Sunday, August 16

Burnt Broccoli Salad with Crispy Capers

I'm sure many of you can relate: You write something that you feel nearly proud of then, boom, it disappears from your computer screen without a trace. This has happened to me a couple times in university when I used to use a worse-for-wear 10 year old Vaio complete with a missing "O" on the keyboard. I clearly remember the despair I felt for not backing up any of my work. But did I ever learn from this? Or course not! So yeah, I wrote a post to accompany this roasted broccoli salad, and blogger being the less than perfect platform that it is, decided to delete it. Classic blogger!

But I digress. 

I was inspired to make this salad after I went to check out a new burger place in the East Village which offered up a charred broccoli salad over the conventional fries. Not only was I surprised by how it was exactly what I wanted, but also by how it brought me back to my childhood when my little sister and I would hover around the stove eating all the roasted veggies, long before dinner was served. My love for roasted veggies goes deep. So deep that Adam bars me from entering the kitchen if there happens to be a tray of roasted yams or broccoli resting on the stove (I will secretly pick away at the whole thing like a scavenging crow until its all gone). So lets skip the hustle and bustle of making a fancy meal, and lets just enjoy the roasted veg for what they are! Pure perfection! 

Burnt Broccoli Salad with Crispy Capers

Recipe: (Serves 2)

2 Small Yams, cut into 1 cm quarters
4 Cups Broccoli florets
5 tsp Coconut Oil + 1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/8 Chili Flakes
Handful Cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp Toasted Sunflower seeds
1/2 Hot Pepper, seeded and minced
2 Tbsp. Capers
Creamy Sunflower Seed Dressing (recipe below)
Lemon Wedges, for garish 

1. Heat the oven to 205 C (400 F). Combine the chopped broccoli with 3 tsp. Coconut oil, 1/4 tsp. sea salt, and chili. Roast, stirring often until nice and crispy, about 25- 30 minutes.

2. Use the remaining 2 tsp. Coconut oil on the yam slices. Sprinkle them with 1/4 tsp. sea salt and pop them in the oven once the broccoli has been roasting for about 10 minutes. Roast them for about 20 minutes, or until soft, stirring once throughout. 

3. Once the veggies are nice and crispy, toss to combine them. Arrange in a bowl along with a generous helping of dressing, the chopped cilantro, chili, and sunflower seeds, as well as a slice of lemon. 

4. Just prior to serving, heat the last 1 Tbsp. of oil in a small pan until hot. Gently pat the capers dry with a tea towel, and carefully place them into the hot oil, stirring to coat. Once the capers become white and crisp (about 1 minute), remove the pan from the heat and scoop out the capers (place them on a towel to drain). Sprinkle the salad with the hot capers and serve, season with salt and pepper as needed.  

Creamy Sunflower Seed Dressing


1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp. Sunflower Butter or Tahini
2 Tbsp. Liquid Sweetener of Choice
2 Cloves Garlic
2 cm / 1 inch (or about 1 thumb sized piece of ginger)
Zest of 1 Lemon
1/8 tsp. Sea Salt
2 Tbsp. Toasted Sunflower Seeds

1. Combine the oil, lemon juice, sunflower butter, garlic, salt, and ginger in a blender and puree until smooth. Add water a tbsp. at a time to reach desired consistency. I like mine to be nice and thick, so I only added about 1 Tbsp. 

2.Add the zest and the sunflower seeds and pulse to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.  

xox Sophie

Thursday, July 23

Zucchini Dill Fritters with Cashew Aioli

I'm terrible at making myself lunch. I always have been. What can I say, consistency is key, right? In part, this failing is due to working in and around kitchens for all of my adult life, which has left me spoiled with free amazing lunches. And really, if you have the option to pack your lunch at 5 am or eat a bowl of free organic dahl, wouldn't you pick that latter?  Breakfast, on the other hand, is something I got down. I often plan it out in my head the night before, so the next morning when I wake, what I'm going to have and how its going to look comes as a bit of a no-brainer . Dinner is also something that often comes together organically through steaming  or sautéing all the veggies in the fridge with a tasty sauce and maybe a grain - bing, bang, done! But lunch, lunch is tricky. If I eat too much, I feel tired and sluggish and any hope of getting projects done is tossed out the window. Not enough, and well that's just asking for some hangry trouble. So, this leads me the sad place where I eat lazy things like nut butter on stale wassa and handfuls of dried fruit from the pantry.

With my life almost resembling a routine these days, I've been making a conscious effort to be more on top of eating balanced lunches that involve the right amount of food and labour (and no oven, phew!) And I think we got this!
Anyone who has every grown a zucchini plant will be familiar with zucchini fritters, or pancakes, or whatever you happen to call them. For the most part these contain eggs, which make them like little tiny frittatas, but I opted for the vegan version with flour, which turns them more into a veggie latka. And I like it! Served along with some freshly diced avocado, and cashew aioli it's pretty much the best little lunch. And if you're feeling extravagant, a side salad would just put it over the edge.

Zucchini Dill Fritters with Cashew Aioli

Recipe: (Serves 2)

2 Small Zucchinis, about 2 Cups
1 Carrot, Grated 
1 Green Onion, Sliced
1/2 Cup Rolled Oats (or quinoa, or even buckwheat), ground in a Vitamix to make flour
2 Tbsp. Black Sesame Seeds
1 Rounded Tbsp. Chopped Dill
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
1/8 tsp. Ground Cumin
1/8 tsp. Ground Pepper 

Avocado and Cashew Aioli to Serve (Recipe Below)

1. Begin by grating the zucchinis. Sprinkle them with a little salt and let them drain in a colander for about 20 minutes. 

2. In a bowl combine the carrot, onion, dill, sesame seeds, oat flour, and spices. 
3. Squeeze the zucchini to remove extra water and add to the mix. Combine thoroughly.
4. Heat a pan to medium heat and add a splash of coconut or avocado oil. Take about 2 Tbsp. of mix and flatten in your palms making a thin pancake shape. Cook them for about 1-2 minutes per side, or until crisp and golden, adding more oil as needed.

Cashew Aioli

1/2 Cup Cashews
1/4 Cup Water 
1/4 Cup of Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
the Zest of one Lemon
1/8 tsp Sea Salt

1. Soak the cashews overnight in fresh water. The next day, drain them and combine alongside the other ingredients (alternatively, you can use 1/2 cup prepared cashew cream). Puree until smooth. You may need to adjust for more water and seasoning. Keeps in the refrigerator for about 5 days. 


xox Sophie

Friday, July 10

Berry Galettes and Easy Vegan Pastry

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from my mum who had just come in from the bush. She was ecstatic over her gathering of enough wild blackberries to make her annual pie, and was equally pleased that she managed to do it without having to fend off the black bear that lives on their property, or the pesky wasps that often encircle the sweet fruit. Foraging for wild berries is a long tradition for my family, and a longer tradition held on the coast going back thousands of years. At home every abandoned lot, railway, or roadside bank overflows with sweet wild and Himalayan blackberries this time of year. Then there are the Salmon berries, which are the sweetest orange colour and ever so delicate, that line the country road I grew up on. And that special spot on my parents property where a wild red huckleberry bush lives. Or that patch in my mum's vegetable garden, under the magnolia tree, where the wild strawberries live. I know it all. But that's at home on the west coast. Here in New York, I think I'd be hard pressed to find such abundance, at least within the city limits. 

But location won't hinder me from tradition. Instead I got on the nearest subway and hit the wonderful weekend markets to grab some fresh and beautiful berries. A totally new type of adventure, but still an adventure none the less! While I used a mix of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, any combination of these would work well. You could even add fancy berries like currants, which would be amazing! Even stone fruit like cherries and plums would be delightful.

Easy Vegan Pastry 

Recipe: (makes 8 Galettes) 
(adapted from here, here, and here)

2 1/4 Cups Whole Spelt (or light spelt, or even a mix)
1/2 Cup of Cold Coconut Oil, chopped into small pieces
3/4 tsp of Sea Salt
1 Heaping Tbsp. Evaporated Cane Sugar
1/3 Cup- 1/2 Cup Ice Water
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
Almond or Coconut milk to wash 
Sugar to sprinkle

1. In a food processor add the flour, salt, and the 1 Tbsp. sugar, pulse to combine.

2. Next add the cold coconut oil, vinegar, and about 1/4 cup of water. Slowly add more water, a tablespoon at a time,  just until the mixture holds together when lightly squeezed. 

3. Flatten the dough into a disk (you may need to kneed it a bit) and wrap in cling film and chill for a couple of hours.

4. Once chilled, take out the dough and let soften up for a couple of minutes. I like to work in small batches, so I divided mine in half and rolled each half about 1/8 inch (.30 cm) thick. I used a small bowl to cut out 12 cm (5 inch) circles, but anything around that size will do. 

5. Spoon about 1/4 cup of berries (see below) onto each round, leaving a good cm (1/2 inch) of dough circumference. Be sure not to take too much of the juice when scooping the berries as this will make for a wet pastry bottom. Gently pinch up the sides, and wash the pastry with some milk. Generously sprinkle with sugar. 

6. Bake in a 205 C (400 F) oven for 18-20 minutes or until golden. Let cool slightly, if you can, before nibbling! 

Berry Filling


3 Cups Mixed Berries, sliced if large
Zest 1 lemon
Juice 1/2 Lemon
Sugar to taste, I used 2 Tbsp
A tsp. or so of flour if your berries are super juicy

1. Combine the berries with the lemon juice and zest. Taste and add as much sugar as needed. If your berries are super juicey, you may need to mix in a tsp. or so of flour. 

xox Sophie