6 Sept 2011

Delivered: Raw Vegan, Cooked Vegan and Totally Not Vegan

I recently joined Front Door Organics, a Toronto-based company that delivers mostly-local, certified organic or wild edibles and eco-friendly sundries. Bask in my air of green, crunchy superiority, everyone. The jewel of the program is its "Fresh Box" - a box of fruit and veg that is super seasonal and based mainly on what's most abundant that week in the region.

Tasty, no?

You can choose to get a basic Fresh Box, where you get what they give you, or do a custom box where you can swap items for others online before delivery. I mainly stuck with what they offered as there were some lovely veggies that were new to me and I figured this was a good opportunity to try them. Should you be in the GTA and want to give Front Door Organics a shot, let them know Jen Byck sent you! (Yes, they have a referral program and piggy here needs more greens.)

Here's some of the stuff I've made: a raw vegan salad, a cooked vegan soup, and one darn naughtilicious Ukrainian dish featuring beet greens.

First up: (Raw Vegan) Garlicy Kale-Lettuce Salad! Because I am lazy so into the environment, I tend to make my salad dressing in the bowl I'm going to put the salad in rather than dirtying (and needing to wash) another dish. My salad dressings almost always consist of lots of garlic, lemon or lime juice, a splash of cold pressed olive oil, a splash of Wheat-Free Tamari and herbs. I'll sometimes also use raw, organic Tahini, but didn't this time.

Washing your lettuces is important even - or especially - when eating organic, particularly if you want to keep your meal vegan:

Yup, that be a caterpillar I found in the sink. I eventually found two more after I finished washing all my leafy greens. Blarg! Better than finding half of one after eating, though.

For whatever weirdo reason, I love cutting leafy greens into ribbons - the easiest way to do this to use a Chiffonade cutting technique. I especially find that raw kale is more palatable when it's in little pieces that can marinade in your dressing.

I then basically add whatever fresh produce I want - in this case I tossed in some fresh herbs, red pepper, green onion and cherry tomatoes - all from my Fresh Box. Voila!

Next up - a cooked vegan dish of Earthy Veggie Soup (I'm making up these titles as I go along). My Fresh Box had something called Blue Russian Potatoes - aren't they pretty?

I used those and what I had on hand and in my delivery - a bit of olive oil, garlic, white onion, carrots, leek, thyme, rosemary, turmeric, sea salt and water.

Diced everything, sautéed it, covered it all with water and let it simmer for a while. Since I just *love* a puréed soup, I decided to pop it all in my much-fawned-over Blendtec:

Bring on the creamy, salty yum:

If you didn't care about the vegan thing, this soup would be balls awesome with a bit of goats cheese on top ...

And then, inspired by some really leafy beets I received, I decided to dig a recipe out of a memory I had: My mom had made beet leaf rolls for us once in like 1988 and I have forever remembered the tasty goodness of that dish. The name of my grade two teacher? No idea. What I was doing this time last week? A complete blank. The taste of a meal I had over 20 years ago? Totally front of mind. My mom sent me a link to a recipe that was pretty close to what she originally made, and it turns out it's a Ukrainian dish called Holopchi. It consists of frozen bread dough and beet greens.

I went off the vegan rails by creating the dill sauce with bacon. But, oh, hot fuck, is it ever good:

And all inspired by what's fresh and local! Care to share any seasonal dishes you're getting your grub on with?


Pinky oh Pinky 5:23 pm, September 06, 2011  

Jen - as your wrote this sentence: "Bring on the creamy, salty yum" - did you giggle? Or was it just me?

Student Mommy 6:23 am, September 07, 2011  

Hi. I have to apologise up front - I'm a Jenn *hangs head in shame*.
I'm still waiting for your Modern 50's Housewife (is there such a thing??).
Loving the slip-up vegan cooking. I am not vegan, or pescatarian, but I do believe both options are awesome and should be used at least 80% of the time. Gotta have chicken sometimes, and bacon is a definite must at least once a week, but all other meat can go retire in the pastures behind the meathouse.

Rachael 9:22 am, September 07, 2011  

I joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) program through a local farm this summer, and we get a half-bushel box of fresh, mostly local fruits and veggies every week (they actually trade produce with farms in neighboring counties, so we end up with a greater variety even if it wasn't all grown on the farm). I am all set with what to do with the fruits - tarts, pies, crumbles, and tonight I'm sticking a peck of plums into some brandy to see what happens - but I suck at knowing what to do with all the greens! You better believe I'm going to try that beet green/bread dough thing, and I'll be putting some kale in my salad tonight.

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I have no shame

Need words? I'm a Toronto-based freelance writer who injects great ones into blogs, websites, magazines, ads and more. So many services, one lovely Jen (with one 'n').

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