Category: meat

Vegan "Meat" Sauce with Lentils

I got 99 posts, but a meat sauce ain’t one! (Well, until now!)

You guys! This is my 99th post! Are you as excited as I am? Well, you should be. Because this is by far the best of the best. I mean, this is some real stick-to-your-ribs, blow-your-socks-off, even-ravenous-carnivores-will-love-it saucy sauce. Even my boyfriend, the lover of all things meat, declared this sauce to be “so meaty!”

Do you need any more reasons to make this right now? Really? Alright. Here are 10 reasons you should make this sauce: It’s hearty. It’s tasty. It’s spicy. It’s easy. It’s healthy. It’s vegan. Low sodium. Soy-free. Gluten-free. No added sugar. And, for all of those worried about protein intake, it’s an excellent source of the good stuff!

Serious winning all around.

One of my favourite things about this sauce is how quick and easy the process is. Chop up your ingredients, toss ’em into your slow cooker, set it, and forget it! Let your kitchen, and your house, smell like you’ve been slaving over the stove all day (when really, you’ve just been doing other important things, like catching up on some Netflix.)

Ok, ok. I’ll spare you more blab and just get right to the recipe – so that you can get right to it and cook!

Hearty Vegan Slow Cooked “Meat” Sauce
with lentils, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes
an original recipe by allison sklar

1 medium red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup brown or green lentils (dried)
1 large can no-salt-added diced tomatoes with liquid
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 cup chopped pitted mammoth green olives
2 tbsp olive oil
2 small green chile peppers (or more, if you like a spicy sauce!)
1 tbsp Jamaican jerk seasoning mix (or a mix 1/2 tbsp paprika (not smoked), and 1/2 tbsp herbes de province)

Mix all ingredients together in slow cooker. Set on high for 3 hours. Remove lid, stir. If you notice it is starting to become too dry, add a few tbsp of water until desired consistency is reached. Return lid to pot and continue to cook for another 3 to 4 hours. Lentils will be tender and sauce will darken in colour.

Ways to serve it

  • On top of pasta
  • Mixed in with rice
  • On bread (as bruschetta)
  • With a spoon

Cook the Cover (Fennel & Cabbage Salad with Sesame and Orange)

Monday: walking on the mountain while wearing a cute summer dress and sandals.
Tuesday: cleaning the snow off my car while wearing a winter coat, mittens and boots.
Ah, a  common Montreal “spring”.  
With our weather being quite literally bipolar, it’s hard enough knowing which tires we should have on, let alone what kind of meals we should be preparing. Light and healthy, or hearty and comforting? Sweet and tangy or salty and savory? Seeing as I’m as indecisive as Mother Nature, I want a meal that satisfies all of the above.
Canadian Living’s May cover recipe features deliciously savoury chicken (or tofu!) on a bed of peppery cabbage and sweet fennel, tossed together with a comforting dressing (hello honey mustard!) and topped with bright segments of tangy orange. Yes, it is possible to have it all! 
I enjoyed this dressing so much that I ended up making a double batch of it. I used it as a dip for fresh veggies the next day, and I used the last little bit as a sandwich spread. Using a grainy mustard gave it a nice kick. Also to note: I only have Vegenaise in my fridge, and it worked in the place of mayo. If you want to make this fully vegan, sub some agave for the honey, and you’re all set. 
If you’re going the tofu route, use the same quantity as you would chicken, and cut it into strips. I suggest you double, or even triple, the dressing and marinate the tofu in it about an hour before for ultimate flavour. Pan-fry until browned and sprinkle with sesame. For the complete recipe, (salad, dressing, chicken and all!) click here: Canadian Living: Sesame Chicken and Orange Salad
This post is featured on Canadian Living’s website this month! See it here:

Chicken, Tonight.

Spring is a funny thing in Montreal – it peeks it’s shy little head out after what seems like an eternal winter, usually in the form of a garden bud, or a tiny blade of grass that’s managed to push it’s way through the snow. And then, just when we have that little taste, our excitement climbing along with the temperatures – winter snarls, hurling it’s nasty breath at us to ensure us that it is not quite done just yet. But then, suddenly, a week flashes before our eyes and summer is in full bloom. Suddenly the sun shines bright, the snow banks have completely dissipated and the telltale springtime smell of melting dog poop is quickly replaced by the smell of freshly cut grass. I was tempted to begin this post with the phrase “spring has sprung…” but I quickly realized that Spring was never really here. Montrealers don’t have time to waste with in-between seasons… we are in full blown Summer Mode, and there’s no going back. So lather up your sunscreen, get outdoors, soak up the rays and lighten up your menu.

While you’re at it, you can pretend you’re living somewhere where it’s always hot – add a simple ethnic twist to your dinnertime menu. Make yourself a nice cucumber and tomato salad starter and please your palate with some delicious Moroccan style chicken, with preserved lemons, garlic and cilantro.

A friend of mine commented the other day on how my chicken is always moist, and he worried that even if I prepared everything for him, if he cooked it himself, he wouldn’t be able to match what I could do. While I always enjoy a good compliment, I’m certainly not magical – but the flavours and amount of moisture in my chicken might make you think that I am. So, I’ve decided that it’s time to share my Magical Method. Never. Eat. Dry. Chicken. Again.

Moroccan Style Chicken
inspired by my good friend, Katherine Romanow

Note 1: I use chicken thighs because I prefer the taste and texture of dark meat. If however you would like to take a lighter approach, I’ve made this before with skinless boneless breasts, and it’s worked out quite nicely.  
Note 2:  If you cannot find preserved lemons, substitute one half of a fresh lemon, chopped with the rind on, sprinkled with 1 tsp of salt. 
Note 3: Use good quality olives. The canned ones are terrible.

what you’ll need
6 to 8 chicken thighs, backs off, skin on (or off. your choice.)
2 or 3 preserved lemons (about 1/4 cup, chopped)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 or 4 garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh thyme
2 tsp tarragon
1 cup white wine (or beer, or chicken stock)
1 cup good quality chopped pitted olives

how to do it
Preheat oven to 350F. Combine garlic and spices, except for cilantro. Add 1 tbsp oil, toss to coat. Toss chicken with spice mixture, coating each piece well. Pour wine into 8 x 8 Pyrex dish or shallow roasting pan. Place chicken thighs side by side in dish. Top with cilantro, lemons and olives. Cover tightly with tin foil, piercing a few holes with a fork. Cook for about 40 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink inside. Tip: pan juices are delicious when poured over some fluffy rice. Enjoy!

FINAL NOTE: MAGICAL METHOD! Whichever kind of chicken you’re making, cook it in some kind of liquid and cover it with tin foil. It will come out delicious. Every. Single. Time.

The Omnivore’s Delight

I. Cooked. Meat.

After eight years of dragging my feet along the omnivore’s bandwagon – picking at bacon crumbs, sipping chicken broth, dipping my potatoes in gravy and pretending that I didn’t know that my favorite cheeses contained rennet  – I’ve finally hopped back onboard. I am officially a full-fledged meat eater.

Well, almost.

I decided that if I was going to begin eating meat, that I would eat actual meat – none of this poultry nonsense. I have no interest in feathered clucking creatures that cook up dry and boring.
My first choice sin? None other than the ethically controversial, ridiculously expensive, perfectly tender, succulently juicy milk-fed veal. Drenched in a mushroom, shallot and white wine sauce, served alongside cheesy asparagus spears and complimented beautifully by a spinach and sunflower seed salad with a sweet balsamic vinagrette, I may have just cooked the best meal of all time.

Go on now, stop drooling and make it for yourself tonight! Novices, don’t be intimidated – you’ll soon discover that cooking veal is fast and easy, and the final product looks (and smells) ridiculously impressive.

Veal in white wine sauce with mushrooms and shallots
an original recipe by allison sklar

what you’ll need
2 to 3 tbsp butter  
4 small veal cutlets, tenderized
1 bunch shallots, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 package mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp crushed garlic (about 2 cloves)
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup cooking cream
1 tsp cornstarch

how to do it
In a large frying pan (preferably a deep one), on med-high heat, brown 1tbsp butter. Sear veal cutlets, for about a minute on each side. (Add more butter between cutlets if needed). 
Set cutlets aside. 
In the same pan, add one more tbsp butter. 
Sautee mushrooms and shallots. When they start to reduce, add white wine. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until the sauce is reduced by about half. 
Whisk corn starch into cream. Slowly pour into mixture. Continue stirring with a wooden or silicone spoon. Add veal cutlets to mixture and simmer for a few minutes, until sauce begins to thicken.

Presto! A fancy Italian meal, in your very own kitchen, in less than 15 minutes. 

Break Up Letter

Dear: Vegetarianism,

We’ve had a good long run. Seven solid years. You’ve been with me through the good and the bad. You’ve helped me avoid heart disease, food-borne illness, and you’ve been an all-star in the battle against constipation. I can’t thank you enough for everything.

But, I have to tell you something.

Veg, dear sweet love, I’ve been lying. To you, and to myself. This is really hard for me, so I’ll just cut to the chase, rip off the latex-free bandaid.

I’ve been seeing Bacon.

It began one day, innocently, with some bits in a salad that I’d ordered. I didn’t know that it was even in there until it was too late. But, even though it was an honest mistake that I couldn’t have avoided – I felt completely guilty. I came home and cried into my pillow, vowing to stay away from the temptation forever more.

Soon after, I realized that my guilt came from more than my unknowing consumption. Eating those little bits brought me intense pleasure. It was a dirty temptation that I had a hard time resisting, but I promised myself that I’d never go all the way.

But now, the occasional tryst has grown into a full-fledged affair that I can no longer deny. I’m sorry that you had to find out this way.

I’ll always love you.