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It’s funny how cardboard folded to look like a pirate ship can make an ordinary grilled sandwich turn into a crazy adventure of proportions large enough to convince any red-blooded child that a bit of cajoling to go the White Spot restaurant is a good idea.
This place is not vegan.  We’re in memory lane right now.

See, they had this ship, right?  It had little holes for a drink and an ice cream, and your burger and fries came in the hold.  Perhaps most importantly – your straw was the freaking masthead!  Shiver me timbers, that’s amazing.  When you’re a kid.

They called it a Pirate Pak and I obviously took it home a few times to play with, the same way I kept those little plastic swords that came with the fruit salad when we went out to chinese buffet restaurants with the odd jello desserts and the deep-fried everything.  They changed up the design of this thing a few times.  I remember running across it a few years ago with a sheet of stickers included so you could add characters and windows on top. !

See the bliss?  The feeling of specialhood?  I’m completely serious here, those fries were absolutely epicly delicious, because they came in a boat.

So here’s my thought… I know some of you are in B.C., and have a White Spot nearby.  I’m not advocating you buy anything there, but if anyone wants to go on a Mischievous Mission™ to obtain just the ship itself and then send it to me, I will fill it with my own, painstakingly authentic vegan version of the classic Pirate Pak meal.  
New Vegan Menu:
~ Burger with secret O Sauce and cheese
~ Deep-fried french fries
~ a soft drink (organic root beer!)
~ soft serve vanilla ice cream
and I almost forgot —
~ a chocolate gold dubloon !
(I will also obviously send back your way a special east coast/montreal specialty, if you can think of something specific, or I’ll just send something cool ;)

Wee!  So – I’m here drinking my mint & mushroom tea with large slices of ginger dropped into it because I was a little too brave this afternoon and added some (a lot of) questionable sauerkraut to my hummous wrap.  It was worth it at the time… but now I need the tea.  Yeah, white stuff in a sauerkraut jar is no good… 
Anyway.  More old pictures (I swear I’m getting through them, I do!)  I made crepes!  I made buckwheat versions of Veganomicon crepes, and stuffed them full of Columbian red beans with plantain (from Terry’s Vegan Latina), some broccoli too, and an avocado-corn-cream sauce that is essentially this recipe that I’d had mentally bookmarked since I went vegan in high school.  Seriously that long ago. (*oouuuuuurrrrrgh…. waveof nauseau happening……RIGHT NOWurg*)  XPPP
cough.  ok better.
Anyway.  avocado cream sauce!  I ate in on pasta first, but it’s way more economical to show it here, even if it does look a little like ralf.  tee hee.  I swear it was tasty.

And then I had leftover crepes with sauteed peaches, coarse raw sugar, cranberry jam, and some malted soy drink mixed with enough water to make a sweet cream.  Oh, frugal AND delicious, and even maybe healthy, how ’bout that?  I love dinners that revolve around fructose.

Speaking of which, I made a tiny sweet potato cashew cream pie with a lone spud, because it’s just been so damned cold it seems not very weird to make food like this.  Plus, it has a pumpkin seed crust a la Extraveganza, which in my weird mind makes it kinda summery.  And when you pop it in the freezer and eat slices of it cold like spiced ice cream…… *drooooolz*.  Also gives me a chance to use the tiniest fork ever imaginable that I picked up at a garage sale for specific things just like this.  Fairy pie technique!

From now on I make my own thai green curry paste.  Has anyone tried the yellow variety?  I almost did but then I chickened out and returned it for a jar of the classic green, and while it resulted in a slurpily good skillet of hyper-spice, well… I’m still curious about the other variety.  Maybe next time I’ll get the yellow (which boasts coriander and white pepper, yum) and just grind up lots of green chiles into it myself.  I ended up throwing like, 3-4 extra thai peppers into this one anyway, cause I kind of like my thai curries to practically send off sparks into the atmosphere.  Anything less and why bother, I say!

Speaking of skillets — I made the Vcon leek & bean cassoulet finally.  That’s how cold it’s been around here!  It’s mid-June and I’m still checking my bag for extra gloves, just in case… ack.  So on a particularly blustery and charcoal-grey day I decided snap it I’m just gonna make a big old comforting stew and I am SOOOOO glad I did.  It was the perfect antidote to my standard rut of cooking with loads of citrus & spice — the cassoulet is all…. comfy like a big herbal pillow.  And far too easy to pleasantly spoon down while cuddled up in a blanket reading school work things.  Very very nice…
(oh, and peas/leeks/white beans were replaced with corn/extra onion/black&red beans to good effect)
Enough for now?  Probably… there’s red velvet, kittee muffins, cold soba, successful souvlaki rice to come, though.  *phew* 
Oh, what the heck, one more — I made Scotter Muffins, yay!  I don’t remember what variety at all, probably apple and banana and cinnamon swirl.  Gosh, I love muffins, don’t you?  They’re so balanced, like the medium spectrum between the best of all baked goods.  Or maybe I’m just a fan. ^_^b

This might be the most delicious soup I’ve ever made.  I don’t even usually like creamy soups, but this one has ocean in every bite, and the tofu bits get all soaked with the richness and get buttery, and the veggies are… in giant chunks!  Which is fun!  I have to thank the Sexy Vegan in huge part for a lot of the tasty tricks involved (nori seaweed!  cashew cream!), but here’s my specific take on the method.  So so so so good.

Cashew Cream
1/3 cup cashews
1 cup water
– blend together in a blender until very very smooth and liquid-y creamy

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, in 1/2″ pieces
1 large stalk celery, 1/2″ pieces
1 medium red potato, chunks
1/4 lb. extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2″ cubes
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
fresh black pepper
enough water/broth to cover (4-5 cups?)
1/4 cup white wine
**Cashew Cream
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp margarine
1/2 cup corn niblets
1 sheet nori seaweed
dash of liquid smoke (optional but approximates bacon)
salt to taste
– okay!  Saute the onions over medium heat in a large soup pot until starting to soften, then add the carrot, celery and potato and cook another 5 minutes or so, just til things look golden.  Add the tofu, spices, broth, white wine and cashew cream and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer about 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are soft and beginning to break down, then add the vinegar, margarine, corn, nori seaweed, smoke flavour (if using), and adjust seasonings to taste.  Eat while hot, sprinkled with bacon bits and with crackers or biscuits on the side.  Magnifique!
For a technicolour moving-pictures version, with drunkennesss and tempeh and fancy mushrooms and robot voices——->

Aaaah! I guess I have too much free time or something. Actually I’ve been in this mood where I don’t really know what I want to eat for lunch at all, so only the most elaborate thing has been satisfying. So that begat sushi, which was the magical result of actually having avocado and cucumber in the fridge at the same time. The rolls were at the whim of whatever I had on hand, so I ended up with…

+ california (of course)
+ bunny rolls (apple, carrot and thin-sliced ginger)
+ vegetable with hot chili sesame oil
+ broccoli mashed with tahini and ume plum vinegar, with red pepper and red onion
+ and avocado-cashew!

I’ve also been harboring this serious craving for pizza, for like, ever. And I’d never made it before! (these days it hardly seems worth cooking if it’s not an experiment. *shrug*)

I cracked open my Vegan with a Vengeance and started on the pizza dough, and it was great – I’m so used to making bread with a poolish that I have to set up the night before that a straight-ahead dough recipe seemed positively lightning fast to make! Plus ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS.

This is my second attempt and I think I’m getting the hang of it. I was even flipping the dough in the air to get that paper-thin middle crust going! I could make pizza all the time, it’s totally playing with food, and anyway… this is my second creation, a grand mess of red onion, tofurkey sausage, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, broccoli, olives, tofu ricotta and red chile flakes with homemade pizza sauce, YUM!

And check it out! CRUST BUBBLE ACTION!!

The bubble means it’s extra delicious. :D

I’ve been sooooo sick this week. Fever, headache, chills, nausea, all that stuff. Plus I think the mineral spirits I use to thin my oil paint have been making everything twice as bad…. X_X

But uh…. you’d think I would stay in bed or something, and eat white rice (as sick food goes my roommate swears by vegetable broth with little pasta stars – kinda tempting, actually!)

But no. No, I’ve been cooped up and damned if my deadened tastebuds won’t appreciate the only thing I can do to pass the time (reading is out due to double vision, ha ha ha *SIGH*)

The black bean burgers (oh yeah, everything in this post in Veganomicon. For the record) actually hit the spot! It was one of those better stomach days, and it was nice to get something classic into me. I think that’s what the flavour of these are – they won’t smack you in the face with anything distinctive, but I actually don’t like when veggie burgers taste like hemp or rice or almonds. These taste like… burger!

Chickpea noodle soup = MAGIC SOUP

I had NO appetite that day. I have no idea what possessed me to make soup. But I did make it, and I took one bite and it was like my mom had wrapped a blanket around my shoulders…. amazing stuff.

The mushroom and spinach strata was okay. I don’t think it was substantial enough for a dinner and I think I may have burned something or not used enough bread (the parts with bread were pretty good). Everything was kinda tasting bitter to me that day anyway. *shrug*

And this morning I made the chocolate-hazelnut biscotti (with almonds instead), for a friend teaching english in Korea. Right now she’s helping clean up after the December 6th oil spill… washing the shore one pebble at a time. (I think she definitely needs chocolate in the mail, yes?)

K, I should probably go make some plain rice now… or soup with pasta stars… I am eyeing the chipotle black bean recipe…… ahhhhhhhh!!!

Good old spinach ‘sagna… it could have used a bunch more sauce, but I like my ‘sagna juicy enough to squish. Marinara lack is all part and parcel of making vegan food from a communal larder – my mom lives with 3 other people so I have to be aware of supplies – but it went over well with the roommates and I’m so using almesan as a topper again! No more lame-o breadcrumbs. Also, I came home today to hear that the german meat-lover had finished up the leftovers, so huzzah and score-point for tofu ricotta!!

Chipotle butternut chili. I’d been craving chili forevers, so I made a ton and I was really happy I did. There was cornbread to go with it, but got snarfed up before a picture was taken (oh, I loves me cornbread… so simple and grainy and sweetly good… mmm)

And tonight some simple dhal, after a looooooooong day of shopping for christmas candies. Okay, so it’s fun to buy sweets for sweethearts, but after eating a food court so-called “Veggie Delite” sub sandwich** of Incredible Blandness I needed immediate protein-ified spicy remedying after getting home. Serves me for even entering a mall. ¬_¬ (the dhal was good medicine)

**no relation whatsoever to Veggie Delight!

It was a loooooong day today. I woke up at 5 AM so I could get to school in time to finish my new painting and made about three brushstrokes before decided I was doing more harm than good and then collapsed on a couch in the hallway for oh, about five hours. Oi. Art couches are not the comfiest things and I had funny dreams.

Not that it was a bad day, there was something otherworldy about navigating the metro at such a strange, early hour (you know, that hour when most people are going to work and I’m usually still happy in bed).

But by the time I got home (walking thru the rain no less) it was time for güd füds. Güd comfort füds even. Ie: macaroni and cheeze, Fatfree Vegan-style. I’ve never made a vegan creamy concoction before (excluding bean and vegetable purees), and it hit a spot I didn’t know needed hitting. Yummers in tummers and all that. Praise Susan!

I also made a half batch of zucchini apple muffins from the Don’t Eat Off The Sidewalk zine, and even though they needed WAY more soy milk than the recipe called for, they were pretty notch!


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