Thursday, July 29, 2010

The simple dish I wish everyone would eat

I wish every Nova Scotian-- perhaps every Canadian-- perhaps everyone in the world was eating this dish. Why? Because it's simple, delicious and local. All the vegetables in the photo are fresh summer Nova Scotian vegetables. The peas hail from my Aunt Gloria's garden in Cumberland County-- I brought them back with me when I visited her. And the nine beans in this dish are from my balcony garden! As I've said, I hardly get much sun, but I still managed to harvest a handful of beans and that is rad as hell.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Vegetables in the most unlikely of places

I took a 24-hour trip back to my homeland a couple of days ago. There are some serious cool things there. First off, we took a trip to Nashville Pussy's favourite Canadian restaurant, the Schnitzel Haus. As it's a German restaurant renowned for serving seafood and behemoth slabs of pounded meat, it makes sense that there's only one vegetarian entree on the menu. I've eaten there once before and was pumped to try to make a small dent in the insane "Vegetarian Platter." It would leave the most ferocious Viking feeling defeated. Check it:

For context, look how large the plate is compared to me. It's HUGE! And so full! And there's a serving of potato noodles that they just couldn't fit on the platter! The creamed peas, coleslaw and and salad dressing weren't vegan, but even without those, I still could hardly touch this meal. Other restaurants could learn from their valiant effort!

Next, on the way to my cottage, we stopped by one of my favourite places, the Tantramar Acres, a roadside vegetable stand in Point de Bute, New Brunswick. It's a run by a father and son and it works on the honour system. Check out the logbook you record your purchases in.

It was their first week being open this year, so it was a popular spot and they only had a bit left when we arrived. The cucumbers were all sold out. So was the Swiss Chard.

Here's the Scale of Honour and the cashbox, which, unsupervised, anyone could grab and take off with. But I hope they would feel pretty badly about themselves. I hope you have a roadside vegetable stand near you. I wish I knew where they all were.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

the Vegetable Diaries

I asked Bruce what he wanted for supper a couple of nights ago and he melted my heart by saying "vegetables." I honestly never thought I'd hear him say it. For those of you not keeping track, Bruce confessed to his roommate a couple of years ago that he "didn't get vegetables"--as in he didn't understand why anyone would actually eat them. I tried to explain why people do eat vegetables when we first met, and then made it my mission to be less preachy, and show him by never (or almost never) including the vegetables he hates (mushrooms and onions, unfortunately), and instead using vegetables I either knew he liked or delicious ones he'd never eaten. Here's a version of a Japanese tofu stew flavoured with half seasonal vegetables and half last year's crop. I served it over a Rice Pilaf. We both thought it was awesome.

The night we finished watching the first season of the Vampire Diaries, we enjoyed red lentil dahl with spinach and carrots and a ton of ginger and turmeric.

We quickly devoured the soup alongside some grilled asparagus with ponzu sauce. A nice Asian fusion meal, good enough for a vegetable vampire.

I'm writing this while the rain pours down, listening to "Twilight of the Thunder Gods" by Amon Amarth and drinking holy basil tea. Awesome day.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Victorious Pumpkin Chocolate Spice Muffins!

Baking with vegetables totally rules. Although botanically pumpkin is a fruit, I'm still into baking with fruit. Anything without too much sugar-- muffin not a cupcake-- that includes fruit or vegetables can totally be eaten for breakfast. I wanted to bake some pumpkin chocolate spice muffins, but I didn't like any of the recipes I had. They all used too much sugar, not enough spice, too much oil or showed some other undesirable trait. I used three recipes as reference and really came up with a wicked brand new muffin. This is one of the most victorious recipes I've used, both taste-wise and All-Round Muffin Beauty-wise. I've had a lot of compliments on this recipe (including someone I'd just met eating three at a brunch with more people than muffins), so I'll share it with you. Note: do not dance in the kitchen or take the muffins out too early to test them (examine them through the oven window first) or they will fall.

Victorious Pumpkin Chocolate Spice Muffins

1 1/2 c. light spelt flour
1/2 c. maple syrup
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
a pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp. blackstrap molasses
1 c. almond milk
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
Flax egg (1 T. ground flax mixed with 3 T. water)
1 c. chocolate chips
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk together ground flax and water in a small bowl and set aside. Sift together dry ingredients except for the chocolate chips. In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients until homogenous. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until just mixed. Fold in the chocolate chips. Portion batter into 12 greased or lined muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until tester toothpick comes out clean.

Bruce tends to have an eating contest with himself whenever I make muffins, but I think this may have been a record. I think he ate 7 in 15 minutes. This was a muffin I got to enjoy by myself along with some delicious almond milk*, although had Bruce walked by, he'd have eaten it.

*I have a bit of a problem where I don't enjoy a baked good to its fullest potential unless I eat it alongside some milk. Used to be cows', then rice, then soy and now it's precious almond.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How's it growin'?

The speedy dwarf beans are really sprouting up! I tried to plan them so there'd be sun and a place to climb. Turns out they get the least sun of anything in the garden, but they're still doing pretty well. Bonus: the blossoms are beautiful.

I ACTUALLY HAVE BEANS GROWING! My proudest gardening accomplishment thus far.

I don't know if you can tell, but my herbs are growing. Most improved: chives and sage. I repotted them and they loved it.

I've already had a mega feast from this last week. It was so full of salad I could hardly get the scissors in to cut it back. I've got a couple of flowers coming. I'm not sure if I should leave them or not.

Look! I have a Swiss Chard plant! The birds have been eating almost all the little sprouts, but this big one and the tiny one under the leaf at the front have survived! To deter the birds, I snapped a couple of cds in half (makes prismy light that freaks out the birds) and staked them in the soil. No bird feasts since.