Monthly Archives: August 2013

Camping

Lake

Mont-Tremblant, Quebec

My brief but much-needed camping holiday started with taking an extra day off to grocery shop and cook (and listen to CBC)! Vegan camping really is a snap. If anything, it’s easier because it matters less if your cooler starts to lose its cool.

First, my favourite camping/picnic standby – veggie sushi. This batch’s colourful set of ingredients: steamed asparagus (reserved from dinner earlier in the week), baked yam strips (also reserved from dinner earlier in the week), red pepper, avocado, cucumber, spinach, and Appetite For Reduction’s Masala Baked Tofu (yet another good reason to buy this cookbook!). I usually use brown rice when I make sushi for home consumption, but it doesn’t stick together quite as well as traditional sushi rice. For transport, I find a mix works best. This turned into a huge batch, and even the last few pieces that went into Sunday’s lunch of leftovers on the way home still tasted great.

sushi ingredientssushi

The sushi, a few extra slabs of the baked tofu (just as good cold as it is hot), some store-bought samosas, a box of fancier crackers than I would usually splurge on, and hummus with a big bag of veggies (man cherry tomatoes are good right now!) did the trick for three rounds of lunch.

There are a zillion hummus recipes out there (this might not even be an exaggeration!), but I tend to fall back on the one in (surprise, surprise…) Appetite for Reduction. Isa’s genius trick is replacing most of the oil with the liquid from the chickpea tin.

Dinner the first night – Baked Falafel (dinner the second night was much more low brow – veggie dogs over the camp fire)

falafel

Falafel is a camping no-brainer. Tasty, easy to pack, keeps well, and easily satisfies that lots-of-fresh-air hunger. Another Appetite for Reduction gem:

http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=1962048

I love this tzatziki recipe so much. While it was no problem to squeeze a tub of it in the cooler, it still felt like a touch of luxury to have it camping.

http://greek.food.com/recipe/vegan-tzatziki-239629

The non-savouries were thanks to Dreena Burton. Oatmeal for breakfast was rounded out with her BF Blueberry Muffins from Let Them Eat Vegan (if you are going to buy two vegan cookbooks…). I also used this trip as a chance to getting around to trying her Proper Healthy Granola Bars recipe. They get an A, easy!

Neither recipe is available online, sorry. But here’s a picture of the granola bars.

granola bars

And just because she’s so darn cute, here’s our cat in the cooler. No, she didn’t get to come!

cooler cat

I would love to hear about your camping favourites. While I won’t get a chance to try any out in the proper wilderness until next year, there’s still time for a few nice picnics at the park!

The hard thing I did get over

I have more than a bit of a compulsion to match food with circumstance, and it’s amazing how strong these associations can be. Cheese goes with wine, Sunday breakfast means bacon and eggs with a latte, Hockey Night in Canada means burgers and nachos and wings, Easter is ham, Christmas is turkey, a perfect summer’s night should be acknowledged with salmon on the BBQ, nothing says Sunday dinner like a roast and Yorkshire pudding. You get the idea.

I know I’m far from alone in growing up with these associations. This is precisely why they are so powerful! It’s not just that they’re a kind of shared language; these pairings also bring history to the plate. It took some serious brain reprogramming for me to start feeling the same kind of connection to vegan alternatives – to feel that addictive brain spark of creating a synthesis. But then somewhere along the line it went from feeling like compromise to feeling like liberation.

There are four recipes in particular I thank for setting me FREE.

1. Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s curried scrambled tofu with wilted arugula from Appetite for Reduction. The original recipe isn’t online, unfortunately, but if I was going to tell you to buy one cookbook… Hands down!

I love this recipe because it’s a snap to make, is loaded with nutrition, and tastes fantastic. But beyond all these nice selling points, it feels like brunch.

2. More Appetite for Reduction Lentil chipotle burgers.

http://www.snack-girl.com/snack/lentil-chipotle-burger-recipe/

These burgers opened my mind to how amazing veggie burgers can be. They are delicious hot. They are delicious cold. I have a whole list of favorites now (which I will compile as their own blog one day here), but these were my first love.

3. Southwest roasted asparagus and corn from The 30 Minute Vegan (Mark Reinfeld). It doesn’t look it in the photo and it probably sounds a bit unlikely, but this dish is AMAZING as nacho topping. Just nacho chips, a mound of the asparagus and corn, and big dollops of salsa and guacamole.

http://veganfusion.com/vegetarian-raw-food-gluten-free-cuisine/best-free-vegan-recipes/southwest-roasted-asparagus-and-corn/

4. Barbecued seitan ribz by the FatFree Vegan, Susan Voisin. These did what I once thought would be impossible… got me through BBQ season without any sense of denial.

http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2007/05/barbecued-seitan-ribz.html

These recipes didn’t just help me step up my personal veganism, they also put me on the road to feeling like I was able to provide vegan food for others – not apologetically, but with the same confidence I used to feel that I was creating a shared mood. This makes me happy.