Do Me A Solid!

Hey everyone! You may recall last week that I posted a recipe as an entry in a food blogger contest...well, today's the day they opened up the contest to voting! Do me a solid, would ya? And click on this image and vote for my Lithuanian Potato-Mushroom Rouladen!

Fresh Wild Mushroom Recipe Challenge

Please please please and thank you!

Fettucine NoFredo with Roasted Butternut Squash

This recipe is NO JOKE. It is every bit as rich & creamy as any non-vegan recipe you've had. It can also be considered soy-free depending on the butter substitute you use, and gluten-free depending on the noodles you use. Mr. T says, "This ain't no diet food, foo'."

Fettuccine NoFredo

1/2 a large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp oil
sea salt & black pepper

enough fettuccine for 6 people

NoFredo Sauce
1/4 cup vegan butter substitute
400mL FULL FAT (don't let me catch you using "light") coconut milk
1 cup blanched almonds, ground into a fine powder
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
4 - 6 cloves of garlic (or more, depending on your tastes), finely minced or crushed
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
2 tbsp dry white wine
sea salt & black pepper to taste

Combine the ground almonds and nutritional yeast in a small container with a lid, and shake vigorously to combine. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 425F. Toss the squash with the oil, salt and pepper and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 25 - 30 minutes, until tender and crisped on the edges.

While the squash is roasting, set a large pot of water to boil. Add 1 tbsp salt.

In a smaller saucepan, melt the vegan butter substitute. Whisk in the coconut milk and bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium low and let cook until reduced by about one third. By this time your pasta water should be boiling, so add your noodles and stir until the water returns to a boil. Cook according to package directions.

As the fettuccine cooks, begin whisking the almond & nutritional yeast mixture into the simmering coconut milk, a little at a time, making sure there are no lumps. Once it's all incorporated, add the garlic, parsley and white wine, and reduce heat to low. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.

Once it's cooked to your liking, drain the fettucini, place it in a large bowl, and douse with the sauce. Add the chunks of roasted butternut squash, toss with tongs until just combined, and serve immediately, garnished with a fresh sprig of parsley if desired.

This sauce tends to separate as it cools so you only want to mix it with the noodles right before you plate it; heating the plates in the oven also helps keep the meal looking lovely as it's being consumed - just warn your diners.

Serves 6.

"Down Home" Brown Sugar Cake with a Penuche-style Frosting

Rich, moist, and chock full of that delicious caramel flavour - if you love brown sugar, you're going to love this cake.


3 cups of whole grain spelt flour (wheat will do as well)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 2/3 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup vegan "butter" substitute
1/3 cup soy milk whipped with 3 tbsp tapioca starch
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup soy milk made sour with 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Prepare two 9" round cake pans by greasing & flouring or lining with parchment.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. In another bowl, cream the brown sugar with the 'butter', then add the 1st soy milk + starch mixture and vanilla. Beat to combine. Alternately add the the flour and soy milk + apple cider vinegar to this mixture, beginning & ending with the dry ingredients. Beat until just combined, then pour into prepared pans. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Let cool in their pans for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert onto a wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Penuche-Style Frosting

1 cup vegan "butter" sub
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy milk
2 cups icing sugar

Melt butter. Add brown sugar and stir until it begins to boil. Add the soy milk and stir constantly until it returns to a boil. Stop stirring and let bubble for 3 - 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer to a mixing bowl and beat in the icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time, stopping when it becomes the consistancy you desire.

Makes enough to frost & fill two 9" round layer cakes.

Nutty Oat & Veggie Patties

These are great baked or pan-fried, served on their own with a sauce or dip or loaded up onto buns with all your favourite burger fixings. Very easy and quick to make.

1 cup chopped nuts of your choice (I like to use a blend of walnuts & almonds)
1 cup rolled oats
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp each powdered sage & rubbed oregano
black pepper to taste

oil for baking or frying

Place all ingredients in your food processor and pulse - pausing to scrape down the sides frequently - until they come together in a cohesive mixture. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. With dampened hands, form the mixture into patties about 1/2 an inch thick (thinner is better). These can be cooked immediately or layered between sheets of wax or parchment paper and frozen for up to six months.

To bake: Preheat oven to 375 and brush a cookie sheet with oil. Lay the patties on the sheet in a single layer and bake for 20 - 25 minutes, turning about halfway through to ensure even browning.

To pan-fry: place 2 tbsp of oil in a skillet and heat over medium flame. Add the patties a few at a time and cook for 5 - 7 minutes on the first side and 3 - 5 minutes on the second side, or until crispy and browned.

Yields 6 - 8 patties, depending on how big you make them.

'SHROOMS - A recipe challenge from Marx Foods

A few weeks ago, I was invited to take part in a food blog recipe contest involving wild mushrooms from Marx Foods. I recieved a little sampler box of their delicious, gourmet, wild mushrooms (truly wild and hand-gathered - not farmed!) and knew immediately I had to make something that really featured the amazing earthy flavours and textures and that wasn't a boring old soup or stew.

Words cannot describe the glee I felt opening up that box and taking a long sniff out of each sampler package! We've got porcini, matsutake, black trumpet, lobster and chanterelles here!

Over the last few years I have really been delving deep into the cuisine of my ancestors. I come from hardy European peasant stock; ancestors that started off in Germany, but migrated through Eastern Europe, heading up into Russia and eventually coming over to North America, first farming in North Dakota and finally settling in Saskatchewan.

As a vegan cook I have enjoyed my culinary adventures into the cuisines of other cultures; and for a long time believed that I couldn't really recreate the foods of my own culture because recipes from these parts of the world tend to be so focused on meat, eggs and dairy (short growing seasons, after all.) However in my explorations I came to realize that this was a misconception. Much of the year the people who live in these northern parts of the the world have access to all sorts of delicious vegan foods; fruits, vegetables, beans, mushrooms, greens and nuts. I have really enjoyed 'veganizing' lots of traditionally non-vegan dishes using these ingredients and substituting vegan versions for the dairy, eggs and meat where I can. With all that in mind, I was very excited to use these fancy, wild mushrooms from Marx Foods in a dish that celebrates my cultural heritage.

This is Bulviu Vyniotinis su Grybais, the Lithuanian name for a dish that literally translates to "Potato Roll with Mushrooms". This dish is actually widely found all over Europe with every culture developing their own fillings and flavours, but the basic recipe is the same the continent over - a velvety soft potato dough flattened and filled with whatever tickles your Olde Worlde fancy, rolled up tight like a jelly roll, and baked to a golden finish.

This mushroom filling is toothsome enough to satisfy anyone's appetite for a savoury protein dish, but is, of course, 100% vegan. I kicked it up a notch by spreading the dough with softened "Better Than Cream Cheese" from Tofutti (the non-hydrogenated version, natch), and made a simple tangy beet sauce to add a little zing to every bite (this also happens to be a great way to use up that leftover purple brine from your pickles). Try it and let me know how you like it!

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Thanks again to Marx Foods for hosting and inviting me to participate in their Mushroom Recipe Challenge! I sure hope I win; the mere thought of being the lucky recipient of all those delicious wild mushrooms is enough to make my mouth water!

Tomato-Stewed Tofu

I improvised this dish last night after having a craving for something I was once served in a Vietnamese restaurant. It's not really all that similar except that there is tofu in a tomato sauce, but it's still delish and relatively easy to prepare. (Sorry the picture's not that nice. It's hard to photograph really saucy things without them looking a bit like slop...)

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A time saving tip for crockpot lovers: Prepare the sauce a day ahead of time and refrigerate. Marinate the tofu in the fridge overnight. Then bake the tofu and add it, along with the sauce, to your crockpot. Let simmer on low for 8 - 12 hours.

Lentil Shepherd's Pie

I think this mixture of lentils & ground walnuts (plus whatever veg you have on hand) is a perfect filling for shepherd's pie because they are so dark and earthy tasting. Contrasted with the fluffiness of the mashed potato crust and topped with this savory crimini mushroom & garlic sauce and you've got the perfect meal for a chilly February evening.

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Ch'eitan Noodle Soup

You recall the seitan "chicken" cutlets I made last week, yes? Well, last night was the night to use up some of the ones I'd frozen - and their broth, which I'd also frozen - in this delicious soup. It's a real cold-and-flu-buster, thanks to the use of garlic, ginger and lemon; but it's just flat out delicious when you're feeling fine, too. Also - bonus! It's super quick to make.

Please note: if you don't plan on eating all the soup right away, you may want hold off on adding the noodles to future servings until right before serving rather than cooking them all in the soup right away. Noodles left to linger in leftover soup will just keep absorbing broth until they are nothing but mush. Either ladel out the portions of cooked soup you want for future meals and then just add uncooked noodles when you warm them up again; or cook the noodles seperately and add them into future servings as desired.

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P.S. - That biscuit? That was a whole wheat baking powder biscuit with a bunch of Daiya Vegan Cheese all up in it's bizniz. Nummers.