saturday cooking banner
Meet your Daily Maple Syrup Requirements with FudgeAn Illustrated Recipe for Multigrain BunsNothing Says Saturday Morning like Blueberry PancakesFun with Queso FundidoBlueberry SconesA Couple of Sweet Potato Grilling IdeasDecadent Yes, Vegan Also Yes!Homemade Pizza

Latest Posts

Make Excellent Cheddar Biscuits using this One Weird Trick! (And I'm going to Tell You What it is.)

Before I get to the one weird trick for making light, fluffy biscuits, I want to sell you a special report. No, just kidding, you can have the trick for free. More

Filed under: Recipes > Bread

Tags: cheese, cheddar, comfort_food, biscuits, pastries, breakfast

Warm your Bones with Three-Lentil Dal Tadka

Like many large cities, Toronto has special neighbourhoods where specific ethnicities are concentrated to the point that they form the predominant character of those neighbourhoods. Slightly east of downtown, there is a stretch of one of the major east-west roads known to Torontonians as Little India. You know that you're in Little India when you start to smell an intoxicating combination of incense and spices wafting from the storefronts. I've come to associate the aromas of the neighbourhood with the waistband-stretching satisfaction of truly outstanding vegetarian food. After a few visits to Little India as a tourist, a natural curiosity starts to develop. How do they do it? Is there any possible way that I could reproduce these flavours in my kitchen? More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: dal, Indian, lentil, curry, healthy, vegan

Decadent Yes, Vegan Also Yes!

I have a confession to make. Ever since I worked downtown, I've been hooked on the Starbucks fruit and oat cookie. I try to fight it, but in the 15 minutes after lunch, the temptation of a nice stroll outside, a hot coffee and one of these beautiful cookies is just too strong. I knew I would try to make something similar eventually. I also knew I would try to stay away from the usual cookie ingredients. More

Filed under: Recipes > Desserts

Tags: vegan, oatmeal, fruit, coconut, dessert, maple_syrup, raisins

Can we Jazz Up the Vegan Macaroni and Fake Cheese any Further?

That would be a yes -- a big, emphatic "you betcha." In fact, I had been feeling like the earlier vegan macaroni and no-cheese recipe needed something more, something to make it a little more interesting to eat and also something to give it a little more nutritional oomph. Something like baby spinach. I also think sundried tomatoes play nicely with the lemon in the sauce. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: spinach, vegan, macaroni, pasta, comfort_food

Udon Yet?

Cliches are sometimes cliches for good reason. The combination of sesame and ginger in Japanese cooking is so tried-and-true that its absence is more noticeable than its presence. Add some soy sauce, rice vinegar, some form of sweetener, and a little heat, and you've got a delicious cliche. This magical mixture provides the much needed personality for otherwise bland tofu and udon noodles. Crisp carrots and sugarsnap peas make it a well-rounded meal. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: sesame, ginger, udon, japanese, tofu, vegan, carrots, peas, noodles

Warm up with Some Potato Leek Soup

My quest for warmth and comfort in the form of thick soup continues. This time, I'm looking for a creamy-but-vegan potato leek soup. Will I be satisfied? I can't wait to find out. More

Filed under: Recipes > Soups

Tags: vegan, soup, potatoes, leek, comfort_food

New England (No-)Clam Vegan Chowder

The craving for soup, commencing as soon as the temperature starts edging toward the freezing mark, is so universal that it must be coded somewhere in our DNA. This is actually a good time of year for vegans, because soup is one craving that is relatively easy to satisfy. This recipe is a vegan chowder with a pureed cauliflower base, flavoured with nutritional yeast. And it actually tastes good. More

Filed under: Recipes > Soups

Tags: vegan, nutritional_yeast, cauliflower, chowder, soy, soup

The Veggie Burger that Ate Manhattan

I'm not going to lie to you -- making this vegan burger requires a bit of a commitment. It's not something you can whip up between work and dinner time. On the plus side, the recipe makes a 10-12 patties depending on how big you like them, and they freeze well. You can eat half now and freeze the rest for later, which would make your effort now a partial investment toward your future eating. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: tofu, healthy, vegan, flax, lentil, burger, tex-mex

Get your Quinoa and Beans with a Side of Flavour

The internet tells us that quinoa has been around as a basic food staple in parts of South America for three or four thousand years, but has only recently become popular in other parts of the world. And there are plenty of good reasons for its rise in popularity: nutritionally, quinoa is a bit of a rockstar. This recipe combines quinoa with classic Tex-Mex flavours. Technically, it's a side-dish, and you can definitely serve it as a small part of a larger meal, but I find it fills a plate well by itself and always makes a satisfying meal. Part of the reason for that satisfaction is the high protein content for sure, but the emotional comfort of the combination of beans, onions, corn, cumin and cilantro is definitely part of the draw. More

Filed under: Recipes > Side Dishes

Tags: quinoa, beans, healthy, vegan, tex-mex

Vegan Macaroni and (No) Cheese

I don't think it's any kind of exaggeration to call macaroni and cheese the ultimate childhood comfort food. I'm always on the lookout for jazzed up variations that can satisfy my inner seven year old while offering my adult mouth something a little more interesting. In this vegan take on the classic, the no-cheese sauce is based on ground cashews combined with a mix of harmonious flavours and textures that perfectly complement the elbow macaroni. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: vegan, nutritional_yeast, cashews, soy, nuts, comfort_food

Spinach Fatayer Panzerotti

One of my earliest and most delicious memories of the move to Toronto was made one morning riding shotgun in my boss' car. He had grown up in Lebanon, but had been in Toronto long enough to know the hidden treasures of its food establishments -- the places you don't see in tourist guides. We were driving along, talking about the upcoming meeting, when he suddenly made a U-turn, saying something in an excited voice about the fatayer being made fresh on Tuesdays. He was mostly talking to himself because I had no idea what fatayer were. He ducked into a little shop and emerged ten minutes later with a couple dozen little pastry miracles. I was hooked. More

Filed under: Recipes > Light Meals & Snacks

Tags: Lebanese, spinach, panzerotti, fatayer, vegan

Meet your Daily Maple Syrup Requirements with Fudge

Who can say what it is about the holidays that makes us want to bake? I realize there's a practical side to it -- without a pile of baking, those big family dinners would be just a bunch of people sitting awkwardly in a room. And it's important to have something nice in your hands to give Aunt Gwen to say thanks for the ridiculously long day of cooking she just completed. But beyond the practical considerations and family obligations, baking around the holidays imbues us with a kind of internal emotional glow that you don't get from cooking at other times of the year. It probably has to do with deap-seated memories of childhood sugar rushes and laughter around the dining room table. More

Filed under: Recipes > Desserts

Tags: dessert, maple_syrup, comfort_food

Fun with Queso Fundido

I grew up in Windsor, Canada, just across the river from Detroit. When I was a student, one of our favourite destinations in the Motor City was a small strip of Mexican restaurants just on the other side of the border. The flaming cheese (queso flameado) appetizer was always a big reason for making the trip. Rich melted cheese and a spicy sauce served with fresh tortillas has to be pretty close to the very definition of comfort food. More

Filed under: Recipes > Light Meals & Snacks

Tags: cheese, Mexican, comfort_food

The Flavour Explosion that is Tapenade

I think of tapenade in somewhat the same way that I think about pesto. Both are fairly simple to make -- you just combine a bunch of interesting ingredients in a food processor and let them mingle with eachother. Another similarity is the richness of the the flavours, flavours so rich in fact that you might be a little put off by their intensity and unfamiliarity the first time you taste them. Foods that start out being too intense to love often become my favourites with repeated tasting. More

Filed under: Recipes > Light Meals & Snacks

Tags: olives, appetizer

Some Decent Faux Meat with Rice and Fresh Greens

If you've ever tried to find a satisfying non-meat substitute for dishes where you would typically use meat, you know how difficult it can be. The price you usually pay for the herbivorous alternative is a rubbery texture and a bland flavour (with a faint undertone of sawdust). That's why I was so happy to find Oh Naturel Meatless Meatballs, a soy and wheat based fake meat product that actually tastes good. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: rice, vegetarian, kale, vegetables, healthy, soy, vegan

Nothing Says Saturday Morning like Blueberry Pancakes

Picture a Saturday morning in mid-winter. Saturday-morning-type jazz is playing on the radio. The smell of fresh brewed coffee is wafting. A light snow is falling and the kitchen window is pleasantly half-fogged. The realization that you have no commitments today causes you to smile contentedly. Does this scene not scream out for blueberry pancakes? More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes > Breakfast

Tags: pancakes, blueberries, comfort_food, maple_syrup

Stir-Fried Veggies can be the Whole Meal

In his interesting book, Eat to Live, Joel Fuhrman challenges the typical notion of what constitutes a meal. His plan emphasizes nutrient-rich foods like whole fruits and vegetables over the high-calorie, low-nutrient staples of the typical western diet. Here is a simple vegetable stir-fry that does just fine as a meal all by itself, without any extras like rice or noodles. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: stir-fry, vegetables, healthy, vegan

Delicious Pita Bread is not all that Hard to Make

Pita bread always seems to disappear immediately after arriving in the house, probably because there are so many good things to serve with it. Making pita bread at home may seem a poor use of time, but I bet you won't be thinking that when you're looking at a stack of fresh, hot, soft pita goodness. More

Filed under: Recipes > Bread

Tags: pita, bread

Hummus from Scratch

Chickpeas are virtuous and versatile: so many nutritional goodies inside and so many delicious ways to prepare them. Hummus is especially good -- a perfect balance of chickpeas, lemon, garlic and sesame flavours. The downside to working with chickpeas is the advance planning required. I've never been a fan of the flavour or texture of canned garbonzos, and that means that chickpea dishes start with a night of soaking and a few hours in the slow cooker. For me it's totally worth it. More

Filed under: Recipes > Light Meals & Snacks

Tags: hummus, chickpeas, healthy, vegan

A Couple of Sweet Potato Grilling Ideas

Sweet potato is one of the foods that the diet gurus are always trying to get you to eat. You'll hear terms like anti-oxidant, beta carotene and complex carbohydrate. I don't dislike them, but I can't say I've ever come home from work with a sweet potato craving. Since I started making a serious effort to improve my diet, I've been looking for ways to work more of these "good" carbs into my regular menu. More

Filed under: Recipes > Side Dishes

Tags: grill, sweet_potato, vegetables, healthy, vegan

Blueberry Scones

I'm going to confess right off the bat that I've never been much of a dessert maker. My major previous experience includes a couple of mediocre banana breads for potlucks at work and the very occasional batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Scones are one of my favourite coffee accompaniments, especially if there's a little fruit in the mix, so I thought I'd give blueberry scones a shot. More

Filed under: Recipes > Desserts

Tags: dessert, pastries, blueberries

Grilling Portobello Mushrooms

Portobello mushrooms are the steak of the vegetarian world -- they respond very nicely to a BBQ grill, and their juicy flavour and tender texture are extremely steakish. They also get along well with melted cheese... More

Filed under: Recipes > Side Dishes

Tags: mushrooms, grill, healthy, vegan

Yellow Split Pea Dal is Surprisingly Easy to Make

Dal is a thick curried lentil stew. Yellow split pea dal always makes me happy, but especially on cold winter nights. It's also very economical -- you get three or four decent meals for a few pennies worth of split peas and spices. I usually combine it with rice, or if there are leftovers, it's great with toast. More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: dal, Indian, lentil, curry, healthy

Simple (but Delicious) Ordinary White Bread

I guess it's a bit of a guilty pleasure, but I really enjoy plain old white bread fresh from the oven.... Homemade bread really has a bit of an undeserved reputation of being a time waster. The initial work is probably about 30 minutes, and then most of the rest of the work is done by the yeast while you're off doing other things. The sight and smell of freshly made bread on a cooling rack makes the time seem completely irrelevant. More

Filed under: Recipes > Bread

Tags: bread

Homemade Pizza

Sure, you can press a few buttons on your phone and get a box of pizza to your door within a half-hour, but you would be missing out on the aroma that your kitchen would acquire from your own pizza creation getting to a state of delicious, bubbly, crispy goodness in your very own oven. And sure, you can get a precision-manufactured frozen pizza for a few bucks at the grocery store that will leave your belly full, but will it leave your soul content? Don't think so... More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: pizza, comfort_food

Perogies with Potato Cheese Filling

In the vast universe of comfort food, perogies have an entire rich galaxy all to themselves. This delicious area of space, known as the sour-cream-way, is densely populated with subtle variations on a basic theme... More

Filed under: Recipes > Main Dishes

Tags: perogies, comfort_food, cheese

An Illustrated Recipe for Multigrain Buns

Mollie Katzen (of Enchanted Broccoli Forest fame) says that it's difficult to not get wistful when talking about breadmaking. The warm, yeasty smells conjure up memories of home and holidays... More

Filed under: Recipes > Bread

Tags: bread, buns

Making Rice

One of the benefits of living in a big city is easy access to Chinatown. In my case there are two, and one of them is a fifteen-minute walk from my house, through a big park and a quiet neighbourhood. A couple of times each year... More

Filed under: Recipes > Side Dishes

Tags: rice, how-to