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So I’m sitting here with my internet connection flicking ON and OFF and trying almost-and-mostly valiantly to resist running to make Vichyssoise at such an hour of the night that I should be working.  But then I remember that brownies (or Ginger-browdnies as they might better be called) require nothing like reliable wi-fi to enjoy at all.  They don’t even require that much to talk about.  So fire up the notepad I do, and here they are. 

*insert yumptuous picture of chocolate-drizzled “I procrastinated so hard with these I had time to make them look ultra-fine” squares*

I think I wrote down the recipe for these, but then I deleted it, so I’ll write this down now with the clear warning that A: this is from memory and based on something I made last Thursday.  and B: I wanted them to be brownies *after* I pulled them out of the oven, so in theory they could be fudgier by a loooong shot to legitimately be called brownies, but they definitely weren’t cake. 

RECIPEE!  for Gingerbrowdnies.

1 1/2 cups flour

3 tbsp cocoa powder

3/4 tsp ginger powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

pinch of clove

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup sugar

2 tbsp molasses

1 tbsp Golden Syrup

1/3 cup oil

1/2 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup non-dairy milk

1 tbsp ground flaxseed

1. Sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl

3. Whisk together the wet and add to the dry, stir just to mix, pour into pan and bake for 15-20 minutes.  Or maybe more.  I did not measure the time and everyone likes their browdnie a lil different.

OKAY UPON CLOSER INSPECTION THEY ARE CAKES.  LITTLE, SPICY CAKES.  Ah well, maybe next time I’ll remember in enough to time double the fat and sugar in the recipe and roll around maniacally in the lushness that ensues.  Until then, these are healthy enough to …. eat them upon waking for a lovely chocolatey zing next to coffee.  And then maybe another square with lunch.  And by that I mean no, they have like, negligible nutritional content but also nothing glaringly obese.  

Oh right, and if you melt some chocolate with a splosh of oil in the microwave and then drizzle it over in neat-o checker patterns they get way prettier and if you put them in the freezer to set the chocolate really quickly be careful about smushing the tops of them in the process and if you do *that* are you brave enough eat the messy ones in a heroic move thus preventing any innocent eyes from even suspecting that non-perfect Browdnies exist?   Wellll??  okay good.

Oh yeah, and in other news, I got a job as the weekend cook at an organic vegan cafe, with free reign of a tiny kitchen and some wild ideas for upcoming brunch specials.  Oh the freedom, oh the power, I’m not to touch the hummous recipe but my boss pretty much asked me to go wild with the rest of the menu.  Can you believe that?  And I get to make a couple baked things every day, too, anything I want.  

Seriously, I woke up in the middle of the night with my heart all a-flutter, realizing while I usually drunkenly lament while roaming the city at night is that there is no good vegan reuben anywhere in Montreal (travesty!) I could actually do something about that if I just remember to order rye bread before the next weekend.   O_O   Amazing.

Oh, I am so procrastinating right now.  And isn’t that *totally* the best time to blog, when it feels like a sneaky indulgent privilege to be able to write about all this stuff?  Hurray!  Southeast asian art, Foucault, and russian neoromantics be damned, all of them (at least for the time it takes me to write this, and then it’s back to dandelion tea and the books.  which isn’t so bad, nah….)
I didn’t plan the colour scheme at all, but there it is.  Orange is a lovely colour to eat, cheery and usually sweet.  I may have mentioned the acquisition of my very first copy of Vegetarian Times in a past post – well, I made more than donuts.  The edamame and sweet potato collard wraps jumped WAY out at me when I saw them, basically ’cause I don’t think I’d ever put those ingredients together in quite that way before.  There’s even firm-soft tofu in here, and the only spice is cayenne.  In the end… they were good.  I enjoyed them a lot.  There was something odd about the texture I wondered about, but I think I was just getting used to edamame, which are way richer than frozen peas.  (I was an edamame virgin before this recipe you see – another reason to try them out!).  Ultimately I recommend it, although I liked the filling best of all over crunchy romaine leaves for added texture.  It froze really well, too.
Then I saw Smitten Kitchen’s recent cornbread salad and deeply swooned over the concept of it all.  I think I saw it early in the afternoon and was eating it a few hours later for dinner, I was so jazzed about the thought.  So amazing this was!!  The tangy dressing soaks into some of the cornbread bites to make UbertasterBomsOfWow, and the rest stay crunchy and toasty and awesomely contrasty.  
Can we pause a moment to lament the atrocious photograph that I took of this salad?  
** moment of silence , snicker snicker **
delicious though.

I am a bit of urban harvester.  Just a bit, just here and there.  Kind of like Benjamin Bunny, and I spotted a green tomato peaking out from a trendy bar’s front garden one Friday night while I was walking home and slightly drunk and I didn’t figure it so bad to pop it off and dream of frying it up for dinner.  I see it as being a natural part of the city’s ecology, you know.  And I plant things around.  Anyway, I fried it southern style and it was delicious!  Tangy and juicy and zestier than a red one.  Really good with egg salad beside it, too (ppk recipe, of course.  probably with extra mustard, if I was being myself that day).

Also from the Isa salad files, a very loose translation of the Prospect Park potato salad from the Vcon.  Loose, as in I had about 10 baby red potatoes and no desire to do any specific divisions of a recipe, so I just looked at the ingredients list and threw all of those things into the same bowl until it tasted good.  It tasted good!

These tasted okay.  I mean, the chocolate filling was the most intensely luscious sticky fudge sauce in the whole world and I was scraping it out of the pot like crazy to get the last smidge – THAT was amazing.  The cookies were only mehn, though.  Not so surprisingly, since they’re just really fatty shortbreads that I didn’t veganize well enough I guess, but anyway – Gale Gand’s Orange Sandwich Cookies from Butter Sugar Flour Eggs if anyone’s curious.  (Make that filling sauce, omg.).  And they sure are pretty looking.

And I tried to recreate one of the super hippy chunky crunchy veggie restaurant style cookie recipes.  You know the ones that are full of flax oil and/or spelt chunks and/or seeds and yet somehow are just incredible?  I kind of succeeded, kind of… okay, not really.  But I learned a lot about baking soda versus powder, and I have the beginnings of a fantastic sesame seed crust in my freezer right now… ha.   If anyone knows of a recipe that makes a big crunchy, browned around the edges cookie that tastes like a cross between a sesame snap and and oatmeal chocolate chip, do DO let me know.  I’ll send Peppermint Ritter Sports, I promise.  :P

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!

My room-mate’s birthday came up unexpectedly!  I had to innovate… it helped that I could peek into her side of the pantry and note the favoured ingredients… and remember that she has a yen for spicy food and japanese (similar taste much!)

I essentially made her the cake I secretly hoped someone would make for me someday (but shh, it works here, too).

I made a half recipe of a cake I found online here, sliced it into 4 rectangles and sandwiched them with a full recipe of the Vegan Cupcakes take over the World chocolate mousse recipe, but with a bunch of wasabi and ginger added, yes!

Top it with some pretty kiwis and champagne grapes and white pearls and call it an ideal job.  Just about exactly what I was aiming for – it’s elegant and spicy and rich.  If I did it again I might add some cashew cream layers, or some strawberry jam, but really it’s perfect just the way it is right here.  Roomie even professed to get a wasabi high off the mousse!  Ha ha, couldn’t ask for more.

Black Sesame Cake

(from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert (veganized), via Dessert First)

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup soy yogurt

3 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup canola oil*

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup soymilk

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup toasted black sesame seeds

– Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a cake tin and dust flour inside it.  Set aside.

– Add the vinegar to the soymilk and set aside to curdle.

– Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  

– In a large bowl, beat together the soygurt, sesame oil, vanilla, canola oil, and sugar until it’s smooth and caramell-y, about 2-3 minutes with a whisk.

– Add 1/3 of the flour to the liquid ingredients and stir to combine.  Add half the curdled soymilk and stir.  Add another 1/3 of the flour (stir), then the rest of the milk (stir), then the last of the flour (stir).  Make sure not to overwork the batter, but it should be smooth and pourable.

– Pour into the greased cake tin and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is glossy, firm and golden, and a toothpick/knife inserted comes out clean.  Let it cool for about 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack, then let it cool completely before frosting.

* the original recipe called for butter, and you would probably get spectacular results with Earth Balance, I just didn’t have enough this time.  Follow the recipe the same, but cream the margarine with the sugar with an electric mixer until it’s really white and fluffy, before adding the other liquid ingredients.


Wasabi Ginger Chocolate Mousse

(adapted from Vegan Cupcakes take over the World)

12 oz. package of medium firm tofu, drained

1/4 cup soy milk

2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)

1 tbsp wasabi paste (or more ;)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp ginger powder

8 oz. chocolate chips (or higher quality chocolate if you’d like)

pinch of salt

– Bring a pot of water to a boil, then gently add your tofu, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 4-5 minutes.  Drain carefully and let it cool.

– Once cooled, put the tofu, syrup, wasabi, vanilla and ginger in a blender and blend it until it’s completely smooth.

– Melt the chocolate carefully in the microwave then add it to the blender and whip everything together.  Add salt if you like salt (I do), then stash it in the fridge for at least an hour to become firm enough to work with.  Ice your cake!

(the laboratory mid-zebrification)
Step 1:  Get enthralled by this and this and this and this and this and this!  
I *had* to make it.  Not only was it zoologically named but it meant I could hide a secret surprise under the frosting (always good).  And given that I had an mocha-loving friend who very very kindly drove these paintings home from the studio for me through notoriously terrible montreal traffic, I knew it was the ripe time to start dolloping.  CHerry ripe time!  haha, okay I shut up now.
I started from the recipe at Caffeine Heartbeats, but added instant coffee to the mocha side and almond to the vanilla for extra je ne sais quoi, and a bit less vinegar for less risk of crumbling.  (Oh, and no orange, just vanilla this time).  And I had to tweak the viscosity on both ends with a bit of flour and water respectively, but not too much and then I could dollop away.  3 tbsps of each batter, thin little lines, up and up and up until….

Step 2: Bake it up in the oven for about 45-50 minutes and go ooooooooooooh zeh-braw…
Step 3: Flip it over to cool and notice another heart-shaped thing in your food, like they’re conspiring to surround you or something.  My word!

Step 4: Acknowledge the fact that it’s a sweltering August evening but ignore good reasoning and ice it super-generously in mounding swirls of fluffiffffy cherry frosting buttercream anyway.  (be so very happy you did that as you’re eating the veritable angel crack later on, a little bit melty regardless.)

Step 5: Keep it in the fridge as best as possible in this heat, then break it out and serve in big cool stylish overly delicious wedges.  One of the best I’ve ever made, and I mean that flavour-wise, too!  I was pretty glad to come by said friend’s house later the next day to help her eat it for breakfast, like that was such a painful thing to do (it wasn’t). 

Meanwhile, I’ve spent a few days picking apples at an orchard, so I’ll have some posting about that pretty soon, I think!

I’ve been raw for 5 days now!!  I’ll save writing about that for the next post, but in the meantime here’s a whole bunch of photos from the past few weeks I never got around to posting but are kinda making me hungry right now…

Allright, we’ve got up there… chili cashew dosas (my favourite recipe so far from Vegan Brunch), with a notably amazing chutney I made from the back of Indian Cookery, ie: this book ——>
Which is basically my favourite indian cookbook ever, even for the chutney chapter alone, which covers pretty much anything you’d want to stew and preserve in a super authentic, full of interesting tidbits kind of way.  Like, that peach chutney I ate with the dosas had paprika, poppy seeds, cloves, green chiles and cashews, oh my!  Totally easy to make, too.

Another perk of making chutney is that you get to re-use little jars and give them away after they’ve sat for a month on the shelf looking very pretty.  On the right is the peach, and in the middle is a pineapple chutney with about a ton of ginger and garlic in it, yay!
Okay, what else – this was astoundingly good.  It looks kind of grey, I’ll admit, but so so so good.  Velvety corn creamy chinese wedding soup, or something like that, with bits of savoury tofu floating in it and fresh peas.  It’s Bryanna’s recipe, and incidentally my introduction to creamed corn (I’m a fan, it turns out).
Oh, and Singapore green beans from Tropical Vegan Kitchen in the background.  Once that stuff marinates it’s addictive!
East Coast Coffeecake for an omni BBQ!  Plus adorable sign. :)
I loved how I could even make this in my dad’s kitchen – it’s the sign of a perfectly adaptable baked good.  (flour, sugar, oil, check!)
My favourite PB cookies ever, are the Crispy PB Cookies from Extraveganza with the cereal flakes inside.  They crackle like pop rocks and have that perfect dense chew, and are so easy to make.  I usually quarter the recipe and make them into the size of quarters, and have them as little pick me ups throughout the day.
Polenta Rancheros from V.Brunch, with noticeable flecks of toasted coriander that perfume the whole thing, it’s really nice, especially when made with fresh tomatoes cause that’s all I had.  Surprisingly light for a bean dish!
White bean, mango and rosemary tacos!!!  My surprising invention that worked, plus some leftover Tempeh Wingz made with tofu, cold and chewy out of the fridge.  (That red sauce is illegally finger-licking…. wow.)
Fresh organic vegetable pasta spirals with a sauce made from tomatoes, raisin-sage sausages, capers, zucchini & basil, NOM.
 

Banana Rabanada!!!  Not only is this delicious but no refined sugar, either, so it’s perfectly viable to eat for lunch!  Isa was spot on about the syrup & cinnamon-mopping, too.

(Heart-shaped) Fudge-pops from How It All Vegan, since I found my ancient copy in my mom’s garage a few months ago and figured I’d give it a whirl again.  These were sooooo good, and almost exactly like fudgesicles, which is no mean feat!

Sausage and eggplant quiche from V.Brunch with a homemade crust I put too much EB in but was still okay.   And I think that’s about it for cooked stuff!  Phew, sorry for the cursory writing about it all, too.  Somehow I think the pictures speak loud enough that it’s okay I don’t remember the details, plus this raw food thing is making me spacey… zomg.  It’s great, but I’ll be glad to bring it down to maybe 60% raw after the next few days.  Can’t wait to show you what that’s been like, though! 

Summertime and some are slacking!  That is to say — oh oh I’m sorry I dropped off the face of the blog-Earth!  I’ve been pretty busy, writing papers, painting spiders and lettuce leaves, taking t’ai chi, dating someone (yey), still cooking up a storm, and just not really feeling like there’s been a good time to blog about it.  But really, it’s getting ridiculous… I’ve lost count of how many photos I have.  Stacks.  And they’re getting outdated, I’m forgetting if I used olives or capers in these stuffed tofus for example… at any rate I used Kittee’s Method of the Stars to stuff them full of olive-oily spinach, red peppers, and raisins (I think).  Other good things, then breaded them in cornflakes, baked, and ate most of them all chewy-cold out of the fridge – like moment’s notice hunger-killers, basically.
Sushi!  But with black rice this time, which is really more of a purple, and taste-wise isn’t quite sushi bliss… but it sure is pretty.  I kinda feel like this is sushi with a silk tie on, or something.

And speaking of oceanic treats, my sister and I discovered some fantastic package of salty fried nori in her cupboards.  This stuff is gooooood.  For my money, beats the pants off of potato chips.

Sis thinks so too!

Then for a while I was all in love with med-firm tofu and it’s magical ability to become some luxurious (yet low guilt) salad dressing at a moment’s notice.  I played around with a few varieties – I tried the Vegan World Fusion Caesar (yum!), I made a kind of ranch, and my favourite was a curried apricot dressing that was very inspired by something from the Millenium cookbook, although I changed it entirely…  I even found the notepad file I wrote the recipe on!  So here it is —-

1/4 lb. med-firm tofu

1-2 dried apricots, soaked well and chopped

1 tsp rice vinegar

1/2 tsp curry powder

1/4 tsp garam masala

1/8 tsp cardamom

pinch of cayenne

1 tsp almond butter

1 tsp canola oil

enough water to thin

Blend!  Blend like yo salad depends on it!  
My favourite part of tofu dressings is putting on so much that you can eat the extra at the bottom with a spoon. :)
Isa’s perfect chocolate chip cookies are, by the way, and if you hadn’t heard – perfect.  Utterly perfect.  Me and this cookie had a bit of a moment… time stopped outside my window, cars drove softly past and I felt like all the sweet chewy vanill-y mass was just going straight into my heart (forget stomachs).  Good times.  Oh!  And this is only from batch number two.  I made them before, maybe not creaming quite enough so they spread a bit, but obviously still amazing enough to convince me to try again.

Not having ever tried a Madhur Jaffrey recipe I figured I would give it a go, finally.  Her dhal intrigued me in how it has a whole lemon sliced right into it, and it really works!  Totally makes it a different sort of creature than your regular lentil-mash.  I ate it up with — oh oh oh oh!!  guess what!!!  I got a food processor!  Or at least, an attachment for my new stick blender that my mom got me (love moms!).  I turned veggies into confetti in like, 10 seconds, wow.  Anyway, yeah, I stuffed said veggies (sauted with garlic, mustard seeds, cider vinegar, bit of braggs, maybe a bit of tahini? possibly caraway seeds, too) into a paratha, and then ate the mountain of leftovers too, because it was pretty delicious stuff.  

I also think I’m finally getting the hang of cakes.  Getting the right ratio of textures, flavours, sizes, richnesses, bursts of things, etc.  This was so well-balanced, one of my favourites in recent memory!  It’s a chocolate mint cake with minty vanilla buttercream sandwiched between, whipped ganache on top, and loads of little violets, to celebrate spring or some such twee sentiment that surprised me in actually tasting good as well as looking way pretty.  I ended up dipping the extra violet stems in the leftover ganache!  And the cake… was this joyous kind of refreshing melt-in-your-mouth confection that I had (Mwahahaha!) MOSTLY to myself.  Usually I’m the one giving away desserts too soon, but this one was totally mine.  Yum!

*ackdroolzzz*  don’t you wish there was taste-o-vision?

I don’t particularly feel like sorting my pictures right now, there is just TOO MANY of them.  So, yes, here is the first, what a delight of puffy strawberry muffs in a basket!  Hannah’s recipe is perfect for basic muffins, in fact I memorized it and freestyled a batch of chocolate-raspberry versions later while I was groggy and in my dad’s kitchen at some ungodly hour of the night after breaking in un-announced and he didn’t even know I was in town!  I raided the cupboards (after cleaning the place spotless, of course) and managed to at least find enough basic baking supplies to make them, lurvly brunette muffins, which will have a photo later in this post, because (of course) as I said – completely out of order.  Why not, right?

This is a banana-date scone from Veganomicon.  Somehow I thought it would be more decadent, being from the Vcon, but granted the whole introduction does mention it’s healthy qualities explicitly, so I should have been duly warned.  Don’t you love the background?  This was to fuel some tarot play time with a teatime friend who lets me bake for her (very nice of her).
I love Nigella, it’s no secret to anyone who’s met me (or at least heard her show playing from my bedroom whenever I need some serious calming and indulgence for the soul).  But strangely I’ve made .. well, none of her recipes so far.  That needed to be remedied, which I did with her moroccan-ish eggplant rolls with cinnamon, capers and bulgur … YUM!!  Like what I imagine most of her food to taste like, it is soft, nuanced, silky and doesn’t hit you over the head with electric or sour notes, so ultimately delicious, but I added more lemon. ;)
Pretty grill marks. :)
Ancient photo !!!!!
I made nachos with no nooch in the house.  I canvased the city (briefly) looking for a single serving of nacho chips just so I could have this to satisfy an immediate post-school craving.  It was everything awesome and more.  I made the cheese with cashews, oats, miso and hot chiles and it served the purpose mightily.

This is a pancake I made at my sister’s house, using her mystery bag of mystery organic flour (we believe it was likely spelt), as well as some honey-like natural sugar, lots of coconut, some cashews wedged in there… maple syrup.  Other things.  It was so very very punk, as their larder was BARE and we still managed to have a sizzling merry breakfast on the hob in time for a decent 11 am-ish kind of hour.  I’d just read this book — 

Which was a very anarchic ancient kind of (NON vegetarian) underground poetry/cookbook/highly vague anti-establishment montage of stuff, with many chapters waxing poetic about misty green mornings cooking rashers of bacon and potatoes and I was inspired at least to follow that part of the sentiment.  Much of this book was a little too dated and silly for me, but I liked the non-political jumbo.
As promised, a chocolate-raspberry mini-muff in a cup with Hagan-Daaz raspberry sherbert I found like a special present in my dad’s deep freeze.  Hurray!  Went together like a dream, and though that iced stuff is sweeet, it is definitely top quality and I was definitely proud to call this lunch.


Like cocoa soldiers.  Did you know it took me about 27 minutes and the help of a disgruntled 13-year old to help me find where they had counter-intuitively stashed all their muffin cups?  (for the record: in the highest right invisible spot in the kitchen, behind the curry powder, above the plastic bags).  

There’s more photo backlog, but this is probably browser-crashing enough with all the stuff in this post already, plus this random plate is a nice thematic end to a r-r-r-r-r-andom post.  This was my favourite dinner by SO much last week.  Probably the large luscious chunks of drippy tropical fruit had something to do with it, plus the arcade-style cacaphony of flavours all sharing one oddly harmonious restaurant-square plate.  There’s papaya salsa, asian-dressed cabbage, an eggplant roll that didn’t fit in the container I put in the freezer, and the BEST ASPECT OF ALL — peanut butter and jam on rusks.  Perfection.
ps. I swear I’m not on drugs or even feeling all that strange.  I just rode a mechanical bull, though, (seriously!) and I’m mighty jazzed about that!
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. ^_^;
It’s taken me enough time, but I think I might pursue some serious explorations into raw food this summer.  It’s probably because of this festival in the woods that my friends organize each year… this year I’m a part of the kitchen crew, and that means providing raw options on top of the fully vegan menu.  Which I’m actually pretty excited about!  The way it’s set up we each get about one full day of leading the kitchen, and I have no clue what I’m going to make… but I am collecting ideas, and I figure I should start practicing my skills now.
I took out a book from the library – Nettie Cronish’s New Vegetarian Basics – and figured I would actually cook something from it instead of just flip pages.  Well… it’s a mint and tahini sauce up there and it seems like it would be great on paper (and I’m not exactly sure how one messes up tahini sauce!) but there was like, no flavour in it whatsoever, so I had to double the tahini and add some ume vinegar and then it was pretty good.  (I should mention that I like how she uses a lot of pumpkin seeds and seaweeds in creative ways in her book, though!)
To ease into Rawville I approached my blender with a lot of vigor and an open mind (and about 3 open recipe books!).  I think I did okay for a try… I would never ever EVER call those thin bits of celery “pasta”, but the tomato sauce was a sort of marinara and actually quite delicious!  I used both red wine and balsamic vinegar with some fresh basil and it definitely wasn’t salad-y, in fact surprisingly sweet and piquant and actually went pretty well with crispy celery.  The soup was hella fun!!  It involved…. (I wrote this down)….. 

a full stalk of broccoli

3″ of zucchini

1/2 cup of corn

1 kale leaf —- THE CULPRIT!!

knob of ginger

3 cloves garlic

lemon juice

apple c vinegar

olive oil

flax oil

juice of 2 grapes

tamari

regular soy sauce

sunflower seeds

1/2 a green apple

cumin, coriander, cayenne, paprika, salt, pepper

whole corn niblets

Good and good for you… but I read only afterwards that adding leafy greens to raw soups make them characteristically bitter, and this definitely needed those two grapes to balance things out.  I felt really energized afterwards, but next time I think I’ll keep my kale on the side.  I do love making food like this, though – I feel like a scientist, cutting off bits and bobs of things to create a harmonious liquid whole. 

Last and the sweetest!  Mocha chia pudding, as per Swell Vegan’s recipe, made with some probably unraw ingredients (cocoa, instant coffee certainly isn’t), but in principle sure.  Really quite good!  Like tapioca pudding with the texture of strawberry seeds and the flavour of chocolate, and intriguingly… gloopy.  In a good way!  Like you can stir it up and much as you like and it will reconstitute back together immediately, which I think is a huge bonus, not liking runny pudding all that much.  Plus this fills you up, so I hear, being hydroscopic and thus able to soak up all your drinking water… so it’s the dessert that could save your life in a desert, aha!  

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