Sunday, August 31, 2014


Best Blog Tips

We have such beautiful kale this year and such alot of it!  I'm trying to incorporate it into as many dishes as possible.  (Fortunately, we both love it!).

Last night we had our friend Brenda over for dinner and I made a kale lasagne, using up 1 1/2 lbs of fresh kale, and some tofu ricotta and homemade spaghetti sauce that I had in the refrigerator.  It was delicious and definitely a keeper!  I served it with some lovely roasted beets from my friend Holly, just sprinkled with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and fresh parsley.

We ended the meal with some tea and organic green grapes-- very satisfying!

Serves 6-8

12 whole wheat lasagne noodles OR GF lasagne noodles (not the “no-cook” type)
About 1 1/2 lbs. fresh kale (weighed before stripping the leaves from the stalks), washed and cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
About 12 oz. slightly spicy vegan sausages, crumbled (I used Tofurky Italian, but you could use Field Roast Italian or your own homemade)
OR, for a GF or homemade alternative , use 2x this recipe for TVP pepperoni crumbles
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. red chile flakes (omit if you sausage is very spicy)
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
About 3 cups homemade vegan plain tomato-y spaghetti sauce or your favourite storebought variety
1 recipe Ricotta di Soya (Tofu Ricotta) (There’s also an Almond Ricotta recipe at that link, too, but you’ll need to make about 1 1/2 times that recipe.)
UPDATE: Here's a nut-free vegan ricotta recipe.)
About 1/2 cup vegan parmesan (we like Earth Island or Follow Your Heart vegan parm) or your favourite parmesan sub

Cook the lasagne noodles according to the package directions—don’t overcook!  Rinse and drain them and lay them out flat on a baking sheet.

Place the sliced kale in a large pot.  Boil about 1 quart of water (in an electric kettle, if you have one—it saves energy) and pour it slowly over the kale, mixing with a long spoon until it is all submerged.  Cover and let it sit for about 10 minutes while you slice the onions, etc.  After 10 minutes, drain the kale in a colander, rinse briefly with cold water (until cool enough to handle), and then squeeze as much water as possible out of the kale.  Fluff it out a bit with your fingers after squeezing it.

Heat the oils in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add the sliced onions and sausage crumbles. Sauté them, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened and the sausage browned a bit.  Add the garlic and red chile flakes (if using) and sauté briefly. Add the kale to the pan and sauté again briefly.  Season the mixture to taste with salt and freshly-ground pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400°F, if you are going to bake immediately after assembling the lasagne.

Oil a 9 x 13” baking pan or dish.  Lay 4 of the lasagne noodles to cover the bottom of the pan. Spread the noodles evenly with 1 cup of the spaghetti sauce.  Add half of the sausage/kale mixture and spread evenly.  Cover that with half of the ricotta, spreading evenly.  Sprinkle evenly with 1/3 of the soy parmesan.  Lay 4 more of the lasagne noodles over the casserole. 

Repeat the layering as before.  Cover with the remaining 4 lasagna noodles.  Spread evenly with the remaining 1 cup of spaghetti sauce and sprinkle with the last of the soy parmesan.  Cover the pan loosely with foil or baking parchment.

Bake at 400°F for 40 minutes.  Remove the foil or baking parchment and let sit for about 10 minutes before cutting.


Monday, August 18, 2014


Best Blog Tips

This is a different take on the Charred Corn, Black Bean & Toasted Barley Salad from an excellent book in my cookbook collection called “Spilling the Beans” by Julie Van Rosendaal and Sue Duncan.  My husband doesn't like barley in salads and I had no mangoes or red onion, so this is my riff on this colorful full-meal salad. It is filling, colorful and delicious! I made this for lunch last week when we had guests and it was very well-received.

Serves 8

1 cup quinoa (pre-washed type)
2 cups vegan broth
2 heaping cups fresh or frozen (thawed) sweet corn kernels, thawed and drained
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups canned (19 oz. can) or cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
1 yellow or orange bell pepper (or a combination of both), seeded and chopped
1 cup diced red grape tomatoes
4 ripe peaches or nectarines, peeled and diced
1/2 cup chopped green onions (both white and green parts)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (some chopped fresh mint would be nice, too, if you have it)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
a generous 1/2 teaspoon salt

1. In a medium saucepan, toast the dry quinoa over medium-high heat for a few minutes, or until golden and toasty-smelling. Immediately pour in the broth, bring to a boil, turn the heat down to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes.  When it is done (it should have absorbed all of the broth and be fluffy), transfer it to a large serving bowl to cool completely. (If you’re in hurry, spread the quinoa on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the freezer for a few minutes.)

2.  Mix the corn kernels with the 2 teaspoons olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet and spread it out evenly.   Place it on your oven rack about 6 inches below the broiler coils.  Broil under the heat source (I turned my broiler on to High) until the kernels start to brown and get charred a bit.. Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool. (If you’re in hurry, spread the charred corn on a fresh rimmed baking sheet and place in the freezer for a few minutes.)

3. In a small bowl or jar, combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk well to combine.

4. Add the cooled corn, beans, peppers, tomato, peaches or nectarines, green onion and parsley. Add the dressing and toss well.

5. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to a few hours before serving.


Monday, August 11, 2014


Best Blog Tips

I'm sorry I haven't blogged for so long!  This is company time on the island, so we've been super-busy entertaining. I haven't had time to devise anything new lately-- I've been cooking up tried and true recipes for my guests! So, I'm posting an old favorite family recipe this week.

This was a spur of the moment recipe that I devised several years ago. I wanted to do something different with Butler Soy 
Curls® (see this post for info), but any "chicken-style" seitan cut into strips or commercial vegan “chicken” strips will work, too. Kids of all ages love them! Serve them with any favorite dip,barbecue sauce, or chile sauce (I mixed half ketchup and half tomato salsa), and enjoy!

Serves 4

4 oz Soy Curls® (pick out and use the longest strips), reconstituted in hot chicken-style
vegan broth OR use 4 cups “chickeny" seitan cut into "fingers"
1 cup soy or nut milk
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 Tbs paprika
1/2 Tbs dried oregano
1/2 Tbs salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
freshly-ground black pepper to taste
oil from a pump sprayer bottle

In a large flat baking dish, mix the reconstituted, drained Soy Curls®, or the seitan
"fingers", with the soymilk, lemon juice and garlic. Let it marinate for 1 to 4 hours in the

Mix together the Coating mixture ingredients well in another flat baking dish.

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Have ready two large dark-colored baking sheets which have been  
sprayed with oil from a pump sprayer bottle.

Just before serving, dredge each strip in the Coating mixture, covering all sides. Place
the strips, not touching, on the baking sheets. Spray the tops with a bit of oil from a
pump sprayer bottle.

Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the strips over and bake 5 more minutes, until golden and
crispy. Serve hot with your favorite dip or sauce.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 214.0 calories; 24% calories from fat; 5.9g total fat; 0.0mg
cholesterol; 887.4mg sodium; 201.5mg potassium; 27.6g carbohydrates; 6.2g fiber; 2.9g

sugar; 14.4g protein.