Tag Archives: Food

When i was 18…

15 Mar

The past week has brought about a wave of nostalgia to my daily life. I’ve spent time with High School friends, spent lots of time with family members I absolutely adore, and recently reconnected with an old friend from my very early 20s. This old friend and i have been talking music, and he helped me rediscover some awesome bands from my youth; bands that i completly forgot existed, bands whose music would make the hairs of my arms stand straight. Music that would send butterflies straight to my stomach as i listened to their CD in my discman, hanging out in the halls of CEGEP. These songs, these lyrics, bring me back to a period where music was associated with first kisses, nights out at punk rock shows, meeting cute boys, and spending countless hours on mIRC. Listening to a certain song reminds me of my first pair of Etnies, or a specifc moment where nothing in the world mattered except getting tickets to the Less than Jake show.

This wave of nostalgia has brought on an urge to cook my favorite comfort foods from that period of my life. When i was in CEGEP, my mom was still making my lunches. (Props to the SUZE!!) She would make these delicious veal cutlets battered in italian bread crumbs, and then fried to crisp perfection. She would then layer 2 pieces in between italian bread, with a bit of lettuce. It was the sandwich of champions, it was so good. In my house, we called it Fattini. When i knew i was getting fattini for lunch, i would anticipate biting into the delicious fresh bread, and tasting the crispy, perfectly cooked goodness of those fried pieces of heaven. Now that i’m a vegan, veal is not part of my diet. Therefore, i have successfully recreated the awesomeness that is fattini with tofu. Sa-weeeet!

Now before all you carnivores quickly dismiss this blog with a look of disgust and a roll of the eyes, let me assure you that even my meat-eater friends and family have devoured breaded tofu, proclaiming: “wow, this is incredible!” I swear, it tastes awesome, especially layered in sandwiches, with a little hummus spread on the bread. It’s also super easy to make, and lends itself well to dipping.

First, take your block of tofu. Rinse it well, and wrap it in a tea towel. Find the heaviest book you have and put it over the tofu to press out all the water. (That encyclopedia i used to pretend to use in College really comes in handy here…)Press the tofu for 30 minutes-1 hour. Once it is sufficiently pressed, cut it into slices width wise, so the slices resemble rectangles.

Prepare a bowl with tamari, and a dish with bread crumbs. First, dip the tofu in tamari, letting it sak for a couple of seconds. Then, dip it in breadcrumbs, coating both sides. Place the tofu on an oiled or parchement paper covered baking sheet, and place in oven. Set your oven to 375, and bake for 30 mins on each side. The result is a crispy, delicious slab of tofu. Great for sammies, dipping in hot sauce, slicing on salads, the choices are endless!

As i sit in my living room, listening to the Ataris, Thrice and Fenix TX, devouring my breaded tofu, i realize that i have come a long way from 18-year-old me. However, i’ll always have the music to remind me of those nights at Hatter’s where my biggest worry was if i had the guts to buy the cute boy sitting next to me a beer…

Parsnips and Carrots: A True Love Story…

17 Feb

After a truly invigorating Moksha yoga class, i never really want to go home and cook a big, heavy meal. I usually gravitate towards fruit and granola, salads or soups. However, i am completely disgusted by the amounts of sodium present in generic store-bought soup. What is the point of all this salt? Furthermore, when you buy reduced-sodium choices, they just taste weird. It’s a lose-lose situation. Luckily for me, there is an abundance of root veggies at the grocery store lately, and making soup is the perfect après-yoga activity, because you can laze around and put your feet up while the veggies are simmering!

I feel like parsnips are an over-looked veggie, the under-dog of its family. A relative to the carrot, the parsnip is neither as popular or as widely-used in recipes. However, parsnips pack more potassium than their orange counterparts, and are super high in dietary fiber. Another point in the parsnip’s favor is when it’s cooked, it takes on a sweet, hearty flavor. Super yummy. I decided to give parsnip a chance at its 15 minutes of fame, and make a potage out of it. I also threw some carrots into the party pot, so they wouldn’t get jealous. 😉

The addition of apples, ginger, sweet potato and nutmeg to this mélange made for a deliciously hearty bowl of awesomeness. It was a little sweet, a little spicy, and very nutritious. What more could you want out of a soup?

To assemble this potage, grab a large soup pot, and cover the bottom with extra-virgin olive oil. Turn your burner on medium-high heat. Throw in a couple of cloves of garlic, minced, depending on your garlic tolerance. I personally LOVE the stuff, so i minced 6 cloves. Let the garlic hang out, and once it has become fragrant, grate a 3-4 inch piece of ginger into the pot. Let the ginger and the garlic flavors meld together for a minute. Then toss in 6 chopped medium carrots and 6 chopped medium parsnips. Stir it all up and let cook for a minute. Throw in 1 chopped sweet potato and 2 chopped apples. Sprinkle a little nutmeg and some cayenne pepper, and stir to coat all the veggies. Cover the veggies with veggie broth (my favorite brand is Pacific Foods), and bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, turn the heat to medium, and let simmer until all the veggies are tender. If you have a blender, spoon the soup into the blender and blend until puréed. If you have a hand mixer, go to town on the soup with the mixer. Purée until no chunks remain. Chop up some chives or scallions and use as garnish for each bowl. And Voilà! Soup!

The cool thing about this soup is it fills your kitchen (or 2 1/2 apartment) with a sweet aroma. It’s great at this time of the year, when the weather is a little unpredictable. (Will it be cold, colder, or utterly freezing tomorrow? Who knows?) It also lends well to dipping breads and scones, if that’s your thing. This soup nourishes the soul after an intense yoga session (or any workout for that matter!) because of it’s warmth and sweetness. It also freezes well; a batch of this can easily last me a week!

Speaking of nourishing the soul, I’ve been contemplating the subject of change today. As i look outside onto the first sunny, warm day in a long time, i can sense the feeling of spring, slowly creeping up on us. I feel spring is a season of renewal and cleansing, whether planned or not. Just as the snow melts and does away with impurities, we regenerate in a way. There is an energizing, invigorating feeling that surrounds the arrival of spring. Physically, we don’t bundle up into ourselves as much, we lose that hunched-over feel of keeping warmth in. We can open our hearts, stand taller and walk with a spring to our step (seeing as there is no more ice on the ground… walking with a spring in your step in the winter is treacherous!) At this time, one of the closest people in my life is undergoing a huge change and moving into her very own first home. It’s new, it’s modern, and it’s a fresh start. I, myself will be moving into a larger, more spacious apartment in a month’s time. This feeling of change transports me to a very specific feeling in my childhood. Every time i would get sick, the minute my mother would sense that i was getting better, she would kick me out of my room and wash all my sheets and pillowcases. The feeling of crawling back into a fresh, clean, crisp bed is the same feeling i get when winter moves to spring, when i move to a new abode, when a life-changing shift happens in my life. Spring is quite familiar to us, but in my eyes it always feels like a fresh start. A time to take on new projects, revive  forgotten ones. As much as some of us try to push it away, i try to welcome change as the start of a new adventure, as freshly washed sheets on my bed…