70% of the fresh water used by people goes to agriculture.
This smoothie isn't only beautiful, it's also very nutritious and filling. Sweetened with dates and blended with other ingredients necessary for a healthy plant-based diet.
A dish of korean inspiration! A delicious scallion pancake coloured green with spinach. This is a great way to add an extra portion of vegetables to your meal.
Start your morning off right, with the nutty and earthy flavour of houjicha oatmeal. If you're not familiar with houjicha, visit a tea shop and ask for it. It's a japanese roasted tea that is often served with sweet and savoury dishes. It's a good low-caffeine alternative to most teas, and adds just the right amount of flavour to oatmeal without overpowering it. Try it!
This black loaf of bread is what inspired this website. It took me a while to get my hands on bamboo charcoal powder, now that i have it, i will be baking a ton of these! Some months ago, I stumbled upon an image of an all-black loaf. I didn't know you could get bread to be that dark.
Getting your hands on bamboo charcoal isn't easy. I saw stores on amazon.com that stocked it, but nothing in my area. I bought a small amount at a health food store where I live, but it was a very small jar (also crazy expensive). After much searching, I concluded that the best place to get it was in Japan. I assumed it would be relatively easy to get over there, wrong again. It's almost impossible to purchase in store, or maybe i wasn't taking to the right people, or going to the right places.
I finally found some available for purchase on amazon japan. Since i lived in temporary housing, shipping there wasn't ideal. Luckily, a good friend agreed to have it shipped to her place and it arrived before i left the country! That's how i got my hands on bamboo charcoal powder! Wasn't easy, but i got it from the best possible source! I got it through Taketora, they've been growing and making things out of bamboo for years and years. They're true artisans.
Cooking with bamboo charcoal is a breeze, you don't need to add much to make your food black. It doesn't add taste to a recipe either, it's purely aesthetic.
I bet you all remember the scene in the movie Hook, when the lost boys are sitting in front of an invisible buffet. The boys are trying to make Peter understand that he needs to imagine there is food on the table. The moment when that little switch turns in his head, and he sees the feast, is one of my very favourites. A table covered with strange playdoh-like food, varying in colour, texture and shape. I've been wanting to re-create that buffet, to make something bizzare, yet eatable, and delicious.
This oatmeal is an attempt at doing just that, something that is very colourful, bizzare and beautiful. I like that can't identify what everything is right away - what is that green goo? Is it cake batter? Pesto (ew)? I like to challenge people's ideas about food, pasta doesn't need to be beige and neither does your oatmeal.
For those who worry about having spinach in oatmeal, know that you can't taste it in this. Also, why shouldn't you have greens in the morning? We all have these pre-conceived ideas of what morning meals should look like, or what they should include. Of course, I'm not re-inventing breakfasts with this recipe, it's still oatmeal. I like to think that i'm taking it a step further, in terms of what a morning meal can look like.
I'm one step closer to having my peter pan buffet! Now imagine a table full of dishes with this level of colour and texture! I'm in eatable play-doh food heaven.
Have some green pancakes for breakfast or dessert. Who said pancakes needs to be a morning thing? This recipe isn't too sweet, we have the sugar-free topping to thank for that!
I don't buy bread anymore, since i've discovered the joys of home-baking! I still like to go to my neighbourhood bakery though, to get ideas and inspiration. My latest bread experiment, is pretzels.
You can find black breads in some japanese bakeries, though it isn't common here in Montreal. If available, I wonder if people would buy them. Unfortunately, black is synonymous with 'burnt' and 'rotten'.
Those who think this way are missing out! Black bread is as good as any other bread, and will please the dark abyss, that is your stomach.
This recipe was adapted from Alton Brown's. I'm still new at baking, I'm learning a lot about it. It's great to have so many resources online to learn from! These pretzels are best eaten on the same day!
Late-night gyoza at izakaya, is one of the things i miss the most about living in Tokyo. Maybe not one of the healthiest late-night eats, but a DELICIOUS one. These are very unconventional gyoza, black on the outside, and red and orange on the inside.
We made homemade gyoza dough with some friends a few weeks back, it took FOREVER. Devine had the amazing idea of using our pasta maker to do it. We still needed to do a bit of kneading, to get it through the machine the first time. After that, it's easy and sweat-free!
We didn't have any round cookie cutters, the last time we tried i was using upside down glasses. Didn't work well because the rims aren't sharp. Again, Devine had a stroke of genius. Cans! I had an empty chickpea pan lying around, it was about the size of a gyoza wrapper so we used that to poke holes through the dough.
I know not everyone has a pasta maker, you don't need one to make wrappers. You can just use a rolling pin.
The fillings was another experiment, since i like to cook with colours in mind, i wanted something that would contrast the black. Beet and carrots seemed like an obvious choice. Unconventional, as far as traditional japanese gyozas go, but very delicious and very beautiful.
We had a lot of fun making these gyoza, it's best made and eaten with friends!
Gyoza wrapper techniques and ratios were based on the recipe from Just one cookbook. She explains it really well too on her blog it's worth taking a look. I learned a lot from her even if our techniques differ slightly. While I preferred not to knead by hand, or with a rolling pin, i did do it her way the first time.
I present to you a sweet bread that you can have in the morning for breakfast, or as a dessert.
I baked a similar bread for my dad a few weeks ago. He's truly the best dad, whenever me or my sisters ask for help, he always says yes. No hesitation, ever. He wouldn't ever think of refusing, the thought probably never even crosses his mind. Can't say how thankful I am to have someone like that in my life. Because of everything he does for me, once in a while I bring him some raisin bread.
If like my dad you like raisin bread, you will love this sweet raisin beet bread. It's halfway between a cake and bread. Adapted from one of my mom's old cookbook by Margo Oliver \"les menus de margo oliver\"
It's simple to make, and you can replace the raisins for cranberries or even chocolate chips for a different taste! If you make my recipe, just be sure to add plenty of raisins on top! I emptied a bag on it, without regret. They'll get super crispy, and will develop a sweet crispy caramelized taste. Was hard to keep myself from picking them off, Devine hates it when I do that.
Végé pâté is a quebec staple food, it's one of those things that you never think to make yourself. Every picnic i had this summer included this, it's great with veggies, on crackers and in sandwiches too! Purchasing it pre-made can get expensive, and not all kinds are good. This summer i decided to make it myself.
I like japanese food a lot, I cook it every week. It's not surprising that my Végé pâté would contain japanese ingredients.
A lot of végé pâté recipes call for whole wheat flour, I've made it using it before with great results. If you don't have oats, you can use whole wheat flour instead. AUsing oats as a substitute works great, I always have a bucket-load of steel-cut oats lying around. To grind it down into flour i use my blender stick, it takes more time but it works well!
I've been looking for ways to incorporate persimmon into savoury recipes. I always thought it could make a great sauce for pasta or rice meals. If pureed, it will taste very sweet, but if you mix in curry powder and other spices and ingredients it becomes less of a dessert.
Be careful when selecting your persimmon, there are two varieties. Hachiya persimmon are more elongated and you need to wait for it to soften down before attempting to eat it. Fuyu persimmon, have a tomato-like shape and you can eat it like an apple.
There are many different varieties of curry powders it's just a pre-mixed combination of different ground spices. If you're in a hurry, buying a mix is best. But if you have a full stocked spice rack, it may be better and more fun to do it yourself. Typically curry mixes have turmeric, coriander, cumin, black and red pepper, cinnamon cloves, fennel seeds, cardamom, ginger and fenugreek. There can be as much as 20 different spices, but you can probably omit a few and it'll still taste pretty great.
Enjoy over some basmasti rice, or grated cauliflower rice for a lighter and grain-free meal.
I hardly ever bake cakes, this was my first proper cake. My sister's birthday was coming up, and my parents wanted to get her a themed cake. Of what you ask?
Something old. Something new. Something borrowed...
You guessed correctly, you wonderful nerd you! A tardis!
They asked for a quote from their favourite bakery, they do great work but were charging a too much for it. So my parents turned to me, and my cake-baking adventure began!
My sister loves lemon cake, that part is simple. Getting the cake to be tardis blue though, is another matter entirely. That colour is unnatural, those royal blue 'raw blueberry pinterest cakes' are complete bull (they really, really are). I had to use food colouring, it's not ideal but it was necessary to get that tardis blue. I went ahead and bought Wilton's royal blue and violet colouring to mix, to get it be that specific shade. Using royal blue alone would have made it go turquoise.
The cake noob that i am, I searched around and found a very awesome lemon cake recipe by Laura, author of The Green forks. I adapted her recipe, and it turned out perfect. I referenced her cake batter recipe, while the tofu lemon curd filling was inspired by Zena Chews. Couldn't have done it without their recipes, thanks girls.
I didn't want to make an overly sweet cake, so i decided to not add frosting. Opted for a 'powdered sugar-dusted' cake. Most Tardis cakes on the internet are made with fondant, and thusly taste like liquid unicorn. I don't have the tastebuds of a 5 years old, can't deal with that level of sweet. I have no interest in tasting the rainbow.
I wanted to make a minimalistic and simple lemon cake. Then came the image of the tardis drifting through space. That image was simple, evocative. So i cut out a tardis stencil and added powdered sugar! Voila! My sister had a vegan lemon birthday cake! This cake is a safe bet, even for non-vegans. Even my parents, who dislike tofu, really enjoyed it!
Introducing, my basic black bread recipe. This bread is super light and fluffy, it's great great for morning toast or sandwiches.
I've been reading up a lot about bread, there's so many kinds out there. I wanted to understand how the ingredients we add, can change the texture of the bread. Also read about the differences in temperature, to knead or not to knead etc.
Truth is, it depends on the type of bread you want.
I wanted to make a sandwich bread with a light crumb, the kind that bounces back when touched.
The one I made this time has more fat, which in turn makes it softer and fluffier. The fat that you use will also change the texture/taste of the bread. A lot of people wont like the idea of adding 'fat' to a recipe, know that fat isn't synonymous with unhealthy. Too much of it can be bad, but in moderation there really isn't anything to worry about. It also depends on what fat you choose, there are good and bad kinds of fat.
There are many things you can do to help soften your bread, like brushing the outside with a little oil or fat. Do this as soon as you take it out of the oven, it will make the outside less crunchy. You can also substitute nut milk for the water, if you want a richer taste. There are so many different things to think about when baking!
I made this loaf for a brunch I had with friends, we wanted to have fondue with a set I got as a gift during the holidays. We cut the loaf into cubes, and dunked them in! Soft bread is perfect for fondue!
So there you have it! A basic black bread!
Japanese konbini always have a ton of fun flavours for crackers and chips. Anything shiso, or ume flavoured are insta-buys for me. I remember chips with a wasabi and ume flavour <3. Stuff like that isn't as available in Montreal, but at least you can find other things like shichimi togarashi! If you like spicy savoury snacks, this is for you!
Ume and shiso aren't anything like shichimi togarashi. Originally, i wanted to make senbei but since i recently purchased a bag of chickpea flour, i wanted to have a recipe using that. Senbei is typically made with rice flour and/or rice left-overs. I don't have rice left-overs on hand, we usually just eat it all on the same day. I never make extras.
When i decided i was going to make this, i didn't have any shichimi togarashi left, so I made my own! if you have a well-stocked spice rack, you can easily make it yourself. 'Shichimi togarashi' means '7-flavour chili pepper'. If you have some already at home just use that, but if you don't all you need is to grind these spices together -
2 tbsp chili flakes but if you don't all you need is to grind these together - 2 tbsp chili flakes 1 tbsp sanshou (sichuan peppercorns) 1 tbsp roasted orange peel 1 tbsp black sesame seeds 1 tbsp white sesame seeds 2 tsp ground ginger and 2 tbsp nori (or aonori).
Some people substitute sichuan peppercorns for black peppercorns, i don't reccommend doing that. They're not interchangeable, sichuan peppercorns is what makes it taste awesome. It's a numbing pepper, with a really distinctive taste and aroma. If you eat one peppercorn, you'll notice right away that it numbs your tongue and alters your sense of taste.
These beautiful heart beet bagels can be made for valentine's day, but imagine how great a thing it would be, to make these for someone you care about on a random day... for no specific reason. We shouldn't wait for special occasions, to cook amazing food for the people we love. Make some pink bagels today, just because!
Bagels are definitely a montreal thing. Walking by Fairmount bagel or St-Viateur, and not purchasing freshly baked goods is next to impossible.
The smell is just amazing.
When i was a teen, i didn't get to go into town often but when i did we would always stop by Fairmount bagel. The place was, and is still open 24 hours a day.
I live close to it now, and yet i never go. I enjoy making my own, they may not be fairmount quality but they are pretty damn good!
Make this for yourself or for someone you care about. Whether it be for v-day... or just because!
I've had the image of a black nigiri on my mind for some time. It's been sitting there, in my list of ideas for months. Couldn't think of what to top it off with, then a little while ago, i found out about Burmese tofu.
Yellow on black, needed to make it happen.
Burmese tofu is not really tofu, i know, that's confusing. At first, i thought it was tofu blended with turmeric. It has a yellow tint, and it's because Burmese tofu is chickpea based! The cool thing about it, is that it takes 10 minutes to make and sets 1 hour. It's a great soy-free alternative, and the texture is comparable to that of silken tofu.
I bought Chickpea flour for the first time around xmas, wasn't sure how to use it. I often purchase ingredients i don't know, and learn how to use them. I found a re-write of a chickpea tofu recipe online. The original recipe, I believe, was sourced from a book called The Burmese kitchen - recipes from the golden land by Aung Thein.
This recipe will use up about half of the burmese tofu, which means you'll have a whole other half to use in other meals.
I decided to make a mock eel nigiri, like the one i made a few months ago. The sauce that is served over eel kabayaki is sweet, with hints of caramel. I thought it would taste great atop of the burmese tofu.
Most japanese sauces are easy to make, and usually require around 3-4 ingredients. These almost always include soy sauce, sake, mirin, or rice vinegar. If you want to cook japanese food, having these around is a must. Hope you enjoy this mock-eel recipe!
Making brownies has been on my mind for some time, i finally settled for spicy brownies, with sweet and spicy pomegranate syrup!
It took me a LONG time to decide on a mix of ingredients/flavours; I've had recipe notes lying around on my desktop for ages now, with ingredients added, or scratched off.
I would still be in brownie rut, if it hadn't been for Devine ; his birthday was coming up, when I asked him what he wanted as a dessert he said, 'BROWNIES!'
The recipe was adapted from Joanne Gallagher's fantastic blog, Inspired taste. I'm not good enough to freestyle brownies, using her recipe as a base - for quantities especially - helped me out a lot. At least, i can get a good idea of how many wet, fat and sweet elements I need.
Spent time thinking about what i wanted it to look like, and how i wanted to present it. I didn't a chocolate topping - i've never been a fan of double-chocolate anything. I, at least, knew i wanted a fruit topping.
I wanted to make the brownies in a round cake pan, and decorate it with powdered sugar patterns, using stencils. Then, I stumbled upon a recipe online for a fish-based dish (they used a pomegranate syrup as garnish.) I'd never made syrup before, but i knew that's what i wanted as a coulis over my brownies.
I scrapped the round cake pan idea, as well as the powdered sugar. Devine's birthday brownies were going to be topped with fresh pomegranate seeds, and a pomegranate syrup coulis!
Again, something was missing...
I had some really good, spicy chocolate fleur de sel cookies at my old studio. The idea of putting chili peppers in cookies (or cake) had never ocurred to me before. I thought it was brilliant - and the chocolate and chili mix is just insane (in a good way.) Lindt makes dark chocolate with chili peppers, I guess it was inspired by those 2 things.
I put a LOT of chili pepper flakes in these, i have a higher tolerance to it but if you don't feel free to use less. The syrup has a fair amount in it too, if you're worried about the level of spicy, you can actually not put it in the brownie batter. But, be sure to infuse it in the pomegranate syrup, won't be the same without it.
These were a big success, Devine loved them! I cut them into 24 small squares, but feel free to make larger blocks. Smaller portions means you can have some longer, i like that idea.
In this recipe I substituted half of the fat for pureed pumpkin. In brownies you can only substitute half the amount, before it effects the texture. Hope you like it!
Was in the mood for some panko, didn't have tofu; but what I did have, was a jar full of chickpea flour. I prepared a batch of spicy, green scallion, 'chickpea tofu' and coated it with breadcrumbs. With this, I made baked panko chickpea fingers!
This dish was inspired off of Vegan Richa's parmesan crusted avocado recipe, I made it just last week! It reminded me how easy it is too make panko at home; never thought of using lemon juice, to make the panko stick.
The lemon juice adds flavour to the crumbs, no need for eggs or flour - simplicity at its best.
I had these with sambal oelek, it's spicy but I think it works well with the dish. I've been pairing this condiment with a lot of my foods lately, i bet these would be good with a sweet mustard dip!
If you don't have any panko, just make some yourself! All you need is some left-over bread; i had some i needed to use up. I tore the slices into smaller bits, and put them in my food processor to break them down. Once it was 'crumby' enough, I lined a baking sheet with some parchment paper, and put the crumbs down in a thin layer (for even browning). Preheat your oven at 300F, and bake the bread bits for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes is up, shake them around, and bake them for an additional 5.
Keep an eye on me them, to make sure they don't burn! Let cool, and store in an airtight container - keeps for weeks at room temperature!
Flautas de coliflor or 'Cauliflower flutes'; a delicious treat, consisting of curried cauliflower wrapped in corn tortillas, and draped with an avocado-coriander sauce. The flutes are also topped with some roasted, thyme-pumpkin bits.
Typically, this type of dish is fried in oil; i thought they would be just as delicious as cold wraps. For a hot version, place in pan with a bit of vegetable oil (canola or corn oil) and fry until browned on both sides. Then, add the sauce and toppings.
It's best to steam the tortillas, before spooning in the filling to help soften them. That way they can be folded easily, with no risk of tearing - No one wants torn tortillas.
Most people steam the tortillas beforehand with a microwave; to do this, put your tortillas in a bag, and heat for 30 seconds. Note that I don't have a microwave at home, it's an appliance I don't care to own. - i've always done well without it. If like me, you don't have one, you can use a big pot with a basket steamer, or a colander - it works just fine. Just make sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of your steamer, or colander; because what you will get are wet tortillas - much unpleasantness.
Made these on a lazy sunday afternoon, it's quick and very delicious!
Beet hummus bites, or 'uzumaki' bites, as i like to call them! Roasted beet hummus, black olives and aragula salad tucked into homemade bamboo charcoal tortillas.
Making tortillas at home is damn easy, it doesn't require a lot of waiting time or preparation. The only thing i had trouble with, was making them into nice circular shapes. Not sure how people manage to do it, guess it takes practice. It's also because i'm short of a rolling pin, Devine broke the handles off the other day. I've been using the 'body' of the rolling pin, without the handles. It still works! Dans ta face, rolling pin!
Made the tortillas based on the recipe by Zerrin from Give recipe. You should check out her page first, if you want to try and make your own tortillas. She describes it a lot better than I, not to mention her tortillas are circular. In my defense, she uses a tortilla press.
Had a lot of fun making these, plus the end result is pretty! I feel like these would be really good, topped with a sauce of somekind. Any ideas?
Black sesame ice cream bars, because it's starting to get warmer in Montreal! I want something sweet, nutty, refreshing and BLACK to eat! Need to goth-up my insides.
Ok, so it's not black. Grey is fine though, grey is gorgeous. There should be more, naturally grey, foods.
Making crusts is always an ordeal for me, most of the time i don't have the ingredients to make it. A lot of recipes call for graham crackers, or dates. While I often do have dates, i don't have an endless supply of it. Was wondering if there was something i could do with oats, i always have a TON of steel cut oats on hand.
I looked up recipes for oat-based crusts, and found this awesome one by Lauren Goslin from 'oatmeal with a fork'. Her recipe called for olive oil, but I swapped it for coconut oil. Coconut oil suits desserts perfectly, assuming you like the taste of coconut . The flavour can be pretty strong.
As for the black sesame ice cream, this is actually my 3rd attempt. First one was good, made it with silken tofu and coconut milk. Didn't have any silken tofu left for this batch, so gave bananas a go, and it worked out great too!
Being able to make black sesame ice cream at home makes me happy. Now that Japan is so far away, and that kombinis aren't 5 minutes away anymore. AH I miss the convenience of Kombinis.
It's mini loaf craze, love baking with the mini pans I bought. Been making mini everything. This time, i made some anise bread topped with a sweet sauce, loaded with caramelized pear chunks.
My bag of anise seeds has been sitting in my pantry, for way too long, begging to be given a purpose.
I'm sorry I neglected you for so long anise seeds, you're delicious, and you smell so so nice. No hard feelings? We're good you and I right?
This recipe was inspired by a Pineapple and anise seed 'pudding chomeur' recipe on Will travel for food! I ended up making little cake breads, instead of pudding. Making them egg-free worked out nicely too! My cake breads have a less sugar than the pinapple pudding chomeur too.
You guys should pay 'Will travel for food' a visit! It's a Montreal blog too, how cool is that? More montreal cooking friends!
Black sesame chocolate cookies with a wasabi glaze? Yep, you heard right!
A few days ago was 'international chocolate chip cookie day'. Apparently there's a day for everything? How annoying. It was hard to ignore, had images of cookies on my twitter feed all day. So despite today not being a day devoted to cookies, I decided to go ahead and make some anyway, because yolo.
I don't know if you guys ever had this, the 'wasabi flavoured chocolate' that Lindt makes. I had some for the first time a few years back. I was intrigued by it, it's a strange idea. If you're used to having wasabi with sushi, wasabi mixed into anything else just feels weird. Why would anyone want that in a dessert? Goes to show, that sometimes it's a good idea to play around with flavours. Mixing tastes you like together will not always yield good results, but in this case, it did.
I wanted to mix the wasabi directly in the cookies at first, but after reading a lot about baking with it, I decided to just apply it after in the form of a glaze. People were saying that the taste fades significantly when heated, didn't want that! Wanted a wasabi 'punch-in-the-face' taste.
It doesn't taste too strong, and like 'Lindt wasabi chocolate bars', it adds just the right amount of kick! It isn't a 'punch-in-the-face', level of strong though, don't worry. I know not everyone likes that.
The cookie base was adapted from 'oh she glows' 's Double chocolate chunk cookies recipe. Visit her fantastic blog for more recipes!
Simple black burger buns with white sesame seeds, ready in under 1 hour! Made with bamboo charcoal powder.
There are days when I don't want to wait 3h for my bread to be ready, which was the case yesterday when I decided to make burger buns. Devine's sister was coming over for supper, and I had a lot of work to do that morning. Didn't want to spend the entire day running between my computer, and the kitchen. Making bread doesn't require a lot of active time, but i'd still need to check often. Sometimes, that's just enough to take all of my focus away.
To minimize that, I made a quick savoury bread! The same one I made on Valentine's day that had a smoked paprika heart in the center (yes i know so cute. Paprika love.) That recipe was based off culinaire amoula's Cumin and paprika savoury bread. I simplified the recipe, removing the spices, and divided it into 5 buns instead of two large loaves. I recommend trying out her recipe as well, it's so good. You can have the bread alone with green tea :).
I don't have a lot of experience with quick breads, i'm experimenting a lot though, to see what i can make in less time. Culinaire amoula's recipe helped me a lot, didn't think i could get bread that tasted this good, so quickly. It makes great burger buns! The bottom stays flat, so in the end you're not stuck with this weird 'ball bread.' My last burger was like that, and it made it hard to have it sit upright on a plate. No one wants to eat spherical burgers.
If you're in the mood for black burger buns, and need it done quickly, then try out this recipe!
Fancy it up with some easy-to-prepare mango ice cream with black sesame syrup! Made using only 4 ingredients, for colour enthusiasts!
Internet is full of recipes using just fruit for ice cream, yep this recipe is one of 'those'. I've made ice cream with other bases, like banana or coconut milk. Both are good dairy-free alternatives. Full fat coconut milk is expensive, so i don't use it too often. You need it to be full fat, otherwise it wont freeze well. I learned it the hard way. Using just 1 fruit is nice, because of how little preparation is required. Whether you're using bananas, watermelon, strawberries... all you need to do is cut the fruit up into chunks, and freeze it for a few hours. Depending on the fruit, it may take longer. Also, if like me, you don't have a food processor, you can cut it up into smaller chunks to make it easier to break down with an immersion blender.
I like making syrups, or juice reductions a lot. It's simple, and you can use it in many other recipes afterwards! Reductions that aren't sweetened with sugar, you can use as add-on to sauces, or alone as a 'glaze'. My fridge has 3 different syrups in it right now.
'What are those?' Devine would ask.
'EXPERIMENTS' I would reply, wiggling my digits about, in a creepy fashion. 'You shall seeeee, oh yes, oh yes. YES. You shall seeee.'
I used a technique that Mike Case came up with on his blog Disco Ginferno, he made a white sesame syrup to use in cocktails! I liked not requiring a blender to make it, blending sesame seeds into a smooth liquid is hard. My immersion blender can't grind seeds finely. Boiling the seeds, and then straining them out is simple. And since you can re-use the seeds afterwards, there's no waste! The fact the seeds are toasted beforehand helps to bring out the nutty flavour, so whatever you do, don't skip that step!
Using veggies as noodles in a dish, is something I really enjoy doing. It tastes fresh, and is ready in a second! Thank you julienne peeler, your precense in my kitchen has made the process of cutting vegetables in thin strips, enjoyable. Spending an evening cutting daikon or cucumbers thinly by hand, are now nothing but a distant memory. Brought home a bag full of beautiful heirloom carrots, from Jean-Talon market last weekend. I've been using them in meals all week. Heirloom carrots come in a wide variety of colours. The yellow ones, I thought, resembled pasta. Thus came the idea for heirloom carrot pasta!
I used yellow and red carrots for this recipe, love how these veggies are coloured all the way down to the core. Zucchinis make great pasta noodles, but the white interior makes for a dull-looking meal. It looks especially beautiful with a sunflower "cheese" sauce. As you know, I'm allergic to tree nuts so my vegan cheese alternatives are somewhat limited. Luckily, I can have seeds which can be used interchangeably with nuts in most pasta sauce recipes. It produces a similar result, just as creamy and just as nutritious!
Until recently, I didn't know why you had to soak seeds and nuts before eating them. As it turns out, they have their own personal defense mechanisms. Nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances. Ingesting seeds, or nuts, without soaking, makes it harder to digest. You're also missing out on a ton of nutritional benefits. The last time I made this recipe, I tried the quick boiling method. It is easier to grind down into a sauce, but it will still be hard on your digestive system. My stomach groaned for hours after that meal, I personally prefer to soak the seeds overnight.
The idea for a sunflower seed sauce came from Vegan Sandra in her post she talks about how sunflower seeds are the new cashews. She provides a recipe that I used as a base for my carrot pasta. Enjoy!
Even if I don't live in Tokyo anymore, I try and keep up with what's happening over there. I still follow the news, and try to translate some simple texts to see how many kanji i've forgotten. My favourite kanji, is the one for bone '骨' (pronounced 'ho-ne'). I also love the kanji combination for jellyfish or '水母' (pronounced 'ku-ra-ge'), which beautifully translates to 'water mother'. These two words come together to create this expression '水母の' or 'jellyfish bones'. It is used when talking about something that you would not expect to exist, like bones in a jellyfish. I could go on, but seeing as how this has nothing to with food, here goes. The recipe i'm sharing with you today is japanese inspired, and is also currently part of a craze over there. I made some onigirazu, a sort of hybrid, japanese rice ball sandwich.
The word onigiri (or nigiru) means to press into shape using your hands, while "razu" means the opposite. Free form onigiri! This is perfect for people who have a hard time making rice balls, as is the case for me. Onigirazu has the same great taste, without the fear of imperfection. All the shame is hidden away under a blanket of nori, and fillings.
The concept of this rice sandwich, is perfect when you don't have the right type of rice available for onigiri. You can use just about any type, i tested it out with some Minute Rice and it worked perfectly. I was given some coupons to try out their products, i'm all for experimentation so i picked up a box of whole grain brown Minute Rice. It was my fist time trying it, I generally purchase rice in bulk. Bulk is cheaper, and has a lot less packaging. After cooking with it though, i do see the appeal. The rice is 'parboiled', which means that you wont have to wait very long for your meal to be ready. Your rice will be cooked in 1/4 of the time it takes for traditional brown rice. As you all know sticky rice takes a long time to cook, I don't mind having to wait after my rice, but I know that not everyone has that luxury. It's a good thing that this option exists, it means it's even easier to cook great meals, rapidly at home.
The rice was seasoned with miso for added flavour, and was filled with carrot kinpira. Kinpira means "sauteed" (sually with a mixture of mirin soy sauce and chili peppers.) It's a sweet, and spicy dish that is often served in bentos. I knew I wanted this as a filling for my onigirazu, to satisfy my sudden craving for japanese food. This would have been amazing with gobo, but finding the root here in Montreal is no easy task.
You should try and make your own version of onigirazu at home! As i said, it's no-fail and with some parboiled rice it can ready in under 20 minutes (you can also parboil your own rice). I may not live near a 24h kombini, with readily available onigiri anymore, but i know i can make some at home easily, and quickly.
This time last year, Grim Grains was born. If you were there at the start of it all, you'll remember that the first recipe I posted was black scones (my lovely eatable meteorites). Cooking had become a passion, this blog needed to happen. I was freelancing back then, and had a lot of time to dedicate to the project. Nowadays, I work in studio all day and finding time to cook up new foods is tough. Because of this, my meals have become simpler. I feel my meals will continue to be simple, due to the fact that me and Devine will be embarking on an exciting new adventure next year- We want to live on a sailboat. If you've ever been on one, you know that space is an issue. I'm not only talking about storage, but also about refrigeration. Grim Grains will still happen, but will be very different. Hopefully, i'll still be able to make my own pâté.
I wanted to try and re-create a curry pâté I had some time ago. While I didn't have sunflower seeds to use as a base, I had a jar full of pumpkin seeds! As you know, pumpkin seeds can be expensive, I recommend buying it in bulk (I ordered mine from Yupik.com). As with my veggie pate recipe, the seeds need to be soaked prior to blending. To learn more about the whys and hows of seed soaking check out the article Soaking Nuts Seeds & Grains by the Blender Girl.
This pâté can be used on toast, sliced cucumbers or other veggies. Sometimes I cube it up and use it as a topping for salads and other meals.
While Devine & I were still in British Columbia, i remember one morning waking up to the sound of someone knocking at our boat: it was our neighbours, coming to offer some homemade pan-fried corn pone. I'd never had corn pone before, nor did i ever think of making any sort of flat cake using corn as a base. After that I started to make it myself and would serve it with chili - lazy cornbread, as I like to call it. While sitting in the Niue yatch club, i found an old vegetarian cookbook; I must have spent an hour reading through it, the recipes were fantastic. The title read: "The Farm vegetarian cookbook". It was sitting there, amongst a panoply of writting, including a Polish Murakami book (how I wish it had been written in english.) The cookbook had an entire section dedicated to cooking with corn; it's in here, that I found a recipe for masa dumplings.
Masa is corn that is simmered and ground into a paste. It's the base for many recipes, you can make Mexican-style tortillas with it! Or, you can use it to make dumplings! I don't have access to fresh corn, nor do i have the space or the time to make my own masa; but I used polenta (corn semolina) instead and it worked! The only difference is that you need to add boiling water so you you can roll the mixture into balls. If you were to use masa, you wouldn't need added moisture. The texture of the dumplings is fun and chewy, the outside it soft but the inside is like that of dense cornbread. Corn dumplings, I imagine, could be used to make fake 'meatballs', Devine & I enjoy eating it with tomato sauce or with a spicy apricot sauce.
Instead of apricot jam, you can add apricot juice to the mix (orange will taste wonderful too.) I added jam because i don't have any juice on the boat currently, and besides, it works well in this recipe. Enjoy!