Make Your Own Vegan Beauty Products : Magical Make-Up Remover ou Sérum démaquillant biphasé

My DIY Vegan Beauty Products experimenting continues with this newest concoction which I slightly adapted from a new book I scored : 90 recettes de beauté bio à faire soi-même (90 Organic Do-it-Yourself Beauty Recipes) by Sophie Macheteau and Vania Guet. This is my first attempt at something from their gorgeous book, which is really written for the débutante that I am.

90 recettes is some terribly delicious eye-candy : beautifully photographed and edited, I found myself feeling rather soothed just leafing through the recipes. As I glanced at the various possibilities, I found myself wanting to try everything, but the majority of the cosmetics, lotions & potions require ingredients other than what one would find in the common kitchen. I had the vitamin E capsules, as well as the essential oils, but had no jojoba oil or grapefruit seed extract on hand. Maybe you do.

Taking note of what I needed cosmetically-speaking, and what I could make without dropping 40E at the health food store, I decided on the Sérum démaquillant biphasé jojoba-camomille (Double-phase make-up removing serum with chamomile and jojoba). Nearly out of make-up remover, this very easy recipe was worth trying. I adapted it a bit (because I can’t leave good enough alone) by adding geranium and chamomile essential oils.

Double-Phase Make-up Removing Serum with Chamomille and jojoba adapted from Sérum démaquillant biphasé jojoba-camomille de 90 recettes de beauté bio à faire soi-même par Sophie Macheteau & Vanina Guet. This recipe is for a 100ml container (about 3.4oz). I made it in a 50ml container since this was just a test-run. Don’t forget to sterilize your containers & be super-careful about washing hands & such since this is homemade, kids!

  • What you need: Jojoba oil, Chamomile Water, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Vitamin E Oil (I used a capsule, pierced with a sterilized needle), optional essential oils with good-for-your-skin properties
  • Using your container to measure the doses, pour it 2/3s full of the Jojoba Oil, then top off the remaining 1/3 with the Chamomile Water.
  • Add 20 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract
  • Add 7 drops of Vitamin E oil
  • I added 4 drops each of Essential Oils of Geranium & Chamomile
  • Close your container & shake like crazy (you’ll need to shake like crazy before using).

I loved it! It smells great, and it works wonderfully. I just dabbed some on a cotton circle and used it not just for the eye make-up, but for my entire face. I don’t wear terribly heavy make-up (they days I do wear it), and it’s water-based so easier to remove than the water-proof sort. This make-up remover would not have worked for me about 10 years ago when my skin was just out of the teens and still more on the moist side. I don’t have dry skin, but now that I’ve hit the 30s, I do notice I am using more moisturizer than I did back then. After using I just sprayed on a little toner and put on some moisturizer and was good to go. It took me about a week and a half to go through my 50ml bottle, and I’ll be making more tonight!

RAW : Flourless Chocolate Cake & Vanilla Crème Sauce & Frozen Feet

My feet are in a 5-gallon tub of ice water (okay, my right foot up to the metatarsal arch, my left foot is trying its best, but the toes are but kissing the surface of the water). I just got back from some intense speedwork and have been really dealing with some ouchies, and so, it’s time to get tough with the pain (wasn’t that from a pain-reliever ad way back? could just be hallucinating from agony, R foot is now numb past arch, L foot has all toes in…). Rather than suffer alone, I thought I may be able to help divert my attention from the cold and hang out with my fellow Vegan friends. Thank you for being here for me!

Now, I could snap a picture of my incredibly scary-looking (purple) feet, but why would I do that when you can look at that delicious raw cake up there? I guess I should say *was* delicious, because it dissappeared like the sensation in my R foot just did! Ha!

I thought that disguising my attempts at nudging Mr. Fish gently towards better appreciating the delicious goodness of raw foods would be helpful. What better disguise than cake? My efforts, however, were in vein, because after looking at me rather sceptically and barely trying a nibble, he smiled apologetically and said, “I’m sorry, but it’s just too weird.” He also says that about me when he sees me doing things like icing my feet… hey, maybe I am just too weird?

The Guppy ate all the cashew cream and strawberries on her piece, but wouldn’t even taste the cake, and this surprised me because it smelled of vanilla and carob. Sigh. What I was able to do, however, was to whiz a banana with some of the cream and she devoured that.

What this all means my dear V friends is that the Shellyfish ate the entire 4-serving raw cake. Not in one sitting though- in about 24-hours. It was a great pre-run snack, and I also had it for lunch with a green salad, had a slice with some banana with the Guppy for our snack (again, she did the banana-crème thing)… So perhaps not a winner in my family’s book, but I thought this little gem of a raw cake ruled! Thick and moist, reminded me a bit of a sort of vegan-walnut fudge.

Flourless Chocolate Cake from Raw Food Made Easy by Jennifer Cornbleet:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw walnuts, unsoaked
  • Dash salt
  • 10 pitted dates, unsoaked
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocao or carob powder (I used carob)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used 1 teaspoon & 1 teaspoon almond extract, too)
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • raw fruit for garnish

Put the walnuts & salt in your food processor and whirl until finely ground. Add the dates, carob powder, and extracts and process until it begins to get sticky, add the water and process briefly. Dump it out onto a plate and form it into your shape of choice, then off to the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Foot update- left foot no longer in wreched pain & in up to arch- hourrah!

Now for the Vanilla Crème Sauce, I’m guessing every vegan out there has one recipe or another for their own sauce like this. I don’t really measure mine anymore, but it goes something like this:

  • About two good handfuls of soaked cashews (I soak them over night)
  • 3 tablespoons (or more or less to taste) of rice, maple or agave syrup
  • about 1/3 cup of water
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of vanilla or almond extract

It all goes into the blender and stays there until smooth. Yum!

Oh thank you my blogosphere buddies. My feet have been iced. I will now shower as to not look quite so scary and smell not so stinky when the Guppy wakes up.

Make Your Own Vegan Beauty Products: Sweet & Simple Sugar Scrub

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get a wee bit ticked off at the “health and beauty industry”. Maybe more than sometimes. Often. Let’s not even get into the twisted manipulation of young people from the earliest age possible, distorting body image and creating a non-existent need for ridiculously over-priced, gratuitously invasive, (most) often un-necessary products. We quite literally buy into the fallacy relatively early – I remember well buying my first skin cleansers, toners & astringents, etc. with my hard-earned paper-delivery-chica cash when I was 9. My mom was willing to supply me with soap, washcloths, even that facewash that begins with a big N, but I had seen the commercials inserted towards the latter half of the Saturday morning cartoons. I knew what would work, and knew I had to have it. Didn’t I already have a pimple on my nose?

And so it begins, our seeming “dependency” on cleverly-marketed products which will help us look like we’re supposed to look, you know, according to them, the people who make all these nebulous decisions for us…

ça sent bon! that smells good!

But the manipulation is more insidious and far-reaching than we often realize. Those of us who are looking for environmentally-friendly and cruelty-free products often find what we are looking for, but with price tags often showing significantly higher prices than their chemically-laden counterparts. So-called green products are often just the objects of skillful marketing, and clever packaging- add some essential oils, slap it in a recycled paper box and voila! Tree-huggers will love it! Well darn it- that’s just not fair, because really, if these mega-companies would just go green, they would, in fact, save money…

We are the revolution, my peeps! While I’m far from suggesting we toss out all our mascara or make some homemade eyeliner, wouldn’t it feel terribly liberating to make what we can, saving money, resources, and excruciating procedures on animals? Why yes! Can I get an amen, my sisters?

While hanging out over at Amy’s always fun Angry Chicken blog, I spotted her sugar scrub that she nabbed from RecipeZaar and got a flash-back to an amazing-smelling shower scrub I used to use from time to time back in the States. Feeling inspired (and inwardly thrilled because I knew I had all the ingredients) I got to work (which took all of two minutes, maybe less). Personally I would suggest using a glass jar because it won’t absorb the essential oils (meaning you can re-use it for other things or other fragrances). I also found that another 1/4 cup of sugar was necessary because I found it a wee-bit oily the first time I used it. I added mint, bergamot and lavender oils this time around… and it was just as lovely as the very expensive sugar scrub I used to get for birthdays or holidays back in the day. I’m also a lotion-after-shower gal, but when I use the scrub, I don’t need it. Amy also blogged about these fun-looking bath melts that I really want to try.

Here’s to sweet-smelling showers…

Quinoa, Tempeh & Sautéed Veggies

Nothing terribly original here today, kids. However, lack of originality does not negate healthful tastiness!

It is suddenly summer here in ma petite ville française, and I have been swapping my “computer time” for “enjoying the gorgeous outdoors” time. We live in a generally mild climate, and if that pesky GLOBAL WARMING wasn’t futzing with the environment, it would have been warm and sunny, gee, about a month or two ago. We were dealing with unseasonably wet and cool weather (I once counted the meteorologist use the word unseasonably followed by the adjectives: cold, wet & rainy nine times during her post-evening news diatribe. That’s encouraging.) Since about two weeks ago we’ve been enjoying temps in the mid/high 70sF/20sC, bright sun, gentle breezes…lovely!

Gorgeous weather aside, one cannot live on Vitamin D alone (hélas), so the food must be prepared…

I was feeling rather guilty of blog neglect, so I snapped a picture of what I threw together for dinner yesterday. I have really been on a quinoa kick lately, mostly because it’s so darn quick & nourishing- nature’s fast food grain. I make a lot of this sort of dish because the quinoa is done when you’ve finished tending to your veggies, and it’s just as delicious served warm as it is when presented the next day as a cool, composed salad straight from the fridge. I’m trying to be better about remembering my pumpkin seeds since my iron is a wee bit low…so should you! Eat your pumpkin seeds everyone! I soak a handful or two over night, then drain and put in the fridge and throw them into or onto everything I can: salads, sautées, smoothies (and even things that don’t begin with the letter “S”).

Quinoa, Tempeh & Sautéed Veggies

  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1 package of tempeh, cubed & sautéed until brown & crispyish
  • 1 courgette/zucchini, chunk cut
  • garlic cloves (to taste) diced up
  • onion, quartered
  • 3 carrots, chunk cut
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 tablespoons rice syrup
  • 5 tablespoons (aprox. I didn’t measure) soy sauce
  • sesame oil
  • 3/4 cup soaked pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup fresh parsley

This is really complex, so get ready… 🙂

Sautée the garlic and onion for about a minute or two in the sesame oil, then add the carrots & courgette, and maybe add just a smidge (no official measure here people) of water, then cover and leave to cook on low heat. Forget about veggies while washing your dishes. Remember them in time to stir them once or twice, and when they are just-right soft, take them off the flame and pour them into a large salad bowl with the tempeh and quinoa. In a small sauce pan, briefly sautée the green onions, for maybe two minutes, than add the rice syrup and soy sauce. It’ll get very liquid and bubbly. Pour this over the quinoa/veggie mixture and be careful to distribute evenly. Toss in the parsley rather than forgetting it in the bowl on the counter until after dinner like I did, and the pumpkin seeds. Voila!

If you are a fan of the quinoa as I am, go visit the lovely & eloquent Ricki at Diet, Dessert & Dogs. She was running a fun quinoa-series of recipes a bit back, and there were lots of great links to quinoa recipes galore!

Bread Baking Day! Banana Oat Bread, Yum!

The lovely Astrid of Pulchen’s Food Blog is this month’s hostess for Bread Baking Day number 9. She proposed the fabulous theme of oat breads for the month of April, and I was thrilled because I am a newbie bread baker, and only have one oat bread under my belt (and it wasn’t terribly successful…Mr. Fish referred to it as “tasting like bread for old people”. Thanks mon amour.) The round-up is still a few days away, so if you just can’t wait, go visit Susan over at Wild Yeast. She graciously hosted our event last month, and here is the round-up.

I had images of golden, steaming loaves of oaty-goodness coming out of the oven, and was scouting around for a hearty loaf to use for delicious sandwiches. Finding a few recipes that interested me, I just didn’t come across the recipe (that being said, I can’t wait for this months BBD round-up to see what delights the others baked up!).

I woke up early one weekend morn to make some banana bread for the Guppy and Mr. Fish for a sweet breakfast treat, and then it hit me: Banana Oat Bread! (Luckily Banana Oat Bread is rather soft and moist, so it didn’t hurt.)

This seemed like a brilliant breakfast bread filled with the sweet goodness of oats and bananas, and I looked through my (very small collection) of cookbooks and came up empty. Recipes for regular banana bread, yep. I also had the “old people” oat bread recipe from my previous attempt at oat bread domination. After searching the web for a good Vegan recipe, I realized that I’d just have to create my own! (mostly because I didn’t have a huge amount of time to devote to my quest of searching the net, I’m sure there are some good ‘ens out there…) This bread was very moist and delicious, it reminded me of a sort of pudding-bread. It had a dense crumb, intense banana flavour, and was even better the next morning! You could easily add chocolate chips or walnuts to make things even more fabulous…

Shellyfish’s Vegan Banana Oat Bread

  • 110g ap flour
  • 110g whole wheat flour
  • 90g rolled oats
  • 70g sugar
  • 70g xylitol
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 medium very ripe & well-mashed bananas
  • 60ml vegetable oil or melted non-hydrogenated vegan buttery spread
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (yeah, it’s a lot, you could use less- we’re big on vanilla, folks).
  • Non-dairy milk as needed
  • chopped walnuts or chocolate chips, optional

Pre-heat your oven to 350f/170c and get your pan ready!

Mix* the flax seeds and water in a small bowl and set aside. Sift together all the dry ingredients except the oats in a large bowl. Mix the banana-mash, oil, and vanilla in a small bowl, then add to the flax mixture. Blend well*, then add the dry ingredients in two or three small batches, and stir until just blended. Then fold in the oats and optional walnuts or chocolate chips.

Bake until your knife comes out clean (or smeary if you use the chocolate chips of course). For me this was about 45 minutes

*By mix, stir, etc, I mean with your big ‘ole trusty wooden spoon, kids.

Tofu Cheesecake Madness! It’s Daring Bakers Time Again!

Unleash your sweet-tooth for this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge Cheesecake Pops from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts For The Serious Sweet Tooth by Jill O’Connor. I’m warning you now, this is not in any way a healthy-avid-yoga-runner-wholefoods-type recipe…but it was indeed very tasty, sticky, messy & gooey to make (which always hightens the fun-factor if you ask me).

This month’s lovely challenge hosts Elle from Feeding My Enthusasims and Deborah from Taste and Tell found we Daring Bakers a very decadent treat indeed (thank you for your time & effort, ladies!) Cheesecake is in itself quite an indulgence, but for this recipe it’s only the beginning! After you’ve baked your cheesecake you then freeze & form it into various shapes and give them lollipop sticks, then coat in chocolate and decorate! Wow! Holy calories, Batgirl! That being said, because they are individually sized, you can easily control your portions, so that’s a good thing. I guess. If you’re into that sort of thing…controlling cheesecake consumption I mean…

My favorite parts of this challenge were 1) completing the challenge with my super-cute mum who though battling a nasty nasty bout of illness played along and was available for planning consultations, official tasting & artistic direction (decorating) duty; and 2) the actual making of the tofu cheesecakes. I thought it was a blast! I totally admit to a heavy dose of finger-licking as well…see, these were indeed intended to be “pops”, but despite my best intentions (I visited two gourmet cooking shoppes & two super markets) I could not find anything that would work- I found popcicle sticks (too fat), super-thin straws (too flimsy), long, wooden sticks for cotton candy (too thick & long)… so I decided to turn this temporary set-back into a fun chance to use some new silicon molds that my mum brought me from the states! As a Daring Baker I was to follow certain guidelines, but using molds was ok’d by our hosts, so yeah for the molds! There were heart-shapes, disc-shapes, and flower-shapes, too!

Thing is, because there were no sticks to hold, I was hand-dipping them, which was a blast! Felt like a kid in the kitching doing something I could be scolded for! Another fun aspect of this month’s challenge was that a handful of the Daring Bakers Alternative Bakers got together to “chat” to exchange ideas & recipes & ideas, and that was a great chance to “meet” some new bakers & hear some ideas.

Here’s the recipe that I used (based on the tofu cheesecake recipe from The New Farm Cookbook (the original non-vegan Challenge recipe is at the bottom of this post if you want a peek!)

  • 3 1/2 cups firm tofu (rinse it, but don’t drain)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (I’ve used orange for orange cheese cake & it’s also good)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-2 table spoons vanilla or almond extract (or one of both if you’re really feeling crazy)

and for the chocolate coating:

  • 300g dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated vegan butter

I wiz everything in the blender or food processor till smooth (adding a little more juice if it’s a bit too stiff, normally it’s very smooth). If you were making a normal cheesecake, you just pour it into the crust & put it in the oven for about 50 minutes at 170c/335F. Because I opted for silicon molds this changed my normal baking time dramatically because the molds were of different shape & depth & made by different companies so the individual baking times varied from mold to mold (the shortest being 25mins, the longest 45). What I did then was to leave them in the moulds while they cooled (which I totally admit made my life easier than trying to scoop them out of a pan and shape them).

For the chocolate coating, I melted half the chocolate and 1 tbsp of vegan butter in the microwave and stirred well (so much work there). Then, carefully not burning my fingers on the chocolate I swirled the shapes in the chocolate. I found that even after being very cool from the fridge they were still really difficult to coat so I put them in the freezer & found that the colder they were, the easier they were to coat (less cold = thicker, goopier chocolate coating, whereas colder = pretty, thin layer). I also found that I had to sprinkle the decorations on right away after coating them or the chocolate hardened and they wouldn’t stick.

I’ll be honest- while the cheese cake was delicious, having it coated in chocolate just seemed too much for my family who seemed to just peel it off. It was, however, a very fun challenge, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Here’s the original recipe from Ms. O’Connor’s book:

Cheesecake Pops

Makes 30 – 40 Pops

5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature

2 cups sugar

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

5 large eggs

2 egg yolks

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

¼ cup heavy cream

Boiling water as needed

Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks

1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionary coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

(Note: White chocolate is harder to use this way, but not impossible)

Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) – Optional

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.

Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.

Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.

Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.

Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

Cranberry-Orange-Nut Bread

Cranberry-Orange-Nut Bread

I can’t believe that my mum’s annual visit is coming to a close, and she’ll be heading back to the states in a week. Many people live very far from the people they love, so I don’t want to start throwing streamers for a pity party here folks, and I am constantly thankful for the Internet and free International Long Distance, things that weren’t always available to me when I was so far from home (like when I was just a little 16-year-old non-French-speaking exchange student, lost in a rural village in the Loire Valley…), but her eminent departure does make me a bit sad…

I am however thrilled that since my marriage in 2004, my mum has come at least once a year for a visit in the Spring. One of her dreams was to visit France, and now her passport is beginning to look rather accustomed to travel! This year’s visit was a bit dampened by her being very, very sick for nearly two weeks, and that on her birthday to boot! We’d made reservations at a schmancy restaurant to take her out to celebrate (a restaurant which was willing to accommodate a vegan diner no less!), but she was so sick, she couldn’t even pretend to want to go. I could tell she wouldn’t be able to force down a birthday cake, but I wanted her special day to begin with something special, so enter Cranberry-Orange-Nut Bread from Veganomicon!

The following is not the original recipe in VCON, I made a handful of adaptations, and the result was delicious (as is the unadulterated recipe in VCON of course!). Here is my altered version, which my mum just loved for her birthday breakfast- we even put a birthday candle on it! Here’s my changed-up version:

  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup veg. oil (it was actually a bit less, I maybe filled it 3/4 full)
  • 1/3 cup Xylitol (all-natural sugar-sub made from birch bark)
  • 1/3 cup raw/brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar (reserve 2 tbs. to sprinkle on the bread & decorate plates)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbs orange water
  • 1/4 teaspoon all spice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 cup whole frozen cranberries (they don’t have to be completely defrosted, just mostly)
  • 2/3 cups chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Sift together all the dry ingredients and slowly add the wet to dry, mixing until smooth. Fold in the cranberries, nuts & orange zest, and pour into a loaf pan & bake for about an hour at 325F/160C. Let it cool a bit, like 10-15 minutes, before trying to take it out of the pan.

We loved this bread, and since finding fresh cranberries is nearly impossible except in November here (my frozen ones were left over from Thanksgiving), I am going to try this with blueberries or blackberries.

Tempeh with Bulgur and Celery

Tempeh & Bulgur Salad

 

I have been so crazy-busy since my Mum got here that I’ve been rather absent from the blogosphere of late… so I’m hoping to make up for my lack of posts with one of my favorite (and rather quick) recipes: Tempeh with Bulgur and Celery.

My omni-Mum has been rather enjoying all the delicious (hopefully) vegan offerings eaten here at the Fish household, but this has been one of her favourites by far. She wanted to be sure to have the recipe before she left, so I decided it was blog-worthy and will share this healthy and tasty composed salad with everyone!

I love the marriage of cilantro (with just about anything) and tempeh, and adding the nutty-flavoured quinoa makes it just perfect. I often make this dish with bulgur rather than quinoa, and sometimes too with left-over brown rice or kamut. It’s all good…

Tempeh and Bulgur with Celery

Tempeh with Bulgur and Celery

  • 1 cup bulgur (or quinoa or your favorite grain)
  • 2 cups water
  • oil for frying
  • 1 package of tempeh, cubed
  • 4 cloves crushed or finley minced garlic (or more)
  • 5 or more green onions (you can add more or less to taste, cut them on the diagonal, they look perdy like that, or just chop them up if you’re in a hurry)
  • 4 tbs soy sauce
  • 4 tbs agave syrup or rice syrup
  • 5 (or as many as you’d like) celery stalks, diced (the smaller, the better)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  1. Cook your grain of choice, here bulgur, and while it’s cooking dice up your veggies & tempeh. I usually start by frying up the tempeh. The original recipe I adapted calls for deep-frying it, which I don’t always do. Often I just cover the bottom of the pan with oil, then sauté the tempeh until it’s crispy and golden. Deep-frying does give it a great sort of “burn bacon”-like taste (which my mom loved).
  2. Let your tempeh drain on some paper towels while you sauté the garlic, onion and celery until the onions are bright green and the celery softens up just a tad. Add the soy sauce and your syrup and let things bubble up a bit, then add the tempeh and stir until well coated, and finally add your grain and fold until everything is coated with this delicious sweet-tasting sauce.
  3. Once you remove from heat (I usually pour it into a large salad bowl) fold in the parsley (or cilantro) and serve. You can also drizzle some lime or lemon juice if you’d like.

I like to serve this as a warm-cold salad, but in the summer (and when I’m organized enough) I make this ahead of time and chill in the fridge and it’s just as good.

We are all having a great time with my Mum, though sigh-seeing has been halted by her being slammed by a horrible cold/lung issue, but the Guppy is getting tons of snuggles and is just elated to have her “Pamma” here with her.

 

 

 

Tourte de pommes de terre à la crème de soja – or – Potato Tourte meets Pastie Pie

I’m going to begin with a little hi and thanks to all the wonderful Daring Bakers who have been so encouraging and supportive. My first challenge was, compared to the brillant and fabulous cakes made by my peers, like rose water to Chanel n°5, but everyone has been so sweet, and I have already learned much and am anticipating our next défi!

J’aimerais commencer avec un petit bonjour et un grand merci à tous les Daring Bakers pour leur soutien et pour tous les encouragements. Mon premier défi était loin d’être aussi beau que les gâteaux fait par les autres, le mien faisait genre eau de rose au lieu du Chanel n° 5, mais tout le monde était vraiment super sympa, et j’ai déjà appris beaucoup, donc j’ai hâte pour notre prochain challenge!

Going through some oft looked-over cookbooks gathering dust on the shelf, I began leafing through Tofu, Soja et compagnie, part of the Marabout Chef series of cookbooks. A well-meaning friend gave me this book about four years ago, probably because of seeing the”tofu” and “soja” in the title and thinking it would be something I would use. Well…kinda, because the book is not at all vegetarian or vegan, but rather has all sorts of recipes which do indeed use tofu and soy, but also cow and pig and fish. This would explain why I don’t often look through it.

Je triais mes livres de cuisine – ceux qui sont enrobés avec une bonne petite couche de poussière – et je me suis mis à feuilleter Tofu, Soja et compagnie (qui fait partie des livres “Marabout Chef”). Ce livre m’a été offert par un copain plein de bonnes intentions, qui, après avoir vu le “tofu” et le “soja” écrit en grand a cru bien faire. Et bien, le petit “hic” du livre pour moi et que ce n’est guère un livre de cuisine végétarien, au contraire, il n’y a qu’une petite poignée de recettes sans viande. Et donc voila pourquoi je ne m’en sers pas des masses!

pastiepie.jpg

That being said, there are a few recipes I have tried, and they have yielded some delicious results. The following is a recipe I have adapted quite a bit and it is just delicious (if I do say so myself). This tastes an awful lot like a Pastie, a dish a bit similar in idea to a calazone in shape & size. The flaky outer crust was meant to keep the inside nice and warm (for a pastie this often means meat, potato, carrot, turnip, etc). This was a very typical dish for miners, which is why you often find pasties in areas where there were mines that were exploited at the end of the 19th century – there were often large communites of European immigrants making pasties in hopes of having a warm meal in often sub-zero temps.) You’ll need a pastry crust – I used the Basic Single Pastry Crust recipe from Veganomicon because I love that one for quiches & tourtes, but I can’t make you use it. Well, maybe I could…

Ceci dit, il y a tout de même quelques recettes que j’ai déjà essayé, et je n’étais pas déçue. J’ai beaucoup changé la recette suivante, et je devrais avoué que c’est très, très bon. Il faudrait une pâte feuilletée – j’ai utilisé la Basic Single Pastry Crust de Veganomicon parce que je la trouve parfaite pour des quiches & tourtes, mais je ne peux pas vous forcer de faire la même chose…quoi que…

poivre.jpg

POTATO TOURTE (this really tastes a lot like a pastie, without the dead cow)

  • 150 cl soy yogurt
  • 150 cl soy milk
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 6 potatoes (thinly sliced)
  • 2 good handfuls of fresh parsley
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons of nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Pre-heat your oven to about 320°F
  • Line your tourte dish with about half of your crust. Add a layer potato slices, cover with salt & pepper and a dusting of parsley. Continue till you can’t any more!
  • Mix the yaourt, milk and nutmeg and gently pour over the potatoes.
  • Cover with the remaining crust and pinch the edges together. Cut a little hole in the middle to let the steam escape and pop it in the oven for about an hour or so.
  • Let this sit about 15 minutes before digging in!

TOURTE DE POMMES DE TERRE À LA CRÈME DE SOJA

  • 150 cl de yaourt de soja
  • 150 cl lait de soja
  • 1 ongion haché
  • 4 gousses d’ail écrasées
  • 6 à 8 pommes de terre à chair ferme
  • une bonne poignée de persil, ciselé
  • 2 à 3 c. à café de noix de muscade râpée
  • sel & poivre
  • Préchauffez le four à 160°C
  • Foncez une tourtière avec la moité de votre pâte. Placez-y les pommes de terre crues, découpées en fines rondelles. Saupoudrez avec un peu d’ongion, sel & poivre, et persil, puis recommencez (une couche, puis un autre…)
  • Mélanger le yaourt, le lait et les c. à café de muscade, verser ce mélange sur les pommes de terre.
  • Recouvrez le tout par la moité restante de votre pâte, et soudez les bords en pinçant avec vos doigts. Percer un petit trou au centre de la tourte.
  • Enfournez, faites cuire 60 minutes environ.
  • Laissez reposer aprox. 15 minutes avant de déguster! Bonne appétit!

Bread Baking Day

tropbon.jpg

One of the many things I admire about French culture is the richesse of the rites and rituals of life’s most simple pleasures. Shifting one’s focus from the glitz and plastic of the eventfulness and moving to better celebrate the event itself. The daily trip to the boulangerie for your baguette, the importance of choosing the right head of lettuce for your salad or taking the time to greet each individual when arriving somewhere rather than a blanket – hey. I like that. Life is, as Hemingway so aptly phrased it, A Movable Feast. Amen.

grosplan.jpg

 

 

Trying to emphasize the joy in the quotidian is my aim, and I stumbled upon this wonderful blog event: Bread Baking Day which does just that. A diverse group of foodie-bloggers who commune once a month to share their daily bread. I only just baked my first loaf of bread about six months ago, but I’m hooked (jar of sourdough starter in fridge), and I am thrilled to have found an event to convene with other confirmed and wanna-be bread bakers for inspiration.

I find the ritual of baking bread to be (at the risk of sounding a little bit out there) a veritable spiritual experience. Very grounding, but spiritual at the same time. Maybe there is something in my genetic memory that feels rekindled and soothed by the kneading, the unmistakable smell of bread baking in the oven, a feeling of community-family-unity wafting from the kitchen… or maybe it’s just my stomach growling?

This month’s host Wild Yeast (who has a really beautiful blog with truly wonderful photography – food for the eyes) chose the theme “Celebration Breads” and with so many things to celebrate for so many different cultures during the month of March, it was difficult to decide.

I had been eyeing the recipe for raisin soda bread in Sarah Kramer’s La Dolce Vegan for some time now, but hadn’t gotten around to making it – and decided that Saint Patrick’s Day was my opportunity. Despite it’s dense look, this bread was not heavy, but a bit spongy (in a good way, I don’t have my baker’s jargon down) it was très moelleux, but had a nice, crunchy crust, and had just a hint of sweet. The Guppy and I enjoyed it for our “quatre heures” or tea, and it thrilled me to see her eating something with raisins in it! (She’s in that “I’m almost three and don’t need to eat anything” phase.) It was also the easiest-to-make bread I’ve ever thrown together.

pain1.jpg

Jen’s Raisin Soda Bread from La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer

*notes : the recipe states that you can use cranberries in lieu of raisins, or you can add 1 teaspoon of grated orange zest.

  • 2 1/4 cups ap flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp sugar (I only used one)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 cup raisins (I used both white & normal)
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used plain soy)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

“Pre-heat the oven to 350°F(175°C). Lightly oil a 9-inch bread pan and set aside. (**In a small bowl, add milk & cider vinegar and just let sit & curdle.) In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, caraway seeds, and raisins. Add the milk and vinegar and gently stir dough until “just mixed”. Pour evenly into loaf pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean. Let cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes before removing from pan. Makes 1 loaf.

**I find that mixing the vinegar & soymilk and letting them curdle makes for better leavening than just mixing them into the flour at the end.

EDITED TO SAY: Generally Bread Baking Day posts don’t go up until closer to the first of the month, but since my super-cute-mumma is coming to visit from the states I wanted to be sure to get this up on time!