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I imagine most people out there have a ever-growing mental list of recipes to try someday.  I used to bookmark every delicious thing that crossed my path while I read blogs, the collection getting to the hundreds and only barely did I look at it when it came time to actually satisfy hunger.  After a recent browser crash and wipe of everything I’d saved, I decided to keep the ideas in my head, with the reasoning that it’s those things that I really wanted to eat anyway!  So right now, that list involves things like homemade bagels, tibetan yak dumplings, mole sauce, and anything ethiopian… and until very recently – anything with phyllo pastry!  I finally tried using it, not without trepidation, in a recipe I’ve been itching to make since the moment I saw it (and did not forget it) – Jenny Wren’s fennel corn phyllo pockets of awesome!  (name-change mine)  

It took me a couple tries to get the hang of it, I will not lie.  But by the end I was folding up neat little dignified triangles with the best of them!  I ate the wonky first ones for lunch today with a tomato compote from the Artful Vegan, and felt pretty durn special, I can say that.  I’m pretty much on vacation for one whole week (wow) before I start summer classes again, so I’m up for any opportunity to get all indulgent in simple things, like tuesday’s mid-day meal.  Not that I wouldn’t anyway, but I broke out the giant white restaurant plate for this one. 

Hmm… and could not possibly resist making an apple-blackberry tart with local yellow delicious apples and BC golden syrup, nooooo…. not while the phyllo is just sitting there all defrosted and feathery and waiting for my apple-craving fingers to mash it into a crispy sugared square of fantastic with toasted walnuts on the bottom even !  It had to happen.  You know it did.  I’m glad it did.  I would have given my eye-teeth for ice cream or even soy milk alongside of this, but regardless it was light and perfect.  

Oh yeah – does anyone have experience with either/both of The Artful Vegan and Millenium cookbooks?  I’d like to get one, I think, but I’m not sure which!  
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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…..

I don’t remember what prompted the lasagna. Something prompted it… oh yeah! Friends came over eating giant gloppy plates of cheesy tvp-veggie lasagna last saturday and it stuck in my mind. Then I woke up on sunday slightly hungover and thinking that making lasagna would be a kind of ideal and relaxing way to spend the afternoon. I was right, too… so laid back this was. I made some tofu ricotto with fresh basil and a roasted red pepper sauce with nutmeg, then layered with whole wheat noodles, sliced mushrooms, zucchini, loads of swiss chard, and some ground up almonds, sesames and lemon zest on top. It turned out so exactly like I wanted – fresh and vegetabley and clean, and hearty too! I ended up eating most of it cold, too, like the risotto.

Later on… I haven’t actually been baking all that much lately, but I figured maybe trying to make a single cookie might amuse me and get some chocolate into my system, so last night I tried. Here’s the measurements, in case you’re curious…

dry ingredients:
1 tbsp ground up oats (I used my fingers to grind)
1 tbsp flour
2 tsp unsweetened coconut
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of baking soda
pinch of chinese 5-spice powder
wet ingredients:
2″ of banana, mushed to a pulp
1/2 tsp canola oil
splash of vanilla soymilk (if needed)

12 chocolate chips

** Add wet to dry, bake @ 350 for 12-15 minutes, until it’s glossy and browned. Would be mad good with tea and apple juice methinks.

It’s more like a chewy muffin top than a cookie per se (doubling the sugar might get you a cookier cookie), but I loved it as a near-guiltless snack. My next single cookie experiment will probably run along the lines of lemon-cranberry-almond. Come to think of it, does anyone have any delicious recipes for cranberries that aren’t too indulgent dessert-like? For some amazing reason they’re on for $1 a bag at my favourite grocery store and I can’t think of a darned thing I want to do with them besides eat them out of the freezer and add them to oatmeal. Maybe cranberry bars? I just don’t want to make them into something too sugary…

Oh yeah, speaking of good deals… I found 72% organic non-animal tested moisturizer and actual Scharffen Berger chocolate at the dollar store! The labels are ever-so-slightly off center and the bars are maybe 1 degree convex, like they’d been warm for a second, and I am a happy girl to take the misfit chocolate under my wing. Er, teeth. Yummy. (actually, verdict is I like Lindt better, but it’s nice and fruity with a bit of pepper and I’d like to make a sauce with it maybe)

Yesterday I made some of Melanie’s wonderful hummus, quinoa and broccoli soup. That particular combination got stuck in my head the moment I saw it, and I thought adding 2 cups of hummus to a soup pot was pretty novel. I added tomatoes to it today and loved it even more, but I could probably add tomatoes to ice cream and I would think it improved. :P
I also feel like mentioning that after finishing this bowl I felt just inexplicably amazing. Really, really good and energized, like my belly was a rotating rose. Wish I’d made more!

Just a quick update, a couple photos that have been on the computer for a few days…

In retrospect I think this was turnip, but the mashed rutabaga recipe from Vcon was nonetheless amazing, especially with corn (lime, coconut + corn? yes!)

And I’m really not exaggerating when I say this is my favourite tofu marinade yet – it’s a Swell Vegan tester recipe for maple-mustard-chili tofu, and it’s awesome. The salad paled in comparison, and the second half of the batch got eaten straight up, with glee, much like a plate of chicken nuggets of yore or something. Total make-again recipe!

And more pizza! I’m pizza-obsessed! J says I’m also crust-bubble obsessed, but he’s quite allowed to say that because… I am. This is only my favourite crust-bubble, and there were many, each with a photo… I am a nerd. :D

And J is still staying with us, and my new roommate is a kitchen-goddess in her own right and works at the best vegan restaurant in the city, so we’ve been collaborating on dinners! Her own component of a brown rice macro bowl was so delicious there wasn’t a speck of leftovers to take a photo of the next day (imagine perfectly cooked rice, confetti-bright vegetables and toasted sesames everywhere), but there was a little bit of my curry around for lunch the next day, so here it is. Aloo paratha, gajar salad, lentil sprouts and a really nice katirikka rasavangi (south indian eggplant curry). I think I might explore this south indian thing a bit more, I’m adoring the heat and the coconut.

And woo! Blackberry-lemon verbena sorbet success! I don’t have an ice cream maker, so I had to nurse this stuff over the course of a few days, stirring it constantly and waiting for my wonky freezer to make it scoopable (I also had to add a bunch of water to help with the freezing, but I was really happy to do that, it was a little sweet in the beginning). Anyway, I’m totally hooked on this sorbet thing! It’s so refreshing, and the herbal bit was transcendant. I’m thinking of trying vegan addict’s Black Hole Sorbet next – it looks sooo decadent. yum!

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