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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.

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(pumpkin oatmeal cookies, molasses snaps, sugar cookie sticks, meltaway shortbread, sugar-plum stars, chocolate thumbprints with cranberry or chestnut, PB and chocolate bonbons, PB-fruit-coconut-almond bonbons, and 12th century nutmeg spice cookies)

Merry season everyone! Those cookies up there are the symbols of festivity I decided to make lest there be no christmas cheer in my heart at all. Not to say I didn’t have a wonderful and family-filled trip home, but somehow… I’m feeling distanced from the traditions. No big surprise really… age and a certain mistrust of buying shit will take their toll, making it a very good thing that my heart will always ring with passion for cooking at least. And so, there was the night of a million cookies. Or rather, maybe six or seven batches. It was AWESOME. Just me and a table full of flours and extracts and whisks, neatly and precisely churning out dough after dough, and pulling perfectly browned trays out of my mom’s oven (that actually WORKS). I was so surprised it only took me a couple of hours – with the notable exception of the shortbread, which had me up to wee hours with the hand-whipping and chilling and 45 minute baking times but it was worth it in every way a mind can conceive. Move over butter – baking for so long turns EB into something intensely delicious, toasty and redolent and I’m glad I left it unadorned in it’s proud “cadillac-of-margarines” glory.

Then I made a cake, inspired in large part by these lilliputian mandarins my mom picked up. It’s the mandarin-orange-spice cake that has it’s own full colour glamour shot in extraveganza, and it’s glossy photo is more than deserved. The cake itself isn’t over sweet, instead it’s spicy and moist (and very christmas-y!), and a perfect vehicle for rich almond butter citrus icing that tasted a lot like magic. Should have been cashew, but you use what you have. Almonds have more personality anyway!

Giant slice for me? Oh, you shouldn’t have! No really, you take this slice, I’ll have the rest of the cake…… :D

It’s a christmas day tradition at my dad’s to have non-vegan belgian waffles with berries and cream, and every year previous I’ve made myself happy with (actually pretty good) fruit salad and maybe a tofurkey brat fried up with ketchup. But this year I was offered a spot in the waffle maker and I figured why not? I made the ppk apple waffles that were so good my step-mom jumped on the leftovers and I started to seriously consider spending my mall money certificates on a novelty waffle iron. They even picked up a bottle of whippy edible oil topping that in very very small doses (ie: once a year) I actually enjoy.

Later christmas dinner, the photo of which I considered not posting even at all. It’s a little smooshy! But yummy. So much so! I made red wine and maple baked tempeh, roasted potatoes with mushroom gravy, sesame broccoli, butternut squash with fresh thyme and garlic oil, rye stuffing, roast parsnip, turnip and carrot, dill and avocado salad, and lime-glazed beets. Just excellent, I was moaning all over the tempeh, which is always a treat to me, and even managed to save room for dessert – an apple cherry crumble with almonds and pecans that I will NOT post because it looks a little like something undergoing surgery but I can assure you was almost addictive with some Vitasoy Holly Nog splashed on top. (Said Nog also made my oatmeal xmasserrific my whole week home, I love that stuff.)

Here’s to a new year and to Xmas being through and to all a goodnight (I can’t wait to get back to school!!!)

EDIT: At Joanna‘s request, and because it’s available online anyway, I’m posting the Mandarin cake recipe.

Mandarin Orange Spice Cake

1 3/4 cups spelt flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp each nutmeg, cloves, and allspice
2/3 cup maple syrup
4 tbsp canola or other natural oil
3 tbsp mandarin orange juice, freshly squeezed (about 3 mandarins)
1 tbsp mandarin orange zest
1 tsp fresh gingerroot, grated
3/4 cup rice milk or soy milk
1 recipe Creamy Mandarin Icing

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. In a smaller bowl combine the maple syrup, oil, orange juice and zest, ginger and soy milk and whisk together to emulsify the wet ingredients. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix with a fork gently; do not beat. Pour into a lightly oiled and floured 8×8-inch cake pan, a Bundt pan, or an 8-inch springform pan. Bake 35-40 minutes. Check to see if cake is done by inserting a toothpick into the centre of cake; it should come out clean. Let cool on a rack before removing from the pan. Decorate the cake with Creamy Mandarin Orange Icing and garnish with edible flowers such as tangerine gems or calendula.

Creamy Mandarin Icing

1/2 cup soy margarine
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cashew butter
1 tbsp mandarin orange zest

Blend all ingredients in a food processor on high for several minutes until very creamy and thoroughly combined. Chill icing for 1-2 hours. Spread onto thoroughly cooled cake and decorate with grated orange rind and calendula flowers. Keep cake chilled until serving. Variation: Add 1/2-1 tsp each of beet powder and turmeric to dye the icing an orange colour. Add a small portion of each at a time as you blend the icing, until you reach a desired colour.

This was the result of a hankering for an old-fashioned face-stuffy burger, and did it ever deliver on that. I made some crusty kaiser rolls, some straightforward black bean burgers (with rye flour and tortilla chips instead of white flour and breadcrumbs), put a bit of mayo and pepper on it and it was absolute perfection.

Oh yeah, and pomegranate salsa is like salsa with pink jewels in among the spiciness, and it really really works.

I also tried soygurt for the first time last week (in order to make that harissa yogurt swirl for the fava soup) and I loooooooove it. I didn’t eat cheese as an omni, I ate YOGURT, and loads of it, so I don’t know why it took me this long to grab the blue tub and add it to everything. This almond butter-lime dressing was so easy and yummy!

And speaking of soy… the other day a half block of firm tofu practically jumped into my blender and went “eeeeeeh! add sugar and lemon to meeeee!”. And who was I to argue? I baked this one, and added a pinch of nutritional yeast which sounds weird but gives it depth (just a pinch). The texture was perfect too… it sliced off into tart little “wodges” which in my odd mind is the exact word for an ideal slice of cheesecake. I wish I could live off of this stuff!
(oh and it was about 4″ across. I love mini tins!)

Finally I made Juineve’s creamy eggplant and roasted pepper soup with zaatar crackers. I doctored it a bit, roasting the vegetables and added tomatoes and a splash of sherry, and wished I had made more, it was so luscious. Thumbs up!

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/ ]

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!)

It’s been a while, it’s been a while… ooooooh, I’m doing the It’s Been A While Dance. All of this food is like, over a week old (oh no!)

But that’s okay. I’ll just go through it real fast and label it. And pretend I’m gushing over everything, because it was all real worthy of gush. Onwards! —>

Soba All’Arrabiata! Or, “angry soba” if your Italian is good. Spicy marinara with sundried tomatoes and roasted vegetables just seems all that much more delicious when it’s on elegant and super-slippy noodles.

Vcon basil-cilantro pesto on corkscrewy pastas, with Eat Drink & Be Vegan tamari chickpeas, AND garlic bread. Because I am woman, hear me roar, I deserve carbs when I want ’em. And olive-oily lips!

A sugarless carrot cake, adapted from the Vwav recipe. Note all the changes to accomodate a sugar/soy-free diet:

– halved the recipe
– used w.w. pastry flour instead of white
– replaced sugar with date paste
– used walnuts instead of macadamias
– pureed pineapple instead of orange juice
– no coconut (not my decision, but mehn)
– no candied ginger (’cause there’s sugar on it. MEHN.)
– used cultured cashew cream instead of coconut icing

……….it was good, I kind of loved it (especially the cashew cream), but it was dense, and I would never serve it to omnis. I’m definitely noticing that cakes are especially tricky to adapt to special diets, as opposed to cookies/pies/things that don’t require fluffiness. But I’ll keep at it…

And when Pomme left town for a few days / I found a lb. of cherries for $1.59, I couldn’t resist diving into a modest flurry of sugar and flour to make (duh duh duh) a clafoutis! For the unhealthiness, but also for the vague french associations and a chance to use my mysterious chia seeds. I went from Hannah’s awesome strawberry clafoutis recipe, and it worked perfectly — gelled up into a pretty summer pudding that would be perfect with ice cream. Oh, I do love white sugar…

Oh, and leave the pits in the cherries! It’s traditional, and it infuses the cake with this haunting almond flavour. Plus, so much lazier. :D

Small surprise to see corn up there in the first photo again, huh? I have this thing about blogging about food in true chronological order, though. And this week of legume-happy kicked off with the Vcon Creole Stuffed Peppers which were really nice, by the way. We had them with the Messy Rice and some steamed kale with liquid smoke slashed on for fun, and it was nom nom nom.

See, we’ve been eating like this because P is taking a break from soy and sugar, so it’s been a lot of soaking beans from the pretty little jars that line the counter. And about time! It’s been bugging me lately that we haven‘t been eating beans, cause they’re pretty much my favourite food ever – like, “what’s for dinner?” …. duh duh duh….. “Beans!”

So we made the Vcon Jamaican Yuca Shepherd’s Pie. ZOMG. You need to try this! It’s so so good, familiar and yet not, really wonderful.

And we had it with a pureed mango-lime dressing, cause I’ve been experimenting with “pureed-stuff-on-salad” (it’s been going well). Note the gimpy radish rosette, as I was apparently channelling some fifties housewife during the 10 free minutes that the casserole needed to cook.

Oh yeah, and I take back everything I said about posting in order, because mentioning pureed dressings reminded me of what I had for *lunch* that day – SusanV’s tofu omelette, which was spooky spot-on, and possibly even better than an egg omelette since it had that beautiful savoury-mousse kind of thing going on. And I got to use tabasco and tarragon in an omelette, which takes me back a few years, I can say that. Anyway… it was full of onions, mushrooms, zucchini and tomato and it was the lunchiest lunch I’d lunched on in forever – HIGHLY recommended.

And it came with salad. Weird salad! But weird-good. There were all these carrot tops in the crisper, so I pureed up a carrot with some ginger and soy sauce as per this recipe (minus the mustard), because why not, right? It didn’t make a dressing so much as a piquante veggie condiment, but it did the job, I liked it.

Then the next day for dinner I headed to the kitchen with the intention of opening myself a tin of tomato soup – tres gourmet, je sais – mais! Somehow between thawing out peas and shuffling through jars of cumin seeds I skipped right over the soup idea and made a freestyle aloo gobi that was so spot on, I am seriously proud of this one. Especially cos I don’t think I’ve even had aloo gobi before, but I double checked on a few recipes, and mine was virtually identical to the authentic-looking ones. Wee! Also served with that plum chutney I made a while ago, which mellowed and turned pretty wonderful in the fridge. I could get to like this curry + chutney business! It’s like an excuse to eat spicy jam with dinner.

Leftover kidney beans? Meet new life as kidney cutlets with oats and worcestershire and a heckuva lot of green peppercorns. I had these on a chapati wrap with mango and lettuce and red pepper and chipotle mayo and it was SO good, reminded me of childhood/meatloaf. Except better.

Drunken baking……………….. upside down black sesame plum cake, and oat/banana/chocolate loaf. Both made without refined sugar. And to my tongue…… the less said about them the better, eek. :p

And bean-week ends with the easiest most bestest use for beans ever – load up a humungous salad on top of leftover legumes and munch away on pure goodness. Topping it with fresh mint, dates, toasted almonds and avocado doesn’t hurt a salad either. I had this again today for lunch, actually, could be my new favourite food. Anyway…

That’s the week! We’re making pasta tonight, I have no idea what kind, but that’s kind of cool since we don’t make it very often. Oh yeah, and I opened the abalone-flavoured wheat gluten – it tastes like cat food and comes dripping in oil – YUCKKKKKK. So yeah, experiment fail, but still interesting. Til next post! (my 100th, actually)

Oh, and I almost forgot! I tried a chinese saucer peach last week, too! I was like “oh, it’s a gimmick, it must be – a peach that won’t roll off the counter, of course.” But you know what? It tastes like honey and flowers and is very very nice and completely different from a regular peach. Experiment success!

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).

I had the worst day yesterday — looks like I’m stuck paying for a course on ancient Aegean culture and whatnot, even if I drop it. They said it was art history, the trolls! It’s about freaking architecture. Well, I *did* learn what a ‘lentil’ is… (not the food kind, but the kind that holds up treasuries and apollonian temples). I’m going to drop it and go to the lectures anyway because it’s interesting but I have an average to think about.

So yeah, that brought on a severe chocolate cake craving. And not one of those shrink-wrapped Skinni Mini vegan squishy fudgey squares they sell at the grocery store check-outs EVERYWHERE here, no I wanted a wedge, a slice, a piece of cake.

Luckily I find fractioning recipes therapeutic in the extreme.

I also recently made some cashew & agar cheese, or at least attempted to achieve that grate-able holy grail of yeasty goodness.

Not so pretty, and alas…

…not so firm.

Absolutely, 100% scrumptious though – maybe even better than that aged cheddar crock-cheese my mom used to eat while I wrinkled my nose. This also marks my first vegan melty-cheese experience and it did bring on giddy stupid munching, I will not lie. I had a griller with tomatoes and pickles just like I used to survive off of, glee!!

EDIT: due to popular interest, more talk about cheese! I adapted a recipe from this site here.

What I ended up doing:

3/4 cup water
2 1/2 tbsp agar flakes
1/4 cup raw cashew pieces
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp tahini
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt

“Place the water and agar-agar flakes in a small
saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and
simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. Place in a
blender with the remaining ingredients, and process
until completely smooth.

Pour immediately into a lightly oiled, 3-cup [1 cup, really]
rectangular mold, loaf or other rectangular container.
Cover and chill for several hours or overnight. To
serve, turn out of the mold and slice. Store leftovers
in the refrigerator.”

Next time I’ll probably make a full recipe (I went through this block fast!) and add another tablespoon or 2 of agar flakes. Also, I would suspect that the moistness of the tomatoes played a crucial role in the meltyness.

And speaking of lunchables, I must tip my hat to Amy of a A Stranger in the Alps for her cardamom-vanilla-pear muffin recipe. If a muffin were a person, this one would wear cotton gloves and ride a skinny black bicycle through moors and stuff (okay, I’ve been reading Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and I’ve got immortal british elegance on the brain, but THEY WERE SO AWESOME). The carrot soup was good, but a victim of my blended soup kitchen-sink philosophy and a bit too much curry powder. Anyway…

I also feasted last week on crispy crunchy stuffed tofu (from Cake Maker to the Stars), and sweet & sour green beans (from the More Than Twigs & Berries zine), and holy novelty tofu batman! I think I was channeling kitchen genius fairies cause I don’t know why down-home sweet potato tofu chews got made with chinese-ish beans, but they went together like a dream, like sweet and gooey with crunchy and nutty… yeah. Quite good.

So in conclusion I am bad at memorizing dates and couldn’t tell a Kore from a Kouros if you paid me, but hey, I can make up for those things. With tofu. Rarrr!

I had the best time in Ottawa with the fam, having free reign of flours and sugars, and access to an oven that’s probably 4 times the size of my own. Not to mention plenty of eaters of baked goods! I have a hard time justifying sweet recipes at home, as all I really need is a cookie here and there. But near the end of my stay I was just churning out sugar-soaked excellence everywhere and it was actually getting eaten (and quickly!). Kinda heavenly. I’m also considering taking a pastry course after uni or something… I’d like to take some culinary classes too but I don’t know how the veganism will factor into that… are there vegetarian culinary schools (with prestige) at least? Anyway, the cookies up there are the oatmeal raisin cookies from the Veganomicon. They smelled like skinned knees and school lunches, and even replace Larabars nicely as travelling rations! (half regular thompson raisins and half organic flame raisins).

I like to think of this as clash of the transitory seasons – spring and fall duking it out! It’s the 101 Cookbooks roasted butternut and farro salad making time with those strawberries. But it worked!

And then I made Vcon red and white bean seitanic jambalaya with Old Bay-spiced Julie Hasson sausages, sauteed collards and french bread — ooooooh, if only I could eat like this every night! It’s funny, cause I loathed sausages as on omni (they tasted like grease and salt and ACK, parts), but I’m a nut for the gluten kind. Everyone got sick the day I made this so I was a little aghast at the mass amount of food left over, but it made killer leftovers all week, and people kept pulling it out of the fridge as if seeing it for the first time with renewed interest in the smoky goodness.

Another perk to cooking at home – there are always random things around that need using up that I can be happily surprised by. Like a half tin of peaches! I had to make the Fatfree Vegan peach upside-down cake of course, which CAN be quartered, it can be done! I admittedly put a splash of canola in this, but that was a teaspoon maybe, and it came out like almost like a peach donut, if that makes sense. Really really good! I’d want to experiment with cornmeal I think, when I try again with real peaches.

Yummmm, Vcon curried carrot dip made my crackers sing! It should be called pâté, really, it’s that good. Especially with parsley on Ryvita.

And a barbecue came up, I wanted to make margarita cupcakes, but I’m SO glad I made mini jalapeno-onion corn muffins instead. Portability-wise, much better, and much more casual. I think I described the heat of the peppers as “haunting” and I stand by that. I wasn’t sure if they would work out, since I used rinsed pickled jalapenos instead of fresh (+ sugar / – salt to make up for that), but they DID work and the end result was pretty addictive.

We had zombie day dinner very late this year so here’s the holiday plate! Steamed fresh asparagus, black bean and mango salad, rosemary roasted potatoes, salad with lots of fruits and toasted hazelnuts, and leftover tofu scramble, yum!

Aaaaand…. I did in fact make the cupcakes! The orange and redcurrant ones! OMG SO MOIST AND DELISH. wee! (ha ha, as my memory fades so does my ability to articulate). They were springy, poppable, juicy and tender-good, ya.

Phew, backlog of photos done, hurray! It was a bit of a week!

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