You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 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/ ]

Advertisements

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. :)))))
3. Ottawa
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.
4. Farscape
*5. Does a long-running anime obsession count? it should. :P

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
parsley
salt

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)
optional:
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.

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

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. :)

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!)

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!

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!

Yep, it’s happened here before, and t’will happen here again. Pretty much any time I get an incredulous gasp when I mention samosa pizza, I just have to change some minds, hehe.

Oh, and I was dared to make crust. I’m a Daring Baker now!

It involves making some yummy spicy curry potatoes. I used red and fingerlings, which are adorable, I just have to mention. Lots of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander, turmeric, red chile, lime juice and garam masala and coconut oil. More spices. Oh, make it spicier.

And then puree up some fresh pineapple and reduce it a little bit over heat with a splash of red wine vinegar.

Layer!

Oh, and I had to get a shot of myself flipping the dough… this is the best one. My camera is wack.

But my pizza? It’s pretty magically delicious. The dough is a little sweeter than I usually like, but hands down the stretchiest blob of dough I’ve ever had the pleasure of spinning on my knuckles. I like the part about letting it rest on the counter! Anyway, you’ll want to serve this one with beer, or a big salad to make up for the lack of vegetation. And chutney couldn’t hurt.
I swear it’s not even close to as weird as it sounds. :)

Archives

KG’s Etsy Shop

Vegan Candy Flickr Pool

Flickr Photos