Nourish Bistro

Continuing my search for unique food in Banff, I stumbled upon Nourish, which serves vegetarian food. I ordered the nourishment bowl, which was packed with textures and flavours. It was surprisingly substantial.

I tried their vegan cheesecake for dessert. It was pretty good, made with coconut milk. A warning though, the dessert is a bit on the expensive side.  If you like good quality vegetarian food, Nourish is for you.

Nourishment Bowl A quinoa, rice blend, hemp, flax and chia infused rice blend, sauteed with onion, red pepper, garden greens, seeds and nuts
Nourishment Bowl
A quinoa, rice blend, hemp, flax and chia infused rice blend, sauteed with onion, red pepper, garden greens, seeds and nuts
Vegan cheesecake with nuts and cinnamon
Vegan cheesecake with nuts and cinnamon

Nourish Bistro Banff on Urbanspoon

Fresh on Spadina

Living in Calgary (Cowtown), I haven’t really learned to appreciate really good vegetarian food in restaurants, other than in Indian restaurants. Until I tried Fresh, on a recommendation from a friend. I had the Energy bowl, which had a coconut curry sauce with vegetables on top of soba noodles. It also came with marinated tofu, which had a rich flavour, with undertones of vinegar. It was quite large and substantial. The flavours were rich and satisfying. I would highly recommend it, even for non vegetarians.

Energy bowl marinated tofu cubes, rich coconut curry sauce, chick pea & vegetable stew, cucumber, tomato, red onion, sunflower sprouts & tahini sauce
Energy bowl
marinated tofu cubes, rich coconut curry sauce, chick pea &
vegetable stew, cucumber, tomato, red onion, sunflower
sprouts & tahini sauce

Fresh By Juice For Life on Urbanspoon

Vegetable Manchurian

I’ve never had Indo Chinese food until I went to a South Indian restaurant last week. It is fascinating to me; Indian food using Chinese cooking techniques.  Much of this kind of cuisine is deep fried, with gravy, like this recipe.  It tastes like Chinese food, but with undertones of Indian spices and heat.  Manchurian style is a sauce that is flavoured with soy and a spicy kick. There is also chow mein and fried rice.

I used the recipe from 365 Days of Eating Blog, but I needed to make adjustments to the recipe as the veggie balls were too watery and the gravy too thin. The original recipe called for corn flour, so I used corn meal. In hindsight, I suspected it should have been corn starch.

For the Manchurian balls

2 cups                  finely chopped cabbage
2 cups                  very finely chopped mix of carrots, cauliflower, parsley or whatever you have
4 tablespoons    corn starch
2 tablespoons    all-purpose flour (may need more if too liquid)
2 tablespoons    dark soy sauce
Dash                    chilli sauce
1/2 teaspoon     black pepper
Salt
Oil to fry

For the gravy

2 cups                   water
4 tablespoons     corn starch
1/2 cup                 chopped green onions with stalks
6-7 cloves             garlic
1 inch                    knob of ginger grated
1/2 teaspoon       red chili flakes
2-3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon           vinegar
1 tablespoon       red chili sauce
1 tablespoon       tomato ketchup
1/2 teaspoon      pepper
Dash                    sugar
1 tablespoon       oil

In a bowl mix all the ingredients to form the manchurian balls. It should be a little damp to touch and should form a ball when pressed in hand. Take a fistful and bind tightly to shape the mixture into 1 inch balls. If the mixture is too dry to bind, add an additional teaspoon of water. If the mixture falls apart, add more corn starch or flour and squeeze out some moisture as balls are made.

Heat oil in a wok and deep fry the balls on low- medium heat till they are golden brown. These balls can be eaten as a snack with a side of ketchup or sweet and sour sauce.

In another wok, heat a tablespoon of oil. Add the onions (keep aside some greens for garnish), garlic and ginger and sauté on high heat. Add the spices, sauces and water and bring to a boil. Check for salt and add as necessary as the soy sauce will also add salt to the dish.

Just before serving, take out ¼ cup of the liquid, cool slightly and dissolve the corn starch in it. Add to the gravy and bring to a boil while stirring. Heat till the gravy has a shine to it.

Then add the balls to to the gravy and garnish with the onion greens.

Serve hot with Chinese Fried Rice or steamed rice.

To make a dry manchurian, reduce the quantity of water to ¾ cup, corn flour to ½ tablespoon and then proceed as above.

Recipe inspired by 365 Days of Eating.

All the ingredients
All the ingredients

20140308_214737 (480x640)

Deep fried goodness
Deep fried goodness

20140309_184826 (640x480)

Pita and Falafel

I’m in the mood for something healthy and vegetarian. After a visit to Calgary Shawarma, I wondered if I could make a decent falafel wrap at home.

Kudos to the authors for the pita and falafel recipes.

I was generous with the parsley so I ended up with green falafel! Dried and reconstituted chickpeas give a nice texture.

20140208_143100 (640x549)

I tried the flatten and roll as opposed to my pizza technique which did not require a rolling pin. Rolling pin wins, as the texture is more even.

20140208_163729 (640x462)

I liked the way some of my creations puffed up. Some of them didn’t. And some of them were a little charred.

20140208_163107 (640x470)

20140208_163746 (640x480)

Fried is definitely tastier, but baked is healthier! Fried in a cast iron pan.

Fried, and baked falafel
Fried, and baked falafel

My pitas were so small that the falafel didn’t fit inside. Topped with: lettuce, tomato, red onion, black olives, cucumber, Greek yogurt and tahini. Tasted good, though.

Falafel sandwiches, left is fried, right is baked
Falafel sandwiches, left is fried, right is baked

Green Bean Heaven

Sometimes you buy a large bag, of say green beans because they were on sale? What to do?

Green Bean and Grape Tomato Salad

20140112_200243 (1024x720)

Recipe courtesy of The Vegan Chronicle.

Orange Sweet and Sour Stir Fry

  • 1 lb green beans, trimmed and cut in half
  • 1 large orange, cut into supremes
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 box grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 C fresh ginger, sliced into sticks
  • 1 tbs corn starch
  • 2 tbs ketchup
  • 2 tbs Chinese red vinegar
  • 2 tbs orange juice
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • water
  • salt and pepper to taste

20140119_173539 (1024x726)

Arugula and Cilantro Pesto

I was hoping for some fennel in my CSA delivery this week, but it was not to be. I really like fennel frond pesto. I’ve just about decimated my basil plant so I decided to make pesto with something else. I did get some arugula to go along with the bunch of cilantro that I bought earlier this week.

The recipe is adapted from Veganivore.

  • 2.5 c. arugula or baby arugula
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro (or a little more if you really like cilantro)
  • 1/2 c. pine nuts
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 2 t. minced garlic
  • 1 t. Fleur de sel (or sea salt)
  • up to 1 t. freshly-grated pepper
  • 1/2 C grated parmesan cheese, more to taste

For the pesto:

Combine arugula, cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper into a blender or food processor. In a pan, toast the pine nuts for a minute or two and add to the blender. Pulse the blender until all pesto is thick and creamy and a bright, beautiful green- pausing to scrape unblended ingredients from the sides if you need to. Have a quick taste and adjust salt if necessary. Use a rubber spatula to scrape every bit of the pesto from the blender and enjoy!

I mixed it with some penne pasta and for a gluten free version, buckwheat groats.

All ready to mix
All ready to mix
Lovely, deep dark green
Lovely, deep dark green
Arugula and cilantro pesto with penne
Arugula and cilantro pesto with penne

Fig Pizza

I had some chard to use up. Also some figs that I had frozen and were saving for pizza. Perfect. I trolled the web for pizza, figs and chard. A little stinky cheese, and we are all set.

Balsamic chard, fig and gorgonzola pizza

Balsamic Chard:
1 large bunch chard
1 tbs     olive oil
6     cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs    balsamic vinegar
A pinch of salt and lots of pepper

Roll the whole bunch of chard together tightly (leave the stems on – they’re delicious!) and slice into 1/2-inch ribbons. Heat olive oil on medium flame and fry the garlic until fragrant, then add the chard. Cook until completely wilted and dark green, then toss with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

1 C    Gorgonzola or blue cheese, crumbled
12 -15    Fresh figs, sliced
2 tbs     olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly made or prepared pizza crust, enough for 2 crusts

Preheat oven to 500F. Brush crust with olive oil. Grind black pepper over crust. Layer cheese, chard and figs. Bake until cheese melts and crust starts to brown.

Balsamic chard recipe courtesy of http://www.veggieobsession.com/2011/04/balsamic-chard-pizza-with-fig-infused.html

Fig, balsamic chard and blue cheese pizza
Fig, balsamic chard and blue cheese pizza

Green Leaf Salad Bar

I was on a search for something healthy to tide me over between lunch and dinner. Voila, I found the Green Leaf Salad Bar. This little place serves a variety of Mediterranean food. The salad bar looked fresh and tasty. I helped myself to a good sized portion of mixed greens, peas, chickpeas, pineapple, strawberries, orange, kiwi, red cabbage, beets, mixed vegetables, raspberry vinaigrette, and olive oil. The prices are good value too, $1.59/100g. Sometimes, simple is the best.

Salad, my way
Salad, my way

Green Leaf Salad Bar on Urbanspoon

Teatro

Teatro is one of those places that have been on the periphery of my radar. One of those places, at some point, that I would get around to visiting. I finally did, lured by a vendor luncheon.

Special lunch menu
Special lunch menu

I was feeling less then well at the time, so I opted for something that I hoped to be lighter. I went with the caesar  salad and the spatzle. The caesar was nicely presented and it tasted, like a caesar salad. The spatzle was rich, creamy and divine. Not very light, but very filling and tasty for a vegetarian dish.

I didn’t have the lamb, but almost everyone else did. It was a beautiful frenched rack, done to medium rare.

Leek and Spaetzle Cauliflower, white gold provolone, parmesan cheeses, tomato concasse
Leek and Spaetzle
Cauliflower, white gold provolone, parmesan cheeses, tomato concasse

The butternut squash tart was delicious. I really enjoyed the gooeyness of the toasted marshmallow and the accompanying coulis.

Butternut Squash Tart cinnamon meringue, caramelized zucchini
Butternut Squash Tart
cinnamon meringue, caramelized zucchini

The decor was very nice. We were in the Opera room, a room outside the main restaurant. The ceilings were high and the lighting looked as if they had installed two large full moons in the ceiling. I will have to come back for a more typical meal.

Teatro on Urbanspoon