Glassroots Visit

Mr. Spoon and I were visiting London, Ontario to attend our friends’ grand opening of their new lifestyle boutique on Dundas Street called Love Alchemy. We had a wonderful weekend and during our time in London we knew we had to visit Glassroots again for lunch!

We warmed up from the cold walk over with some hot mulled wine. Yum! Made us feel so cozy. (Drinking gløgg and feeling hygge is so trendy right now )

We decided to split a mammoth sized Everything Platter. Sooooo good. Holy smokes, people. You gotta go try this place if you haven’t already! As soon as the table next to us saw this come out of the kitchen they immediately stopped the server to ask if they can have what we’re having! And I can’t blame them!


Check this spread: (Clockwise from 12) House-made toasts, pickled beets and red onions, pickled carrot slices, we weren’t sure what the white one was (cauliflower spread? garlic? pate? sauerkraut? dunno but it was good), more toasts, candied orange and apple slices, Nuts for Cheese Super “Blue”, Un-Brie-Lievable and Chipotle “Cheddar” Wedge, olives, Field Roast sausage, pickled celery.

The pickled celery was soo tasty. What a great idea, I had never tried pickled celery before, but I love pickles and I love celery so I loved pickled celeries! So crisp and refreshing.

We scarfed this board down so fast! Even though we were pretty full after sharing a Large platter between the two of us, we wanted to try a few more things so we both ordered an entree as well. If we weren’t so dead set on having a cheese and charcuterie platter we could’ve opted to get a couple lunch combos which were a great deal. (I would say maybe next time, but I’d be lying… cause we love snacking on cheese, pickles, toasts and veggie sausages )

I ordered the Breaded Eggplant Sandwich on herbed focaccia. Heavenly. Perfect. Couldn’t be any tastier. I could only fit half the sandwich in my stomach so I brought the other half back to our hotel to have for breakfast the next day. So worth it.

Yesss yes look at that tasty crispy yet soft breaded eggplant, marinara sauce, melted mozzarella and fresh lettuce.

Mr. Spoon got the Chili Cheese Burrito. I tried a bite and it was really good! Nice smoky, cheesy flavour.

The menu at this place changes every single week – so if you wanted to eat what we had it’s already too late! But trust me that you CANNOT GO WRONG here with any choice you make. EVERYTHING is good. In fact, put yourself in the chef’s hands and order the tasting menu. Trust.


Great beverage menu! How did we ever pick what to drink? I could’ve gone for anything… White wine, Almost Famous Caesar, The Dude Abides, Booch Cocktail.. They all sound good!

So much vegan wine! And the only All-Canadian wine list in the city. That’s really cool.

Afterwards we headed to the Tea Haus to split a pot of Silver Needle (2 Doves) white tea at Covent Garden Market. It was very light with a hint of lemon aftertaste. Great tea. I’ve been getting pretty interested in teas lately and picked up a whole ton of samples from the Toronto Tea Festival last month – sheng and shu pu’ers, oolongs, white, black, green – you name it, I sampled it! Let me know if you guys are interested in high quality loose leaf teas, too and maybe I’ll eventually post about a few of my favourites.

BlendTec Blender

Mr. Spoon and I have been squirreling away $50 a month each for the past year or so and finally had enough in our savings account to buy the blender of our dreams!!

I was getting sick of blending lumpy smoothies with our tired old $30 Wal-Mart Oster blender that pre-dates our relationship. If you’re going to blend something every day and you have any desire to make your own almond milk or nut butters, you need to get a real blender. A grown up blender. A blender with the POWER to blend your vegetable-based cashew cheese sauce into velvety soft liquid and not lumpy mush.

Just so you know I was NOT paid by BlendTec, we bought the blender full price with our own money and have no affiliation with them. There are no affiliate links here. Just my honest thoughts.

This is what I’m talking about:

It took only a few days after purchasing a refurbished BlendTec Designer 725 online for it to arrive. Opening it was like having Christmas all over again! Better believe my eyes were wide little saucers and I was breathing heavily throughout. Pretty exciting stuff, especially after waiting for sooo long to save up for it.

Buh-bye! No need for this guy anymore. See ya!

I’d rather have this saucy minx in my kitchen!

Green Smoothie | thelittleredspoon.com

You obviously know I got to work RIGHT away and blended a green smoothie to break this baby in. Ohhhh yeah. No stopping to stir. No chunks. Just a super smooth, creamy green smoothie that went right down the hatch. You don’t even know how pumped I am to make copycat Booster Juice and Orange Julius recipes at home. Not to mention uh… literally EVERYTHING else I could make…

This thing makes EVERYTHING folks. Throw in RAW vegetables and blend on the soup cycle and you can have hot COOKED soup out of your blender!

After the blender arrived Mr. Spoon and I headed to the best Bulk Barn in the city (we prefer to go to John Vince Foods but it is far away from us and sometimes we are lazy) to stock up on nuts, nuts and MORE NUTS. Almonds, macadamias, cashews, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pepitas, coconut chips, nutritional yeast, what DIDN’T we get? Oh man that was a trip and a half. I think I’m still riding that high because I have so much delicious granola left over and I can sprinkle that all over the heckin’ tasty smoothie bowls I’ve been obsessed with.

Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie Bowl | thelittleredspoon.com
Like check this out! An “Oatmeal Cookie” smoothie bowl topped with “Super Seed Granola” from the Oh She Glows Every Day cook book and dark chocolate-covered quinoa. (I’ll post more on the cook book later but suffice to say it’s frickin awesome!)

YEAH. BE JELLY.

BlendTec Interface | thelittleredspoon.com
I really like the BlendTec touchscreen interface with the different pre-programmed settings.
You can learn more about this on Youtube or the BlendTec website, but basically from left to right you can choose Smoothie, Dips/Sauces, Frozen Treats, Whole Juice (this is similar to smoothie but more for stuff with fiber and peels left on), Hot Soup and Clean.

You can also just pulse it at whatever strength you want for as long as you want, you don’t have to use a setting. You can also see in the top left corner it will tell you how many times you’ve used the blender. I really like that feature because when you get to certain milestones it will give you a “trophy” and a code which you can enter into the BlendTec website after you register your blender. So far the first two codes I’ve gotten were for downloadable recipe books, but I’ve heard the more you blend, you could get a coupon code for a discount on the website for like, blender accessories if you want them. That’s kinda cool.

25 Blends Trophy | thelittleredspoon.com

Plus it’s just cute having a blender that talks to you and gives you little messages. It will say hi and bye with a little message every time you turn it on and off. It’s like a tamagotchi blender. It’s very cute and I was definitely swayed by the cuteness here. No shame. I probably would’ve preferred the white base over the stainless steel too, but we went for a refurbished model and there were only stainless available. Ah well. Worth it because we saved about $130 which was enough to buy a Twister jar as well (which we did).

I know some people are die-hard Vitamix lovers and I think that’s great! I think Vitamix is great too. In fact the base is probably a little more stable and I’m sure the tamper is helpful for some things.

What sold me personally on the BlendTec was literally just that I thought it was an equally good blender (the damn thing can blend a rake so I’m pretty sure it can handle whatever else I throw at it), but that it was a little bit cuter and that the blades would be easier to clean.

The blade on the BlendTec is a blunt flat blade that’s easier to clean and not poke yourself on anything sharp. As far as I know the blades on the Vitamix are in more of a star shape and have some parts that go up and some down. Ever so slightly more tricky to wash but barely a real problem. Also the BlendTec jars can go in the dishwasher which I wouldn’t do every time but probably will do once in a while for a good thorough wash.

Over all we are really happy with it and I’ll definitely be posting more blender recipes in the future.
Here’s a list of things I’ve already blended so far:

  • smoothies errrry day (green, oatmeal-based, fruity… all kinds)
  • hummus
  • almond butter
  • potato celery soup
  • banana “ice cream”

Here’s what’s on my to-blend list:

  • almond milk (actually all kinds of nut milks)
  • steamed nut milk (literally blend the milk until it’s hot and frothy like for cappuccinos. IN YER BLENDER) and blender hot chocolate
  • frappe/frappuccinos
  • cashew butter
  • savoury smoothies/v8 mix
  • crush ice
  • frozen cocktails

Now if only I could actually pour drinks into my Krusty Shake purse and carry them around with me..

I’ll probably stick with the adorable BMO cup my sister got me last Christmas though.

BMO Cup | thelittleredspoon.com

Doritos Tofu

Doritos Tofu Close Up | thelittleredspoon.com

Yes, people. YES. These are vegan. Tofu bites breaded with Sweet Chili Heat Doritos. And yes. It tastes as amazing as you think it does.

Doritos Tofu Mise en Place | thelittleredspoon.com

You just need a bag of Sweet Chili Heat Doritos – these are the only kind of vegan Doritos. Just as orange as the other flavours, but none of the cheese cultures, buttermilk solids, whey protein concentrate, lactose, lactic acid, nonfat milk solids, or whey protein isolate that’s in regular (Nacho Cheese flavour) Doritos.

Okay, they still contain vegetable oil which MAY potentially contain palm oil which is awful for the rainforests and stuff, so you’re not exactly an angel for making these but still. No cows were enslaved, raped, torn away from their babies or killed for the making of this dish.

Along with your Doritos, gather some tofu (1pkg firm or extra-firm), flour (1/2 cup), corn starch (1 Tbsp), and soy or nut milk (1/2 cup).

Doritos in Food Processor | thelittleredspoon.com

Zip those doritos in your food processor for a few seconds until they are the consistency of panko breadcrumbs. I used maybe 2/3 of a full-size bag here. (The rest may have been eaten as full-sized chips…)

Doritos Dust | thelittleredspoon.com

Dat Dorito dust….

Get your breading station ready. Flour in the first bowl, mix the corn starch and “milk” together in another bowl, and have your Dorito crumbs ready in a third bowl. I chopped my tofu into different sized shapes to see what would produce the best taste. I tried long thin “steaks,” medium sized cubes and small cubes. It turns out all of them were good.

Breading Station Set Up | thelittleredspoon.com

A great tip for breading is to use one hand for wet dipping and one hand for dry dipping and DO NOT mix hands or you will be basically breading your fingers as you go.

I used my right (dominant) hand to drag the tofu through the dry ingredients, and my left hand to dip them into the wet ingredients.

Tofu in Flour | thelittleredspoon.com
Since the tofu was kinda wet even after I pressed it for 20 minutes wrapped in a towel, I used my wet (left) hand to pick up the pieces and drop them in the flour. Then I used my dry (right) hand to drag them around in the flour and drop them into the “milk” mixture.

Tofu in Milk | thelittleredspoon.com

Using my wet (left) hand I made sure the tofu got nice and soaked on all sides, then picked it up, let it drip for a second and put it into the Dorito crumbs.

Tofu in Dorito Crumbs | thelittleredspoon.com

I roll the tofu pieces around with my dry (right) hand. Cover the piece with Doritos all over and press down a little bit to smoosh all those tasty crumbs on.

Press Tofu Into Dorito Crumbs | thelittleredspoon.com

Patting the piece down so all the crumbs are nice and adhered.

Doritos Tofu Going Into Oven | thelittleredspoon.com

These pieces are ready to go into a 400F oven to cook for around 20-35 minutes. My oven gets extremely hot very quickly so it takes about 20 minutes for me. I flipped them halfway through.

Doritos Tofu Served | thelittleredspoon.com

And don’t forget your green veggies… Just because you’re eating Doritos for dinner doesn’t mean you should be a TOTAL slob. (Although I wouldn’t tell anyone…)

Doritos Tofu
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4 portions
 
Ingredients
  • 1 bag Sweet Chili Heat Doritos
  • 1 Package firm or extra-firm tofu
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • ½ cup non-dairy milk (I use coconut)
Instructions
  1. Press tofu for 20 minutes to release water. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. While tofu is pressing, place Doritos in food processor and pulse for a few seconds until you have panko-sized crumbs.
  3. Slice tofu into desired pieces. Thin slices (one block = 8 lengthwise slices) are the easiest, but tiny cubes will provide the best crunchy Doritos-to-tofu ratio.
  4. Mix corn starch and nondairy milk into a bowl. Prepare breading station with a 3 bowls - one for flour, one for milk mixture, one for Doritos crumbs.
  5. Using a separate hand for dry and wet ingredients, drag tofu first through the flour, then dip into milk mixture and finally press into Doritos crumbs.
  6. Place tofu pieces onto parchment-lined baking sheet.
  7. Bake 400F oven for 20-35 minutes. Flip halfway for even cooking.
  8. Serve with a tasty BBQ sauce. Trust me.

Recipe is based off of Bake and Destroy‘s post about Doritos Tofu.

If you have lots of leftover breading and some of your tofu pieces look a little sad, you could try breading them twice. I did that with a few pieces and they were EXTRA Doritos-y and really crunchy and tasty. They came out well and I would recommend doing some normally and some double-breaded to see what you like. Once they’re coated normally, just dip them in the flour again, then the milk, then the Doritos the exact same way.

I also tried frying some of the tofu pieces in coconut oil instead of baking in the oven. I found that cooking them in the oven was a little easier and produced more even results, but frying them was much faster. If you’re short on time or really starving then you could definitely fry them in a few tablespoons of coconut oil in a nonstick pan. Just make sure not to take your eyes off them or they could burn easily.

Doritos Tofu Dipped in BBQ Sauce | thelittleredspoon.com

The tofu went really well with some caramelized onion chipotle BBQ sauce I had in the fridge.

Doritos Tofu Leftovers | thelittleredspoon.com

And you know I need my leftovers for a work-lunch the next day.

What do you think of this fantastic Doritos-tofu recipe? Let me know in the comments if you’d consider having Doritos for dinner some time. I mean let’s be honest, the tofu is basically a chip-to-mouth delivery system in this recipe but at least you’re getting a bit of calcium, iron and protein with your Doritos.

And trust me this is a recipe any picky-eater, kid or non-vegan would also love. Try it out and let me know how it goes.

Birthday Food

This year my wonderful adoring boyfriend made sure I had the best birthday ever so after spending the morning getting a relaxing and heavenly couple’s massage, our bodies were ready to eat a mountain of vegan food and make googly eyes at each other for the rest of the day.

Tbh these aren’t my best photos but I still wanted to share a few quick snapshots and remember this day forever so here we go:

Mr. Spoon brought me to Ramen Isshin for some vegan ramen for lunch! After the life-changingly good ramen we had in San Fran, we wanted to see if we could recreate that magic here in T.O.

So he told me to order whatever ramen I thought looked the most delicious, AND whatever ramen I thought looked the second most delicious and make both of them vegan and he would eat whichever one I liked less, so I could try TWO ramens and eat my favourite one! That’s real love, people!!!!

I ordered the Shoyu ramen for myself with egg-free vegan noodles and we both added corn and bean sprouts.

Vegetarian Shoyu Ramen – Isshin Shoyu nori, bamboo shoots, sauteed shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms. wood ear mushrooms, green onions & thin wavy noodles

For Mr. Spoon I ordered the Red Miso ramen.

Vegetarian Red Miso Ramen – Isshin Red Miso blend, bamboo shoots, wok fried ground tofu, green onions, wood ear mushrooms & thick twisty noodles

His was a little spicier and had less mushrooms. We both agreed more mushrooms = better in most cases. But luckily it turned out that we each preferred our own ramen over the other’s so I was happy about that.

Also the service was FANTASTIC here, everyone was SUPER nice and polite and we felt really welcomed. I definitely want to come back!

Overall I wouldn’t say it beat the ramen we had in San Francisco’s Japantown but it was still a darn amazing lunch! I was so surprised when Mr. Spoon told me we would get the spend the WHOLE ENTIRE DAY just being together as the two of us and that we were going to share a bunch of tasty vegan food and do a bunch of fun things together that he’d planned out weeks ago I couldn’t ask for a better present!

After lunch we visited the ROM to see the wildlife photography exhibit and went home for a little break until we were hungry again for dinner. Mr. Spoon had made a reservation at Planta, chef David Lee’s new fancy vegan restaurant in Yorkville! So funny because literally just days before this I was mentioning how I wanted to go, but he ALREADY KNEW and had booked a table like a month ago!

To start we shared some kimchi-stuffed dumplings that were served with hot sesame oil. These were sooooo good. They came out super crispy and piping hot. I could’ve eaten way more of these little guys, they were super addictive and had a great savoury flavour.

Next up we (okay, I) wanted to split the veggie burger. I read a rave review about how great the burger here is, how the chef flew down to NYC to try the Impossible Burger and decided to perfect his own recipe to give it a great taste and even better texture. I know every vegetarian and vegan has probably had a lackluster, disappointing veggie burger in their life from some non-vegan restaurant where it’s their only option. This is not that. This is an amazing veggie burger that every other crappy veggie burger aspires to be like. It DID have a great texture, was loaded with the perfect toppings and there was even “mushroom bacon” on top, which okay, to me and Mr. Spoon, really tasted more like smoked mushrooms which we LIKE, but not much like bacon (which I’m fine without anyway).


The lighting was pretty low in this place and I was ready to get eating so like I said, not my greatest photos of all time but I hope you can at least get an idea of how tasty and meaty this thing looked. And that’s not even getting started on the FRIES, people….. They were fan-freaking-tastic! I originally had meant to ask to substitute the “spiced fries” that come with the burger for some truffle fries (because… birthday… treat yo self, right?) but I’m glad that I forgot to ask because the spiced fries were CRAZY good! They were gone at the speed of light, I’m telling you. Plus that means we get to come back some time soon and try the truffle fries on another occasion so, win-win.

Mr. Spoon definitely agreed the veggie burger was a hit! And of course, he liked the fries as much as I did, too. I’m so glad I ordered the burger and I will definitely be wanting to eat it again (although I wanted to try all kinds of other things on the menu too! too many tough decisions!)

I also thought we should split an order of the truffle macaroni and “cheese”. It’s hard to go wrong with truffles, right? Right.

I mean, okay, so this macaroni won’t really be going down in the memory banks for all time (it was nowhere near as good as the burger) but it wasn’t bad either. If anything I think it needed a bit more salt (I say this as a salt addict) which was nowhere to be found on the table. The cheese sauce I thought was kind of.. only okay. A little grainy in texture and maybe not as rich and fatty as I was expecting. And as far as I could tell the truffle-ness wasn’t super infused into the sauce, it was just kind of sprinkled on top so getting a bite of truffle was good but it didn’t overpower me with the truffle-y goodness which is usually what I go for.

Overall it didn’t blow me away but don’t worry, none of it went to waste. Down the hatch and onto dessert!

Since we had a bottle of prosecco with our dinner the server asked us what we were celebrating. When she found out it was my birthday they brought this cute little candle in my dessert. How sweet.

This was the “Chocolate Terrarium” with all kinds of good stuff in there. I can’t even remember what it was, I think like bits of sponge toffee, pomegranate, raspberry and maybe two kinds of chocolate. Like a fancy mousse with lots of toppings on it.

It was good, slightly bitter because of the dark chocolate in it. I used to tend to go for sweeter, milk-chocolate so this would not usually for me but I liked it.

The other dessert I wanted to try was the lime cheesecake with pistachio and raspberry sorbet. Yum! I had a huge mega-sized piece of vegan chocolate chip cheesecake with Mr. Spoon at Whole Foods a few weeks ago and it made me realize I actually like vegan cheesecake a LOT better than the real thing. I just don’t like the taste of real cream cheese mixed with sugar and never really have – not on carrot cake, or as any kind of icing or in a cheesecake. Which is maybe kind of weird because I always liked real cream cheese on my bagels (now I like vegan cashew-based cream cheese the best, yum ). But now I’ve discovered vegan cheese cake and I think I’m hooked. They’re just so light and fluffy and you don’t feel so disgusting after like I used to feel after eating dairy. I think even non-vegans should try vegan cheesecake and see how delicious it is!

Of course as far as I know there’s no vegan Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake (YET!), that’s another story, but this will definitely help your cravings if you’re a fan of desserts or cheese.

We ended the night with shots of Limoncello. Cheers!

Ramen Isshin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Planta Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Doug’s Public Kitchen

So last weekend a couple of friends from university and I went to Doug’s Public Kitchen for Sunday brunch, a vegan restaurant in North York close to Glencairn subway station.

I’d seen some photos of his vegan eggs benedict online a few weeks ago and immediately knew this place had to be next on my hit list.

Public Kitchen Popcorn | thelittleredspoon.com

Right away when we sat down we were given menus, a water jug with a piece of charcoal in it, and this delicious popcorn topped with cheesy nutritional yeast.

Tastes just like the popcorn I make at home. I could eat popcorn at every single meal, no joke. Just ask Mr. Spoon and he’ll tell you what a corn addict I am. Me eating an enourmous 10-cup mixing bowl full of popcorn topped with butter-flavoured olive oil, pink himalayan salt and nooch (and not sharing) is like a nightly occurrence at our place. In fact it’s kind of a weird night if I DON’T eat a giant bowl of popcorn to myself. So you can safely say I approve of any place that’s going to bring me popcorn to my table as an amuse-bouche.

Public Kitchen Mimosas | thelittleredspoon.com

The Public Kitchen Mimosa $9 (2oz)
freshly squeezed orange juice, lemongrass kombucha, sparkling prosecco wine, fresh raspberries
 We ordered a round of mimosas to celebrate getting together and a couple of upcoming birthdays. We all agreed the kombucha was an interesting touch.

Public Kitchen Mimosa | thelittleredspoon.com

Tbh I didn’t think there was enough booze for $9 a glass (hard to get day-drunk 2 oz of prosecco at a time…) but it was definitely delicious and refreshing.

Public Kitchen French Toast | thelittleredspoon.com

Coconut Crusted French Toast $16 – doug’s signature gluten-free french toast, warm maple syrup, vanilla maple yoso coconut yogurt drizzle, ground ceylon cinnamon, tempeh bacon

Our gluten-free friend went for the french toast with GF bread. Oh man it was SO tasty and GBD – golden, brown, delicious! The coconut crust was a really nice touch and it had a great flavour and texture. Didn’t even miss the gluten.

The tempeh was pretty good too, not the star of the show (I’m pretty sure every vegan has their own tempeh bacon recipe they’ve “perfected”) but pretty solid.

Public Kitchen Triple Decker Sandwich | thelittleredspoon.com

Triple Decker Brunch Club $17 – choice of sprouted grain or thornbury gluten-free bread, creamy garlic mayo, cornmeal and fennel seed crusted tomato, crisp smoky sprouted tofu, tempeh bacon, avocado and lettuce, choice of house salad or herbed home fries

The Triple Decker club sandwich looked pretty tasty too. We all tried to share a bite of this one and ended up making a huge mess since our jaws don’t unhinge enough to fit this huge sammy. But even with the mess it’s basically a vegan’s dream sandwich – a jacked up avo BLTT (bacon, lettuce, tomato, tofu). Yum! You know I’ll always eat a crispy fried tomato and anything slathered in vegan mayo.

I didn’t try the home fries because I was getting too full from eating the heck out of my own food and sharing bites of everything else on the table but they look tasty don’t they?

Public Kitchen Eggs Benedict | thelittleredspoon.com

Vegan Benedict $19 – choice of gluten-free or sprouted grain english muffin, crisp cornmeal and fennel crusted tomato, herbed white wine and garlic spinach, seared smoky sprouted tofu, runny soft poached vegan egg yolk, hollandaise sauce
 Now THIS……. this was the life-changer right here. My eyes practically bugged out of my head when this arrived at my table. It’s been a looong time since I’ve indulged in a decent brunch out at a restaurant. If you would’ve asked me a few weeks ago I might’ve said “well, what’s the point? I can make tofu scramble and tempeh bacon and flaxseed-blueberry pancakes and green smoothies at home. Sure it’s nice to go out but I used to go get brunch for the egggggggz, man”
But now that I know I can still get “eggs” benny as a vegan… that brunch drought is over. Holy smokes.

Public Kitchen Yolk Porn | thelittleredspoon.com

#veganyolkporn Dear lord…… let that vegan yolk wash over me….. yaaaaaassssssssss

It was SO REALISTIC guys. I think you have to go experience this for yourself to believe it.

Okay so the “egg white” is basically a piece of fried tofu with a dip in it so the yolk can rest gently on top. The yolk I have no idea what the heck it’s made of other than vegan wizard magic, dream particles and good vibes. It had a little skin and everything. I poked that yolk with my fork and it resisted the slightest bit and then oozed out that yellow sunshiney goodness just like the real deal.

And that vegan hollandaise? I don’t even need to know. Just smother me in it. I’ll take a bath in it. I’ll wash my hair in it. If you’re also a vegan who was once an eggs benny addict you need to try this for yourself. Heck, if you’re an omnivorous CURRENT eggs benny addict I still think this stands up. AND you get to think about how you saved adorable little chicks from being ground alive by not supporting the egg industry. It’s a win-win, people.

Public Kitchen Vegan Benedict | thelittleredspoon.com

Look at those layers! And omg the textures…………. You can taste the love for vegan food and the care and attention that went into making this dish with every bite. Seriously.

Underneath the “egg” (in order): the crusted tomato (sooo crunchy and juice and good), garlic spinach, and sprouted-grain english muffin. You could also go for a gluten-free muffin and I’m sure you would hardly notice because everything is smothered in amazing golden hollandaise sauce anyway. The muffin is just a hollandaise-delivery system at this point.

Public Kitchen Coffee Sugar | thelittleredspoon.com

Almond milk and coconut sugar that was served with our after-brunch organic, fair-trade coffees.

Public Kitchen Dessert Platter | thelittleredspoon.com

We (okay, really just I) couldn’t help ourselves and also went for the Dessert Platter $11 – made weekly by Chef McNish. This one featured some sesame balls, goji-stuffed cookies, peanut butter fudge and pumpkin spice cheesecake.

Everything was really tasty even though we were basically all too stuffed full of brunch to be able to finish. I thought the cheesecake was the best, and I think everyone agreed the goji cookies and peanut butter desserts were pretty darn good too. Personally the sesame ones weren’t my favourite but they were a nice balance since they weren’t too sweet and went well with the coffees.

Overall my impression of Doug’s Public Kitchen was outstanding. I genuinely loved everything that came to our table. The service was warm and welcoming, the food was incredible and I can’t wait to come back to this place and bring even more people to try a next-level vegan brunch.

It was definitely a little bit pricier than say, going to a greasy diner and getting chicken eggs and wonderbread toast. That is true. But this is REAL food – it’s crafted with heart and soul, it’s sourced locally and organically whenever possible and it’s completely ethical and cruelty-free. You don’t have to support the cold, cruel and environmentally catastrophic meat industry to get your breakfast fix. You can support chefs like McNish who spread a positive message about real, healthy, compassionate food and watch local vegan businesses like his thrive. To me that’s worth a couple of extra bucks.

Doug's Public Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vegan Herb & Garlic Almond Cheese

Almond Cheese with Chevre Knife | thelittleredspoon.com

I found an AMAZING recipe for vegan Herb & Garlic Almond Cheese on the CookingWithPlants YouTube channel. I’ve keeping this one in my back pocket for a few weeks now and finally tracked down some blanched almonds so I could give this recipe a try.

Slice of Almond Cheese | theittleredspoon.com

You could also make this cheese with cashews but I wanted to try an almond cheese since I haven’t experimented with those yet. The results were really great! The cheese was nice and firm enough to slice without being too mushy, but it was also creamy and easy to spread. You could also melt this cheese, but if you ask me that defeats the point of adding the agar-agar powder and pouring it into molds. There are plenty of melty/saucey vegan cheese recipes out there. I was excited to try this one because it was sliceable and on the firmer side. And it turned out exactly how I imagined!

Almond Cheese Slice on Baguette | thelittleredspoon.com

I was having an intense cheese-craving and I knew I needed to make a nice fresh vegan cheese with some crispy toasted baguette slices to go with it. So that’s what I decided to spend my Saturday afternoon doing.

As any fellow vegan or lactose-intolerant person knows, sometimes you just can’t resist that craving for a GOOD cheese… A realistic, edible-on-its-own, “fancy” kind of cheese. You know what I’m talking about. Daiya has its purpose, but it does NOT fill that void in my life where delicious, tangy, creamy, fresh cheese used to be. Nut cheese does.

Almond Cheese Spread on Baguette | thelittleredspoon.com

Check out the recipe for this herb & garlic almond cheese on CookingWithPlants website or YouTube channel. Anja has some amazing cheese recipes for you to browse through and try for yourself. Her videos are really relaxing for some reason too, she really seems like a genuinely calm and friendly person that would be chill to hang out with.

The gist of the recipe is this:

  • Put all your ingredients in a blender and process. There aren’t too many ingredients but you will need agar-agar powder and tapioca starch. (These are basic ingredients for most other vegan cheese recipes too so you might as well stock up. If you can’t find either of these locally, just buy them from the internet.)
  • Boil in a pot or pan 5-10 minutes to activate the agar and thicken the cheese.
  • Pour into molds and set in the fridge ~30-60 minutes.
  • Remove from molds and roll edges into a mixture of spices or almond meal if desired. (Original recipe calls for herbs mixed with paprika, I used herbs mixed with almond meal instead. I think hemp seeds would make a good crust as well!)

Easy-peasy! Trust me, anyone could make this and you would NOT regret having a couple little wheels of this stuff in your fridge for when a snack craving hits. For me the recipe made enough to fill 3 small ramekins.

Almond Cheese Board Zoom | thelittleredspoon.com copy

Daiya cheese and other store-bought processed vegan cheeses are wonderful for pizza, tacos, scrambled tofu and other stuff, but when it comes to making an actual nice cheese board for lunch (you know, like when you’re heckin craving a Nuts For Cheese cheese board and charcuterie plate from Glassroots vegan restaurant in London, Ontario but you’re living 200km away in downtown Toronto), you’re better off making your own cheese. (Or buying Nuts for Cheese wedges. That works too. Definitely do that.)

Huge Cheese Plate | thelittleredspoon.com

(And if you thought that other picture was enough of a cheese board for me, you clearly don’t know how much I love a good cheese board… I ate this entire plate and half the cheese wheel myself and only shared one little baguette crisp with Mr. Spoon who, by the way, gave a solid thumbs-up for this recipe!)

Try this almond-based vegan cheese recipe and let me know what you think! I love the herb and garlic twist to this cheese and it really has a great texture. Leave a comment if you try this one, or another of Anja from CookingWithPlants recipes.

So Delicious Holiday Nog

so-delicious-holiday-nog-thelittleredspoon-com

Check out this tasty beverage I found at Whole Foods! So Delicious Holiday Nog made with coconut milk.

It’s actually really rich, thick and creamy-tasting. Just like the real thing – except I always found “real” eggnog vaguely nauesating. Probably because of the dairy and raw eggs which always gave me a stomach ache even before I went vegan.

But since this stuff is completely dairy-free I don’t get that gross heavy feeling in my stomach after drinking it. I really enjoy the taste, it’s spiced with real bits of nutmeg which you can see throughout the drink.

so-delicious-holiday-nog-and-cookies-thelittleredspoon-com

This vegan nog would be perfect for steaming up into a frothy latte with a hit of espresso or strong coffee. Or try spiking with a little brandy, rum or bourbon

It’s also perfect for drinking as-is and dipping cookies into. Lately I’ve been digging animal crackers, vanilla oreos and plain digestive biscuits. (I’m like a little kid who packs cookies with my lunch every day)

Check out this guilt-free holiday nog at your local Whole Foods or regular grocery store if you can find it. I was not paid or in any way compensated for this review – I just genuinely like this stuff and wanted to let you guys know. Have you tried it? So Delicious also makes a nice chocolate-mint flavoured seasonal coconut milk drink that’s really nice. Let me know in the comments what festive drinks you like to sip on during the holidays.

Cheers!

BBQ Tofu

bbq-tofu-thelittleredspoon-com

BBQ Tofu!

People on the vegan subreddit have been submitting a ton of posts about BBQ tofu a lot in the past week.

The recipe is based on this imgur album posted 2 years ago with instructions on how to marinate and baste your tofu while roasting it in the oven. Check it out!

bbq-tofu-bias-cut-thelittleredspoon-com

I made this tofu for dinner the other night and it turned out pretty well. Roasting it in the oven really gives the tofu a nice texture.

The BBQ sauce makes a perfect marinade. It’s incredibly easy, great for a weeknight dinner and makes great leftovers for work the next day. (AKA the holy trifecta)

bbq-tofu-leftovers-thelittleredspoon-com

Ever marinated your tofu in BBQ sauce? Roasted it in the oven? What’s your best tofu recipe? Let me know in the comments.

 

Apple Cinnamon Banana Pancakes

Banana Pancakes Served | thelittleredspoon.com

Pancakes! Delicious, healthy, vegan, banana-apple-cinnamon pancakes  What better way to celebrate your amazing little sister going vegan? (But be careful you might get that Jack Johnson song stuck in your head all day…)

Banana Pancakes with Almond Butter | thelittleredspoon.com

I used Laura Miller’s recipe to make these tasty flapjacks which I then smothered in almond butter.
Check out her video on Tastemade or her adorable cookbook Raw. Vegan. Not Gross. for the instructions. For this version I added small pieces of diced apple and swapped the gluten-free flour the recipe calls for with all-purpose flour that I had on hand. Note that if you switch to A/P flour you will probably want to add more milk to thin it out.

Drizzling Syrup on Pancakes | thelittleredspoon.com

Drown those puppies in maple syrup…… God yeah that’s the stuff… These pancakes are VERY filling so don’t be surprised if you only make it through 2-3 of them instead of a whole bunch. They’re sooo good, this is a great recipe and I love making it for a hearty breakfast when I have guests over.

Banana Pancakes | thelittleredspoon.comIn the morning while we were chilling and eating we put on some YouTube videos.

(If you’re curious, these are the videos we were watching while hanging out in our PJs and getting ready for the day:)

 

Let me know your thoughts in the comments! If you make some of Laura Miller’s delicious flaxseed egg banana pancakes be sure to soak them in maple syrup and share that vegan breakfast porn with me! Yum!

Vegan Buffalo Mozzarella Balls

Making these vegan “buffalo mozzarella” balls is actually really easy. The most tedious part of making this cheese is gathering a couple of ingredients you might not already have.

A lot of vegans are already aware of agar-agar powder (aka vegan gelatin). But a

nother ingredient you might not already have in your pantry is tapioca flour. It has a similar texture to corn starch, but it adds a stretchiness that other thickeners like corn starch or potato starch won’t.

Caprese Salad Board | thelittleredspoon.com

The texture of these vegan mozzarella balls is actually very close to the real thing. It doesn’t have the exact same stringy texture when you pull them apart, but it does have that squishy, chewy, moist and tender texture of bocconcini.

You can decide how big to make these little cheese balls. I used two spoons to scoop the cheese mixture into the ice water bath, but they would probably turn out even cuter and more uniform if you used an ice cream scoop. Make big tennis ball-sized or egg-sized cheese or make little tiny grape-sized cheese. Make some of each! I think the smaller you make them, the cuter they turn out and the more surface area you have for drenching them in high quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yum!

Mozzarella Balls | thelittleredspoon.com

Here you can see some of the naked cheese blobs I made on the left. They slice very well for making into a caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes and fresh-picked basil from the window sill. The agar-agar is great for firming them up without adding any weird taste or texture. They really are nice and soft and silky while still retaining their shape. You could easily cut them with the side of your fork but they’ll still hold up to being tossed with salad dressing. Basically, these aren’t gooey and they won’t melt.

If you’re looking for a good vegan mozzarella to slice and melt onto your next Margherita pizza, this isn’t the cheese you’re looking for. But if you’re (like me) looking for a cheese that’s so delicious on it’s own that you’re gobbling them up before you can even put them in the fridge, you’re going to want to try this recipe.

I used to buy tubs of baby bocconcini and snack on half of the container with my bare hands WHILE putting the rest of my groceries away. So you know I was glad to find this recipe for homemade vegan mozzarella balls on Miyoko Schinner’s Artisan Vegan Life website. This recipe was originally written for VegNews Fall 2012 edition and is an updated version of the recipe included in her vegan cheese cookbook Artisan Vegan Cheese which is definitely up next in my to-read list since making this wonderful mozzarella.

Caprese Salad Zoomed | thelittleredspoon.com

Vegan Buffalo Mozzarella Balls
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Recipe from Miyoko Schinner's Artisan Vegan Cheese with a few of my notes added
Ingredients
  • 1 cup plain, unsweetened vegan yogurt (I used coconut, soy is also fine)
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 3 – 8 hours and drained
  • ½ cup water and another ½ cup water for later
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1 tablespoon agar powder
Instructions
  1. Blend the yogurt, soaked cashews, ½ cup of water and salt in a blender. Blend for 2+ minutes or as long as needed until completely emulsified.
  2. Transfer to a bowl or container covered loosely with a clean kitchen towel and set aside at room temperature 12 to 24 hours to culture. It should taste slightly tangy and salty at this stage.
  3. After culturing, whisk in the tapioca flour.
  4. In a medium saucepan, bring the remaining ½ cup of water to a bowl and whisk in the agar. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Simmer 3-4 minutes.
  5. Pour in the yogurt mixture and whisk well with a whisk. Continue to cook over medium heat while stirring with a wooden spoon 5-10+ minutes until the mixture is "smooth, glossy and stretchy." (Yes, you will become bored while sitting at the stove stirring constantly for 5-10 minutes. Play music or a podcast while you're doing this and do not step away or you will get lumps.)
  6. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Using an ice cream scooper, drop balls of the cheese into the ice bath. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes until firm.
  7. Store in the fridge in brine (salted water), olive oil, or vinaigrette and it will keep for 2 weeks or so.

Thank goodness for people like Miyoko Schinner who can come up with such creative vegan cheese-making methods! Stay tuned for more vegan cheeses because I’m sure this will be just the beginning of my homemade cheese-making journey.

Leave a comment below to let me know if you’ll be trying this recipe! This even got the thumbs up from my carnivore Italian boyfriend and (dairy) cheese-loving mum so don’t be afraid to try this one.

Caprese Salad Undressed | thelittleredspoon.com