Aquafaba literally means bean water — the water that’s drained off neutral-colored beans like chickpeas, white beans and cannellini beans.
Vegans have had limited choices when it came to baked goods. The existing substitutes did not have the chemical properties of eggs which made them integral for binding and leavening. But now there is the perfect substitute, and it’s aquafaba. And it’s blown open the world of vegan baking.
This collection of recipes, however, is not only for vegans. It is great for anyone who has an allergy to dairy and eggs. It’s proof that you can go egg-free and still enjoy delicious recipes. You will never miss eggs again. The general rule of thumb is 3 tbsp of aquafaba equals one egg. The protein in aquafaba, when mixed with some sugar and a pinch of cream of tartar, perfectly simulates egg whites. Neutral in taste, you don’t have to worry about your dishes tasting beany.
All your breakfast and brunch favorites are here–from omelettes, French Toast and pancakes to scones and crepes. You’ll enjoy satisfying and sumptuous Vegan Shepherds Pie, Vegan Mac and Cheese or for lunch or dinner. And you can once again enjoy Alfredo Sauce over your pasta. And the meringue desserts are not to be missed — Fruit Pavlova and Sweet Potato Pie to Lemon Meringue Pie. Chocolate Chip Cookies, S’mores Bars, Snickerdoodles and Chocolate Ice Cream are perfect for those children’s birthday parties where allergies are now a prevailing concern.
Now you no longer have to live without the culinary wonders that eggs and egg whites produce. All you need to do is open up a can of chickpeas, drain the water and you’re ready to go.
It was all going so well… vaccines are being rolled out, progress is being made…
And then infection rates soared to the highest they’ve been ever. Ever.
Here in BC, that’s lead to a partial lockdown. In addition to all the restrictions we had before, we’re also now not allowed to eat in restaurants. Restaurants are allowed to do take out, or if they have a patio, they’re allowed to keep that open, but no in-house dining.
It’s been a tough week. We’ve all been living such restricted lives this past year, some of us (depending on where you live) more than others. For me, going out once a week or so with a friend for a nice happy hour or a dinner was the last thing that really brought me joy and a sense of normalcy in my life. And now that’s gone… at least for three weeks.
So here we are, living alone again, in our own places, just trying to stay safe and cope the best way we can.
I’m grateful that we’re not on full lockdown here, so at least I can get out and go for walks, and that helps. But I’m basically not seeing any friends or eating out at all, other than takeout.
It felt like this turn of events needed one thing: booze.
Okay, I’m joking. Kinda. But also, what else is there to do? I cannot do another zoom call. I’ve watched everything on Netflix and Prime. The new season of Top Chef is here just in the nick of time.
So here is a pretty, simple and easy-to-make cocktail. Bonus, it contains lavender, which has calming effects on the nervous system. You could techincally use any gin in this Lavender French 75, but I like to use the Empress 1908 Gin that’s blue in the bottle, and then turns a beautiul shade of lavender when you add lemon juice to it. It’s locally distilled in Sydney, BC, at Victoria Distillers.
This is a twist on a classic cocktail called the French 75, which dates back 100 years. Still good.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, place 1 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons lavender flowers. Bring up to a boil, swirling to mix. Once it comes to a boil and the sugar is all dissolved, turn off the heat, and place the syrup aside to cool completely. Once cool, strain into a bottle or a mason jar.
To make the cocktail: in a shaker with ice, place the gin, simple syrup and lemon juice. Shake to chill (don’t go too crazy, gin is delicate!), and then strain into a pretty coupe glass or champagne flute. Top with prosecco, garnish with a lavender sprig or a lemon twist and serve.
Also, c’mon! It’s Italy! It’s food! We can’t travel right now! It’s everything we need.
In the first episode, Tucci talked about San Marzano tomatoes. Now, of course I knew about San Marzanos. I’d likely had them on a pizza or two. But I’d never gone out of my way to buy them, nor did I realize there was a black market for them.
So after viewing that episode, I was determined to find authentic San Marzanos and cook with them. You know, for science.
For a city with such a big Italian population, you’d think they’d be easier to find, but not so much. I did finally source them at Donald’s Market, and, surprisingly, Costco. Costco was the better deal (shocker). Here’s how to know if your San Marzanos are the real deal.
Now it was time to cook. For inspiration, I turned to Samin Nosrat. This is a recipe adapted from Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.
Pasta a la Pomarola is a super simple, pantry-staple Tuscan-inspired tomato sauce that’s perfect for these days. We can’t travel, we have to be careful and not go to the grocery store too often, and we want something comforting and soul-satisfying. This checks all those boxes.
Pasta a la Pomarola takes a while to make, but it’s not hard. It just needs a little time to make its particular brand of magic.
I added spinach to mine, though it’s not traditional.
1 can San Marzano Tomatoes, placed in a bowl and squished with your hands
2 sprigs fresh basil, leaves chopped
1 cup fresh spinach, packed
250 g pasta (I used penne)
parmesan or pecorino (or the vegan equivalent), optional
In a large dutch oven over medium heat, add a tablespoon or two of olive oil, just enough to cover the bottom. Heat until the oil shimmers, then add your onions. Season with salt and reduce the heat. Allow to sweat out until the onions are soft and translucent. This will take about 10 minutes. If the onions start to brown, reduce the heat some more and add a little water.
Once the onions are cooked, add the garlic and cook for a few seconds, just until fragrant, then add the tomatoes. Fill the can that the tomatoes were in about halfway up with water, and swish it around well to get all the juices, then add that to the pot as well. Bring back up to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the basil, season with salt and pepper, and stir well.
Allow the sauce to cook for about 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, and making sure it is just simmering, as you don’t want it to burn.
Once the tomatoes are cooked and have turned a darker red, become thicker and don’t taste raw anymore, turn up the heat and stir in 1/3 cup olive oil as well as the spinach. Stir and boil until the sauce is glossy and smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Cover and set aside on the back of the stove to keep warm.
In a medium saucepan, heat up to the boil a large quantity of well-salted water. When the water boils, add your pasta to it and stir well. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta but reserve the cooking water.
Place the pasta back into the pot over low heat and start adding tomato sauce to it by the ladleful, adding pasta water as well. Stir and mix together until you get your desired consistency of sauce.
Spoon into bowls and serve with gratings of your desired cheese.