Packed full of fresh berries, these muffins are a perfect Sunday morning breakfast to accompany the sweet, aromatic flavours of  cinnamon earl grey tea. The cornmeal adds a nice crunch and the lemon zest sugar has always been a long-time favourite since my mom first started dousing her blueberry muffins with this zingy zangy topping. And they are so easy to throw together you don’t have to worry about getting up early. Sleep in and still get them in the oven by noon. Oh sorry, that’s someone else’s life … but the point still stands. 30 minutes start to finish.  On your mark. Get set. Go.

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cups cornmeal

3/4 cups cane sugar

3 tsps baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 1/4 cups almond, rice, or soy milk

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 cups sunflower or safflower oil

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups berries (fresh or frozen; if frozen don’t thaw)

2 tbsps cane sugar

zest from 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your muffin tin with either paper baking cups or oil and flour.

Mix flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking power, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Add apple cider vinegar to the soy milk and let sit for a few minutes until milk curdles slightly. Once curdled, add oil and vanilla.

Add wet ingredients to dry and gently fold mixture together. Then add berries and gently fold into batter.

In a small bowl combine lemon zest and cane sugar.

Fill muffin cups to about 3/4 full with muffin batter, and then sprinkle with sugar/zest combo.

Bake on the middle rack for about 15 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

I was chatting with my new friend and colleague, Meaghan Calcari from San Francisco, and she mentioned that she has quinoa every morning for breakfast. Don’t get me wrong – I love my dulse in the morning and will stick with it – but I thought for a change it might be nice to try something different. So taking my inspiration from Meaghan I cooked some up this morning topped with maple syrup, and toasted almonds. You could also add dried cranberries, and a dusting of cinnamon. This super-food is super yummy!

Super-food? For those of you that don’t know, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is really the superhero of grains. Actually, technically it’s not a grain but the seed of the Goosefoot plant. It’s used as a grain and substituted for grains because of its grain-like characteristics. The Inca have cultivated it in the South American Andes since, oh, about 3,000 B.C. In fact the ancient Incas called quinoa the “mother grain” and revered it as sacred. That alone makes it a super-food, but alongside being sacred it’s easy to prepare, has a great nutty flavour, and is packed full of protein, amino acids, calcium and iron. Need I say more? Eat up!

1/2 cup coconut milk

about 1 cup water

1 cup quinoa

1/2 tsp. fine-grain sea salt

1 1/2 tsp. poppy seeds

grated zest of 1 lemon

1 1/2 tbsp. maple syrup or to taste

1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

dried cranberries

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the coconut milk, water, and quinoa to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer the mixture, stirring often, for 5 to 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is creamy but still retains some texture. If the liquid in the pan is absorbed before the quinoa has fully cooked, stir in more water, 1 tbsp or so at a time, until done. Stir in the poppy seeds, lemon zest, and maple syrup. Serve hot in individual bowls topped with the toasted almonds. Serves 4.

greek tofu scramble

April 17, 2011

I had a dream last night that I made scrambled tofu for breakfast. I know, not very exciting but it was very realistic – one of those dreams that you’re not sure if it was a dream or it actually happened. Only problem is I was really confused about whether to use a blender, what to to put in the blender with the tofu, whether it should be sweet or savoury, and who would want to eat it. I woke up, realized it was a dream (phew – bye bye confusion), and decided to take the bull by the horns and whip some up no fuss no muss. Delish. Easy. No blender. So good in fact it might just become a new ritual on Sunday mornings.

1 block of firm tofu

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 red onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tomato, chopped

8 olives, pitted and chopped

handful of arugula

2 tsps oregano

small chunk of feta (optional)

sea salt and pepper

Drain the tofu and crumble into a small bowl and set aside. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Add onion and saute until soft. Add the crumbled tofu, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper and saute another couple of minutes.

Add tomatoes, olives, arugula, and oregano and stir until warmed through. Adjust seasoning. Serve on a plate with crumbled feta on top (if using) with a side order of toast.

 

I started making this granola years ago. I’m not sure how I came up with the ingredients but they work. A number of granola aficionados have asked me for the recipe so I figure that’s a pretty good sign. I stopped eating it for awhile – I suppose because I got really into the dulse for breakfast – but Bekah got me back into it again. Topped with a little soy yogurt and berries, how can you go wrong?

6 cups oatmeal

1 cup wheatgerm

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup sesame seeds

1 cup flax seeds

1 cup chopped almonds

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup safflower oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp sea salt

Mix dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Bring wet mixture to a rolling boil on the stove. Toss wet ingredients into dry. Spread on 2 cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.

The kids in our house love French Toast. It’s an almost daily routine – throw some cinnamon bread on the griddle for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, you name it. One weekend I decided to try this vegan version to test the limits of their adoration for this comfort food. Full disclosure: they didn’t love it. But we did! They had a hard time switching gears to the banana and coconut milk but for us it was a lovely indulgence on a Saturday morning.

1 banana

1 cup coconut milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)

1/4 tsp salt

1 loaf of good french-toast-making bread

Place all ingredients (except bread) into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a large shallow bowl and set aside.

Slice bread into 8 thick slices. Heat a griddle or pan and brush with oil. Submerge bread slices in the batter, lift out with a pair of tongs and place on the hot pan. Cook until golden brown, flip and cook on the reverse side. Serve immediately with your favourite topping.

Adapted from Rebar Cookbook.

I was in Montreal on a business trip and stayed with a dear colleague. He’s a bit of a gourmand so when he served me dulse with olive oil and toast for breakfast I was shocked. “We’re eating what for breakfast?” He promised I would become addicted, and addicted I am. We have it every morning, almost without fail. And the odd morning when we can’t have it, we miss it terribly. Andrew confessed one morning upon waking that he was actually excited about getting up so he could eat dulse. We’ve converted a number of people. Maybe we can convert you too?

package of dulse, preferably from Atlantic Mariculture (We’ve done the research – it’s the best!)

really good olive oil (We use Silver Leaf but are always looking to try others since there are so many incredible olive oils out there)

multi-grain bread

Cut up the dulse in the bottom of a bowl. Drizzle with good quality olive oil. Toast some nice multi-grain bread and cut it up on top. Eat. Become addicted.

cornbread

April 3, 2010

My dear friend Pamela gave me a gift the other day wrapped in a beautiful pink ribbon. And for no other reason than because it was Friday and we were having lunch. How wonderful is that! The present? A cookbook to add to my growing collection. But not just any cookbook – vegan, (mostly) gluten-free, and (mostly) sugar-free recipes from New York’s BabyCakes Bakery! I’m not gluten or sugar adverse but who cares? The recipes look awesome!! And one thing I particularly appreciate is that they don’t just use substitutions like fake eggs and vegan margarine. They approach baking in a whole new way.

I haven’t yet experimented with vegan baking, being so into discovering all the savory dishes for lunches and dinners and snacks. But now armed with some new inspiration I’m on it. My first project? Corn bread to accompany Easter dinner tonight. I tried it out this afternoon just to be sure and it’s fantastic! Moist, flavourful, and nice to look at. Thanks Pamela!!!

2/3 cup rice milk

1 tbsps apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose baking flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup corn flour

2 tsps baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup coconut oil, plus more for the pan (remember to melt the oil before measuring and for ease of mixing)

1/3 cup agave nectar

1/3 cup homemade applesauce or store-bought unsweetened applesauce

2 tsps pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325. Lightly grease a 7 x 4 x 3-inch loaf pan with oil.

Pour the rice milk and apple cider vinegar into a small bowl, but do not stir; set aside to develop into “buttermilk.” In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, corn flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. Add the oil, agave nectar, applesauce, and vanilla to the dry ingredients. Stir the batter until well combined. Pour in the “buttermilk.” Mix gently until the ingredients are fully incorporated and a slightly grainy batter is formed.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the corn bread on the centre rack for 32 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees after 20 minutes. The finished corn bread will bounce back slightly when pressed, and a toothpick inserted in the centre will come out clean.

Let the corn bread stand in the pan for 20 minutes, then gently run a knife around the edge of the bread. Cover the top of the pan with a cutting board, and invert the loaf onto the board. Carefully lift the pan away and re-invert the corn bread onto another cutting board. Either cut and serve warm, or wait until completely cool before storing. Cover the uncut corn bread with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.