Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Official MoFo Roundup: Christmas

This year our Christmas plans include eating, drinking, and hibernating. No travel plans. No extensive plans of any kinds. Well, except cooking! So my final roundup of MoFo recipes (and the ones that I will include in next years MoFo zine) will all be perfect for Christmas!

1. I do not usually go for vegan foods that look/taste like their meat counterparts but these vegan bacon wrapped scallops seem interesting and may be a perfect starter for Christmas Eve Dinner!
2. This homemade vegan ham would be perfect for a Christmas centrepiece!
3. As a throwback to my childhood Christmas traditions I like to have a collection of finger foods available throughout the winter holidays. These chocolate coated peas and beans seem very interesting!
4. Christmas does not seem right without a recipe for Candied Orange Peels!
5. When I saw these whisky peanut butter cookies I knew I had to make them for my husband! Everything he loves in one cookie!
6. I like to try a new or interesting cookie every Christmas season. I think this year's will be this Earl Grey Guava Jam cookie
7. Winter requires interesting hot chocolate recipes like Peanut Butter or Peppermint.  
8. Winter holidays require curling up on the couch with a movie and some popcorn. I think this maple sea salt popcorn would be lovely.
9. Spiced nuts are required over Christmas. i am going to give these five spice pecans a try.
10. A warming winter soup seems like a requirement as well. I think I'll try this Armenian Lentil Apricot Soup.  

And of course check out to purchase last year's Vegan MoFo zine!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Vegan MoFo Roundup Version 3

1. I've wanted to make/buy kimchi for a long time now but I hesitated because I didn't know what to use the kimchi for but this korean kimchi scallion salad seems like a perfect first taste!
2. As a flat bread lover this semoline version seems like a good fit!
3. Homemade apple cider vinegar! Thanks!
4. This gingerbread drink seems divine. 
5. This fall seems to be the the season of homemade hot sauce. I should jump on the bandwagon!
6. I dealt with a glut of grapes this fall, I wish I had this recipe for spicy grape jam. Maybe next year!

And of course check out to purchase last year's Vegan MoFo zine! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

MoFo Roundup Version 2

1. As a throwback to my childhood Christmas traditions I like to have a collection of finger foods available throughout the winter holidays. These chocolate coated peas and beans seem very interesting!
2. Speaking of Christmas - a recipe for Candied Orange Peels seems to fit right in!
3. This homemade vegan ham would be perfect for a Christmas centrepiece! 
4. I love this method of roasting a whole butternut squash! No precarious knife positions! 
5. When I saw these whisky peanut butter cookies I knew I had to make them for my husband! Everything he loves in one cookie!
6. And of course, Christmas isn't Christmas without at least one fancy dessert. Peanut Butter Banana Creme Brulee will fit the bill!

And of course check out to purchase last year's Vegan MoFo zine! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Review: Bloordale Pantry

The Bloordale Pantry (1285 Bloor St W) has a classic, kitschy diner atmosphere. The tiny booths for two adds to the cozy, authentic diner feel while making sense in small physical space. If alone, you can choose to eat your brunch at the bar on a line of red stools. There is a convenient little shelf in front of the stools (under the counter) that would nicely hold a wallet or book. The back wall is covered with kitschy kitchen goods that I pined after. The lights and tiling fit the theme but the roof tiles did not.
The menu has a few vegan options including pancakes, salad, and a veggie burger. I started with the frothy, thick hot chocolate that was very rich even when made with soymilk. For brunch I had the special of coconut banana french toast, which was entirely too mushy. The pepper shaker on the table was preground and the hot sauce bottle was very dirty. They had a few micro brews available in bottles.
The atmosphere at the Bloordale Pantry is very cute and the staff is friendly enough, but I probably will not be returning because ultimately my choices are based on the quality of the food and mushy french toast isn't gonna cut it!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cask Days

We are headed to the 8th Annual Cask-Conditioned Beer Festival tomorrow. I am excited and worried at the same time! We have built this festival up to be the mecca of cask beer but I am worried that it will be too crowded, too expensive, too annoying, and too loud. We are kind old people, after all! I've been reading several Guides to the festival so I'll leave you with those!

The Obligatory Cask Days Guide Post 
A Guide to Cask Beer 
10 Tips to Maximize Cask Days 
Cask Beers: Five Beers to Try 

We are planning on making a short list of beers we want to try - but we prolly won't plan that much. Everything is better on Cask and these are good beers to start with - so it will be prolly hard to find a truly crappy beer! On tip said to not think too hard about the first beer - I agree. Get in there and wet your whistle! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Perfect Pancakes

I've had a string of bad pancakes lately. I couldn't get the right batter consistency so they didn't cook the way I like them. I like very thin pancakes with tiny bubbles that brown perfectly on both sides. But finally! Perfect Pancakes! with homemade grape syrup! Divine!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Review: Manual Labour Coffee

You may assume from my review of TUM, that I did not enjoy any aspect of the experience. That would be untrue as I am glad that I was introduced to Manual Labour Coffee

The flat white I had was a perfect cup of coffee. It was nutty, chocolatey, with a creamy white froth. This coffee was amaze-balls!

Their booth is impossibly cute! They gutted and remade a 1969 Bailey Travel Trailer, named Frankie, into a coffee house. The best way to describe this adorkable booth is through pictures.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Whisky. Pumpkin Pie. I would eat this everyday of my life.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Review: Toronto Underground Market

I do not follow the cult of the celebrity (chef or otherwise). This means that I do not follow famous chefs around (the internet, or their restaurants) worshipping at their feet. This means that just because the words “pop-up” or “underground” are used I will not fawn all over it. I volunteered at the Toronto Underground Market (TUM) to see if the event was worthy of the buzz surrounding it.

The information emailed to me was lacking. There was very little information on where to meet with no signs guiding the way. The email insisted on early arrival but information was not passed on to volunteers for 30 minutes after the stated arrival time. Volunteers were very badly managed with very little organization. Organization sets up volunteer accountability. More than a few volunteers simply disappeared into the event where a free drink ticket and free entry was granted to volunteers.

The event is held in Evergreen Brickworks, an organization with clearly stated environmental guidelines. While TUM has both garbage and recycling bins they do not recycle. Contents of both bins are thrown into the same dumpster. Additionally, volunteer safety is not considered as volunteers had to walk through a dark parking lot to the dumpster.

The event is well attended, usually selling out, but I did not enjoy it. People around me were excited by pedantic items such as coconut marshmallows. They lined up for an hour to get a taco. By the end of the night most people were drunk. The event seems like an excuse to drink heavily and eat to excess. TUM is an exercise in personal gluttony. I wanted it to be an exercise in palate development. However, TUM is not without merit, it's ideals are to help fledgling food businesses gain a foothold in a difficult market. Which is certainly something I can get behind! 

Check it out at TUM. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

MoFo 2012 Roundup: Version 1

Yesterday was Canzine, where "Winged Snail Eats: MoFo Edition" was released into the world!

Forcing myself to actually make some of the awesome and innovative recipes that show up during MoFo resulted in some good eats! I'm thinking I'll do it again this year and make the MoFo zine a regular occurrence. Here are some posts that are on my radar so far this MoFo!

1. I love hominy but have a very limited scope of use (bean salads and black bean soup) so this hummus recipe seems like an awesome idea! 
2. I do not usually go for vegan foods that look/taste like their meat counterparts but these vegan bacon wrapped scallops seem interesting - especially with the recent Friday Night Dinner tradition in my family.
3. Peanut Butter cups are always a favourite. I have always made the classic cup. I really should broaden my PB cup recipes for there are some awesome combos out there. Like Pumpkin Pie!
4. I have really 'gotten into' chutneys but with my recent canning addiction I think I should!
5. I am in love with the sweet, earthy flavor of blood red beets so I think these beautiful red buns! 
6. Cinnamon tincture? Whisky? Fall drinks are the best!

Leave a comment and let me know which one I should not leave off the list for next year's MoFo zine! 

Sunday, October 21, 2012


I'm over at Canzine today.

I'm kinda freaking out because I am super new to making zines. I am tabling at GIANT ZINE AND SMALL PRESS FAIR. Which certaintly sounds fancy!
I made buttons though
Buttons make you friends? 

Also, I am participating in the 1-2 Punch Book Pitch (at 2pm)
"Live on our mainstage in front of a crowing crowd, you get two minutes to pitch your book to our panel of judges. They get one minute each to tell you why you’ll never get published in a million, billion years, or why they want to see your manuscript in their inbox ASAP."

Gonna pitch a food related book - of course! 

Come by, say hello, and get a free zine! :)


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cooking from Vegan MoFo: Dill Pickle Chips

These chips were amazing! They tasted like 'real' potato chips and would be able to satisfy any chip craving. However, I found it difficult to achieve that perfect balance of crispiness without over baking them. I used a mandolin to cut the potatoes. Next time I will use my knife and see if making slightly thicker chips makes it easier to bake them. 

Homemade Dill Pickle Potato Chips
6 Medium to Large Russet Potatoes
4 Cups Dill Pickle Brine (this is the juice Dill Pickles come in) 
2 teaspoons Fresh Dill Weed (diced)
1 Clove Garlic (minced) 
1 teaspoon Pickling Spices
3 teaspoons Dried Dill Weed
1 teaspoon Crushed Ground Black Pepper Corn
3 teaspoon Crushed Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Fill a large glass lasagna dish with Dill Pickle Brine, Fresh Dill Weed, Garlic and Pickling Spices. Gently stir until blended.
Thinly slice your potatoes diagonally to get the largest chips possible with a very sharp knife or mandolin. You want them to be around 1/8 of an inch thick. Place each slice immediately into the pickle brine. Once all your potato slices are in the brine, cover your dish with tin foil and refrigerated for an hour and half. Then pull out the dish and rotate your potato slices so that the ones that were at the bottom of the dish are now at the top. Put the dish back in the fridge for another hour and half. You'll notice that some of them have started to curl and that's OK. If you want your chips to have a somewhat strong Dill Pickle Flavor, repeat the process twice.
Heat oven to 425. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray an even layer of cooking spray. Arrange your marinaded potato slices on the cookie sheet so none of them are touching in an even layer. Spray another even layer of cooking spray over the top.
Bake your chips for 5 to 8 minutes and then flip them. Put them back in the oven to bake for another 8 to 10 minutes. Pull them out of the oven when the chips are a light golden brown and they are crispy. Keep in mind the thinner your chips are sliced the quicker they will brown.
In a bowl, mix dried dill weed, black pepper, sea salt and garlic powder. When you pull the chips from oven they are really hot but they are also kinda fragile like store bought potato chips - so very gently move them to a wire rack to cool. Then take a slotted spoon and sprinkle the herb mix over the top of the warm chips before the oil cools to help attach the herbs to the chip. Let them cool to room temperature before gobbling them up by the handful!
Recipe is a Meet The Shannons original. Original post here.

Come to Canzine tomorrow and claim a free zine when you mention the blog!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: Indie Coffee Passport

My family supports small, independent businesses over large corporations. Independent businesses usually have more ethical business practices that include customer relationships, worker and hiring practices, and material sourcing. Ethically we enjoy supporting independent businesses but not to the determent of quality. Thankfully there are plenty of independent businesses to choose from. Toronto's Indie Coffee Passport has provided us with extra motivation to try new independently owned cafes.

The Indie Coffee Passport costs $25 and entitles you to receive one coffee drink at each of the thirty cafes listed on the passport. Each cafe has a list of six coffees from which you have to choose. The complete list of cafes (and drinks) is included on the Indie Coffee Passport website. The passport is valid from 1 Sept 2012 to 31 March 2013. Most cafes have a variety of drinks on their Passport menu including lattes and iced coffees. There is more choice than just espressos, Americans, and drip coffee! We only bought one passport because I drink iced coffees almost exclusively. The passport lists the cafes by area (Kensington, Roncesvalles, ect) which is extremely helpful for finding a cafe near you while on an errand in the city.

Our first stop on the passport tour was Joes (250 Sorauren Ave). We have biked by Joes many times on our travels to Roncesvalles but have never stopped in. The cafe is located across the street from a public park and an artist loft which results in a lot of foot traffic. The cafe caters to the to-go clientele and busy moms. There are few seating options to allow strollers and running toddlers extra room to manoeuvre in. The window is lined with an extra wide bar and stools so that those that want to stay can comfortably people watch or surf the net with the complimentary wi-fi. Judging by the number of regulars Joes has successfully based their business model on the needs of the neighbourhood.


The passport drink I received from Joes was a Cynthia Americano with Misto (named after a regular!) This is an iced espresso with steamed milk (with coffee icecubes). Steaming the milk results in a smooth, creamy, and slightly sweet coffee. It is definitely a different experience than iced coffee with regular milk or cream added. The man behind the counter (who I assume is Joe) stated that the Cynthia was a popular choice amongst Indie Coffee Passport holders. Presumed-to-be-Joe definitely has a passion for coffee! The only real negative of Joes is the hopelessly outdated basement bathroom (it has an ugly 80's bathtub in it!). 


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Review: Toronto Garlic Festival

Years ago I found a flier for a garlic festival. It was placed on the refrigerator and marked on the calender. I looked forward to it for months but as the date approached I realized that I would be unable to attend. I originally thought I would be unable to attend this years Garlic Festival so I was elated when plans changed and I was available for the festival. I was so pumped that I sang 'GARLIC FESTIVAL. GAR-LIC FEEEESTIVAL' for an hour. My husband was less than impressed – both with my singing and with the overall notion of a garlic festival.

The festival was held at Evergreen Brickworks and tickets cost $10 at the door ($8 in advance). There were quite a few venders, a few food vendors, and a few fun events like talks and a garlic breath contest. The tickets are overpriced for the size, breadth, and variety of the event. I would not advise buying food tickets until (and unless) you are hungry because some food can be purchased without tickets. Additionally, the number of food venders was low and the choice was pedantic. The venders had a good variety of approaches to the garlic theme included garlic art, farmers, hot sauces, and sweets. However there were a few venders at the garlic festival that did not sell anything garlic related!

The festival was not without merit (even if it did not live up to 5 years of mental hype) because I learnt a few interesting things about garlic.

I discovered a new form of edible garlic. (pictured) When garlic reproduces it sends out edible garlic scapes. At the end of the scape is the bulbils which is edible. It can also be planted and will grow into a head of garlic. I think this form of garlic was the cheapest at the festival (some fancy types of garlic cost $5 a head!) This information, the bulbils pictured, and the garlic I bought at the festival came from Simon d Boer from Langside Farms Limited

The other interesting piece of information I gained was from Liz Lambrick of Busy Liz's Farm Shop. There were many edible products on this table, but by far the most interesting was the garlic fudge! She even told me the secret. Because it was given fairly freely I will share it with you! Make regular fudge, when the fudge is cooling squeeze a whole head of garlic into the mixture. The fudge will be hot enough to caramelize the garlic but not so hot as to cook out the flavor. The resulting garlic fudge is indescribable (but in a good way!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cooking from Vegan MoFo: Bourban Seitan Tacos

Cooking from Vegan MoFo: Bourban Seitan Tacos or Whisky Tofu Tacos

Last year's MoFo was teaming with taco recipes! We are not a huge taco family but will imbibe every few months. When recipe planning tacos always seem to get bumped for a one-dish meal because tacos always seem too messy. However, every time I make tacos I think/say “Damn these are good. I should make tacos a regular thing – I decree Taco Tuesdays a thing!” But when Tuesday rolls around, I make soup.

While on the surface these flavors – whisky, chili, cinnamon – seem a little crazy the final product is actually very well balanced. The whisky sauce is a complex sweet sauce which pairs alarmingly well with the slightly spicy and warm heat of the tofu spice blend. Either element alone is off balance but when combined it's a wonderful thing!

I made corn tortillas from Viva Vegan. They were good but I need to cook them more often to really get them perfect. I have a tendency to either overcook them or under cook them. Simply another reason to install Taco Tuesdays!

Whisky Tofu Tacos
Whisky Sauce:
1 cup whisky (Collingwood recommended)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 package extra firm tofu, cubed or cut into strips
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

To serve:
homemade corn tortillas

Put all the sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan and whisk well to combine. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until reduced by half. This will take approximately 15-20 minutes.

While whisky sauce reduces, prepare the tofu. Combine the chili powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Toss the tofu with the spice mixture until coated.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the spiced tofu and cook, stirring frequently, until browned.
Make tacos!

Original Inspiration: coldandsleepycooks

Mention this blog for a free zine at Canzine on 21 October!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Free Birthday Cake

Years ago, when I volunteered at a Soup Kitchen I witnessed many parents coming to the side door of the kitchen requesting a complete cake. It was their child's birthday and they could not afford a birthday cake for their kids. 

I decided that I was going to do something about this, in whatever small way I could, so I posted an ad on craigslist offering free birthday cake to anyone who wants/needs one. One person replied with worries that I would poison her. Another person replied with a request for a pink and/or barbie cake for her daughter. Sweet!

I baked and decorated and ended up with this cake. It's not perfect but hopefully it made a little girl happy!

I get some much needed cake decorating practice out of the exchange. Perhaps I, and my cake, even get to live in the birthday memories of a child - which is pretty cool to think about.

If you are interested in a free birthday cake please email me at wingedsnail99 [at] hotmail [dot] ca.    
Article also on Collaborative Living

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Junction Flea Market

We made a point of hitting up the @JunctionFlea last month. The biggest motivation for actually getting down to the market was that it was the last one of the season. I was duped for today's market is actually the last of the season! Oh well - at least I picked up this amazing travelling martini making kit.

I was fondling it and discussing with my husband the merits of such a purchase (which actually blows my mind, because he is the alcoholic in the family) when another couple came up and expressed interest. I snatched it up! Don't worry - they bought the other one the vendor had so they won't be martini-less. 

Next year's picnics are gonna be awesome!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Cooking from Vegan MoFo: Homemade Coconut Milk

I really enjoy having a collection of recipes that do not require one to put on pants. Recipes that are easily made from nothing. Recipes made from the collection of odd edible things that languish in the pantries of kitchens across Canada. This is one of those recipes.

It makes a very thin coconut milk. Perfect, perhaps, to lighten an iced coffee. However, if one really wants to make coconut milk I would recommend making milk from a fresh coconut a la Alton Brown.

Inspiration: northernveg

Come to Canzine on the 21st. Visit me! Mention this blog for a free zine! 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pie class!

The first time I took on pie making, I followed the crust recipe to the letter and wound up with perfect, tender flaky crust. Elated, I declared myself crust goddess! The real crust goddess must have cursed me for such blasphemy for I am now unable to make even a half-ways decent crust. So when I discovered that @NFFTT had teamed up with @leDolci to offer a pie making crust I signed on the dotted line!

George Brown Culinary graduate Jenna Hossack lead us through the process of crust making. She knew instinctively when to pause to show us what the crust should look like. (Read a NFFTT interview with her.)

The entire class concentrates as we make crust and fill our pies!
The secret to perfect crust? Use a pastry cutter as doing so will prevent overworking the dough.

Posted on @NFFTT Blog here



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cooking from Vegan MoFo: Yuba

I have been eating the dried, gross smelling dried yuba for a few years. For some reason it never occurred to me that I could make my own fresh yuba even though I knew the theoretical process. After trying some fresh homemade yuba I do not recommend the dried product because it has an overly processed taste. I will be definitely trying refrigerated fresh yuba skins in order to upgrade my yuba consumption. The process of making homemade yuba is not difficult per se it's just a bit finicky. I was technically unable to pick a full sheet of yuba off the soymilk, but the odd pieces I manged to eat were smooth, sweet, and fresh in a way that the dried yuba could never be. This was the first time I was successfully able to make soymilk at home. Making yuba is a little to finicky to be a daily (or weekly) occurrence but the soymilk technique is super easy so I will be making that again!

Inspiration post: messyvegetarian

Mention this blog at Canzine and get a free zine! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cooking from Vegan Mofo: Salt-Rising Bread

Salt-rising bread is a light, fluffy white bread that takes a few days to make. I have grown accustomed to the specific strong flavor of sourdough and this bread tastes plain in comparison. I would recommend this technique if you are worried about the commitment of sourdough because it will give you experience in starters and sponges.

Overnight starter:
Scald one cup soymilk and cool. Add 1/2 cup cornmeal, 2 tablespoons grated potato, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt. Place mixture in a jar. Place jar inside a larger container filled with hot water. Place both containers in the oven with the pilot light on. Tell your husband not to turn the oven light off.

Mix 2 cups warm water, 1 teaspoon yeast, 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 2 1/2 cups flour into a bowl. Push the starter through a seive and mix into the dry ingredients. Stir well. Place the bowl into a larger bowl filled with hot water. Cover and let rise until doubled, 45-60 minutes.

When risen stir in 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt. Knead 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups flour to make a stiff dough. Rise until doubled in bulk. Shape. Rise. Bake at 350 for 50 to 55 minutes. 

Find me at Canzine. Claim a free copy of the zine!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Review: 3030

On occasion, 3030 feels like a house party for hipsters. There is the boisterous mixed gender group playing pinball. The weird, slightly greasy, loaner hipster reading a philosophy text. The ageing couple speculating and gestating wildly about the nature of art. And us. Drinking beer and making up gossip about the hipsters that surround us. 
The real reason to visit 3030 is the beer. The bar has taps with beer ranging from Flying Monkey, Junction Conductor, Church Key, and Iron Spike. If you cannot make a decision (which is a problem we frequently have at 3030) the bartender is happy to offer advice. Real advice from an actual beer drinking bartender! The only real negative is that the bar does not have stools but the back bar is at the perfect height for leaning. I appreciate places that think about how customers will interact with and in the physical space of a restaurant or bar.

The hipster house party vibe made me feel uncomfortable and out of place, so I would recommend avoiding 3030 at peak bar times. This is no real hardship for almost every bar is better at 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon than at 11pm on a Friday night.

3030: 3030 Dundas Street W

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cooking from Vegan MoFo: Daikon and Mustard Pickles

I pine for Daikon radishes in grocery stores. This creamy white exotic vegetable evokes visions of .... Daikon radishes don't evoke any vision in me. I have no clue what to make with Daikons - and it makes me sad. That's why I was so glad to come across this recipe for Daikon and Mustard Pickles last MoFo. It may have taken me a while to make them, but actually buying that Daikon, and not just fondling it, made me happy!

I didn't have all the ingredients that the original recipe called for. I just hadn't had any call to buy dried mango powder before! Also, these pickles SMELL but are worth it!

Check out the original recipe here: Vegan on the Prowl

Come visit me at this year's Canzine - mention that you read my blog and get a free zine! 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Drinking: Devil's Nector

A devil's nector is simple. 
Espresso with coke over ice. 
Full of carbonation.
Creamy head.
Interesting alternative to iced coffee.
Cafe Neon