Friday, January 30, 2009

january meets the colours of the rainbow

Happy Chinese new year everyone! For once I actually got to celebrate it, in a way - and on the correct day as well! At least, this was my lunch on the 26th. What tickles me more than anything is that I was able to make vegan tofu potstickers with an empty fridge boasting only carrots, cabbage and tofu. Because that's all you really need! Admittedly they were wanting for some sprightly green onion inside, but otherwise they were purrrrrrfect. Chewy gyoza can be for lunch anytime it wants at my house. Oh, and the star of the meal was actually the Hot Mustard Dipping Sauce from Vegan Fire & Spice. Two minutes to make and so flavourful!

As for the year of the Ox:

"This year will no doubt bear fruit, but the motto is: "No work, no pay!" Time waits for no man; if we are too lazy to sow then we can blame no one if we have nothing to reap. We will find a great many things requiring our attention, and the list of what needs to be done will seem endless. The Spartan influence of the Ox will be a constantly cracking whip over our heads. Better to apply oneself diligently than waste time arguing with the authorities. They will prevail, as the year of the Ox favors discipline."
- Feng Shui index
You know what? I can get behind that. I've been drawing temples and mandalas lately and I will be completely honest - it is tedious as all get-out. But I really do feel it will pay off later on. And I don't mind working hard in other areas of life too right now, perhaps with no evident reward. It's almost... liberating. I forget myself a bit.

But that's enough about life! Onto the good stuff, the foodstuff! ----------->

Okay, so I couldn't even believe I was eating this soup while I was eating it. It was lavender, and it tasted cheesy. I mean, it was magical princess soup or something. I'd made the cauliflower bisque from Vegan World Fusion before (it is SO good and easy, it's in my permanent repertoire), but never with a purple cauliflower. I also added delicious chunkies to it this time, like corn niblets and extra bits of cauliflower and ate it with a tiny little henge of caraway & raisin whole wheat soda bread.


And would you believe I didn't plan the symmetrical photo-op? Or even the symmetrical dinner? I guess it's not surprising that I was going for blended soups and little toasted starchy things though, it's been a flurried-snow january and I've been nursing a flu for a while. This one is the mellow lentil sniffle soup from Eat Drink & Be Vegan and I think it's actually my favourite lentil soup ever so far. There's something just so... right about it. It doesn't try to be anything but nicely balanced and nutritious and slurpy, and with some squash biscuits alongside I couldn't ask for a better snowy day dinner.

Oh, do you remember when I asked if anyone had any advice for non-sugary cranberry recipes? I think someone mentioned a cranberry dhal, which totally piqued my interest and that inspiration led to this creamy sweet potato & romano bean concoction, served with lemon rice cooked with a whole lemon. I was really wanting sour that day, and this was perfection.

Just the other day I made vegan*core's snickerdoodles because I'd never had one before and it was on the mental list of cookies to try someday (and also I had a tarot party to go to and cinnamon-sugar just seemed like a good idea to bring with me). The photo is terrible, but the cookies are fantastic. They're a white flour and sugar-fest (I only bake like this when I know I can give them away!), with a perfect slight-chew texture and crispy edges, and oh, they're gorgeous too. Like shimmery brown stars.... mmmm.


Another bad photo of something very yummy - I made essentially a flatbread pizza the other day on a homemade chapati with basil chipotle hummous on the bottom and tomatoes and peppers on top. But the real special part was what I managed to make out of leftover pureed squash. I only added nutritional yeast, lemon, olive oil, garlic powder, salt & pepper, but once it was baked up it tasted so much like a cheezy thing. Something gooey to sink the teeth into! I was pleasantly surprised!



Finally - possibly my favourite chinatown find of late - Hopia Baboy. It's a Filipino wintermelon pastry flavoured with green onion!! Astoundingly good. You just pop it into a very hot oven for 5 minutes or so to get toasty and flaky and then oh my goodness, it's like an instant sugar pie with sesames and a haunting bit of onion that totally works. I think some of the time they're flavoured with pork fat, which is slightly horrifying, but these ones were clean and clear. And they last forever. I bought a little blue package of them months ago and I just pull one out of the fridge and bake it whenever I want something aromatic and sticky to nosh. Sooooo good!

28 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

BEYOND sensational Chinese New Year feast!!

Jes said...

I'm digging the pink soup! Cabbage is one of my favorite cheap winter eats and the effect of pureeing it is fabulous!

Liz² said...

oh my goodness, oops! typo, I should have written "purple cauliflower"! I'd be interested in trying to puree cabbage, though, I bet it would be truly silky if it was cooked through enough.

hmm... I may just have to try this. :P

Julia said...

I can't see the photos. :( :( :(

Nicole (anotheronebitesthecrust.wordpress.com) said...

That first photo is beautiful! Everything looks so delicious, lady!

Leigh said...

Ha ha @ "magical princess soup"!

Catherine said...

Magical purple princess soup, indeed! What fun. Kids would dig that!

Kiersten said...

That watermelon pastry sounds so interesting.

Everything looks great, I love the purple soup.

Julia said...

Yay, I can see the photos now! And thanks for your comment on my blog, lovely. :) I don't comment often but watch your blog through an RSS feed I made on livejournal.

Carrie said...

All that food looks fab! I especially love your lavender soup - so pretty!

Monika K said...

You're so good! My bowl of ugly beans can't hold a candle to your lovely, rainbow-colored foods...hope your weekend is terrific!

Cyn said...

Everything looks so delicious! I'm going to have to try that lentil soup.

Alice (in Veganland) said...

Pink soup! yay for pink soup! If I find a purple cauliflower now I know what to do with it!

LK said...

Wow, your cranberry dahl with lemon rice sounds flavorful and so creative! And a watermelon pastry sounds crazy!

T said...

Oooh, so curious about those pastries! Wonder if the chinatown near me offers them.

And the food is all scrumptious and colorful looking! Hurrah for weirdly colored soup!

And the year of the ox anecdote made me a little nervous... after all, this is the year I take the bar exam... but hey, hard work with pay-off could work to my advantage!

omnidudemeandthebean said...

Everything looks delicious. I wish I had been able to celebrate with dumplings. I went with the traditional noodles with non-traditional tomato sauce. I draw mandalas too.

shellyfish said...

Oh - and I totally have to try to make some purple cauliflower soup for my daughter, maybe if I tell her it's "princess soup" she'll dig it?

veganAction said...

"baboy" in Tagalog means pork, but there's lots of hopia filled with black bean paste and sesame paste.

I think most of those pastries, though, are made with pork lard :(

jodye said...

Oh how I wish I could eat everything right off the computer screen!

Theresa said...

Happy year of the ox, liz! All your food looks so great and colourful!

sarchan said...

I'm an Ox. Yay, it's my year!

Your Chinese feast looks so good, and that's a really lovely photo.

...barbara... said...

happy new year....

food looks wicked awesome as usual...

xo...

Hannah said...

Ha, your lavender soup is awesome! I can never find purple cauliflower these days but they're by far my favorite type, if only for that color.

aTxVegn said...

I'm going crazy for your purple cauliflower soup - it looks awesome!

foodsthatfit said...

Your food pics are beautiful! The sweet potato and bean dish looks so good! What is your recipe for that?

Abbie

jessy said...

your purple soup looks sooo gooood! i love a tasty 'n easy soup! a cauliflower bisque sounds great - i really need to ask for Vegan World Fusion as a gift for my birthday or something. saw it a while ago in the bookstore and i enjoyed thumbing though it! i've never heard of hopia baboy! it does sound astoundingly good! yummers! i think the photo of your flatbread pizza is colorful & scrumptious! i'm all about some snickerdoodles, too - they're addictively awesome! your cranberry dahl sounds tasty & interesting - i may have to try something like that! oh yes, i almost forgot about your potstickers! they look gorgeous! happy chinese new year to you, too!

zlamushka said...

what a lovely Chinese feast...
a long time ago, I was vegan for 2 years and I know sometimes I would kill for a good ol junky Chinese food :-) that is probably why my will broke along the way :-( now after two years of crap diet, I am re-living my vegan journey again with my 21-day vegan challenge, as from what I was told, it takes three weeks to change one´s habits....

I ll be back for more inspiration :-)

Marlène said...

Yum Yum, everything looks so tasty!! And your cranberry would-be dahl looks way tasty!

I'm on the brink of going vegan, and I get such inspiration from your blog. You display so much joy in your cooking, and thanks for sharing it with us!!!