Ingredient Notes

Unless otherwise stated, this is what I use when I call for any of the following ingredients in my recipes:

  • Aleppo Pepper: a mild Arabic pepper that is not too hot, a bit salty and a bit sweet.  I get it in the form of crushed aleppo pepper flakes.
  • Almond Meal: (aka. Almond Flour) ground raw & blanched whole almonds.
  • Beans & Legumes: dried when I remember to soak them, canned when I don’t. I think eating canned beans is still better than not eating beans at all.  There are some new pre-sprouted lentils you can buy packaged that take only 5 minutes to cook — I am in love with them!
  • Cheese: The stinkier the better. I try to support my favourite local artisanal cheese makers when I can.
  • Chili Garlic Sauce: I love Huy Fung chili garlic sauce.
  • Chipotle Peppers: I find the easiest ones to grab are the canned “chipotles in adobo”. You can blitz the entire container in a blender or food processor to make a quick and easy mason jar of sauce to use as you need (keep it in the fridge), or pull out a pepper at a time and slice it into your meals for a smoky, spicy kick. Mmmm.
  • Chocolate: the darker the better, I go for 70% or darker, and organic & fair-trade when possible.
  • Cilantro: my favourite herb. I use fresh cilantro whenever I can (the leaves of the plant). If I’m using the dry whole or ground herb (the seeds of the plant), I refer to it as coriander.
  • Coconut Milk: from a can — I use the full-fat version as the low-fat ones are just full-fat coconut milk + water. I can water down my own if I use the full-fat one. Great in stir-frys, desserts, and marinades.
  • Coconut Oil: raw, extra-virgin & organic, I like Nutiva.
  • Coconut Sugar: use it 1:1 to replace cane sugar.  It’s made from the nectar of coconut palm blossoms, is a low-glycemic index food, has minerals in it, and tastes great.  If you’re using it to top baked goods, I find it browns faster than cane sugar. Warning: it doesn’t bake up quite like cane sugar, and will cause macarons to crack.
  • Eggs: large eggs, free-range from my local farmer’s market.
  • Garam Masala: A spice mix available commercially, or you can create your own. The spices vary, but usually include roasted & ground cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • Grains: as whole as possible, (e.g. quinoa, amaranth)
  • Harissa: a North African hot red pepper paste. I adore Belazu Rose Harissa, and keep it always on hand. You can also make your own (recipe here — haven’t tried it, but looks great).
  • Kale: my favourite green vegetable. To get it ready for cooking and eating I usually trim the leaves off of the stems, discard the stems, and tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces while I’m washing them. I love “massaged” kale in raw salads, steamed kale, and even kale chips!
  • Mexican Oregano: different from Mediterranean oregano (it’s actually a totally different plant, which is closer related to lemon verbena than to oregano).  It tastes more like savoury or thyme than like Mediterranean oregano.  It can replace epazote in Mexican recipes.
  • Milk: usually 2% cow’s milk or unsweetened almond milk.
  • Miso Paste: I seem to prefer the taste of red miso paste to white, but use them interchangeably. I find the miso paste makes a better instant soup than the dehydrated stuff.
  • Mustard: at least two bottles of Dijon (one grainy and one regular) are always in the fridge for whichever way my mood swings.  Smoked Maple Dijon is a favourite for salad dressings.
  • Nutritional Yeast: A deactivated yeast that comes in flakes or powder. Vegans use nutritional yeast in their cooking to get a cheesy flavour. You can use it as a substitute for parmesan cheese.  I tend to put it on popcorn or pasta.  I use Bob’s Red Mill.
  • Oil: coconut oil is my favourite for high-heat cooking, and olive oil for cold things.  Walnut and sesame oils taste great and live in the fridge.
  • Polenta: quick cooking coarse-ground cornmeal, aka. grits, aka. polenta — I like Bob’s Red Mill.
  • Quinoa: I tend to use organic white or red quinoa. Cooking instructions are here (as well as an explanation of this high-protein ancient grain).
  • Spirulina: A green superfood based off of veggie plankton, full of B12 and protein and good things – I get mine in powdered form and add it to smoothies (as well as some breads and treats). Beware! It will turn your food green!
  • Sweeteners: I avoid chemicals wherever possible, and use maple syrup (from Quebec, fairly local) as a liquid sweetener, and coconut sugar, organic crystallized cane sugar or organic demerara sugar when I need the texture of sugar.
  • Tahini: A paste made from ground sesame seeds. I use it in place of nut butters when allergies are a concern. It’s great in hummus and baba ghanouj as well as on toast with banana slices!
  • Tamari: A type of soy sauce that is usually gluten-free (check your labels!). I prefer the flavour of this to ‘regular’ soy sauce as it is a bit darker and richer, so I use it interchangeably in recipes that call for soy sauce (substituting the same amount of tamari for soy). You can substitute soy sauce for tamari in any of my recipes if you can’t find tamari.
  • Vanilla: I keep on hand both vanilla paste, and pure (organic) vanilla extract. The paste is lovely, as it adds the vanilla bean flecks to whatever you’re making, and a bit of sweetness too. 1 tsp. vanilla paste = 1 tsp. vanilla extract.
  • Veggies: organic wherever possible, and washed & dried before use. I get an organic veggie box delivery every two weeks from Front Door Organics, and love grabbing whatever inspires me at the farmer’s market.
  • Yogurt: usually plain (unsweetened, unflavoured) Greek yogurt.
  • Za’atar (aka. zaatar): a Middle Eastern blend of dried spices (usually oregano, thyme, and marjoram), sumac, and sesame seeds — I use a commercial blend from my spice shop, but you can mix your own. I love it in bread doughs and on roasted veggies,  and use it frequently.

If you have any questions about the ingredients I use in any of my recipes, feel free to get in touch using the contact form below:

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