(pumpkin oatmeal cookies, molasses snaps, sugar cookie sticks, meltaway shortbread, sugar-plum stars, chocolate thumbprints with cranberry or chestnut, PB and chocolate bonbons, PB-fruit-coconut-almond bonbons, and 12th century nutmeg spice cookies)
Merry season everyone! Those cookies up there are the symbols of festivity I decided to make lest there be no christmas cheer in my heart at all. Not to say I didn't have a wonderful and family-filled trip home, but somehow... I'm feeling distanced from the traditions. No big surprise really... age and a certain mistrust of buying shit will take their toll, making it a very good thing that my heart will always ring with passion for cooking at least. And so, there was the night of a million cookies. Or rather, maybe six or seven batches. It was AWESOME. Just me and a table full of flours and extracts and whisks, neatly and precisely churning out dough after dough, and pulling perfectly browned trays out of my mom's oven (that actually WORKS). I was so surprised it only took me a couple of hours - with the notable exception of the shortbread, which had me up to wee hours with the hand-whipping and chilling and 45 minute baking times but it was worth it in every way a mind can conceive. Move over butter - baking for so long turns EB into something intensely delicious, toasty and redolent and I'm glad I left it unadorned in it's proud "cadillac-of-margarines" glory.
Then I made a cake, inspired in large part by these lilliputian mandarins my mom picked up. It's the mandarin-orange-spice cake that has it's own full colour glamour shot in extraveganza, and it's glossy photo is more than deserved. The cake itself isn't over sweet, instead it's spicy and moist (and very christmas-y!), and a perfect vehicle for rich almond butter citrus icing that tasted a lot like magic. Should have been cashew, but you use what you have. Almonds have more personality anyway!
Giant slice for me? Oh, you shouldn't have! No really, you take this slice, I'll have the rest of the cake...... :D
It's a christmas day tradition at my dad's to have non-vegan belgian waffles with berries and cream, and every year previous I've made myself happy with (actually pretty good) fruit salad and maybe a tofurkey brat fried up with ketchup. But this year I was offered a spot in the waffle maker and I figured why not? I made the ppk apple waffles that were so good my step-mom jumped on the leftovers and I started to seriously consider spending my mall money certificates on a novelty waffle iron. They even picked up a bottle of whippy edible oil topping that in very very small doses (ie: once a year) I actually enjoy.
Later christmas dinner, the photo of which I considered not posting even at all. It's a little smooshy! But yummy. So much so! I made red wine and maple baked tempeh, roasted potatoes with mushroom gravy, sesame broccoli, butternut squash with fresh thyme and garlic oil, rye stuffing, roast parsnip, turnip and carrot, dill and avocado salad, and lime-glazed beets. Just excellent, I was moaning all over the tempeh, which is always a treat to me, and even managed to save room for dessert - an apple cherry crumble with almonds and pecans that I will NOT post because it looks a little like something undergoing surgery but I can assure you was almost addictive with some Vitasoy Holly Nog splashed on top. (Said Nog also made my oatmeal xmasserrific my whole week home, I love that stuff.)
Here's to a new year and to Xmas being through and to all a goodnight (I can't wait to get back to school!!!)
EDIT: At Joanna's request, and because it's available online anyway, I'm posting the Mandarin cake recipe.
Mandarin Orange Spice Cake
1 3/4 cups spelt flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp each nutmeg, cloves, and allspice
2/3 cup maple syrup
4 tbsp canola or other natural oil
3 tbsp mandarin orange juice, freshly squeezed (about 3 mandarins)
1 tbsp mandarin orange zest
1 tsp fresh gingerroot, grated
3/4 cup rice milk or soy milk
1 recipe Creamy Mandarin Icing
Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. In a smaller bowl combine the maple syrup, oil, orange juice and zest, ginger and soy milk and whisk together to emulsify the wet ingredients. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix with a fork gently; do not beat. Pour into a lightly oiled and floured 8x8-inch cake pan, a Bundt pan, or an 8-inch springform pan. Bake 35-40 minutes. Check to see if cake is done by inserting a toothpick into the centre of cake; it should come out clean. Let cool on a rack before removing from the pan. Decorate the cake with Creamy Mandarin Orange Icing and garnish with edible flowers such as tangerine gems or calendula.
Creamy Mandarin Icing
1/2 cup soy margarine
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cashew butter
1 tbsp mandarin orange zest
Blend all ingredients in a food processor on high for several minutes until very creamy and thoroughly combined. Chill icing for 1-2 hours. Spread onto thoroughly cooled cake and decorate with grated orange rind and calendula flowers. Keep cake chilled until serving. Variation: Add 1/2-1 tsp each of beet powder and turmeric to dye the icing an orange colour. Add a small portion of each at a time as you blend the icing, until you reach a desired colour.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
(pumpkin oatmeal cookies, molasses snaps, sugar cookie sticks, meltaway shortbread, sugar-plum stars, chocolate thumbprints with cranberry or chestnut, PB and chocolate bonbons, PB-fruit-coconut-almond bonbons, and 12th century nutmeg spice cookies)
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Gorgeous! Floating rice in big white space! It's the hunan fried rice from Vegan Fire & Spice, which is actually pretty fantastic. It actually has flavour, and I especially love how the tofu pellets explode with sherry goodness. I switched up the vegetables completely and can see myself pulling out this basic recipe to accomodate any old veg & rice, cause it's really yum and takes like 2 minutes to bash up.
Equally fast and furious - the snobby joes from the Veganomicon on spaghetti squash with baked paprika yam fries from Extraveganza. I'm so officially hooked on spaghetti squash right now, it's like noodles except refreshing. It had been so long since I'd had it that I forgot you could actually slurp the stuff, and that became so much the deciding factor in my new love for it. Veg! You can slurp! Everyone wins. :)
Persimmon blondies!! As luscious as they sound and look, they're a tester recipe for Hannah's upcoming book. I am super lucky that things like this freeze well, or I'd have polished off the pan already. :p
And I picked up a cool looking bag of assorted herbs in chinatown the other day. It was only 70 cents and I kind of saw it as a taster pack of a bunch of exotic ingredients I might never get around to trying all in one spot. Like... lotus seeds, dioscorea, dried lily bulb, fox nuts, dried longan and polygonatum. And a big pouch of barley!
I assumed it was for boiling with chicken for to make extra-healthified chicken soup (at least according to my book on asian cooking) so I just skipped the chicken part and boiled it for 45 minutes or so. The funny thing is that I went for a quick grocery run in the middle - yes I am that bad and I leave the stove on while I'm gone sometimes ^^; - and when I came back the apartment smelled so nutty and sweet and... quite like chicken soup. Strange! But not bad. I strained it out because the solids were tasteless, added some tamari, green onion and tofu cube and it was strangely very satisfying. Not a taste sensation or anything, but it felt good going down the throat and I could see myself picking up a pack the next time I get a cold.
You're also gonna think I'm weird, maybe, but this salad was a great accompaniment to barley broth. I didn't know that endive, pear and pecan (in my case walnut) was such a classic salad! This is the veganomicon version, but I'm pretty interested in playing around with the components, maybe adding some fermented tofu as a blue cheese element, or tossing in some roasted beets like Emilie did. It's also so pleasingly in season, I love that. So far, winter hasn't been half bad!
Friday, December 12, 2008
I can't even feign surprise or indignation over this. Instead of hitting the last vestiges of humanity untouched by fast food culture with bibles or giant stickers that say "Democracy!", why not give them a burger? RIGHT???
This video is adorable and it makes me queasy. I really wanted to scream at them "Don't do it! You'll get hooked on the salt and the strange meat! You'll eventually start craving cheap white bread instead of whatever delicious real food you were serving to those deluded BK-advocates! Put the sandwich down!!!"
Bonus points for everyone who poked it like it was a malformed sea creature. :/
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I always end up making curry on a whim. Without fail I am on my way to make something else, something usually boring and somehow between the fridge and the stovetop it turns into curry in my brain and I'm always thankful for the switch. I can always eat more red lentils... and I got to try out these unreal curry powders my friend J brought me from India when he went this summer. Why have I not used these all over the place before???? They are crazy good, more on them later. They made an acorn squash, red lentil, coconut, pea and green pepper curry absolutely golden. Actually, pistachio coloured. Who says curry is homely? And cardamom raisin quinoa underneath doesn't hurt in the pretty department, either.
Here are those spices (I couldn't be happier that there's massive quantities of both).
The south indian blend has --- white pepper, chili, mango powder, dagger fool, clove, ginger, mace, citric acid, concoun, cassia, and akarkhora. Badass.
The garam masala is black cumin, black pepper, bay leaves, piper, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, clove, black cardamom, ginger.
These are seriously aromatic and complex, and for some reason taste different in every curry I add them to. Maybe it's like that chemical thing where the same perfume smells different on various wrists? Maybe it's the akarkhora.
Then I made some DAIIIII-FU-KUUUU, yippee! I didn't realize I was out of red dye for my envisioned green-and-red holiday colours, but I did have a beet, which worked perfectly and the subtle flavour didn't mess with the beans at all. They are bean paste (anko) filled, which has got to be my favourite stuff ever. I'm still not 100% on the mochi part, I may have found the one food I'm not super crazy for, but they are definitely fun to make. And it was much as Julie in Japan describes: truly they are weird. But I did keep eating it and then later I did really want another one. That strange earlobe jellyness kinda becomes... intriguing? In a way? I must say I can taste the difference in the supple freshness of homemade mochi versus those awful pucks I got over christmas.
Okay, this is actually making my mouth water now, so disregard any blabbing about weirdness. You can also see that I like my anko (I LOVE my anko) chunky, generous in proportion to earlobe-jelly, and only moderately sweet.
J's (half awake) response was A: "They look like the kind of thing that people eat in cartoons, Liz." (I nodded). And B: "Hmm... they taste like rice cake." Which I thought was mighty open-minded for a technicoloured blobby-dessert ambush, and indicative of an awesome generation of eaters. My parents would have certainly gone for the bugspray or something. :)
In response to KingoftheFrogs -- what I did for the mochi:
The red and the green both had pretty different textures, since I used more water in the green, but they were both good... it takes some playing around I think.
1 cup rice flour
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup water + (if needed) 2-3 tablespoons
food colouring (optional)
(1 cup of anko/red bean paste)
* stir the flour, water, sugar and colouring together in a microwave-safe bowl, adding more water so that it's smooth (but still pretty thick)
* microwave 2 minutes, then stir it like crazy
* microwave until it inflates, stir like crazy and stretch it and wack it with a wooden spoon until it's smooth and bouncy.
* turn it onto a tray covered with potato starch (or cornstarch) and roll it into a snake, then cut that snake into 12 equal pieces.
* stretch a piece into a disc, thicker in the middle than at the edges, place 1 tablespoon of anko paste in the middle and wrap it up like a parcel, pinching the seam to join the mochi together. Dust with extra cornstarch, and set it aside, repeat with remaining mochi pieces.
note 1: they freeze pretty much perfectly, so uneaten candy can be squirreled away for later.
note 2: anko is soooo easy to make, it's just red beans cooked with sugar and a touch of salt. Take cooked adzuki beans, add sugar til it's sweet enough for you, mash with a spoon and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until it's really thick, like cookie dough. Let it cool completely before using.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
This was the result of a hankering for an old-fashioned face-stuffy burger, and did it ever deliver on that. I made some crusty kaiser rolls, some straightforward black bean burgers (with rye flour and tortilla chips instead of white flour and breadcrumbs), put a bit of mayo and pepper on it and it was absolute perfection.
Oh yeah, and pomegranate salsa is like salsa with pink jewels in among the spiciness, and it really really works.
I also tried soygurt for the first time last week (in order to make that harissa yogurt swirl for the fava soup) and I loooooooove it. I didn't eat cheese as an omni, I ate YOGURT, and loads of it, so I don't know why it took me this long to grab the blue tub and add it to everything. This almond butter-lime dressing was so easy and yummy!
And speaking of soy... the other day a half block of firm tofu practically jumped into my blender and went "eeeeeeh! add sugar and lemon to meeeee!". And who was I to argue? I baked this one, and added a pinch of nutritional yeast which sounds weird but gives it depth (just a pinch). The texture was perfect too... it sliced off into tart little "wodges" which in my odd mind is the exact word for an ideal slice of cheesecake. I wish I could live off of this stuff!
(oh and it was about 4" across. I love mini tins!)
Finally I made Juineve's creamy eggplant and roasted pepper soup with zaatar crackers. I doctored it a bit, roasting the vegetables and added tomatoes and a splash of sherry, and wished I had made more, it was so luscious. Thumbs up!
Monday, December 1, 2008
Ahhhh! So cute! They're like koala bears! Except s'more flavoured! Mini-sizing these was SO perfect, it made them actually s'more sized. And unlike last time (of which we speak nothing and try maybe to forget the day-glo blue frosting on essentially my first batch of cupcakes ever), my painting class loved them! I only had three to take home from the critique, which I gladly invited to my belly. Oh, and I even put a bit of caramel syrup in the frosting for that burnt sugar thing, plus did I mention the grahams were homemade? Anyway, my teacher looked one moment at the tray I put on the table and declared my paintings A-worthy, sight unseen. Ha!
Sometimes I fry up leftover mushroom millet mash (mmm) into a crispy fritter of late-night eating, and it is good.
I was also blown away by this spicy rutabaga fava bean soup recipe from Tofu for Two. It's so bloody tasty, I had it for breakfast, snack, dessert, hot, cold, with harissa yogurt, with pomegranate arils, with basil, and now it is gone and I am sad. I'm such a sucker for pureed soups, especially ones that taste like fanciness and comfort at the same time. And fava. Fava is specially good.
Friday, November 28, 2008
I was so excited when I heard of November's Daring Bakers challenge - not only was it a real, honest-to-goodness fiddly multiple step recipe for something cake-like and gorgeous - but it was PURE SUGAR. No fruit, whole wheat, nuts to get in the way of every aromatic melt-in-your-mouth slice, hurray! (okay, my body started sending off little siren alarms with every bite, but it was worth it... sooooooooooo worth it)
It all starts with a big pot of caramel syrup, which becomes like magic flavour goo that's added to the batter and the frosting. The browned butter frosting. I had heard you could brown Earth Balance and last Saturday was the day that my hopes were confirmed - it does brown and turn also quite magically delicous! Seriously, this frosting is my answer to buttercream, way more depth of flavour and the texture's like... creamy fudge, yee-um. Part of the appeal may have been the happy accident of using mediterranean-style olive oil Earth Balance instead of buttery spread. Olive oil and caramel makes perfect sense to me. And to my tongue. :)
Other modifications... I don't think I paid a speck of attention to how much salt was supposed to go in this thing and just sprinkled away until it tasted like a salted caramel I'd like. I didn't make the butter caramels that could go with this because I ran out of sugar, cream and butter (ha!), but I did make a little batch of Fran Costigan's vanilla wafer cookies with fig jam sandwiched inside. I'm still savoring each tiny nickel-sized piece... I think I've been making coffee just as an excuse to eat them. :D
I also used flax goo instead of eggs (the method where you soak whole flax seeds in water and then strain the thickened liquid out), but next time I'd definitely go for tofu or soygurt instead - flax was way too gummy.
See? A wee bit dense. Mismeasuring the milk had a lot to do with that, too. (try 1/4 cup too much - it makes a difference!) But I learned a lot about cakes (like, also I should trim them), and I'm all of a sudden really curious about veganizing other omni desserts, because da-amn.... the flavour on this one was just heavenly... and I really want another sticky sticky piece... I guess I'll just have to try again in the noble name of science. :)
[ Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting recipe courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon (http://eggbeater.typepad.com/), as published on Bay Area Bites (http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/2006 … he-recipe/ ]
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Sometimes I do use dinner knives. It's true! Maybe I should do it more often, actually, 'cause this was REALLY tasty. I made blackened tofu from Eat Drink and be Vegan, with Exraveganza-inspired lemon cardamom rice and tartar sauce, and I probably should have doubled the amount of sauce I made, because I'm out of leftover tofu right now and I still want to douse everything in tartar-y goodness.
Tartar Sauce (or the best use for mayo ever)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp each finely diced pickle, capers, red onion
a few drops of caper juice
1/8 tsp garlic powder
sprinkle of each of salt and sugar
lots of black pepper
1. Stir, let it sit, consume.
And I've been tagged with a survey or two. I don't remember who tagged me for the Seven Things survey, but I'll get around to that one in a day or so with a tour of my kitchen instead of random boring stuff about me. Of course I say that and then subject you to the Four Things survey, because I remember who tagged me (hi Rural Vegan! :), and I haven't done one like it before. K...
Four Places I Go Over and Over:
1. School (it's true!). For loads of things. (quietude, classes, anti-capitalist food, studio space, free political screenings, cheap books, art supplies)
2. the stretch of grocery stores in my neighbourhood with the fresh produce that lines the streets and the funny umbrellas that keep the rain off. Sometimes when it gets snappy-cold all of a sudden you can thunk frozen oranges together. :)))))
4. la-la land/my sketchpad
Four People Who E-mail Me Regularly
1. My mom. I am super cool. :D
2. Amazon. Even cooler.
3. School, telling me about gallery submissions and performance art yada
4. I don't 'get' regular emailing, actually. If I like conversing with someone enough to send multiple emails I'll usually take the dialogue to a better format.
Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now
1. On a rooftop, swathed in plushy new winter-wear, nursing a hot cider and watching the city at night.
2. A heady, smoky night in Morocco or Malaysia or some such
3. Tibetan monastery
4. a little boat with an owl, a wizard, a lamp and a map
Four of My Favorite Places to Eat
1. The cafe at the arts building has the perfect view of dilapidated downtown Montreal, is never crowded, has vegan wraps and you can even grill your own sandwiches and look at funny textile art. Oh, and a microwave for bagged lunches, perhaps most important of all.
2. Anywhere outside in the forest.
3. Anywhere with friends, while travelling.
4. I hardly eat out!!! But I like a good burrito/wrap more than anything, except maybe The Table restaurant in Ottawa.
Four TV Shows I Watch Over and Over
1. Good Eats!!!! It's total comfort watching.
2. Project Runway/Top Chef
3. Venture Bros.
*5. Does a long-running anime obsession count? it should. :P
Monday, November 24, 2008
Woot anachronistic cooking! I've been wanting to try some medieval cuisine for a long time now, and a fennel in the fridge seemed as good a time as any to start. This is a pretty straightforward soup recipe, except that the spices are totally left field and extremely yummy. Apparently medieval cooks were heavy seasoners, actually, and used a lot of sour, sweet and spicy, and eastern ingredients when they could get their hands on them. Sounds good to me! And I tried soda bread for the first time --- it's so crusty and fast, I love it.
Damned Tasty Ye Olde Fennel Brothe
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 fennel bulb + greens, diced (put the greens aside)
1 medium white potato, diced (not authentic and tastier without!)
5-6 cups of 'chicken' broth
1 tsp dried galangal pieces (1/2 tsp of dried ginger might work, too)
4 whole cloves
a good pinch of saffron
lots of pepper
1. In a soup pot, brown the onions and garlic over medium heat until translucent. Add the potato and fennel and continue to cook until all the vegetables are golden and soft.
2. Add the broth and spices, bring it to a boil, then reduce and simmer, mostly covered, for about 25 minutes. Add the frilly fennel tops, check for seasoning, and keep simmering until the vegetables just start to break down into the broth. Puree if you're not feeling authentic (perhaps food mill or pound with a rock?). Serve with soda bread....
Soda Bread (for one)
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/8 tsp each: salt, sugar, baking soda
2 tbsp + 1 tsp milk
1/4 tsp vinegar (white or apple cider)
1 tbsp of currants or chopped raisins
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1. Preheat oven to 400 F
2. Sift the flour with the salt, sugar and soda into a large cereal bowl.
3. Add the vinegar to the milk, then pour that into the dry ingredients.
4. Stir with your hands until a raggy dough forms, then turn it onto the counter and knead just a few times to smooth it out. Form that into a little biscuit shape, cut a cross on the top, place on an oiled baking sheet and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until it's browned on the bottom and smelling nice.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
There is nothing quite like chili fries. I wish I'd had some sort of cheese-like stuff to melt all over this and really do up the indulgence (not that this is really that indulgent, actually semi-healthy), but an extra splash of olive oil while making the fries pushed this to another level anyway. Plus lots of nooch and peppers for a perfect after school nosh.
(is this the reincarnation of a half-filled tin of tomato sauce sitting in my fridge? I say nothing.
Okay yes, it is. :D)
I *heart* V-con sooo much. I've made the saffron garlic rice before, it's my favourite (especially when you brown the bottom just a bit to get the most tantalizing crispy garlic-y crust... *droooools*), and the chickpeas romesco might be the best pantry-staple thing I've ever made. SO good. And even better about both these Spanish-y dishes is that they're free of lemon and sherry vinegar so I can go to town on the side vegetables and the whole plate tastes amazing.
Now I kinda want creamy tomato soup. Go figure. :P
Monday, November 17, 2008
So when Isa says smother, smother I do. There's not much else I wanted to eat after making the VwaV punkrock chickpea gravy, except anything with loads of this on top. Potatoes are totally good for you, right? Like, they're vegetable matter! I ate so much potato last week.
Yes, and cabbage. If you think this is stereotypically peasant-fare so far, just wait until you see my third primary vegetable of late. But anyway, cabbage in everything, and when a lunch needs to be made in the time it takes for coffee to brew, a nice apple & clove braised cabbage isn't bad at all, and can be slurped like noodles actually.
Third in the poor food trinity? Carrots! Good thing I almost consider them dessert. My favorite way to eat them these days is shredded with daikon radish, peppers and sprouts on top, with toasted sesames, tamari and rice vinegar. Sometimes sriracha, and sometimes... wakame seaweed! No, not hydrated, just crunchy and awesome right out of the bag. Better than chips sometimes.
One can see why I took the opportunity to hop home this weekend and eat out of someone else's fridge for a while? Too bad Ottawa produce is expensive and wilty, ah well. Increases appreciation for the bounty of home, definitely (I complain but it's really not that bad in Montreal). And at least there are fair trade vegan chocolates everywhere. This Zazubean bar was sweetened with cane juice and had damiana leaf, maca root and horny goat weed, whatever that is. Had to try it. Flirtacious, no? The cherries were the best part and there were tons.
The real reason I went to Ottawa was to hit the annual Fall Fair Flea Market at the First Unitarian church, which is basically a place to find vintage treasures and loads of fabulous high-quality literature for utter pennies. I found Godel, Escher, Bach for $1, and at that I rest my case. No wait! I also found The Man Who Ate Everything for $1, which is a fairly entertaining read. Almost precisely like reading a top notch food blog in book form. Plus I got a zillion classics, artbooks, and philosophy for a smile & a song and a twenty dollar bill, y'all, Liz is in happy book land!!!!!
Perhaps more importantly, I discovered that the church offers sanctuary to a number of people. Most recently a Nepali human rights activist (Shree Kumar Rai on the right), and for ten years a Bangladeshi family who were abused years ago here in Ottawa, and threatened back at home for speaking out about it. So now they both have apartments in the building, and cook amazing amazing food (mostly vegan!!) to pay for expenses and things. And they need people to watch for government officials all the time, which is crazy, but I'm proud of my old church for having the balls to be this immensely awesome. That's the mediterranean plate they put together for me up there, with a requested cauliflower pakora in the middle, yum.
(More information about UU sanctuary here).
Not to mention I was lucky enough to try Mr. Samsa's vegetarian wrap and holy crap, it was actually the best deep-fried falafal-ish thing I've EVER had. No kidding. The bread was yielding like butter (absolutely homemade), and the innards were spiced like the chorus of your favourite song. I wish I could get these all the time!
They even had sushi! Basic veggie style, but it was real and fresh and delicious as sushi usually is. Go International Cafe! I just wish I could have tried some of the onion bhaji or samosa, which were flying out of the kitchen and looking phenomenal, but next year I guess.
So that was the trip and now I am home, and since I couldn't for life of me decide what I wanted for dinner tonight I mixed it all together with some kind of gluten-free pasta (rice, I think), fresh basil, chard, garlic, sundried tomatoes and chickpeas I made this morning with balsamic grilled fennel and that was pretty good for a girl who makes noodles maybe ten times a year. Pretty good delicious, that is!
Oh yeah. And 100% potato/cabbage/carrot free, and for that we sing a wee song of yay and happy-chew. :)
Monday, November 10, 2008
Like a fine wine, this cookie here presented has been aged to perfection, acquiring deep notes of CHEWY and TOFFEE-BURN and OMFG I LOVE LIFE. Did it require barrels and equipment? Naaaaaah, just some forsight. Friday night I made a batch of Dreena's homestyle chocolate chip cookies (which I think I've made at least ten times before, they must be my favourite or something) with two extra tablespoons of cocoa, a pinch of instant coffee powder, and coarse salt instead of fine. And then the dough sat in the fridge all weekend, getting dryer and more flavorful every day. I must pledge my allegiance to this NY Times article by the way, for spilling the perfect cookie beans... because....
I want to run away with this disc of chocolate bakery love. I am so glad I made just one, or I'd pretty much still be in the kitchen contemplating all the cocoa-laced angels that were trumpeting every bite as I sank deeper into tri-textured molten crispy chewy transcendence.
That is all. :)
(oh, except that I threw a couple basil leaves onto a few bites and that was even fabulouser. There's no stopping it!)
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Lunchtime: wake up leisurely and construct (reheat) some stuffed butternut squash from last night, with black rice, chard, walnuts, cranberries and red peppers inside (much inspired by jessy), with lemon sauteed green beans and a lovely white bean garlic sauce done pretty close to how Atxvegn made hers. Boomshakka, that plus coffee and then off to school.
Dinner: swung by chinatown on my way home to replenish my Sriracha and of course picked up some extra goodies to play with. Fried gluten balls, a strange turnip-like thing with lavender insides (anyone know what that might be?), dried kumquats (ew), salted black beans (yay! mapo tofu!), and dried black fungus. The fungus ended up in my tummy tonight! It's so weird and I'm hooked, it's all crrrrunchy in a mushroom way. I used this recipe, and threw some stir-fried chard with fermented bean curd along side, and ate it with ............. wheat berries. OH, it was good!
Monday, November 3, 2008
Once upon a time there was an more innocent time in my life where I had no ethical qualms about eating as much Habitant pea soup as my little tummy desired. It was creamy, and dreamy, and came in gigantic tins and sometimes I ate it cold right out of the fridge, sometimes heated up to make it extra silky, and usually with loads of black pepper. It was pretty good stuff, even though it didn't take me long to scan the ingredients list once becoming vegan and there the shocking news was that even the "vegetarian" version had a whole bunch of lard in it! Super gross!! But I love that stuff, so I've been trying here and there to recreate it. The trick is to think simple and this is the closest I've come so far, this may have even been better! :O
(Oh, and it's certainly that time of the season. I'm not the only one to sing the peas praises!)
On the soup front we've still been raring to go this week. After split pea came that rich, gravy-like black bean soup from the Veganomicon that I love so much. Pretty much made identically as before, but with a bit of red pepper added this time. That veg gets itself invited to anything that needs some ruby sparkle and a bite of sweet! Definitely a welcome addition here, and it's cheap and healthy yet luxurious soups like this that make me feel like a queen that should have made a double batch because aaaaaaaaaah it's soooooo goooooooooooooood.
For Hallowe'en this year I could not sleep on the eve of the Hallow's Eve, so I made pudding at three in the morning. Have I mentioned that I adore the excuse to cook at all hours of the night when I have the place to myself? Lovely fun to make a big recipe of extra almondy pudding with a layer of toasted oats and almond crust surprise hiding at the bottom! I don't think I'll go the "crust" route with my pudding again, somehow gritty isn't something I enjoyed on the tongue, but if you eat the creamy first and then the almost macaroon-like cookie bottom, well, that was pretty nice. We conveniently forgot to mention to the guys that there were seven of these in the fridge, and have been diving into pud at our leisure.
I'm not totally greedy, though, and ended up releasing 11 of 12 of these VwaV perfect pumpkin muffins out into the wild to get devoured by costumed friends. It was almost funny how the conversation went every time, though:
Me: here, do want a pumpkin muffin?
Them: ehhhh. nah, is okay.
Me: they are like cake!
Them: all right then (*pause for chewing*) WOW THESE ARE GOOD.
hahaha. fools that they do not know the wonder of gourd cake! Oh, yeah, and actually I made them with a Calabaza squash, which was remarkably smooth and sweet, and just a bit floral - worked beautifully here.
Finally, I am back onto my mission to finish the Vcon. One needs a past-time challenge, right? Eased back into the crusade with a quicky little baby bok shoy with crispy shallots recipe (read: onions, we is poor), enjoyed with my new obsession, black forbidden sticky rice, pineapple pieces and some goji berries for that painterly touch on the dinner plate. Delicious!