black pepper

Pakoras

Sarah's Pakoras

Recipe by Blythe Kingcroft

Prep time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 20-25 minutes. Makes approx. 20 pakoras.

One summer, fresh out of our undergraduate degrees, I shared a brightly-lit apartment with one of my best friends, Sarah: vegetarian cook extraordinaire and dinner party wizard. She taught me how to make pakoras in our very narrow kitchen to the soundtrack of Al Green’s Greatest Hits, and we served them to guests with homemade chutney (recipe below) and minty-mango gin fizzes. I’ve been making them ever since. The crunchy seeds in these pakoras add the nutrients that an active vegetarian needs, but even more so, imitate the crisp and crunch of a real deep-fried pakora. They are unparalleled when cooked in Level Ground’s aromatic, flavour-rich coconut oil—I know of no satisfactory substitute for this. Serve hot and enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

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  • ¼ cup coconut oil (+ lots more to add as needed for frying)

  • 2 small yellow onions, chopped fine

  • 1 medium-large bunch spinach, chopped or torn

  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp roasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds

  • 1 cup chickpea flour

  • ½ cup rice flour

  • ½ tsp Level Ground turmeric

  • ½ tsp cumin

  • 1 large pinch chilli flakes or cayenne (add more if you love spice)

  • ¼ heaping tsp ground black pepper

  • ½ tsp salt

  • ½ cup water

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METHOD:

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  1. Chop onions. (We chill ours before chopping to minimize crying!)

  2. Chop or tear spinach until pieces are small—almost bite size.

  3. If there are any other vegetables you’d like to add, do so now (finely chopped bell pepper, small pieces of cauliflower, or sprouted mung beans are all great options!)

  4. Mix chickpea and rice flours with turmeric, cumin, chilli flakes, pepper, and salt.

  5. Mix vegetables and dry ingredients together in one large bowl.

  6. Add your roasted seeds. Mix.

  7. Add water. Mix well with fork. Ingredients should clump easily. The flour should turn into a thick paste and hold the veggies and seeds together. Add more water if needed, 1 tbsp at a time.

  8. Place paper towel on a large cooling rack. (You are preparing a place for your finished pakoras to sit and be salted after exiting frying pan.)

  9. Add ¼ cup coconut oil to large frying pan, or more if your pan is larger. You are trying to imitate the effect of a deep fryer, as much as possible, so the more oil the merrier. (Though be careful of spitting oil!) Your oil should be thick—just under ¼ inch high. Heat oil to just under medium (4 on my oven).

  10. Add heaping (really heaping) tablespoons of pakora mix to frying pan. Let fry for several minutes, until bottoms are a deep golden brown. Flip, and let fry on other side. Watch, checking bottoms every minute or so. (Don’t leave your pakoras’ side while frying! As the pan and oil gets

Chutney

Prep time: 5 mins. Cook time: 15 mins + long rest while you make your pakoras.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 chopped ripe mango

  • 1 small handful raisins

  • 1.5 tbsp chopped red onions pickled in apple cider vinegar

  • 1 dash each of turmeric, cumin, cardamom, chilli, pepper, coriander seeds

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 1.5 tbsp honey (or sugar if vegan)

  • 1 cup water

METHOD

  1. Place all chutney ingredients in small frying pan or saucepan, bring to boil over medium heat. Stir.

  2. After a few minutes, lower heat to a simmer and let chutney sit covered for 10 min, checking occasionally and stirring if necessary. Do this until chutney reaches desired consistency (should be the viscosity of a compote, or a jam that hasn’t yet set).

  3. Turn off heat and keep chutney covered, on the element you just turned off, until you’re ready to serve.

  4. Five minutes before serving, turn heat to low for 3-5 minutes to warm up chutney.

 

 

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(Thank you to our friend Blythe Kingcroft for the recipe & photos). 

Chia Pudding 3 Ways

Recipe by Lindsay Pleskot

Find the recipe on her blog here

Banana Cream Pie
 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup coconut milk or vanilla almond milk (regular, not unsweetened)
  • 1 banana
  • ¼ cup chia
  • 2 Tbsp Level Ground Trading cacao nibs
  • ¼ cup Level Ground Trading dried bananas
  • 2 Tbsp shredded coconut (I used sweetened, can use unsweetened if preferred!)

METHOD:

  1. Add milk, banana and chia into a blender and blend until smooth. Divide between 2 small jars or containers. Top with cacao, dried bananas and coconut and enjoy immediately or throughout the week!

Note:  If you don’t have or want to use a blender – In a small bowl, mash banana with the back or a fork until a thick paste is formed. Add the milk and chia seeds and stir to combine well. Divide into containers and add toppings.

Chia Pudding Recipe

Golden Milk

INGREDIENTS:

METHOD:

  1. Add milk, chia, turmeric, ginger, and pepper to a small bowl or jar and whisk with a fork or shake to combine all ingredients well. Divide between 2 small jars or containers. Top with desired toppings and enjoy immediately or throughout the week!
Chia Pudding Recipe

Red Dragon

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup coconut milk or vanilla almond milk (regular, not unsweetened)
  • ¼ cup chia
  • 1 small cooked beat, skin removed
  • 2 Tbsp Level Ground Trading dried dragon fruit and/or dried pineapple

METHOD:

  1. Add milk, chia and beet to a blender and blend on high until beet has completely blended in. Divide between 2 small jars or containers. Top with dried dragon fruit and/or pineapple.
Chia Pudding Recipe

(Thank you again to Lindsay Pleskot for the lovely recipe & photos - see the original on her blog here).

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Chia Pudding Recipe
Chia Pudding Recipe
Chia Pudding Recipe
Chia Pudding Recipe

Squash and Chickpea Vegan Curry

SQUASH AND CHICKPEA VEGAN CURRY

Recipe by Blythe Kingcroft. 

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This yellow-orange curry is slightly sweet in nature—because of the cinnamon, squash, and violet rice—and can be adjusted to accommodate your desired spice level. The acid in the tomatoes cuts the sweetness beautifully and the coconut milk (full fat for best results!) balances out any spice to create a rich, protein-packed vegan dinner.

INGREDIENTS

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  • 3 tbsp coconut oil

  • 3 cloves garlic, grated

  • 3 tbsp fresh ginger, grated

  • 2 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp coriander

  • 1 tsp cardamom

  • 1/2 tsp turmeric

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 large pinch chili flakes (or two, if you like a lot of heat!)

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

  • 3/4 tsp salt

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped fine

  • 14 oz diced tomatoes, strained

  • 2 cups diced butternut squash (raw)

  • 19oz can chichpeas, drained

  • 14 oz. coconut milk (full fat!)

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Serve over a bowl of violet rice.

 

METHOD

1.     Following instructions on the package, begin cooking rice. Add a heaping ¼ tsp of salt to rice water. (Note: this rice is sticky and slightly sweet, which complements the curry’s natural sweetness well.)

2.     Grate ginger and garlic. Set aside.

3.     Measure cumin, coriander, cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, chili flakes, salt and pepper into one bowl. Mix. Set aside. This is your curry!

4.     Cut up onion into one-inch pieces, or smaller if preferred.

5.     Add coconut oil to your pan, and heat it over medium-high heat (6-7 on my oven).

6.     Add onion, grated ginger and garlic. Stir. After a few minutes, add spices. Keep stirring until onions are a little translucent and showing signs of sticking. When this happens, add ½ c. water. Cover and let it boil down, about 5-7 minutes. Your onions should be nice and soft, and evenly coated in the colour of the spice.

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7.     Add butternut squash and enough water to cover onions and squash (approx. ¾ cup, maybe more). Cover, let boil down for 10 minutes at medium temp (approx 5 on my oven). Check halfway; you may need to add more water. After 10 minutes, check softness of squash with a fork. You should be able to pierce it easily by now.

8.     Rinse chickpeas. Add and stir gently. (At this point, your squash will be soft enough that vigorous stirring could turn it to mush.) Let sit 3-4 minutes.

9.     Strain diced tomatoes. Gently stir in tomatoes and coconut.

10.  Cover and let sit 5 minutes. Taste. Want it spicier? Add more chili and/or pepper. Taste bland? Add more salt to bring out flavour. Want it sweeter? Add a bit of cinnamon. Go easy when adding spices at this stage, as a little can go a long way.

11.  Cover again and let sit for 5-10 more minutes, depending on how thick you like your curries. This will produce a good bowl curry: something between a soup and a stew, with enough liquid that a plate won’t do.

12.  Add cooked rice to bowls. Spoon generous amounts of curry on top. Top with pinch of flake salt, pinch of chilis, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Enjoy!

(Thank you to our friend Blythe Kingcroft for the recipe & photos). 

 
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Vegan Curry Recipe
Vegan Curry Recipe

Baked Lemongrass Risotto

BAKED LEMONGRASS RISOTTO

Recipe by Lindsay Pleskot. 

See the original recipe on her blog here

I love a nice creamy risotto, but all that standing at the stove and stirring! Not gonna lie, it has redirected me to another dish more than once . . . But I was redently reminded of my love of risotto! And when I made this recipe, I was seriously that annoying person saying Mmmm. Mmmmm! At every bite.

INGREDIENTS

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  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, divided

  • 1 shallot, minced

  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced and divided

  • 1 1/2 cups Long Grain Rice

  • 4 cups Lemongrass Tea (brewed strong!) divided

  • 1 cup stock (chicken or vegetable)

  • 1 large bunch of Dino kale, stems removed and cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or stock

  • 1-2 Tbsp unsalted butter

  • 1 tsp coarse salt

  • Black Pepper, to taste

METHOD

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  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F with your oven rack in the middle position.

  2. Steep 4 cups of your strong tea and set aside.

  3. In a medium-sized Dutch oven (if you don’t have one you can do the stove top portion in a heavy-bottomed pan and then transfer to a lined baking dish for the cooking portion), heat 2 Tbsp of your coconut oil over medium high heat. Once heated, add shallot and cook until translucent, approx. 4-5 minutes. Add 2 cloves of your garlic. Cook another 2-3 minutes until the garlic becomes fragrant.

  4. Add the rice and allow it to brown a bit, building flavor. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly to ensure it doesn’t burn.

  5. Add 3 cups of your tea and 1 cup stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, remove from heat, and place in the oven with the lid on. Bake until tender, approx. 50 minutes.

  6. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium-sized bowl, toss kale with remaining oil (melt for a few seconds in the microwave so it coats the leaves evenly) add garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly and lay out on the baking sheet.

  7. During the last 20 minutes of cooking, add the kale to the oven.

  8. Once rice is cooked and kale is tender with a bit of brown crispy edges, remove both from the oven.

  9. Pour the remaining cup of tea, parmesan, wine or stock, butter, salt, and a generous amount of pepper into the risotto mixture. Stir to combine well and let some of the liquids soak up, leaving you with a nice creamy mixture.

  10. Top with kale and enjoy as a side dish or serve with fish, chicken or poached eggs to complete the meal!

Enjoy!

(Thank you again to Lindsay Pleskot for the lovely recipe & photos - see the original on her blog here). 

Baked Lemongrass Risotto Recipe

Ultimate Thai Pizza

ULTIMATE THAI PIZZA

Recipe by Peter Tiessen

In our house, we have adopted Saturday night as "Pizza Night". Over the years we have created numerous variations, but this one has easily become one of our favourites. 

Yields: 1 - 12" x 18X rectangular pan

 

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Dried Pineapple
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INGREDIENTS

Dough

  • 1 1/4 cup warm water (90-100°F)
  • 2 1/2 t instant dry yeast
  • 1 T honey
  • 2 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 T Za'toun olive oil
  • 1 t organic pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 t Black Pepper, freshly ground

Peanut Sauce

  • 3/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 T soy sauce
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • 1 t fish sauce
  • 2 T fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 green Thai chili or fresh cayenne
  • 2 t black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2-3 T water

 

Pan Seasoning

  • 1 t Za'toun olive oil
  • 2-3 T cornmeal

Toppings

  • 1 lbs thick cut bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1 carrot, but into ribbons and rough chop
  • 3 green onions, cut into 1" lengths
  • 1/2 cup Dried Pineapple, torn
  • 1/2 cup torn Dried Mango 
  • 2 tbsp coconut ribbons 
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 t Za'toun zaatar
  • 1 large handful of fresh cilantro

 

METHOD

NOTE: To make carrot ribbons, use a vegetable peeler and peel carrot in one place (do not rotate as you would when removing the peel).

To make the dough, combine the yeast, honey and water together in a stainless steel bowl and whisk to dissolve. Cover with a towel and rest for five minutes. Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper in a large bowl, stirring to evenly distribute. Pour the yeast mixture over the flour, add the olive oil and stir to combine a rough dough. Turn the dough onto the countertop and knead for 10 minutes (or use a stand-up mixer, but I always prefer to make dough by hand). Roll into a ball and cover with a towel to rest for 1 hour.

For the sauce, combine all of the ingredients except the water and whisk to combine. Slowly add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency (the sauce should be smooth, but not runny).

After the dough has risen, punch down the dough to remove the carbon dioxide gas. IF you prefer a thin crust, cut the dough in half. You may wrap the remaining dough and freeze until future use. Or should you prefer a thick crust leave as is. Season the pan with the olive oil and brush to coat, then gently sprinkle the pan with the remaining cornmeal. Line the pan with the dough.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

For the toppings, heat a pan over medium-high heat and add the bacon cooking until firm, but slightly crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and allow to cool on a paper towel lined plate. Assemble the pizza, reserving the cilantro.

For a thin crust, bake for about 20 minutes or for a thick crust bake for about 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with reserved cilantro.

Enjoy!

Ultimate Thai Pizza Recipe
Ultimate Thai Pizza Recipe

Colombian Empanadas

COLOMBIAN EMPANADAS

Recipe by Peter Tiessen

Empanadas traditionally hail from medieval Portugal and Spain and are said to have influenced the creation of the Indian samosa and Italian calzone.

INGREDIENTS

Dried Golden Berries
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Filling

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  • 0.5 lbs ground pork
  • 2 T lard
  • 1/2 cup dried Golden Berries
  • 1 medium onion, rough diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 cups sweet potato, rough medium diced
  • 2 t Cane Sugar
  • 1 T cumin, ground
  • 1/2 cup Colombia Dark Coffee, leftover from breakfast
  • 2 t Black Pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 cup Dried Pineapple, torn into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, rough chop
  • 4 green onions, finely sliced

Dough

Colombia Dark Coffee
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  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup lard
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water

Caribe Picante (optional sauce)

  • 1 caribe chile
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 t Black Pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 bunch cilantro, rough chop
  • 4 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 T olive oil

 

METHOD

For the dough, combine the flour, cornmeal and salt and stir. Cut in the lard until it resembles pea sized crumbs. Add the cold water and knead a few times until fully incorporated. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

For the filling, melt the lard in a large pot and brown the pork. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place golden berries in a small bowl and cover with hot or boiling water to reconstitute and allow to sit for 5 minutes before draining; reserve. Once the meat has browned, remove from pot and reserve. Begin to add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, add the sweet potato and continue to cook for a few minutes. Add the cumin and sugar and gently caramelize, then deglaze with the cold coffee. Continue to cook over medium heat until the sweet potatoes are cooked through. Transfer to a food processor and add the reserved golden berries, then puree until smooth. Check the seasoning with salt and pepper. Allow to cool completely before folding in the pork, cilantro and green onion.

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To prepare the empanadas, divide the dough evenly into 24 pieces (I begin by halving, and then halving again until I reach my desired number). On a lightly floured surface begin to roll out the pieces of dough, then cupping the dough in your hand fill each with about 1 generous tablespoon of filling. Crimp the edges shut using your fingers or a fork. Place the finished empanadas onto a baking sheet. You may then cook immediately or freeze for a future use.

To cook, you may either bake or fry the empanadas. Traditionally, empanadas are fried in oil however, they can easily be baked at 400º F for 20 minutes. Be sure to brush with an egg wash of 1 egg and 1 tablespoon milk or water in you choose to bake, as it will provide a wonderful golden crust.

OPTIONAL: For the Caribe Picante, place the chile, vinegar and water in food processor and puree until smooth. Combine the remaining ingredients and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes prior to service.

Enjoy!

Fair Trade Colombian Empanadas Recipe

Curried Pilaf

CURRIED PILAF

Long-Grain Rice
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INGREDIENTS

Dried Mango
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Dried Banana
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  • 1 cup Long-Grain Rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 large green onions, finely sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 T fresh ginger, grated/rasped
  • 1/3 cup dried Mango, torn
  • 1/3 cup dried Banana
  • 1/3 cup coconut ribbons 
  • 1 t Za'toun zaatar
  • 1 1/2 T curry powder
  • 1/2 cup almonds, crushed
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Oil, melted
  • organic pink Himalayan salt, to taste
  • Black Pepper, freshly ground, to taste

METHOD

Cook the rice in a pot over medium heat. Reduce the heat when the rice begins to boil. Once all the water has been absorbed place the lid on the pot and let rest off the heat.

Place the next eight ingredients into a stainless steel bowl, add the rice and stir with a spoon. Add the melted coconut oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve warm or let cool to room temperature, whatever your preference.

Enjoy!

Note: Za’atar is a Middle Eastern condiment comprising oregano, thyme, savory, sumac, sesame seeds, salt and other spices. It may be found at many ethnic grocers or food stores

Fair Trade Curried Pilaf Recipe
Fair Trade Curried Pilaf Recipe