February 27, 2010

Did you know that most traditional tapenade has anchovies in it? I naively bought some tapenade in one of my favourite stores and promptly wolfed it down on really nice home-made crostini (that my hubbie made out of stale baguette but that’s another story and another recipe!). I decided I really like tapenade. So the next time I had a craving I decided to make it. I had olives. I had salt. What else could you need? Well, after going through 5 or 6 recipe books I soon realized that you need anchovies! Of course, you don’t need anchovies. It’s just that, as I said, most traditional tapenade has anchovies in it. So I modified the recipe and now I love it even more!

The other thing I should say here is that 2 of the things I found particularly  difficult about going vegan were breakfast and snacks. Breakfast was often milk-based, as it is for many of us with few apparent alternatives. And snacks were usually really cheesy because cheese is so good and so easy to grab on the go, or nibble on before dinner, or stick on a piece of toast (one of my childhood favourites). I’ll tell you about my breakfast routine later. As for snacks, I’ve discovered the joys of things like hummous and tapenade and other vegan delights.

Here’s the recipe which I’ve doubled for you since it’s too good and too convenient to make just one batch.

Tapenade (modified from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters)

1 cup black olives (get really good quality ones like Silver Leaf Kalamata Pitted in extra virgin olive oil)

2 tbsps capers, rinsed and drained

2 garlic cloves (or more depending on your tolerance for garlic)

2 or 3 springs of thyme, leaves only

1 tsp brandy

1/3 cup olive oil

Salt to taste

Throw it all into a food processor and blend until you get the consistency you like. Let it sit at room temperature for awhile so the flavours meld. Spread it on really yummy homemade crostini and snack away.


I owe thanks to my  sister Mary for this recipe. She used it at Christmas. She doubled the recipe – one batch to stick on some pork for the meat-lovers in the family and one batch to put on some tofu. The tofu was fabulous. I can’t comment on the pork but I hear it was equally good. I think she got the recipe from Canadian Living. It’s super simple and very good. And the kids love it.

4 cloves garlic

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp paprika

2 tsp cumin and coriander

1 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp cinnamon


Marinade. Saute in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat.

Potato Leek Soup

January 30, 2010

I just made this soup on Sunday – a merger between two potato leek soup recipes. It was really yummy and great for a cold winter’s night!! And the non-vegan boys in the house love it with crumbled bacon on top.

10 medium leeks

olive oil

salt and pepper

8 cups veggie stock

1 stalk celery

a few sprigs of thyme

1 bay leaf

1 small bunch rosemary

2 cloves garlic

1 pd yellow potatoes

white wine vinegar

a few sprigs parsley

Clean leeks. Cut in half lengthwise and slice thinly. Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Add leeks and cook until just tender – they should still be slightly crunchy and bright green. Salt to taste. Add veggie stock along with minced garlic and a bouquet garni made of thyme, celery, bay leaf, rosemary, salt and pepper. Add potatoes, cut into small cubes. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Cook until veggies are tender but not falling apart. Season to taste with about 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar and more salt if necessary. Serve hot garnished with a little chopped parsley and a few grinds of the peppermill, and if you wish, with grilled or toasted slices of bread.

(or for the meat eaters in our family I crumble some well-done bacon on top.)