Tuesday, October 28, 2008

now I just need a jingle and some snazzy wrapping

I went to a convenience store for the first time in a couple weeks since quitting diet soda - and all of a sudden I was pretty reminded of how delicious candy bars are. I don't even like candy bars usually! But they looked really good that particular night.

So I went home and stirred together some no-stir peanut butter (ironical!), icing sugar, peanuts, crushed up rice cake, molasses, and salt, formed it into a log and coated it with some melted Cocoa Camino fruit & nut chocolate. Popped in a the freezer, then removed to get all soft and chewy again - it was so a real chocolate bar! It looked kinda like a turd. But tasted like a wunderbar, and I still have some left. :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

tester brownies and pb crinkles

Soooo, I made some Rum Raisin Fudge Brownies, a tester recipe for Hannah's new book, and they are fabulous. The raisins make them gorgeous chewy, and the flavour could rock socks off! I haven't made many brownies in my day, but I do know that I'm on the fudgey end of preference, and also these have rum in them! They are dangerously good, I'm telling you.... :o~~~~~

Not too far behind are the peanut butter cookies from More Great Good Desserts. They're a daintier recipe than the dense blocks of my youth, but low oil, high flavour and sooooo pretty and easy to make. So not my ultimate PB cookie recipe, but an excellent one nonetheless. Oh, and dynamite in coffee.

Yay sugar!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

grrr. I regress. I am five.

My tastes have been running along very childlike lines these days. Probably midterm stress coupled with the sudden news that Pomme - ie: the best, most esoteric, kitchen-wizardy, art-star, witty, gentle amazing roommate ever in existence - is moving back to Toronto in a few days... ;____;
(serious weepage. but I'm being stoic)

So I'm eating mac and cheese. Because, well... yay. Slurpy noodles. Susan V-style. Comforting yes... although next time I will leave the vegetables out of my comfort food, no matter how much I seem to have been in a "red & green cube" kinda mood that day (check out the tomato, cuke and basil salad behind the pasta - like eating christmas-y legos!)

Then I scratched this itch I had for loads of sweet beans and ZOMG I ACTUALLY BUY A FAKE MEATS. See hot dog? Delicious. Specially with V-con cheater baked beans, sauteed smoky mystery greens I found in the fridge, and scrambled tofu from Aux Vivres. (btw, it tasted more like egg than any scramble I've ever had, but I couldn't really finish it... I've been spoiled on Vwav scramble I think).

And that up there is a gorgeous slice of procrastination. Essay-writing, smehn - Vcon apple peanut butter caramel bars instead! I used oat flake cereal instead of graham crackers, cause the crackers I thought I had in the pantry smelled intensely of 20-year-old warehouse, gross. But crushed cereal plus a bit of sugar worked great! I kinda wish they were apple-yer. But nonetheless they are coated in peanut butter caramel, and that stuff could make rocks taste good, sooo...... I now have a pan full of PB-love to pick at while I attempt to stuff 10 hours of meticulous drawing into... exactly 10 hours until class. WEE. I <3 LIFE. :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

meat and potatoes for those with fey teeth

The greatest supper ever devised? At least very very close. Brown rice toast with cashew butter, sultanas, fig jam, cortland apple slices (local) and sweet grapefruit (not so local). I dunno why, it was just perfect last night, very comforting, when down like a sweet dream. And no stove required, just a mouth for nomming. I swear I do eat vegetables. :)

(I am indeed posting about toast. We are all allowed to do it once. Yes? Yes.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

survey says... I like food

Liz has made another great survey (not me Liz, but this Liz). Had to fill it in. Must. Answer. Questions...... ..... ...

1. Name a song that involves food in some way.

Blueberry Boat - The Fiery Furnaces

2. What criteria do you use when choosing a new cookbook to buy?
It has to have an approach to basic recipes that I would never have thought of by myself. Cool twists, you know? And in all seriousness, a heck of a lot of amazon reading and maybe I test a recipe or two first if I can.

3. What did you eat today?
oatmeal with raspberries, bananas and cashew butter
rice pilaf, ambercup squash, steamed broccoli & a chocolate chip cookie
big hunks of dragonfruit, cucumber, some different leftover squash (acorn possibly), and a cranberry muffin.
miso soup and a carrot
a couple mints

4. Name a vegan food that you know exists but you have never tried.
vegan cheese, cream cheese, yogurt or sour cream. It's a whole big uncharted territory that one.

5. The Food Network just called and needs you to start your new show tomorrow. What will the title of the show be?
Kamut in the Kitch. Uhhh... lame. whatever. Vegan Party.

6. Favorite hot sauce or other spicy condiment?

7. How old were you when you became vegetarian/vegan?
Vegetarian ages 11-16
Vegan ages 17, 23-24

8. Favorite vegan cheeze?
Homemade cheezy sauce, so far I like SusanV's mac and cheese the best (I haven't made many)

9. Cutest baby animal?
Otters! Or wee little lizards!

10. Favorite type of jam/jelly/marmalade/preserves?
Fig! It doesn't need toast, just a spoon.

11. Do you take any vitamins/supplements?
Calcium magnesium. I should probably take some B vitamins here and there before I get that weird B12 deficiency thing.

12. What food/dish most embodies the Fall season?
Cinnamon in EVERYTHING. And I do mean everything.

13. What food would you have a hard time living without?
Oh, you know, tofu. I crave the stuff if I can't get it for a few days.

14. Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?
First - green tea or earl grey with breakfast. Then black coffee hot enough to sear a few layers of tongue off after that (can't drink it with food or it'll inhibit iron absorption I think). And then gigantic mugs of any kind of tea after that. Hardly ever hot chocolate. I like hot mugs of caffeine, oh I do......

15. It’s 10PM and you’re starving. What do you eat?
Banana, as anything else might be too cold and structurally challenging enough to wake me up too much. maybe a pudding.

16. If you have an animal companion, what is his/her favorite food?
Satchmo-cat just uses my water cups as her own.

17. Worst injury you’ve gotten in the kitchen?
I sliced my thumb on a meat-slicer (don't ask, bad job) right down to the bone once. My supervisor tried an old greek trick of rubbing tobacco in it to stop the bleeding, which might have worked but mostly just stung a lot. And then I got the afternoon off!

18. When you have a food-related question, who do you call?
The internet in general

19. Summer is ending- What food will you miss most?
Peaches, all the berries. Avocado!

20. What snacks do you keep in your purse/backpack/desk at work?
My candy drawer at home always has dark chocolate, ginger candies, a couple lara/luna bars, and those peanut and sesame brittles with the white tapioca cake underneath.

21. Favorite soup to make on a rainy day?
Spicy, thick, tomatoe-y barley something with lots of pepper and a hunk of marmite-spread dark bread alongside.

22. What’s your favorite combination of fresh vegetable and/or fruit juices?
Only ever tried carrot, celery and ginger, but I loved it! Spicy and surprisingly sweet.

23. Favorite brand of root beer?
I don't know... but I like this kind of ginger beer

24. Make up your own question!
If your kitchen had a flag, what would it proudly wave?
Uhhhhh.... It would have a pirate ship with like, 18,000 cookies spilling out of it. And Satchmo cat up in the rigging, just because. :D

wine, meet chickpeas. and a good day to you sir!

A post-holiday fridge is usually a riot of leftovers, and this thanksgiving was no exception, and yet -- what do I have left here? Hmm... chickpeas, loads of peppers that are going wrinkly, red wine, a bag full of cut onions, mushrooms, and 1/2 eggplant. Shazam, that means ratatouille! Regardless of the amount of wild rice stuffing there is still left to eat. I'm firing up the oven now!

So I roasted the whole deal with a head of garlic and added a whole bunch of thyme, rosemary, basil and tarragon, some tomatoes, stirred stirred and THEN - oh my, like magic, it was wine-y and oven-roasted sweet and slurpily good. Go french stews. I'll be having these leftovers over hoecakes for lunch today!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

design your muffin, not your dog

In honour of all the genetically designed dogs out there, and mostly because I wanted to bake with cranberries, I present my entry for Urban Vegan's designer muffin challenge -- Chocolate Cranberry Kamutflake Muffins! With a hint of orange and cinnamon for the season, and a bit of delicate crunch from the flakes, I do think I've done okay here... I draw the line at encouraging vanity pets - but I couldn't resist throwing some of my own namesake kamut into a baked good for the fun of it. So good!

Kamut's Chocolate Cranberry Kamutflake Muffins (makes 6)

1/3 cup unbleached white flour
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup rolled kamutflakes
2 tbsp margarine
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup sugar (I might use 1/4 cup next time)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp orange extract or 1 tsp orange zest (optional)
2 tbsp silken tofu
2 tbsp soymilk
1 cup cranberries
1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate bar pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 6-hole muffin pan (and I actually recommend using liners for these guys, which I didn't do this time, but will next time).
2. Sift together the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda in a large bowl. Add the kamutflakes and give it a stir.
3. Cream together the margarine, applesauce and sugar until smooth. Add the extracts, tofu and soymilk, then pour all the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined. Fold in the cranberries and chocolate.
4. Bake for 30 minutes or so (I'm actually not 100% on the time, and my oven is weird), or until the middles are firm when pressed and the tops are golden brown. Pop out when they're cool and enjoy!

I kinda wanna dive in that cranberry right there. :D

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

thanksgiving foodfeed 2008, epic-style

It all started... with an ill-conceived attempt at a tofu loafy roulade thingy, with squash inside. I mean, it was pretty damn edible, except that it was u.g.l.y., it didn't taste a lot like bird, and the wax paper I used to roll it up stuck like glue to the bottom and really did turn the whole first layer into an exercise in chewing crayons.

Much better cookie luck, I made freestyle coffee-chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and P made cakey ginger clouds. But enough of this playing...

Girls gotta bake. Girls gotta prep cook. (okay, I prep-cooked, P went to work)

I made almond-sesame nutty crackers from Extraveganza, with added sesame oil.

Fluffy lemony cupcakes with maple cranberries from More Great Good Desserts, with a lemon-cinnamon drizzle on top.

Caramel popcorn! Spicy-brown sugar pumpkin seeds! Oh, it's those crackers again!

Pumpkin pie, the quality of which was indeed assured by the Satchmo-cat. I wonder if I make another pumpkin pie if I get a free tattoo or something? And I still keep loving them, making them... hiding the leftovers from everyone. Hee.

Allright, and then P's folks showed up so we went to the Jean-talon market on the most crispest yet warm of gently-sunned fall days. Picked up some rambunctiously coloured food, asparagus by the bucket, beans, mushrooms, apples (real/perfect/nectar-of-the-heavens-sweet quebec apples), a bunch more of other wonderful things.

They had two among them who couldn't do gluten, which was a fun challenge, even if I wish I had known sooner... I would have made more that they could eat... but anyway, did you know that brown rice bread is actually delicious and tastes like bread?

Then my posse popped up, with the usual pancake-breakfast request (this is an understanding that I think benefits all of us nicely). Maple syrup was off limits as an ingredient, so I boiled up a quick apple syrup that almost got drank up by my sister, and at least got the pancakes called "the best syrup delivery devices you've ever made". Bro asked for the recipe. (Bro is becoming quite the little burdgeoning foodie - and you better believe I'm supporting that tendency! :P)

And then, and then! After finishing breakfast I was kitchen-maven all day with my sister, then we passed the invisible baton to P and her sister, and between us all we created this glittering harvest spread.

Amidst the hubub and wine-drinking and guitar-jamming and all the fake russian accents, my camera was only found halfway through the meal, hence the half-eaten shot - but I think it still looks great. Clockwise from the bottom is mushroom gravy, nutty crackers, broccoli rabe and carrots with pine nuts and herbs, brown rice pasta salad with peppers and heirloom tomatoes, fresh market beans, hungarian rye stuffing with apples, cranberries and walnuts, cranberry sauce, apple-sage seitan sausages, curry carrot dip, squash stuffed with wild and brown rice mushroom-almond-raisin stuffing, dragonfruit, smoky maple tempeh, and loads of garlicky mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes.


Nom. Shall I say nom? And nom, and wow. I think we did okay?

And then there was too much dessert, and oh yeah, did I mention I made cookies too? Oh man... I mean, I know it wasn't "turkey dinner" or something... but maybe made up for it in sheer tapestry-tasting complexity and connection to what is actually being harvested right now? I mean, I've been to thanksgivings where the vegetables are given the saddest passing effort, and aren't they really the point? Ha ha, anyway... and next year you're all invited to my tiny tiny place. For some reason it didn't burst, and it kinda grew to fit us all (18+ at one point??). And you can help us with the leftover apple crisp!!!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

getting my inspiration back

I've decided this winter will be an indian-styled winter. South indian, spicy and warming, full of root veg... it's actually getting my passion for cooking back. Pomme made a great sambar last night and I made the apricot rice from Vegan Fire & Spice, neither authentic, but I started to actually ramble about food again, dreaming of dals and spice blends and techniques again... this is good. :)

And my first recipe from More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts was the caramel popcorn, which is essentially cracker jacks and toasty-crisp-sweet-YUM. I might use peanuts instead next time instead of sunflower seeds, but hey, it's so easy and good I'll probably be whipping up a batch for thanksgiving nibbles next week.

Yeah... can you believe that we're hosting thanksgiving for both our families in our TINY apartment? MINISCULE apartment. 15 people? We'll see how this madness goes... my mother is already lamenting the lack of turkey (she won't after we're through, though!).

.............. 15 people. X_x

Friday, October 3, 2008

festivus! chili and pie!

I'm so bad... I have been all but absent from the blogging world for a long time, I know... art has been taking up a lot of my creative attention these days. It's been oatmeal/miso/salad forever (and I don't mind, it's just not worthy of post). I will try, though - I took down my Veganmofo banner thinking I wouldn't have the time... but you know what? I'm gonna *make* time. I will even get around to all of your blogs, because I know you've been doing incredible things that I will be sorely tempted to make but won't have time for... but isn't that the way of inspiring food? :D

So yeah... there were actually two dinners of total note in the past few weeks. We made the most perfect chili dinner EVER, I mean, it was off the hook. The chili was spicy chipotle-chocolate with shrooms, corn, peppers, tvp and 4 kinds of beans and it did that... um... chili-thing, where the texture is kinda like... kinda thick and sticky. In the best way!
(there was even red rice and super garlicky sour cream, meaning that Liz swirled her whole plate together like one giant steaming burrito and proceeded to cry little pearly tears of "OMG vegans eat SO WELL!").

We even fried something! Lots of somethings, meaning corn chips. In heart shapes (and moon shapes, and snowflakes and each of our names, but mostly hearts because being twee is cool again, I swear.)

All right, dinner number two... pagan thanksgiving! Or autumn equinox if you prefer. It's the time when the day and night are the exact same length, on September 22, and some like to celebrate with wine and apple desserts, and stories and tarot readings. (hint: we are those people)

Pomme cornbread of another flavour, this time with peppers and zucchini, because cornbread is basically the best accompaniment to everything. Including ice cream! .... okay, okay..... maybe not. But yummy with ratatouille, which we did have.

There it is! From Aux Vivres, actually, so basically super fatty and tasting kinda like gold. Along with couscous, steamed chard and veggies, and the most amazing sagey roasted veggies, it was easy pants to put together this dinner after work and still covered every "festive" base, I think.

And having an ugly apple pie for dessert doesn't hurt that cause, either. Ugly and the best thing that ever happened to apples, that is.
(a mix of cortland, granny smith, macintosh and yellow delicous)

Oh right! And I almost forgot to mention! THAT is my harvest! My weeny teeny tomato harvest. Yep. And it was alllllll worth it. For serious, for true - being able to look outside of my 4th story window to a fire escape full of fragrant vines was the real benefit to this whole endeavour. They're just really cute, tart, perky symbols of urban defiance, woohoo!