Wowzers! Can you believe it! GYR Cafe has officially been open for 1 year! For any business owner, the first year is known to be the most challenging. The year that strips you down. Strips you down to the remains of tired eyes, bitten nails (in my case), many tears, many struggles and what any boss babe hopes for, the culmination of celebrating your first year in business. And here we are, 1 year and almost 1 month of serving Ottawa & the valley (and far far travelers!) delicious vegan eats. So before I go on any further, thank you. Thank you to every single beautiful person that has walked through our doors. You are what brought us here. Whether you came in and bought a cookie, had your wedding catered by us, a birthday cake crafted, a lunch among friends or family, a Sunday brunch or a latte sipped, you brought us here. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for letting me live my dream and build GYR to the success that it is today, and will continue to be for a billion years to come!
While most of the time you will see me cooking away at the cafe, I recently happened to have the opportunity to go back to my roots (see what I did there ;) ) and do a cooking demonstration at the Carp Garlic Festival. Back to where it all started!
When the cooking demo was over, I promised I would post the recipes on our website. So while I'm a little late, (okay, super late) here they are.
Now, before I get to the recipes, lets talk a little. When I thought about doing a cooking demo, I wanted to make sure that whatever I was presenting it was going to prove to everyone, how simple cooking vegan at home can be! And how accessible the ingredients to do so are.
Because it was garlic festival, obviously I had to make a creamy garlic sauce, duh!
Making creamy sauces vegan can be easy as throwing everything into a blender. A lot of recipes you might find will include cashews, great! But, if you have an allergy to nuts, or maybe want something a little bit cheaper, Silken Tofu is your answer. Silken tofu is much softer than regular tofu and has the ability to blend into a very silky smooth consistency. It also has no taste, so will easily adapt to whatever you add to it.
My favorite go-to brand is called Mori-Nu and is found at any Bulk Barn, health food store and most health food sections in Loblaws/Superstores. There are four types; Soft, Firm, Extra Firm and Lite Firm. To be honest, I don't find a huge difference between them when blending it up, but Firm is my 'usual' for sauces. If you find your sauces too thick or thin, just reduce, or up the amount of liquid to get the consistency you like.
While this garlic sauce is simple, and can go great with many dishes, use this as your staple. Try adding different fresh or dry herbs and spices to make any type of creamy dressing. Caesar, ranch, taziki, etc. are all really great ones to use Silken tofu for! Create your own recipe for these ones or go online and look for recipes and just swap out the usual sour cream or yogurt for the tofu!
Now for this garlic sauce, we're going to drizzle it on a simple Taco Bowl!
To add to the Taco Bowl, I've also provided a recipe for vegan ground beef. Yup, that's a thing! Tempeh, Walnut ground beef to be exact. Tempeh is a good source of protein, manganese, iron and calcium, is easy to prepare and again, can be found at any local health food store or common grocery store in the freezer section. The walnuts are added for extra texture, flavor and nutrition, but can be left out or subbed for pumpkin or sunflower seeds too!
And finally, the best part, the cheesy Nacho cheese sauce. Sweet Potato Cheese sauce to be exact. Nope, no dairy needed here. Down with Dairy dude! You get to make your very own cheese sauce with sweet potatoes. The key ingredient here is the Nutritional Yeast (Nooch). Unlike your usual baking yeast, Nooch is an inactive yeast that is used in vegan cooking recipes to give non dairy cheeses that "cheesy" taste. It's basically a vegan miracle. And also, most of the brands available are fortified with B12, usually 50% of your daily recommendation in just a few Tablespoons. #winning
So, to re-cap, we've got Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce, Tempeh Ground Beef & Nacho Cheese Sauce.
For my bowl, I added corn, black beans, massaged kale, and more sweet potato. But add your fav veggies & such to make it your own!
Okay, hop to it...recipes below!
Garlic Cream Sauce:
-1 package of Firm or Soft *Silken* Tofu
-2 full bulbs of roasted garlic *see below how to roast
-Zest and juice of 1 lime or lemon
-1 tsp ground pepper
-pinch of sea salt
-Handful of fresh Parsley, roughly chopped
To Roast Your Garlic
-Cut only a small portion off the top of the bulb, just enough to expose the inside
-Place on a small square of tinfoil
-Drizzle the bulb with a bit of olive oil, roughly 2 tsp
-Close up the tinfoil ad squeeze tight
-Roast in the oven at 400 for 30-40 minutes or until the bulbs are soft to the touch - you can just squeeze the body of the bulb to get the good stuff out!
Combine all of your ingredients in a small food processor or blender
-Blend until smooth
-Voila! That simple!
Tempeh Walnut Ground Beef
-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
-1 tsp pepper
-4 tsp cumin
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp of onion powder
-1 tsp paprika
-1 package of organic tempeh approx 12-14 ounces
-1/2 cup raw walnuts
-1/2 cup water
-1/4 cup of Braggs soy sauce
-1 Tbsp oil
Combine all of your spice ingredients and set aside
-Crumble you tempeh into a food processor & add walnuts. Pulse until you have a similar texture to ground beef
-In a large skillet, add in oil on medium/low heat
-Add in your ground beef mixture and water
-Once this starts to heat up, add in your soy sauce and 2 Tbsp of your spice mixture
-Saute on low until most of the liquid is absorbed, but not completely, otherwise your mixture will be too dry
-Top on tacos,
salads, use for shepherds pie, etc.!
Veggie Cheese Sauce
-1 cup of roasted sweet potato *see below how to roast
-1/2 cup nutritional yeast
-2 1/2 Tbsp organic apple cider vingear
-1/2 tsp sea salt
-2 cups of almond milk or any other neutral/unsweetened non-dairy milk
-1 heaping Tbsp taco seasoning
-You could also leave out the taco seasoning and add 1/2 tsp liquid smoke for a smoked cheddar sauce!
Place all of your ingredients into a belnder
-Blend until smooth/ scraping down the sides if needed as you go
-Heat in a medium sauce pan on low/medium until warm (whisk during if needed)
-Pour over top of nachos, bowls, veggies or use as a dip!
To Roast your sweet potato:
-Cut two sweet potatoes into cubes
-Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
-Drizzle with olive oil and a light sprinkle of salt and pepper