Archive for June, 2009

No-Fail Fruit Salad

No-Fail Fruit SaladThere’s nothing like fruit salad on a hot summer’s day. It’s refreshing yet filling, and it’s a great way to take advantage of all of the great fruits that come available at this time of year.

This recipe can be used with any fruits you like. The dressing is versatile enough to tackle anything from berries to apples to tropical fruits. Unfortunately, even with the touch of balsamic vinegar in the recipe, the fruits start to brown within about 30 minutes – so make this salad just before you intend to eat it. I find that a half batch a nice meal for two people, and a full batch is great for dinner parties and potlucks.

For potlucks, you can assemble the dressing at home and then bring the fruits with you and toss it all up just before eating time. If you want to eat the salad all week at home, you can mix up the dressing and then toss a bit of it with freshly chopped fruits just before eating. The dressing will keep for about a week in the fridge.

No Fail Fruit Salad
Makes 4 – 6 large servings, or 8 – 10 small ones

6 – 10 cups fruit (depending on how saucy you want your salad to be)
(I used: 2 cups banana, 2 cups pineapple, 2 cups strawberries)

¾ cup vanilla yogurt (or ¾ cup plain yogurt and ⅛ teaspoon vanilla)
1 Tablespoon real maple syrup
¼ tsp. balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 Tablespoons poppyseeds

  1. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, vanilla (if using), syrup, vinegar, cinnamon, and poppyseeds.
  2. In a large bowl, combine chopped fruit.
  3. Toss fruit with dressing and serve.
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June 27, 2009 at 11:29 am 2 comments

Peach Smoothie

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As has probably become apparent by now, smoothies are my favourite way to start the day. They’re delicious and easy to make, they’re full of fibre and nutrients, and they provide a great way to pack the reccomended servings of fruits and vegetables into your day. This particular smoothie is a great way to use up peaches that have gone a bit soft, but you can also use frozen peaches to enjoy this recipe year round. In fact, keeping a bag of frozen fruit around can make it even easier to whip up a morning smoothie, even on busy days.

Peach Smoothies
Makes 1 large or 2 small servings

1 banana (about 1 cup)
2 small peaches (about 1½ cups)
¾ cup orange juice
½ cup soymilk
pinch of cinnamon (optional)

  1. Peel and chop the banana into a few large chunks. Remove the peach pits (you can leave the skin on), and chop the peaches into large chunks.
  2. Combine the fruit, juice, soymilk and cinnamon (if using) in a blender, and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

June 20, 2009 at 11:41 am Leave a comment

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

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I don’t like to brag, but these may just be the best muffins that I have ever made. They are light, moist and bursting with a sweet lemony flavour, while the blueberries provide an occasional mellow, fruity balance. They also rise nicely, creating perfectly golden brown tops on moist, cakey muffin bottoms.

The yogurt in these muffins acts as a replacement for most of the oil that you would find in traditional muffin recipes, making them lower fat without losing the muffins’ moist texture. This does mean that the muffins lack a certain non-stick quality, though, so paper or silicon liners are highly recommended.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins (Lower Fat)
Makes 12 Muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds
¾ cup plain (nonfat) yogurt
1 cup soymilk
1 Tablespoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons safflower oil (or other light tasting oil, like corn or canola)
2 Tablespoons lemon zest
¾ cup blueberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Place paper liners in a standard muffin tin (or grease the muffin tin well. Spray with oil and sprinkle with flour to prevent sticking). Set muffin tin aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix up dry ingredients (including flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground flax seed) and combine them well.
  3. Next add the wet ingredients (including yogurt, soymilk, vinegar, oil, lemon zest, and blueberries) and combine them well with the dry ingredients.
  4. Fill up the muffin tins with the batter (fill them almost all the way up to ensure good muffin tops) and bake for 18 – 20 minutes.
  5. Let cool completely before removing from muffin tin or liners. The relative lack of oil makes them especially sticky when they are still warm, but they should come out with no problems once they cool down.

Adapted from 1000 Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Gelles

June 14, 2009 at 12:01 pm 3 comments

Avocado and Fried Tofu Sandwich

IMG_7161When I was twelve years old, my family moved back to Edmonton after a brief hiatus and my parents’ friends came over to help us get settled. I’m sure that they moved furniture, and helped unpack and so forth, but what I remember are the sandwiches.

They brought ice cream pails full of different sandwiches for us to eat until we had unpacked our kitchen implements and stocked up on groceries. At first, I dug into the old stand-bys like PB&J, but then I discovered the avocado and bacon and I never turned back. The salty, crispy bacon mixed with the creamy avocado in what I can only describe as a culinary revelation. This recipe is my vegetarian version, which I think is just as good. Better even, because you can pile on the fried tofu (which can be made entirely without oil if you have a good non-stick pan) in amounts that would be inadvisable (at best) with bacon.

If you don’t want to make all four sandwiches at once, you can still prepare all of the tofu ahead of time and then store it for later. Cut up as much of the avocado as you want, and then spread lemon juice over the rest and wrap it tightly in tin foil or plastic wrap. Leave the remaining avocado in its skin with the pit to help preserve its freshness, and it should keep in the fridge for a day or two. Don’t worry if the surface has turned a little bit brown, as long as the rest of the avocado is still green underneath. If you are making these sandwiches to eat later, toss the avocado in a little lemon juice before spreading it on the sandwich. These keep for a few hours, but not much longer.

Avocado and Fried Tofu Sandwich
Makes 4 Sandwiches

8 slices of multigrain bread
1 ripe avocado
½ teaspoon salt or to taste, preferably coarse or kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper or to taste, preferably freshly ground
1 lb. tofu, cut into slices

Smoky Tofu Marinade
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon adobo sauce from can of chipotles
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup hoisin sauce (or additional soy sauce)
½ cup water
1 teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly ground

  1. Combine marinade ingredients in a blender and pulse to combine.
  2. Place sliced tofu in a long, shallow food storage container or a large resealable bag.
  3. Pour marinade over the tofu and add additional water to cover if necessary.
  4. Marinate overnight.
  5. Remove tofu from marinade and heat it in a non-stick pan on medium-high heat until it is browned on both sides.
  6. Meanwhile, toast the bread. When it is finished toasting, spread ¼ of the avocado on each of four slices of the bread. Top with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Place ¼ of the tofu over the avocado, and top with an unadorned slice of bread. Enjoy!

June 6, 2009 at 6:48 pm 1 comment


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*All entries tagged "vegan" and "gluten free" meet those dietary requirements to the best of my knowledge as long as the vegan or gluten free instructions are followed (where applicable). It is always wise to double-check ingredients (especially when dealing with packaged foods) and to confirm ingredients and preparation methods at restaurants.