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red white and umami all over

Happy July 1rst, that is to say – Canada Day!  It’s the nation’s birthday and I’m celebrating in Quebec, which means a certain amount of gusto is required to make any noise at all, what with everyone tired from St Jean Baptiste Day just about a week before.  It’s not quite the party that it is in Ontario, but by golly if I can’t make my lunch about as patriotic as a waving flag, at least in colour scheme anyway (and association to good old BBQ food… yes I SO do love the taste of char).
For lady Canuck’s 142nd, I dived into the sausage section of Vegan Brunch and couldn’t even approach deciding one recipe over another, so I made 2 batches at once – the Italian Feast and the Cherry Sage, done up into smaller links so they were hot dog sized.  And after discovering that the grocery store had no (NO) hot dog buns (and even if they did, they would probably be terrible because they usually are), I just had to make a little batch of my own.  Which I TOTALLY recommend, it makes a huge world of difference.  So much so that I’m gonna post the recipeeeee, taken from this blog, taken from King Arthur flour……
Hot Dog Buns
(chewy, wheaty, soft, dense in a good way, stands up to condiments – ie; perfect)
(makes 8)
1 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
3 – 3 1/2 cups flour (I used 50% whole wheat, still came out fluffy and soft)

Directions:
– In a large bowl, combine water and sugar and let it sit for 5 minutes so the yeast gets foamy.
– Mix in the milk, oil, and salt, then add 3 cups of the flour and knead until it comes together into a dough ball.
– Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes, until it becomes a bit like plasticine.  The dough isn’t as soft as in some recipes, and it shouldn’t be sticky (add up to 1/2 cup more flour as needed).  Move to an oiled bowl, cover and let it rise in a warm spot for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.
I’m just building anticipation for chewy perfect grilled bun-bite here :)

Once it’s risen, turn onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 8 equal pieces.  To shape a bun, make a piece into a rectangle, then starting at the end closest to you, roll it up tightly like you would roll a cigarette, folding in the ends on each side as you go.  Pinch the seam when you finish, then place it seam side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Repeat with the rest, then cover with a piece of plastic wrap sprayed with nonstick spray and let them rise for 30 minutes. 
– Preheat the oven to 400F
– Bake for 20 minutes, then move to a rack to cool

INNARDS !!!!

Unrelated to photo above, but that’s what scrolling is for ———— the beautiful red and white salad next to it all was from the Tropical Vegan Kitchen and ab-solutely scrumptious.  I’m going to post the recipe, too, because I just saw a great video concerning appropriation and culture (and breakbeats) and I figured heck why not, share the love, share the coconut dressing —

Thai-Style Romaine Salad with Creamy Coconut Tamari Dressing

(serves 4)
10 oz. of romaine leaves
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced and soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, drained well
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
2 tbsp basil, rolled up and thinly sliced
Coconut Tamari Dressing:

6 tbsp coconut milk (full fat works best here)
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp tamari
2 large cloves of garlic, minced fine
2 tsp palm sugar, or brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp red thai chile, seeded and minced superfine
Directions:

– Whisk, let it sit for at least 10 minutes.
– Toss 1/2 the dressing with the salad components, arrange prettily onto plates, then drizzle with the remaining dressing.  
So patriotic!  (if a little Thai ;)

So I’ve been busy!  I have photos going back so far I don’t even remember the niceties of what went into the food!  Could be better this way, though… do a nice skim over with some sexy photoage and then I get to go RUN OUTSIDE AND PLAY!!!!  Because it’s so nice out.  It’s been hard to want to do anything else, besides run around the city on luscious errands (“Ummmm… I need a light bulb.  Let’s go on a 3-hour sun-drenched walk!”).  The markets nearby have been getting more fragrant by the day.  Mangoes are getting delicious again.  I’m listening to some pastoral Vashti Bunyan I picked up at a thrift store today and I’m having a hard time remembering the kind of cold that prompts lentil loaf, such as the one pictured above, but hey, it was needed at the time, and it WAS nostalgically yummy.  I’m not sure about the whole vegan Loaf Craze, I think it might be my second one ever, but this one turned out remarkably well.  It was even gluten-free, adapted from this recipe with some amaranth and rosemary added and some other changes I really don’t remember right now.  And it’s an excuse to eat ketchup, as if I wouldn’t eat it off a spoon, anyway. :)

I usually feel funny posting about salads, since it’s like, well, vegetables.  With oil and salt and things.  But this one was like a bomb of happy went off in my mouth, so here it is.  I think there was berries, daikon, carrot, goji, ume vinegar and mirin involved, maybe some tamari.  Good stuff!!  I think this is when I began to taste spring, a little bit.

And if I wasn’t careful, Satchmo was gonna taste my peanut butter banana oat muffins!!  These are soooo perfect if you don’t want anything even remotely evil in a baked good, and I really didn’t at the time.  It’s just every ingredient listed in the title, plus some baking powder, cinnamon, and raisins for sweetness and that’s it.  I mean, admittedly I added some salt and allspice, but that’s still earnest.  And they made perfect desserts for anything, since I made them mini I could celebrate putting my clothes in the dryer with a muffin if I wanted.  Oh yeah!  And gluten free, too!  Like the loaf, completely subconscious on my part, but neat.  Oh, and recipe is from aTxVegan!

Later I made some split pea soup because it’s probably my favourite, this time heavy on red peppers and with quinoa in it as well, which made it a lot lighter and smoother, and better for warmer times.  With my first sundried tomato pesto on rusks beside it.

And I ought to open Vegan Fire & Spice WAY more often, because it’s just crammed full of launching-pads for creative dinners.  I was way too lazy to cook up brown rice one night, so I riffed off the Persian Orange Rice with Pistachios, using couscous and walnuts instead.  Really good!!!  Totally orangey and warmly spiced and great with zataar-spiced vegetables to mix into it (especially zucchinis!)


CHOCOLATE !!

The best dark chocolate I’ve ever had?  Possibly… quite possibly.  My sister got it almost cheap because it broke into two pieces, thus affected the taste irrevocably and rendering it only fit for ruffians such as us to consume.  Ahhhhh broken chocolate… also calorie-free I hear!  And isn’t that aztec-y wheel printed on the back gorgeous?  The coffee beans in it are roasted near to a meltaway powder, and there’s tons of them, and you should go to the Chocomotive site and order some of this and maybe send some to me, or just definitely pick some up if you ever see it broken in a store near you.

Yay!  I am predictable like this, in that it’s a wrap sandwich, but check it out, this one’s special.  I had the stroke of genius to mix in a whole buttload of fine-chopped scallion into my usual roti and it worked.  SO.  Well.  The tofu mix wasn’t half-bad besides, and maybe I’ve just been craving dijon really madly lately, but this was really good.  If you haven’t tried green beans in a sandwich before, you’re missing out, too!  Lightly steamed, rinsed cold, loaded along with zukes, sweet pickled onions, more dijon and grated carrot = win!  I even remember what I did with this one …
French-ish Tofu Salad 
makes enough for 2 generous sammiches
1/2 lb. firm tofu – herbed is nice
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3-4 tbsp mayo
1 tsp coarse ground dijon mustard
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp tarragon
salt and fresh black pepper to taste
– in a bowl, mush up the tofu with your hands (squish squish) until it’s mushy like ricotta.  Mix in the remaining ingredients, adjusting to your own taste, then stuff into breadish things and nom.
Scallion Flatbread 
makes two 10″ breads
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 all-purpose flour
2 tsp hazelnut oil
a good pinch of salt
1/4 cup fine-chopped scallion
6-8 tbsp warm water (it will really depend)
– In a large bowl mix together the flours, oil, salt, and scallion.  Slowly splash in the water and mix until a dough is formed.  Knead it for a minute or two – it should be a wet dough, but if it gets too wet (and it might due to onion moisture), just add a bit more flour and keep going.  When it’s slightly elastic, pop it back into the bowl and cover it with a towel.  Let that sit for a few minutes while you heat up a heavy iron skillet over medium heat.  Take out the dough and divide in two balls, dip them in flour and roll them flat (I usually get a 10″ circle), then cook in the dry skillet about 2 minutes each side, until brown spots appear and it smells toasty.  Instant lunch!

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