Mock meats of Ottawa’s Chinatown, Part 1

From Yves Veggie Cuisine to Tofurky to Gardein to Sol to the offerings in the President’s Choice Blue Menu line, the variety of mock meats in supermarkets has exploded in recent years. Ottawa’s Chinatown is a fantastic resource for lovers of mock meats. This is the first in a series of posts to introduce readers to the treasures they can find in Chinatown and meals that can be made with them.

Our first stop: Phuoc Loi on the northeast corner of Somerset and Booth. If you’re driving, you’ll need to find street parking or use the pay parking lot at the southeast corner of Somerset and Lebreton. Head to the freezer section in the back right corner of the store.

You’re looking for this: 

It may look “grim”, in the words of my big sister, but this is the best mock ham I have tried.  A caution to vegans: I have seen similarly shaped mock ham that includes whey or egg — be sure to read the ingredients.

What can you do with it?  A few ideas…

Slice it thinly, sear each side briefly in a hot frying pan, and put it in sandwiches.

Slice it thickly, glaze it with a mixture of maple syrup and mustard, and bake in the oven.

Cube it and add it to a tofu scramble, as suggested in this previous post.

Or, try this recipe for Ham & Cheese Biscuits.  These biscuits proved very popular at a potluck.  They will also cause any dogs who happen to be nearby to cluster around your legs and stare at you hopefully.

  • Mix 2 cups of flour, 3 tsp. of baking powder, and ¾ tsp. of salt.
  • Cut ¾ of a stick of Earth Balance margarine into small pieces and blend it into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or with your fingers.  (A stick is equivalent to ½ cup.)
  • Mix in ¼ cup of diced mock ham and ¼ cup of Daiya cheddar style shreds.
  • Add a splash of vinegar to ¾ cup of soy milk, and mix with the dry ingredients to form a dough.
  • Knead the dough briefly, folding it over no more than 5 times.  This will give the finished biscuits nice flaky layers inside.
  • Flatten the dough to about ½ inch thick. Use a sharp knife to slice it into squares.
  • Bake at 450°F for 13 minutes.

The photo of the biscuits has one pulled apart to show the flaky texture (and delicious bits of mock ham and cheese) inside.

I have also found the mock ham at New 168 Market on the southwest corner of Somerset and Breezehill (just west of the O-Train tracks).  They’re closed for renovations right now, but when they reopen they might be more convenient for those doing errands by car, as they have a small parking lot just west of the store.

Next instalment: vegan “wings” that are way better than the real thing.

Milk: the perfect food — for a calf!

Natasha Kyssa.
By Natasha Kyssa
www.simplyraw.ca

We’ve all seen the ad campaigns on television, billboards and in magazines. In fact, just about every editorial publication has an entire page dedicated to celebrities wearing the white moustache and endorsing cow’s milk as the “perfect food” for humans. The dairy industry is spending billions of dollars on marketing campaigns to coerce the public into believing that “milk does a body good.” This dedicated advertising campaign has been so successful that most people view milk commercials as more of a public service announcement than a shrewd attempt for corporate profit.

Milk’s main selling point is calcium, and North Americans are encouraged to drink several glasses of milk every day in order to prevent osteoporosis. No wonder we are such a dairy obsessed culture! We consume the highest amount of dairy products worldwide – ingesting the creamy white stuff multiple times a day – on its own, with cereal, cookies, in coffee, milkshakes – we even warm it up in order to get a good night’s sleep! But did you know that North America also has the highest incidence of osteoporosis?

The truth is, contrary to what the glossy ads proclaim, there are many studies indicating that drinking cow’s milk actually increases the risk osteoporosis. “Dairy products contain sodium and animal protein, both of which encourage calcium losses.” writes Dr. Neal Barnard, MD, and President of The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.All animal products create an acidic environment in the body. Your body must neutralize this acid by leaching calcium – an alkaline mineral – from the bones. Eventually, this calcium is flushed from the body, which, over years, can result in osteoporosis. “It’s time [milk] ads stop pretending there are no health risks from drinking milk,” Dr. Bernard goes on to say.

What the ad campaign conveniently fails to tell us is that all dairy products (including organic milk, yogurt and kefir!) are loaded with high levels of cholesterol, and “skim” or not, saturated fat – contributing significantly to cardiovascular disease. Studies are also linking the consumption of casein – a protein present in dairy – to allergies, asthma, bloating, IBS, stomach pain, migraines, tumors, as well as breast, colon, ovarian and prostate cancers.

As if this isn’t bad enough, cows are injected with artificial growth hormones and forced to produce many more times the milk than they would naturally. Hooked to electronic milking machines by their udders, the cows suffer electronic shocks, painful lesions and mastitis – a condition which can increase the amount of pus, for which the cows are given antibiotics. And where do you think these hormones, antibiotics, and pus subsequently end up? Yes — in that thick glass of milk.

So how do you get your calcium fill without consuming milk and dairy products? From the same place cows do! Yes, dark leafy greens – the vegetables mom used to make us eat: collard greens, broccoli, bok choy, and kale are all excellent sources of calcium. Sea vegetables, sesame seeds, tahini, chia, and figs are also high quality, calcium-rich foods.

Non-dairy “milk” alternatives such as soy, rice, hemp, coconut, oat and almond milks are a great way of providing the body with wholesome nutrition. Although they are much healthier options to dairy, keep in mind that they are still processed with additives, and create acid in the body. Remember, fresh is always best!

At our home, we prepare a large jug of (nut) mylk, and keep it in the fridge to add to smoothies or cereal. Nut and seed mylks are surprisingly easy to make. They are loaded with good-for-you nutrition without the cholesterol, hormones, fat, and mucus. Plus, they’re delicious too! Try the following recipe and leave the milk for the calves!

INSTANT HEMP MYLK (makes 2-3 servings)

* 4 cups water
* 1 cup hemp seed
* a few dates, or maple syrup (or a few drops of stevia)
* 1 TBSP alcohol-free vanilla extract
* Blend all of the ingredients until creamy and smooth. Refrigerate.

Natasha Kyssa is the author of The SimplyRaw Living Foods Detox Manual, as well as the founder of SimplyRaw. She has been living a raw vegan lifestyle for 20 years. www.simplyraw.ca

Why I joined the NCVA

I’m still pretty new to Ottawa. It’s times like these when I attempt to get my feet wet in a variety of social scenes. Originating from Toronto, I was spoilt with the non-stop bombardment of social possibilities. Being vegetarian in Toronto was like being an official member of a popular club. Now in Ottawa, I’ve learned that to get my feet wet, I have to go to the water myself.

I was somewhat apprehensive at first, but mostly excited, to explore the world of the NCVA. Once I did, I realised that becoming a member was not only going to benefit me, but it was going to benefit many, and thus it was the right thing to do. Once I trained myself to stop calling the NCVA the “OVA” (which clearly doesn’t make sense from a vegan perspective), I was ready to fit in. That’s pretty much all it takes, because the organization is not-for-profit, volunteer-based, and vegetarian, whose mandate is to educate the public about the health benefits of a plant-based diet, and more generally, to improve public health. This is one group that could easily mesh well with my own set of ethics and beliefs and, for that matter, anyone else’s. Whether or not you are vegetarian, promoting health of the greater public and of yourself is a worthy cause.

And then there’s the whole social aspect. I often feel alone as a vegan in a meat-eating world (shameless plug). Generally, going to work, socialising with acquaintances, friends, and family, doing the groceries, or whatever, I started to feel like I was the only vegan out there and no one would ever understand me anyway. It still baffles me that people still think it is ok to mock or slam vegetarianism right to your face, as if they can’t see how the derision is prejudiced and discriminatory. But then I attended a NCVA event and immediately let out a sigh of relief–Finally! a place where I knew that I wouldn’t be made fun of for being culinarily different or more ethically sound. It was like my own personal vegetarian haven, where like-minded people admire and support me and my vegetarian lifestyle.
 
There was also the fact that with the NCVA, part of my social life could align with my morality, which is a great coupling. Being veg was always a great way for me to show the rest of the world that I care about animals (and the environment, and my personal health), but I was presented with the opportunity to take it a step further. By joining the NCVA, I realised I was supporting the greater cause of promoting a plant-based diet to the rest of the world. I was chipping in, wearing the badge, taking a stand! Coming out of the proverbial vegetarian closet was great for my social life, but I hope it also made it that much easier for anyone else who wants to do the same. Supporting the NCVA arguably equates to an increased vegetarian presence in Ottawa and thus a happier, healthier city.
 
Finally, this was my way of giving back to the community. Although nothing beats the warm and fuzzy feeling got from my childhood teddy bear (Mr. Fuzzy Wuzzy, if you don’t mind), a close second for me is always donating to a worthy cause. The best thing about donating to the NCVA is that I not only got the incredibly highly-sought after warm and fuzzies from the act of giving, but I also get a membership in return. I figured my $20 membership was a donation to something I cared about deeply, as well as an opportunity to connect to fun social events and new, like-minded people (and get great NCVA member discounts at great veg and veg-friendly restaurants in Ottawa!).
 
So, although I’m far from the poster child for the animal rights movement, nor am I saving the planet on a daily basis, I at least knew that, yes, I could make a small, but significant, difference just by being a part of the NCVA. I already felt like I was becoming more of an effective voice for those animals among us who don’t have one. The good news for you folks is that you can do it, too! You don’t even have to wait till the next NCVA event to land yourself a hot new membership. You can do it now right here from the convenience of your own home and at your leisure: ncva.ca/membership

Basically, you’re welcome.

— joe vegan @ saladinasteakhouse.wordpress.com

An Imperial Feast

By Erin

Sorry for the dorky post title but I an in bit of a food coma. A food slash beer slash Cocoa Camino almond butter chocolate bar that I ill-advisedly bought when I popped into Herb and Spice afterwards for eye makeup remover coma.

You see, I have just come from my office Christmas party.

It was actually a bit of a nail-biter for me at first, since I suggested the restaurant. I picked the Imperial because I knew that, while it caters to a mostly omni crowd, it has at least one vegan entrée. I admit that I was mildly concerned that the food and/or service would stink and that the two dozen public servants with whom I work would react by blaming the vegan.

My fears were assuaged pretty quickly, however, as polite and efficient servers fed us alcohol. Those fears evaporated completely when our food arrived.

Neil and I had the Southwest Vegan Black Bean Burger. It was simply presented – Neil’s with fries and mine with salad. I know you’re already thinking that I probably ate his fries and yes I did and so what? I do apologise, however, for also sharing his fries with an adjacent female colleague who also ordered the salad in a moment of self-delusion. That was a bit much even for me.

Vegan Southwest Black Bean Burgers

And as it happens, the fries were the best part of the meal. Seriously – they were awesome. I will pause for a moment to remember their crispy fabulousness…

Now what…um, the salad dressing was really nice – some sort of Asian inspired concoction. Unfortunately, the salad itself was profoundly bitter – I only wound up eating a quarter of it.

The burger itself was only pretty good. It was a little on the mushy side. The bun was a tad crunchy (over-toasted, I think, rather than stale). Still, good enough to attract me back for a second go. Especially given just how totally charming the Imperial is, with its vintage posters advertising ultraviolent 70’s B-movies and the weird Ms. Pac Man sign above the bar.

Of course, I can’t speak to the omni options. I didn’t taste them and didn’t make inquiries of those who did – being somewhat disinclined to hear about how tender or nicely spiced the cows and pigs and fish were. Still, the general air of satisfaction that emanated from my colleagues suggests that The Imperial is a safe place to bring your omni pals.

So thumbs up to the Imperial. I should also note that they have a 3-option Sunday brunch and that one of said options is vegan. I’ve had it several times now and, as clichéd as it sounds, each time was better than the last. The vegan meal includes pancakes, beans baked in a tomato, toast and pan fried potatoes. Not cheap but, well, god hates a tightwad, doesn’t he?

Vegan Brunch

Cheap and satisfying eats at Govinda’s

By Jen Lahey

On a recent visit to Govinda’s, a vegetarian resto located in Sandy Hill, my dining companion and I arrived to find the sparsely decorated space empty, save for the chef and one other worker. But we had arrived just as they opened for the night, and by the time we left, an hour or so later, the cafeteria-style tables were packed with what looked like students from nearby Ottawa University, presumably there to take advantage of the all-you-can-eat buffet, which is priced at a delightful five bucks for students (seven bucks for everyone else).

Govinda’s is run on a non-profit basis by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), commonly known as Hare Krishnas. ISKCON are also the folks who run the Hare Krishna Food for Life program, which to date has served more than 100 million free vegetarian/vegan meals in more than 60 countries – the Krishnas’ ‘kitchen religion’ moniker is well-earned. At Govinda’s, the dining area was partitioned off from what looked like a worship area, which was dark the night we visited.

The food selection is by no means vast at Govinda’s, but for the meager amount of cash you’re shelling out you can’t really go wrong. That night on the self-serve buffet there was a fresh green salad with homemade dressing, a cold pasta salad, a lentil curry, potatoes, a hot soup, rice, and a simple cake for dessert. I’m told this is a fairly typical sampling of what they serve, though the menu and ingredients vary from day to day. Everything on offer is vegan – score one for the herbivores.

The food was lightly spiced, as the chef (who warmly welcomed us and answered all our questions) had said it would be, and it was comforting and delicious. The flavours were not complex: this is simple, tasty, fill-your-belly food, not haute cuisine. If your grandma were a Hare Krishna vegetarian, this is the food she’d make for you.

It’s satisfying, ‘of the earth’ sort of fare, and you’re encouraged to eat your fill: aside from wanting their customers to leave full and happy, Govinda’s tries to keep costs and environmental impact down by not wasting food. Being the environmentally-minded veggie kids that we are, we helped by going back for seconds.

Those wanting to give Govinda’s a try will want to take note of the establishment’s limited hours: they’re only open Monday to Friday from 5 to 8 p.m., so be sure to plan ahead. In fact, calling ahead just to ensure they’re open is probably a good move. But overall, for the cash-strapped or simply the frugally-minded veg food lover Govinda’s is a gem, and a trip down to the Sandy Hill ‘hood to partake of their offerings will leave you sans regrets.

*

Govinda’s
212 Somerset St. East (one block east of King Edward & University of Ottawa)
Open Monday to Friday, 5-8 p.m.
613-565-6544
http://ottawa.iskcon.ca/homepage/buffet2.htm

Another Awesome NCVA Potluck!

By Erin

Thanks to everyone who came out to tonight’s potluck and cookie exchange.

We got off to a bit of a slow start. The potluck officially began at 6:30, but by that time there were only about 10 people there. More slowly trickled in, however, and by 7 or so, I’d say we had a good 40 people.

Highlights of the evening? Hmmm….I got to try vegan mac and cheese for the first time. Well, the homemade stuff anyway. I made a boxed version once and Neil was so traumatized with revulsion that I’ve never attempted to make it again. Neil, of course, wouldn’t try it – even when I told him that Salad in a Steakhouse had made it (sorry, David, I started calling you that and now I can’t stop).

Neil’s faux steak and stout pie, of course, was a big hit. It’s even better now he’s making it with the Nelakee mushroom beef instead of the rather gelatinous PC fake beef strips.

Oh, and of course Pamela’s awesome curry was, well, awesome. It earned more than one delighted exclamation of “fake shrimp!”

There was a dramatic late run on the buffet table when it was discovered that late arrival Harpreet had clandestinely added some homemade potato pancakes to the buffet table. A big shout out to Harpreet for bringing something so awesome on her first time out, by the way!

On the weird side, the dessert table this time out was filled entirely with apples. Seriously, there were something like five separate bags of apples, and no other desserts.

Weird!

Well, there was also a bag of oranges and a couple of things that straddled the line between sweet dessert and savoury side dish, but mostly it was apples. Very weird how that can happen sometimes. At the September potluck, for example, it was all desserts. There were maybe two savoury dishes and the rest was cakes, cookies, pies…

That was pretty great actually.

Of course, it was quite providential that the dessert pickings were slim, since today was the day of the cookie exchange. We sold quite a few 6-cookie bags to our dessert deprived attendees.

Cookie Exchange

Who made that fabulous shortbread, by the way – these little squares with the fork holes?

World’s best shortbread

Because they may well be the most fabulous things I have ever eaten in my life.

Anyway, thanks again all. Hope to see you at the East Africa Meetup!

ZenKitchen brings vegan cuisine mainstream

Silver medal at Gold Medal Plates just the latest accomplishment

By Pamela

Since opening in June 2009, ZenKitchen has quickly established itself as not just one of the hottest vegan spots around, but one of the hottest tables in all of Ottawa.

It’s not only the delicious food that is noteworthy, but also the way that Chef Caroline Ishii has contributed to bringing vegan cuisine to a mainstream audience. On any given day its tables are filled primarily by omnivores. While I wish everyone was vegan, every vegan meal that’s eaten is one less meal that involves the use and abuse of animals, and ZenKitchen has certainly done its part to reduce the number of animals being consumed in Ottawa.

ZenKitchen has received a lot of press and accolades for its innovation, including a 12-part television series called The Restaurant Adventures of Caroline and Dave that aired on the W Network last winter.  But it hasn’t gone to their heads.

True Ottawa veg superheroes, Caroline Ishii and Dave Loan.

“All the attention from the media is great: it helps bring in new customers, and that means more people accepting animal-free cuisine as part of their everyday diet,” says Chef Caroline Ishii. “Dave (her life and business partner) and I see ourselves as a small, family-run restaurant. We struggle – every day – with the need to keep our food quality consistent, to develop new menu items, to pay our bills. We’re really surprised when someone says that we’re food celebrities or whatever. We see ourselves as a couple of naive restaurateurs doing our best to offer tasty food, to keep to our environmental, vegan and health values, and to make ends meet.”

They recently received another boost when Caroline was invited to participate in the annual “Gold Medal Plates” competition in Ottawa on Nov. 16.  Gold Medal Plates is a celebration of Canadian Excellence in cuisine, wine, the arts and athletic achievement, that occurs in eight Canadian cities.  It features superb wines and the premier chefs in each city, paired with Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes, in a competition to crown a gold, silver and bronze medal culinary team in each city, and subsequently nation-wide.

Remarkably, Caroline was one of the first female chefs ever to be invited to participate in the competition.  She was also the first vegan cuisine chef. She was one of ten local chefs invited last spring.

“Ottawa has had a number of excellent women chefs. However, women chefs haven’t always had the “star” profile that male chefs have achieved. I hardly think of myself in that category, so no one was more shocked when I was invited to the Gold Medal Plates competition,” Chef Caroline says.  “I am incredibly proud and honoured to be one of the first women chefs invited to the Ottawa competition and the first vegetarian/vegan chef invited in the history of the competition in Canada. I’ve learned that commercial kitchens are pretty much a man’s domain, and it isn’t easy bringing a feminine perspective to either the food or the way a kitchen is run. But I think it’s that very femininity and passion that makes my food stand out.”

And not only did she participate, she won them over, taking the event’s silver medal, in an event that typically favours heavy usage of cream and animal bodies.

The silver medal dish.

The dish? Start with a little kale, sautéed and seasoned with a plum-kombu vinaigrette. On top of that sits a polenta cake, crispy outside and creamy inside. The polenta is topped with a thin disk of red pepper aspic. Add a teaspoon of fermented nut cheese, bruléed with a torch, and then place a “cigar” of more nut cheese wrapped in fried and smoked yuba (the skin that forms when cooking soya milk). A chile-mushroom sauce is swirled from the base of the polenta across the plate, and sautéed exotic mushrooms from Le Coprin are added to it. Three dots of spicy passila chile sauce finish the plate.

The ingredients – nut cheese, yuba, vegan aspic – all offered something new to most of the judges, and there was a range of textures, from crispy to chewy to creamy, tastes and colours. The chile sauce and aspic were bright red elements against the yellow polenta and brown mushrooms.

This may not be something to try at home!

“All together, the dish was very complex, but very interesting , I think. I was inspired by a zen garden when I created the plate,” Chef Ishii explains. “I created a dish I was proud to serve – beautiful, interesting and delicious – which is all I could do.”

Swish!

It’s easy to hope that this could represent a change in thinking amongst Ottawa diners.  “Throughout the evening, people kept telling us that they had heard our table was a “must” to visit. And a number of cooks from the NAC and other teams stopped by to try the yuba cigar and were really interested by it,” says Chef Ishii. “The judging wasn’t about which ingredients were used, but the totality of the dish itself – presentation, flavour and texture.  And that’s what we see every day at ZenKitchen – omnivorous diners who come to our restaurant because they like the food, not because of what we do or don’t serve.  I believe it expresses a sophistication and progressiveness in Ottawa’s food scene – the willingness to see beyond the ingredients and believe that good food is good food.”

So what’s next for Ottawa’s hottest meal ticket, which also happens to be vegan? They’re offering take-out now, and doing a bit more catering. “We’re also trying to develop some new products for take-out and retail. Eventually, we’d like to move into a slightly bigger space, but that might be a long time coming and would be dependent on investors,” Chef Ishii says.

For now, they’re simply focusing on the restaurant and ensuring the food and service are at the level they want. There are also some special events being planned: two seatings at New Year’s Eve, a Winemaker’s Dinner with Ravine Winery’s Shauna White on February 9, and of course Valentine’s Day!

And who knows, maybe ZenKitchen will be invited back to Gold Medal Plates next year!

ZenKitchen
http://www.zenkitchen.ca
634 Somerset Street W
613-233-6404

 

Eating at La Belle Verte

By Pamela

It’s my birthday, which means it was up to my sweetie to figure out dining plans. He decided on La Belle Verte (166 rue Eddy in Hull).  It opened around this time last year, which is super awesome for anyone who is interested in healthy eating. We don’t get there very often because it has relatively short hours, and we rarely brave crossing the river during rush hour.  But for my birthday, we made an exception.

This is the appetizer we ordered, and devoured.

For those of you who don’t know, La Belle Verte is a mostly-vegan (some dishes contain honey), mostly raw-food restaurant in downtown Hull about five minutes over the Chaudière Bridge.  It’s mostly a lunchtime destination. The place is cheery and open concept, with mismatched tables and chairs and an old piano (which someone played beautifully through much of our meal.)  A display case shows off the desserts, and you can watch while your meal is prepared if you choose.

Kale chips = Nom.

We ordered a raw appetizer, that consisted of various raw pates and cheezes along with raw vegetables and dehydrated seed crackers. It was nice.  The proportion of stuff to dip into was pretty well matched with the number of things that were dippable.  I also ordered a side of kale chips, because LBV makes delicious kale chips. I have a dehydrator (which I purchased as a result of being inspired by LBV’s kale chips) but my chips are not as good, no matter how hard I try. Having them is a treat for me, because they aren’t really a budget-minded option.  I’ve had many omnivores try them, only to be very surprised by their deliciousness.

For my main course I had the peanut thai tofu sandwich, which comes on chapati bread with carmelized onions, red peppers, alfalfa sprouts, and shredded carrots. It also comes with some mushrooms, but as I loathe and detest them I requested they not be on my sandwich. My partner had a tofu mushroom burger, which was similar to mine only inverted (lots of mushrooms, less tofu) and came with a generous salad. I actually forgot to take photos until I’d already finished eating it. The sandwiches were delicious.

I actually skipped dessert as most of them combined chocolate with fruit, which isn’t a favorite of mine. The chocolate tarte, which I have enjoyed in the past, seemed to have raisins in it this time. Raisins are another thing I intensely dislike.  However, if you’re looking for extremely decadent, yet surprisingly healthy vegan desserts, LBV is a great place to find them.

If you’re looking for a light, healthy, but delicious meal, this is a good place to come. If you’re looking for super-rapid and attentive service, that is not the forte here. But that’s ok. They’re plenty nice, you just might have to remind the server that your meal came with a salad.

Septembre. ~ 12 weeks.

To close, I’m going to share a photo of my adorable kitten, who I love very much. She sat beside me while I wrote this. Her name is Septembre. Her mom was a stray my cousin took in. Please say no to breeders, and always adopt!

Holiday gifts for the veg-minded eater on your list

NCVA Holiday Gift Memberships

Not sure what to give the anti-commercial, veg or veg-friendly person on your Christmas list? Consider giving them the gift of an NCVA membership.

We'll even throw in this cute little envelope and an NCVA magnet with your gift membership, or when you purchase one for yourself.

It’s a gift that keeps giving all year: the $20 membership fee supports the NCVA’s work in the community. But not only that, it entitles the NCVA card holder member to discounts at many of Ottawa’s finest veg and veg-friendly restaurants. Plus, you’re not buying something that will go in a landfill or end up at a thrift store.

Your gift membership will include the membership card in a festive envelope, a list of applicable discounts and a cute little NCVA magnet to put to good use on the fridge! Gift memberships will be available at the December potluck, and at The Table Vegetarian Restaurant on Sunday, Dec. 12, betwen 11:30-1:30 and 5:30-7:30.

Cardholder discounts include:

The Table Vegetarian Restaurant
Green Earth Vegetarian Restaurant
Auntie Loo’s
Host India
Zen Kitchen
Cafe My House
Coconut Lagoon
Lieutenant’s Pump

For a complete list, or to become a member online click here:

http://www.ncva.ca/membership/

If you buy a gift membership online, please email ncva.avcn(at)gmail.com separately and immediately with the recipient’s name and contact info.

Wear your politics

The t-shirts look exactly like this.

The NCVA is also selling these fab “Eat like you give a damn” t-shirts, that would make a great gift!

The t-shirts are made by (sweatshop-free) American Apparel. At the moment, we have a full range of sizes for men and women. These normally sell for $21 + shipping + tax + customs through online stores, but we are selling them for $20 each.

They can be purchased at the December potluck (this Saturday, Dec. 11) or at The Table on Sunday, Dec. 11 between 11:30-1:30 and 5:30-7:30.

Some Tried and Tested Ethiopian Wat Recipes

As promised a few weeks ago here are two recipes I’ve made and really enjoyed. These are best enjoyed with some fresh injera. (Ethiopian bread)

Mesir Wat

Ingredients:
2 onions, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely minced
2 tsp ginger, peeled and minced or grated
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tablespoons berbere
2 cups red lentils, rinsed
4 cups, water or broth
salt & pepper, to taste

Directions
Place the onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor or blender and puree. Add a little water if necessary.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium flame. Add berbere and stir rapidly to color the oil and cook spices through, about 30 seconds.

Add the onion puree and sauté until the excess moisture evaporates and the onion loses its raw aroma, about 5-10 minutes. Do not burn.

Add lentils and water to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are cooked through and fall apart, about 30 to 40 minutes. Add water if necessary to keep the lentils from drying out.

Stir in salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Kik Alicha

Ingredients
3 cups water plus 2 tablespoons (divided)
1 cup dried yellow split peas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1 inch-long piece fresh ginger, peeled,
finely chopped 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt

Directions
Place 3 cups of the water and the peas in large saucepan. Heat over high heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium; cook until almost tender, about 40 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat; cook onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and turmeric; cook 1 minute.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons water; cover. Cook on low heat 3 minutes. Add mixture to cooked peas; stir in salt. Simmer until peas are very soft, about 30 minutes. Taste; adjust seasonings.