the shape of a heart, or other design, if you wish)

Steam-fry the onions in a large heavy skillet sprayed with oil from a pump sprayer-- adding a bit of water, broth or sherry as needed to keep the mixture from sticking-- until soft. OR, MICROWAVE OPTION (this saves time and effort, so it's the one I use, place in a microwavable dish (such as a Pyrex pie plate), cover with a microwavable plate, and microwave at full power for 5 minutes. Stir in the spices, blending well.

Add the onions to the broth, sweet potatoes, and lentils in a medium soup pot. Simmer for about 30 minutes, uncovered, or until the lentils are tender. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Process with a hand immersion blender right in the pot, or in a blender or food processor, until creamy. (IMPORTANT CAUTION: If you have to use a blender or food processor to do this, leave the middle part of the lid off so that hot air can escape-otherwise you may have exploding hot soup all over you! Cover the hole loosely with a folded cloth as you blend.)

Serve hot with paprika for a garnish.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving)
: 184.9 calories; 3% calories from fat; 0.8g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 157.9mg sodium; 469.7mg potassium; 36.3g carbohydrates; 6.0g fiber; 4.3g sugar; 30.3g net carbs; 9.5g protein; 3.0 points.

I'm coming up for air soon! Cheers!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Best Blog Tips

That would be me!! (That's kind of a joke!)

Plate of Thanksgiving leftovers the day after-- clockwise from 6:00: vegetarian bread stuffing with sage and onion (recipe in my book The Almost No-Fat Holiday Cookbook); a Peruvian squash stew with corn and peas called Locro (Updaterecipe in my new book); my Soy and Seitan "Turkey" with vegan brown gravy (Update: gravy recipe in my new book and most of my other books); homemade cranberry sauce with oranges; Tofu Pot Pie (recipe in my book Soyfoods Cooking for a Positive Menopause); Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Moroccan Spices (Update: recipe in my new book) .

We had 18 people (all family) for our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner on Monday and I was so distracted that I forgot to take pictures until the next day! But, it was very much like years past, except for some of the side dishes. Don't get me wrong! It was great fun being with everyone. But I have been organizing a big fundraiser and I'm generally pretty distracted right now. (And also why I'm not blogging alot just now.) Besides the above items, we had some lovely whole wheat dinner rolls and an apple bundt cake that my oldest daughter Bethany made; mashed potatoes; pumpkin pie (my vegan recipe); a Persian-style brown rice pilaf with edamame (Update: recipe in my new book), a root vegetable stew (see recipe link below-- it was one of my picks for the #2 question in the Vegan Mofo Survey, "What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?") and a Brussels Sprout Slaw with mustard dressing and candied walnuts (see recipe link below). These last two recipes were from magazines and they were quite good-- I would make them again.

My vegan Pumpkin Pie (recipe in my book The Almost No-Fat Holiday Cookbook)-- pics from last year or before:

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Moroccan Spices (Update: recipe in my new book)

Locro (Peruvian Vegetable Stew; Update: recipe in my new book)

The Brussels Sprout Slaw was a real hit! Everyone loved it! It's from the current issue of Bon Appétit magazine (Nov. 2009), and you can get the recipe here. It's really easy to make if you have a food processor with a slicer attachment-- otherwise, slicing those little sprouts so thinly by hand would be very tedious! The only changes I made were to use olive oil in the dressing, and I used walnuts instead of pecans because I didn't have any pecans.

Photograph by Elinor Carucci on the Bon Appétit website.

The Root Vegetable Stew with Herbed Dumplings was from Eating Well magazine and you can find the recipe here. I veganized it by using Tofurkey Vegetarian Italian Sausages (Field Roast Italian veggies sausages would be good here, too!) and vegetarian broth instead of chicken broth and it turned out very well.

I doubled the recipe, so I used a whole package of the Tofurkey vegetarian Italian sausages.

(I used carrots, Yukon Gold potatoes and beets for the root vegetables, and kale for the greens (the beets and kale were from our own garden). Here are pics of the stew in progress....

Just the vegetables for the stew cooking...

With the kale and veggie sausages added...

Ready to add the dumplings.....

I followed the directions pretty much to the letter, but I found that the instructions don't give you much information about how long to cook the stew before you add the dumplings. The dumplings only cook for 10 minutes, so you need to cook the vegetables until they are almost tender (especially the beets).

The stew with the dumplings on top.

I also didn't care for their dumpling recipe-- they came out too dry and heavy for my taste. I used Ener-G Egg Replacer powder and soymilk instead of the egg, and even added more soymilk, but, even so... Next time I will use my own Featherlight's the recipe (double it for the stew recipe, and add the herbs in the Eating Well recipe):

Printable Recipe

Servings: 8
Yield: makes about 8 dumplings

This recipe is from my first cookbook, "The Almost No-Fat Cookbook".

1 cup unbleached white flour (or use 1/2 white whole wheat pastry flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
OPTIONAL: rub in 1 tablespoon oil or Earth Balance
1/2 cup non-dairy milk

In a medium bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Rub in the Optional oil or Earth Balance with your fingers, if desired.

Stir in the soymilk to make a stiff dough.

Stir briefly just to mix. Drop small spoonfuls of dough on top of simmering stew or thick soup, cover tightly, and cook without peeking for 10 minutes. Test one dumpling to see if it's done in the middle before serving.

Note: You can add fresh chopped parsley or other herbs to the flour before mixing.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving WITHOUT optional oil or Earth Balance)
: 61.9 calories; 4% calories from fat; 0.3g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 67.1mg sodium; 98.6mg potassium; 12.7g carbohydrates; 0.5g fiber; 0.4g sugar; 12.2g net carbs; 2.0g protein; 1.2 points.

Off to Pender Island this weekend! Have a good one!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Best Blog Tips
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, MY CANADIAN FRIENDS! (PS: If you still have no idea what to make for a vegan Thanksgiving, there's still time to check out the links to holiday recipes.)

No, I'm afraid I'm not joining the Vegan MOFO this year! I wish I could (I did it last year), but, with several trips, company and a fund-raising show I'm organizing this month, it's just not possible! But, I thought I'd help publicize it by doing the 2009 Vegan MOFO Survey, which originated here. And, as one blogger said, it might tell you a little more about me, if you're interested.

1. Favorite non-dairy milk?
I like my own homemade soymilk (with a bit of oatmeal in it when I make it) the best—I put that on my cereal and in my tea, coffee, etc., make smoothies with it and cook with it. I like the taste of it better than Silk.

Of commercial soymilks, I like the taste of Soy Dream the best, and it’s very creamy. But I also like homemade hemp milk sometimes. Soy and hemp milk are also top of the list in terms of protein and other nutrients. I also like the taste of Almond Breeze (Update: and So Delicious Coconut Beverage) and I use them for some recipes, but they contain only 1 g of protein per cup, so I don't depend on them for nutrition.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
Skillet-seared edamame; Spaetzle with Butternut Squash and Mushroom Cream Sauce (veganized, of course! And made with my vegan whole grain spaetzle); Root Vegetable Stew with Herbed Dumplings ( veganized of course, again, and using Tofurkey Veggie Italian Sausages). (Update-- so far I have only tried the last one, and it was good!)

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?

Salt; sometimes engevita yeast or homemade vegan bacon salt.

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?

I remember making a fancy meal (pre-vegetarian) for my father (a gourmet, but not a cook!) when I was about 18, in my tiny kitchen. I had recently purchased a blender (this was in the 60's) and decided to use it to make mashed potatoes-- some gourmet French variety with tons of cream, etc.--not knowing, as I do now, that beating potatoes too vigorously will turn them to glue!
(Here’s a quote about this very thing:
" Gluey or gooey mashed potatoes are caused by vigorous over mashing, as anyone who has tried to make the side dish in a food processor can attest. When potatoes are boiled, their starch granules swell. If those granules are broken too vigorously, the cells release copious quantities of starch, resulting in a potatoes with the consistency of wallpaper paste. NEVER use a blender or food processor to make mashed potatoes. There are starch packets inside the potato cells and the blender blades rip right through them, releasing the starch and this makes the potatoes into library paste. The cells of the potato flesh contain a very fine starch. Mashing gently leaves most of the cells intact. Processing in a blender or a Food Processor acts like a cell homogenizer and releases all that starch into the liquid. Adding any liquid early just makes the process more efficient."
I have since learned how to make really fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes with NO fat!

Back to that horrible meal, in addition to the potatoes, I had not learned to time things properly, so NOTHING was ready at the same time. The whole meal was NOT a success (though my father didn't complain). I did learn many things from that meal, though-- #1, not to attempt a complicated menu without trying everything beforehand! Sometimes you have to learn the hard way.

5. Favorite pickled item?
Green beans or asparagus, I guess. I’m not a huge pickle fan.

6. How do you organize your recipes?
In several way. I do use my own cookbooks, so, of course, many old favorites are in my books. Old recipes not in my books that I wrote on cards in pre-computer days (some of you may not recall such a time!) are in card file boxes. Some of those have also made it into recipe files on my computer. I bookmark internet recipes, too. But, since my office is downstairs and I don’t want to have to run down to the computer whenever I’m looking for a particular recipe (although that IS good exercise!), I have printed out recipes that I use alot (from my blog, or from manuscripts—maybe recipes that didn’t make it into a particular book—or from other sources) and sorted them into binders under different categories. I keep these binders upstairs with my cookbooks.

But now I need to sort THOSE recipes into alphabetical order or something because they aren’t indexed. I also have binders with issues of my now defunct Vegan Feast newsletter, and I really need to index those someday.

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
Trash and compost (and recycling).

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods...what would they be (don't worry about how you'll cook them)?
Oh, what a challenge!! Pasta, tomatoes, beans, I guess. They always taste good together. Does salt count as a food? ‘Cause you’d need that, too! That's a hard one because anything would get boring after eating it all the time.

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?
I have a lot of food memories—I remember many food details from a very young age. But, one fond memory-- my older brother Tim (almost 10 years older than I am) used to babysit for my sister Karin and me, and he’d make us homemade French fries, which my mother never made.

I also remember when we spent 3 months in Peru (I was 6 yrs-old) with my father’s family, everyone would have their siesta in the afternoon (really!). At 4 PM everything would get lively again and my father would take us to a café where he would have seviche, and we would have some sweet cake or pastry while he chatted with the other men. At home, my mother seldom made sweets, so this was a real treat. (My mother was a great cook, BTW-- she just didn't make many desserts, nor did she deep-fry.)

I also remember my first s’more in the backyard of my brother’s girlfriend Barbara’s house (I was not a Girl Scout). Her father made them for us and I still love that combination of crunchy, hot, chocolately, melty goodness.

This is a more sophisticated vegan version I made with organic digestive biscuits (a UK specialty), Denman Island organic chocolate and vegan "Ricemellow Creme" . (You can also sandwich a heated vegan marshmallow between two vegan dark chocolate-covered digestive biscuits, if you can find some (President's Choice used to have these, but not right now; I can't find the ingredients  for McVities)-- very good!):

10. Favorite vegan ice cream?
We don’t have a lot of choice around here, as far as places that sell their own dairy-free frozen treats, or in the brands available to us. Hot Chocolates (a chocolate, pastry, and ice cream shop in Courtenay, BC, where we shop) makes a wonderful Lemon Sorbetto! I like Soy Delicious “Butter Pecan” or Purely Decadent “Chocolate Obsession” and “Mocha Almond Fudge”.

11. Most loved kitchen appliance?

I couldn’t live without my food processor!

12. Spice/herb you would die without?

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?
That’s a hard one because I have been cooking for over 45 years—well, over 50 years, really, because my mother said I started cooking at a very young age. (I got in trouble once when I was about 11 yrs.-old for cutting recipes out of my father’s Gourmet magazines!) I think the oldest cookbook that I bought for myself that I still own is the Sunset Cook Book of Breads, circa 1977, very tattered and worn. I must have had Joy of Cooking, but I don’t have the first copy I owned anymore.

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?

President’s Choice “Twice the Fruit” Peach & Passion Fruit

15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?

My Lasagne ala Bolognese, from my book Nonna’s Italian Kitchen.

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?

Tofu and seitan I love equally (if the seitan is made properly). I like tempeh, but my husband hates it, so I don’t serve it very often, and I can live without it. The other two are more versatile.

My seitan “ham”

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?

Dinner is my favorite meal to cook. Breakfast is my least favorite to cook, though I can do interesting, fancy breakfasts for company if necessary. (My husband often does breakfast when we have company.) On ordinary days DH and I make our own breakfasts. (People tend to be picky about how they like their oatmeal, etc., so it’s easier that way. Also, he gets up very early.) Lunch is usually leftovers or a pot of soup I’ve made for that purpose.

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?
Some platters that won’t fit anywhere else; some rolls of duct tape, packing tape, etc.; the little receptacle from my husband’s manual coffee grinder—he grinds his coffee for the day into that and leaves it up there with a spoon in it.

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
1.) Soy Curls® (dry ones—I keep them in the freezer because I buy them in bulk and, since they are made from the whole soybean, they can go rancid if left out for longer than 6 months, I find); 2.) homemade bread; 3.) edamame.

Bulk Soy Curls®-- I bag them in zipper-lock bags for freezing.

20. What's on your grocery list?

We went shopping yesterday. We bought (as near as I can remember):
Sesame seeds (raw)
Silk soymilk (my husband’s favorite)
Shredded Wheat
Sweet potatoes
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Earth Balance
Tofurkey Vegan Italian Sausages
Red Wine Vinegar
Soy sauce
Brussels sprouts
Winter squash (various kinds)
Tofu (medium firm and firm—I already had some extra-firm)
Dried oregano and savaory
TVP granules
A can of baked beans in tomato sauce (one of my husband’s favorites when he’s alone)
Vegetarian bouillon cubes
Rolled oats
Frozen juice (for the kids at Thanksgiving—we don’t buy this very often)
Yves veggie “Ground Round”
Kalamata olives
Tomato paste
Linguine nests
Brown sugar
Organic bananas

21. Favorite grocery store?
My husband and I shop together. We live on an island so we only do a major shop every 2 weeks. We mostly shop in Courtenay, on Vancouver Island, a town of about 30,000. We do some of our shopping at the local health food store, Edible Island, but we also shop at (Real Canadian) Superstore (a Canadian chain—it has a good organic section), and Thrifty’s, a local Vancouver Island chain which is good about carrying local and organic produce. We miss the bulk section from Save-On Foods, which closed down here, but when we go to Nanaimo we visit Save-On for bulk organic unbleached sugar and medium bulgur (I can only get fine and coarse in Courtenay). In Nanaimo, we also do some food shopping at Costco, at Fairway Market, which has a lot of Asian foods, and at Man-Lee, which is a great little Asian food store. (Update-- we have a Costco in Courtenay now!)

22. Name a recipe you'd love to veganize, but haven't yet.
I actually have a whole list of Peruvian recipes I want to veganize (my father was Peruvian). I have veganized about 30 Peruvian recipes so far.

My seitan “Anticuchos”, a Peruvian kebab (Update: recipe in my new book "World Vegan Feast".)

Here’s my list of Peruvian recipes I haven't veganized yet (it’s long and challenging—there may be a book in this!):

Entrada Arequepiña (yellow potatoes with a cheesey walnut-chili sauce on lettuce)
Ocopa de Camarones (Mayonniase of prawns—I need Chinese vegan mock “shrimp” for this, and the mayonnaisey sauce contains cheese, as well as Peruvian herb, huacatay, hot mirasol chilies, onion, garlic, walnuts, oil and milk)
Empanada de Picadillo (little meat pies)
Choclos con Huacatay (corn on the cob with cheese and huacatay)
Salsa de Ocopa Arequipeña (a cheesey sauce with walnuts)
Ayoli (Arequipa sauce—another cheesey sauce with roasted red peppers and garlic)
Llantan (another Arequipa sauce, with yellow hot peppers, huacatay,garlic, onion, bread and cheese)
Arroz con Chancho (rice with pork, chilies, garlic, and peas)
Escabeche de Frijol (Soused Kidney beans—a sort of pickled dish with chilies that contains bacon fat—that’s the veganizing part!)
Butifarra (a special Peruvian sandwich—usually made with ham, it’s made on crusty rolls with vinegared shredded onions, chilies, radishes and lettuce)
Sancochado (a soup that’s almost like a stew, with lots of different vegetables, poptatoes, chickpeas, chunks of corn on the cob, that is traditionally cooked in a meat broth with the meat and served with a sliced onion and chili sauce)
Chicharrones con Camotes (crispy pork ribs with baked sweet potatoes in an onion/chli sauce)
Locro (a Peruvian squash, corn and green pea dish—I have veganized a very simplke version, but I want to veganize the more elaborate cheesey version)
Frijoles Negros en Salsa de Nueces (Black beans in walnut sauce—anoher bean dish made with bacon fat, and also milk and hard-boiled eggs)
Rocotos Rellenos (Stuffed hot red peppers with a ground pork filling with peanuts, green peas, onions, garlic and eggs)
Papas Rellenas (stuffed potatoes, actually more like a stuffed potato dumpling—they are boiled and mashed and then you roll the mashed potatoes around a sort of picadillo filling [ground meat with lives, raisins, onion, garlic, etc.], roll them in flour and fry them.
Pastel de Quinoa (Quinoa Pie—another dish I need Chinese mock shrimp for. It also contains egg and cheese, peanuts, onions, tomato, garlic, lots of chilies.)
Pastel de Choclo (Corn Pie—this contains grated corn on the cob, chopped meat, raisins, olives, onions [the picadillo thing again—very South American], and eggs.
Pastel de Papa (Potato Pie—very full of dairy products!)
Ají de Calabaza (Squash and fava bean stew with yellow chilies, corn, potato, milk, huacatay, and fresh cheese)
Kapche de Hongos (Wild Mushroom Stew with potatoes and cheese and milk, flavored with huacatay)
Tarta de Nueces (Special Walnut Cake—a ground walnut torte with “manjarblanco” (that’s what the peruvians call “Dulce de leche”) filling
Pio Nono (Manjarblanco [Dulce de leche] cake roll)
Cocada (a coconut pudding with wine and cinnamon)
Tamal Verde (small Peruvian tamales made with a chickpea paste and chicken, steamed in corn husks and served with a chili sauce)
Peruvian Humitas (tamales made with a fresh corn mixture rather than with masa, with a chili, cream cheese filling)
Tamal Criollo (large tamales made with a dried corn, chili, garlic and cumin paste, with a pork filling with peanuts and egg, steamed in banana leaf)
Ravioli de Cabrito (Italian-influenced Peruvian dish [there are lots of italians in Peru—my grandmother was of Italian descent] with a wine, onion, garlic, tomato and chili-laced meat filling, served with a key-lime butter sauce)
Solterito Arequipeño (bean salad, with fresh white cheese cubes, with fava beans, corn, chilies, red onions, black olives)
Arroz Chaufa de Pescado (a Chinese-influenced Peruvian dish [Chinese immigrants came to Peru over 100 years ago and have had their influence on the cuisine] of fried rice with fried fish and egg with vegetables)
Carapulca (one of Peru’s most ancient dishes—a casserole stew with dried potatoes and dried meat [charqui], pork onions, garlic, chilies, cilantro and peanuts. The Spanish influences are the crushed cookies, cloves, port wine, and chocolate.)
Turrón de Chocolate (Peruvians love their sweets! This is kind a cross between a cake and a candy [like the Italian Panforte] )

23. Food blog you read the most. Or maybe the top 3?
My friend, Julie Hasson’s blog.

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
Denman Island Chocolate—hazelnut or espresso are my favorite varieties, but they have orange, mint, and raspberry which are yummy, too. This is a local product, but sold all over North America.

Denman Island Chocolate Buddha:

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?

Fairtrade extra-virgin olive oil at $20 for 500 mL.

26. Ingredients you are scared to work with?
#1) Natto, the slimy, sticky, stinky fermented soybeans in Japanese cuisine. My friend Matsuki was eating it with rice one day and, honestly, I couldn’t even watch him put it in his mouth!

#2) Kombucha— same reaction of utter revulsion.