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Mmm… it’s one of those mornings I grab a sweater and a coffee and just start working on stuff, in this case blogging.  To me that’s so evocative of autumn, which has begun to be noticed in the air.  I’m supposed to be selling postcards at an outdoor craft show/sidewalk sale today and the sky is a dark dark grey, with a snappy chill and a risk of rain… So I’m enjoying the indoor lamplight while I can, and getting the most out of every second I can hang out in my plushy pajama pants.  (pajama pants being the best invention ever, probably).
It seems appropriate to blog about the last of the summer meals, in this case.  Cold refreshing food I might not be as interested in in just a few days… zarusoba being an iconic example.  Despite owning a package of soba noodles the size of my head, I only just recently made up the appropriate dipping sauce to go with it so I could eat it summer style, cold with nori shavings on top.  If it’s still warm where you are, I recommend it so much!  And I insist that you slurp it, sucking up air in a perfect satisfying hoover as you eat, because it really does improve the flavour about 50% – I think it has to do with almost smelling it as you eat.
Perfect technique, so demure, and yet loads of delicious delicious air in every bite!  Now I kinda want fat soft udon, yumm……

This is a vegetable curry Pomme and I made using a lot of inspiration from this book, a seafood curry to be exact.  So it was a mix of turmeric, basil, mint, cayenne, paprika, pepper and lemon, which I thought was really novel (and very delicious).  Eaten with wheat berries for carbohydrates (defrosted from the freezer because you can do that), and a cucumber salad I made with chunks of ruby red cactus pear.  The seeds of cactus pears are hard like little BBs, but the melon taste and beautiful colour is worth it, like a poor man’s watermelon maybe.
Of those occasional small-batch cookies I make sometimes after meal, these mint chocolate brownie bites were knee-meltingly good!!  I wish I’d written things down, but there’s ground almonds in there, plus vanilla, mint, pockets of chocolate chips, and the texture was like 2-bite brownies, amazing.  Biting into them was a world-stopping experience, which probably means I added enough cocoa powder to the mix. ;P
Sometimes hash, just straight up hash is perfect.  Smoky sausages, in season tomatoes, little baby basil leaves, and enough salt and pepper to tie it together = wish I had more sausages so I could make this for lunch right now!
Finally, I’d had a tomato tart on the brain all summer.  Every week went by and I wondered when I would do it, if I would remember, if all the ambrosial blushing tomatoes would disappear from the markets en masse before I got the chance to make that pie.  But I did remember!  Luck would have it that I came upon a huge package of gorgeous organic tomatoes for a steal, and I hopped on the chance to bake them oh-so briefly in hardly more than their own juices.

I used a cornmeal pizza crust recipe from here, replaced most of the cornmeal with masa harina, spread the bottom with grainy mustard, thyme leaves, and drizzled it with olive oil before baking.  
And while I folded up the edges to make it more like a tart, I quickly found out that hand-to-mouth was the ideal method of eating this – it was a pizza at heart, and a robust and juicy one, too.  I still can’t think of any way I’d rather eat tomatoes right now!

Oh right!  That wasn’t the last thing, this is ^  Celine’s peanut butter granola!  oooooooooooh!
I replaced the PB with a Peanut-hazelnut blend, used hazelnut oil instead of canola, and left out the chocolate and it’s absolutely fantastic.  I hardly need to rave about how it melts away on the tongue and is just kissed with sweet and is full of toasty flax and is easy to make… because most of you have made this I’m sure, or at least if you haven’t you should and you can have a batch of oven-fresh granola in less time than it takes to run out and buy some.  
Kind of makes me wish I had some milk or yogurt around ever, but a jar of this in the fridge will disappear from nibbling fingers soon enough anyway, I assure you. ;)
Next post: an adventure in ninja-vegan waffle cones!
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OR: “Long Ago Foods I Happened to Push Around in a Bowl For a Few Minutes In A Manner That Kind Of Resembles Cooking But Is Lacking Any Real Inspiration” :)

Hee, these blondies kind of look like those tile puzzles where you push around the little flat plastic squares to make a picture of… a tiger. Or a monarch. Or a guy with a lasso. I wasn’t really caring about putting the pieces back in order after the food-porn was taken, and delicious things can be all rearrangey, sure.

I took the basic standard (awesome) blondie recipe from the ppk and made it all fiesta with lime juice and coconut. This was the first damned thing I’d baked in weeks!! No joke! And then they came out of the oven and I remembered why vegans have to bake – that is, to eat baked goods with melty buttery qualities. I distinctly recall deciding to gain a pound or two in honour of these things.

But really no cooking was I doing. Don’t believe me, here’s the proooooooof:::::

RICE FOR BREAKFAST! I ran out of oatmeal (and a small island in the pacific winked out of existence due to the illogical tanglement surrounding THAT). So I had to make do, and given I have patience in the morning to stir things and not do much else, I made some brown rice pud, with raisins, whole cloves, and cinnamon and it was… actually pretty great. Not oats, but every few years I’ll shake up the morning routine a little. Oh, and I put brown sugar in it! Speshul.

Next evidence of no cooking: SLAW. Wooo! Blog-worthy mostly because it’s a gorgeous shade of crimson and I happened to grate up a pear inside of it. I recommend the pear thing. (look close and you’ll spot the fourth time I’ve made the World Fusion cauliflower soup. Fourth time!)

Last, last… I give thanks to the wonders that is the VwaV fronch toast *guideline* and how it enables me to eyeball the various flours involved. And it still results in this, which is way more carby-sugary than I usually like for lunch, but I had to use up old bread and um… Caramel Sauce. Kisses Everything! With Gold. squee.

In better news, the weather has gotten downright inspiring the past few days and my eyes are lighting up at the sight of spring markets and my poor little brain is starting to tinker with foods that make moods and involve wonderful, premeditated things like capers. I believe I’ll be making seitan tomorrow. (!!!!) I see reubens and latin food…..

Gorgeous! Floating rice in big white space! It’s the hunan fried rice from Vegan Fire & Spice, which is actually pretty fantastic. It actually has flavour, and I especially love how the tofu pellets explode with sherry goodness. I switched up the vegetables completely and can see myself pulling out this basic recipe to accomodate any old veg & rice, cause it’s really yum and takes like 2 minutes to bash up.

Equally fast and furious – the snobby joes from the Veganomicon on spaghetti squash with baked paprika yam fries from Extraveganza. I’m so officially hooked on spaghetti squash right now, it’s like noodles except refreshing. It had been so long since I’d had it that I forgot you could actually slurp the stuff, and that became so much the deciding factor in my new love for it. Veg! You can slurp! Everyone wins. :)

Persimmon blondies!! As luscious as they sound and look, they’re a tester recipe for Hannah‘s upcoming book. I am super lucky that things like this freeze well, or I’d have polished off the pan already. :p

And I picked up a cool looking bag of assorted herbs in chinatown the other day. It was only 70 cents and I kind of saw it as a taster pack of a bunch of exotic ingredients I might never get around to trying all in one spot. Like… lotus seeds, dioscorea, dried lily bulb, fox nuts, dried longan and polygonatum. And a big pouch of barley!

I assumed it was for boiling with chicken for to make extra-healthified chicken soup (at least according to my book on asian cooking) so I just skipped the chicken part and boiled it for 45 minutes or so. The funny thing is that I went for a quick grocery run in the middle – yes I am that bad and I leave the stove on while I’m gone sometimes ^^; – and when I came back the apartment smelled so nutty and sweet and… quite like chicken soup. Strange! But not bad. I strained it out because the solids were tasteless, added some tamari, green onion and tofu cube and it was strangely very satisfying. Not a taste sensation or anything, but it felt good going down the throat and I could see myself picking up a pack the next time I get a cold.

You’re also gonna think I’m weird, maybe, but this salad was a great accompaniment to barley broth. I didn’t know that endive, pear and pecan (in my case walnut) was such a classic salad! This is the veganomicon version, but I’m pretty interested in playing around with the components, maybe adding some fermented tofu as a blue cheese element, or tossing in some roasted beets like Emilie did. It’s also so pleasingly in season, I love that. So far, winter hasn’t been half bad!

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

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

Yay sugar!

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