Perhaps you are strapped for cash, or there aren’t a lot of restaurant options for your date this weekend with that cute girl from the co-op bookstore at the University. Based on her cute alternative lifestyle haircut, and the fact that she was reading Jonathon Safran Foer’s Eating Animals while snacking on carrots and hummus – each and every time that you were stalking her – it is likely she won’t be impressed by the local steak-frites. It is also likely that she will be charmed off her birkenstock-clad feet when you show up with a picnic basket, blanket, and a cozy spot on Lafontaine’s homo-hill. The wooing however, all depends on what is in the basket. These are my sure-to-get-laid picnic essentials. They are one part elegant cuisine, one part down-home bbq, and one part totally flirty.
Also: See Evan’s Summer wine picks for some affordable bottles at your local SAQ.
Chile Cornmeal-Crusted Tofu (Credit: Veganomicon)
+Corn or Vegetable Oil
+1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
+1 cup soy or rice milk
+2 tablespoons cornstarch
+1 cup cornmeal
+2 tablespoons chile powder
+1 teaspoon ground cumin
+1/4 teaspoon cayenne
+1 tablespoon grated lime zest
+1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Slice tofu into 16 triangles. Combine milk and cornstarch in shallow bowl and mix until cornstarch is dissolved. In another bowl, mix cornmeal, spruces, lime zest, and salt. Heat 1/4 inch of oil in skillet. Dip each tofu into milk mixture, and then cornmeal (with dry hand) and cover in mixture, then transfer to skillet. Fry tofu for 3 minutes on each side, using tongs to flip. Drain the fried tofu on a clean paper bag or towel.
We love to eat this tofu with a spicy catchup aioli (or a cranberry jelly). Mix: Even parts veganaise and catchup with a small amount of spicy chilli sauce. This goes great with the potatoes too!
Garlic-Lemon Roasted New Potatoes
+1.5 lbs small new potatoes
+1/2 cup olive oil
+ 6 cloves of garlic, sliced
+1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
+1 cup of miso broth (or vegetable broth)
+ 2 teaspoons dried thyme
+2 teaspoons salt
+small can of tomato paste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a deep casserole dish, combine all ingredients and add the washed potatoes. Cover with tinfoil, and cook for 30-35 minutes. Stir several times throughout. Most of the liquid should be gone, and you will be left with a garlicky, sweet, almost caramelized, savoury melt-in-your mouth baby roasted potato.
“Melt Your Heart” Lemon Gem Cupcakes (Credit: Vegan with a Vengeance)
Not your run-of-the-mill cupcake recipe. It is most appropriate for: book club meetings, afternoon tea, or of course, a summer park date with a cute girl.
+1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
+1/2 teaspoon baking powder
+3/4 teaspoon baking soda
+ 1/4 teaspoon salt
+1/4 cup canola oil
+2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
+1 cup rice milk
+ 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I like it with lots of vanilla)
+ 1/4 cup of lemon juice (I had the best results using lemon essential oil. Just a couple drops of course)
+1 tablespoon lemon zest (again I opted only for lemon essential oil throughout the recipe)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. I choose these Bake Me A Cake paper liners and picks from Meri Meri at Urban Outfitters but they can be found at other kitchen stores or online. Not cheap, but really transform a cupcake for any special occasion.
+1/4 cup soy margarine, softened
+1/4 cup soy milk
+2 tablespoons lemon juice (again, i used essential oils)
+2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Whisk margarine with a fork or blender until fluffy, stir in soy milk and lemon juice; add confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth. Refrigerate until you’re reading to frost!
Bonne chance et Bon appétit!