Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Joli's Chili Inspiration

I'm a big lover of chili. It's warm, it's a complete meal and it's just down right delish. I make it quite often. Sometimes weekly. It's a dish that is so easy to make and one in which you don't really need a recipe for. I've made it so many times and not posted recipes. Sometimes it's amazing, sometimes not so much. Actually my last crockpot full of chili was not my best. I'm glad its gone. Now I can fill my freezer with this gem!

This is inspired by my friends Jake and Oli. Which was inspired by the Foundation's chili. This is a great vegetarian restaurant on Main Street. I had it for the first time a couple weeks ago and was just floored by how good it was. Then Jake and Oli told me thay have the recipe! Which they modified and played around with. They were kind enough to share the recipe with me. Which I played around with and add my own flair too. 

Now this recipe is not the one at Foundation. Or Jake and Oli's but it is very much inspired by them. Many of the same ingredients. Its pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.

Joli's Chili Inspiration
2 cups chickpeas
2 cups pinto beans
1 large can diced tomatoes
3 tomatoes, chopped and blended
1 large can tomato sauce, low sodium
3 carrots, diced
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 packages Ives veggie ground round
2 cups corn
1/2 can tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup veggie stock
5 tsp chili powder
3 tsp oregano
3 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup maple syrup

Place all ingredients except for maple syrup in a crockpot. Cook for 8-10 hours. Pour in maple syrup and cook for another 15 minutes. Stir until thoroughly combined. Serve on its own or with brown rice or corn bread.

Joli's Chili Inspiration
Now, this recipe has NO sriracha and NO chili flakes! Blasphemy! Who knew I could even cook without using spiciness. lol Well it happened. Not sure how. But it did. I did however douse it in hot sauce. Don't you worry my spicy friends. ;)

Keep it real! Keep it hot!




Thursday, October 25, 2012

Coconut Curry Noodle Soup

I have been very much neglecting the recipe portion of my blog....and my diet I guess. lol I have been so busy lately that I haven't had much time to cook. And when I do, it's been really quick food, but still nutritious of course. Just not blog worthy. But I made a commitment last night to make myself a yummy meal as the only plans I had was a conference call. Soooo, check, check, check it out!

Coconut Curry Noodle Soup
1 pkg udon noodles
1 cup fried tofu, diced
2 cups green beans, chopped
2 handfuls mushrooms, sliced
1/2 bunch kale, chopped
1/2 cup veggie stock
1/2 cup water
1 small can low fat coconut milk
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp agave nectar
2 tsp yellow curry paste
basil and bean sprouts for the topping

Saute the mushrooms in 1 tsp of grapeseed oil for 5 minutes, add the green beans and tofu and saute for 5 minutes. Pour in veggie stock, water, and curry paste. Bring to a boil, add noodles, kale, soy sauce, agave and lime juice. Simmer for 6 minutes then add the coconut milk. Serve in a big bowl and top with bean sprouts and basil.

If you like it spicy like me add sriracha to the broth and on top!Sriracha will warm you to your core. lol 

Naked coconut curry noodle soup
Coconut curry noodle soup with toppings

Spicy! Jazzed up while I blog
You can also use any curry paste you want. I like to mix my curries up with all of them, green or red. Yellow is much milder in spice level, so if you're not into spicy food, this is the one for you. :)

Stay warm my friends.




Monday, October 22, 2012

Restaurant Review: House of Dosa

My friend Leanne and I checked out House of Dosa a few weeks back. I'd heard of this place a long time ago and that it was famous for its Dosa's (duh) but also that on Monday nights they are on special for $5.99!!! Gawd, I love a good sale. 

I obviously got a veggie one but Leanne got a beef one so no pic of that. But we also had appies. :)

My friend Britney told me to get these. I thought they were ok. Never had them before so nothing to compare them to but I thought they were kinda boring. Very plain. Just rice and flour I think.

Veggie Pakora
 Good veggie pakora, nice dip. I think its probs pretty hard to mess up pakora's. lol

Masala Dosa (veggie)
Its HUGE! lol I've had dosa before and was shocked when it came for the first time. lol Its massive! But found out that the whole thing isn't filled. Dosa wrap is made from lentils and rice flour typically so its gluten free but always ask your server. Mine was yummily filled with veggies and potatoes. Also came with a small soup and 2 kinds of chutney. One was coconut and the other was tomato possibly. LOL it was all kinds of delish.  But the coconut one was my fave fo sho.
Insides of Masala Dosa (veggie)
YUM! Get some! If you haven't checked out House of Dosa yet, I highly suggest you do. If you go on Monday's be prepared to wait. Its not that long though. Big thumbs up from this gal.

House of Dosas on Urbanspoon




Monday, October 15, 2012

Restaurant review Yolks Breakfast

I was invited back to Yolks Breakfast food truck to give them another shot a couple weeks ago. I did an honest review of them and they responded. I did keep in mind that it was day 3 or so into their opening so I didn't judge them too much as there are usually some issues that arise when opening a new business.

Tempura panko avocado sandwich
 They also had a veggie special this day that was sauteed mushrooms with goat cheese. But I didn't get that and obviously I don't get the egg. But I do LOVE mushrooms!

Tempura panko avocado sandwich with hash browns
I basically got the same thing except that I had it as a sandwich with an English muffin instead of as tacos. All the critiques I gave had been fixed. This time it was SUPER delish. I thought the addition of salsa fresca was perfection. The acidity in the tomatoes goes really well with the creaminess of the avocado. The tempura panko avocado was also cooked to perfection. Not overcooked. Not too hard. But crunchy enough. 

The hash browns were always cooked wonderfully but when I had them the first time they were lacking in flavour. They had a lemon truffle oil seasoning and this time you could actually taste that! They were lightly seasoned and cooked perfectly.

I was really impressed this time and really appreciated the fact that they even cared what I had to say. Its such a great idea and I will definitely continue to go there. Especially since they are right up the street from work!

Yolk's Breakfast on Urbanspoon




Thursday, October 11, 2012

Vegan MoFo Day 11: Restaurant Review Chutney Villa

I've been to Chutney Villa on Broadway once before for Dine Out Vancouver last year and really enjoyed it. My friend Sean and I have been meaning to go back for months but there are so much good food in Vancouver it can be a little tough. We made it though! And it did not disappoint. Serving sizes were much larger than for dine out. 

Aachi Varuval
Crispy cauliflower that is super yummy! I love all the chutney's they give you (below). They go awesome with the cauliflower. Good advice from our lovely server, don't eat ALL of the appetizer as the meal serving sizes are quite large. Tis true my friends. Tis true.

Paruppu Oorundai
I got the paruppu oorundai which are lentil dumplings soaked in a South Indian curry and I have to say this is seriously delicious. SO yummy! It was just fantastic. I love Indian food and eating South Indian is something new to me. Even though there are so many similarities, the differences are noticeable. I find there is less oil and there are differences in the spices. Also, do you see that little donut looking thing? DELISH! The meal did come with a yogurt sauce (I did not eat it), veggies, soups and a dessert type thing. It was gelatinous. I did not like it at all. I have never enjoyed Indian desserts. It was just like gelatinous sugar with seeds. 

Look at all the chutney's! Love them. To be honest, I never know what kind they are. All I ask is if there is dairy in them. If not I'm good. Both times I've been here the chutney's have been different. YUM.

Go check them out! They are on Broadway and Main. Great service, great food.

Chutney Villa Fine South Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon




Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Vegan MoFo Day 9: Tabbouleh

I have never been a big fan of tabbouleh before as I'm not into parsley very much. Parsley and cilantro have an intense flavour BUT are super good for you. So I now force myself to eat and cook with it as they add awesome notes and vitamins to a dish. A couple weeks back it was my good friend Eduardo's birthday and my friend Dean thew a surprise birthday for him. He made a gorgeous spread of appetizers which I'm pretty pissed that I didn't take a snap shot of that cuz seriously it was rather impressive. Dean was so sweet and made sure there were some vegan items on the table so that I could snack as well. 

Like I said, tabbouleh was never a fave but Dean's looked so good and it was all homemade so I HAD to try it. OMG. Best tabbouleh. Hands down. I told him immediately that I need to have the recipe. 

1 cup Bulgar wheat, cooked and chilled
1 cup lemon juice (abt 3 lemons)
1 bunch parsley
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Mince the parsley in a food processor.
2. Combine all ingredients in bowl, season to taste

Dean's tabbouleh
I have to say, it was freaking delish! It was my first time ever making tabbouleh but I think I did a pretty good job but Dean's was still way better. I really want him to try it and give me some pointers. He has mastered it for sure. :)

Birthday cake
The coolest birthday cake I've ever seen! 
Birthday man, Eduardo
Oh Eduardo, so gorgeous. He's also a chef. I'm hoping we can get in the kitchen and make some magic together......I meant cooking you perverts! lol We plan on making some cactus tacos! YUM! I've never had cactus before. I'm pretty much game to try almost anything once! Sounds cool.




Friday, October 5, 2012

Vegan MoFo Day 5: Chickpea vindaloo with mango and coconut milk

I have been threatening to cook dinner for my friend Danica for months now but every time we plan on it, we end up going out on some sort of adventurous fun time on the town. Not that I'm complaining cuz we have FUN! lol But last night we FINALLY did it! I made her a feast, we chatted and got caught up and started planning our Halloween costumes. :)

I whipped up a new recipe for her on the fly. I had no idea how it was going to turn out but it was deelish!

Chickpea Vindaloo with Mango and Coconut Milk
3 cups chickpeas
1 mango, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece ginger, minced
2 tbsp Patak's Vindaloo paste
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup water

1. Saute the onions, garlic and ginger with 1 tbsp of grapeseed oil until fragrant and translucent (about 5 minutes) on medium heat.
2. Add tomatoes and saute for another 5 minutes.
3. Add the chickpeas and water, cover and  simmer for 7 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except for coconut milk. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Pour in coconut milk, simmer for 2 minutes and serve!

I served mine with brown rice and a bed of organic spinach. Don't give me credit for the bed of spinach, I stole that idea from the Foundation restaurant. Such a great idea to get some extra greens and adds some pretty colours to your meal.

Chickpea Vindaloo

Chickpea Vindaloo close up
My love for coconut has not diminished at all. Our love story is holding strong. lol. I love cooking with coconut milk! It makes food taste so yummy! This was no exception to this statement. :)

Try it out!




Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Vegan MoFo Day 3: Restaurant Review: Acorn

When I first heard about Acorn opening up in Vancouver I was super excited. There are not many vegetarian fine dining restaurants in Vancouver so whenever something a little nicer than the Naam opens up I'm super excited. It's great to have a nicer spot for a celebration dinner or a date perhaps. 

Acorn has vegetarian, vegan, raw, and gluten free dishes! BOOM. Speaking my language. They mark every item on the menu with codes to indicate if there are vegan, raw or gluten free options but all are vegetarian. Whenever I go to a restaurant where I can eat everything or almost everything on the menu its super hard to choose. LOL It's like Christmas!  Thankfully I went with 3 girlfriends, one of whom is vegan and 2 that are semi-vegetarian. So we all agreed to order different items and share. MY FAVE! I love trying as many items as I can off a new menu. So here goes it:

Ladies night!

I didn't try these delicious looking balls (shocking I know) but they have cheese inside. I know I know, its VEGAN month of food, but I had to show the picture. They looked wonderful and the plating is beautiful. And the comments from my non-vegan friends were awesome. 
This was tasty. Kind of like a hummus but with artichokes. It does not come with enough croustini's but they will give you extra. The pate was light but flavourful. 
In terms of plating, this one is my fave! Looks SO gorgeous. I love the red and yellow contrasting colours. I love nut cheese so the addition of macadamia nut cheese is to die for, along with an odd pairing with grapefruit sorel was WONDERFUL! I loved that. I love combining ingredients that are unusual. It worked very well in this dish and the cider glaze was like icing on the cake.
Again, plating in this place is just fantastic! Every dish is so beautiful. The colours are vibrant and contrasting to make them pleasing to the eye. I quite enjoyed this dish as well. The sauce was a cashew rose sauce which really complimented the zucchini noodles. It was rich enough to add a lot of flavour but not so much that it overpowers everything else. I'm not a fan of olives, but not a big deal.
The special (potato salad)
I liked the use of the different types of potatoes in this dish. It also had avocado which I love. Super colourful and a nice spin on a potato salad. It wasn't homely which is what I think of potato salad. Its usually all mayo and egg but this was nothing like that. It was good but not a dish that stood out for me.
This was my fave entree of the night. When I saw king oyster mushrooms on the menu, it didn't even matter what else was with the dish. I LOVE oyster mushrooms and they are not utilized enough. It says spelt on the menu but mine was done with quinoa. The peppercorn sauce was SO yummy!!! I didn't waste one drop. lol It was powerful and complimented everything else. Freaking fantastic.

My first choice for dessert was obviously chocolate and peanut cuz that is one of the best combo's ever but I still wanted to try another dessert. The other vegan option was the rhubarb so my friend Marina and I shared both. And to my surprise, the rhubarb was my fave. I didn't even think I liked rhubarb but apparently I do. The sorbet and rhubarb combo was so satisfying. The tartness of the sorbet went amazingly well with the rhubarb. I ate it all. lol
This was obviously good but not awesome. Basically anything with chocolate is good. It gets me every time. Its hard to complain when ur eating chocolate. But it was not what I was expecting. It was a little hard and not as flavourful as I expected. Kind of light in terms of both chocolate and peanut. The coconut whip was delish though. But the dessert itself was kinda just average. 

So overall I liked Acorn a lot. The food is REALLY good. Like I said, if you have a celebration or need to take a date somewhere a little nicer that a burrito joint than here it is. But don't think you're going to get great service. That is my one complaint. Service was crappy. I almost wanted to strangle the bartender. He was not nice. Not friendly at all. The server was a little better but still attitude was really lacking there all around. As long as ur ok with some average at best service but some good food then you'll be fine. 

Oh yah, no reservations which is kinda typical these days in Vancouver but also, they won't seat you till your whole party arrives. I think that is total BS. Its one of those places. 

The Acorn on Urbanspoon




Monday, October 1, 2012

Vegan MoFo Day 1: Restaurant Review: Hell Pizza

It's that time of year again!!! Vegan Month of Food. This will be my second time participating in MoFo and I'm really excited to see what will come of it. I'm gonna start Vegan MoFo off with a restaurant review. Its not a full vegan restaurant but they have vegan options. 
I heard about Hell Pizza from my friend Oli. It's great pizza with cool names. The coolest part is they have a vegan pizza on the menu! It's called Sinister and has refried beans, avocado, onions, salsa, green peppers and jalapenos. YUMMMM. Omg you had me at refried beans. They also have daiya and will use that if you ask for it, but if you don't, then its just sans cheese. So keep that in mind if you're really into daiya.

I love the addition of refried beans. I never thought of that! Adds some necessary protein and bulk to a vegan meal. Not that pizza usually needs more bulk. LOL I just love refried beans so much. It makes the pizza juicy, tasty and filling. 

Sinister - vegan w/ Daiya
Cool box!
If you haven't had this pizza, I highly suggest that you do. The names are cool, the options are endless and they can make any pizza vegan! Obviously not the meat pizzas but any of the veggie options can be done vegan and I'm sure you can create your own. I love pizza shops that have daiya. Ordering a pizza to be delivered to my couch is a luxury I took advantage of when I wasn't vegan. LOL

ALSO, you can place your order online! Love that. If you wanna pick them up and are in the West End, check them out at 1074 Davie Street. Tell Steve I say what up.

Hell Pizza on Urbanspoon