Monday, February 20, 2017

Planta Disappointment...I mean review

Sooo... I finally tried Planta last night. It's one of the newer plant-based restaurants in Toronto. I'm pretty disappointed with the meal I had, the Habibi Salad Bowl. Let me say, there was a lot more salad than I expected considering the description doesn't even mention a bed of leafy greens, let alone a whole bowl full of them.

Here's the description of my dish according to the website:
cauliflower cous-cous, split pea fritters, lentils, parsley, mint, coriander, currants, sumac, za'atar, tahini dressing

For the roughly two hours I was at Planta I felt like a cow in a field chewing on grass. I could barely engage in conversation while I had this huge pile of greens to consume with an abysmally scarce amount of cauliflower cous-cous sprinkled in the bowl. To be honest, my meal felt like a big joke. If I had wanted to eat an entire package of spring mix, I could have bought a package at the grocery store for much less money. And not paid $17 plus tax and a tip.

What added insult to injury was when I looked at a Toronto Life review of the restaurant only to see my dish featured with a photograph....

Toronto Life photo
Compare that to the photo I took of my meal last night. Let me reiterate that this is the same dish...

My photo. Spot the difference!

I'm not sure if the difference between the two has to do with the fact that I'm somewhat young looking or that I don't work for Toronto Life, but I'm not happy either way. If you're running low on cous-cous, ya know what, just let me know and I'll order something else. If you don't want to expend your resources on me because you don't think I'm be a big spender, shame on you.

While I enjoyed the evening with friends, I don't think I'll be returning to Planta anytime soon.



Sunday, January 29, 2017

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars


Change your perspective, change your life!

 While, yes, this motto can be applied to this recipe (somehow presenting a chocolate chip cookie in bar form makes it seem like a completely new and exciting dessert), I think it has even greater impact when applied to life in general.

I think it's particularly needed lately.


If only all of the xenophobic, racist, sexist, classist, white supremacist people in the world would take a moment to change their perspective, we would be on our way to a better world.


This recipe won't change the world, but maybe it can put a little smile on your face knowing it comes with a special message of love and peace...and because it tastes good.


Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
adapted from B. Britnell

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
sprinkle of salt
1 tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup almond butter
3/4 peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened original almond milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8 in glass baking dish. Line with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl beat together to vanilla, butters, and sugar. Until light and fluffy. Stir in the milk.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Mix the ingredients together until it all starts to stick together.

Add the chocolate chips and mix until evenly incorporated.

Pack into the baking dish. Sprinkle some more chocolate chips on top.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tempeh Meatball Sub



I am usually not a fan of tempeh. I try to like it. I really do. But there is something about it that doesn't sit well with me. With these tempeh balls, however, I can hardly tell that they are made from tempeh! Not only that, they are super flavourful and make one heck of a tasty sandwich!


This sandwich is satisfying and hardy. You won't be disappointed!

Tempeh Meatball Sandwich
adpated from Isa Does It

Ingredients
Meatballs:
240g tempeh, I used one package of Noble Bean
1 cup water
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dired oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
generous cracking of black pepper
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup panko crumbs

Other goods:
buns
your favourite tomato sauce
ricotta, homemade or store-bought
vegan parmesan

Directions
Crumble tempeh into little bits in a medium-sized pot. 

Add water, soy sauce, and olive oil. Put a lid on the pot and bring to a boil. Once the water is brought to a boil, put the heat on low and simmer, with the lid ajar, for 15 minutes. 

At the end of 15mins, most of the water should be absorbed; if not, drain the water. Place tempeh in a bowl and place in freezer for 10 minutes, stir halfway through. 

Once cooled, add the garlic, tomato paste, mustard, and seasonings. Mix well. Mix in onion and panko. Mix until it holds together. If it seems loose, add more bread crumbs until it holds.

Make the balls roughly golfball size.

Preheat a large non-skillet skillet, add olive oil. Add meatballs one-by-one, brown on all sides. Fry for approximately 10 minutes, roll them around to get all sides.

Remove from the pan and assemble your sandwiches. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Culcherd Tree Nut Cheeze by Wood and Water


Wood and Water makes excellent vegan nut cheeze. We were lucky to snag one of these Holiday Logs at Good Rebel, the first all-vegan grocer in Toronto.


This cheeze log was, ugh, delicious. Unfortunately, the Holiday Log is no longer available (obviously), but all of the Wood and Water cheezes are scrumptious, so check 'em out if you haven't already. And it would probably help if you're in Ontario.


Bountiful Roasted Vegetable Bowl with Almond-Lemon Dressing


I was tempted to call this a buddha bowl, but I have no clue what that means. It's quite common to see "buddha bowls" in the vegan community, yet I can't help but feel like I'm appropriating Buddhist religion when I use that expression. 


This dish is super tasty. And, oh so, nutritutious. Roasted veggies can't be beat in my opinion! It's hard not to eat the roasted veggies right off the baking sheet.

There is a lot of slicing and dicing involved with this dish, but it's worth it. You'll definitely feel satisfied after eating this bowl of goodness. You can never go wrong with rice, either!



Bountiful Roasted Vegetable Bowl with Almond-Lemon Dressing
adapted from Love & Zest 

Ingredients
For the bowl:
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
2 cups of mushrooms, sliced
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 small cabbage, thinly sliced
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
Rice

For the dressing:
1/4 cup almond butter
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
2 tbsp water

Directions
Cook rice according to package.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Arrange butternut squash on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes.

Arrange the rest of the veggies on the other baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk all the ingredients for the dressing together. Add more water, if needed.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Baked Shells with Vegan Roasted Eggplant Ricotta


I think it's no surprise that we love pasta here on Kitchen Grrrls. In all of its shapes and sizes!!

Pasta shells are no exception.


While this dish looks like a lot of work, it really isn't that bad. You'll be surprised.

Baked Shells with Roasted Eggplant Ricotta
adapted from Vegan Yumminess

Ingredients
1 large eggplant, cut in half lengthwise
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
21 oz extra firm tofu
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp dried basil
20 jumbo pasta shells
your fave pasta sauce

Directions
Generously sprinkle eggplant with salt. Leave cut side up for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F near 22 minutes.

Squeeze eggplant over the sink to remove the water that has been pulled from it.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Coat eggplant with olive oil. Place eggplant on baking sheet, cut side down.

Bake eggplant for 40-45 minutes or until mushy.

While eggplant is baking, cook pasta shells. Fry garlic and onion in a small pan until translucent, roughly 5 minutes.

Crumble tofu into a blender with your hands. Add cahsews and water. Blend on high until smooth.

Pour blender contents into bowl. Add garlic, onion, salt, nutritional yeast, pepper, and basil, mix well.

When the eggplant is done, scoop the contents of the skin into the bowl with the tofu mixture. Stir it up well.

Lay down some sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13" glass baking dish. 

Stuff the mixture into the shells and line the baking dish with the shells. Pour sauce over top.

Bake uncovered at 400 degrees F for 8-10 mins. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Vegan Black and White Cookies


If you can't get to New York City for Christmas, these cookies are the next best thing! Bring a little NYC magic into your kitchen/home. I don't know the story behind this classic New York snack, but it's definitely a staple. They taste like a thin vanilla cake.


It's a dream of mine to visit NYC during the holidays. It just looks so festive! Plus, there are so many vegan eats to be had.


For some reason these cookies didn't spread out as much as they should've, so they look a little different than the traditional cookie. It might be our oven. Our cookies seldom turn out how they're pictured on other blogs and in cookbooks.


Vegan Black and White Cookies
adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar

Ingredients
for the cookies:
1 cup unsweetened original almond milk
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 lemon zest
1/4 tsp orange blossom water (the OG recipe calls for orange extract, which will be more flavourful)
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt

for the icings:
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup boiling water + some tablespoons
1 to 2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions
Prehat oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl combine milk and lemon juice, let stand for 1 minute. Add oil, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and orange extract.

Sift flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Form a well in the centre and pour in the liquid. Stir until a thick batter forms and the lumps are dissolved.

With a 1/4 cup measure, for smaller cookies, or a 1/3 cup measure, for larger cookies, scoop the dough onto the baking sheets. Leave a space of 3 inches between the soon-to-be cookies.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Remove the cookies and allow to cool on the baking sheet for two minutes before placing on a cooling rack. Place the cookies on the domed side or upside down.

Now, you're supposed to use a metal bowl for the icing but I'm not sure why. If you don't have a metal bowl I think you could risk mixing the icing in a regular bowl *insert shrugging emoji*

Dump the icing sugar into a large metal bowl (or not) and pour the boiling water in. Mixx with a whisk until smooth. Add vanilla extract. Add some more water if it's too thick but you don't want this icing to be too runny.

Dust crumbs from the flat side of the cookies and ice with the vanilla icing. All over the flat side. Place some sprinkles on half the cookie. if you'd like. Do this right after you ice each cookie, so the icing doesn't harden. Once that's done, return them to the cooling rack.

Now let's make that choclate icing! Add to the remaining vanilla the chocolate that has been melted. I put it in a microwave-safe bowl and melted it at 30 sec bursts for a total of 1.5 mins, mixing about between each round in the microwave. The time will depend on the strength of your microwave. You can also melt the chocolate in a double-broiler.

Once you add the melted chocolate to the remaining vanilla icing it might be a bit thick, so add hot water a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

Spread the chocolate icing onto one half of each cookie and return to the cooling rack to harden.
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