Tuesday, August 21, 2007

New recipes from Foods That Don't Bite Back by Sue Donaldson

Here are a few recipes with photos of some dishes I recently prepared for my sister's 50th birthday. All recipes are courtesy of Sue Donaldson's cookbook, foods that don't bite back (vegan cooking made simple).

TOFU SATAY (dish on right)

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) boiling water
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) smooth peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) tamari
  • 1 1/2 T (22.5ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 T (15ml) rice syrup
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp (10ml) fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5ml) salt
  • dash of cayenne
  • 1 lb (455 g) medium firm tofu, drained, cut into 1/4 inch (.6cm) slices

Combine all ingredients except for the tofu in a food processor and process until smooth. Lightly oil or spray the bottom of a baking dish large enough to accommodate the tofu slices in a single layer. Cover the bottom with a thin layer of the sauce. Then place the tofu slices on top. Pour the remaining sauce overtop. Marinate in the fridge for 2-3 hours minimum. Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F. (175 deg. C). Bake for 20-25 minutes.

WILD RICE WALDORF SALAD (pictured in centre at back)

  • 1 1/2 cups (360ml) wild rice/brown rice blend
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) slivered almonds
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, diced
  • 3 T (45ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup (240ml) celery diced
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) red onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) currants
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) orange juice
  • 1T olive oil
  • 1T maple syrup
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5ml) ground cardamom
Prepare the rice according to package directions. Do not overcook. Place the almonds in a small frying pan and toast them over low to medium heat until lightly browned. Toss the apple with lemon juice in a large bow. Add the pepper, celery, red onion, currants and toasted nuts. Set aside. Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients.

Quinoa Corn Salad with Basil (pictured front centre)

visit and select

"Vegan Recipe of the Week"

and finally, FROSTED CHOCOLATE CAKE (at left in photo)
I have made this recipe at least twice, maybe three times. As you may remember, I absolutely love chocolate. I have been purchasing for my chocolate recipes, Camino Organic Cocoa which is also a "free trade" product.
The taste of this cake is divine and I think the Camino product is the key ingredient that makes it so good!

  • 3 cups (720ml) all purpose flour
  • 2 cups (475ml) sugar
  • 6 T (90ml) + 1 cup (240ml) cocoa
  • 2 tsp (10ml) baking soda
  • 1 tsp (5ml) + 1/8 tsp (.5ml) salt
  • 2 cups (475ml) cold water
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 T (30ml) white vinegar
  • 2 tsp (10ml) + 1/2 tsp (2.5ml) vanilla
  • 3 cups (720ml) icing sugar
  • 6 T (90ml) margarine
  • 3 T (45ml) hot water approx.
Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Sift and combine flour, sugar, 6T (90ml) cocoa, baking soda and 1 tsp (5ml) salt in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine the water, oil, vinegar, and 2 tsp (10ml) vanilla. Make a depression in the dry ingredients and mix in the wet ingredients. Beat until smooth.
Grease two 8 in (20cm) round pans and line bottoms with waxed paper. Pour the batter into the pans and bake for 30-40 minutes.
Cool, then turn out the cakes and slice each one into two layers.

Mix the icing sugar and remaining 1 cup (240ml) cocoa together. Blend in margarine, 1/2 tsp (2.5ml) vanilaa and 1/8 tsp (.6ml) salt. Add just enough hot water to give icing a spreadable consistency. This makes enough to cover the cake and three inside layers.
Variation: I use a nice raspberry jam and spread half of the jar between the cut 8in-layers. Then I spread the chocolate icing on top of one 8-in double, put the second 8-in split on top, and finish off by spreading the very top with the remaining icing. (In this four layer, the filling alternates as follows: (1) raspberry, (2) chocolate, (3) raspberry and (4) chocolate.)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Alive (August 2007) "Down on the Factory Farm"

"You will save more animal lives in a year by giving up eating chicken and turkey than you would in 90 years of not eating pigs or 300 years of not eating cows!"

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

BBQ Portabello Mushroom Burgers & Vegetables

My son Matt (pictured) put together this fantastic meal tonight for the family (alas I only remembered that a picture would have been nice after we had devoured the food). Here are the simple directions.

Portabello Mushroom Burgers
with Grilled Veggies:

4 portabello mushrooms, marinated (10-15 mins. each side) in balsamic vinaigrette, minced garlic, olive and walnut oil.

After marinating time is done, place mushrooms on preheated BBQ (350 F) and cook for 5-8 minutes per side.

The left-over marinade was poured over sliced zucchini, sliced baby eggplant, and the portabello stems and placed in a grilling wok. Vegetables in wok were placed on one end of the grill while the portabello were cooking at the other end.

Mushroom burgers were served on the new President's Choice Multi-grain Burger First Buns along with a variety of toppings (sauerkraut, dills, Dijon, mayo & nayonnaise). I piled my grilled vegetables on top of the portabello and spread a little nayonnaise on half of the bun. Results were very juicy and tender. A big hug and thank you to Matt for a delicious vegan dinner!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

"Competition is building between grain for food...

and grain for bio-fuels, between vehicle owners and the world's poor. Guess who wins."

Gwynne Dyer is an independent journalist whose articles are published in The Spectator, my local newspaper. I read his articles periodically but always check out his subject line. Quite often I find myself drawn in just because his story is so readable, sometimes amusing, and consistently thought provoking.

Such was the case, a couple of weeks ago. The byline read Food prices are going up and staying there - I think it is worth providing you with some of the points he makes in this article.

While it may not seem the case when you are at the checkout, globally speaking, we (developed countries) have enjoyed cheap food for quite some time. This is about to change drastically and quickly. During the last 50 years (post WW II), we were spending about 1/10th of our average income on food. Dyer predicts that within the next 10 years, due to conditions ripening now, the average person will be spending 1/4 or more of their income.

Some recent signs of things to come:

  • price of corn (maize) has doubled in a year
  • wheat futures are their highest (in the last ten year period)
  • food prices in India have risen 11% in one year
  • price of corn flour in Mexico went up fourfold in January
Dyer explains the factors that are causing the increase in prices:
  • world population is growing ("about an extra Turkey or Vietnam every year") therefore demand is growing
  • more and more people are eating significant amounts of meat
  • the UN predicts that by 2016, we in the developed countries will be eating 30% more beef, 50% more pork and 25% more poultry
  • these animals eat a grain based diet; logically the demand to feed the animal will require a shift from growing grain crops for human consumption to animal consumption
  • price of grain and meat product will go up
  • U.S. farmland shifted from food production to bio-fuel (industrial corn) increased by 48% in the last 12 months
  • 1/6th of grain grown in the US is considered "industrial corn", that is corn used in the production of ethanol
  • as oil prices rise around the world, profit from a "fuel" crop as compared to a "food" crop becomes all the more attractive to the farmer
  • all of the above is happening as well in other big producers such as China and Brazil

"The stage is now set for direct competition for grain between the 800 million people who own automobiles and world's two billion poorest people." (Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute as told to the U.S. Congress last month.)

As you can see, Dyer's article isn't a feel good read. Pretty depressing. It is not going to take ten years before we start seeing more and more poor people starving. As he says, the impoverished peoples don't care about the price of meat, because they can't afford it now. But if the supplies of food grade grain is diverted to fuels for our cars and fuel to grow our flesh crops, then what chance do they have?

Very grim indeed. Let's not wait for the politicians to do something. We / I must fight the complacency that overtakes us like a gentle fog. I invite you to ponder the dilemma and search for solutions that can be carried out on the individual level. It is the first place to start.

  1. Eat local as much as possible.
  2. Eat mindfully - taking in only what you need to be healthy. (With our wide-spread restaurant servings, all you can eat buffet style establishments, gluttony has vanished from our common consciousness. Speaking of gluttony, wasn't that one of those sins I learned about way, way back in catechism classes in Grade 1 ??)
  3. Conserve energy - all of it - walk more, drive less, consume less.
  4. Go green (vegetarian or vegan) but if that is not for you yet, at least try to reduce your consumption of animal crops.
  5. Support your local eat local communities.
  6. Charity - give to those who are most impoverished - and this can start in your own community.
  7. "We may feel as weak as mice nibbling at the world's fetters. But we are many. The fetters must snap." (Brother Mark Steindl-Rast, A Listening Heart - the Spirituality of Sacred Sensuousness)