Vegan Mayonnaise

This summer I was asked to do a luncheon salad that with a side of bread, would make a lunch for 30 people, and would be suitable for all by providing variety.  Three platters were offered, and some folks ate it like salad, while others made sandwiches from them.  We have a go-to salad platter which morphs easily to suit seasonal brunches, lunches and dinners.  I planned on using fresh shrimp and grilled chicken as the proteins, with a selection of veggies & fruits to complete the platters.  Thinking that I should add in some egg slices, I remembered that one of the daughters of this family was extremely allergic to eggs.  So, that was a no go.  I checked emails, and lists but could find no reference to this allergy, however I do know that she and her wife, and their little one, would most likely be in attendance, as they had never missed one of these family events.

For the dressing I had planned on doing a Green Goddess, as well as Fresh Blueberry Dressing, and Lemon Vinaigrette.  So, having decided that egg would NOT be part of these platters, I decided to try a tip I’d read about to make a egg-free (vegan) mayonnaise (mayonnaise being a very important part of Green Goddess dressing).

Using nut milk or soy milk in place of the egg, creates an extremely luscious “mayonnaise”.  As with mayonnaise, you can be creative with the flavourings, however this is a classically flavoured version.  The soy milk has lecithin in it naturally, which is found in eggs, which is why they are able to emulsify with oil.  Nut milks usually have soy, flax or sunflower lecithin added to them.  It’s the lecithin that is required!  When baking for Vegans, or those allergic to eggs, I make a flax egg out of 1 T ground raw flax and 2½ T lukewarm water.  Simply mix them together in a small bowl, and let rest for about 10 minutes. Use in the place of an egg.  Works like a charm. Continue reading

Double Stuffed Mushroom Caps

IMG_8805Mushroom caps have long been a staple on appetizer buffets, and rightly so! They’re easy to do, usually just a mouthful or two, a perfect finger food. They’re typically filled with cream cheese, maybe with some crab mixed in. Cheese seems to be in so many appetizers, so if there’s a way to hold back on the stuff (this is me talking, She Who Wants Cheese) I try to do it whenever possible. This recipe is full of umami, and can easily be adapted to be Gluten Free or Vegan (see following main recipe). I usually allow for 3 per person if they’re to be plated and served before the salad course. However, if they’re part of an appetizer buffet allow for 1 – 2 per person.   Continue reading

Spicy Carrot Dip

IMG_7993We are in the midst of having the exterior of our house painted. A few years ago we painted the barn, checking that we liked the colours we’d chosen. We decided to change the door colour, yet we haven’t gone to the back of the barn to re-do the stall panels. The only time we see them is when we’re doing chores, and when we’re there, we can’t see any of the other outbuildings, so they’re not really a big priority. However, I will re-do them at some point. Last summer all of the other outbuildings were painted in the refigured colours. By doing them ahead of the house, we were able to watch how the colours worked throughout the year, and if they were truly the colours we wanted. On rainy or cloudy days the house in its old worn colour looked so drab, while all the other buildings now had a warm & happy glow.

The woodshed sporting the new colours, except for the gate, which will stay weathered.

The woodshed sporting the new colours, except for the gate, which will stay weathered.

Once the final decision on colours was made, a painter was hired. Someone who is willing to deal with all the detail we’d built into the house, as well as a bit of fearlessness to paint our 41’ roof peak.

Although I’m horrible about heights, and have had some anxiety issues while he’s up at the top of 40’ ladders, I am thrilled with how it’s looking.   Of course, all this has been going on while we move through an extremely busy summer. I seem to be in the kitchen for a long spell each day, figuring out recipes, doing test batches and so on. Perhaps I’m being energized by the attitude of the painter. Let’s get it done!

Here’s my take on a Spicy Carrot Dip that we’ll be serving as part of the appetizer menu for this year’s Summer Soiree & Art Auction. It is a beautiful colour (this summer is all about colour!), with a rich, warm spiciness that is lovely with a bit of flat bread. Continue reading

Avocado Bisque

IMG_7930Here’s a little something that I’ve been doing for years. A little bit of yummy-wow to lead into a special dinner. It’s so easy to do, and is delicious, with creamy avocado goodness, all dressed up to impress. There are two versions; one has a decadent cream base, while the other uses coconut milk. Both are wonderful.

Serve in chilled martini glasses, or other cute glasses, with a simple flower garnish. Shown here with dried rose petals. Continue reading

Pea & Edamame Dip

IMG_7272It’s spring! Time to set aside thoughts of roasted roots, and go for the green. We sat outside after a full day of sunshine and working outside. Even though it was early April, the temperature made us so aware of summer days around the corner. I had spent a few hours, getting the porch ready, by washing winter’s dust and grime off of stored deck furniture, with the sounds of ongoing fence repairs as my soundtrack.

When the hammers had been laid down; and the deck was in its summer duds, we gathered for beer and nibbles to toast the season. Serendipitously, the day before I had made a dip I’d been working my head around for the past few weeks. Super green, it made me feel good just looking at it! Pretty much all the ingredients are green, with bright, cheerful flavours.

We ate it with plain crackers, but the next day I was told of leftovers being eaten as a side to scrambled eggs. I’m planning on trying it stirred into some pasta or risotto, as a finish.

Use good quality frozen peas & edamame, not the shrivelled up ones that might be in the bottom of your freezer. Continue reading