Kale Eatery

My friend Ali and I both share a special love for vegan, gluten-free, raw foods. When Ali told me about Kale Eatery, I was very excited to try it out.

Kale Eatery is probably the only place in Toronto where you can pile a plate high with stews, salads and slime, and feel great about eating it all.

We chose to eat from the salad bar. When colourful food stares me in the eye like that I just really don’t have the patience to order off an a la carte menu.

So this is Ali’s plate:

I am going to try my best to name everything on her plate from memory, from the top, going clockwise: green pea and cucumber salad, squash stew, cole slaw, portobello mushroom and egglant salad, steamed kale and broccoli with tofu miso dressing.

Now my plate:

Clockwise from the top: squash stew, tomato, avocado, and celery salad, portobello mushroom and eggplant salad, tofu, lentil, and leek salad, tofu miso dressing, herbed artichokes, and tofu curry salad in the center.

This place is delicious and nutritious — seriously. If you’re into this sort of thing then you should definitely pay Kale a visit. Although some of the salads were slightly under-seasoned for my taste buds, I have to cut the chefs some slack. It’s not easy making simple, raw food so tasty, and Kale’s selection of salads is pretty good.

You can find the menu on Kale’s website – check it out and let me know what you think.

Yours meatless-ly,

Elana

Advertisements

Strawberry Cheesecake with Golden Oreo Crust

I am really hoping this will be my last cheesecake post for a long time. I have made 5 cheesecakes in the last month and believe it or not, I might actually be getting sick of them.

But this cheesecake is a bit different from my last because it is made with golden oreos, which I think taste much better in the cake.

My sister Shauna wanted to make a cake for her boyfriend’s birthday, so I obviously offered to help. We were sort of limited in our options of what to make, he only likes two types of cake: ice cream cake and strawberry cheesecake.

We decided that replicating the Baskin Robbins ice cream cake is a feat we’d save for another time and that adapting the oreo cheesecake recipe I originally used was definitely a more feasible option.

The crust is made by using 25 oreos (with filling) and about 3/4 of a stick of melted butter.

We put 5 quartered oreos into the filling, unfortunately leaving no extra oreos to snack on 😦

We covered these up with more filling, baked the cake, decorated with strawberries and melted chocolate, and this was the end result.

Shauna said Richie liked it, but she said Richie’s younger brother liked it more — he ate three slices in one sitting — success!

Yours edibly,

Elana

(and I guess Shauna, too)

Father’s Day

So this year my family sort of skipped over Father’s day celebrations. We had a big wedding to attend so we decided to celebrate another night.

Gosh, where did this cake come from then!?

I have good news: I sold my first cake!

Yup, that’s right. I made this cake for another father in another family and they paid me to do it!

So I pretty much devoted my whole weekend to this cake.

I started bright and early Saturday morning after an early night on Friday.

First I made the crust — hardest part by far. This time I decided to cover the spring-form pan in tin foil to make it easier to remove the cheesecake later on.

Then I made the cheesecake and dropped some chopped oreos in the center.

I baked the cheesecake in a water bath for just over 1 hour at 350°F.

When I first took the cake out of the oven I realized it was a little browner on the edges than I would have liked, but I tried not to stress about it too much.

When I put the cake in the fridge to set and checked on it four hours later, I noticed the cheesecake had sunk in a very unattractive way — trying very hard to keep it together at this point.

I figured that my decorations would cover up any mishaps.

Then when I tried removing the cake from the tin foil – that darn tin foil – the foil was sticking to the bottom of the cake. At this point the cake and crust had cracked from all the handling — you must be so gentle!

I was very upset, so I put the cake aside and decided to start over.

How could I sell a cake that I wasn’t happy with?

I decided to decorate it anyway, just for the sake of it and ended up giving it to my boyfriend’s father – making sure to warn him of course about the random tin foil pieces that were still stuck to the bottom — so embarrassing!

He loved it though of course.

And I was happy that my second cake turned out much nicer. This time I baked it at 325°F for just under 1 hour.

I turned the oven off and let the cake cool off in the oven with the door ajar, hoping this would prevent cracking and sinkage.

It did! And no browning on the cake this time either 🙂

I also think my writing was much nicer the second time, what do you think?

By the way, when my cake buyer, who will remain anonymous, finds out I made two cakes for her when I wasn’t happy with the first one, she’ll probably freak out. But I was so much happier with the second so it was worth it!

Can you see the difference? Let me know.

By the way, this is another oreo cheesecake — same recipe as here.

Yours edibly,

Elana

Salads

Contrary to what some of you may believe, I do eat more than just cheesecake — I swear! The other day I decided to make salad.

My sister Shauna just came back from a trip to Europe with her bf. She loves quinoa almost more than anyone I know, so I decided to make a quinoa salad for her. But then I was sort of in the mood for brussel sprouts (a personal fave) and I thought making them would be a good way to lure the bf over (he loves brussel sprouts too!).

So anyways, I made a quinoa salad with roasted tomatoes and kale, and a not-so-simple green salad with brussel sprouts, asparagus, and spinach.

Here is the recipe I made for the quinoa salad.

Roasted Tomato & Kale Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 5 cloves garlic, pureed
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • salt & pepper
  • 8 kale leaves, chopped to bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups quinoa

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place halved tomatoes in large glass baking dish (like a pyrex).
  2. Add garlic, oil, vinegar, crushed  red pepper flakes, basil, salt, and pepper to tomatoes and mix well.
  3. Roast in oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, mix in kale with tomato mixture making sure kale is nicely covered by dressing, and roast an additional 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile rinse 2 cups of quinoa in sifter to remove bitter coating. Place quinoa in pot with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil then down to a simmer and remove from heat once water is absorbed.
  5. Pour tomato and kale mixture over quinoa while both are still warm. Mix well and serve!

The end result should look something like this…

Now for my not-so-simple green salad. The only reason why this isn’t so simple is because of the crazy veggies I have in it — brussel sprouts and asparagus are totally crazy. Otherwise, the method is so simple!

This is the recipe I made:

Green Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 cups brussel sprouts, quartered
  • 1 bunch asparagus, with ends broken off
  • 3 cups spinach, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, pureed
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • a little salt and pepper

Method

  1. Heat a large braising pan or skillet with high edges to medium-high heat. Spray with a little Pam or add a tiny bit of oil.
  2. Once pan is hot add brussel sprouts and cover. Flip and turn brussel sprouts often, heat about 8 minutes before adding asparagus. Add asparagus to bottom of pan and heat about 5 minutes then add spinach. Cover pan and once spinach is wilted, brussel sprouts are slightly browned, and asparagus is tender, remove from heat.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare dressing by whisking together garlic, mustard, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Drizzle dressing over green vegetables and serve.

My sisters are definitely my toughest critics. I can usually tell immediately from their facial expressions if they like what I’ve made or not.

Sharona was very happy to see kale and all the other dark green vegetables at dinner — typical of someone who has spent most of their academic career studying Canada’s Food Guide.

Shauna was surprised that she enjoyed the quinoa because she usually doesn’t like tomatoes — score!

Michala wasn’t so happy about the brussel sprouts — whatever, you can’t please them all.

Ariella is in Dublin — one less critic to worry about.

Enjoy!

Yours edibly,

Elana

Peanut Butter Cheesecake

I made this cake specially for my friend Dana on her birthday.

It’s always fun making stuff for Dana because she is so easy to please! She made me feel like a million bucks when she asked me over and over “Did you buy this? No. Seriously, did you buy this?”

Why would I ever want to buy a peanut butter cheesecake when it is so much more fun to make it from scratch?

So I did. Now this cake was intense, 10 inches of oreo-peanut butter cup-cheesecake goodness.

This cake was actually…dare I say…quite dangerous.

The danger started with a stick of butter, a cup of roasted peanuts, and a package of oreos all blended together for the crust…

Then I added a layer of cheesecake filling…then a layer of chopped peanut butter cups…

Then some more peanut butter cheesecake filling.

I baked the cheesecake in a bain marie (water bath) to avoid cracking — success! I’ll make sure to remember to do that next time I make that Oreo Cheesecake.

The crucial step with this cheesecake was to allow it to set in the refrigerator – I set mine for about 24 hours.

When I initially tried to remove the spring-form pan from the cheesecake, which I attempted before setting the cake, the crust began tearing away from the cheese filling. The crust was also quite mushy and not so crust-like at all, despite me baking it for 1.5 hours!

Once I was able to successfully remove the cake from the pan, I added some decorations. Chopped peanut butter cups and drizzled milk chocolate — what could be better?

Nothing, according to Dana.

Thanks Dana, so happy you enjoyed it 🙂

I adapted a recipe I found here.

Warning: if you plan to prepare this cheesecake, do it well in advance of serving — and prepare for a dangerous ending to your meal.

My definition of dangerous: ingredients or flavours that are so intense and rich that they may be harmful to eat.

Yours edibly,

Elana

Wine & Cheese Party

I decided to host a little wine and cheese party before attending a wedding reception last Sunday. Any excuse to consume abundant amounts of cheese will do for me.

Selecting cheeses for a wine and cheese party should be carefully thought out, but I failed to do this. I just went with my gut in selecting a few and allowed Ellie to bring a couple more. Overall, we were quite happy with the selection, although now that I think about it, having a nice parmigiano-reggiano would have been nice — love that salty stuff.

Here we have (from the left) Jalapeno Gouda, French Wensleydale with Cranberries, & some cheese Ellie couldn’t remember the name of.

I guess it was sort of fun having a mystery cheese. It didn’t look too appetizing, as you can see, but it was by far one of my favourite because of its soft, creamy texture.

The next two cheeses are a Rosenborg Blue Cheese from Denmark and an Oka cheese from Quebec.

I think Ellie purchased a Providence Oka — it was semi-soft and tasted marvelous with a hint of honey on a baguette.

So of course there was baguette…

And a fine selection of crackers.

On the left are fig and olive crackers and on the right are apricot and rosemary slightly smashed-up crackers.

For me, I think the winning cheese was blue…

Okay, I’ll admit, the blue actually wasn’t my favourite. I think the Quebec, ugly, mystery cheese was my favourite, but I just wasn’t able to take a nice photograph of it!

Darn you ugly cheese.

Oh by the way, I didn’t take any pics of the wine. It just completed slipped  my mind. Everyone but me enjoyed white wine, I remember seeing a Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. I, on the other hand, sipped on Shiraz, which paired well with the blue cheese, but little else.

Enjoy!

Yours edibly,

Elana