I’ve Moved!

As you know, over the past several months, I’ve been neglecting my lovely little blog. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still love it or that I haven’t miss it. The truth is, I’ve found someone new.

A new blog partner that is.

Tess and I have officially started up our brand spankin new joint-blog: Tess and Jess: Food, Fitness, Friendship.  There, we’ll be recounting fun recipes, interesting workouts and fun little anecdotes on our respective lives.  If you’re still coming over this way, feel free to make your way over to our new site, we’d love have you join us.

Thanks so much for your support on the MTL Veggie for the past nearly 2 years, it’s been so much fun recounting my musings on vegetarian living.  I’m not closing the doors on this place just yet, I may return.  But for now, my blogging efforts will be concentrated chez Tess and Jess.

A bien tot!
Jess

 

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Curried Greens and Beans

This weekend, in a word: rocked!

Saturday morning I woke up to clear skies and one of those exceptionally nice, sunny, and crisp autumn mornings.  I popped into Starbucks then, pumpkin spice latte in hand, drove to Ottawa to cheer Tess  on in her second fitness competition. Oh, and managed to squeeze in a kick ass 10k run along the Ottawa canal. So far, so good ;)

If you’ve never checked out Tess’s blog, I really suggest you do.  She is one of the most motivated and inspiring people I know.  Here are some shots from her show:

Yeah, I know. I wish I could look that good too.  Simply amazing.

Following her competition we went to Play, this fantastic small-plates style restaurant where we had, hands down, the best curried brussel sprouts I’ve ever tasted.  Yes, the side dish is what I raved about the most. Don’t get me wrong, my gnocchi with radicchio and oyster mushrooms was also delicious, but I can’t stop thinking about the sprouts.

That’s normal behavior, right?

Anyway, by the time I got back to Montreal, I guess those sprouts were still on my mind along with my newfound obsession with kale.  Following a trip to the fruit and veggie market, I walked out with these ingredients:

I guess I decided to make a curry of my own ;)

Curry dishes are all about flavour, so I really made sure to pack it in.

Start with a base of garlic, ginger, and onion

Now add in some spice: I used Garam Masala and some crushed red pepper flakes.  The key here is to make sure you let this cook for a few minutes to give the flavours time to come together- you’ll smell it when it’s ready.

Next, add in coconut milk to create an amazing curry sauce for your veggies.  I opted for Kale, Brussel Sprouts, Potatoes and white kidney beans.  Be sure you pre-cook your potatoes and sprouts, you could roast them if you wanted, but I decided to just boil them.

When prepping your sprouts remember to score a cross on the bottom to eliminate any bitter taste, I also like to add a bit of white vinegar to the water when boiling them- a trick I learned from Mama Starkey.

This recipe is easy, delicious, and vegan and I really encourage you to try it out.

Curried Greens and Beans

Ingredients:

1 tbsp vegan butter

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp miniced fresh ginger

1 onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp garam masala

Pinch of red chili pepper flakes (to taste)

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 can of lite coconut milk

4 large leaves kale torn into bite-sized pieces

1 ½ c. brussel sprouts, cooked, halved

1 ½ c. small potatoes, cooked, halved

1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Directions:

Boil brussel sprouts and potatoes until almost cooked through, halve, then set aside.

Preheat butter and oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add in your garlic, ginger, and onion and sauté for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.  Add in your seasonings and allow it cook for 3-5 minutes until golden and fragrant and most of the oil has been cooked down.  Next, add in your coconut milk, cook for 5 minutes until slightly thickened.

Now add in your kale and cook it down for at least 3 minutes before adding in the remainder of your veggies and beans and let it cook through.

Serve it up and enjoy!

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Savoury Squash Pancakes

I’m not even going to try and explain the 8 months I’ve been absent, really there’s no excuse.

Moving on.

Yesterday, I rediscovered my joy in the kitchen when Angela posted a drool-inducing recipe:  Butternut Squash Mac and Cheeze. Help me.

As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make it, stat.  So on my way home from work I made several stops to get the ingredients (I don’t want to talk about it), finally got home at 6:30, nearly sheared off my finger with my veggie peeler (again, I don’t want to talk about it), shoved the squash in the oven and got down to business.

That is, until I realized I’d purchased the wrong almond milk. (seriously?!)

However, by 8pm, I was in my pj’s gleefully gobbling up the most amazing vegan mac n cheeze dish known to mankind.  Angela- how do you do it?!

Now, I was left with a ton of leftover squash.

To those who live in the realm of “9-5”, which is never “9-5”, you know that leftovers are a gift from heaven.  So during my lunch hour I was searching for some inspiration and the cold, rainy, Montreal weather pretty much demanded I make pancakes. Don’t question it, just go with it.

1 ¼ c. whole wheat flour (or flour of choice)

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp garlic powder

S&P

1 c. unsweetened non-dairy milk

2/3 c. pureed butternut squash

Canola Oil for frying

Directions

Mix Dry Ingredients together, set aside

Combine milk and squash and add into dry ingredients, mix until just combined.  Let rest for 5 minutes.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat, pour in your batter and wait for it to set; flip and cook until heated through.

This batter made me 8 medium-sized pancakes.

Once you’ve used up all your batter you can start on the sauce.

Brown Butter Marjoram Sauce

½ cup vegan butter (or regular)

3 tbsp fresh marjoram (sage would actually be better but marjoram was all I could find)

Heat butter in your pancake skillet until the foam subsides and then add in your marjoram. Once the butter is nicely browned and the marjoram is fragrant and pour over your pancakes.

Bon Appetit!

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Corn, Carrot, and Quinoa Stuffed ‘Bello’s

For those who have read this blog for some time, you’ve probably noted my affinity for portobello mushrooms.  Grilled, broiled, stewed or sautéed, I love the meaty texture they add to any dish.

They just add another dimension to my food that is completely mouthwatering.  So it’s no surprise that I have yet another portobello mushroom dish to share with you.

Some of you may recall my arrabiata-inspired pasta sauce from 2 weeks ago.  This had been occupying my freezer these past couple of weeks and I decided it needed to see the light of day again.

Then I looked in my pantry and found my quinoa lurking in the background

The roomie, who claimed he didn’t “like” portobello mushrooms changed his tune pretty quickly after one bite.  You will too, if you share his opinions.  So go ahead, reach for those pantry items that are begging to be used and create something gorgeous. You will thank me later ;)

Now back to my smoothie and Oscar red carpet coverage ;)

Corn and Carrot Quinoa Stuffed ‘Bellos

Makes 2

2 large portobello mushrooms

2 tsp olive oil, divided

¼ c. quinoa, rinsed

½ c. water

1 clove garlic, minced

2 medium carrots, diced

1/3 c. corn

¼ c. Arrabiata or piquant tomato sauce(you could use bottled/whatever you have on hand)

Fresh parmesan cheese (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 F

In a small pot bring quinoa and water to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until liquid absorbed. Set aside.

In a small sauté pan heat 1 tsp oil and add in garlic, stir for 30 seconds until fragrant, add in carrots and cook for 5 minutes.  Add in corn along with 1 tbsp liquid (if using canned) or use water, simmer until all liquid absorbed then add in sauce.  Mix until well combined, add in quinoa, season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat.

Remove the stem and gills from your mushrooms, brush with remaining olive oil and top with mixture Grate a bit of parmesan cheese on top if desired.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

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Cheese, Wine, and Sweatpants

In my last post I mentioned my dear Mother had sent me packing with about 10 different types of cheese. Chris (the roomie) and I decided that as much as we love cheese, we love our friends more and so we decided to host a little wine and cheese chez nous.

Then the week happened.  Honestly, between work and training, I was just plain tired when Friday rolled around, but the cheese was still calling out to be eaten- loudly!

So we changed it up a bit. Rather than host a classy affair with things such as real wine glasses, high heels, and showers we told everyone to show up in their Saturday morning finest.

That’s right, the classy humans that we are, had a slumber-party esque wine and cheese and it was the best decision we made!

Seriously now, can you think of a better way to pass a (snowy) evening than with good wine, good cheese, and good company all the while rocking your favorite sweatpants?

Yeah, I didn’t think so either.

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Pass (on) the Celery

Mom’s are great and mine is no exception.  They’re particularly great when they feel the need to give you groceries, even when you’re 25.  Hey, I’m never one to pass on free food!

Last weekend while en route from New Hampshire back to Montreal, I stopped in at Chalet Starkey for dinner where my parents were holed up with some friends.  Clearly, these people had never stayed with my Mom for any extended period of time before as they felt the need to bring food with them.  Word to the wise, bring booze not food to my parents.  Booze isn’t really necessary either, but we have more space to accommodate it.

Anyway, after we shared some laughs over my weekend in NH (I was at a freeski competition aka surrounded by 14-18 year old girls and boys) and ate some yummy burgers and salad, dear Mumsy sent me packing with a ton of food including:

-          Asparagus

-          Jamaican Rum Truffles

-          Lettuce

-          A dozen eggs

-          About 10 different types of cheese

-          Celery

The asparagus, lettuce, and truffles will all be used up pretty quickly and somehow I’m already down to my last truffle. I choose blame the roommate on that one ;)

I'd like to point out that the package was opened before I took possession

The eggs, I gave to my roommate as I really don’t eat them anymore.  As for the cheese, well we’re opening our doors to host a wine and cheese tomorrow in the hopes of getting rid of it; so all that leaves me with is celery.

To put it bluntly, I don’t like celery.  To me this veggie serves no purpose- it grosses me out in soups/stews/sauces and unless I have a ton of dip, it tastes like lightly flavored vegetable water when eaten raw.  I find it the most boring vegetable alive.  The only way you can get me to even consider eating it is like this:

Yes, I am 5 years old.

As you can imagine, I can only eat bumps on a log so many times before getting bored out of my mind. So I decided I would try and set aside my prejudice towards celery for one night by being a bit more creative and avoid food waste at the same time.  Enter these bad boys:

Most of you have heard of the Waldorf Salad and probably associate it with a mayonnaise laden chicken salad with some grapes and celery thrown in for good measure.  Well, here I’ve lightened it up nixing the chicken and mayo in favor of tofu and a vegan cashew-tarragon dressing.

The grapes and celery gave it a light tasting crunch and the raisins added another dimension of sweetness.  The whole thing is balanced out by tofu and this glorious dressing.

I love the colour combination of the grapes and celery!

I really recommend you give this recipe a shot!

Waldorf a la Végé

1 block of tofu, cubed

1 tsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 c. celery, diced

1 c.  Grapes, halved

6-8 large Boston lettuce leaves

¼ c. raisins

Dressing

½ c. cashews, soaked

Juice of ½ a lemon

2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon

1/2 c. water

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat, add in tofu, salt and pepper.  Saute until golden and slightly crispy- about 5 minutes. Remove from heat set aside and let cool.

In a blender combine cashews, lemon, garlic powder and water. Blend until smooth, taste adjust seasonings as necessary.

In a bowl combine tofu, celery, grapes, raisins, and dressing and mix well.  Divide mixture among the Boston lettuce leaves, fold into wraps.

Question: Do you like celery? What’s  your favorite way to eat it?

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Tarts for a Tart

Ok, so maybe I’m not a tart in the true sense of the word. Or am I?

Ah the glory years of 21, how I miss you!

Anyway, the other night, you know when I actually wanted to post this recipe, I decided to revisit my time in Paris; beautiful Paris in the eyes of a naïve yet feisty 15 year old girl.

Ah the glory years of 15, how I don’t miss you.

One of my clearest memories of Paris besides the Eiffel Tower where I was stalked by pierced and tattooed Germans (which is another story for another time) was clearly the food.   I remember my friend Nancy and I picked up these gigantic sandwiches that were good till the last bite, I remember baguettes with jam and coffee for breakfast, I sort of remember the wine ;)

I also remember the tarts.

Tarts to me are a wonderful and diverse food group that are just plain tasty.  Savoury or sweet, you know someone’s eyes will light up when they see you’re serving them a tart.

That can be taken in any context you wish, I don’t judge here.

These tarts that I’m about to show you are both easy and delicious.  Again, take that anyway you want.

Caramelized Onion Puff Pastry tarts

Ingredients:

1 large white onion, halved and thinly sliced.

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp sugar

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tsp dried basil

1 sheet of puff pastry, defrosted according to package directions

1 egg

2 tbsp water

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Begin by caramelizing your onions. Bring oil to medium heat in a large skillet; add in your onions, sugar and salt.  Reduce heat to medium low and cook until onions are a nice light golden colour:

Then go ahead and add in your balsamic vinegar, continue cooking until onions are completely reduced and caramelized, set aside.

Now you’ll want to bring on out your puff pastry.  If it’s in a block, roll it out to 1/8 of an inch thick, otherwise just roll out flat.

Next, grab a round cookie cutter, or a glass in my case, and cut out as many holes as you can on the sheet.  I used a large glass and got 6.

Place the rounds on a baking sheet lined with either parchment or wax paper.  Now beat your egg and water together and brush the mixture lightly over the puff pastry- this will give it that pretty golden brown sheen once baked.

Top each tart with caramelized onions, 2-3 cherry tomato halves, and basil.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown rotating halfway through.

Serve it up as an appetizer or with a small salad for a light meal.  Don’t forget the wine!

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