Sunday, January 27, 2013

Looking for a new cook book? Give this one a whirl

By Casey Knoll

When it comes to food, baking is my strong suit – cooking, not so much.

So when I whip up a dish, I like to keep things simple and tasty.

Quick and Easy Vegan Slow Cooking by Carla Kelly checked off both of those boxes.

I found this book when I was in Chapters at Christmas, hunting down a vegetarian cookbook for my mom. A helpful sales associate told me about Quick and Easy Vegan Slow Cooking and handed me a copy.

Contrary to its name, the book has a wide selection of gluten-free recipes. While the lengthy ingredient lists are intimidating (especially when it comes to spices I haven’t heard of), the recipes themselves are simple.

That’s what I love about slow cooking. You just throw everything in a pot, and leave it to its own devices.

The dish I made: Peas, Potatoes, and Broccoli.
The recipe I made was called Peas, Potatoes, and Broccoli. Basically, the vegetables are slow cooked in a spice/vegetable stock mixture, which includes cumin, coriander, garlic powder, cinnamon, and black pepper. Chickpeas and potatoes are cooked for three hours on low in the spice mixture, with green peas and broccoli added last.

It was awesome. The slow cooking really brought out the spices. I served it with basmati rice, but this dish can stand by itself. It also passed the left-over test, as it was still yummy after multiple re-heats in the microwave.

So if you’re in a market for a new cook book, this one is worth checking out.

Have a favourite cook book? Let us know!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Peanut Butter Cup-cakes

By Giselle Wedemire

Gluten-free vegan baking is a feat I rarely ever attempt because it generally seems like a gamble.

While I live in a household of mixed culinary influences and dietary needs, I seldom branch out and make baked goods that are both vegan and gluten-free. However, Santa left me a super cool gift in my stocking this Christmas. Enter Ecoideas chocolate cake mix.

Both vegan and gluten-free, this convenient mix combines the best of both picky worlds with packaged goods that are super easy to prepare. The mix was fool-proof, with only three steps in its set of instructions: 1. pour mix into bowl, 2. add two cups of water, 3. bake at 375 for 35 minutes. It really couldn't have been any easier, though I do have one caveat for those interested: don't try the raw batter. The taste is, I guess you could say. (Kinda like chlorophyl-filled dirt. I honestly couldn't believe that I was sampling what was soon to be a dessert.)

Funky batter tastes aside, I powered through and made the cake mix into a dozen and a half delicious cupcakes. While they baked to perfection, I thumbed through my copy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and  whipped up a batch of Peanut Buttercream, since I'd been craving peanut butter and chocolate and Reese's peanut buttercups are no longer a viable snack-time option for me. 

Once out of the oven and left to cool down, I performed pastry surgery by cutting out quarter-sized circles from the tops of each cupcake and filled each doughy depression with a dollop of icing, reassambled the cupcake, and added one last dollop on top for good measure.

Et voila, peanut butter cup-cakes -- the perfect combination of chocolate and peanut butter for vegans and celiacs alike!