Saya’s Cabbage Salads

September 2, 2013 § 1 Comment

Saya's cabbage salad

Cabbage is the most used vegetable in Japanese cuisine and is in everything. On my first night out, I was with tourists and a friend commented that he was getting sick of cabbage. I actually don’t mind it as in India it’s frequently served as a side salad instead of lettuce which is harder to grow there.

The cabbage salads that Saya served are her own recipes that she has come up. I must say I was quite impressed at how flavourful they were and the one with the sesame oil was my favourite. The traditional Japanese style is to eat cabbage with the sauce that is used for yakisoba. I tried it but I was more impressed with Saya’s personal creations.

white rice vinegar
sesame oil
thinly sliced hot red pepper

kombu seaweed
soy sauce
kombu dashi

pink pepper seeds
white rice vinegar
lemon juice

Toss the ingredients in a bowl. I don’t which proportions she used so you’ll have to play around.

Saya Tokyo Japan


Beans on Toast

April 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

The first time that I backpacked through India, I travelled alone and met two English girls on the train who had arrived a day before me. During the four months that we travelled together, I watched them eat all kinds of English food that the British had left behind. My friends, who were not fans of eating curry for breakfast, would devour on chips, sausage and eggs, while I was hooked on eating beans on toast.

I still really love beans on toast and find it a good solution to a quick protein rich vegetarian breakfast. When my son has an early morning soccer game, I like to feed him a healthy meal that will give him energy throughout the game. I often make this quick delicious breakfast that we both enjoy.

Cooking time 15 minutes
Makes 4 pieces

1 tsp (5 ml) olive oil
1 tbsp (15 ml) finely diced red onions
1/4 cup (65 ml) red pepper
1 425 gram can of organic baked beans
1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped cilantro
4 pieces of toasted bread
sliced of vegan or regular mozzarella or cheddar cheese (optional)

1. Heat a medium-sized pan on medium heat and add the olive oil and onions. Saute until caramelized and add the red pepper. Cook until the peppers slightly soften and add the baked beans. Cook until the beans bubble, add the cilantro and turn off.
2. Toast the bread and place on a baking tray. Spoon the beans onto the bread, layer with cheese and broil in the oven on low heat. Pull the tray out of the oven when the cheese is melted and serve.

Broccolini and Red Pepper Quinoa Pilaf

February 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

When I am working from home and want a quick and warm lunch, my quinoa pilaf is my favorite go to dish. This dish is fast and very easy to make. The ingredients that I use in this recipe make this meal very satisfying and keeps your stomach tied down until dinner. The combination that I use is my personal favorite but you can use any left over veggies that are lying around in your fridge. This recipe is written for one person because my kids are not as crazy about quinoa like I am. For two people or left overs, just double this recipe.

Cooking time 15 minutes
Makes 1 large serving

1 tsp (5 ml) olive oil
1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped red onion
1 clove crushed garlic
handful broccolini florets
1/2 red pepper diced
1 tbsp (15 ml) roughly chopped walnuts
1 tsp (5 ml) raisins
1/4 tsp (1 ml) tumeric
1/4 tsp (1 ml) sea salt
1 cup (250 ml) cooked quinoa

1. Heat a medium-sized pan on medium heat and add the olive oil.
2. Saute the garlic for about 30 seconds and add the onions and saute.
3. Add the broccolini and red pepper and saute for 3-5 minutes or until the broccolini softens.
4. Add the walnuts, raisins, tumeric and salt, stir and cook for about a minute.
5. Lastly add the quinoa and cook for a few more minutes.

Occupy Stir Fry

November 15, 2011 § 5 Comments

At one in the afternoon, my phone wrang and it was a friend inviting me to join her in visiting the Occupy Vancouver kitchen. She was heading downtown to make a food donation and thought that I would be interested in  meeting some of the people who work in the kitchen. I had not yet visited Tent City and decided to join her and see it for myself.

The adjacent street of the Vancouver Art Gallery was lined with media and film crews waiting for action and interviewing people walking by. We walked through a path of blue coloured tents to the west side of the Vancouver Art Gallery where the Occupy kitchen tent stands.

In the kitchen we were warmly greeted by Mya who was busy prepping a cashew cream and tofu dish for dinner. Mya is a mental health worker who works in the downtown eastside and is also an active animal rights advocate.  She tells us that the Occupy Kitchen is totally vegan and operates on the principles of Food Not Bombs.

The Food Not Bombs movement serves free vegan and vegetarian food in 60 countries around the world. Food Not Bombs acquires food from distributer’s and grocery stores that can not be sold and would normally end up in landfills. Food Not Bombs redirects that food and turns it into healthy vegan and vegetarian meals and serves it to anyone who is hungry. 

Some of the food in the Occupy kitchen is donated by individuals from the community who support the Occupy message. According to Mya, many people have come to share their stories and show their support by making food donations. Outside the Occupy tent  stands a Kitchen Wish List board with requests of food and kitchen items.  

The occupy kitchen serves 2,000 meals a day to occupiers, the homeless and people who visit Occupy and end up staying for a meal. Among them is the business community who have gotten drift of the good food and stop by on their lunch breaks. The Occupiers rave about the food and many say that it’s the best food they’ve eaten in their lives.

The most interesting statistic that I learnt while writing this story, is that the average North American wastes 240 lbs of food per year at the consumer level. That is 20 lbs per month per person and for a household of three like mine, that amounts to a shocking 60 lbs per month. Before visiting Tent City I was indifferent about the Occupy movement. After speaking with Mya who shed some light on the hunger issues in the world, I now understand the Occupier’s motivations.  At the very least I will be more conscious of my food waste and free up some of the resources in the world.

A quick way to cook up miss matched veggies that are on their last legs, is in a stir fry. The foundation of my stir fry is onions, garlic, ginger, Bragg liquid soy seasoning, sesame oil and chili sauce. You can add any left over veggies and experiment with unassuming ingredients. I once went to a friend’s house whose roommate offered me a stir fry which had lettuce and veggie hot dogs in it which actually tasted pretty good.

Cooking time 25 minutes
Serves 2


1 tbsp (15 ml) + 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
1 tbsp (15 ml) minced ginger
2 tbsp (30 ml) crushed garlic
1/2 cup (125 ml) sliced red onion
1 cup (250 ml) broccoli florets
1 cup (250 ml) cauliflower florets
1 cup (250 ml) sliced carrots
1 cup (250 ml) bok choy
1 red pepper sliced into 1/2 inch strips
1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt
1 tbsp (15 ml) Bragg liquid soy seasoning
1 tbsp (15 ml) sesame oil
chilli sauce (optional)

1. Prep the vegetables and place in a colander. When rinsing the veggies, leave behind extra water which when cooked will steam the veggies. Transfer the veggies into a medium-sized mixing bowl and set aside.

2. Mince the garlic, ginger and slice the red onions and set aside.

3. Heat a large saucepan on medium heat and add 1 tbsp on olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and ginger and saute until light golden, about 30 seconds. Add the sliced red onions saute for another minute or until the onions start to slightly golden.

4. Add the veggies into the saucepan and cook uncovered. If the veggies start to dry up before they are ready, you can add 1 tbsp of olive oil. If that is not enough moisture, you can add a few tablespoons of boiling water as well. Add the water to the bottom of the pot so that the water turns into steam. This will keep the vegetables crunchy.

5. The veggies are ready when the vegetables begin to soften but are still crunchy. This takes anywhere from 7-10 minutes depending on the size of your veggies. A minute before the veggies are ready, add the salt, Bragg liquid soy seasoning and sesame oil, chilli sauce and stir. Serve with rice, quinoa or noodles.

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