We were at our farm this weekend to check in on our 3000 bulbs of garlic planted in the fall!! (Looking fabulous!) When the weather got crappy and we lost our enthusiasm for weeding, my mom and I started to riffle through old Martha Stewart Magazines over a cup of masala chai with ginger. Some of the old Martha Stewart mags are actually really good I must admit. I found the recipe in the “healthy living” section for this roasted fennel with warm tomato dressing. It rocked. So I bring you Martha Stewart via v:gourmet.

2 tsps olive oil

10 ounces cherry tomatoes

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2/3 cup dry red wine

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp red wine vinegar

Heat oil in a medium skillet on medium heat. Add tomatoes and cook, swirling pan often, until skins are blistered, about 5 minutes.

Stir in garlic, red wine, and balsamic vinegar, and cook until liquid reduces by half and tomatoes are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in sugar, salt, and red wine vinegar, and cook until mixture reduces further. Serve over roasted fennel or other vegetables to “turn plain vegetables into satiating sides.” Gotta love Martha.

spiced quinoa

April 17, 2011

The flavours in this dish are subtle and earthy. You get the nuttiness of the quinoa and the aromatic richness of the spices – especially after a little “toasting” before adding stock to the dish. I would recommend this with a number of dishes on v:gourmet, particularly the moroccan tagine, roasted veggies with chickpeas, and cassoulet. You could also do a spiced couscous which would be equally tasty.

3 cups veggie stock

2 cups of quinoa

1 tsp each of ground cumin, ground coriander, and smoky Spanish paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


Put quinoa and spices in a medium, heavy-based saucepan and cook over medium/high heat until the spices are aromatic and just start to turn a dusky brown. Add the stock and a dash of salt. Stir, cover, and bring to a boil. Once a roiling boil is reached, turn down heat to low and simmer until quinoa has absorb all the liquid. Fluff with a fork. Transfer to a serving bowl and fluff again to separate as many grains as possible.

Adapted from Market Vegetarian by Ross Dobson

Andrew has recently rekindled his love affair with brussels sprouts which were never my favourite. Not because I didn’t like them necessarily, just because we never ate them growing up. And when one of my aunts did serve them at the occasional family Christmas dinner or Thanksgiving feast, they usually arrived at the table soggy, under-seasoned, and looking like sad, flaccid, little outcasts that everyone avoided. Well, times have changed and – in our house – we’re embracing the new era of the brussels sprout to give it its due.

For brussels sprouts

3 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon salt

For shallots and mushrooms

2 tbsps oil

1/2 lb large shallots (about 6), chopped

1 1/4 lb  fresh shitake mushrooms (or chanterelle, oyster etc.),  trimmed, quartered if large

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 450°F. Toss Brussels sprouts with oil, garlic, salt, and pepper, then spread out in 1 layer in 2 large shallow baking pans (17 by 12 inches). Roast, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through roasting, until tender and browned, 25 to 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat. Sauté shallots, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add  mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender, about 7 minutes. Add wine, thyme, salt, and pepper and boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 2 minutes.

Transfer to a serving dish and stir in brussels sprouts. Serve with pride and tasty anticipation.

blackened rice

March 26, 2011

This is best made along side the black bean stew since the cooking liquid from the black beans is what blackens the rice. It’s brilliant. As Deborah Madison says “The nutritious broth that remains from cooking black beans makes a flavourful, rich broth for cooking rice. Although motivated by common sense not to waste this delicious broth,  I was delighted to find that using the broth this way is also a Mexican tradition.”

2 tbsps olive oil

1/2 white onion, finely diced

1 1/4 cups white rice

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/8 tsp anise seeds (or ground fennel)

2 cups broth from cooked black beans


Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan. Add the onion and sauté over medium-high heat for 4 – 5 minutes. Add the rice, garlic, and anise and stir to coat the rice. Cook until it’s light gold, 3 to 4 minutes, then add the broth and salt and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the rice is done, 15 to 18 minutes. Turn into a dish and garnish with  diced jalapeño chiles, chopped cilantro, or pico de gallo.

spicy cauliflower steak

March 13, 2011

This recipe is from the super-Vij of Vancouver fame. He just came out with a new cookbook called Vij’s At Home: Relax, Honey. So tonight dinner featured Spicy Cauliflower Steak and Mung Beans in Coconut Curry. They were a great combo with brown rice as the neutral grounding force but I would put an emphasis on “spicy” in spicy cauliflower steaks. The heat in this recipe builds so hold off on the cayenne if you want it a little more tame. Or just beware of how much sauce you serve up, or serve the dish with a little non-vegan raita on the side. It’s all good.

1 head cauliflower, outside stalks cut off

1/2 cup olive oil

1 1/2 cups puréed or crushed canned tomatoes

1 tbsp finely chopped ginger

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp turmeric

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cayenne pepper

10 cloves

3-inch cinnamon stick

Cut cauliflower, as you would a pie, into 6 pieces if it’s a smaller head and 8 pieces if it’s a larger one. Wash and carefully place large cauliflower pieces in a colander to drain.

Combine oil and tomatoes in a large wide pot on medium-high heat. Add ginger, salt, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, cloves and cinnamon, stir well and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, or until oil glistens from tomatoes.

Reduce the heat to low while you mix in cauliflower. Carefully place each large piece of cauliflower into the pot and gently stir so that the tomato masala covers all the pieces. If necessary, use a large spoon to ladle tomato masala into the nooks and crannies of the cauliflower pieces.

Increase the heat to medium, cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through. When you stir, if you notice that the cauliflower isn’t cooking, increase the heat. If it’s sticking to the bottom of the pot, decrease the heat. Pierce one of the larger pieces with a knife to see if it is soft. if necessary, cook cauliflower, covered, for another 1 to 2 minutes.

The original inspiration for this dish came from Jamie Oliver but I can’t remember if it was from one of his TV shows or cookbooks. Whatever the case, it’s become one of our staples as it’s quick, delicious, and versatile. I started making it with cherry tomatoes instead of fennel but one day  I didn’t have cherry tomatoes, tried the fennel instead, and everyone liked it better. I still make it both ways, and sometimes I use thyme instead of basil. However you make it, it looks great, tastes great, and is an easy addition to any meal.

2 peppers, cleaned, sliced in half, seeds removed

1 fennel bulb, cleaned, and sliced into thin strips

several basil leaves, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

olive oil

sea salt and pepper

Clean the peppers, cut in half, and place in the bottom of a cast-iron pan. Fill the peppers with sliced fennel, garlic, and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and a couple of turns of the pepper mill. Bake in the oven at 400 for 20 or 30 minutes until they are cooked to your liking.

Easy peasy and so good. What else is there to say?

1 rutabaga, peeled and cut into large cubes

3 parsnips, peeled and cut into large cubes

4 carrots, various colours, cleaned and cut into large cubes

2 celery root, peeled and cut into large cubes

6 cipollini onions, peeled

6 garlic cloves, peeled

olive oil

4 – 5 thyme sprigs

salt and pepper

3 tbsps maple syrup

Clean, peel, and cut all vegetables, onions, and garlic and place in a large roasting pan. Toss with olive oil and thyme leaves until well coated. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven at 425 degrees for about 30 – 45 minutes until tender and sweet. Toss with maple syrup and serve warm alongside pretty much anything.