My love affair with Japanese food started late. I live in Vancouver, a city where babies eat sushi and snack on seaweed. It is embarrassing to admit that I didn’t try sashimi until my early twenties. I was that girl that ordered kappa maki (cucumber rolls) or avocado rolls while everyone else was raving about the tuna. Tuna Tataki salad was the dish that changed me. Maybe it was the light sear on the tuna that made it seem less scary. Perhaps that zingy dressing took the edge off. Whatever the reason, I fell in love. Fast-forward to the present date; Japanese food is a staple of my life. My guy is half-Japanese and I even helped produce a friend’s Japanese Cookbook. One of my life goals is to spend at least a year living in Japan. Heck, my dog is named Akiko…a popular name for Japanese girls. Go figure. The word “Tataki” in this context refers to fish or meat that has been lightly seared on the outside. You will often see Tuna Tataki made with …
It’s rare that I share other peoples’ recipes, but this salad dressing is so good you will want to stick a straw in the jar. I served it at a family dinner the other day and everyone had seconds…and thirds. This is a famous recipe that originated at Hollyhock on Cortes Island. I wrote about my visit to Hollyhock a long time ago. Since then, this dressing has haunted my dreams. It’s just that good. The key ingredient is nutritional yeast. If you’ve never tried nutritional yeast before, you are in for a treat. The flavour is savoury and cheese-like. You can buy it in most health food stores. This recipe makes a substantial amount of dressing, but it won’t go to waste. It’s really good on rice or roasted vegetables. It would be perfect as a sauce for a Dragon Bowl. My salad was a mix of baby spinach, red onion, sliced apples, pomegranate and walnuts but you can use your favourite blend. The dressing is very versatile. Check out the famous Hollyhock Salad …
This easy vegan pho with zucchini noodles is not culturally authentic, but it tastes wonderful. The spices make for an aromatic broth and the zucchini noodles keep it light. Of course, you could use rice noodles in this recipe but I’m trying to eat more vegetables and this is a good way to trick myself. Noodle-y shapes are inherently more fun than other shapes. I don’t have room in my tiny apartment for one of these fancy zoodle-makers. I have a small, hand-held unit that I won’t recommend because it is poorly designed. It makes decent zucchini noodles as long as the zucchini is the prefect size and shape, but it is very hard to clean. If you want a cheap-o solution, I highly recommend a julienne peeler instead. It’s not fancy, but it does the trick. Make sure you take the time to blacken your onion and ginger and toast your spices, it really makes a difference in flavour. Pro-tip: After you toast your spices, put them in a cheesecloth bag or tea steeper so …
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 can’t believe this is the first time I’m posting a sorbet recipe! What a colossal oversight on my part. One of the great joys of owning a quality blender is making quick and easy whole-fruit sorbets! It took me a few attempts at sorbet making to get my ratios of frozen fruit to liquid right. The good news is, if you mess up you will just end up with a smoothie.
Recently, I found a local Korean market that has incredible fresh tofu. I’m not in the habit of getting misty-eyed over tofu, but this stuff is amazing. Typically, the flavour of tofu is drowned out with sauces and marinades. I wanted to make an easy meal that would celebrate this tofu without completely obliterating the tofu flavour.
Herbalists claim that bitters can aid digestion. That’s cool and everything, but I like them in a Manhattan. If you are the non-drinking type, they add nice flavour to glass of sparkling water. If you are thinking about making some gifts for the holiday season, consider homemade bitters. The hardest part of the process is tracking down the ingredients and that is not that hard if you are willing to order online. I bought most of the ingredients from Mountain Rose Herbs, they are not paying me to say that.