I cook better than I write

Sunday, April 03, 2011


Cooking camper is now blogging over at:

Monday, December 01, 2008

PassiFlora magazine

Introducing PassiFlora - an online magazine dedicated to eco-friendly living, vegetarian and vegan food, as well as green arts and crafts. PassiFlora is envisioned as a magazine created for you and by you. If you are interested in submitting material for the next issue (coming out in the beggining of February) please email passifloramag (at) gmail (dot) com We are very excited to hear from you!

And here is one of the recipes featured in the first issue:

Creamy winter soup.

2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut in big cubes
3 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
6-8 cup of vegetable broth
1 can of white beans, rinsed
4 tablespoon minced fresh dill, divided. More for serving
½ teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
½ cup vegan cheese (optional) could be substituted with soy milk and 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast.
2 tablespoon simulated bacon bits (optional) for serving

soup pot

  • In a big soup pot heat oil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add onions, and caramelize until rich copper-brown, mixing to avoid burning.
  • Add celery and parsnips and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add potatoes and 6 cups of broth; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer with a lid on for 10 minutes. Add beans and 2 tablespoons of dill and simmer for another 5-10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  • Add the remaining dill and puree soup in batches in the blender or food processor. The secret to this soup is to blend it thoroughly into smooth creamy mix.
  • Transfer the soup back to the pot, add liquid smoke, and mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust for seasoning and add more broth if desired. Reheat the soup, mix in grated cheese before turning of the heat.
  • Serve decorated with dill springs and sprinkle with simulated bacon bits.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I have been fascinated by the idea of a cold soup for a while, however every time the mercury rises I loose my appetite completely and a mare thought of a soup (cold or hot for that matter) makes me ..... let just say not very happy.

Yesterday was not too hot and after overeating during my trip to Toronto I decided to cook something fast, simple, and light. I browsed several recipe sites to get an idea of what I can put in my gazpacho. I have to admit that I have never had gazpacho before. Probably there are rules and regulations on what you can put and what you can not but I just went with my appetite and taste to make this:


6 medium-size tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
2 small cucumbers (they are sold here as Lebanese). If you don't have small cucumbers use the regular ones
2 garlic cloves
2 purple shallots (I know those are rare to find. Do not hesitate to use either purple onion (1/2 or even 1/4 should be enough) or regular shallots)
1 tsp of ground cumin
1 ripe avocado
3 cups of vegetable juice (I used V8)
1 tsp sherry vinegar (you can use lemon juice instead or even white balsamic vinegar)
5-7 springs of cilantro
Pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper

Peel tomatoes. To do so, make an x-shaped cut on the bottom of each tomato. Put them in a sauce-pan and cover with boiling hot water. Wait for 2-3 minutes. You will notice that the skin next to the cut is peeling off and all you have to do is remove tomatoes (careful not to burn yourself) and peel off the rest of the skin.

Coarsely chop the pepper, cucumbers, onions, and garlic. Combine them with tomatoes in a big soup pot.
Using hand-held blender, blend vegetables until smooth. You can also use a regular blender for this purpose.
Add cumin, vinegar, sugar, cilantro, and avocado. Blend until smooth.
Add V8. I would recommend adding it slowly and mixing throughout to give the soup required consistency. Also try the soup to adjust for seasoning.

Feel free to experiment with different herbs and spices. You might want to check out this website for some unsual Gazpachos, such as Oriental or White Gazpachos.

P.S. The picture of purple shallots comes from the Muffintop blog

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I had an article published by me, but it is the first time someone writes an article about me.

Check out The West Island Chronicle. The article is called: "Have a very vegan day" and is part of the food column by Elyse Amend. Once I'll get rich and famous I would hire Elyse to do all the writing and editing for my blog. I can also show her some other vegan recipes.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Vegan or not

Did you ever come across the ingredient only to pause and think whether it was vegan or not? Doubt no more, here is a website with the list of all possible additives:

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Soup and Salads

Monday was my sister’s belated birthday celebration. I guess, “celebration” is too big of a word for a family gathering of 3 over some soup, salad, and cake, but it felt like a celebration to me, partially because I finally cooked. I did not cook anything for last 2 months. I am not sure why that was happening – my appetite was absent (blame the heat) and those rare moments when I would be hungry I would crave unhealthy junk food.

But Monday was different: Monday I went to the grocery store, picked up a lot of veggies, brought 4 huge grocery bags full of goodies home, and started chopping.

My sister wanted something light and cool for the hot summer evening. After checking out my extensive recipe collection I decided to make salads and soup (my dad loves soup and even if he would not like the Asian flavor of edamame salad he would definitely enjoy my green pea soup).

First on the list was a tried and true veganized recipe of a “Greek Dinner Salad” (do not confuse with The Greek Salad, they are completely different). The recipe comes from a 2005 issue of Eating Well magazine.

Greek Dinner Salad

3 tbsp soy yogurt
3 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint

1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp agave nectar
½ tsp salt

1 medium zucchini, finely diced (2 cups)
1 large bell pepper, finely diced (1 ½ cups)
1 bunch radishes, finely diced (1/2 cup)

1 15-oz can of chickpeas, drained
Boston lettuce leaves for serving

  1. To make the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients until creamy
  2. Toss all the ingredients (apart from lettuce leaves) in a large bowl. Pour over the vegetables, toss gently. Spoon into lettuce leaves for cups and serve.

To counterbalance the sweetness of the Greek dinner salad I prepared the Edamame salad with sesame dressing. This is a slightly modified version of this salad from the Vegetarian Times magazine.

Edamame and Greens with Sesame Dressing

3 tbsp roasted sesame oil
2 tbsp tahini

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce

1 ½ cups edamame

4 cups salad spring mix
1 cucumber, sliced
8-oz baked teriyaki tofu, cubed
1 green onion sliced
toasted sesame seeds

1. To make the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients until creamy.

2. To make salad: cook edamame according to the package instructions (boil for 2-4 minutes). Rinse under cold water to cool. Drain well.

3. Divide spring mix among 4 plates.

4. In a medium bowl combine edamame, greens, cucumber, tofu, and green onions. Pour over 1/4 of the Sesame Dressing and mix well. Scoop the salad on top of the greens and drizzle with the reamaning dressing. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

I could not find any baked seasoned tofu (usually I get Asian flavored one) so I decided to try the mock chicken breasts (I don’t remember the name of the company that makes them – I’ll update this post from home with the brand name andmaybe even a picture). I pan-fried them for couple of minutes, cut it in cubes and added to the salad. All in all the chicken breasts were very good. I would definitely use them again in salads or sandwiches. I also think they would be delicious under gravy or sauces with a side dish of rice/mashed potatoes.

If you are not sure where to find edamame, try any Asian stores. They usually have them in frozen section and they come shelled or not.

This is how both of the salad looked:

Pea and spinach soup with coconut milk was a big hit. My dad enjoyed it so much that he asked me to prepare it again. The original recipe, which comes from one
of the special issues of “Fine Cooking” 2006 calls for fresh peas, I didn’t have any fresh ones so I used frozen but the result was great. One great thing about crème soups is that you don’t have to care about sizes of cut vegetables.

Pea and Spinach Soup with Coconut Milk

2 large leeks, white parts and pale green, quartered and sliced (try using spring onions if you don't have leeks)
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp basmati rice (use quick cooking rice if you want to speed up the cooking process)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp curry powder

2 tbsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups of peas
4 cups coarsely chopped spinach, any thick stems removed
1 cup coconut milk

1. In a soup pot, heat up oil and stir in rice. Add leeks, salt, curry powder, cilantro, and 1 cup of the stock

2. Cook over medium-low heat at a vigorous simmer for about 12 minutes (if you are suing quick-cooking rice, cook for 3-4 minutes).

3. Add the remaining 3 cups of broth, the peas, and the spinach and bring to boil.

4. Boil for about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir I coconut milk.

5. In a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches until smooth. Taste for salt, season with pepper and garnish with cilantro leaves.

If you prefer a soup with more texture, puree 1 cup and return it to the pot, season, garnish, and serve.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Oprah + Vegan

I was going through some of the Vegan blogs and found this in Megan the Vegan blog.

Apparently Oprah is trying the 21-day vegan cleansing. She even has a blog about it with some recipes. Let see what it will lead to!