Hot Pink Hot Dog Topper

Spring is here! The snow is mostly melted, I can hear water trickling often, and sometimes it’s warm enough to run errands in only a sweater. The two best things: riding around on my bicycle, and starting up the barbecue again. While I’ve been too busy to make a batch of homemade hot dogs, we have been grilling store-bought ones a few times a week for a quick dinner.

Closeup of slaw

Meet the best hot dog topping: salty, a bit crunchy, and beautifully coloured. Move over, limp sauerkraut. A new favourite garnish is in town.

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I did base this on the quick-pickled cabbage I added to the Sunshine Bowl I posted about a few weeks ago, but with a few modifications, and the addition of sliced radishes for extra flavour. I also like this stuff added into garden salads and brightening up tacos. It will last at least a week in the refrigerator.

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Hot Pink Cabbage-Radish Slaw – An original recipe by Agent Minty

Makes about two cups of slaw

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 2 cups finely chopped or shredded red cabbage
  • 5 or 6 radishes, halved then finely sliced

Instructions:

  1. Combine maple syrup, vinegar, celery seeds, and salt in a large non-metal bowl.
  2. Stir in cabbage and radishes.
  3. Allow to sit at room temperature, stirring every half hour or so, for about two hours.
  4. Transfer to a resealable container for storage in the refrigerator. 

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Enjoy! Is it spring yet where you live?

Pi Day

You all know March 14 is Pi day, right? 3/14 (to the part of the world that is crazy and writes dates backwards like that), similar to 3.14, the rounded-off value of Pi. Geeks celebrate by eating pies!

I was busy during the day, and didn’t get around to posting a picture of the pie I made on time yesterday, but here it is. Sorry about the lousy picture, but I was in a hurry to snap a picture before Mme. Minty started devouring it!

pie

I veganized this recipe I found online, and it was delicious… Chocolate Almond Strawberry Linzertorte. It is a variation on the classic german tart made with an almond-based crust and jam filling. The crust is closer to a cookie than pastry, and it has a dense, rich flavour.

I hope you all had a great 3/14/15 :)

Vegan Savoury Pie, or Non-Quiche

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Vegan quiche sounds impossible. What about the eggs, the cheese? In the words of a non-vegan critic, Where does all the flavour come from?

Well, if you can’t make something plant-based and flavourful, you just need to work a little harder. There is some vegan cheeze in here, as this is the second instalment of recipes that can be made with cheeze, but a lot of the favour also comes from the roasted peppers and seasonings, not to mention a rich pastry crust. At the request of Mme. Minty, I’m not officially calling this a quiche, as “eggs are gross,” so savoury pie it is. A perfectly indulgent dish for wintertime.

Quiche

Vegan Savoury Pie – An original recipe by Agent Minty

One note about the tart tin: I used a 9-inch quiche/tart tin than separates into two pieces. If you only have a traditional style pie plate, that will work too, as the crust recipe makes more than enough dough.

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup (80g) Earth Balance or other hard maragarine
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp water

Filling:

  • One red pepper
  • 1/3 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1/2 block (170g) traditional/medium tofu (not pressed)
  • 2 Tbsp chickpea/Besan flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/8 tsp smoked sea salt (if you have it)
  • 1/4 tsp regular salt
  • 1/2 tsp miso paste
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp almond milk
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp sage
  • generous dash of black pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 cup of cubed non-dairy cheeze (soft or meltable is best), or shredded Daiya

Instructions:

Prepare the crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Whisk together salt and flour in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Drop in Earth Balance by spoonfuls or as cubes.
  4. Cut flour into fat with a pastry cutter until the largest pieces are smaller than peas.
  5. Combine water and vinegar and pour over flour mixture.
  6. Mix water in by cutting-motion strokes with the edge of a spatula.
  7. Mix until the dough holds together, and turn out onto a floured countertop.
  8. Knead a few times until you have a smooth-ish ball.
  9. Roll out to about 5mm thick.
  10. Cut a circle slightly larger than the bottom of your pan and lift into the bottom of your tart pan.
  11. Cut rectangular strips about 50% wider than the walls of your pan. Use these to line the walls, pressing to join with the bottom. Using multiple overlapping strips is fine.
  12. Fold excess top edge of pastry into the pan and press to reinforce.
  13. Prick bottom of pan all over with a fork.
  14. Completely line pan with a sheet of foil (I find crinkling it first makes it easier to work with), and fill with dried beans, marbles, or other weights.
  15. Bake for 12 minutes. Set to cool on a rack for 5 minutes before attempting to lift out foil filled with hot weights!
  16. Let cool completely while preparing the filling.

Raw to cooked!

Prepare vegetables for filling:

  1. Cut pepper in half and remove seeds and stem.
  2. Place cut side down on a baking sheet or piece of foil.
  3. Switch oven heat source to broil.
  4. Cook in 450F oven until skin is blackened.
  5. Meanwhile, blanch broccoli and shock in cold water.
  6. Chop broccoli finely – After preparation, you should have about 1/3 cup.
  7. Let roasted red pepper cool or run under cold water for a few minutes to cool quickly.
  8. Peel skin off of pepper (even non-burnt regions) and chop one half of pepper finely.

Prepare filling:

  1. Turn oven temperature down to 350F.
  2. Puree tofu in a food processor until smooth, about one minute.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients except baking powder. Pulse until combined, scraping walls occasionally.
  4. Add baking powder and blend briefly.
  5. In a mixing bowl, stir together puree, broccoli, and pepper.
  6. Fold in cubed cheeze.
  7. Pour mixture into pastry shell and level out.
  8. If desired, decorate with herbs and shapes cut from remaining roasted red pepper.
  9. Bake for 40 minutes.
  10. Cool at room temperature for at least one hour, to allow filling to set.
  11. Can be re-warmed before serving.

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Winter Sunshine Rainbow Bowls

Six more weeks of winter. Technically, only four until it’s “spring”, but in Alberta we get snow and cold weather lasting until April. However, today was a fair day with lots of sunshine, and it put me in a good mood. I decided to make sunshiny lunch bowls filled with a rainbow assortment of healthy foods to keep me going all week.

Rainbow bowls (3 of 4)

Sometimes called Abundance Bowls, these meals have a grain base combined with legumes, vegetables, and seeds. Mine contains steamed broccoli, quick-pickled red cabbage, roasted red peppers, and lentils, topped with a peanut-sesame-lime dressing. For extra protein, I’ve included quinoa and pumpkin seeds. For the calorie curious, one bowl has 395 calories, 57g carbs, 12g fat, and 19g protein. To make ahead for the week, I prefer to prepare each set of ingredients and only combine the night before.

Winter Sunshine Rainbow Bowls – An original recipe by Agent Minty

Ingredients:

  • Grains and Lentil Mix (Recipe Below)
  • Red Cabbage Quick Pickle (Recipe Below)
  • 2 red peppers, roasted, with skins and seeds removed
  • 2 heads of broccoli, stems and florets diced and steamed
  • 5 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
  • Peanut-sesame-lime Dressing

Instructions:

  1. Spoon 1/5 of the grains and lentil mix into each bowl.
  2. Arrange on top 1/5 each of the cabbage, sliced roasted peppers, broccoli, and pumpkin seeds.
  3. Drizzle dressing on top and enjoy.

Rainbow bowls (2 of 4)

Grains and Lentils Mix

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup dried quinoa
  • 1/4 cup dried red lentils
  • 1/2 cup cracked wheat

Instructions:

  1. Wash quinoa well and combine with 2 cups of water.
  2. Bring to a boil on high and simmer with lid on for 7 minutes.
  3. Stir in the lentils, and turn down heat to medium-low for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in cracked wheat and 1/4 more water.
  5. Allow to return to a simmer for 2 minutes, then turn off heat.
  6. Sit, covered with a lid, for at least 10 minutes.

Red Cabbage Quick Pickle

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 red cabbage, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients and sit at room temperature at least one hour.

Peanut-sesame-lime Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Sriracha (reduce if you dislike spicy things)
  • 1/3 cup water

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

I’m going to enjoy this bit of brightness and sunshine in my days all week – I hope you have a good week, too!

Rainbow bowls (4 of 4)

Amazing Vegan Mac

Growing up, my favourite meal was homemade macaroni and cheese. It had four ingredients: boiled elbow noodles, shredded cheddar, skim milk poured all over everything, and crushed potato chips on top. Talk about simple. And man, what an overload of dairy.

I’ve made a recipe to share with you that has the comfort food spirit of my childhood favourite, but with a little more flavour and zero animal products. Ooey, gooey, creamy, cheezy. This is my first follow up to my Vegan Cheeze post, and uses Daiya shredded Pepperjack and some Kick-Ace cheddar spread. This makes a large batch – be sure to use a very deep 9×9 dish, or a larger casserole dish will also work. It is amazing as leftovers, too.

Vegan Mac (2 of 2)

Amazing Vegan Mac – An original recipe by Agent Minty

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups dried elbow macaroni
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp margarine
  • 2.5 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup plus 2/3 cup almond or other non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup prepared Kick Ace cheddar
  • 1/3 cup plus 2/3 cup Daiya Pepperjack shreds
  • 1/4 cup parsley flakes
  • Optional: a handful of rippled potato chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and generously spray your casserole dish.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook macaroni until al dente, while preparing the sauce.
  3. Melt the margarine and oil together in a heavy-bottomed pot on medium-low heat.
  4. Whisk in the flour and stir vigorously until it starts to foam and thicken slightly.
  5. Gently sprinkle in a few spoonfuls of the wine and whisk vigorously until combined with the paste.
  6. Drizzle in the remaining wine while whisking vigorously.
  7. Stir in 1 cup of milk while continuing to whisk.
  8. Take the pot off of the heat and whisk in the kick-ace cheddar and 1/3 cup of the daiya shreds.
  9. Return to medium-low heat and stir until cheezes are melted.
  10. Remove from heat and stir in drained, cooked noodles.
  11. Fill casserole dish with alternating layers of 1/3 of cheezy noodles, 1/3 cup reserved daiya, and 1 Tablespoon of parmesan, until all are done.
  12. Bake in centre of oven for one hour.
  13. Top casserole with crushed potato chips, if desired.
  14. Broil casserole for 3 minutes, or until golden brown.
  15. Cool out of the oven for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Vegan Mac (1 of 2)

Dream Date Cookies

As the stores are already littered with Valentine’s Day displays, memories come to mind of my childhood ideas about what “romance” meant. Flowers, dinners in fancy restaurants, and, for some bizarre reason, having a date who would appreciate it when I wore pantyhose (I think I associated it with being grown up). And of course the mysterious lover would be attractive, sweet, think I was funny.

I did and up marrying someone I love, who is sweet, beautiful, and has a sense of humour. Sure, flowers and fancy dinners happen sometimes, but the love and romance stems from more than that. Coming home during a stressful week and her playing an album on the stereo that I told her I’ve been thinking of for a while. Picking up her favourite candy when I’m out running errands. Taking the time to learn about and become interested in each others’ hobbies. After nearly a decade, love still isn’t boring. Making cookies for each other helps, too.

Dream Date Cookies (4 of 5)

These cookies could be described as a cross between chocolate shortbread and a trail mix cookie, with lots of chocolate flavour. Share them with whomever you love.

Dream Date Cookies (5 of 5)

Double-Chocolate Dream Date Cookies – An original recipe by Agent Minty

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup white flour
  • 2 Tbsp finely grated coconut
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup soft margarine
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp egg replacer + 2.5 Tbsp water, mixed well
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates (cheap ones are fine)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Process rolled oats in a blender or food processor until they are a coarse, uniform flour (think bran flake size).
  3. Combine oat flour in a bowl with salt, flour, coconut, cocoa, and baking powder.
  4. Cream together margarine, brown sugar, and white sugar.
  5. Add in vanilla and “egg” and beat until fluffy.
  6. Mix in dry ingredients.
  7. Stir in chopped dates and chocolate chips.
  8. Drop in 2-Tbsp piles on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  9. Bake for 12 minutes in the middle of the oven, rotating sheets halfway through.
  10. For best texture, cool completely before eating.

Dream Date Cookies (3 of 5)

Vegan cheeze plate for one

Going dairy-free doesn’t mean giving up on all the salty, creamy savoury deliciousness that is a cheese platter (or as I refer to dairy-free versions, cheeze). I received a copy of the book Artisan Vegan Cheese for Christmas, and have been exploring some of the recipes. Amazing! I’ve also been using a few recipes from the blog Vedged Out with success over the past year. Not to mention, some of the dairy-free cheezes on the market are decent, especially in casseroles. Below is a little snack platter I made myself recently.

Cheeseplate (1 of 1)Left to right: Daiya shredded Pepperjack, Aged Cheddar from Artisan Vegan Cheese, Kick-Ace Extra-Sharp spread from Vedged Out.

Stay tuned for some cheezy recipes later this month!