May 172016

Wow – it’s been nearly 2 years since I posted here, really? Well, I haven’t experimented with or adapted a recipe in so long that was so good! This one was just a make-it-up-as-I-go along recipe… so, here goes. It’s definitely vegetarian, but could easily be vegan if you omit the parmesan. Maybe dust with some yeast flakes? Not sure how that would do flavour-wise, but it’s worth a try!


  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced (I tend to press 1 clove, but leave it whole, and then mince or grate the other clove)
  • 1 tsp marmite
  • 1/2 tsp dried red chilli flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 medium sized zucchini, roughly shredded or grated
  • 2 Tbsp dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup water, boiling
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup vegetable stock or white wine
  • salt and pepper
  • dried tagliatelle — enough for 3-4 servings
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley


Prepare the tagliatelle according to package directions, setting a timer to ensure the pasta cooks al dente.

Boil the water and add the porcini mushrooms to soak.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium-low heat. When warm, add the garlic. When the garlic starts to smell, add the marmite and chilli flakes, stirring to break up and dissolve the marmite.

After the marmite has dissolved, add the grated zucchini to the pan and sauté for 3-5 minutes, allowing the zucchini to release its liquid. Stir occasionally, and add a sprinkle of both salt and pepper.

Add half the stock to the pan and turn up the heat slightly. Allow to simmer, to reduce the liquid a bit, for 3-4 minutes. In the meantime, drain the mushrooms and squeeze dry. Add half the mushroom broth to the pan also.

Chop up the porcini mushrooms and add to the pan, stirring.

Reserve the vegetable and mushroom stock and add as necessary once the ragú begins to thicken; every few minutes, thin it out with some stock and allow to reduce again. Taste, and add salt, pepper, and chilli flakes to taste. Continue cooking until the sauce reduces to your consistency of choice. A ragú should be thick but not chunky or gummy, with enough liquid to coat the pasta it will be served with. Continue tasting and adjusting seasoning as necessary.

When the ragú reaches the appropriate consistency, remove from heat or turn down to the lowest heat possible.

Once cooked, drain the pasta, rinse with cold water, and toss with another tablespoon of olive oil.

Add the pasta to the same pan as the ragú; toss to coat the pasta completely. Leave in the pan for 3 minutes, tossing occasionally, to allow the pasta to soak up some of the flavour of the sauce.

To serve, dish into pasta bowls, dust with some parmesan and toss slightly. Garnish with chopped parsley and a fresh drizzle of olive oil.

Serves 4 (or 3 very hungry people! hah).

Sep 082014

Another recipe adaptation, yay! This one used to be a lamb ragout, and it’s from the same Spanish cookbook as the lentil recipe. It continues my love affair with tempeh. Nomz. This was was a pleasant surprise and success! You could use tofu, too, but probably would want to freeze it, thaw it, and press it before cooking.


Mmmm another adapted recipe. Tempeh and by CanadianAEh, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  CanadianAEh 



  • 250-300g tempeh, cut into bite-sized pieces (if not fresh, steam for 15 min first)
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce (or veg equivalent)
  • 1 Tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (use tamari if unavailable)
  • 1kg-1.2kg of small white potatoes, scrubbed, trimmed and quartered or cut into bite-sized pieces — peel only if necessary
  • 250g carrots, sliced
  • 250mL white wine (you could try with red, too)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup dried shiitake mushrooms (use cremini for a different flavour!)
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced and separated
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped coarsely and separated
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, separated
  • 1-2 tsp salt, to taste
  • Water


Season the tempeh with the worcestershire sauce and liquid aminos, as well as with the 1 clove of chopped garlic. Leave in a non-reactive dish to marinate for 20-30 minutes or more. When ready, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and brown the tempeh. Remove and put in a large pot or casserole pot. Add the sliced carrots.

Add 1-2 cups boiling water to the mushrooms. Let them soak 15-20 minutes.

Fry the chopped onion in the same oil used to brown the tempeh. Add a splash more of oil if needed. When onion is brown, remove from heat and add to the casserole pot.

Put 1 Tbsp of garlic in a mortar and crush it with half of the chopped parsley. Put the parsley-garlic mixture in a separate small bowl and mix with the white wine. Pour the entire mixture — wine, garlic, parsley — into the casserole pot with the onions, carrots, and tempeh. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Season the potatoes with the rest of the chopped garlic. Sauté them in another tablespoon of oil over medium heat. When lightly browned, remove them with a slotted spoon and add them to the tempeh-carrot mixture, which should still be on medium heat.

In the same frying pan used for the potatoes, sprinkle the flour and stir over low heat until it turns golden brown. Add water and stir, cooking for a few minutes. When slightly thickened, remove from heat and add to the casserole pot.

Check the mushrooms and slice coarsely. Add them to the casserole pot. Add the mushroom soaking water to the casserole pot, too, and stir. Add water to cover all the vegetables, and cook 15 minutes uncovered on medium-low heat. Stir occasionally.

After 15 minutes, check for salt, and add as necessary. Cook for another 5 minutes or more, until potatoes are fork-tender. Serve piping hot. Garnish with remaining chopped parsley.

Aug 312014

Although I’m mostly vegetarian these days, I still have a lot of cookbooks that aren’t. I’m reluctant to get rid of them, however, because they have so many great recipes. Also, I love challenging myself to adapt recipes that contain meat. I know a lot of vegetarians are opposed to eating things that taste like meat, resemble meat, or remind them of meat, but I’m not one of those people. While I recognize that bacon is really bad for my body, I know that it’s very hard to replicate the depth of flavour it adds to some dishes.

This dish is one of those.

I tried my best. I think it’s pretty dang yummy, truth be told. The original — in an old Spanish cookbook — called for only 1 rasher of bacon.

Spanish Stewed Lentils

mmm lentils!

So I gave it my best shot. Here it is:


  • 250g. green or brown lentils
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, or more to taste, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 red pepper (capsicum), chopped
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (this isn’t vegetarian, though you could make your own or buy one of the vegetarian versions out there)
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce or more to taste — I probably used upwards of 2 teaspoons
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • dash (or more, but you probably don’t want a lot) of liquid smoke

Soak lentils for a few hours, or use the quick soak method.

Put half the onion, the garlic, the pepper, and tomato in a large casserole or saucepan with the soaked lentils. Add the bay leaf, paprika, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Cover with water, cover with a lid, and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes until lentils are tender. Add a teaspoon of salt just before turning off the heat.

Heat remaining olive oil (1 tablespoon) in a frying pan, and add the rest of the onion. Fry until gently browned, then add the liquid smoke and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Fry for two more minutes.

Add the fried onions to the lentil mixture, and check for salt, adding the last 1/2 teaspoon or more if necessary. Add Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco to taste (amounts above are guidelines only), and a splash more of olive oil. Cover and cook on medium-low heat, simmering, for another 5 minutes. Check for taste, adjust accordingly, and serve piping hot when ready.

Serves 4-6.

(Goes nicely with potatoes or rice!)

Dec 122012

Well, here’s what I did. 

  1. Spent a good week using my Google search ninja skillz to find out how the heck people eat this weird tuber
  2. Spent another good 3 days figuring out if there was a way to eat it in a soup that wasn’t Chinese nor with meat. 
  3. Tweeted about it and posted on my family website, where 2 professional chefs and many more amateurs — I think last count was 8 — would see it. 
  4. Found 3 recipes that sounded decent (seriously — a lot of the recipes out there for arrowroot in soup sounded wayyyyy boring) and decided to do a recipe mashup. 

Recipe 1.

Recipe 2.

Recipe 3. 

And so here is what I made. I’m calling this Adrienne’s Mash-up Arrowroot Soup (real original, eh?). It’s a nice, comforting, easy-to-eat soup. It’s the kind of soup you’d wanna eat when you’re sick. Or tired. Or both. It’s not really a gourmet meal. And it photographs *terribly* which is why I don’t have a single picture. Sorry. 


  • 1 medium Arrowroot (remove skin, cut into 1 inch bits)
  • 12 pieces dried oysters
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup of dried shrimp (I am estimating)
  • 1 cup of raw peanuts
  • 10 dried red dates, washed
  • 2 fresh corn cobs
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1 inch slices
  • 1/2 cup adzuki beans, pre-soaked for 10-15 min
  • 2.75 L water
  • light soy sauce to taste

Put the water on to boil. While it is heating, peel and chop the arrowroot. Put pieces into the pot as you slice them. 

Soak the oysters and shrimp in warm water for 10 minutes. At the same time, soak the adzuki beans in a separate bowl with water to cover. 

While shrimp and oysters are soaking, peel and slice the carrots, then husk and cut the corn cobs (note to self: buy a bigger, sharper knife / cleaver for this, or buy fresh corn not on the cob).

Put peanuts into a separate small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, simmer for 3 minutes, then drain. Set aside. 

Add carrots and corn to the pot. Add also the drained shrimp, oysters, and adzuki beans. Bring to a boil. 

Reduce heat to low and add red dates. Simmer for 1 hour. 

Add peanuts. Simmer for another 30 minutes, or until arrowroot is very soft and adzuki beans are tender. Taste, and add soy sauce to preferences.

Remove from heat (sadly, I forgot this step and after serving myself a big bowlful, I then proceeded to burn the rest of the soup. Sadface).

Serve hot in bowls. Add more soy sauce at the table if you like.

Serves 4.  


Aug 202012

I’ve been making this for a while now and can’t remember how / where I pieced it together. I am fairly certain I got the idea from browsing several food blogs, recipe sites, and cookbooks. All I know is that my current “recipe” consists of my hand-written notes scrawled in pencil on an A5 piece of scrap paper, which a magnet holds to the hood of my stove…. and I use this “recipe” fairly regularly. 

This is hands-down my favorite way to cook tempeh — at least that I have discovered so far. In fact, it’s so good, that I made it again today — and I had just made it on Saturday! There are many, many ways you can adapt this recipe, and I daresay I hardly ever cook it the same way in back-to-back uses. I’ve included adaptations in parentheses.

Please note that the amounts are approximate. I don’t ever measure anything when I make this — I just have everything out and I toss it in as I’m ready. 


  • 100g (1/4lb) tempeh, diced into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced into 1-inch cubes (regular potatoes also work well; or omit altogether if you don’t have any on hand) 
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced finely (if you have no garlic, or you’re not a garlic fan, use garlic or onion powder, but add it with the other spices below)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or Earth Balance, and another 1-2 tablespoons reserved
  • 1-2 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (light soy sauce or tamari also works well)
  • 1 teaspoon dried red chilli pepper, or to taste (use cayenne or Tabasco if that’s what you’ve got — can even use a fresh pepper if you want some serious zing!)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2-3 teaspoons smoked Spanish or Hungarian paprika — very important that you use the smoked version! 
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (this is optional but trust me it is SO much better with it)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 100g spinach or other quick-cooking greens (optional)
  • 1/3 cup of cooked beans (optional — any kind will do: cannellini, kidney, black-eyed, pinto, I’m sure even lentils would be great!)


  1. Fill a small saucepan with water and set it on high heat. Add a dash of salt and the potatoes. When it reaches a boil (5-7 minutes), check the potatoes to see if they are fork-tender. Drain and set aside. Note: If you’ve not yet steamed the tempeh, it’s a good idea to do this at the same time! Put the tempeh (whole, uncut) into a steamer or collander and set on top of the saucepan. Cover and when the potatoes are done, your tempeh is probably steamed enough, too.
  2. In a wok or large frying pan, heat the first tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions; stir constantly for 1-2 minutes, just until you can smell the garlic, being careful not to burn it. 
  3. Add tempeh to the frying pan, along with the Bragg’s / soy sauce and the dried chilli pepper. Stir-fry 2-3 minutes, or until the tempeh soaks up the Bragg’s and begins to brown nicely.
  4. Add cooked and drained potatoes; stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add paprika and cumin (if you are not using garlic but have garlic or onion powder, add it here, too). Stir to evenly coat all of the tempeh and potato bits. Add more of either spice if you like it strong! 
  6. Stir in nutritional yeast and reduce heat to medium-low. Note: nutritional yeast will thicken this substantially. At this point, add another splash of olive oil, particularly before or at the next step. You may need it for the spinach, too. 
  7. When everything is coated in nutritional yeast, add the spinach. Stir to evenly wilt spinach. Note: If you are using a heartier green such as bok choi or chard, you may wish to add even more olive oil and cover the pan for 2-3 minutes. 
  8. Just as the spinach is wilting but before it is completely cooked, add the beans. Stir a few times to heat through, and remove from heat. 

Serve hot out of the pan! 

Serves 2 on its own, or 4 if you add toast and fruit for a full brunch spread!

Mar 202012

Okay, so I made this up. And it was yum (I ate every last bit!) but not as yum as it could've been. What's below includes what I would've changed / added, as noted by a *. I might even add some celery next time for a bit of crunch!

2 small red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed, trimmed, and diced into 1-2 cm cubes
2 small sweet potatoes, scrubbed, trimmed, and diced into 1-2 cm cubes
2 dill pickles, minced 
2 shallots, minced or 2 T. red onion
1/3 cup corn (I had fresh corn from the cob I'd taken off a few weeks ago and frozen, but canned or frozen would work well)
a handful (maybe 10-12) cooked medium-sized prawns
1-2 T chopped fresh dill*
3 T chopped cilantro*

3-4 T of Lemon Sesame Dressing (from Moosewood Cooks at Home)

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes and sweet potatoes together in a big pot of salted water. Check for doneness (about 7-10 minutes) and remove from heat when fork-tender. Drain, put into a bowl, and pop into freezer to cool.

Prep remaining ingredients, including the dressing if you've not yet made it. After prepping all ingredients, or after about 10-15 minutes, remove the potatoes from the freezer. In a large mixing bowl, put potatoes, dill pickles, shallots, corn, prawns, and dill. Toss gently to combine. Pour over dressing. Taste, add salt and pepper as needed. Dust with chopped cilantro just prior to serving. 

Serves 2-3. 
Jan 272011

This time it's no adaptation: I'm posting a recipe straight out of this book. Rather than spend time typing it out, I'm simply including it here as photos. (Sorry, I'm a bit lazy and crunched for time.) Apologies about my notes in the margin; I halved the recipe as it serves 6 and I was making it just for me! You'll notice the recipe calls for cashew cream

Jan 192011
Nov 162010

So I recently decided to start using Basis Foods for my produce, after having been introduced to them at a recent visit to the New Amsterdam Market. I’ve only tried them once, but so far I am quite impressed. They brought me a big bag of produce straight from the farms — both fruit and veggies — as well as eggs, cheese, and bread. My only complaint is that two of the eggs were broken when the delivery arrived but really, everything else has been so fabulous that I can’t complain too much. Their friendly service, reliability, and of course the yumminess of all the goodies they brought me really do make up for a couple of broken eggs.

Speaking of those goodies… one of the things in this week’s delivery was buttercup squash, which I had never heard of before. I consider to be quite a food connoisseur so I of course had to do some research. I do love squash, so I knew this was the perfect challenge! After viewing and subsequently drooling over a plethora of recipes online when I should have been writing my thesis, I decided that I was going to take bits and pieces from various recipes and make up my own recipe. The delivery also included Russian Red kale (another yum!) and so I knew I wanted to include that. Here is what I came up with.

Buttercup squash


  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic — minced
  • 1 leek — quartered lengthwise, cleaned, and then chopped (most people use only the white part but I used it all!)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper — seeded and minced (reduce this if you don’t like kick, or substitute cayenne pepper if you don’t have access to jalapenos)
  • 1 bunch leafy Red Russian kale — cleaned, tough stems removed, and chopped roughly (you can use any other kind of kale you have, of course)
  • 3 medium carrots — peeled and chopped roughly
  • 1 buttercup squash — peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (the peeling is tricky; use the sharpest knife you have and be careful)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (if you prefer a richer broth, use chicken; I used 3 cups of vegetable broth and ended up adding 1 cup of water also)
  • cracked or freshly ground black pepper to taste (about 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or add to taste
  • 4 tablespoons cream cheese (can substitute sour cream, or omit altogether if you want a vegan recipe)
  • cilantro — chopped for garnish

In a large, heavy saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, jalapeno pepper, and leeks; saute until leeks are translucent and fragrant. Add kale. Saute over medium heat until kale is wilted and soft; about 3-5 minutes. Add carrots; allow them to saute over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Add squash, broth, and black pepper. Bring to boil then reduce heat low or medium low and allow to simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes.

After 20 minutes check to see consistency. By this point the squash and carrots should be soft enough that you can crush them with the back of a spoon. If they are not yet soft enough, return the cover and give it another 5-10 minutes. When squash and carrots are completely soft, remove from heat and puree in batches, or with an immersion (stick) blender. Add additional stock or water if consistency of soup is too thick, and adjust seasonings at this point (check — if you add more stock or water you may need to add salt at this point).

Return to heat and heat soup until it is warm again.

Serve each portion warm in a bowl with a dollop (1 tablespoon) of cream cheese or sour cream (optional) and a half-tablespoon of cilantro as garnish.

Serves 4-6

Buttercup Squash by greeny_meanie