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I could so get into the habit of making bread more often… I always dismiss the idea, thinking that chapatis are more of a single girl kind of food. But sometimes it’s just healing to the soul, you know? Something about snarfing fresh baked bread with a bit of Earth Balance is such a treat. Better than cake. I’m so serious.

I used the rustic bread recipe from the Freshloaf site, except with more whole wheat flour and gluten flour, and ooooh, was it good! I think I’m still partial to this recipe, but the freshloaf one was easier to work with and made twice as much, so thar ya go.

My oven is really stupid and it jumps all over the dial during the simplest of baking procedures, so the initial rise could have been a bit better. But they still rose like crazy. And smelled like heaven!

Yep. Perfect lunch. (not pictured, copious amounts of EB and some mayo for dipping veggies)

I’m not always suzie simpleton, though. And remember the 3 bricks of tofu? Well, the first one was seaweed flavoured, which I’d never tried before, so I mushed up a batch of asian-style tofu salad that turned out tasting exactly like tunafish! So weird, yet so nostalgically delish.

Forget the plain veg lunch – TOFUFISH is my new favourite. I’ve had it 3 days running now.
(I’m saving the recipe for a cookzine, I think!)

And brick number two was medium-firm, so I figured I’d give Susan’s crustless tofu quiches a go (seeing as everyone vegan with a muffin tin has tried them and professed their awesomeness from rooftops and stuff). They are wonderful! Much like the tofufish, they’re shockingly quiche-y in flavour. I had some issues getting them to stay intact (and it turns out I’m not the only one), but I’m pretty sure it was an oven issue, cause the ones that got good time under the parts of the coil that actually work were perfect. I think I can stop looking for a go-to quiche recipe, actually. I’m gonna throw this stuff in a crust next time I go home and seriously please some omnis!

It’s friday again! woooooo!

In recent news, I’ve finally started talking on the ppk (I am upforair, hear me spod!), and I’ve also been tagged again to reveal 5 things about myself – by S. of The Student Stomach, AND Chelsea from No Whey Jose!, and apparently there’s no insisting that I’ve already done this, oh no – I must bore you once more with the randomest of random me-facts that I can think of. The meme is cumulative! And so I list…

1. I used to have dreads until pretty recently. Loooooooong dreads. (about six years of growth maybe?)

2. As a kid I would eat ANYTHING if it was chocolate. Baking chocolate, waxy wedding favours hidden in the closet, smarties that were most definitely rancid, leftover dried up frosting, and yes, even easter eggs….

3. I like to go to summer festivals in the woods, and camp, and make vegan food, and dance to psy-trance music. The OM reunion festival especially.

4. My favourite band is Depeche Mode. (I’m aware of how awful that is)

5. I’m currently trying to quit smoking – I smoked half a pack a day for 7 years, but I’ve cut it down to 3 or 4 a day in the last few months. The only problem is stopping entirely, ’cause every time I try I get insomnia so bad I sleep maybe an hour a night. :/

6. I wanna be famous. For art! I used to stress over what direction my life should take (art or food? ART OR FOOD, WOMAN?!). But now I hardly think it matters. Hell, if I work in a bakery to pay the rent and keep my art a pure and personal thing, that’s just great with me!

7. I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue.

8. I’m currently debating moving out of my 2-bedroom to live in a 20-person coop downtown. They dumpster dive, make collective vegan meals, run workshops, have a bike room, compost room, dj booth, library, meditation wing……. I dunno. Maybe. It’s all pretty inspiring, but I’d have to leave Satchmo-cat behind…. and I’ve been known to REALLY like my alone time. We’ll see.

9. My sister and I burst into song pretty constantly. Our favourite is rambling off all the lyrics to REMs “it’s the end of the world as we know it” while not breaking a sweat. :)

10. I’ve never tried vegan cheese!

Whew! Okay, that was fun. Now I suppose I must taggggg… Stonielove, Comfort Food Vegan, Seitan Is My Motor, Rural Vegan, VeganCowGirl, To Live and Eat in LA, rocket ship go!, Hugger Food, Bigmouth Strikes Again, Vegan Deliciousness, and ummm… has anyone tagged Cakespy yet? If I oopsed and any of you guys have already done this, well guess what, you have to do it again just like I did! It’s the neverending internet meme of better acquaintance!! (“noooooooo!”, she says dramatically)

Er right, sorry. I made Susan’s tofu quiches too, but I’ll wait for tomorrow to take sunlit pictures. They were so quichey!

Just a quick ‘fu-centric update — pictured here is the marinade for v-con spicy tempeh and broccoli rabe pasta. Tempeh around here is about as precious as gold (I’ve tasted the stuff, oh, maybe once), so I stood in tofu instead. Worked really well, and I’m a sucker for fennel and spice, so I’ll probably be using this marinade for other stuff, too.

Yummmmmmy! Probably my favourite pasta dish in recent memory. Chewy, pleasantly bitter from the rabe, spicy and just, well, good.

(I should also mention that the spirally nature of the pasta is oh-so mandatory for getting crumbly bits of fried goodness into every nook and cranny of every bite. OH SO mandatory! :p)

And what goodness could this gooey bowl of fruit-glue be????

Hot cross buns! I used Carla’s recipe from But Did They Eat It?, except I used raisins, apricots, currants and candied ginger (instead of raisins, blueberries and cranberries). So much fun to make! I used to adore these things, even more than easter chocolate. You can get chocolate any time, right? But spicy fruited buns were special, even the storebrand kind that we got. I also found out that they’re suitably pagan!! The cross was originally a Saxon thing, and it represented the four phases of the moon, so I felt gloriously faithful to my hippie-dippy roots and munched warm buns with my buddies who weren’t expecting sunday baked goods at all! (unexpected baked goods are SO the best kind).

And the second half of tofu brick got lovingly transformed into v-con tofu florentine, which made a fantastic Eostre/Easter brunch. I was especially taken with the broiled tofu – I think I’ve been under-doing my tofu all this time! Granted, I usually like it creamier (rawer?) than super firm, but it was cool to cut it into steaky little pieces for a change. And cheeze + spinach + tomatoes + taters = loooooove.

In other news….

I stumbled onto tofu on sale today and now I’m the proud owner of 3 (!!?) bricks. Oh dear…. ^_^;

I’ll level will you guys – I am not a friday go-er out-er. I dunno, just doesn’t happen! Mind you, mondays and wednesdays and the occasional sat. will find me sloshed or at least pretending to be witty since that’s when my favourite people have their days off work. But yeah, that’s why I’m posting about beans on a friday night, for the record, no I’m not self-conscious about it!! (ha ha, maybe). I usually make a special dinner and I watch a movie or read experimental lit, drink insane amounts of tea…. post on my blog. The usual stuff. Listen to the hotspot greek restaurant next to my building entertain scads and hordes of polished, smoking merry people peruse their fish and block traffic whilst wearing crazy things like high heels and 3-piece suits. Which is legitimately entertaining, and I’ll probably miss the noise real bad when I move. I also avoid doing schoolwork and awkwardly segue into botany with no warning at all….

My tomato sprouts grewed! This is so so so revolutionary since every plant I’ve ever had has died a horrible shrivelled death, and I’ve harboured fantasies of a fire escape garden since the day I got one. A fire escape, that is. It’s gonna rule so bad! I love these guys and I’ve added them to the morning routine, getting water right after Satchmo-cat does. I know they’re a little crowded, but I’m gonna wait for some ‘true’ leaves before I try to transplant them. Whatever ‘true’ leaves are. I read that somewhere. Anyway, I love my sprouts, they’re so awesome. They’re gonna have radish, green bean, spinach, carrot and parsnip friends, too, and there are some herb seeds next to the radiator just waiting to unfurl their fineness and be all like, “hello! I’m fragrant! yay!”

Oh boy, I’m a nerd. XD

Lunchtime, and there was some crazy voodoo going on with this soup, by the way. I’ve made black bean soup before (okay, it’s been a while), and maybe it was because this time I saved every last drop of luscious bean-gravy that I could – I used half home-cooked beans that I had in the fridge already (plus liquid), and half canned stuff (plus liquid!) but the velvet awesome that this became… hoboy. I just shovelled and felt loved from the inside by thousands of thick happy beans. Does that sound weird? Oh V-con, the things you make me think….

I don’t really want to wonder why this happened. Is it natural? Is it hormones? Are a secret race of frankenberries (hey, wait a second…) gonna rise up out of their plastic boxes and start absorbing nearby fruit around to become MEGABERRIES??????

Only my generous grocer will know, I guess. He was selling these for 80 cents a lb. I know! SO making a pie, maybe kittee’s pie, which I’ve wanted for my ownsome since I saw it last summer. (either that or just buy box upon box of strawberries and eat them like it’s going out of style, which is pretty much what I’ve been doing)

And this is an old photo, but to be fair I did finish these tonight so I guess it belongs in a post about friday eatings, right? Yeah, so leftover pickle juice… if you boil cut up vegetables in it until they’re tender and then drop everything back in the jar you get badass custom pickles. Which I eat slathered in harissa, it’s like reaching in the fridge for a stick of dynamite. :D

And super healthy soup for lunch requires some balance, ne? I had apples to use up. I like crisp (actually of all desserts this IS my youth). So I made crisp for dinner. I tried to not use so much sugar, but the candied ginger really wanted to join the party, and if I was making this for company I probably would have tripled the amount it was so good in there. The apples could have been tarter, but hey, that’s what I had, and I don’t think the mushy Macs had ever received better treatment than being baked up with almonds and cinnamon and looooove, nope.

*cue the greeks shouting opa! from downstairs*

Yay friday. XD

I do have other cookbooks, I swear I do… but somehow I just keep coming back to the Vcon. It’s like this personal challenge thing to finish it, and it narrows my weekly grocery ideas down to a manageable level, definitely. Plus it tastes fantastic, like 98% of the time, can’t go wrong. :)

The prettiest salad award goes to the black bean, mango and quinoa salad, and also the “makeable in ohhh 5 minutes” award. I rank both factors pretty high, I’ll be making variations on this for years to come, I think. (and each subsequent salad will rock more than this one, because I was using up iffy mango and tasteless red peppers in it. and it was still great!)

I don’t know why I torture myself with risotto-making plans on my off-days. Maybe because on the other side of all that stirring I feel like I’ve climbed a mountain. A mountain made of patience! And about 1 more cup of water than the recipe called for. So yeah…. this is one tasty concoction. I’ve never even had regular risotto, but this one (the asparagus and lemongrass risotto) was worth every moment of glazed-over-eyes and stirring, stirring, stirring………. seriously! Something really nice and exotic about it (and yet comforting like only a big ol bowl of creamy rice can be). It was even good the next day.

And what does one do when the fridge is down to carrots, celery and peas? Make pot-pie of course! This was kinda iffy for me, actually, but I’m not much of a ‘beef-style’ person normally, and I think the toughness of the crust was my fault since I followed normal crust procedure and not what was written in the book (I added water, chilled, and rolled. Instead of adding water, rolling and chilling). I mean, it was good, but not my usual bag, you know? I’m actually kinda curious what recipes will be left for me to force myself through when I get near the end of the Vcon – I counted today and I’m 1/5th through the book!!! Whew! (and what happens when the cookie and brunch book come out? Liz explodes, basically. XDDD)

EDIT: The crust wasn’t tough it just wasn’t browned enough! And I dropped a bit of water in the filling before I made the second one, to up the gravy factor, and went mad with the pepper. MUCH better this time. Extremely yum. And oh lordy did I feel like June Cleaver while making this, did I mention that? The novelty of that alone will probably get me to potpie it up sometime again in the future, maybe chicken-style next time though, cause those are the freezer-burnt memories of my childhood. White sauce-y, nutritionally void, gooey crusted toasty gems… zomg I’m getting nostalgia-drool all over! haha, anyway….

I have no idea if I got the Isles in me. Me mum says I do, but that could be wishful thinking and a tendency to believe that a british heritage means ALLLL that area had a hand in the genetic making. But yeah… doesn’t mean I can’t pretend. Although this shamrock charm cookie thing is a one time deal – bloody blasted darned canapé-sized sugar cookies take FOREVER, plus icing time. I had ghostly premonitions of my life as an unappreciated mother-of-two slaving over bakesale wares to limited applause. Never again! (but adorable. very very adorable.) I used NoWheyKatie’s recipe from the ppk (I can’t find the link, though! ;_;), and added lime juice and zest to make them, um… more green.

Lunch today – I ran out of pita and a little light went off in my head, ’cause I have a few kilos of whole wheat flour sitting in my kitchen and I ought to be making chapati way more often. Not to mention that the flavour and texture are loads better than most storebought pitas. I dumped leftover potsticker dipping sauce all over this and the chapati stayed watertight! Go fresh bread, eh? There’s also a leftover kidney bean burger in there, plus sriracha and other trimmings. Oh, and green beans (I added them later). Call me weird, but they absolutely sing on sandwiches. Maybe not the best *shape* for it, but they’re all like, “woah, what’s that crunchy niceness?”

Veganomicon roasted eggplant and tomato stew with chickpeas, with soft poppyseed polenta – this fulfilled a craving I’ve had stored away since the last time I made polenta (and kinda botched it). At 17. So I’ve been craving polenta and roasted vegetables for a long time. The whole thing was awesome, probably so especially good because I roasted the tomatoes along with everything else. I want to make this again, actually. Maybe right now. :P
(Oh, and when you microwave the leftovers for just a bit too long, everything melts together and becomes absolutely LUSCIOUS.)

And this recipe has been at the top of my list since I first got the V-con – the greek-style tomato-zucchini fritters and cashew cucumber sauce! Holy cremini, they are exactly as wonderful as I wanted them to be. They are rich little fritters of awesome, and they have mint in them! (also, the tofu-paste itself is an experience not to be missed — don’t let me put you off the whole idea, but man, did it look/feel like grey cookie dough!) I’m gonna par-bake a bunch and have them in the freezer, I get this feeling they’d sub in for falafal really nicely. Oh, and the cucumber sauce got licked off of every implement that came into contact with it (spatula, spoon…. yes, stickblender. …. unplugged, though! :D)

Thank you so much to Veggie from the So What Do Vegetarians Eat Anyway blog for giving me a blogging award of excellence! Her blog is quite excellent as well and she’s a fellow Ontarian, too! I’ll do my best to not post when I’m tired and cranky and hopefully live up the that pretty little Jpeg of awesome. ;) As for passing this along, I’ll send it to Vegetalion, Dabbles with Apples, Tofu For Two, The Metal Femme’s Vegan Living, and Don’t Lose Your Lunch!, even though there are SO many others that deserve it, these are the first 5 that come to mind.

And sweetie Lori of Pleasantly Plump Vegan has tagged me to reveal 5 facts about myself, which I hope I can manage without going off of a bunch of tangents! Ha ha, anyway, here goes:

1. As much as I seem pretty slothful (and I am), I used to teach snowboarding and yeah, I was pretty darn good at it, too.

2. I’m a super geek – comics, anime, sci-fi, fantasy rpgs, video games, you name it, I probably have some history of obsession with it. Especially Final Fantasy and the Chrono series, and wacky shows like FLCL and Haibane Renmai. I also have a black/blue Magic card deck that could probably smoke your artifact-deck to little pieces. :D

3. Both my parents are from B.C., and I think I have a bit of a west coast accent, at least I drawl out my short A’s sometimes, especially if I’m feeling lazy.

4. My favourite colour is red.

(Incidentally I’m addicted to hot sauce. I went through half a tube of harissa yesterday, just by squirting it on pickles as a snack! :P)

5. I hate sleep. I’m constantly sleep-deprived because I think staying in bed is SOOOOO boring. Eek, right?

(BONUS FACT, because it’s the most important thing about me and I forgot to mention it — I live and breathe food, it’s true, you know that. But to give some sort of perspective, my mind is actually divided 44%/60%/6% – Food, Art, and Not Tripping Over Stuff. For the record. :D)

So that’s five (or more) random things about me. And now I’m passing this on to….. , Vegan Soul Power, Adventures in Vegan Cooking, Bitchin’ Vegan Kitchen, Epicurvegan, and Half Baked Vegan. Yay for getting to know everyone better!

And just so this post isn’t entirely devoid of food, here’s the best video on Youtube, ever —-

Oooh, I’ve been wanting the Vegan World Fusion Cuisine cookbook SOOOOO badly, I’ve been pretty much in love with how it all looks so fresh and spirit-full, and complicated in the sense that there’s a lot of small ingredients involved, but essentially simple to prepare. Plus it’s all colourful, and semi-raw! Anyway, fortunately enough you can read a bunch of it online, and two of the recipes just about stepped off the page, took a gander at my fridge and said, “you know girl, you have everything to make this AND it would use up that gigantic organic cauliflower you got for 99 cents that’s been sitting like a delicious white ghost in your fridge just waiting for the right soup recipe to come along.”

I swear, they said that! (it’s a pretty magical book). So I soaked up some seeds and maybe an hour later I had some seriously sparkling food. The sunflower seed pâté is so cool, you get a woosh of olive and then a woosh of sundried tomato, and so on like that. And the soup! It’s light but almost buttery and easy enough to make that I did it all with one hand while talking on the phone. Went really well with the sandwich!

And because I got the recipes online anyway, I’m just gonna cut to the chase and post them up here, cause they’re that good. I can’t wait to buy this book!!

Bhakti’s Broccoli Bisque (*Cauliflower variation*)

5 cups filtered water or vegetable stock
3 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup cashews, roasted (I only had 1/3 of a cup and it was totally fine)
1/2 cup celery (I didn’t have this, didn’t miss it)
1 tbsp garlic
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1 tsp fresh dill (or 1/2 tsp dry)
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
black pepper, ground to taste
Nama shoyu, to taste (optional)

1. Add water or stock, cauliflower, onion, celery and garlic to a 3 qt. pot and cook over medium-high heat until all veggies are just soft, approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Remove from heat, allow to cool 10-15 minutes, place in a blender, add cashews and very carefully blend until smooth (I used my stickblender). Blend in batches, being careful to fill blender only half full. Start with low speed initially, slowly increase speed until desired consistency is reached. Return to pot, add remaining ingredients and stir well.

Jai to the Most High Sunflower Seed Dip

1 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1/2 cup filtered water
2 medium sundried tomatoes, soaked in warm water
2 tbsp red bell pepper, diced
1 tbsp green onion, diced
1 tbsp olives, sliced thin
2 tsp fresh basil, minced
2 tsp italian parsley, minced
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Nama shoyu, or to taste
1/2 tsp garlic, minced (optional)
1/4 tsp oregano, fresh minced
1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper, ground to taste

1. Soak sunflower seeds in water for at least an hour.
2. Soak sundried tomatoes in warm water for 20 minutes. Drain & chop small and place in a large mixing bowl.
3. Place soaked and drained sunflowers seeds, lemon juice, water and garlic in food processor and process until smooth.
4. Place all ingredients in the large bowl and mix well. For best results allow to sit for a few hours before serving.

My friend Dilly is leaving tomorrow to go to Jordan for 2 months, to live with her father and get some experience in sustainable development, maybe teach English, that sort of thing. So of course, we had to have a sushi party to see her off well, and my other friend Shine is the whiz-biz at sushi, no joke – she made uramaki’d (inside outed) california with fuji apple, shitake & sweet potato, avocado & peanut, bunny rolls, some with veggie pâté, some with peanut butter (surprisingly good!), mango cilantro rolls, futomaki, various tiny single-ingredient rolls, caterpillar rolls with mango on the outside…. so amazing. We feasted on the floor and drank yerba teas and inhaled gorgeous little sushi pieces until we couldn’t eat anymore.

But then I did have to eat more (poor me, I know!) – they brought out a slice of spelt-crusted chocolate-banana pie with a big sparkler in it, just for my birthday! (it happens to be today but I hadn’t breathed a word of it). So incredibly sweet! I have a hard time with undue attention and a whole birthday cake would have probably blown my mind and made me blush enough to pop a gasket, but one slice of beautiful pie and a small round of ‘happy birthday’… well, it was perfect.

Here’s to 24! :D

(and I’m still making a key lime Pie Of Greatness for my birthday, just probably the next time I go home)

I lost my camera last night! *sob* *wail* *gnashing of teeth* ….. *more sob*
There were a couple tears… but I definitely learned a lesson in there somewhere about scatterbrains, expensive toys, and wild nights on the town not mixing so well. Sigh… this is the last batch of beautiful food pictures, and then it’s back to macbook camera for a while….

*okay, one more sob* ;_______________;

Now on with the food:

I’m trying to press and marinate my tofu more, cause I squish it up into mash a LOT, and eating it like this is probably a good exercise in patience and, uh…. planning. Plus chewy chunks of ‘fu are the building blocks of life, or at least a dinner that resembles something you might want to throw some candlelight over. Or something. Anyway, it was yummy, and completely encrusted with sesames, totally worth the trouble. (with roasted eggplant and zuke on bass, lemon quinoa doing drums and glockenspiel)

Little mini enchilada casserole, with refried pintos, avocado chunks, salsa all over, diy-pitted black olives, and lots of Vcon cheezy sauce with green chiles in it for kicks. Also some tabasco was thrown around and appropriately enough there were corn tortillas involved. SO. FORKING. GOOD. msnarf and such.

I loves coleslaw so much… I’ll probably make my way through every major variety before the summer’s out. This one is kind of curry-based, with toasted mustard seeds, red chiles, cumin, wonderful long green raisins, thin-sliced green beans (to use up 4 green beans I had) that look PRECISELY like long green raisins (ha!) and almonds and stuff. I think I hit that sweet spot of coleslaw where all of a sudden it starts tasting like piquant juiciness and you want morrrre, which is okay, cause it’s good for you.

EDIT: I found out the raisins are an Iranian thing, and they’re called Keshmesh in Farsi. They’re dried in the shade and aren’t treated with sulphur so they’re much more fruity and less sweet than the regular kind. This page describes them SO much better, though —

Highly concentrated, like all dried fruits, keshmesh strike the palate with a trinity of flavors; pineapple, lemon and a nutmeg-tinged green apple to be precise. Even the sound they make when poured into a dish draws the attention as they delicately ping against the bowl like small hollow stones…” – Glass Petal Smoke

Neat!

And finally, I can’t recommend the Vcon tomato rice soup enough – I like, never (hardly ever) remake recipes in the interest of trying new things, but this soup has officially entered Rotation. I’m such a tomato-soup head, and this is basically what my belly wants when I start craving the red stuff (plus it’s way more healthier than tinned goop <– bonus!). And the moon biscuits? Well… I tried to quarter a biscuit recipe and only halved the amount of margarine, sooooo…. they didn't need extra EB slathering, I can tell you that. Good, though! I eated up every melt-in-your-mouth crumb with gusto. Now I go make myself chocolatey chocoblock chewy-choc cookies to make up for being such a stupid last night, or at the very least watch Nigella do the same thing, which is almost as good, and just eat a brick of Lindt. yay.

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