Confession time, I’ve always claimed to hate quinoa. That weird, little tail it has freaks me out. Am I alone in this? Since I’m a grown-up lady and not a giant toddler, I decided to give quinoa salad another try rather than turn up my nose. I’m sure glad I did because this salad is so good it is destined become a staple in my house. It helps to be working with quality ingredients. I was fortunate enough to receive an amazing gift basket from my friends at Saul Good Gift Co. as a trade for writing this article on Canadian Craft Chocolate. The gift basket was jam packed with awesome Canadian products including GRAIN quinoa, West Coast Wild Rice and a host of other local goodies. When I think back to the times I’ve eaten quinoa salad in the past, it was always some well-intentioned variation of a Greek Salad. Greek Salad is…not…my…favourite. No wonder quinoa never managed to win me over, until now. This salad is crunchy and filling thanks in part to the wild rice. A big serving makes …
Have you tried to eat an overripe mango? They are so messy, you can’t easily cut them into cubes. Your best bet is scooping out the fruit and using it in a smoothie. I had two, large, overripe mangos sitting on my counter just begging to be made in to a Vegan Mango Lassi. A Lassi is a yogurt based beverage that has it’s roots in India and Pakistan. Traditionally, it is dairy based but I made mine with So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk and So Delicious Coconut Beverage.
After a long hiatus, I’m back in the kitchen. I temporarily lost my cooking mojo and I’ve been working to get it back. I had to spend some time thinking about what excites me. I occurred to met that I love experiments. There is something so fun about working with an unfamiliar ingredient and whipping it in to submission. In the case of this Vegan Pavlova, the whipping is literal. The food blog world has gone crazy for aquafaba. Aquafaba is the water you drain off of a can of chick peas. You can use it in place of egg-whites in recipes. It even whips up into stiff peaks and makes a meringue that is startlingly similar to eggs. Everyone who tasted these vegan pavlovas was shocked to hear they were made without eggs.
Some days, I’m content to cut up a bunch of fruit and make a fruit salad. That is the easy and sensible thing to do. Then, there are days when a regular old fruit salad won’t do. On those days, I make breakfast parfait! This parfait may look complicated, but it is very easy. All you have to do is layer some simple ingredients. You can use pre-made granola or try my homemade granola recipe.
Last week, I shared this Vegan Chocolate Panna Cotta recipe. It was very popular, but I’ve heard there are some people in this world that hate chocolate. To those people I say, “Chocolate is the best, your tastebuds are broken”. I’m a kind person and I don’t want these chocolate deprived people to feel left out of the Vegan Panna Cotta party. That is why I’m sharing this Vegan Coconut Mango Panna Cotta. It’s a mouthful.
Last week, I decided to play around with some kanten (a.k.a. agar-agar). Kanten is made from algae and it is a great substitute for gelatin in many recipes. Kanten comes in several forms. I used the granulated form. You can also buy flakes or sticks of it. For my first experiment, I created this vegan chocolate panna cotta with cashew milk and it was a success! It set up very well and held it’s shape when removed from the mold. Cashew milk is very creamy, so this panna cotta has a richness to it without being heavy. Not that I have a problem with heavy desserts, but sometimes you want something a little lighter. This panna cotta has notes of cinnamon and vanilla because I use my own homemade cashew milk recipe.
Yesterday was a good day. The photography gods were smiling on me. There are some days when I can’t get a decent photo of my food to save my life. It’s usually a combination of my own impatience and less than ideal lighting. I had 3 desserts to photograph and I managed to get them all photographed in less than 2 hours. It’s a miracle!
Tonight, we are having a Japanese style hot pot for dinner. We like to load ours up with cabbage, mushrooms, tofu, daikon and konnyaku. What is konnyaku, you ask? Konnyaku is the Japanese name for the konjac plant. The root of the konjac plant can be processed in to a rather bouncy food item. You may have seen noodles made of konjac labelled as Miracle Noodles or Shirataki. We buy shirataki from local asian markets as well as bricks of konjac gel that can be cut up in to cubes.
I didn’t bake anything this week. There was no need to. I had two birthday parties to attend so there was plenty of cake. The next two months are going to be pretty weird around here. I’m not going to be doing much baking. Instead, I’ll be spending my “free time” reading books and writing articles for our new chocolate website.
I woke up this morning with a hankering (yes, a hankering) for something bright, sweet, tart and refreshing. I started brainstorming fruit combinations and this is where I ended up. This red fruit smoothie is a combination of blood oranges, pomegranate, red grapes and cranberries. Cranberries, why do we forsake thee for 9 months of the year? I live in cranberry land (British Columbia), approximately 12% of North America’s cranberries are grown here. I really should eat them more often. Cranberry season has passed, but you can still buy them frozen.