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Just a quick post and a recipe — I made the CUTEST little nuggets ever maybe a week ago, ’cause everything’s somehow tastier in nugget form.  It’s the option of dipping sauce, I think, and the wee little crunchy size, not to mention the childhood regression factor and how darned snacky they are.  But anyway, not to wax poetic about nuggs for too long… here’s the recipe.  It’s pretty straightforward (although I’m probably just saying that because I think my cooking is basic and it’s not, no not really), mostly an adaption of the Spicoli Burgers from ED&BV except with tahini because I was craving it mad-like at the time and I really wanted to know if tahini and ketchup and mustard could ever possibly navigate the same food-form and still be edible (they can).  And also it’s a half/half mixture of millet and brown rice because that’s what I had, but also because millet makes perfect nugget mash (turns into a binder!), and I changed the spices, yeah.  AND these taste really good and you should make them and plum sauce up there was not necessary, but the Maple-Balsamic-Mustard Coleslaw c/o Sarchan at Emo Potato was.
/long snackrant
Golden Snack Nuggets
makes about 17
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup shredded zucchini
2 cups cooked brown rice/millet mixture
1 1/2 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp tamari
3 tbsp tahini
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp basil
1 tsp lemon zest
handful of toasted sunflower seeds
salt & fresh black pepper to taste
breadcrumbs
Heat the oil in a small pan over medium heat and cook the onion a few minutes, until slightly soft.  Add the garlic and zucchini, sprinkle a touch of salt and cook another 3-4 minutes.  
In a large bowl, combine the cooked vegetables with the rest of the ingredients (except the breadcrumbs) and mix well.  With your hands!  (That’s important so the millet gets mushed). Cover and chill for at least an hour, then take it out and make 2 tbsp-sized balls with it, gently squish into shape then roll in the bread bits.  
Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, flipping once, until both sides are golden and the texture is firm.  
OR these freeze like a dream!!!  I ate 4 right away and stashed the rest for later.

Pre-hot box.  Pretty adorable!

I always end up making curry on a whim. Without fail I am on my way to make something else, something usually boring and somehow between the fridge and the stovetop it turns into curry in my brain and I’m always thankful for the switch. I can always eat more red lentils… and I got to try out these unreal curry powders my friend J brought me from India when he went this summer. Why have I not used these all over the place before???? They are crazy good, more on them later. They made an acorn squash, red lentil, coconut, pea and green pepper curry absolutely golden. Actually, pistachio coloured. Who says curry is homely? And cardamom raisin quinoa underneath doesn’t hurt in the pretty department, either.

Here are those spices (I couldn’t be happier that there’s massive quantities of both).

The south indian blend has — white pepper, chili, mango powder, dagger fool, clove, ginger, mace, citric acid, concoun, cassia, and akarkhora. Badass.

The garam masala is black cumin, black pepper, bay leaves, piper, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, clove, black cardamom, ginger.

These are seriously aromatic and complex, and for some reason taste different in every curry I add them to. Maybe it’s like that chemical thing where the same perfume smells different on various wrists? Maybe it’s the akarkhora.

Then I made some DAIIIII-FU-KUUUU, yippee! I didn’t realize I was out of red dye for my envisioned green-and-red holiday colours, but I did have a beet, which worked perfectly and the subtle flavour didn’t mess with the beans at all. They are bean paste (anko) filled, which has got to be my favourite stuff ever. I’m still not 100% on the mochi part, I may have found the one food I’m not super crazy for, but they are definitely fun to make. And it was much as Julie in Japan describes: truly they are weird. But I did keep eating it and then later I did really want another one. That strange earlobe jellyness kinda becomes… intriguing? In a way? I must say I can taste the difference in the supple freshness of homemade mochi versus those awful pucks I got over christmas.

Okay, this is actually making my mouth water now, so disregard any blabbing about weirdness. You can also see that I like my anko (I LOVE my anko) chunky, generous in proportion to earlobe-jelly, and only moderately sweet.

J’s (half awake) response was A: “They look like the kind of thing that people eat in cartoons, Liz.” (I nodded). And B: “Hmm… they taste like rice cake.” Which I thought was mighty open-minded for a technicoloured blobby-dessert ambush, and indicative of an awesome generation of eaters. My parents would have certainly gone for the bugspray or something. :)
Yay Daifuku!!

EDIT:
In response to KingoftheFrogs — what I did for the mochi:

The red and the green both had pretty different textures, since I used more water in the green, but they were both good… it takes some playing around I think.

approximately…
1 cup rice flour
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup water + (if needed) 2-3 tablespoons
food colouring (optional)
(1 cup of anko/red bean paste)

* stir the flour, water, sugar and colouring together in a microwave-safe bowl, adding more water so that it’s smooth (but still pretty thick)

* microwave 2 minutes, then stir it like crazy

* microwave until it inflates, stir like crazy and stretch it and wack it with a wooden spoon until it’s smooth and bouncy.

* turn it onto a tray covered with potato starch (or cornstarch) and roll it into a snake, then cut that snake into 12 equal pieces.

* stretch a piece into a disc, thicker in the middle than at the edges, place 1 tablespoon of anko paste in the middle and wrap it up like a parcel, pinching the seam to join the mochi together. Dust with extra cornstarch, and set it aside, repeat with remaining mochi pieces.

note 1: they freeze pretty much perfectly, so uneaten candy can be squirreled away for later.

note 2: anko is soooo easy to make, it’s just red beans cooked with sugar and a touch of salt. Take cooked adzuki beans, add sugar til it’s sweet enough for you, mash with a spoon and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until it’s really thick, like cookie dough. Let it cool completely before using.

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!)

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!

So I was tagged again for the 5 Things meme, by Swell Vegan and Rabbit Food! Eep, I’m not sure what else there is to say about myself, unless we had a lovely beverage and a sunlit cafe to talk in for a while… I suppose the most important things about a person are those things they strive for, though, so I’ll list my top five upcoming projects.

1. A cookzine, finally! I can’t boast a lot of recipes, but those that I do have are special and fun, and it’s been too long since I’ve made a zine. I just need to come up with a name first, and then all the cutting and pasting will follow after. It’ll probably be decorated to the nines. :D

2. I saw Rachel Brice on tv recently and fell in love. At least with the concept of tribal bellydance. It’s almost like how I dance anyway, but I’m really interested in adding some real structure and tradition into my own thing. I’ve already found some instructional videos on Youtube and I can make my belly swim like a snake! (this also has the added bonus of increased ab-strength, which just makes life easier in general). Not to mention I get to make a similarly decked-out costume for the next solstice festival I go to!

3. The etsy store, but I’ve already mentioned that! I went to the bank yesterday to find out why I have a Visa account but no card yet. They didn’t know, and advised me to call Visa themselves, but I AM taking steps toward this!

4. Finish the final and fifth installment in my Treehead painting series. I got an A on the four I have so far, but I want to make a fifth on my own time and see if maybe a bar or small cafe around the city would want to put them on the walls for a bit. Five is a good number for an art proposal, I think.

5. Start volunteering at the Santropol community garden. I couldn’t schedule it in between classes last fall, but I can do it now, and I want to learn everything about growing things. Also, keep nurturing my tomato plants into strength – I hope I can transfer them soon. (and my herbs are starting to smell like herbs, which is such a thrill!)

And one thing I CAN cross off the list? I finally got Satchmo fixed, and she is so relieved and relaxed now, stretching out her funny little shaved belly! I’m pretty relieved, too. The summer should go by a lot easier now.

Love Like a Vegan also tagged me to post 6 words that describe myself, and I could save everyone a lot of time and say paradoxiquacious, but I can use english, too. :D

serious (no really, it’s true)
determined
idiosyncratic
thoughtful
idealistic
tough

Neat! Okay now I tag… Sugar Shock, Damzlfly, Tropical Vegan, Ruby Red Vegan, & Vegan Eats and Treats to do the same thing.

I love end of term. I love the delirium, and the not-sleeping, and the out-and-out stress of it all. No, actually I hate all those things, but I DO love how productive I get in all other areas that aren’t school. I made a bunny! It’s for my sister, and I’m seriously considering starting an Etsy shop (even though that would mean getting a – *shudder* – credit card). I could see myself sewing on summer afternoons on a regular basis, plus I’d get to make adorable things all the time. Also, supplemental income – always nice. (she’s wearing an apron which makes her OK for a food blog, btw ;)

Onto the white beans! What better than Vcon pasta fazooool to throw together in less than 15 minutes so I can pretend my priorities lie with paper-writing and not in the kitchen? Nothing, it’s totally the best thing! I liked this a lot, though the inclusion of beans in anything pretty much guarantees I’ll be nuts for it. And I totally stand by eating this on spaghetti, it ups the challenge factor, and you can’t slurp tiny pastas as far as I know. (at least, not with the modicum of neanderthal grace I allow myself when I’m snarfing noodles alone, ha!)

And yummy lunch today was Vcon hot-sauce glazed tofu, baked sweet potato and really really cheater baked beans (white beans + bbq sauce). More than enough fuel to proofread. And not get distracted by Harvest Moon. With any luck! Course, I am stuffed and groggy now and could use some time attempting to woo the bartender’s daughter, hee hee. I’m so responsible. :)

(as for the tofu, it was spooky – I could almost sense the tempeh in the store calling out for this marinade, insisting that tofu was way better suited to more delicate things. I only vaguely recall what tempeh even tastes/feels like, but I’m pretty sure it would rock so much more than the ‘fu here. That said I was practically sipping the leftover glaze!)

Happy Valentine’s everybody!

I wish I had time to make more heart-shaped food, some part of me loves a useless holiday that embraces little more than a funny symbol. Hehe. When I was in high school I used to treat it kind of like Halloween for softies, and dress up in pink and white taffeta and striped red stockings and give out chocolates to my friends and anyone in the halls who looked like they wouldn’t be offended by an overly friendly “happy valentines!!” and a little dark chocolate square. Today I don’t have time, and I don’t know how amenable the militantly awkward art school kids would be towards pure fluff and hallmark celebration (maybe they would get the irony?). So I’m off to paint two brazilian men kissing, and then I’ll buy pecans for the smlove so I can make a big wonderful pie for my family when I go home for reading week tomorrow.

On an unrelated note: I listen to CBC radio every morning while eating my breakfast (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and this is the second day in a row that they’ve had an extensive discussion on veganism! Yesterday they hosted Rory Friedman (the author of Skinny Bitch), and then a reaction interview with Debbie Rasmusen (the publisher of Portland’s Bitch Magazine) and Annahid Dashgaardt (the Executive Director of Anima Leadership, a Toronto-based organization dedicated to community building). I’m not the biggest fan of the Skinny Bitch book, but there were some interesting points brought up – like the fact that the information on farming and animal rights in the book is actually somewhat sound, and that it’s the first mainstream piece of vegan literature to be embraced in popular culture. I can’t wait to hear what they talk about today. I do have to say… Rory kind of rubbed me the wrong way in how she almost greasily sidestepped direct questions about the so-called “healthiness” of the diet proposed in the book (it’s a diet book! IT IS A DIET BOOK! and not a good one). And Debbie and Annahid thankfully made a strong argument for healthy body image and rejection of (even vegan) fad diets. Ideal solution being intelligent integration of the information offered in the book and ignoration of the idea that we all stand around hating the thinnest girl in the room? Could take a lot more social change than we’ll see in our lifetimes…
They even brought up the racism factor – by flat-out demonizing meat and cheese, the book is creating guilt on a cultural front, too! Oh god, I hope I’m not getting preachy. Ha ha ha. Does it help that I don’t know exactly where I stand with all this and so really can’t be preaching at all? It was interesting to listen to, I know that.

I propose a day in the garden and a rainbow-bright spread of veggies and grains for alllll the skinny bitches (people of all sizes and temperaments) of the world. Or maybe a square of dark chocolate and a flurry of fuschia lace. La la la la! This bitch is off to go paint…

Well, Liz is a happy vegan – I finally picked up Vegan with a Vengeance yesterday (it was between that and Refresh, or maybe Heaven’s Banquet, but hey, it’s Isa ramblings we’re talking about here, and I needed that recipe for the raspberry blondies). And the muffin recipes! There’s so many! Very happy vegan. :D

I thought I’d try the Hijiki-Salad Sammiches first, since I didn’t have hijiki, but I had nori….. thus the chickpea maki-wraps above. Muy tasty! It’s beyond simple, I just mashed the chicks with nayonnaise, salt, pepper, cider vinegar, tabasco and celery seed, then I spread it on toasted nori and rolled it up with carrots, cucumber, lettuce, red onion and sunflower seeds. Oh, and Braggs to dip, of course.

Hey, look, it’s thematically relevent! Peanut-Sesame Hummus from ED&BV. It’s good, especially with lots of crushed peanuts swirled in.

Also….. Chickpea Cutlets?
I am so sorry for having doubted you! You taste delicious the next day, as does that addictive Mustard Sauce, I just have to remember not to form you into the shape of meat lest I get weirded out by it. (my very good vegetarian friend Ben-sen just about busted a gut laughing when I told him I’d made a shmancy fancy dinner with roasted potatoes and cutlets and everything. He also polished off the leftovers and declared them “creepy yet delicious”)