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(ps. sorry about the font in some parts of this post.  not sure why it went so wonky)

So if my blog tags are any indication at all (and amusingly, they often are), I’m more than a little mad for blueberries.  Dunno why exactly… it could be the bursting qualities… or the way they’re so purple and freeze perfectly and are also called starberries?  And when you stick them in things people go “oooooooh” without fail, it’s kind of funny!

When I saw this recipe for pea pancakes with blueberry basil dressing I knew knew KNEW I had to try it, it sounded the thing little fresh-showered elves would eat over tea and the latest forest news.  Lo and behold, it even looks like that sort of food, too!  Call me bowled over with technicolour, batman.  I wanna cook chromatically so much now!
Here’s the veganization of it all.  The pea pancakes are almost perfect (I’d consider leaving out the cornstarch to keep the flavour brighter perhaps?).  The blueberry dressing is also pretty good, but I could do better probably and another kind of vinegar would probably work nicer, I just haven’t figured out which one.  Still really good though!  (If you wanted lemon I’d never stop you, I just wanted to see if I could use something besides citrus.  Balsamic would probably be nice, too, come to think of it).  
Blueberry Basil Sauce

2/3 cup blueberries

1/4 cup water + 1 tbsp

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cornstarch

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tbsp fresh minced basil

cracked black pepper

– In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tbsp of water with the cornstarch, set aside.
– In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the blueberries, 1/4 cup of water, sugar and salt to a low boil until the berries start to pop and bleed their juice.  Remove from heat and stir in the cornstarch mixture, oil, vinegar, basil, and pepper.  Taste for salt and cover to keep warm.
Green Pea Pancakes (serves 2-3 as a snack or side)

4 oz. snap peas, strings removed

1/2 cup green peas

1/2 cup milk or cream

1 tsp melted buttery spread

1/2 tsp cornstarch

1/4 cup flour

1/4 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

– Bring a pot of lightly salted water to boil.  Blanche the snap peas for 30 seconds, then rinse in cold water.  Do the same with the green peas, until they’re tender (2-3 minutes maybe).

– In a blender, combine the cooled peas with the milk, butter, and cornstarch, and blend until pretty smooth.  Move to a mixing bowl.

– Sift in the dry ingredients and gently fold until totally incorporated (shouldn’t take much effort)

– Melt a bit of buttery spread in a nonstick and fry thin little 2″ pancakes until golden brown on both sides.  Serve warm with a bit of blueberry sauce and some basil leaves on top.

Right.  And.
AND.
It was Pomme’s birthday time this weekend, and that meant I was required to out-do myself again, inspired by love to fling culinary handrail-holding out the window and concoct some sort of artistic masterpiece that’ll never have a recipe written down (but I’ll always remember how to do).  In this case – a 2-layer Morrocan Mint cake with generous inches of Blueberry Mousse and a Pomegranate Glaze, topped with sugared pine nuts and mint leaves.  !!!!  For the record, I did a billion new things in the kitchen for this (well okay, I played with agar), and it turned out like some patisserie’s jazzed star, in shades of aubergine, gold and lavender, and I *wish* I had a slice shot, but it was enjoyed by candlelight in the company of lots of vegan restaurant coworkers, so I’ll just have to make another layer cake soon to make up for that! :p
Officially, the entire thing doesn’t have a recipe, but I’ll post the adaption I made to the matcha cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes because it made a damned fine joconde and the vegan world can always use another attempt at that, I think.  Pretty simple, actually… (it was the simple part)
Vegan Morrocan Mint Joconde

1/2 cup soygurt

2/3 cup strongly brewed green tea with 10-12 fresh mint leaves in it (strained, of course)

1/4 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup canola oil

1/2 tsp almond extract

3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup ground almonds

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

3 tsp matcha soymilk powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup sugar

– Preheat oven to 350 and line an 8″ cake tin with nonstick spray and parchment paper.

– In a large mixing bowl combine the soygurt, tea, extracts, and oil

– Sift together the dry ingredients, then slowly add it to the wet bowl in installments, gently folding with a whisk until it’s smooth.

– Pour into cake pan and bake for 35-42 minutes (my oven is really slow, so take these times as approximations).  A toothpick should come out clean, and the top should be glossy and flat.

– Let it cool almost completely before turning it onto a parchment lined cooling rack.  Once cool, cut it carefully into 2 layers, and soak each layer (as you construct your moussey cake) with Mint Syrup.


Mint Syrup


2/3 cups strong Morrocan mint tea (made the same as before)

1/3 cup sugar

some extra mint leaves if you want


– Bring everything to a boil in a tiny saucepan over medium heat and let it bubble until it’s reduced slightly and thicked.  Cool completely before spooning over your cake layers.


(it all tastes of exotic and meltaway sweet sand and herbs….. very very very – needless to say – delicious)

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Liz Holding Food Gallery: entry #27 – BROWNIE-STYLE
I tried T’ai Chi today for the first time!  That’s got nothing to do with chocolate, sure, but I feel really good right now!  Like a natural chocolate high.  Or a, uh… non-sugar induced high, yes.  Seriously though, I feel like a dancer, I bounced all the way home in my high tops, and then  threw together the roasted vegetables I’d made that morning into some whole wheat penne and home-soaked chickpeas for a really attractive dinner.  It needed something parmesan-y, but I have leftovers to subject to ground almond & lemon zest, there is always tomorrow.
So back to cupcakes!
I made the Brooklyn Brownie cupcakes for a friend’s 25th birthday in the park.  We played duck duck goose, Stella Ella Ola, a fun game called Sheep… I love being a nonkid, it’s so natural to be.  And the cuppers were a big hit!  These are dense dark weighty cakes with a huge woodsy whiskeyness that probably needs refreshing milk around for maximum enjoyment, but definitely brownie-ish and definitely good.  Super moist, too.  I think I like the regular chocolate VCtotW recipe better, but hey, I got to bake with whiskey, and I’ve been wanting to do that for, like, ever!  
Then something a little more virtuous… I made the Mole Roasted Cauliflower from the Swell cookzine that involved – of course! – cocoa powder.  REALLY good preparation for cauliflower, I had to resist buying another whole head and roasting it up the exact same way, which says something, that I would repeat a recipe so soon.  Not that it was hard to eat a whole giant head of this, it’s pretty addictive like better than popcorn good.  It was the star of the plate next to the mango slices, and some creamy mint & basil polenta I made, but actually the whole combo worked really well and I recommend it – mango with dinner I mean.  (what?  mango with everything!!  of course!)

Oh yes yes, I made some luncheon meat, via Vegan Dad’s recipe.  It is a bit dry as he says, but the flavour and texture is eerily spot on and I made some really satisfying sandwiches and I froze most of it into little single-servings for later.  Next time I thaw out a packet I’ll be sure to have some cheap yellow mustard around, because it would just work with this stuff, mmmm yeah.
What else?  Tofu nuggets!  I saw the Tofu Skewers with Espresso BBQ Sauce on Vegan Appetite and knew exactly what to do with the half pound of tofu I had in the fridge.  I’d not skewered food before, and you know, it actually does make a difference to the flavour!  The leftover tofu-bobs I cooked sans-impalement were less succulent and fun.  Like, you couldn’t gnaw on them at all, boo, I like skewers now.  Oh, and the sauce was great!  I added cayenne cause I can’t leave well enough alone and insist on mouth burning when it comes to anything BBQ.

Right, and finally, this is definitely the result of my new love affair with my wonderful freezer.  Never could have concocted something so specific without being able to freeze tiny bits of things throughout my cooking.  The whole door is filled with single cookies, 1/4 cups of icing, cake shavings, and other fun detritous I collect, mwahaha.  For this little cake that I made for a dinner on friday, I started with a disc of leftover Brooklyn Brownie cupcake (the recipe really does make a LOT of extra batter).  Then I made a base cheesecake cream in the blender, divided that into two and stuffed one with melted chocolate and the other with peanut butter.  I layered and baked that at 350 for 45 minutes, then I made a quick chocolate agar-gel for the top and was really really pleased with myself for rocking agar finally.  And then!  Crushed-up peanut butter cookies for the sides.  You know the awesome kind that are essentially just peanut butter and sugar?  Yeah, those kind.  And I almost forgot – star dollops of leftover chocolate cupcake frosting!  PIMPED.  OUT.  

Now I just need to get myself a cheesecake tin that’s bigger than 5″ across. ^_^;
(psst the hottie ain’t me, it’s my sis)

(I am kicked out of veganism for this decorating job. of pure awesome.)

I’m still alive, I swear! I blame a flu for holding me hostage and making me kind of hate my own kitchen – a flu that has lasted for a month and is STILL CAUSING WHEEZY DEPTHFUL COUGHINGS IN THE NIGHT. Argh I say. I’m only sort of (maybe) remembering what an appetite feels like.

Chocolate PB banana smoothies + popcorn for dinner much? Anyway.

I turned 25 recently! And this year I insisted that a cake be made for me, because ha ha I was hating the sight of baking tins. Me mum made an amazing spice cake that I really want the recipe for – it was like eating a ginger cookie, except in cake form, and with plum frosting (and the best decoration job this side of my sister’s taste level). Amazing, and I polished a good chunk of it off with actual soy ice cream, which I haven’t had since high school. Happy birthday to me!

Later at home in montreal I had a wee shindig on my actual birthday, and flexed my rusty pastry muscles to pull off… the mushiest cake EVAH. Haha, it was good, but completely not cooked in the middle. (my oven is also teh sux, but we take responsibility for our disasters, yes?). I used the banana split cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and probably trying to make a full cake out of it accounted for the mush (also I only had whole wheat pastry flour, which is good, but not THAT good, you know what I mean? Forgive me but I like 50% white flour in cakestuffs).

At any rate the company was the greatest in the world, and I got a japanese unicorn mug, a pineapple, a decoupage candle-glass, a drawing of fish, some chamomile and ylang-ylang oils, and uhhh… my own tupperware back! Huzzah.

I also treated myself to a 10 kg bag of good old emptily nutritive white flour this afternoon. Aw yeah. :)

(^ psst that hottie is me)

I came home to this sight the other day. It was kind of funny, actually – I’d just trudged home through a blizzard with visions of hot stew in my head and what do I find but the storm decided to join me in my kitchen!

Ha, it was okay. I managed not to step in any of the puddles and was very very thankful for the crockpot stew I had put on the night before. Yeah, I actually used my crockpot! *shock* my mom would be proud. I had actually been so busy that I acted the great cliche and took it down off the highest shelf I have to put some veganomicon cholent-style ingredients together the night before.

I’m actually not sure if I’m sold on the tarragon + caraway thing… but it was warm and hearty and perfect at the time. (ie: full of potatoes). I added tabasco and corn, too.

Earlier than that (or later? oh I don’t remember. sometime!) I made vcon lemon & pea risotto with roasted red peppers.

I don’t know why people complain about leftover risotto! I actually thought this was tastiest cold out of the fridge, slurped up like cold lemony pudding. I’m weird, yes. I tried Risotto al Salto too, to try it (basically fried up like a fritter), which was fine. But nothing on the ice-cold stuff!

I posted about hoecakes before, so there isn’t much to say about the big yellow thing on the plate – except maybe to amend my recipe to stress than fine cornmeal should be used in a hoecake. This one was coarse which did NOT work anywhere near as well, but ah you learn. The interesting bit, at least to me, is that grayish dip-like blob in the corner. It was very tasty! It’s black bean & orange dip from ED&BV, and it’s a little sweeter than a regular b.bean dip and really great on wraps and things.

In the midst of being busy I made some muffins to take to school. I wonder why I decided to make jammy muffins to put in my bag? Ha ha, anyway, they’re hearty jam-dot muffins from Fran Costigan’s second book. They’re okay… I like that there’s lots of toasted oats and sesame in them, and my mom’s homemade plum jelly. A wee bit heavy, but I subbed some stuff so it could have been my bad.

Over christmas my dad bought me some veggie burgers for christmas eve Burger Night (woohoo!), which happened to be Amy’s California Burgers. They’re soooooo good! They don’t taste a blessed thing like fakey meatstuff, but they DO taste like toasted bulger and mushrooms and loads of other great all-natural things. I had some on buns, and some on salad with tahini dressing and both ways were awesome. I had the last one today though, and I don’t know what to do because I never buy pre-packaged food for myself but I think I’ve fallen in love!

And finally… we call this an economic birthday, or a belated one, or whatever. It’s a full moon tonight and though it’s neither of these boys’ birthdays (although it’s close), it’s definitely always a good time for a chocolate jalapeno cake with ganache topping and strawberries inside. Yeah, I know!! It’s another Extraveganza cake recipe and holy schlamoli, it’s SO tender and delicious and soft peppery perfect, I tried a whole bunch of it that stuck to the cake tin. ^_^;

Word to the wise: the recipe mentions nothing about de-panning this cake, and in fact implies that it shouldn‘t be, I think, at least when you read the icing recipe along with it. I did anyway and it was a total headache cause it was so fluffy and sticky (and criminally delicious. did I mention that?), but I think it came through the operation 97% intact. Minus the chunks I ate. (I’m starting to think that being able to fix cake disasters is as useful as baking one that tastes good… :P)

Anyone else notice how the stuff on top kinda looks like a crab? Not planned! But I like it.

I realized there are really only three things I haven’t mentioned yet from my trip that are worth any sort of song and dance / notable mention – and all are highly deserving of the attention.

# 1 —
My sister’s adorable cats! That sit in windows and watch tea gettin’ made, scurrying into peach boxes and pretending to cut potatoes for our massive potato-wedge lunch whilst watching the new Project Runway episodes. Cuteness overload of the “kitties plus weapons” variety.


# 2 —
Going to lunch at The Table restaurant (a pay-by-weight buffet that’s largely gluten-free and probably 96% vegan). I wrote down the details of every minute morsel shortly after enjoying this, but it seems I lost the notepad file on my computer… alas. To the best of my memory, there was tofu & nut terrine, corn fritters with sweet onion chutney, black bean & quinoa salad, sesame snap peas, dandelion greens, smoky tempeh chunks, ginger with shiso, sprouts, salsa and dehydrated crackers, mashed root veg, fried tofu balls, cinnamon-y couscous, mexican lentils, german red cabbage, chickpea nibbles, slaw, eggplant curry, zucchinis, and beets, and onions….. not to even mention pumpkin pie for dessert (as well as two kinds of chocolate cake – beet and raspberry – and apple cake, and date squares, chocolate pudding, and gingersnaps with gray salt, cayenne and olive oil). Best. Dinner. Out. Ever.

# 3 —
My sister’s birthday cake, mango with avocado icing, as per her craaaaazy request. It was actually pretty good, especially the icing!

Adding chocolate chips to disguise it as a watermelon cake was highly necessary to my sense of humour, I assure you.
(also, they tasted good!)

So I’m writing this from the comfy green rocking recliner in my mother’s living room, covered in flour and crossing recipes off of the veganomicon index faster than I can decide on the next thing I want to make, and that is to say – life (or at least my pseudo-vacation before school starts full throttle again in september) is good.

I even got to make a pie – a birthday peach and blueberry pie at my mother’s request, using the vcon pastry instead of my usual. It’s definitely easier to use, like those pie crusts you see on television that people just sort of toss into the pan… but I think next time I’ll stick with my madness-inducing-yet-extraordinarily-tender crust I usually use. Because personally I’d rather my pie disintegrate into buttery flakes at the touch of a fork than look pretty and pert, but that’s just me…. and I’m just a pie-obsesso who so rarely gets to make them… :p

Mmm… and I’m mentioning here that in an awesome and unplanned way, there is a tomato in just about everything in this post. Which makes sense! It being the season and all. But I’m mentioning it so you can play along and find them. Like in the vcon midsummer corn chowder, which is SOOO good, you have to make it! With rosemary focaccia it was perfect, and there was a big paprika’d mountain of hummus on the table, too.

My old old old old cats say hi! They’re still doing their thing where they act like mirrors or parallels of eachother. Haha, cute.

Went out for dinner at Corners on Bank. Not much to say… I mean, it was crazy delicious, but it was just a Boca burger. I guess to people who never ever eat those things it’s a special treat, though. And they very happily let me pick my own toppings off of the menu options, so I got chipotle salsa, caramelized onions and guacamole, and the calabrese bun was teeth-sinking yeasty and notably fresh, so really, who’s complaining at all?

Okay me, for forgetting to ask for my salad sans dressing. :p

I’m in love with hoecakes now, too. So easy to make and really surprisingly good. I made mine like…

1 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp chopped pickled jalapenos
1/4 cup sauteed onions
pinch of sugar
pepper

Fry them up, eat with salsa, say yum yum yum and think why didn’t I make DOUBLE that amount because now I have to give my lunch to my sister who just came in the door with hoecake longing in her eyes. Alas, alas…..

….at least I got the vcon mexican millet all to myself! It wasn’t gonna happen like that – I was making it for everybody, but everybody went to bed, and then a forkful of it went in my mouth and any plans to eat anything else went ~poof~ and I had half the pot all for me, and it was so good. I love millet! Especially when it’s buttery and nutty and crisp/creamy, and eaten out of a dainty little rice bowl.

And then vcon blintzes, with dill-tahini sauce, applesauce and pickled red cabbage. A lot of work for something that tasted pretty perogi-like, but delicious nonetheless. Especially when all the toppings glooped together to form SUPER GLOOP of the potato-y sauce-y goodness.

Slice of Pie! Look at that structural integrity! ^.^

And lunch today – vcon creamy tomato soup (+ broccoli) with celine’s cheezy crackers (YUM!) and vcon mushroom-walnut pate with more lentils and less walnuts because that’s what I had.

(in conclusion: I love tomatoes! <——- ze obvious) :D

Pomme’s birthday, precious Pomme deserves a precious cake! A cake that faeries might design if they were into that sort of thing. Something deviously healthy and yet richer than sin, delicate like tea-time but exotic, too. Something refreshing that can still be cut into a nice solid “wodge” of nutty pink cream… something like a pistachio rosewater cheesecake!

I think I’ve outdone myself this time.

I’m saving this recipe for the zine, but I *can* tell you that there’s cardamom in the cream, cocoa and orange in the crust, and it’s really really impossibly easy to make (and makes a cake like no other!). Amazing straight from the freezer, like ice cream except completely unlike ice cream…

There was birthday dinner, too, which was almost equally as special as the cake, at least if you like guacamole as much as we do (which is with undue passion). A spicy papaya salsa on red leaf lettuce with a nice tender-browned brick of cumin-lime tofu, with guac on the side… heaven! (and credit where credit is due, totally inspired by susanv’s recent post).

This pie ended too soon (*tear*). It kinda jumped into people’s mouths going “zomg i am zesty and zingy and made of pure summer and you could probably eat 4 pieces and still feel awesome cause i am soooo light!”

Do pies talk? If any could, I’d let my birthday pie talk (ok yes yes it’s very late but THAT’S OKAY because it’s key lime and there’s cashew coconut cream involved. And mango/kiwi on top. And graham coconut crumb crust! I should thank Bryanna for her cheese-less recipe, which is awesome and even stood up to my substituting plain old cornstarch for the required agar (just chill chill chill that thing out). Man… I probably had a quarter of this in one sitting and I just felt all smiley and fresh. That is some quality in a dessert! (also DO check out her whipped topping recipe on the same page, it will blow your mind)

I’ll be resuming regular posting and (this is the important part) checking up on all your blogs in a bit, I’m just really enjoying the 2 weeks I get off school before I have to go back for summer classes in the beginning of May. There’s so much food I have to post still! And I still haven’t decided what kind of cupcakes I’m going to make this afternoon — I’m thinking brooklyn brownie or orange with redcurrant frosting… or even plain vanilla with mad sprinkles. Any thoughts?

Oh my gosh, it’s been a few days, hasn’t it? I have been cooking! Notably I made a turtle cake for my friend’s 24th. A turtle turtle cake, if you will. He’s so cute… swimming in generous puddles of buttery caramel sauce. It was almost a shame to cut into him to get at the deep chocolate innards. Almost.

I started with the Vcon deep chocolate bundt cake, mostly in the interest of conquering the book – in all honesty I don’t think the coffee really meshed with the rest of the cake components, but I also oopsed and used my regular crappy brand instead of brewing up my stash of GOOD coffee that I keep around just for cakes. I am d’oh.

Luckily toasted pecans and caramel sauce (ohhhhh that sauce!) go an incredibly long way towards nummifying everything they come into contact with. Generous layer and then onto…

My FAVOURITE icing in the whole world. I got it off vegweb, but I’ve seen identical versions over the internet, and holy all that is holy, it is good. Think rich, choco-fudgey, creamy, not too sweet. Also low in fat, and not like eating a bowl of shortening (*ahem* buttercream I’m looking at you). Add an extra shake of salt and it’s pure heaven.

(especially dolloped all over a pound of strawberries and eaten as dinner which I did not do, gosh no, certainly didn’t!)

The finished product? Gooey, addictive, got pretty much destroyed by three people, if that says anything. Also, it had wings and is thus a Koopa Cake for extra nerd points. :)

The other day I found these chayote squashes for 25 cents, can you believe it? And at a mega-supermarket no less (I was making excuses to walk really far ’cause the sun was sooooo beautiful that day, and hey, they have a good selection of extracts in the baking aisle).

Anyway, I had no idea what they were, but I did a brief search-up and they’re totally a mexican thing, so I made probably the least-brainer I could have, just tossing them with coarse salt, lime juice, chili powder, cumin and red chile flakes. Lovely refreshing, actually. They taste a little bit like a bland cucumber-melon and I don’t think I’d go nuts trying to find them again, but hey, one less mystery on the list.

And more Vcon recipes cause I’m predictable like that. They are both to die for, because the Vcon is predictable like that. This is the pineapple cashew quinoa stirfry, mega yum. If pineapple-y grain-based stir fries had a bare knuckle fight in that square foot of free space in my kitchen I’d probably leave my bets with the pineapple couscous curry I made a while back, but that’s not to say they both wouldn’t both fight valiantly with their ways of deliciousness and copious use of sweet sweet juice. I’d also even say this tastes better out of the microwave the next day, but I might just be weird like that.

I’m not one for adult food, really. I made the Vcon tomato couscous with capers and rustic white beans and at first didn’t really… know what to do with it? But then something happened, something wise in me turned off my computer, headed to the fire escape with a glass of leftover white wine and a trashy novel and all of a sudden I was “some single woman shooing her cat away from the subtle flavas of leek”, instead of “some kid blogging, rocking, reading AND playing video games while shovelling back stirfry”. I dunno, it’s a subtle difference. And I was sad to see the last of it go.

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)

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