We have an idea: Making the best thing in the entire universe, and then eating it.
Today, we made Barbequed Falafel Pizza. You’re asking yourself, “what the heck is that delicious-sounding thing?!”
Well, here’s what you do: You make pizza dough, you barbeque both sides (on some foil), and then you barbeque some falafel balls, and then you construct everything on the cooked dough, and put it back on the barbeque (again, on foil). Top it with a nice dill sauce and some hummus. The result is the greatest culinary experiment we’ve ever attempted.
Seriously, I can’t begin to explain how good this thing was.
- Homemade pizza dough, rolled super thin (flour, yeast, salt, water)
- Banana peppers
- Pickled beets
- Olive oil sauce (oil, basil, garlic)
- Dill sauce (mayo, dill, oil, lime juice, garlic)
Sorry we don’t have more specific instructions. This was a completely spontaneous attempt to make something out of what we had the in fridge and pantry.
In turned out we had a very secret recipe, not for food, but for happiness.
Ok, this is our fastest salad yet. 3 minutes to delicious. Yes, 3 minutes.
Deep breath, food’s about to start flying.
note: this makes a week’s worth of bean salad as a side dish for two people. Half it if you don’t want that much!
Step 1: Grab your ingredients. 2 cans of mixed beans; 1 cup of frozen edamame; lemon juice; olive oil; garlic powder; cayenne pepper; cumin powder and salt.
Step 2: Grab your trusty tools. You’ll need a can opener, measuring cups, measuring spoons, and a big bowl to mix/ store it all in.
Step 3: Get started!
Heat edamame according to package instructions. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the beans. Toss the clean beans into the big bowl. Drain the excess water from the edamame and toss those green gems into the bowl too. You’re half way there with time to spare!
Now add a 1/2 cup of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of cumin powder and generous pinches of the garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt. Mix. Guess what!? You’re done.
You may want to take an extra minute and adjust the spices to meet your bean salad desires. Go wild – it’s bean salad, it should be fun!
Grab a spoon and dish that goodness-in-bean form out into a bowl. Proceed to devour.
We’re mid-experiment with a determined plan for weekly menus and grocery expeditions. Part of this is an exercise in budgeting, the other part is eating better (read: if the curly-fries aren’t in the freezer, they can’t tempt you).
Every Sunday we sit down with cookbooks, ransack the cupboards and sort out what we have, what we can make with the odds and ends lingering about and what fresh produce we want to dine upon in the coming week.
We tend to think more creatively on these casual, sweatpants sporting mornings, with coffee in hand, birds chirping by our window. As such, we’ve been caught once or twice with scant leftovers and few tangible options by Wednesday evening.
One such time may have gone as follows:
Joel, head in fridge: “we’ve got a bean dip, some pickles and left over lentil salad”
Me, peering into the cupboard: “cornmeal….chickpea flower….and some potatoes”
Bet you’re thinking there isn’t much you can do with that. Well you’re WRONG!
Put on your creativity caps friends, we’re experimenting with variations on the veggie burger.
First, boil up a potato (this is an excellent time to sip on that glass of wine you’ve been wanting). When cooked, whip it up, no need for butter or salt. Toss the bean dip, lentil salad, and mashed potato into a bowl. Sprinkle on a generous pinch of steak spices, a little garlic powder and a few dashes of whatever hot sauce you have on hand. Feel free to use whatever spices you love – this burger is all about you. Mash all of it up gooooood. (In all seriousness, if you whip it with a fork, it will get extra creamy and delicious when cooked, so don’t skimp on this step. We take our mixing seriously)
Roll up your sleeve (things are about to get messy) and start making patties. Sprinkle some cornmeal on top and bottom. Got some other veggies for a side dish? Clean them up and toss them on the grill too!
Grease your grill and cook on high heat for about 5 minutes per side. We usually put our veggie burgers on the grill. Shallow frying can often make your burgers fall apart or fill your apartment with smoke. The grill is much easier, faster, and more fun.
Slap on your favourite burger toppings and enjoy!
Who said you can’t play around with your food?!
Since we’ve been too lazy to write about our recent roadtrips (and because people keep asking) we’ve decided to start a cooking section on our blog. So this is the first post in Joel Kelly and Leah Sanford’s new “Cooking with the Kelfords” series!
If there’s one thing that makes our relationship what it is (awesome), it’s our cooking. We both are positively in love with cooking and baking. For us, the most important part of cooking is the process, not the result. Frankly, if the finished product is edible, that’s a bonus. The fun is trying new things, experimenting, failing, having fun, and getting covered in flour.
Our tips for having fun in cooking can be summed up pretty easily:
- Kickoff cocktails
- Don’t worry about the finished product
- Crank some tunes or podcasts (MBMBaM is our favourite, with Throwing Shade a close second)
- Make a mess!
- But clean as you go
- Cook for yourself
- You can always order pizza
- Learn from your mistakes, but always try to 1-up your last attempt
- Drink til whatever you made tastes good
We make a lot of bread. Sometimes a few loaves a week. And then we eat it all. We’re 80% carbs by volume.
Most of the bread we make is inspired by the Rosemary Focaccia Bread in the unbeatable Veganomicon. By now we’ve changed and adjusted it so much it doesn’t resemble the original recipe at all, but it’s the genesis of our break-making obsession. One recent adventure had us making amazing sundried tomato buns for our corn and quinoa burgers.
But today we decided baguette had to happen. Neither of us had made a baguette before, so we headed to the Internet to track down a recipe. A brief googling landed us on Food.com’s “Fresh Baguette Recipe“.
The bread turned out pretty well, for our first attempt. Next time we’ll definitely do a couple smaller loaves instead of one giant loaf. It turned out way bigger than we’d anticipated. And it finished baking in about half the time we’d thought. So perhaps the oven was too hot. 500 degrees seemed excessive, but we were just following the recipe.
Pictures of the bread making are below. I guess next time we’ll make some small adjustments, but overall the recipe was pretty simple and worth trying again and again.
Thanks for reading! We hope we can inspire you all to get cooking. Join us next time on Cooking with the Kelfords for some more culinary craziness!
While I’m a few weeks behind on the publication of this little gem, I must say going through the photos again made me giggle with delight. So I hope you enjoy traveling back in time with me to October, when the weather was quite similar to what we’ve got now, but with more leaves on the trees.
With the stage set, we’re off to the South Shore!
Now, you might have noticed a small pattern emerging in my travel trends, namely that I LOVE the South Shore of Nova Scotia. Quaint, picturesque, charming, and full of seasonal delights. Of particular note is the Scarecrow Festival. Yup: Scarecrow Festival. A jolly time where an entire town produces life-sized tributes to the stars and fictional characters for the delight and wonder of visitors.
(I should note, I am not aware of a massive crow issue in the town, but there is always the possibility that, while I find the scarecrows delightful, they in fact serve a very important purpose in town safety.)
I’m way too much of a home-town tourist to miss even a second of this type of fun. Joel is not so much a fan of giant, sometimes creepy scarecrows. But he is a fan of the South Shore and the many other activities it offers. So we packed some snacks, charged the iPhone and hit the road for a fabulous Sunday of road-tripping fun!
First stop: Peggy’s Cove
This is the first time Joel and I had been to one of the province’s top tourist destinations together and somehow we both had managed to forget that IT IS ALWAYS FULL OF TOURISTS!
Full. As in multiple tour buses in the middle of October.
My dear mum, a self-appointed master of safety, warned us not to get too close to the water lest we slip and seriously hurt ourselves.
Despite bus loads of strangers with cameras, remote controlled trucks (true story), and pets, we managed to find some quieter rocks to play on and get into a series of shenanigans. I am proud to report that we heeded all warnings from Peggy’s Cove and my mother, though I did play near puddles in a small attempt at defiance.
We had a marvelous time exploring and climbing over the incredible rock formations along the cove.
One thing that did pique our curiosity was the absurd amount of “inuksuks” constructed amongst rock formations. I’m talking hundreds of them.
Either tourists think these are hilarious to build for some reason or the Part of our Heritage commercials of yore grossly underestimated just how many people were traveling through this rocky terrain way back when.
Surprise stop #2: Mahone Bay!
Yeah, I didn’t so much tell Joel that Mahone Bay and the Scarecrow Festival was my ultimate destination. Thankfully he’s great with “surprises”. We decided to take the “scenic route”, which in past posts we’ve noted are rarely scenic. This time, however, just gorgeous! When we got to Mahone Bay, probably 20 minutes after we would have had we taken the highway, we quickly parked (and by parked I mean drove gently into the concrete curb to the shock and horror of an elderly lady sitting near by – I think we gave her quite the startle and she didn’t seem to appreciate that we found that so humorous).
(I would like to note as this is a blog incorporating the Mini that she handled the situation beautifully with nary a scratch!)
To our (ok, perhaps slightly more my) delight, the town was brimming with scarecrows. Royal Couple scarecrows, Harry Potter scarecrows, political figures, scary creatures, rock stars and ghosts! Joel, my beloved and constant supporter, patiently photographed me with various figures and cheerfully kept pace as I darted back and forth across the street for closer looks at all the displays.
At the end of the afternoon, we scampered to the local market for our required stock up of incredible baguette, pickles (they have the biggest dill pickles I’ve ever seen) and treats for our trip home. Back on the road again, we recapped the day, laughing and planning our next adventure in our Mighty Mini.
We’re still working away on our posts about our epic road trip to Quebec City last month. In the mean time, I wanted to post about something that’s been bugging me for some time. Actually, it’s been bugging me ever since I became a vegan (for those that don’t know, I’m vegetarian-non dairy, Leah is not).
It’s the “Call Ahead”.
If I’m going to a restaurant I haven’t been to before, and there doesn’t appear to be something on the menu I can eat (or the menu isn’t available online), I call them and ask if they’re able to accomodate my annoying diet. I get that people slightly outside the dietary norm are strange and foreign to many people in the food service industry still, so it seems only polite to call before I wander in, saddled with hunger and hope. Sometimes during these calls you’ll have someone say that they could, but it would be a hassle, or they’ll give a straight-up “nope”.
That’s totally cool. I get it. No hard feelings.
What annoys me, though, is when I call and I’m told that they can absolutely make something vegan. In some oppressively cheerful tone they’ll give a, “just let your server know,” and that’s that. But then, upon arrival, as if I’m at the receiving end of someone’s really banal practical joke, the server gives an expression of pure exasperation. They’ll brandish a look somewhere between horror and pity, and a long pause will ensue. Eventually, they might clumsily paw through the menu, point out a salad that could have all but the leaves and dressing picked off, and then storm off to make fun of me with their coworkers (I’m assuming). This is beyond frustrating.
I called. I did my part. I really, really didn’t want to be that guy. I spend most of my days and nights agonizing over some poorly chosen word, some point throughout the day where I’ve given a false impression or otherwise embarrassed myself. I assure you, I called precisely to not be annoying.
And do you think I use the telephone lightly? I approach that wicked device as if there is a demon hidden within its coils, translating my request into a brutal darkness, and whispering my every secret and undreamt dream into the mind of the human being on the other end of the line.
I called because I wanted to avoid precisely this interaction that we’re having right now. But even when I pull out my Apologetic Face and mutter, “I called ahead…”, I’m still treated like I pissed in the water jug or slapped somebody’s kid.
Why can’t they just say no? Or why is the person who answers the phone told that vegetarian is easy, but this is kept from the servers? Where’s the communication breakdown?
Anyway, this topic will come up later, I’m sure, so this is your primer on it if you’d never considered it.
Joel and I have had many adventures travelling throughout Nova Scotia in the Mini. That little red devil can handle everything we’ve thrown at her – including one adventure that had us peeling out of a dirt road as fast as we could after a brief stop at the creepiest looking “murder shack” we’d seen to date.
Murder shack – you read that right.
Now, I’m not suggesting for even a split second that we think anything bad actually happened at any of these long-since-loved buildings. They just look like bad things would happen there. They look like a shack you’d see in a scary murder movie. The ones with homicidal monsters waiting in the attic for unsuspecting college kids.
And the back roads of our lovely, charming, even quaint province are FILLED with them.
Gather ’round the campfire, friends, and we’ll tell you the tale:
It was mid-June when we loaded up the Mini with supplies (read: beer and bug spray) for a weekend at our favourite cottage in Economy. This is our perfect getaway – a super cute cottage in a super cute town for a whole weekend. The view from the deck overlooks the Bay of Fundy, the stars at night shine brightly and there is no cell reception* (which for the two of us is a BIG deal).
We hit the road, map in hand and My Brother, My Brother and Me podcasts loaded up on the iPhone. An adventure for the ages lay before us!
The weekend was perfect, and as we checked out on Sunday, we thought nothing could top it.
The sun was shining and we decided to hop on the road less travelled and see a side of the province we had yet to experience: the Sunrise Trail along the Northumberland Shore. (I should note – the drive is lovely, and the scenic highway was delightful. We recommend.)
To get there, however, you must cross through the centre of the province along the old highway. Which could be more aptly called the “Murder Shack Route”. Can’t you just picture the road signs?
The drive started off normal enough, passing some farms and stopping to get pictures of the adorable fields of sheep. Then we drove a little further. The road got a little rougher but our Mini powered through, the undaunted champ that she is.
Cruising along, we noticed the old barns were getting increasingly dilapidated. Thinking I have more of an artistic eye than I actually do, we stopped to get an “artsy” picture of one such barn. It became a thing – see barn, stop, photo, back in car and move on, repeat.
Then the barns got downright creepy. And the suggestion that “wow, that looks like a shack you could be murdered in” was put out there. And so the “murder shack” adventure was born.
We had a new mission: find and photograph the creepiest of decaying buildings this province has to offer (in the small square of province we were crossing). Total count in under 100kms: about 15. That’s 12 or so more than there should be in a limited section of peaceful terrain. Couple that with some really old graveyards, that likely serve as the setting for some terrifying campfire tales, and you’ve got one weird adventure on your hands.
Never ones to shy away from even the weirdest of adventures, we jacked the tunes, revved the engine and gunned that Mini. Dust billowing behind us for dramatic effect, we sought out murder shacks and tombstones to create the oddest photo album (and blog post) that visually articulates one crazy day and the odd beauty that can be found around us.
And so we ask you: have you seen our murder shacks? Have you seen others?
*Actually, Rogers doesn’t really get cell reception anywhere in rural Nova Scotia. This is why I’m proposing they change their slogan to, “Rogers: You might die in the woods.” Bit of a ring to it, eh?