“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
I'm loving this quote and spent the month of May embracing it. I've spent several hours outside basking in the sunshine, pulling weeds and planting seeds. This is a wonderful metaphor for what May was all about for Zengarry as well.
We've been planting seeds for the future in the Zengarry kitchen. Training new staff, making new contacts and nurturing new plans and ideas. Soon these seeds will take root and sprout and you will all get to enjoy the fruits of our labour!
In the meantime here is are a few of the things we've been doing over the past month.
What we ate....
What we did...
Where we went...
We made, not one, but two trips to Toronto in May! Early in May we visited Foodland in Mount Albert and Yam Chops in Toronto to host some cashew cheese samplings! The reception was so wonderful that we were back later in May to re-stock the shelves and add Nature's Emporium in Newmarket to the Zengarry family! Look for ZCC in all three locations!
We visited the quaint historical town of Carlton Place just outside of Ottawa. The Granary Bulk and Natural Foods has taken down the wall, expanded into the space next door and given their whole shop a makeover. Lucky for us, they now have room to stock up on ZCC! We will be back with samples on June 13 for their official Grand Opening!
What's coming up in June...
I can't get enough asparagus this time of year.... in stir fries, pasta, salads, sandwiches, soups... you name it, I put asparagus in it.
Here are just 3 delicious ideas to combine your Zengarry Cashew Cheese with my favourite spring veggie. Any one of them would make a great dish for brunch, in fact I served the Asparagus Mushroom Tart for Mother's Day brunch this year!
Usually weekday breakfast consists of a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of tea, so on the weekend when I'm home I like to put in a little extra effort and try something different.
Put on your favourite bathrobe, pour yourself a cup of coffee and let's get started with one of these fast and easy recipes.
Click the picture to get the full recipe.
Asparagus Mushroom Tart
Chickpea Omelette with Asparagus and Gruyére Sauce
Asparagus Mushroom Gruyére Cigars
Of course there are tons of other ways to incorporate Zengarry Cashew Cheese into your leisurely morning meal. Try adding it to tofu scramble, spread it on your bagel or try it in this Broccoli Quiche!
Nothing announces the arrival of spring like crisp, fresh asparagus. As a perennial plant and a member of the lily family which also includes onions, leeks and garlic, asparagus spears can grow up to 10 inches per day under ideal conditions.
The larger the diameter, the better the quality so look for firm stalks with closed tips and store your asparagus in the fridge with the ends wrapped in a damp paper or cloth towel. Raw, steamed, blanched, sautéed or roasted, consume your asparagus within 48 hours of purchase.
While these fleshy spears are valued for their tender texture and succulent taste, asparagus also packs quite a nutritional punch. It's loaded with fibre, vitamins and minerals, is extremely low in calories at about 20 per serving (five spears), has no fat, and is low in sodium.
Check out these three health benefits of eating asparagus!
Asparagus Mushroom Tart
To encourage you to add more of this succulent spring vegetable to your diet, I came up with this tasty little tart recipe! Ideal for brunch, lunch or a light supper with a side salad, I recommend doubling the recipe.
Makes one large or two smaller sized tarts.
1/2 package of vegan puff pastry
1 Tbsp vegan margarine
1 small onion, minced
1/2 pound of asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch pieces with 3-4 left long for garnishing the top of the tart
8-10 mushrooms, sliced some reserved for decorating the top of the tart
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp herbes de Provence
3 Tbsp. dry white wine
1/2 package of Zengarry Garlic and Fine Herbs Cashew Cheese
1/2 tsp sea salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Roll out puff pastry to a size to fit your tart pan. Spray your tart pan with a little non-stick spray. Lay your puff pastry in the tart pan and tuck in the edges.
Add margarine to a preheated non-stick frying pan. Add onion, chopped mushrooms, asparagus, garlic and herbs de Provence and sauté on medium heat until the vegetables soften (about 10 minutes). Deglaze the pan by adding wine and mixing well until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Turn the heat down to low and add Zengarry Garlic and Fine Herbs Cashew Cheese and salt. Mix well and remove from heat.
Spread your cheese mixture into the puff pastry shell and garnish with reserved asparagus spears cut in half lengthwise and mushroom slices.
Brush the top of pastry and tart with a bit of melted margarine and bake at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
It's Mother's Day weekend and we know that you want to create a memorable experience for the woman that changed your diapers, kissed your boo-boos and read you your favourite bed time story 1001 times!
Now that you're all grown up and responsible, how about hosting a traditional Mother's Day tea for the best mom in the world? Traditional, but better because of our afternoon tea goodies are 100% vegan without the least bit of compromise in taste!
Here are few tips to make it extra-special.
Make a beautiful invitation and use it as your Mother's Day card. Maybe add your favourite photo of the two of you together. This will be a great memento for years to come.
Pick a beautiful spot.
Maybe someplace with a view of the water or nature. Maybe it's someplace with a special meaning for your mom. The gazebo, a formal dining room, a cozy corner in the living room or on the patio.
Set the table with care. Add a pretty table cloth or piece of floral fabric. Use your best dishes and elegant cutlery. Use linen napkins. If you don't have any scope out second hand stores.
Add flowers. They add a freshness and they have been shown to actually lower your blood pressure! Why not use a decorative teapot or pitcher instead of a vase? Use edible flowers to garnish your dishes!
Make your tea like the Brits do.
No matter if you choose black, white or green tea the British have strict rules for making the perfect pot.
Serve delicate finger food; decorative finger sandwiches, fruit and sweets.
Take the time to garnish and make your bite sized treats a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth.
Here are a few ideas that we love.
Herbed Bagel Bites
We used toasted mini bagels for these. We topped them with Zengarry Garlic and Fine Herbs Cashew Cheese and garnished with thinly slice cucumbers, or avocado and fresh herbs and rainbow pepper cubes.
Sun dried tomato and basil pinwheels
Spread Zengarry Sun Dried Tomato and Basil Cashew Cheese generously on a spinach tortilla. Add spinach leaves, fresh basil leaves and rainbow peppers. Roll tightly and slice into pinwheels.
Cut the crusts from any type of bread (we used 12 grain) and cut into triangles. Spread with Zengarry Garlic and Fine Herbs Cashew Cheese and thinly sliced cucumber and radish. Garnish with micro greens and a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper.
Veggie Lox Bagel Bites
We used gluten-free mini poppy seed bags for these and topped them with Zengarry Garlic and Fine Herbs Cashew Cheese, Veggie Lox, capers and micro greens.
Every afternoon tea needs some beautiful sweets.
Whip up a batch of your favourite Scones or Muffins or try these Blackberry Brie Bites
Thaw a package of Puff Pastry Dough. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Roll the dough out to about a quarter inch thickness. Cut it into squares.
Spray a mini muffin tin with non-stick spray. Place your squares of puff pastry dough into the muffin cups and press gently so they take the shape of the cups.
Add 1 generous teaspoon of Zengarry Raw Brie Cashew Cheese into each cup. Add a small teaspoon of blackberry jelly to each cup on top of the Brie. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes.
Allow to cool about 10 minutes then remove the Brie Bites from the muffin tin and top with a fresh blackberry and mint leaves.
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