You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘blueberry’ tag.

(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)

So we’re finally in the present, now!  That was so weird, being back in time for so long… well, status quo and time re-adjustment has been achieved (thank you Doc!) and I’m the proud owner of not only Vegan Brunch but the Tropical Vegan Kitchen, now, too!  More on those at the end of the post, because I’m such a stickler for temporal integrity… although you’d never never never know it.  So I have to begin with rice.  Oh, but not just any rice…
It was sumptuous, luscious purple rice (yeah, I’m a fan), which I made with a big heaping spoonful of souvlaki spice blend that’s been sitting on my spice rack since last summer going “oh oh, make me with tofu, you LOVE greek food, get around to it, with those Vcon lemony potatoes, yeah!”
Which of course I did not do.  
Nah, no, I made this rice instead and actually swished it around in my salad, turning it all warm and tomatoe-y and olive-y, it was really awesome.  I never (never never?) mix my plate up, or at least not that often, so bear with my enthusiasm, haha.

Enthusiasm wanes for this, though!  Too bad… it’s from Vegan Fire & Spice and it was only okay… cold soba something or other.  I could have just messed up rinsing it properly, because it was mostly a case of the the noodle liquid rinsing all the nice dressing off.  And I put way too many veggie in, who needs veggies man, not me (at least not when “slurpy bowl of noodle” is the simplicity required at the moment).  Does anyone have any cold noodle tricks?  I bought a pack of soba the size of my head and I was pretty up for doing it cold, japanese-style over the rest of the summer.

Also good cold:  eggplant!  Amazing cold!  I faked up this most excellent wheat berry salad with morrocan spices, creamy eggplant, fresh mint… so good.  Especially in crisp summer lettuce wraps with black bean hummous dolloped on, which needless to say, was my consumption method of choice here.  (I’m especially enamoured of the strange little ears on the hummous blob in the picture there, too :P)

Oooh, and unfortunately there’s no slice picture, but I made a red velvet cake!!  It was a bit of a talent exchange and I got a professional (shi-shi, layered and subtle!) haircut from a friend of mine who adores southern stuff.  I even put mint on it, a la Paula Deen.  Oh, and the recipe was of course from Vegan Cupcakes and OMG this frosting if you haven’t made it yet MAKE IT it’s all whippy like creamy and dangerously low-sweet and HIDE THE SPOONS.  O_O!

*cough*
Right.  Well.  Grounding… let’s be sensible here.  There is nothing more sensible than rice salad, not one thing, nope.  (the New Zealand Rice Salad on page 70, to be really specific.  tee hee kiwis).  What else can be eaten right out of the fridge like a miniature complete meal at the end of your snacking fork?  (And that can be hard to remember to eat sometimes!)  Also, what else can incorporate fruit into dinner without seeming weird?  Well, I guess I’m going to find out what else, because the Tropical Vegan Kitchen is full of fruit, it’s everywhere.  Which is why I bought it!  That and to figure out how to use up a crate of kiwis I got… I’m looking to adapt the toasted coconut mango muffin recipe in Vegan Brunch too maybe… which finally brings me to —–

Omelet!
La la la, nothing can be said about this I’m sure that hasn’t been said before, it is perfect and you want to eat this and your omni uncle wants to eat this (well, maybe), and I ate it with the V.Brunch sesame scrambled tofu with greens and yams ( – tofu, + dandelion greens).  I don’t know how she actually managed to do this, but not only does it actually taste like something good (as opposed to Vegan-Omelet-As-Novelty), but the structural integrity is a wonder to behold.  The thing spread perfectly, browned perfectly, held together like a champ… you can even stack them.  Now try that with an egg omelet!
(also, I offically think these taste way better than those egg things.  viva la revolution!)

You know what? I like when muffins sink in the middle. It kinda makes you want to lean your head in right up to the pan and wonder… is it berry? Is it chocolate? Some other wondrous dark goo from the deep of the muffin? Okay, in this case I’ll fess that it’s blueberry, and I think you can even see the lavender flowers under it’s chewy crust. I totally bombed making these muffins correctly; they had sunken middles, gooey middles, “over-done” edges, and the aforementioned mysterious depths – BUT I called them blondies and just let the yummy work itself out. Actually these are fantastic, my baking skills notwithstanding. (lemon blueberry lavender muffins from Extraveganza, for the record)

I’ve also been greatly enjoying an open can of coconut milk. Why didn’t anyone tell me coconut milk was made of bliss? Man… it made teaching my little brother how to make tofu very very easy. And honestly, I think he may be better at it than I am! Those tofus in that thai coconut curry are succulent tofus – properly breaded and evenly browned. And I know that I’m not alone in considering the ability to make bean curd taste awesome is a necessary life skill to anyone, vegan or otherwise. I kinda felt like I had the ‘good sister’ hat firmly on.

Sorry I have to interrupt with an entry into the Liz Holding Food gallery.

MUFFIN VISION! SEE THROUGH!

I am horribly amused. :)

Entry number #2 in the gallery: Vietnamese spring rolls, which I’ve decided to live off of from now on.

Mostly because I can’t imagine anything that sits better in my stomach. I haven’t figured out why a handful of lettuce and noodles is so gosh darned filling, but there you go. It also could be that they’re a thinly veiled excuse to eat loads of peanut sauce, which might be indeed why they are so filling. But seriously… favourite food ever? Rolls are close.

Reality though? This is what I eat every day. Practically these days. Hummus and salad, basically. And can you even believe I’d never made tabouli before, ever? I’m a VEGAN, I’m not sure how that’s at all possible, but I managed to make it taste right, or better than right, because I put raisins and toasted walnuts on top and bulgur > couscous in my mind.

All right. I am obviously scattered today! I could blame the light food! I could blame Valentine’s day! I might be in love. But that’s another story! :D

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

So I’ve posted a hundred times since the inception of this wee blog! Looking back… there’s been some very proud moments, some not-so proud moments, an epic battle or two, my first batch of cupcakes ever, a heckuva lot of sushi, even more things made with blueberries, and for the record, since acquiring the veganomicon last november, I’m officially over halfway through! (150 recipes finished, I think?).

And I do post almost everything I make that is beautiful/interesting/weird, or at least a good basis for a joke, but just for today I think I’ll pull back the curtain on what really gets eaten around here, pretty much every day. Basically, If I haven’t posted about it, it’s certain to be one of these things:

Oatmeal!

Oh oatmeal, oh lovely, oh OATY and predictable. How much do I love thee? Enough to adapt my schedule around your warm and nutty scent? Enough to know the subtle bouquets of every bulk bin oatflake within a 4 block radius? Enough to wistfully ALMOST NEVER make pancakes (at least not before 5 pm)? To have a designated oatmeal-spice section of the cupboard (with the special dates that I buy just for the porridge)? To own specialty equipment designed for your fluffiness?

Oh yes. Most certainly. And did you know that mango is fabulous in it? As are blueberries, but you probably knew I was going to say that. ;P

Natto Bowl / Miso Soup!

I got converted, most definitely hooked on natto since I first tried it. With a little squodge of perfectly cooked brown rice and loads of veggie on top, it’s no-effort and nourishing and really really yummy.

And as a bonus you can freak people out with the stringiness of it all. And as another bonus —- the cutest girl in the entire world eating natto!

(as for miso soup… everything I’ve said about the above applies, + floating bits of hot jiggly salty tofu, – stringiness. YUM)

Tomato Soup!

As for dinner, I’ve decided to not be ashamed of this anymore. After all – it’s an icon, it’s a cultural equalizer, and it tastes REALLY GOOD with cheezy crackers. It has a full serving of vegetables, enough salt to kill you, some white sugar ’cause we love that stuff, and oh my gaaaad is it comforting. I love you tom soup. Love love love. With cashews and cilantro and mexican veggies. With olives and balsamic and onion. With readymade curry paste, or stir fry sauce, or over rice, and especially with frozen peas floating in it. It’s soaked up many a night of drinking, been a cheap meal when I couldn’t afford more, and goddamnit… it just tastes good. LOVE! :DDD

*cough*

Soooooo yeah. That’s my secret diet. My non-postable eatables. Regular schmanciness with resume, oh, probably at the crack of dawn tomorrow. I’ve been making cakes. Multiple cakes! And thanks to everyone for your support and comments and love and ideas and basically just making this whole blog-thing worthwhile. I couldn’t have grown so much or tried so many new things without you! <3

It’s funny when you don’t eat during the day, how certain activities grow in fascination to replace the habit of cooking. Case in point: cat watching. Oh, Satchmo… curled up with the collected works of Lewis Carroll… so peaceful. I spent a lot of time reading over those ten days (a LOT), drawing, walking around late at night with legs that felt oddly leaden but powered by this strange eternal sense of energy. I even went to a party on the weekend stone-cold sobre, swizzled my lemonade and had a blast. Near the end there was a definite natural high going on, and I could see how people could continue for 14, 20, 40 days….

Not that I was going to. I’d have to take out real estate to manage all the recycling!

P (hereby referred to as “Pomme”) came off the fast one day before me, so we went to work together making a pottage of soup with about half a garden in it, it was the most nourishing amazing thing I’d ever seen… (turnip, celery, carrot, zucchini, sweet potato, leek, onion, cabbage, mushrooms, broccoli, tomato, green beans, wakame, brown rice and barley). It was so tempting, in fact… that 3 AM of day 11…. I crept out of bed………….. and had a bowl of it!

I know you’re supposed to wait and spend a whole day drinking orange juice to break the fast…. but I am not patient! And my trusty guts of steel worked like a charm! It was delicious, and sat perfectly. (I’m not recommending this to anyone, though – I almost ate it in the spirit of science, to see if I doubled over in crippling cramps or something equally bad, and that might still happen if your stomach is sensitive)

This is my first real meal! On day 2 of breaking the fast, I woke up to the most enticing smell ever, and Pomme had made the most perfect and delicious (and spicy!) dhal, which we had for dinner with brown rice, steamed veggies, salad, and this very cool sesame coleslaw I made weeks ago that magically started fermenting all on it’s own. I’ll have to see if I can recreate that…

And then, after dinner, because we are daredevils after all…. we made a raw pie, and (oh dear) ate the whole thing between us! Okay, I had most of it. ;)

It had a walnut/almond/cinnamon crust, and the filling was a blend of banana, cashews, mango, blueberries and maple syrup, and it was pretty amazing. Raw pies are especially fun to make because they involve using the blender a lot! And they’re easier on the post-fasting tummy, too.

So that’s pretty much it! There’s loads of other things I could talk about the fast, but it’s already kind of fading in my memory… it really wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be at all. I was positive I’d give up somewhere around Day 3. I did spend Day 3 reading every dissenting opinion on the cleanse that I could find, and almost thought of stopping. But I didn’t, and I’m so glad, because the real treasure I got from it was I SUCCESSFULLY QUIT SMOKING, I’m free! There was no craving, no coughing, no weight gain, no insomnia, no irritability… it’s basically the most perfect way to quit, ever. I hope anyone who wants to quit tries this method, I can’t recommend it highly enough! And little things like pickles and curry taste like absolute heaven afterwards. :P~~~~~

(next post: my veganversary and I finally get to try tempeh!)

Curiously enough, I have a habit when drinking to RUN NOT WALK to the kitchen and see if I can’t whip up something edible with blurry vision. And I usually can! Maybe it’s the challenge… and it’s certainly better than singing off-key, I should think.

My most classic preparation is some sort of seitan barfood after stumbling home. I guess 3 am and soused isn’t the best time to attempt to recreate a vegan hotdog, but I tried! It wasn’t hotdogg-y, but it was delicious, even if J was passed out like a rock by the time I set down a warm fresh chapati with a seitan-dog and all the fixins in front of him. (It made a perfect breakfast the next day, though!)

A week or two later some crepes were made, and turned out more perfectly than any sobre pancake I’ve ever attempted. The Vcon recipe is lightning-fast, delicious, and got rave vegetarian reviews (“these are even better than the kind with eggs! more flavourful and chewy!”). I did add a bit of extra oat flour, too, which gave them a nice homey touch.

Yum jam! Strawberry, blueberry, merlot, sour cherry, plus caramel sauce, cinnamon and fresh peaches.

And then last night (we all get off work on wednesday. we call it “fake saturday”), some whiskey prompted a mini-muffin adventure. What kind? Uhhhh…. banana! With blueberries! (we are also blueberry fiends, oh my yes). Use a recipe? Bah! That takes time and reading. Better to just throw some whole wheat pastry flour in a bowl with some ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, soymilk, brown rice syrup, oil and vanilla. And they TOTALLY turned out. Not too sweet, loaded with berries and banana, and perfect for munching on while playing with plastic dinosaurs and discussing 37 ways the world is an unfathomably weird place. Rarr brontasaurus rex!

There were even 3 (oops, I ate one – 2) left over the next day!

Smashed Vegan’s Warning: please please please do not attempt to drink and bake at home, unless you’re of legal age and are prepared to find a huge mess waiting for you in the morning. I don’t want to be a bad influence… :o

Well… like a lot of bloggers it seems I have to bear the news that I may not be able to keep up with commenting or even posting quite so often as before (still often – blogging gets my sillies out, and is thus very vital!). I think it’s a summer thing. Also, much MUCH drawing to be finished, books to read, hanging out to do… the usual.

Anyway, that craziness up there is natto! Weird food, but strangely delicious. It’s a fermented soybean that they eat a lot in japan, with brown rice, chopped scallion and soy sauce, and I’ve gotten kinda hooked on it. It’s full of B12, too (the absorption of which is still in debate, but I’ll take my nutrients as I get ’em).

And I tried, oh I did, to give up the oatmeal thing in the morning, but I was crazy hungry by 11 am and went screaming for banana oatmeal bread – go figure. So I’m back, but I’m switching up the flavours and it’s so much more fun this way! So far I’ve tried it with gomasio, kelp and toasted sesames (very good, savoury… completely unphotogenic though), and this morning was amazing – ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, candied ginger, dates, flax seeds and lots of perfect fresh blueberries.

Dinner number 2! Clockwise from the left, it’s leftover paratha; sliced mango and avocado; steamed kale; smoky red bean and quinoa croquettes; Vcon gazborscht; big green salad; and get this —- Aux Vivres chana masala!! P brought it from work and it’s the exact stuff they put in my favourite menu item there, the chickpea chapati wrap. It’s fatty and addictive and hee hee! We have secret restaurant food! :DD

*sexy shot of the oh-so refreshing gazborscht with homegrown cilantro*

*sexy shot of the quinoa croquettes* (recipe follows, ooh!)

Smoky Red Bean & Quinoa Croquettes (makes about 15, maybe… I’m guessing)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups cooked red quinoa
2 cups cooked red beans (or blackeyed peas)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 scallions, diced
1 small sweet potato, diced and steamed
1/2 red pepper, diced small
1 cup spinach, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp gluten flour
2 tbsp flax meal
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp Braggs or tamari
3/4 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
juice of 1/2 lime
1/8 tsp Liquid Smoke
2 tsps olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Mush half of the beans and leave the rest whole. In a large bowl, combine everything together along with the beans and mush with your hands until it forms a very thick paste.

2. Scoop out about a 1/3 of a cup and form it into a patty. Repeat, repeat.

3. Heat a bit of olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat and cook for about 4 minutes each side, or until nicely browned and slightly firm. Serve with guacamole and chips, or fresh corn, or mango.

Moving day this weekend. And moving day again, and again and again… my two best guy friends J and W moving to different apartments and a new roommate for me. It’s been change! And a lot of fun, actually, even though I’m pretty sure my arms have doubled in size due to a constant and unending parade of boxes and audio equipment.

There’s my man J, taking a well deserved break (silly man was so excited to move that he didn’t sleep the night before and became Zombie J of the Wobbly Muscles). Note the wrought iron and the heavy-ass keyboard cases that evidently weigh about as much as 13 me’s. (what, 1.3 tonnes?? okay….!)

You know what eases all this pain though? Vegan ice creamables. Well, not ice cream, and I admit I gazed longingly at the green tea gelato, but opted for the best of the options available to me, which was a nice mix of mango and strawberry sorbert. I’ve had better sorbet (namely, stuff that has flavour beyond “sweet and vaguely fruity”, but still, the treat was super nice.

And then when all was finally done (okay, when the guys were done moving at least) we felt this huge empanada craving, so we headed to La Chilenita on St. Laurent ave, which does this otherworldy good Chilean food. I got the burrito grande, which I (eloquently) described later as “melt-in-your-mouth-face-stuffy”. Everything I was craving and more.

I don’t remember precisely what was in here, but I think this bad picture might refresh my memory… okay, Chilean black beans, slurpy sweet onions, rice, avocado, spicy red sauce, and YES YES TOFU! Not to mention multiple hot sauces on the side for slathering, which was particularly awesome because on the way to this place I specifically wished for rice in a burrito with multiple hot sauces on the side. There must have been restaurant fairies in the air.

Not vegan, but pretty funny — J couldn’t decide which nacho was the most ultimate of nachos worthy of becoming his last bite, and the competition between the two chips got a little out of hand, becoming what I can only describe as Mount Nachos (or alternatively, they kinda look like boobs).

(the one on the left-hand side was declared the unequivocal winner, by the way)

After the dust settled J stayed with me for a few nights before his own plans got worked out, and I took the opportunity to get some real food into his system. Can I mention here that getting food on the table is a whole ‘nother world compared to all-day creative culinary noodling? I thought I did okay here, though. I made Vwav braised cauliflower with 3-seed sauce, chickpea cutlets curry-style (cumin, cayenne, turmeric, lime juice and cilantro), and some peas, for the green factor.

And then a mess of vcon brooklyn macaroni salad, which disappeared over the course of today, amidst a lot of slurping and crunching and digging into tupperware containers. No radish to be had, but I think I prefer it this way with red pepper and scallion instead!

Finally, my new roommate P showed up and we helped her with her own load of boxes, and an offhand suggestion of brownies to commemorate the occasion got followed by the fastest baked good I think I’ve ever thrown together – a nice half-batch of Vcon blueberry brownies. And I think you can tell that patience was none of our virtues and warm gooey blue choco-cakeness was needed in our mouths, and who needs tidy edges anyway? For some crazy reason blueberries and chocolate marry like epic lovers here. I’d ask “who knew?”, but obviously a lot of people did. I’m just super glad I’m in on it now.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeee! Okay, now I sleep forever, and ever and ever and always. Except not, because I’m up tomorrow at 6 for school. But shhh! There’s brownies for breakfast. And that makes everything very OK. :)

My two new favourite questions have definitely become –

1. “Sooooo…. when’s your birthday?”
2. “Aaaand…. what are your favourite flavours?”

Best response so far? Blueberry orange – thank you Jay for being adventurous!
This isn’t even the grandolith-monolith cake-o-glory – this is just the home cake! I ended up doubling the vanilla cake recipe from ED&BV, so I had enough left over to make a cake for my family for my last day in town. Tongue-in-cheek captioning and all! I also switched most of the milk for real-squeezed organic orange juice and added zest and orange extract.

Break time for real food. Tofu sharks on the cast-iron waters, arrrrrr!

Yummy stir-fry goodness, on udon noodles. And since I was candying oranges anyway for the Grandocake, I tossed some of the extra syrup in the stir-fry sauce I made and it was awesome. I also got to use my new chili-garlic sauce! Can you believe I lived this long without owning any? I totally can’t.

Home cake innards, with about a mile of icing on top because I decided to use up the extra and be generous like that. It’s almost all dyed naturally, and the blueberry flavour is the juice from the pot that I stewed the blueberry filling in. It tasted… blue. Amazingly, burstingly blue. (I pat myself on back now).

And the pièce de résistance – A triple-decker, fully torted, stuffed with filling, moist and citrusy, sparkling berry bonzanza mouth-party!!!

I wish I had pictures of the insides… they would bring a tear to your eye. I woke up the next morning to find birthday boy excavating the orange mountain with a fork and a slight hangover and a pretty blissful expression on his groggy face, to which I say mission successful! and also….

what are your favourite flavours? :D