I only get a couple of vacation weeks a year, so I took my first week off the last week of April. Jihan managed to get the same week off, and we had both business and pleasure to take care of during that week. We did the pleasure part first, going up to a small rented cottage in Minden, Ontario, with our bikes on the back of the car. Friday and the weekend we used to look for a new place in Hamilton, our old hometown.
Though vacation week, after a sunny, summery week, turned out to be fairly cool, we did manage to get a little cycling and hiking done.
A lot of people neither like to engage in physical activities like cycling and hiking during their vacations, nor spend much time cooking for themselves. For them vacations are about complete relaxation. We like to be active in nature and get creative with our cooking.
Because of the somewhat cool and wet weather, and the barbecue's unsheltered location, we decided to use our electric CuisinArt griddle and grill for coconut milk pancakes (like the coconut milk crepes, only a little thicker) in the morning and wonderful grilled creations in the evening.
One evening I grilled up some veggie burgers, giant mushrooms (size and shape like portobello, but white), and sliced zucchini. I put the grilled veggie burgers and barbecue-slathered giant mushrooms inside rosemary ciabatta buns (grilled lightly after putting on vegan mayonnaise), together with mustard, slices of vegan jalapeno cheese, organic kosher-dill pickles, onion, and fresh tomato. On the side we had the grilled zucchini and a simple baby spinach and red bell pepper salad. Jihan made the salad and the dressing that went with it.
Another evening I grilled sweet corn on the cob, more veggie burgers, and barbecued veggie kebabs made of king oyster mushroom, onion, zucchini and red bell pepper slices. I drizzled extra virgin olive oil over the kebabs as they grilled, before basting them with barbecue sauce. On the corn on the cob we simply put a little unsalted margarine and sea salt.
Also in Minden, we discovered a cafe that, while neither entirely vegetarian nor vegan, was owned and operated by a young woman and her father who were very open and willing to veganise dishes. I'll write about the Gravity
House Cafe Coffee House separately.
After we returned from the cottage we spent a couple of days in Hamilton to look for a new place. The hammer, as it's sometimes called, is our old hometown, and it happens to be halfway between where I work and where Jihan will study in the coming year. I'm sure the new place in Hamilton will be referenced on this blog in the coming months, as will the city itself.