Pumpkin Cheesecake

{ Monday, October 4, 2010 }

In the food world, Fall means one thing: pumpkin. Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin carvings...the list goes on. Canadian Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and while pumpkin pie is usually my go-to dessert, sometimes it's nice to switch things up. I made this cheesecake to serve to a large group of my omni friends, and I was a little paranoid about the amount of tofu the recipe calls for. I was frantically tasting the raw batter, then the cooked batter, then the chilled cake to see if it would be palatable to non-veg taste buds, but in the end it was a great success. Once the cake is cooked and cooled, all you taste is pumpkin and spice.

Pumpkin Cheesecake (makes 1 cake)
Adapted from La Dolce Vegan

1 1/2 cups gingersnap cookies
3/4 cup pecans, finely ground
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup oil
1 14-oz package of firm tofu
1 12-oz package of soft or silken tofu
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger and cloves
6-10 pecan halves
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and lightly oil a 9-inch spring form pan.

In a food processor, blend the first 4 ingredients and press mixture into the bottom of the pan.

Rinse out the food processor and throw in the remaining ingredients (except the pecan halves and maple syrup). Blend until smooth and pour into prepared pan. Arrange pecan halves on top and bake for 75 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool completely. Spoon maple syrup on top of cake and refrigerate overnight.

Dippy Overnight Oats

{ Sunday, September 26, 2010 }
One of the best ways to save money is to never waste food. It's also good karma. My (temporary?) profession working in a couple of restaurants exposes me to a lot of food wasting. I can't understand why people don't want to take their leftovers home. Is it not "classy"? You know you'll be hungry again in a couple hours. At least, I usually am.

Anyways, I bought this peanut butter at the dollar store, because it was $1.50 for 500g, and that's really cheap. I tried to find the brand on the internet but it doesn't seem to exist. But it's called Dippy and there's a cute little elephant on the label and it says it's a product of India. I got down to the bottom of the jar and needed a way to use up the last extra bits of peanut butter. Enter: overnight oats.

Dippy Overnight Oats (serves 1)

1 almost-empty peanut butter jar
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup almond milk
1/4 cup water
dash of cinnamon
sweetener, to taste

Stir all ingredients together in the peanut butter jar and stick it in the fridge before you go to sleep. Wake up, grab a spoon, and enjoy! It may look a little gross, but it is tasty and refreshing because it's cold. And now you have a super-clean peanut butter jar that's ready to be recycled.

Food Finds: Ho Long Supermarket

{ Monday, September 6, 2010 }
I recently moved to Toronto on a whim, hence the lull in new posts. But now I am legitimately poor for real, so things should get interesting.

Because I am trying to cut the cord (so to speak) and now have multiple bills to pay, I have been seeking out the best grocery deals in my new city. The best place to shop? Chinatown, hands down. Up and down Spadina there are a ton of grocery stores with some seriously cheap produce; I got all of the above for $10.71. I solemnly swear never to step inside a Metro again.

Groovy Garden Vegetable Casserole

{ Monday, August 9, 2010 }
Unless ketchup counts, I don't really eat enough vegetables, which doesn't make a lot of sense for someone who also never eats meat or dairy. I decided to make this casserole because I realized I was living off of bread and Daiya for the past two days and that can't be good. This meal was the best way I could think of to break my vegetable fast: it's mostly veggies, which is healthy, but it also has a carby/cheesy topping, which makes it taste good. This is also just the thing to use up any stale bread and/or unused vegetables laying waste in your fridge, so get creative with the filling and use whatever you have on hand.

Groovy Garden Vegetable Casserole (serves
Adapted from La Dolce Vegan

For The Filling:

1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 cups kale, finely chopped
2 cups broccoli, finely chopped
1 cup parsnip, finely chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt

For The Topping:

3 slices of bread, roughly chopped
1/2 cup vegan cheese
1/2 cup firm tofu
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil an 8x8-inch baking dish.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the onion in the oil until translucent. Add remaining filling ingredients, stir, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, blend the topping ingredients until smooth (it should look like a ball of stiff dough).

Place cooked veggies in the prepared dish, top with the topping, and bake for 20-25 minutes.

NB: I definitely used a way-too-small pan to cook the vegetables.

(Semi) Raw Zucchini Hummus

{ Thursday, July 29, 2010 }
I opened my fridge to look for a snack to enjoy while watching Rookie Blue (don't judge me....I just want to support home-grown talent...) and all I found was a sad little zucchini. Thankfully, in the 10th Anniversary edition of VegNews there was a recipe for raw zucchini hummus that I have been dying to try, because how weird is that? I didn't make it completely raw because I only had regular tahini, but I don't think it would make that much of a difference taste-wise, especially since I cut down the amount of tahini in the recipe by a lot. It called for a 1/2 cup, but tahini is expensive and that would've been my whole jar, so I just used a heaping tablespoon. This is a tasty dip—very light and refreshing, a lovely counterpoint to melodramatic Canadian cop shows.

Raw Zucchini Hummus (makes a little over 1 cup)
Adapted from VegNews

1 zucchini
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
paprika, for garnish

Scrape the skin off the zucchini, remove the ends, and chop into little pieces.

In the bowl of a food processor, place all ingredients except paprika.

Blend, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until humus is quite smooth.

Put hummus in a pretty bowl and garnish with paprika.