Layered breakfast bake

I’m constantly on the search for good, warm, filling breakfasts that incorporate a lot of vegetables. It might sound strange, but even as a vegan I have to work hard to get all the fruits and vegetables I should be eating. This is one of my solutions. It incorporates a base of British-style Bubble and Squeak, followed by caramelized onions and kale, and finished with a tofu / buckwheat topping. To be honest, this is just a delivery vehicle for caramelized onions. If you try the recipe, let me know what you think!

IMG_0385

Base (Bubble & Squeak)

1/2 a small cabbage, lightly sauteed in grapeseed oil and a splash of liquid smoke, seasoned with salt and pepper.

Mashed potatoes (I used red)

Combine the ingredients into a pan, and fry each side until brown and crispy.

Middle (onions and kale)

2 red onions, caramelized in olive oil, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, a pinch of garam masala, and 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar. Bake at 350 for approximately an hour and a half, until they’re done and a bit crispy.

When the onions are finished, take the pan out of the oven and add half a head of kale, chopped, and cook for a few minutes.

Topping (Buckwheat tofu)

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1 pack of silken tofu

3 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp turmeric

1 Tbsp cornstarch

2 garlic cloves

salt and pepper

Combine the above ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Add a bit of water if you need it.

Layer the bake as follows: bubble and squeak on the bottom, kale and onions in the middle. Pour the tofu batter over everything, add a bit more salt and pepper on top, and bake in the oven (350) for about 45 minutes. It’s done when a toothpick comes out clean.

Advertisements

Have I mentioned how much I love pasta?

I love pasta. It’s warm, easy, and filling. But mediocre pasta also makes me a little sad, because I know how good it can be. A friend was telling me about this great pasta that she makes with sausage, which of course was a no-go for me, but the method was intriguing. It involved making the pasta in the sauce. I thought I’d give it a try, and see what happened. Boy, am I glad I did. Fancy, delicious pasta was the result. Here’s how it went down: Caramelized Onion Pasta

I knew I wanted caramelized onions (because I always want caramelized onions), so I did that first.

3 large yellow onions in about 1/4 cup of oil, 1 Tbsp of balsamic and 1Tbsp of brown sugar, in the oven at 350 for about an hour (or longer or shorter depending on how you like things)

Then I made the sauce:

1 cup of cashews (soaked: you should do this for several hours, but I don’t. It’s fine.)

1 cup of crushed tomatoes

1 Tbsp of tomato paste

2 cups of stock (I used fake chicken stock)

Blend all that together, then, in a pan with some olive oil, quickly saute 2-3 garlic cloves, minced. Add the sauce and cook for a few minutes and season with salt and pepper. Pour all that goodness into a big pot (oven safe), and add 16oz / 454g of pasta.

Bake all that up real good for about 30 minute (350, of course), adding more stock if things are looking a bit dry. At the end, stir in a bunch of baby spinach and let it sit for a few minutes. This is also when I added in the caramelized onions.

Caramelized Onion PastaTop with some more salt and pepper, and add some vegan parmesan cheese if you’re into that kind of thing.

I also ate this for breakfast the next day, because I firmly believe there’s nothing better than breakfast pasta. Also, I wasn’t willing to surrender the leftovers to Boss.

Breakfast salad

One of the things I find most delightful about robust leafy greens is their ability to stand up to extreme manhandling, unlike many other greens (I’m looking at you, spinach). And this time of year, given the distance they have to travel to get to me, I’m happy for something that isn’t wilting on the way home from the store.

I also really like eating warm food for breakfast, and I struggle to eat enough leafy greens. My solution this morning was to whip up Isa Chandra‘s Kale Butternut squash salad. I made a small modification – I seared the kale in a hot cast-iron pan, just to soften and warm it up. I also added the rest of the ingredients while they were still warm. It was a fantastic, post-yoga salad that I heartily recommend. It’s the first recipe that I’ve tried from her new cookbook Isa Does It (you can find it – no need to link). Time permitting, I’ll try to blog a few of the photographs that result….

_MG_2936

Ginger Teff Cookies

I’m on a bit of a teff flour kick these days. It’s super good for you, and I actually find it pretty nice to bake with. You have to really add a lot of liquid – I find the flour super dry and crumbly, but it’s a nice gluten free flour. Here’s the latest creation: ginger teff cookies with molasses and pecans.

CT1

2 cups of teff flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 almond butter
1 Tbsp tamari (optional – it adds a nice tartness, but you can omit without a problem)
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 maple syrup
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 cup of pecan pieces

I recommend using a stand mixer for this because the dough gets really thick. I used the whisk for the wet ingredients to get them well mixed, then used a dough hook when I added the dry ingredients.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 9 minutes. Don’t overcook because these cookies will turn out dry. Try not to eat them all before your partner gets home.

CT2

Over to the dark side

It all started with the wonderful David Robson‘s visit to Ottawa in August. David is one of my favourite visiting teachers. He’s great at explaining things and making them simple without making them banal. He’s got a wonderful sense of the philosophy of ashtanga yoga and embodies it in his practice and his life. He was here for a week, and during one of our afternoon philosophy sessions, the topic turned to food. David explained, clearly and simply, why he’s vegan. He explained it as ahimsa – for animals, yourself, and the planet – a way of explaining it that really resonated with me.

I’d often thought about going vegan before, but always thought that I’d miss my favourite foods too much. I guess in a lot of ways, despite the obvious health and moral benefits, I was too attached to the foods I enjoyed. I was attached to the activities around eating (going out to dinner with my husband, grabbing a bite with friends, and the simplicity of it) and couldn’t fathom how it would work if I was vegan. So I didn’t do it even though I could recognize what was holding me back as attachment to physical things….not very in line with the yamas and niyamas…..

Anyway, another interesting thing that happened while David was here was that I was super super emotional on the mat. I was more frustrated than I have ever been practicing – and way more caught up in the asanas, specifically the ones I couldn’t do. A couple of times I started crying during suptakurmasana and didn’t stop the whole way through my second series practice. Kindof intense. It was interesting, because David is the only person who has ever gotten me into that pose…but getting into and realizing that it’s achievable, but still a long way off, really sent me off the deep end. David also cut back my practice – I’d been going up to leg behind the head, but he wanted me to stop after kapotasana. No problem. Fewer asanas are better. 🙂 He wanted me to wait for more changes. That resonated with me a bit too….I wasn’t sure what changes I was waiting for, but I was up for waiting.

Anyway, a couple of weeks after David left, I woke up thinking that I would try going vegan for a few days and see what happened. I eased into it – we were travelling a bit at the time, so I ate what I needed to eat while on the road but made a good effort. And then when we got back it was full on. It was probably one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done in my life, no word of a lie. I feel absolutely amazing. I have more energy, sleep better, my mood is better, my brain is clear (no more brain fog!!!!). My physical body is also completely different. There is so much ease in my practice it’s amazing. My joints hurt way less than they used to (even my bum knee is holding up okay in the cooler weather). My spine is more supple. I’m able to feel my bandhas more. And asana? I can bind by myself in marchyasana D for the first time in my life. Easily. And I’m starting to get a sense of how suptakurmasana might happen. I can’t believe it.

And it’s not that hard. And it feels great to make choices that are better for me, animals, and the planet. And Ross is super supportive, and we’ve been cooking amazing food. And I’m actually eating the right number of fruits and vegetables. And I don’t feel so attached to food. Wait, that’s not quite true. I’m still attached to it in the sense that I’m always a bit concerned about where my next meal is going to come from or what it is going to be, but it’s less about making sure that I’m eating the most delicious thing possible. Now it’s about what my body needs. And if there’s room after I’ve eaten all the good stuff that I can, then there are always vegan cookies somewhere. But I rarely have room.

So if you’re thinking about it, I say take the plunge. It’s a bit of work, so prepare yourself for lots of food prep, but it’s so good for you you’ll love it. You’ll feel amazing. Here are some resources:

http://veganyumyum.com
http://www.amazon.ca/Veganomicon-The-Ultimate-Vegan-Cookbook/dp/156924264X
http://www.freshrestaurants.ca

Love those cookbooks so much! Another fav (but not 100% vegan, so just check the recipes) is:
http://www.rebarmodernfood.com

And did you know that it’s world vegan month? It is. And it’s my birthday month. It’s a birthday miracle!