Sunday, May 15, 2011

Surviving a Meatless Weekend

My very good friends Marc and Zoya just got back from 8 months in Vancouver. I'm always very excited to spend the weekend in Tremblant with them. Our time is always spent surrounded by delicious food and wine. Given the fact I hadn't seen them in so long, I was more excited than usual to get there. But with that excitement was also feelings of fear. Fear of the unknown. You see, during their stay in Vancouver, the two of them became vegans.

Now I have nothing against vegans. But Zoya has always been my best meat and cheese friend. Together we have indulged in so many amazing dishes, so many hearty meats paired with deep, luscious wines. And that's what we do when we spend time together. I did not know how this was going to go at all. And I was honestly scared.

Well, I'll tell you now, those feelings didn't last long at all. She still managed to wow me from start to finish with her outstanding culinary skills, now specialized in meatless territory.

Unfortunately I only got one photo to post. But I'm sure the descriptions below will be enough to allow your mind to paint the image for you.

Friday night we arrived to rolls of fresh, blanched collard greens filled with cashew sesame garlic gew, tapenade and sprouts. A spicy ginger mango chutney was served alongside for dipping. Wow!

Next, veggie pizza. A crisp, paper-thin dough slathered in tomato sauce served as a platform to rosemary wine marinated and barbecued zucchini, eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, yellow peppers and fennel. Green onions, olives and artichokes were also tossed in. A delectable espelette chili oil was served alongside for drizzling.

The next morning, our egg-less breakfast was quickly forgotten with a millet and mushroom tourtière. This hearty pie was to-die-for. Earthy buckwheat crust filled with caramelized onions, millet and mushrooms. Parsley, rosemary, thyme and cinnamon were the culprits of the intense flavours coming out of this heavenly dish.

Dinner Saturday was my favourite food. Rice paper rolls and spicy, smooth peanut sauce and pad thai. Our protein coming from perfectly fried tofu. Zoya is a wing-it kind of cook and if I could have replicated her pad thai sauce, I'd make millions. Coriander, rice wine vinegar, chili, garlic, ginger, tamari and tamarind.

Before sending us off the next morning, she filled our bellies with a savoury breakfast. Homemade beans that she slow cooked in molasses all night (chunks of pork were replaced with slow cooked onions) and ploys. If you don't know what ploys are, they're like a pancake but not as sweet, much, much thinner, and cooked only on one side (it cooks through easily because they're so thin). They are quite popular in the Brayon communities of northern New Brunswick, which is how we got introduced to them. She wanted to serve them with molasses but was out so we went with maple syrup. The main ingredients in these are buckwheat flour and baking powder. So yummy!!

Thank you so much Zoya, once again you have totally outdone yourself! We've got some practicing to do for your visit to Ottawa.


One of Ottawa's Real Foodies said...

You really get into your food experiences! Lucky to have such great friends who are also so talented in the kitchen.

Holly Bruns said...

Sounds so yummy. I love collard greens.

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