The second class in the Spring Series was taught by two EAC staffers. Mark, the EAC Policy Director, recently impressed the whole office one afternoon with a big batch of spinach and egg drop soup with parmesan cheese. After eating most of what was meant to be Mark’s lunch, we all agreed that Mark just had to lead a local food cooking class. Mark decided we’d make this soup as our starter and a mussels with mint pasta dish. Both dishes were delicious!
Laena, cyclist extraordinaire, offered to take care of dessert. Being the very considerate gal that she is, Laena came up with a recipe that can be easily adapted to meant many dietary needs and restrictions. Laena shared her recipe for chocolate tofu “cheesecake” – fair trade chocolate, local tofu “cheesecake” that is. This dessert was a big hit with everyone. I have since made this “cheesecake” about four times! I’ve made a spicy chocolate version with a cookie crumb crust as well as a Nova Scotia blueberry and vanilla version with a shortbread crust. The key to this recipe is terrific local – and GMO-free – tofu. Acadian Soy, a Nova Scotia producer, makes great tofu. You can find it at the Seaport Market, at Local Source, at Home Grown Organics (Allan Street) and at Pete’s Frootique.
SPINACH AND EGG DROP SOUP WITH PARMESAN CHEESE
One of the many great things about this recipe is how easy it is to find the ingredients locally! The spinach came from Hutton Family Farm at the Keith’s Brewery Market, the free-range farm-fresh eggs can come from any number of vendors at the farmer’s market, and the parmesan cheese can be purchased from Foxhill almost any day of the week at the Seaport Market.
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
450 g spinach
750 mL chicken stock
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated, plus more as desired
In a saucepan saute two crushed garlic cloves in two tablespoons of olive oil until golden. Add 450 g (1 lb) of cooked leaf spinach and toss it around in the hot oil. Remove the garlic. Pour in 750 mL (26 fl oz) of chicken stock. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir quickly into the soup two whole eggs beaten up with two tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese and let them scramble. Check the seasoning. Pass more grated Parmesan cheese at the table.
SIMPLE TOMATO SAUCE
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tbsp olive oil
1 knob of butter
450 g canned tomatoes, roughly chopped and undrained
1 tsp castor sugar salt
6 fresh basil leaves (or a pinch dried basil)
In a saucepan, gently sauté a small, finely chopped onion with two crushed garlic cloves in four tablespoons of olive oil and a knob of butter until golden. Add 450g (1 lb) of roughly chopped, undrained, canned tomatoes, a small level teaspoon of castor sugar salt and milled black pepper. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add six torn-up fresh basil leaves (or a pinch of dried), uncover and finish cooking with five more minutes.
Cook enough pasta for 4 servings
MUSSELS WITH MINT
1/4 cup olive oil
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp hot red pepper flakes
1 cup basic tomato sauce (recipe above)
1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the mussels, wine, and red pepper flakes, cover and cook until the mussels have just opened, about 2 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce to the mussels and bring to a boil.
Add cooked pasta to the pan of mussels. Toss. Add the mint leaves, toss the pasta to coat, and serve immediately.
CHOCOLATE TOFU “CHEESECAKE”
These recipes are adapted from the cookbook, “How It All Vegan”.
Rolled Oat Pie Crust
2 cups rolled oat flakes (we used Speerville oats)
1/4 cup margarine or shortening (we used local butter)
1/2 cup sweetener (we used fair trade sugar)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
In a medium bowl, mix together all the ingredients. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom of a pie plate or cheesecake pan, using your fingers or the back of spoon. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes before using.
Chocolate “Cheese” Cake
3 cups medium tofu (we used Acadian Soy’s firm tofu)
1 cup margarine (we used butter)
1 to 1 1/2 cups dry sweetener (we used fair trade sugar)
3/4 cup cocoa powder (we are used fair trade cocoa)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup soy milk (we used Foxhill milk!)
*We adapted the recipe slightly in the end to include some melted fair trade chocolate as well. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and then add it to the blender.
Combine everything in a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth. Pour onto the prepared crust. Put the dish in the fridge to set for a number of hours.
Yours in food, Keltie