Friday, October 14, 2016

Chocolate Granola (Vegan, Nut-Free & Gluten-Free)


Ah, mornings. While many of you may groan at the thought of getting out of a warm cozy bed, mornings are actually my most productive time of day. My predicament? Mornings are just not long enough! No matter how early I set that alarm, I can never seem to find enough time to do all of the things that I'd like to get done before heading off to work. While I have good, healthy intentions, my breakfast ritual often involves me standing over the kitchen sink, scoffing down handfuls of Mini Wheats & drinking almond milk out of the jug. That is, until recently.

My Pinterest addiction inspired me to create grab-and-go breakfasts, packed into mason jars, prepared the night before. These often involve yoghurt or a smoothie, and a little bit of homemade granola. If you haven't made your own granola yet, this is definitely the recipe to try. Sweet cherries, a hint of chocolate, and a tart, tangy cherries, with a wonderful buckwheat crunch.

I am a big fan of honey in my granola, but if you're looking for a vegan alternative, maple syrup or agave both work equally well.

Chocolate Cherry Granola
gluten free, vegan

2 cups rolled oats*
1/2 cup buckwheat groats
1 cup unsulphured unsweetened shredded coconut**
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp + 1 tsp dark cocoa

70g agave nectar OR maple syrup OR honey
70g coconut oil
1/2 cup dried cherries

Combine all dry ingredients except cherries. Melt coconut oil and syrup/honey together in a microwave-safe bowl. Toss with dry ingredients. Lay out on parchment sheet and bake at 300F for about 15 minutes. Mix, add cherries, and return to oven for another 10 minutes. Let cool completely before breaking into pieces. Enjoy!

*If you're in the U.S., most commercial oats are naturally GF. In Canada however, if you are cooking for someone with celiac and you need to be certain, look for the GF certification. Bob's Red Mill sells certified GF oats, usually found in the organic section of most grocery chains.

** I get mine from Bulk Barn - the size of the shreds work perfectly for this recipe!



Friday, October 7, 2016

Horray Halushki!


My comfort foods come in many shapes and sizes, but all share a common trait: they are all meals that I ate as a child. Peanut butter and cheese sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, baked beans... generally some simple, cheap, good stuff. Also on my list are a few of my mother's Slovak dishes, including her incredible pasta dumplings, which she calls "Halushki." Interestingly, a Google search for Halushki (as well as one for Haluski) did not return any results resembling the dumplings that I've grown up with - generally I found photos of broad, flat egg noodles fried up with cabbage. I'm thinking that somewhere along the way, either the translation was mixed up between my mother and my grandmother, or my grandmother had been making spaetzle while calling it halushki. In any case, it's always been halushki to me, and it's the most delicious food that I have ever eaten. I decided that those cabbage people were onto something, so, while I normally eat these with scrambled eggs, I tried it with fried brussels sprouts and golden onions. It did not disappoint. Being of Eastern European descent, cabbage and onions rank high on my list of comfort foods, so combining them with the pasta was a definite win all around! 

This is a pretty simple recipe and, unlike other laborious pastas, it comes together in a matter of minutes. My mother has a special "halushki pot" that she uses to press the dumplings through, but a large-holed colander will do just fine. Don't have that either? Dropping tiny spoonfuls into the water will do just fine. If you like these pasta dumplings, you should also check out my Sweet Potato Gnudi recipe here! 

Haluski with Brussels Sprouts and Onions
an original recipe by allison sklar

ingredients

2 cups flour
1/2 cup warm water
2 eggs, beaten
a couple of pinches of salt

2 cups chopped brussels sprouts
1 large red onion, diced
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
cracked black pepper

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp oil (vegetable, canola, sunflower, etc.)

method

Combine flour and salt in large bowl. Make a well in the middle. Add eggs and water. Stir to combine, bringing in flour from the sides. If the dough feels dry, add a little more water, a tbsp at a time.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Using an oiled, large holed collander, press dough holes, letting it drop into water. Alternately, fill a pastry bag with the mixture and pipe out quarter-sized drops at a time, or, drop by small spoonfuls. Once your pasta is in the water, it will start to move around, stir gently a couple of times. Pasta is ready once it floats to the top - about 5 minutes. Drain, toss with a bit of oil, and set aside. 

Heat oil in a frying pan. Once it's hot, return heat to medium and add onions, stirring. Allow them to brown, about 8 to 12 minutes. Add cabbage and stir. Add butter and halushki. Continue cooking another 3 to 5 minutes. Serve sprinkled with cracked black pepper and paprika. Enjoy!


Monday, October 3, 2016

Overnight Breakfast (vegan & gluten-free!)


This breakfast is everything that you've been wanting in a meal: easy to make, delicious, healthy, hearty, and convenient! Mason jars help create a no-spill, grab-and-go breakfast for those mornings where you just don't have the time to cook, a.k.a. every morning. Mason-jar meals have been quite the trend on Pinterest lately, I figured it was time that I hop on the bandwagon. A girl's gotta stay on fleek! (Never let me say that again.) Oh, P.S., it's naturally vegan and gluten free.

What's extra-awesome about this recipe is it allows you to change the ingredients based on the season. Summer? Strawberries and peaches! Autumn? Plums and pears! Winter? Dried fruits! Cinnamon is delicious with all of the above, so I highly recommend using it.

Mason Jar Breakfast
an original recipe by allison sklar

ingredients

2 tbsp steel-cut oats
2 tbsp quinoa (or kaniwa)
2 tbsp buckwheat groats
1 tsp chia seeds
pinch cinnamon
pinch salt
3/4 cup boiling water

1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup chopped seasonal fruits or 2 tbsp dried fruits

Combine all dry ingredients in medium mason jar (if using dried fruits, add them now!) Pour boiling water over the top & stir lightly. (Do not shake, as the contents will stick to the sides!) Cover and let sit for about 30 minutes (until the jar comes to room temperature) then transfer to the fridge overnight. In the morning, add the milk and fresh fruits. Heat in the microwave in 30 second intervals if desired.

Stir, and serve!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Smoky Superfood Stuffed Portobello


Hello loyal readers,

Apologies for the hiatus, and a big thanks for understanding - it's been a very busy summer over at Savoury Sweets! Weddings, events, and birthdays galore - as well as a wonderful two-week vacation to the (very underrated) west coast of Canada. I've finally managed to find a few minutes, so I'm here to continue sharing healthy, plant based recipes to bring some colour to your plate, and variety to your diet!

I'm going to start by sharing something that I've been dreaming about since I made it - a quinoa & veggie-stuffed portobello cap. (Side note - Portobello? Portabella? Portobella? However you spell it, it's a giant, delicious mushroom.) I posted a photo on Facebook and immediately had multiple requests for the recipe - you ask, I deliver!

During my travels, I stumbled upon many secondhand bookshops, each one more adorable than the next. It was very hard not to take everything home with me. I did snag a wonderful book called Grain Power (Green & Hemming, 2013), which is what inspired this creation. Not only is this dish colourful, flavourful, and quite photogenic - but it's also filling enough to be a standalone meal. Bonus - the whole thing comes together quickly, and the filling can be prepared in advance - so it's great for a quick weeknight meal, or for a last-minute vegetarian or vegan dinner guest. Double bonus - it's gluten-free, and can be vegan if you omit the cheese, or use vegan cheese!

Smoky Superfood Stuffed Portobellos

ingredients

  • 4 portobello mushrooms
  • 1 cup quinoa 
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 3 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • juice from one fresh lime
  • 3 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup herbed goat cheese, crumbled
  • smoked Tabasco (optional)

method

Remove stems from mushrooms, setting the caps aside. Chop mushroom stems.

Bring quinoa and water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer about 15 minutes, until all water is absorbed, and quinoa is fluffy. Set aside.

Heat 3 tbsp oil in large saucepan. On medium heat, cook onions, stirring intermittently, about 15 minutes, or until they start to brown. Add garlic and stir. Add peppers and mushroom stems and cook until soft, about 10 mins. Add spinach, continue cooking until wilted.

Add quinoa to saucepan and stir, combining everything. Drizzle with remaining oil, lime juice, tarragon, paprikas and turmeric. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Scoop mixture into portobello caps and sprinkle with cheese, if using. BBQ, or place on a tray and low broil, until cheese is melted, about 4 to 6 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with smoked Tabasco, if desired.






Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Homemade Bread


Do you have 15 minutes, some dry active yeast, and a kitchen scale?

If so, you, my friend, can make bread - right this instant. 
No experience required. No fancy ingredients. This bread is easy-peasy - and absolutely delicious. 

The secret ingredient is beer - yes, the kind you drink. Any beer will do, but I like to experiment and change it up each time I make it. So far, my favourite breads have been made with white beers or wheat ales. I have yet to try with a stout - but please, let me know if you venture that way! Now, lets get on with it, and get baking!

Easy Vegan Beer Bread

ingredients
500g (approx 2 cups) all purpose flour
8 g (about 1tsp) salt

16g dry active yeast
4 tbsp warm water
2 tsp sugar
30 ml olive oil
371 ml (1 bottle) of your favourite beer

5 cloves of garlic, grated (optional)
3 scallions, chopped (optional)

method
Combine yeast, sugar and warm water in medium bowl. Stir with a fork until yeast is dissolved. Set aside 10 minutes until frothy. 

Stir oil and beer into yeast mixture. Add garlic and scallions if using.

Sift together flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and slowly pour in the liquid ingredients. Using a spatula, or your hand, combine everything together until a sticky dough forms. Work the dough in the bowl until all of the flour is combined, and it comes together smoothly, about 2 minutes. 

Cover the bowl with aluminium foil, allow to rise for 1.5hrs.

Once the dough has risen, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle with flour. Invert dough onto floured parchment and gather it into a round shape. (It will be gluey - very normal!)

Sprinkle the top with some more flour, and allow to rise for another 30 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 425F. Make diagonal slits in the bread (as seen in the photo) JUST before putting it into the oven. 

Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool before slicing. 





Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Panettone French Toast


Sometimes, I procrastinate.

This recipe is something that I've wanted to make for years. YEARS. Why have I never done it? Procrastination, my friends. Well, that, and severe lack of Panettone. Now that I live in Little, Little Italy (Lasalle), there is an abundance of this fluffy Italian treat - at all times of year! So many varieties to choose from in fact, that I found it slightly overwhelming. Do I want currant Panettone? Chocolate Panettone? Coffee Panettone? Mixed Fruits? Original? Yellow? White? Which brand do I choose? (Italians and Panettone lovers, please weigh in on this - I still don't know!)

Once my choice was made (chocolate-filled!), I decided to go ahead and let it sit on my counter for weeks. You see, I'm SO good at procrastinating, that I also procrastinate eating things. How does someone NOT consume an entire pannetone all by themselves? Self-control, people. Self. Control.  I knew that this particular panettone was destined for great things. This particular panettone was born to be transformed. This particular panettone would soon become a marvelously chocolatey, marvelously boozy breakfast miracle. Five months and mucho procrastination later, I share with you the one and only way that you'll ever want to eat panettone again.

Panettone French Toast with Chocolate
an original recipe by allison sklar

Notes:  Leftover panettone freezes very well, and is easier to cut into cubes when frozen. Don't use more than half of your panettone at a time, or you'll end up with an overflowing pan, soggy toast, and unhappy tastebuds.

ingredients

1/2 packaged panettone, cut into cubes
1/4 cup chocolate chips


2 tbsp Nutella
2 tbsp milk


6 eggs
1/4 cup 15% cream
1/4 cup Bailey's or chocolate liqueur 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp brown sugar


method
Line a 9x13" baking tray with parchment paper. Place cubes evenly into tray. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.

In a microwave safe bowl, heat milk and nutella for about 20 seconds, until soft. Whisk together and drizzle over toast.

Whisk together eggs,  cream, liqueur, vanilla and sugar until very frothy. Pour over panettone mixture.

Bake at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until set and golden. 

Serve hot, sprinkled with icing sugar if desired.









Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tempting Tempeh

Inspired by a recipe for Sambal Goreng (Indonesian spiced tempeh) found in an old issue of Saveur Magazine, this unexpectedly delicious dish will have you wondering why you haven't been eating tempeh forever. For those of you who are unfamiliar, tempeh is what happens when soybeans undergo controlled fermentation and fuse together to form a firm patty with a meaty texture. I know it doesn't sound super appealing, but trust me, it can be, when prepared correctly! The taste is less neutral and more nutty than tofu, but can usually be used in similar applications. As it originates from Indonesia, I believe that the best way to try it for the first time, or to rediscover it, is by cooking it Indonesian style: with a whole lot of garlic and spice!

Indonesian Style Tempeh with Black Garlic

Ingredients
1 slab tempeh, cut into rectangular cubes
1/2 cup olive oil + 1/4 cup for frying
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tomatoes, peeled, small dice
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red chili, minced
1 habanero pepper, minced
pinch turmeric
2 tsp paprika
3 cloves black garlic, minced
NOTE: if you cannot find black garlic, add an extra tbsp of soy sauce.

2 cups rice, cooked (for serving)

Method / Instructions
Heat 1/4 cup oil in large skillet or saucepan. Over medium heat, fry tempeh until golden, about 2 minutes on each side. Drain and set aside.

Combine olive oil, tomato paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar together in a medium saucepan Whisk until combined. Add garlic, tomatoes, peppers & spices.  Whisk in a few tbsp water if mixture seems to thick (some brands of tomato paste are thicker than others!). Heat over medium, careful not to boil. Add tempeh & black garlic to pot. Simmer together for 15 minutes, lightly stirring.

Serve over rice.



Friday, March 18, 2016

5-ingredient Coconut Lime Marinade


This multipurpose marinade is excellent for tofu, chickpeas, and rice. If you swing with the meat crowd, it's also a great sauce for chicken breasts or thighs. I want to call this a curry sauce, but I also don't want to scare any of you away. Don't be fooled by the yellow colour - it does not taste anything like Indian food!


What's really great about this marinade is how fast it comes together. Open up a can of coconut milk, squirt in some sriracha, zest and squeeze your limes, add a couple of dashes of seasoning and bam! Marinade is made. 


Thai Style Chickpeas and Rice
with Coconut Lime Marinade
an original recipe by allison sklar

for the marinade:
1 can full-fat coconut milk*
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp sriracha sauce (or more, to taste)
zest and juice from two limes

for the chickpeas and rice:
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup basmati rice
1 cup water
a few pinches salt

Make the marinade: combine all ingredients and whisk together until homogenous. 
Add chickpeas to marinade and pour into heated saucepan. Heat until bubbly. 
Reduce heat and let simmer, uncovered, until sauce reduces and thickens, about 15 minutes. 
Meanwhile, start the rice. Combine rice and water in wide bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Pour rice into chickpea mixture and stir. Salt to taste. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro if desired. 


*Tip: Choose coconut milk in a can with a high fat content. The "drinking" coconut milk that's found in the refrigerated section won't do as it is lacking cream, which is important for the consistency. 



Friday, March 11, 2016

Tasty Mushroom Gravy (Vegan & Gluten-Free)


Now that you've got some tasty vegan broth that's been STOCKpiled (oh, I just HAD to have some pun with that), I'm going to show you a few interesting ways to use it. I'll start with this amazingly quick and easy vegan mushroom gravy. This is the tastiest, umamiest (totally a word), most versatile gravy that you'll ever try. You can keep it classic and serve it over mashed potatoes. Or, be trendy and have it on top of a whole roasted cauliflower. Vegetarian poutine? No longer a pipe dream. Whichever way you decide to pour it, once you try it, you'll never go back to brown powder and water again. Bonus: this gravy is both vegan AND gluten-free, making it a great option for those dinner guests with special diets or food intolerances.

Mushroom & Pepper Gravy
(a.k.a. Vegan Mushroom Gravy / Vegetarian Gravy)
an original recipe by Allison Sklar

ingredients
2 tbsp oil
1 pint cremini (or white) mushrooms
1/2 small onion, very thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp gluten-free tamari (or low-sodium soy sauce, if you're not concerned about gluten)
1 tbsp rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
pinch salt
generous amount of cracked black pepper

method
Heat oil in large saucepan. Add onions and mushrooms. Cook, stirring infrequently, about 10 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits off of the bottom of the pan. (Those brown bits are major flavour enhancers!) Add broth slowly, and bring to a boil. Add tamari/soy sauce & vinegar. Whisk cornstarch into cold water until homogenous. WHISKING GRAVY CONSTANTLY, slowly pour in the cornstarch mixture, continuing to whisk until sauce bubbles and thickens, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add pepper and salt, stirring with wooden spoon.

If not serving immediately, keeps well in a glass jar in the fridge for a few days. To reheat, pour mixture into saucepan with a tiny bit of water. Whisk constantly until heated. Serve hot.

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Monday, March 7, 2016

Stock Up! (Vegan Soup Stock / Broth)


After a strange, elongated dance with flu this winter, I craved nothing but soup broth for days. Maybe it was instinctual - my body associates broth with healing, as I was brought up to believe that my Bubbie's chicken soup was THE Jewish penicillin.

A little embarrassed to admit, these days, I've been a broth-in-a-box kind of girl. I know, I know! Making soup broth is so easy! The problem is, I've always found homemade broths to be expensive, and quite wasteful, throwing all of the strained, overly mushy vegetables straight into the trash. However, my thoughts on this subject changed dramatically when I recently discovered that broth can actually be a great way to use up otherwise unusable produce! 

I had been stockpiling a few vegetable odds and ends in my freezer over the last little while (too-soft celery, wilted mushrooms, broccoli stems), and I decided that this would be a great time to use them all up. I added in some garlic and onions (for some super flavour and amazing healing properties) along with a few of the herbs that I dried last summer, some tamarind, and some salt, and a beautiful, versatile broth was born!

The base of your broth should be made up of garlic, onions, celery and carrots. Mushrooms, if you have them on hand, add a lot of flavour as well. The rest is up to you! Here are a few things that I always include:
  • Prunes - to create rich colour and add subtle sweetness. Thank you Ottolenghi for this suggestion. I never go without it!
  • Tamarind - to add a bit of tanginess. You can adjust the amount to your taste preference (a little goes a long way!)
  • Dill - if I don't have fresh dill on hand, I'll add a generous sprinkling of dill seeds to get a nice burst of earthy flavour. This is reminiscent of the dill-icious matzah ball soups that I ate as a child. 
  • Black pepper & chilli flakes - for a little bit of bite. 
  • Salt - but only at the end! Salt your broth only once it has simmered away for a long time,  so you know it's reached it's maximum flavour potential. This is a great way to avoid over-salting. 

Whole Vegetable Cooking: Healing Vegan Broth
(Basic vegetable soup stock / vegan soup stock)

Ingredients
3 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled & roughly chopped
1 entire bulb of garlic, peeled & roughly chopped or minced
4 stalks celery with the leaves (if available), roughly chopped
3 carrots & greens (if available), roughly chopped
4L water
4 prunes
1 tsp tamarind paste (or more, to taste)
2-3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 bunch fresh tarragon (or 2 tbsp dried)
1/2 cup chopped dill (or 1 tbsp dill seeds)
2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp chilli flakes
salt, to taste

+ any leftover veggies / odds / ends you have laying around!

Method
Heat oil in large pot for about 1 minute. Over medium heat, add onions, sauté until translucent. Add garlic, celery & carrots. Sauté for 5 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften. Add "leftover" veg, if using, and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Add tamarind, prunes, spices and herbs. Cover, and simmer over low heat, 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Use fine mesh sieve to strain soup into clean pot. Taste & add salt as needed. Can be stored up to 2 weeks in refrigerator or 6 months in freezer.