Should be called Vegan Month of Joshua

(thanks to everyone for taking part in the “guess what this is” contest. Lots of people were close, but Gina got it right on the money! )

Ok folks, if you haven’t heard or figured it out yet – you NEED to be served Joshua Ploeg food!

Living mostly in Canada I have only had the pleasure of attending Joshua’s vegan dinner parties twice in my life, but that doesn’t stop me from dreaming about them every week!

Joshua is an seasoned punk rocker who keeps the “punk” but throws out the “junk” (aka those bland cooked-in-one-pot chilis or stews that most punks rely on to fill their bellies.)

The key to Joshua’s amazing cooking is ART. Like a sly Dada-ist work or an exquisitely detailed Edward Gory drawing this touring chef mixes spices and food you’ve never dreamed of.  Flavours explode and tastebuds take flight.

I am lucky to own three of Joshua’s cookbooks:  In Search of the Lost Taste, Twelve Knights in my Kingdom, and Something Delicious This Way Comes  (which I gave away in a contest this month on this here blog!) These recipes are not for the “one pot cookers” or people who are afraid of interesting ingredients and ethnic spices. They are not for “make it quick and shovel in yer face eaters”. They are for people who love to cook and love to eat.

My favourite recipe, so far, is Baked CHKN with Kiwi Mayonnaise (from Something Delicious…) :

2 c vegan mayo (I usually use less)

3 kiwis peeled and chopped

1/4 tsp coriander

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp sugar

salt and lemon juice to taste

Blend these until smooth and chill. Store overnight. When ready to use, blend again.

6 vegan “chicken breasts” or firm seasoned tofu cutlets

2 tb t amari

6 lemon slices

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tb brown sugar

1 c gold broth (I just use any veggie broth around)

2 smashed garlic cloves

(sunflower) oil

1 c flour

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp lemon pepper

1/2 tsp sale

1 tb nutritional yeast

1/4 tsp sage

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/4 tsp ginger

olive oil

Marinate the “breasts” overnight in tamari, lemon slices, 1 tsp oregano, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, golden broth and garlic cloves.

When ready to prepare, remove them from marinade and brush with bit of oil. Dredge them through the flour mixed with the other tsp oregano, chili poweder, cumin, garlic powder, lemon pepper, slat, nutritional yeast, sage, cayenne and ginger. Fry them in olive oil until browned. Set them in a greased baking dish and pour the kiwi mayo over them. Sprinkle with pepper and lay the lemon slices from the marinade on top.

Bake 400 D for 25 min.

Also from Something Delicious… [I discovered Zahtar (or Zahter) a few years ago and can’t get enough! Bread or tofu or steamed veggies – everything loves Zahtar!]

Zahter for Pita

3 tb mixed dried oregano, thyme and dill

1/3 to 1/2 c olive oil

salt to taste

pinch of sumac powder

1 to 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

a bit of lemon juice

Mix all of this together and make a paste. Store in fridge at least overnight, until ready to use, then bring to room temperature.

[my fav is to spread on a pita and bake a little!]

This one is from In Search of Lost Taste: Cinnamon-Cashew “Chicken” with Fried Vegetables

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp five spice powder

2 tsp red curry powder

1/2 tsp mustard seed, cumin seed, corriander seed, fennel seed

1 curry leaf or lime lealf

a few tb of sugar or rice syrup

1/4 c sesame oil

1/4 c soy sauce

2 tb rice vinegar

1 small chopped onion

1 c chopped roased cashews

1 tb sesame seeds

1/2 c chopped cilantro

1/4 c chopped Thai basil

1 tsp minced lemongrass

4 clove minced garlic

2 tsp minced ginger

2 tsp minced galangal

4 good sized cutlets of  veggie “chicken or seitan or tempeh

2 c red rice, cooked

In a large pan, cook half of the ingredients up and all of the chickin until cutlets are browned. Add the rice and the rest of the ingredients and cook until heated.

1 c onion

1 diced eggplant

2 copped carrots

a few minced chilis

2 diced bell peppers

1/2 c chopped water chestnut or celery or or crunchies

Saute these veggies in a little oil and then sprinkle with tamari, hoisin sauce, chili sauce or garlic sauce depending on whether you want it sweet, salty, spicy or garlicky.

Sprinkle the whole affair with  a little cinnamon.

Here are some other In Search of The Lost Taste recipes:

Cashew Sesame Shake

Green Bread

Plum and Pistachio Crisp with Ouzo-lemon “ice cream” and rose syrup

Spinach and almond – burgundy olive tapenade pastries

Fried Basil Cakes with tamarind hot sauce and coconut jelly

Chocolate Cake Parfait with cocoa “cream”, berries, sweet wine, chocolate liqueur and shaved chocolate

Lavender Soda

it goes on and on and on!

If you can’t get to one of Joshua’s dinner parties (you are only excused if you live far from a major US city centre) then run out and buy all the cookbooks you can! You will NOT be disappointed with the food that comes out of them 🙂

Broken Heart Vegan Tip #20: Challenge yourself. One easy way is to break open a cookbook and start at it. I recommend anything Joshua Ploeg. Quite the challenge and the results are breath taking!

Broken Heart Song #20


November 15, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . entree, snax. 2 comments.

Let’s stay calm here…

I come from a long line of emotionally conservative English and Scottish people.  Growing up I was part of a large group of hippie hating spiritually conservative anarchic atheists. When the idea of “meditation” or yoga ever came up I was always mildly revolted and needed to suppress my eye rolling in order to not offend the company I was with.

So it came as a great surprise to me to suddenly find myself a little interested in meditation. I have been told time and time again that you can get sick from stress and from holding in your emotions. Over the years I began to believe this was entirely possibly. But at the same time, I didn’t think I was THAT stressed out.  I’m a pretty positive person, no matter what life throws in my path, and laugh a lot during the course of each day. I don’t take things incredibly seriously unless they warrant it, and I’m always hopefully. But I’m beginning to believe I have no tools to manage stress and so I deal with it like I do with my emotions – just sweep it under the rug and don’t think about it. It’s probable that unlike my mind, the rest of my body is dealing with it!

Another month of pain in my shoulders, that I had been seeing different therapists off and on for a few years for. Two emails regarding breakdowns in groups I belong to. A sudden specialized chocolate order. Suddenly I’m fretting and grumpy and thinking my chocolate business is never going to make it. It was that day when I thought “Holy smokes! What the heck?! I need to calm down here! There’s no reason I should feel so overwhelmed, out of control and gloomy!”

So that evening, with the help of a pro, a took some deep breaths and sat on a cushion for 15 minutes trying to only focus on my breath.

Despite it being totally hard, with my multi tasking mind wandering, I really DID feel more calm after that sitting! So I’m going to start trying to “meditate”  two times a day and see what happens.  Part of my brain still screams “You’re turning into a hippie!” but I think the gradual calmness I will start to feel will override this, and even that part of my brain will start giving the peace sign and dressing in tie dye (ha ha ha just kidding!)

Again with raw food (I just love it!) – here is possibly the best raw dish I have ever had. A faux chicken salad on onion bread. It’s available at Rawlicious in Toronto. They just opened a new location in Yorkville – so congratulations to them! All those richies sure have enough money to spend on good food like that 😀 I use to live pretty close to the junction location, and was sad to move from the neighborhood for that reason alone. They don’t serve up the sandwich all the time, but I bet if we all keep asking for it they might permanently put it on the menu!

PS. Don’t forget to try your luck and win a cookbook from last post!

Raw Vegan Chicken Salad Sandwich from Rawlicious

Broken Heart Vegan Tip #19: Read the above post. AKA Sit in a quiet room and try not to think about anything for 15 minutes!

Broken Heart Song #19

November 7, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , . entree, raw. 6 comments.