Sun-dried tomato scones with olives, figs, and green herbs

Made with miso and cashew butter, these are a simple treat good for a snack, small sandwiches or other uses.

Ingredients

The wet ingredients
3T cashew butter
1T white vinegar (or to taste)
1T unpasteurized sauerkraut vinegar
1/4 cup unsweetened plant milk
1T white miso

The dry ingredients
1 cup bread flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1t baking powder
A pinch baking soda
1/2T herbes de Provence (or similar)
1t garlic powder

The garnish
2T sun-dried tomatoes, chopped and rehydrated with 3T boiling water
3T figs, finely diced
1T kalamanta olives, pitted and chopped
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

Optional: The crumb will be light and closer to foccaccia in some ways than to a traditional dense but flaky scone.
If you prefer, bake as a in a very well-oiled 3″x9″ loaf pan. Black olives will also work fine in this. White miso will produce a lighter crumb, while red produces a richer flavour and a darker coloured crumb. Balsamic vinegar will produce a slightly sweeter and darker scone.

Method

Rehydrate the tomatoes with the boiling water. When the tomatoes are getting close to room temperature, whisk the wet ingredients together (adding the ingredients in order) until smooth. Chill both the tomatoes and the wet ingredients in freezer for about 20 minutes.

At the 30 minute mark, preheat the oven to 425F.
Combine the dry ingredients. Add them to a small food processor. Add 2T figs, 2T rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes (i.e., leaving a little of each for garnish) and 1/2T olives, the wet ingredients and the sun-dried tomato soaking water.

Pulse blend until a dough forms. Mix in the remaining figs and sun-dried tomatoes, handling the dough as little as possible. Press into a 3″ x 9″ loaf pan and chill covered with plastic wrap for about 30 minutes.

Turn out the dough. Press the remaining olives into the top, gently. Cut into 3″ squares. Cut each square in half at a 45 degree angle. To bake, use a baking sheet lined with baking paper preferably, or a very lightly oiled baking sheet or a baking sheet lightly dusted with fine corn meal
if necessary.

Bake on the middle rack for about 12 – 14 minutes or until the scones are lightly browned. Remove from heat and let cool on a wire rack until ready and serve.

Twice-dressed roasted vegetable, spinach salad

Potatoes, cubanelle peppers, mushrooms, and pears roasted with scallions, chili and garlic, tossed with sundried tomatoes, nutritional yeast and flax, then tossed with baby spinach in a sesame and tamari balsamic vinaigrette.

Ingredients

For the roasted vegetables
2 cups potatoes, 1/2″ dice (I use white grelots and quarter them)
2 cubanelle peppers, cored and seed, sliced 1/4″ length-wise
1/4 cup scallions, finely chopped
1T fresh garlic, minced
1/4t coarse sea salt
1/4t dried red chilis (or to taste)
1t herbes de Provence (or similar)
2 cups cremini mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
2 bartlett pears, cored, sliced 1/4″ length-wise
1/2T lemon juice
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes rehydrated with 1/4 cup boiling water (use dehydrated, not jarred)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1T milled flax seed
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the spinach
1/2T sesame seed butter
1/2t fresh garlic, minced
1/4t coarse sea salt
1/2T balsamic vinegar
1/2T tamari
1/2t prepared brown mustard
2T water
3 cups loose baby spinach
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

Method

Preheat the oven to 400F. Toss the ingredients for the roasted vegetables up to and including the lemon juice. Bake on a lightly oiled or nonstick baking sheet on the middle rack for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the vegetables are lightly browned and the potatoes are fork tender. Ovens vary; use the texture and colour as a guide.

Around the 40 minute mark, rehydrate the tomatoes and set side. When the vegetables are done, remove from heat, pour the tomatoes and their soaking water over the roasted vegetables. Let stand while you prepare the spinach.

Whisk together the dressing for the spinach adding the ingredients in order. Mix until emulsified (shouldn’t take more than a minute or so). Dress the spinach. Season to taste.

Add the flax seed and nutritional yeast to the roasted vegetables and toss to combine. Season to taste. Toss the roasted vegetables with the spinach, let stand 2 – 3 minutes to wilt the spinach, and then serve.

Tacos with spicy tempeh, white miso sauce and baby greens

Soft, hand rolled corn tortillas, warm spicy tempeh and lime accented greens make this a lovely and flavourful dish. Fresh tortillas are terrific and when you make them from scratch, you control all of the ingredients. Be sure to use masa harina rather than regular corn flour
for this recipe. This makes eight small tacos.

Ingredients

For the tempeh
1T cooking oil
1T fresh garlic, minced
1T red Thai chili paste (or similar and/or to taste)
250g tempeh, crumbled (use pasteurized)
1/4 cup tamari (or to taste)
1 cup vegetable stock
1/4t coarse sea salt

For the tortillas
1 1/2 cups masa harina
1/2T ground flax seed
1/2t coarse sea salt
1 cup hot water

For the white sauce
1 cup unsweetened plant milk (I use soy)
1/4t coarse sea salt
1T white vinegar
1T sesame seed butter
1T white miso
2T tapioca flour dissolved in 2T cold water
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the greens
1T olive oil
1t lime juice
1/4t coarse sea salt
1T nutritional yeast
1 cup loose baby kale
1 cup loose baby spinach

For the garnish
1/2 cup passata (or tomato puree)
1/2t red Thai chili paste (or similar and/or to taste)
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste.
2T nutritional yeast

Method

First, start the tempeh, then the tortillas, the white sauce, the greens and the garnish.

In a frying pan with a lid, bring the oil and sea salt to heat on medium high. Add the garlic and chili and fry for 2 minutes. Add the tempeh and fry for 3-5 minutes. Add the tamari and deglaze the pan.
Add the stock, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes.

While the tempeh simmers, make the tortillas. Mix the dry ingredients and add the water. Stir to form a smooth, pliable dough, neither too dry nor moist. If the dough is too wet, add more masa 1T at at time; if too dry, add water 1T at a time. Divide the dough into 8 equal parts, and flatten each into a 2-3″ round disk. Cover the dough with a damp cloth while you press the tortillas.

Heat a frying pan on medium high heat. If you have a tortilla press, follow the instructions provided.
If you don’t, roll the tortillas out gently between two sheets of plastic wrap into rough circles about 1/8″ thick, about 5-6″ in diameter. It’s the peeling of the tortilla that’s of the most difficult part — go slowly. Carefully peel and add the tortilla and cook until the top of the tortilla is start to look dry. Flip and cook the other side (it should be about 1 minute each side, a little more on the first, a little less on the second).Little brown spots make a tortilla look lovely. Repeat for the remaining 7 tortillas and cover with a warm, very lightly damp tea towel.

Let the tortillas rest for about 20 minutes to cool and soften until you’re ready to use. The tortillas will keep, but you’ll likely have to steam them to use them later. At the 40 minute mark, preheat the oven to 450F. In a shallow pan with sides, bake the tempeh for another 20 minutes or until the moisture has been absorbed the tempeh has started to brown. Ovens vary; use the colour as your guide. Don’t overcook.

Start the white sauce and broil the tempeh for another 5 minutes. In a small sauce pan, bring the soy milk to a simmer. Add the sea salt, miso, sesame seed butter and vinegar. Stir to combine and simmer for 5 minutes uncovered. Slowly add the tapioca solution stirring continuously until it thickens.
Remove from heat and season to taste. Remove the tempeh from the oven. Let the white sauce and the tempeh cool for a few minutes.

While they cool, whisk the dressing for the greens and toss. Whisk the ingredients for the garnish.
To assemble, fill each tortilla with 3-4T tempeh, 2T white sauce, 1/4 cup greens and then about 2t passata mixture. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast and serve.

Black lentil mezzaluna in a sesame white sauce with oyster mushrooms and kale

Similar to pierogi, mezzaluna are a lovely and decorative pasta, filled here with a lightly spicy combination of black beluga lentils, poblano peppers and Brussels sprouts, served in and a rich sauce of white miso, sesame seed butter and oyster mushrooms. This makes an appetizer portion for 4 or large plate for 2.

Ingredients

For the filling
1/4 cups black lentils
2/3 cups water
1 ‘sprig’ dried kombu (about 1/2″)
1T cooking oil
1/4t coarse sea salt
1 scallion, minced (3″ – 4″ green reserved for garnish)
1/4 cup poblano pepper, chopped finely
2 Brussels sprouts (about 1/4 cup scant), minced (or green cabbage)
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste
For the dough
1 cup semolina flour
A pinch sea salt
1/3 cup water
1t olive oil
2 liters water and 2t coarse sea salt for boiling
For the sauce
1T cooking oil
1/4t coarse sea salt
1/2t dried basil, rubbed
1/4t dried oregano, rubbed
1T fresh garlic, minced
1/4 cup oyster mushroom, wiped and finely chopped
1/2T lemon juice
1 cup unsweetened plant milk
1T sesame seed butter (I use a fairly traded brand)
1 cup green curly kale, finely chopped
1T arrowroot flour dissolved in 1T cold water
1/2T white miso
2T nutritional yeast
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

Optional: Replace the Brussel sprouts with sun-dried tomatoes for something slightly more flavourful.

Method

Start the filling first, then the pasta, then the sauce. In a small pan with a lid, bring the water to a boil. Add the lentils. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30-40 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the lentils are tender. When the lentils are done, remove the kombu, rinse the lentils and set aside.

While the lentils simmer, make the pasta dough. Mix the flour and salt. Mix the water and oil. Mix the wet and the dry. The dough may seem too dry initially. Keep mixing, and then knead until as a smooth elastic dough forms, and then another 2-3 minutes. Cover with a warm wet tea towel and set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes.

When the lentils are ready, in a medium frying pan, bring the oil to eat on medium high. Add the cooking oil and sea salt. Add the scallion. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the pepper and Brussels sprouts and saute for 5 minutes. Add the lentils and stir to combine. Remove from heat. Set aside covered to cool.

Roll out the dough on a floured board in a large rectangle about 1/10″ thin. Cut small circles about 2 1/2″ round. Bunch up leftover dough, roll out and cut. Repeat until all of the dough has been used. Aim for 16 circles.

When the dough has been cut, add a heaping tablespoon of filling to each in an oblong shape in the middle. Carefully pinch closed, starting with the top, one side, and then the other. Squeeze out any excess air. Crimp both sides of the seam with a fork. Let sit to dry lightly while you make the sauce.

In a large pan with a lid, bring the cooking oil and sea salt to heat with the sea salt on medium high. Add the green herbs and saute for 1 minute. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the oyster mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and deglaze the pan. Add the soy milk. Bring the pan to a light simmer. Add the sesame seed butter and stir to dissolve. Simmer lightly, stirring occasionally while you finish the pasta.

In a large pot, bring the 2 liters water to a boil with the sea salt. Add the mezzaluna carefully to the water and boil lightly until they float (should be 3-5 minutes). They’ll float when done. Don’t overcook. Drain them carefully in a colander, reserving 2T of the pasta water. Rinse the pasta gently with cool water.

Add the pasta water and the kale to the sauce and stir to combine. Simmer another 2 minutes. Stirring continuously, add the arrowroot mixture until it thickens. Remove from heat. Add the white miso and stir until dissolved. Rinse the mezzaluna with hot water, drain and add them to the sauce. Stir gently to coat. Let stand 2-3 minutes to cool. Season to taste.

When lightly cooled, plate the mezzaluna and pour sauce over them. Add the scallion greens sliced on an angle. Dust with nutritional yeast, and serve.

Freshly baked garlic, herb bagels

Although it’s the extreme dry heat of a professional oven that makes the absolute best bagels, it’s possible to make a good bagel at home. Many bagels made at corner shops are made with egg wash, honey, or other ingredients. Commercial bagels are often made with micro-ingredients, such as l-cysteine, and they lack the satisfying chew of a freshly baked bagel. This recipe makes half a dozen, but easily shrinks or doubles.

Ingredients

3 cups whole wheat bread flour
A pinch coarse sea salt
1 1/2 – 2 cups warm water
1 1/2T yeast
1/2T green herbs (I use herbes de Provence)
1/2t garlic powder
2 liter water
1T baking soda
1T blackstrap molasses
2T unsweetened plant milk

Optional: There are a lot of variations for bagels. You can braid the dough for something more European. You can make them smaller with a larger hole and sprinkle them sesame seeds for a bagel in the Montreal style. You can also flavour your bagels as you like (e.g., with onion or cinnamon and raising, etc.), but be careful of interrupting the yeast.

For a plain bagel, leave out the garlic and herbs. Unbleached, all purpose flour will give you a bit more fluff (but you made need less water). You can also sprinkle sesame seeds and other toppings toward the end of the baking. You can also change the sweetener, but be careful about changing the pH balance of the water too much — it’s partly what makes the bagel chewy.

Method

Note, to get the fluffiest, chewiest bagels you can, it’s helpful to have a baking stone for this recipe. If you don’t have one, sprinkle a lightly oiled baking sheet with 1/2T coarse yellow corn meal instead. Or, if you have baking paper rated to 450F, use that. You want a hot, dry oven.

It’s also best if you have a pan large enough to boil them all at once. The longer the bagels sit between the boiling and the baking, the longer they lose their heat and the fluff that goes with it. If you have to do the boiling in batches, remove each to a clean, dry cutting board sprinkled with a little corn meal while you do the remainder.

Start by mixing the flour and salt. Mix the water and yeast according to its instructions. Add the wet to the dry and mix until a smooth dough forms. Add additional water as necessary 1 tablespoon at a time. Knead for about 10 minutes. Let the dough rise covered with a warm, moist tea towel for 2 hours, punching down periodically. Roll out on a floured board. Fold in the garlic powder and herbs. Knead for a minute or so.

When the dough is ready, break into 6 equal parts. If you want large, sandwiched sized bagels, break the dough into 4 parts. Roll the dough out to a long thing tube, about 6″ long and 1 1/2″ in diameter, between your palms.

Once rolled, connect both ends of the tube securely into a bagel shape. The size of the hole varies by style. I make mine about 1 1/2″, and I twirl it on my index finger. Repeat until all your bagels are ready. Cover and let rise another 30 minutes or so. Don’t let them over-rise.

In a large pan, bring the water to a light boil. Preheat your oven to 500F (or 450F if your oven doesn’t reach 500F). Add the baking soda and molasses to the water and return to a light boil. Add the bagels, simmering them in the mixture for about 1 minute, turning over and boiling another 30 seconds or so. Remove the bagels from the water with a slotted spoon.

Add your bagels to your baking stone or sheet. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until they are starting to brown lightly (depending on the temperature and whether you use a stone, a baking sheet, etc.). Ovens vary; use the colour and texture of your bagel as a guide.

When the bagels are starting to lightly brown, brush each with a little plant milk. Sprinkle any additional toppings at this point. Bake for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes to an hour before serving. Or, let cool completely and then package up for later.

Pillowy, chili-garlic, gluten free potato gnocchi

A simple, gluten free variation of the traditional potato pasta, the tapioca helps keep the softness of the original dish. Shown here with sauteed kale, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, gnocchi goes well with a variety of sauces.

Ingredients

1 large floury potato (about 1 1/2 cups, mashed — I use organic russets)
1T fresh garlic, minced
1t dried basil, rubbed
1/2t dried oregano, rubbed
1/4t dried red chilis (or to taste; I use 1/2t)
1/4t black pepper
Up to 1/2 cup tapioca flour (see the note below)
1/4 cup brown rice flour
Coarse sea salt to taste
2 liters water with 2t coarse sea salt for boiling

Optional: Add a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast to the dough for some additional flavour and nutrition or dust with the nutritional yeast when drained. Traditionally, you would peel the potato once it has cooled, but I don’t. A lot of the fiber and other nutrients are in the skin, the skin provides a lot of the starch, etc. It’s also traditional to add a little nutmeg, but it would be overpowered here.

Method

Boil the potato unpeeled in enough water to cover for about 30 minutes. Drain and chill uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Puree smooth. Add the herbs, 1/4 cup tapioca, and brown rice flour until a soft dough forms. Add salt to taste (depending on the sauce you’ll use).

Roll out gently into lines about 1/2″ thick and cut into 1″ segments or roll 1T sized bits of dough between your palms for more of a dumpling shape. Lines are more traditional. Decorate each gnocchi with a gentle fork press (striation helps to hold the sauce with the pasta).

In a large pan, bring the 2 liters water and salt to a light boil on high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Add the gnocchi and swirl the pan to avoid sticking. Simmer the gnocchi until they float. Don’t overcook. Drain carefully. If you have to leave the gnocchi before saucing, rinse gently but thoroughly with cold water. If not, toss with your sauce and serve!

Note, this makes a soft, light, fairly traditionally textured gnocchi. However, because of the size of the potato, the type, the exact amount of water it absorbs, its age, and how much it dehydrates while cooling, gnocchi often takes a few tries to get the texture you prefer.

If you find your dough doesn’t come together, add more tapioca flour one tablespoon at a time. But start with 1/4 cup. If you’ve never made gnocchi and don’t know from the touch of the dough whether it will hang together, you can also always test one piece and see what the resulting texture is like before committing.