The No Cook No Bake Cookbook: Tofu Carpese Stacks and Fig Chia Jam

Its a scorching hot and humid summer heatwave, the 7th day in a row, and you just spent your day traveling to and from work in an hot steamy airless packed subway and bus.  There is a respite for a few hours at work, thankfully there is AC there. When you do get home you strip and plop yourself on the couch with your fan on High aimed right at you because you only have AC in the bedroom. After 30 minutes of ‘chillin’ a horrible thought comes to mind: there is NO WAY I am cooking dinner but what am I going to eat? Panic stricken, you remember to reach for the new practical book you just got: The No Cook No Bake Cookbook!

Tofu Carpese Stacks

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Coconut Lime Tofu Pudding Verrines

The Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge which is all about baking and making sweets. Every month we are given two required ingredients to work with. This month it is Lime and Coconut. So summery and tropical! With the amazing and unusual summer temperatures we have had I wanted something light and healthy so I went with a modified version of my tofu pudding recipe.

Coconut Lime Tofu Pudding Verrines

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Guilt Free Chocolate Pudding, Mortimer Winners and Film Marathon Recap

I have the two winning names in hand for the big 75$ cool kitchen gift baskets  winners! The numbers from the eligible entries were picked randomly by the store’s owners daughters: they chose numbers 40 and 60. I hope you enjoy your prizes.

Congratulations Tasty Trix and Rituparna

If you ladies want to celebrate with a great guilt free dessert let me suggest the following recipe: a healthy chocolate pudding. It is so simple, I know the recipe by heart and so do not remember the source except that it was from a vegetarian cookbook. So yes this recipe is vegetarian and dairy free. The base of the pudding is silken tofu. Unless you are an ultra fussy eater you will not even taste the tofu plus the texture will delightful.

Ξ Guilt Free Chocolate Pudding Ξ

  • 1 block of silken tofu (300 gr)
  • 1/4 cocoa powder
  • 1/4 sugar
  • 1 ground cardamom pod (other substitutes 1/4 tsp cinnamon, a pinch of cayenne, etc)

Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Spoon into 3 dessert dishes and refrigerate at least an hour before serving.  Makes 3 servings.

I’ve tried to skip the blending part once and just mix by hand….not the same and lumpy, do blend it for top results.

 

Each serving is a mere 128 calories, 4 gr of fat, 21 gr of carbs and 7 gr of protein.

And let me tell you I will really need a guilt free dessert after I finish all the leftovers in the fridge, especially the pies, from the CEE Food Film Marathon I hosted the Saturday at my place.

It was declared a success by all that attended and lots of non perishable food was donated plus I raised a bit of money from the raffle too.

The prizes were set

The screen was set

And there were a many guests brewing in the kitchen.

The lights were off for the presentations

The table was set, so much food this is a fraction of what was there

The people were hungry between films – small mob attacking pot-luck table

One more big thank you to my sponsors: My Cookbook AddictionNDG Food Depot and Pierre Black. I can’t wait to host the 2nd one next year. I definitely learned a lot and some thing will change but I definitely see this becoming a yearly event. Will you come next year?

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Got a simple recipe up your sleeve? Enter it and thousands of people could be cooking your recipe from a special cookbook that will be in youth hostel kitchens all over the world. To submit a recipe check out how to enter.

My Watermelon, my Melon Baller and I

My regular readers know how much I enjoy a food challenge. From friendly recipe challenges to figuring out what is the name of that exotic vegetable I bought at some ethnic grocery store with the illegible (to me) item sign, I have fun pushing my kitchen limits. So when I was asked to participate in a watermelon carving contest how could I resist!

Only problem is I have never carved a watermelon before. I must have a good 15 to 25 pumpkin carvings under my belt since my parents let me hold a knife, but a watermelon carving, this is a first. And the design must be original. OK time to roll-up the sleeves.

The National Watermelon Promotion Board was kind enough to supply a set of paring knives, a double ended melon baller (one round scoop and one v-shaped cutting tool) and a small watermelon. Thankfully we could get a different  watermelon then the one provided as it was too short for what I had in mind.

I had sorbet on my mind, yep watermelon sorbet. Ever since I saw Emily Maloy’s post for a watermelon sorbet recipe I have been salivating for a cold spoonful of this sorbet. Now all I had to do was come up with a way to combine a carving and sorbet. Finally I had a vision for my submission for the Watermelon Blogger Carving Challenge. How about building an art deco inspired stage showcasing the watermelon sorbet? I can almost hear Bessie Smith sing.

Yes, the Halloween pumpkin tradition was too strong, I had to incorporate a candle in there. Unlike a pumpkin though, watermelon gives off a gorgeous neon pink glow. What a great way to show case Cheap Ethnic Eatz, or CEE. I really liked my watermelon carving experience. Perhaps you think my Watermelon Sorbet Stage was a difficult and time consuming exercise but it was actually quite simple, as long as you mentally picture the architecture of your design.  Let me walk you though the steps…

With the watermelon standing make a horizontal cut halfway up, then cut out your piece by making your vertical cut a bit further to the back then half way.

With the v-shaped cutting tool I cut out an accordion pattern which would represent my stages background, very art deco and linear. Oh and I LOVE this tool, so easy to cut.

Next I drew my letters CEE with a marker and cut them out. My first cuts where at an inward 45 degree angle so they could pop out easily. Then I cut my lines clean. I turned my watermelon around and I cut out the place where my candle would be. I fleshed out the interior with the scoop melon baller carefully to have a thin flesh layer remaining where my letters were. I adore the pink color it gives off.

Finally I added a bit of decoration with the paring knives by cutting out 2 hearts on each side and cutting a thin line below the stage to give a floating floor effect. That is it. See! It was not that difficult.

And now I have all this beautiful watermelon flesh left over for the sorbet. But before make a few pretty watermelon balls with the scoop tool.

Ξ Watermelon and Basil Sorbet Ξ
adapted from Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

Ingredients:

4 cups pureed watermelon
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 tsp fresh basil

Directions:

1. Puree watermelon with basil.
2. Boil 1 cup of the pureed watermelon with the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes, making a syrup, and allow it to cool completely.
3. Add to remaining pureed watermelon and and process for 25 minutes in an ice cream machine.
4. Freeze for 3 hours or up to overnight.

Place some sorbet balls on the stage, add a few melon balls and a couple of basil sprigs.

And the final touch: light the candle and dim the lights! A natural electric pink neon light!

A few watermelon health facts:

  • Watermelon has 92 per cent water content and is an excellent hydrator. So take some with you on your hike.
  • Watermelon is low in fat and cholesterol-free.
  • Watermelon is an excellent source of an important amino acid, citrulline. The human body uses citrulline to make another important amino acid – arginine – which plays a key role in cell division, wound healing and the removal of ammonia.
  • Watermelon contains high levels of the antioxidant lycopene – a 2 cup serving of watermelon contains 18.16 mg.
  • Watermelon is low in sodium and a source of potassium.
  • Watermelon is a good source of the following (per 250 mL or one-cup serving):
    • Vitamin C
    • Thiamine (vitamin B1)
    • Vitamin B6
    • Vitamin A

Thank you to The National Watermelon Promotion Board for hosting this great challenge and introducing me to the fun art of watermelon carving.

A Fruit Mousse your Hips Will Love plus misc food stuff

This is just a quicky weird post for you today.

I am blessed with many friendships from food bloggers around the word but I am even more blessed to know so many from real life right in my city. A few have become very good friends, even if we do not see each other to regularly. Today I will share my version of a dessert my dear friend Claudia posted on her blog Foodessa.

Please go to her site and check out her complete recipe and how to make this treat…of course I adapted it to my taste. Hers is more heavy on the fruit while mine is heavy on light fluffiness. Both make great sorbets IF you have leftovers.

Just so you know my adaptations I used 1/3 of her fruit quantity…the rest I kept the same. I tried it with blueberries. Is was so succulent and perfectly glossy. I got 4 servings out of it and trust me you won’t feel guilty eating this mousse all summer long. Go check out her recipe now and WHIP IT real good…after reading the rest of this post of course.

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I have accumulated a few random pictures that I want to show you. They are more like quick blurbs with a pic or two. Here we go:

Blurb no. 1

Breakfast at the Burgundy Lion Pub includes many British classic I have never heard of, like the Bubble n’ Squeak ??? I had to go for it. So apparently this is ‘the leftovers’ breaky of steak, eggs, and a mash-up of potatoes and cabbage and I chose crumpets to go along with it. Love the concept and all was delicious except for the hard roasted potatoes.

Blurb no. 2

Remember when I had a huge water damage problem in my apartment in May 2010 and then AGAIN in November 2011 which at least finally lead to the demolition and installation of a new kitchen (2 weeks without a kitchen)….to the taste and like of the landlord of course. Well I never did that post about the process but you deserve a before and after pic. I am very happy to say the least with the new kitchen. As you can see it is a tiny lab kitchen yet very functional and now feels a bit bigger.

Out with the fugly Old

In with the new, the walls are now a pastel sunny sky blue

Blurb no. 3

Camellia Sinensis in the Quartier Latin. Wonderful large selecting with top teas from around the world and many little treats to accompany your tea perfectly, such as this Matcha Cheesecake. Really sublime and a calm place. Just go!

Blurb no. 4

Indulge me in 1 cat story from my 2 cats. Most of you loved seeing Mickey sniff out the Terrine. Well 2 days later I saw for the first time, in the 4 years I own him, his hunter instinct…when he saw a pigeon on the balcony. Pigeons don’t come often so this was a unique moment. I was afraid he may jump the 18 floors down if he went for it when the pigeon flew away.

cat foodie turned into a hunter

Chocolate Matcha Cupcakes

Happy Easter and Happy Chocolate Day

I am not one to join the bandwagon of crazy popular food recipes sometimes. And that would explain why this is my first ever attempt at cupcakes. Got nothing against them, cute cakes in a muffin cups. Just did not bother making any. Until this week  as I had to bring a small dessert for 2 at a friend’s place for dinner. It seemed like the perfect thing to bring.

I also had no more milk and not much butter left so I had searched for a recipe that omitted these ingredients. Well surprisingly I found one quick enough and it is actually a vegan cupcake recipe. No eggs, no milk, no butter. And yes they are awesome and moist. The secret! The chemical interaction between the baking soda and vinegar which bubbles up and creates air pockets. Brilliant!

Chocolate Matcha Cupcakes

Chocolate Matcha Cupcakes adapted from Diana Rattray

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons matcha powder
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • your favorite white icing recipe
  • 2 teaspoons matcha powder
  • green food coloring

I made half the recipe for 6 cupcakes

Preparation:

1. Grease a muffin pan or line with cupcake papers. Heat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Combine all wet ingredients in a small bowl.

3. Mix in the wet ingredients to the dry ones and beat on medium speed of an electric mixer until smooth and well blended.

4. Fill the prepared cupcake cups about half full. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden pick comes out clean when inserted into the center of a cupcake.

5. Mix your icing with the matcha powder and green food coloring. Ice, decorate and serve. Makes 12 cupcakes

By the way the matcha flavor is quite subtle but it works with the overall taste. And no need to be fancy with the icing. I had leftover store bought icing from the Cake Pops challenge so just used that.

Best Thai Curry Tofu EVER for Fait Ici

I have done a lot of curries in my life. Some were good and some were misses. I kept trying new ones now and again. And then I fell on a recipe I changed so much it barely resembles what it was in the first place. So I can calling it my own. This is the Best Thai Curry Tofu EVER recipe. I first did it for Raquel on her birthday dinner, remember the one where I did a cute cartoon Rat Cake? We were both in awe of this curry. Seriously, it is that good and carnivores will not feel depraved.

So when I was invited to very special foodie potluck blog launch party (say that 3 times fast) I knew this was the dish I wanted to contribute to the magnificent spread there would be. This summer I made 2 new friends, Lindsay and Jackson. They are the owner of a very special store called FAIT ICI, an eco-conscious general store. I got to interview them in the store 2 days before opening. The place was a construction zone and the anxiety was palpable yet they took a good 90 min to chat with me. They really have made a point of getting in touch with the people and with the foodie community.

This camaraderie paid off when they contacted some of us foodies about a great project they had in mind: the ici et here blog project. The concept is simple and brilliant: ici et here is a group blog with a fixed lifespan of 52 weeks where 52 posts will be published by 52 different people in both French and English. This blog endeavors to document the interplay of food and life in Montreal. The launch party coincided with the first published post and all the people involved were invited. Yes, yours truly will be one of the 52 authors. I’ll keep you posted when mine is up!

Best Thai Curry Tofu Ever

Ingredients

1 tablespoon oil
12 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 bell peppers (red, yellow, orange best), cut into nice chunks
2 zucchinis, sliced thick
10 ounce can coconut milk
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon, fresh or frozen lemongrass (1 teaspoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander

Directions

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu cubes, salt and fry until golden on all sides, stirring occasionally. Set aside in a bowl.

2. Melt butter or margarine in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook and stir until translucent. Add bell peppers and zucchini; cook and stir 5 minutes.

3. Stir in coconut milk, curry powder, lemongrass, salt, pepper and coriander.

4. Return the tofu to the skillet.

5. Simmer over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened up a lot.

Serve on udon noodles, basmati or jasmine rice.